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Sunday, 9 October 2011

starry, starry nice

"Ah, Mrs. Corry. A story for you.

Your daughters was shorter than you.

But they grew."

My daughter has asked me if she could have some stars to eat - gosh! How fanciful of the child, I thought to myself. Alas, it became clear after a while that it was not a leap of imagination that had made her long for the stars - but those awful frosted 'Lucky Charms' adverts on TV that had done it. 

I find this type of cereal offensive for two reasons - One, there are so many lovely things to have for breakfast… Porridge with your choice of topping, muesli, yoghurt, fruit, a myriad of breads and pastries, eggs a dozen ways, pancakes, beautiful bacon or a nice bit of artisan pudding - why would anyone want a box of cardbord coated in sugar?

The other reason is, of course, that the character on the box is offensive to all Irish people, because none of the leprachauns that live near me look anything like him!

It did remind me, though, of a story I  read as a child 'Mary Poppins'. In the books, Mrs Corry and her two "great galumphing giraffes" of daughters Annie & Fannie, ran a bakery. Mrs Corry had exceptionally long fingers, made of sticks of barley-sugar which she would snap off and hand out as treats to the children who were visiting her shop. They sold pieces of " ... gingerbread so studded with gilt stars that the shop itself seemed to be faintly lit by them." At night and under the cover of darkness, all three Corry's would paste the gingerbread stars into the night sky." I loved that book and must have read it a dozen times. 

So, here is my recipe for gingerbread - stars from the night sky are entirely optional.

Gingerbread Recipe

100g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
50g soft brown sugar
50g sultanas 
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of salt
100g butter 
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons treacle 
1 egg lightly beaten
150ml milk

Mix together the dry ingredients. Melt the butter with the syrup and treacle and stir into the dry ingredients with the egg and milk. Spoon into a greased and lined 18 cm/7 in cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 160ºC/325ºF for 1 hour until just springy to touch. Allow to cool a little and turn out to cool completely on a wire rack. This is the old style of ginger cake that will be much improved after keeping wrapped in an airtight container for 3 days to 1 week! Serve warm with custard or with toffee sauce - or go mad and serve with both!

Toffee Sauce

115g unsalted butter
115g light muscovado sugar
140ml double cream

Put all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour. 

To serve, cut the gingerbread into squares and pour or drizzle over the toffee sauce. Add stars to taste.


  1. I love these. I have never tried to make ginger cake. Just biscuits. I especially like that you have made the stars optional.
    I think I would have to serve this with the custard. We have a lot of eggs around here and it sounds so nice, cake n' custard, no?
    Love the photo with the toffee on it. Very appetising.

  2. Hey! I love your website! If you are interested in ideas, my website is vegan, and vegetarian gourmet food! http://gangybuffet.com/
    I am a college student journaling my way through cooking.

  3. These are so cute! And totally agree with you on breakfast...why are we so obsessed with sugar coated cardboard when there are so many healthy delicious breakfast options? Having said that, I could probably eat a piece of your gingerbread for breakfast... :-)

  4. Can you put the photo of your neighbour leprechaun on a blog?
    I really hate when advertisement sells fake, sugar food to kids in cute package. It should be forbidden. Cake looks lovely and I hope your daughter liked the stars :)

  5. How delicious looking! Gingerbread is my favourite bread of them all because it's CAKE IN DISGUISE. Which is great.

    So cute that your little one wanted to eat stars - and by the looks of the pics, she got pretty close to it :)

    Loving your blog, by the way Amee. Lovely recipes, pics and style!

  6. This looks delicious and perfect for the current season - I can imagine it going down a treat on Bonfire Night. Also just you let you know, you wont the competition on my blog! Congratulations :)


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