Counting down the days to the next Poldark Series…

Foodie – that is an important facet of my identity. I cannot deny the love of food in my life. I began cooking as a young child and still enjoy increasing my culinary skills in the kitchen; I like to watch others eat the products of my labour, and have long moved away from the lamb chop and three veg of my childhood.

I also enjoy reading food books just for pleasure, imagining the taste of the food described via text and visuals in their pages. If the books really succeed in selling their contents, my family, like it or not, soon become guineas pigs to my efforts to bring to the table something different and exotic that calls to far off places.

Not only a foodie but also a person who desires more overseas travel, Cornwall is high up on places I want to visit one day. I number amongst the many Australians who watch Doc Martin, and I also fell in love with Winston Graham’s Poldark novels many years ago. Graham’s descriptions of his beloved Cornwall – the high, perilous cliffs, the roar and lash of sea crashing onto deadly rocks, the wild, harsh yet beautiful landscape, have stayed with me ever since.

So, after my long time connection with a masterful storyteller who often whetted my appetite with his descriptions of Cornish food – I thought I’d share with you a recipe I discovered long ago online, the Cornish traditional Saffron Cake:

Gladys Thomas’ saffron cake


A generous 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron strands 300ml hot milk
500g unbleached white bread flour
1 tsp salt

150g unsalted butter, diced 50g soft brown sugar
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast 60g currants

40g mixed dried fruit
1 tbsp plain flour for dusting

■Stir the saffron strands into the hot milk and leave to infuse overnight.

■Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips to form fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar evenly. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.

■Reheat the milk to body temperature. Combine a few table- spoons of the milk with the yeast and mix to a slurry. Stir in the remaining warm milk then tip all the liquid into the dry ingredients.

■Use your hands to work the mixture to a dough, then tip out on to a work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

■Toss the dried fruit with the flour,

which helps prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking. Add the fruit to the dough in two stages, kneading the mix well after each addition.

■Grease a loaf tin with butter. Add the dough to the tin and leave in a warm place until the dough rises. Depending on ambient temperature, this will take one to two hours.

■Heat the oven to 180C. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown. The base of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Allow the cake to rest for an hour before slicing and serving with butter or clotted cream and home- made jam. I think it’s even better toasted the next day.

Makes 1 loaf

This recipe was found at:





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