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Monday 24 October 2011

Baking for Beginners: Marjorie's Recipe

Every family has specific bits of oddity that seem perfectly acceptable to them and utterly bonkers to everyone else. On Saturday, I tweeted about the best bit of cake-making being licking the 'whizzers' (blades) and got replies asking if that was even legal in this country. Oh how I laughed!

Marjorie's Recipe is another one of those oddities; a delicious brownie-type cake that's very easy to make and made from very old-school ingredients.

My grandpa was in the Navy, so my grandma, mum and her sisters travelled around an awful lot while were growing up. The titular Marjorie was a friend my grandparents met while living in Malta. She and her husband became great chums and they stayed in touch for years. I have a lovely memory of going to see them when I was small and playing with their boxer dog, Xantia, and playing pirates in the crow's nest in their kitchen.

This is a very simple, delicious recipe with one very non-21st century ingredient. Specifically, lard. Who even uses lard now? Apparently there's some kind of lard renaissance in 2011.

Marjorie's Recipe - makes about 20 squares

You'll need:
  • 6oz granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp Nescafe
  • 5oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 level tbsp cocoa
  • 3oz lard
  • handful chopped nuts
  • handful dried fruits
Bake it!

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees/ gas mark 5 and lightly grease and line your baking tin.
  • Put the sugar, coffee, eggs, vanilla, salt, cocoa and half the flour into a basin. 
  • Melt the fat and beat into the mixture. 
  • Mix in the rest of flour.
  • Cook for 30 minutes, slightly less if you like it a bit gooey.

Helpful tips:
  • If you, like, me, only have sea salt in the house, go and buy some normal salt. Otherwise you will end up with surprise crunchy bites of salt at random intervals.
  • Do some tin maths: "If Kat's mum says to use a 20cm rectangular tin, but I only have a 26cm circular tin, probably take 10 minutes off the cooking."


  1. Is that your new oh-so-sexy sofa I spy in the picture? #ohtheenvy!

  2. No, this is the ottoman that my ridiculously clever mother made and covered for me for my birthday last year.

  3. Reading that sentence back, I worry that all I will be able to make for my children are elaborate cards and food. WHAT WILL THEY PUT THEIR FOOD ON?

  4. I still use lard...I must be terribly old-fashioned.

    Lard makes for very delicious roast potatoes, and it you stuff some lard under the skin of your roast chicken you will get some delicious crispy skin.

  5. Why, they will put their foods on the elaborate cards. DON'T PANIC.

  6. Elizabeth, confession time: I roasted my first chicken THIS EASTER. I think raw roast chickens look like aliens, which is horrendously off-putting. I adore the lard tip for both tatties and chicken though and should I ever steel myself to roast another bird, I will use those tips.

    Sara, love you. My children will live vicariously through ribbons and card.

  7. Being a devotee of beef dripping for chipping and spud roasting purposes, I'm as highly tuned to the Maillard Reaction of animal fats as most mid-century Lancastrian housewives, but can't quite see what taste or texture lard could bring to a chocolate recipe.

  8. John I have absolutely no idea either. I can only assume that it's something to do with Malta, or the 50s. Next time I make it, I'll do it with Stork or Anchor and see how that goes (very likely with no discernable difference whatsoever)


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