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It's never too late to learn to bake with Mrs Simkins                                                        June 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 book ‘Tea with Mrs Simkins’ will be published in September.



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

Ginger Batter Buns

Ginger bunsThese delectable buns are a must if you are a ginger fan. They are light and fluffy the first day and become denser and stickier after that. The cake mix is very liquidy - like batter – so pour it into a jug with a good pouring spout to transfer the mixture to the bun tin: it can get very, very messy otherwise! Perfect for packing up for a picnic or taking into the garden with a cup of tea or coffee.




110g (4oz) butter, cut into small pieces
50g (2oz) soft dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons black treacle
¼ pint water
225g (8oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 fresh eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 160C (fan ovens) or equivalent

You will need a 12 cup bun tin and 12 muffin size paper cases



Put the butter, sugar, black treacle, golden syrup and water into a roomy pan. Heat fairly gently until everything has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

Put aside to cool a little – but don’t let it go completely cold, it should still be warm or the buns won’t rise so well.

Once cooler, but still slightly warm, sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and spices over the mixture in several batches, stirring it in as you go, reserving a little of the flour to add with the eggs, at the end.

Stir everything together thoroughly with a wooden spoon and finally add the eggs and the rest of the flour. Keep mixing and when everything is fully mixed and smooth and glossy, pour the ‘batter’ into a jug.

Pour into the paper cases in the bun tin. Fill each case to just over half way and try not to let any mixture spill over and down the sides of the cases.

Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Once completely cold, store in an airtight tin.

You can email Mrs Simkins at


Mrs Simkins Suggests...

Picnic setMiniamo Picnic ware: in a choice of pastel or bright colours, sets of tumblers, bowls or plates at £8 for each set of 4

Looking at the John Lewis site this month, this robust and useful looking array of picnic ware caught my eye. The range is aimed at children but they are all normal size and suitable for all ages to use in the garden and on picnics.

It struck me that as they are suitable for children of all ages to use inside or outside and for adults for outside eating, they would have a very long life and be a useful standby when children visit. Both colour ways are pretty and cheerful and depending on your tableware colour scheme, would complement standard crockery beautifully.

They aren’t cheap, but neither are they outrageously priced, and they are very good quality. Happily, they are dishwasher safe as well!


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



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