Recipe book

A lot of Brentor’s social life revolves around cooking and eating with friends. These recipes are all provided by Brentor residents.  No doubt many have been adapted and improved as the years pass.  They are reminders of residents past and present, and of many good times around the table, as well as being household favourites. 

Click on the links below to jump to the recipe of your choice

Parsnip Soup
Bakewell Tart
Easy Cookies
Grandma America’s Coffee Cake

If you live in Brentor, or have lived here, why not add to these recipes?  Please email your contributions to the editor, Colin Dawes, at

Parsnip Soup from Sue Rhodes

Sue and Eric Rhodes lived at The Station House until 2015, and Sue’s superb parsnip soup, made on her Aga, became a regular on the menu of many village events such as the Village Show……….
2oz                                          butter
1 tablespoon                     sunflower oil
1lb                                           parsnips, cubed
1                                               fat clove garlic, crushed
1                                               onion chopped
1oz                                          flour
1 rounded teaspoon     curry powder
2 pints                                   good stock
                                                  salt and freshly ground black pepper
To garnish;                         ¼ pint single cream, a few snipped chives

Enjoying Sue’s soup at the Old Station after a village walk

Heat the butter and oil in a deep pan and add the parsnips, garlic and onion and fry gently on the simmer plate for about 10 minutes.  Stir in the flour and the curry powder and cook for a minute, then add the stock and seasoning and bring to the boil, stirring.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Place pan in a slow oven and leave to cook for about 40 minutes until the parsnips are tender.

Reduce the soup to a puree in a processor or blender then return to the pan.  Reheat and taste to check seasoning. 

Serve with a swirl of cream and a few snipped chives sprinkled on top.

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Bakewell Tart from Colin Dawes
This is adapted from an old Mrs Beeton recipe.  It’s been a great hit when made for events at the Village Hall!   The breadcrumbs in the frangipane make it economical but also give the topping added texture.

6oz                              Plain flour
1oz                              White fat
2oz                              Butter
                                      Cold water to mix

1/2 lb                           Raspberry jam

4oz                              butter, softened
4oz                              caster sugar
2                                   large eggs
4oz                              fine white or brown breadcrumbs
4oz                              ground almonds
1tsp                            almond extract

Oven 200ºC (190ºC fan)

Mix the pastry by hand or using a food processor and use it to line a deep 8 inch flan tin. 
Cover the base of the tart with a generous layer of the jam. (Raspberry jam is the traditional one to use, but you will find that other varieties, such as gooseberry or blackcurrant are equally good).

Cream the butter and sugar together until it becomes pale and light, then add the almond extract and the eggs one at a time and beat everything together until fluffy.  Stir in the breadcrumbs and ground almonds and then carefully spread the topping over the jam, making sure to seal it to the pastry case. 

Bake for about 35 minutes, until topping is browned and firm. Turn out the tart from the tin when it has cooled a little.

Serve cold or warm.  Good with plain yogurt, cream or custard.

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Easy Cookies from Sue Fraser
This recipe comes from a Canadian cook book we were given by one of John’s Canadian cousins when we got married.  It’s called ‘The Best of Bridge – Royal Treats for Entertaining’ and makes me laugh every time I open it – mainly due to the picture inside the front cover of seven wholesome-looking ladies dressed in crisp white shirts with red tartan frilly aprons – but also because under each recipe is a ‘funny’ such as ‘married life is like sitting in a bathtub …..after a while, it’s not so hot’ and other such pearls of wisdom.  Eve, Johns’ cousin, told us that ‘every mother in Canada’ owns a copy of this book.

The recipe I have used most over the past 20+ years is the one for easy cookies called ‘Mona’s mother’s mother’s best friends’s favorite’.  It’s the first (and possibly only) recipe that my sons could easily ‘help’ with when they were very little – it’s very easy, very quick, very messy (=fun) and the results are good too.

1 cup                                     white sugar
1/2 cup                                 brown sugar
1                                              egg
1 cup                                     butter
1 ¼ cup                                 flour
1 ¼ cup                                 rolled quick oats
¾ cup                                    coconut
1 tsp                                      baking powder
1 tsp                                      baking soda

In a medium bowl beat the egg.  Add the butter and brown and white sugar and cream well.  Add remaining ingredients and mix. 

Squidge together in the small of the hand to form golf balls – flatten lightly on a greased baking tray.

Bake at 350°F/180°C for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

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Grandma America’s Coffee Cake from Pat Blower
Pat and Rick Blower lived in Brentor for 30 years and moved to Exminster in 2015.  Pat was born in the USA and says……
“Although this is called a coffee cake, coffee is not an ingredient, but it refers to eating the cake with a cup of coffee!
I have called it Grandma America’s Coffee cake because I think of my mother when I make this, and my boys used to call her Grandma America.   It is a quick, easy and versatile bake that always works for me!”

For the cake: 
1 cup                                     plain flour
1 teaspoon                         salt
1 teaspoon                         baking powder
½ cup                                     granulated sugar
1/3 cup                                 melted butter or margarine
2                                               eggs
                                                  a bit of milk
For the topping:
½ cup                                     white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon                         cinnamon
1 tablespoon                     butter

Break the two eggs into the melted butter, put into a cup and add the milk to fill and stir with a fork.  In a bowl, sift the dry ingredients together and add the milk mixture.  Beat altogether and pour into a greased tin. 

Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the cake mixture.

Optional – Top with sliced fruit such as apples, nectarines or peaches and sprinkle the topping over these.

Bake at 190°C/375°F for about 30 minutes.

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