Tuesday 12 May 2020

Baking day

Friday, when I was growing up, was baking day. That characteristic smell in the kitchen as we came in from school. Cake for Sunday tea. And ginger biscuits.

We always thought of it as a war-time recipe, but exactly where my mother had acquired it I know not. For the four of us it was enough that she had a biscuit tin and that, as like as not, it had just been re-stocked with our favourite.

She continued to bake them (and put them in the same tin) for many years after we left home – one of the treats we and our own children enjoyed when visiting. The question was: could any of us, or our wives, manage to make them the same way? Recently we've been seeing who had the recipe and having a go at showing off the result during our family Zoom chats. In our household this is my best beloved's area of expertise and she's been doing very well – though she cheats a little by adding an egg to the mix, which means the consistency is consistent, crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. They are very tasty!

Since the air streaming down from the Arctic has not yet made these parts too inhospitable we've been able to enjoy them in the sun in our garden, where the roses have continued to come out…

the rhododendron's short-lived blooms are showing well…

and the self-seeding foxgloves get on with the process of self-seeding.


  1. Can you share the recipe please?
    My mum used to make what she called ginger biscuits without ginger and I am blowed if I know what the recipe was!
    Your garden is looking lovely - here in NZ we are approaching winter so the camellias are flowering and it is time I deadheaded the hydrangeas. I deadheaded the agapanthus a couple of months ago so they didn't spread their seeds all over the place.
    Cheers, Marilyn nb Waka Huia

    1. Hi Marilyn – Margaret here!

      Ginger Biscuits:
      6oz Self Raising flour
      4oz sugar
      2oz medium oatmeal
      3 teaspoons ground ginger. Recipe suggests 1-2 but I like a good strong flavour!
      2oz lard
      1oz margarine
      1 tablespoon syrup. I use a large serving spoon
      1 level teaspoon bicarbonate soda dissolved in 1 ½ teaspoons water
      1 egg lightly beaten
      Pinch salt

      Set Oven: G4 / F350 / C180/ Fan C160.
      Yield: 28-30 biscuits

      1. Mix flour, ginger, sugar, salt & oatmeal together.
      2. Melt marg, lard & syrup in saucepan.
      4. Add to dry ingredients and mix to dough. I found this mixture to be very dry and hard to bind together so I added an egg.
      5.Roll into balls. I use an old coffee measuring spoon as a scoop, which gives me 28-30 biscuits.
      6. Place on baking tray and bake for 10 - 15 mins depending on your oven. I’ve found 11-12 mins is sufficient. Don’t let the underside over brown - harsh on your teeth
      7. Enjoy!

      The fun thing is – they come out a bit different every time, but all good!