Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

It's never too late to learn to bake with Mrs Simkins                                            December 2010

It’s Never Too Late to Learn to Bake with Mrs Simkins

Cooking with Mrs Simkins: How to Cook Simple, Wholesome, Home-made Meals Popular cookery author Mrs Simkins is recognised for her straightforward writing and easy-to-follow recipes.

Her work, which includes a weekly column in the popular Blackmore Vale Magazine in the West Country, is based on a lifelong interest in food and developing new recipes plus over thirty years cooking for family and friends.

See Mrs Simkins Suggests... for kitchen equipment suggestions

Her first book ‘Cooking with Mrs Simkins’ is out now and available from Amazon. Her second bookTea with Mrs Simkins is also out.



Baking may be one of those things you have always meant to do but have never quite got around to. Maybe you do bake but feel you could improve a bit more. Maybe you are an accomplished baker already but just love trying out new recipes or new ways of doing things. Whichever applies to you, I hope you will find something in this monthly column that will appeal!


This month

Gingerbread People for Christmas

gingerbread menThese are nice to bake for Christmas: if you need to double the quantity, make two batches rather than one big one: it’s easier for the food processor to cope, plus you would need quite a lot of work surface space to roll out a double batch all at once! Children will really enjoy decorating the gingerbread men with melted chocolate.

Makes about 12 small gingerbread people (using approximately 8cm tall cutters)



60g (2½oz) softened butter
60g (2½oz soft brown sugar
110g (4oz) plain flour
¾ teaspoons each of ground mixed spice, ginger and cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon milk

You will need a large greased baking tray and cutters
Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven) or equivalent


Whiz the butter and sugar together in the food processor. Add the flour, salt and spices and milk, and whiz until the mixture forms large clumps and begins to gather together. Stop the processor, remove the blade and finish gently kneading the dough together by hand on a lightly floured board.

Roll out the dough with a lightly floured rolling pin to roughly ½cm thick or a fraction more. Cut out the biscuits, you may need a small palette knife to transfer them to the prepared tray without mishap, and bake for about 7 minutes or until pale golden and very, very, slightly brown at the edges. Remove from the tray with a small palette knife and cool on a wire rack. Once they are cold, store in an airtight container.


Mrs Simkins
© 2010


You can email Mrs Simkins at


Mrs Simkins Suggests...

John Lewis Cake TinJohn Lewis Gingerbread Man Cutter £2.50

If you are making this month’s gingerbread men recipe John Lewis have some handy plastic cutters available in red or pink. Plastic cutters are sometimes friendlier than metal ones for little hands to hold: worth bearing in mind if you are having some baking help in the kitchen from children over the Christmas holidays.

John Lewis Square Gingerbread Cake Tin £5

Continuing with the gingerbread theme, John Lewis have these bright and cheerful decorated tins to store all your gingerbread people in.

Tea with Mrs Simpkins


Tea with Mrs Simkins
Published by Spring Hill, an Imprint of How to Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-905862-43-6
Available in October 2010 and available to pre-order now from Amazon, £12.99



Previous articles in the series:

Cookery column 1 - Baking scones
Cookery column 2 - Easter biscuits
Cookery column 3 - Lemon Drizzle cake
Cookery column 4 - Ginger batter buns
Cookery column 5 - Coconut tarts
Cookery column 6 - Cosy cake
Cookery column 7 - Dorset Apple Cake
Cookery column 8 - Light apple and almond cake
Cookery column 9 - Eccles Cakes
Cookery column 10 - Gingerbread men


laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Talkback, Gardener's Diary, and a beauty section called Looking good in later life.

There's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

Also don't forget to take a look at our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT by IT trainer and author Jackie Sherman.

To view the latest articles click on laterlife interest or to view indexes to previous articles click on laterlife interest index. To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature at the top of the navigation.

back to laterlife interest

Site map and site search



Advertise on