What a difference a year makes…


Well – it’s been so long since I blogged that wordpress looks different so it will be a surprise what this looks like once published!

I have been lazy, and busy, but mostly lazy, though making a person and taking care of said small person is surprisingly time consuming!

Which is all the more reason why I must start doing this again, I need to be even more organised in the kitchen I realise as evenings are much busier than before… and this really has been a useful place for me to keep coming back to recipes which worked for me!

However, today I will start with dessert – providing nourishment for a small person has made me crave all kinds of sugar and I’ve started baking more than before, now I’m no Sylvia but since she is fecking off for a few months if I keep practicing maybe by the time she gets back I’ll almost be as skilled as her.

Probably not.

Mary B gave me Brenda Costigan’s cookbook a few years ago.  I have a few wonderful Avoca books, Nevin Maguire, Jamie Oliver and I’ve made stuff from them all, though I mostly like to browse them.  But I realise that I’ve made more from this book than anything else, it’s been really useful so I recommend it!

Blackberry Sponge

Fresh or frozen blackberries can be used, or fruit of the forest which seems to be a bit easier to find her in Brussels (thank you Colruyt).

Just make sure the filling is hot when putting the sponge on top as this will help to cook the sponge underneath more quickly!


  • Fruit Filling:
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cornflour
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 350g frozen blackberries or fruits of the forest
  • 25-50g caster sugar, or to taste


  • 110g butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • few drops vanilla essence
  • 110g self raising flour

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream


  1. Preheat oven to 190.  Lightly grease a wide ovenproof dish (1.2 ltr capacity) and place in the oven to heat.
  2. For the fruit – blend the cornflour into the orange juice and put into a saucepan with the fruit.  Stir over the heat until it comes to the boil and thickens slightly.  Sweeten to taste with the sugar but leave the flavour quite tart to make a nice contrast with the sponge.  Keep hot.
  3. For the sponge – using a hand-held electric beater, beat the butter in a bowl, add the sugar and beat well.  Beat in the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla essence and a little of the flour each time.  Then stir in the rest of the flour.
  4. Pour the hot fruit into the hot dish.  Drop small spoonfuls of the sponge mixture in an even layer close together all over the fruit filling.  It won’t be possible to spread the sponge over the fruit but don’t worry, it will spread out itself during the cooking.  Stand the dish on a baking tray in case any juice bubbles out at the edge.
  5. DSC_0277 DSC_0283
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, until baked right through.  The sponge should be golden and springy to the touch, but it’s very important to check that the centre is cooked -pierce the centre with a knife, and if no doughy particles cling to it, the sponge is cooked.
  7. Serve hot or cold with a lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.

Sadly I have no photo of it ready-to-eat as I was too busy …. eating it.

I would like to thank the Academy, and Sylvia for inspiring me to get going with this again, but most of all this little guy for snoozing long enough to allow me to write this….