Random Recipe #3: Gingerbread

The Small Girl, who is not quite two, knows exactly how to make me happy. She pulls a cookbook off the shelf and starts “reading” it, pointing out the pictures to Teddy. “Mmmm, look Teddy, dinner time”.
I don’t remember doing that myself, but I did used to love leafing through my mother’s two exercise books of most-used recipes. The ‘savoury’ recipes were in one book, the one with a mottled red cover, and the ‘sweet’ ones in the other, which was so well-thumbed I think the cover had fallen off. Mum had lots of other cookbooks, of course, but these two were my favourite.

About 15 years ago Mum sent me a letter saying she’d been organising her collection of cut-out and carefully written down recipes into a fancy new plastic folder. She said she’d enclosed one of my favourites so I could finally make it myself. This was actually a huge joke, because we always, always laughed at this particular page. I still don’t know what would possess this woman to send a magazine a photograph of herself eating – and anyone knows Mrs D.J Allen of Auckland, I wish you’d ask her. In any case, this was the obvious choice for Belleau Kitchen’s April Random Recipe challenge.

Mrs Allen’s Special Spicy Gingerbread
I followed Mrs Allen’s recipe to the letter when I made this, except that I ignored her instructions to bake it in two loaf tins (we only have one large one) and I couldn’t serve it on the brown pottery plate she recommends because we don’t have one of those either. I don’t think this affected the outcome in any way – it was absolutely delicious.

2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
175g butter, melted
3/4 cup golden syrup
2 1/2 cups flour
2tsp baking soda
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup boiling water

Beat eggs with sugar, add melted butter and syrup. Beat again. Add dry ingredients sifted together and lastly boiling water. Bake in two medium-sized loaf tins at 190C for 50 minutes.
Mrs Allen says “keep one loaf to cool and serve buttered with Greggs coffee. Serve the other loaf as a dessert. In summer, cut through the centre and fill with pink ice cream. Decorate the top with whipped cream and pink guavas. Serve on a brown pottery plate. In winter, serve hot with a sauce of blackcurrants.”



  1. April 18, 2011 / 8:30 pm

    Mmmmm, gingerbread – it looks so good. I'm positively glad you didn't have a brown pottery plate, I'm sure that wouldn't have improved the taste!

  2. April 18, 2011 / 8:50 pm

    I think you should have gone out and bought a brown pottery plate! I love Mrs Allen and I would adore a slice of this with some pink ice cream 🙂

  3. April 18, 2011 / 9:41 pm

    The gingerbread looks perfect even without the brown pottery plate 🙂

  4. April 18, 2011 / 9:54 pm

    Really properly chuckling to myself. People are staring. I love this story and I love that your mum sent you all this stuff. My mum has the most amazing folder of cut out recipes but I know I'm going to have to prize it from her dead hands!!! Thank so much for taking part. The gingerbread looks bloody lovely xx

  5. April 18, 2011 / 9:54 pm

    I see that you didn't decorate the top with pink guavas either 😉 Classic!

    P.S. I gave u an 'honorary' blog award the other day on my blog.

  6. April 19, 2011 / 9:26 am

    Love the idea of small girl with teddy and cooking books

    Old cookery pages are priceless – I have ones I collected as a girl and the adverts on the back of the pages still make me giggle.

    Lovely gingerbread but a shame you didn't have brown pottery plates – my mum had some when we were young and they are just so retro now – I think she still has them

  7. April 19, 2011 / 7:15 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Love the photo of Mrs Allen and the serving instructions are priceless.
    Just think, in 30 years time or so, people may be looking at our blogs and having a right good laugh at how we served things.
    Love that Little Miss is so into her cooking and showing Teddy what she will be serving! Such a cute picture. Hope you'll remember that and tell her about it when she's older.

  8. April 21, 2011 / 2:57 pm

    Oh, I have to try that… I always think it's one of the recipes I need to do and I've not got round to it yet.
    (And from a style point of view, I think the borown pottery plate would detract from the rich brown of the gingerbread! ;-))

  9. April 22, 2011 / 6:47 am

    Mrs D.J Allen seems to know what she is talking about when it comes to baking gingerbread then. Looks fab, even if there isn't a brown pottery plate to serve it on lol.

  10. April 22, 2011 / 11:00 am

    Spicy gingerbread is the best kind! This loaf looks very yummy! I wanted to let you know that I have tagged you in an Easter menu tag game, I was invited by the cajunlicious blogger. Please visit my blog to find out more and to participate.
    All the best, Natasha from the Rambles and Shambles blog!

  11. April 22, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    You have stunning recipes in here to add to that is your lovely presentations on each of them. I loved this Gingerbread picture & the recipe is a small different from what I have or make.
    Fitted kitchen

  12. April 27, 2011 / 10:30 am

    holy moly this looks beautiful! I have bookmarked it to make, thank you 🙂 You have a beautiful blog!
    Heidi xo

  13. May 2, 2011 / 12:48 am

    Haha! What a great post! mrs. Allen and her gaping mouth aside, she sure had a couple of good suggestions for serving up that gingerbread! You did her proud!

    I'm waiting for your promo picture for the recipe … no gaping mouth, please!

  14. May 4, 2011 / 9:12 pm

    Pink ice-cream with gingerbread ….. not really speaking to me!!!!!! Much prefer your way of serving it :-}}

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