The Halls

Life in the Hall household

Caribbean Torte

A variation on the Raspberry Torte we made from Jo's book. We've shared the recipe with her she liked the idea so much.




150g self raising flour

150g caster sugar

75g ground almonds

75g desiccated coconut

2 large eggs, beaten

150g soft butter

259g tin pineapple chunks in fruit juice 



1. Pre-heat oven to 180c. Line a 23cm cake tin with grease proof paper and grease thoroughly.

2. Put the flour, sugar, almonds, coconut, eggs and butter in a bowl and mix together until light, with an electric hand mixer if you have one. 

3. Spoon into the cake tin. Make little holes in to the mixture and push the pineapple chunks in.

4. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30mins, cover with foil, then cook for a further 15-20 mins.

5. Meanwhile, reduce half of the fruit reduce to about half or until syrupy.

6. Poke holes into the cooked torte with a cocktail stick and pour over the syrup.

7. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.

8. Enjoy! 

My infamous salad dressing

I've often been asked for this recipe. It's based on one I was shown how to make whilst on a french exchange. It will keep in the fridge for a month, if it lasts that long.



2 tbs vinegar (cider, white wine, etc, I use any that I have in the cupboard at the time)

3tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1tsp Dijon mustard

Black pepper



Put all the ingredients in a jar. Put the lid on and shake.


Blackberry Curd

We love making Ruth Clement's Super Zingy Lemon Curd and started to play about with ingredients. You can substitute the blackberries for any berries. This makes about 2 jam jars full and is a great pressie.


500g blackberries

100g granulated sugar

60g butter

2 large good quality eggs



1. Put the blackberries in a large pan with 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to the bubble and leave for 5mins on a medium heat.

2. Meanwhile whisk the beats and sugar together.

3. Transfer the blackberries to a bowl. Add the butter to the pan and pass the blackberries through a sieve back into the pan. If the butter hasn't melted, gently heat the mixture until it has.

4. Whilst whisking the egg mixture, pour in the blackberries; if you stop whisking your curd will go lumpy.

5. Transfer back to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Simmer for 3 mins until thickened.

6. Pour into sterilized jars.

Tip: If you reuse the jars with the freshness button, seal immediately and the button will activate. 

Rocky Road

This is a favourite amongst our friends. Using the dark chocolate take some of the sweetness away. I fancy trying it with Bounty and Caramel Bars, or replacing the Rice Crispies with Coco Pops (or Weetabix for a healthier option, lol).



3 Mars Bars or Snickers 

100g butter

5 shortbread fingers (we've used digestive biscuits or Hobnobs too)

140g marshmallows (the big ones and leave whole) 

50g Rice Crispies

200g dark chocolate



1. Cut up Mars Bars in to chunks. Put in a large pan with the butter and allow to melt (not too much though).

2. Chop up biscuits into chunks, vary the sizes, and add to the pan, along with the marshmallows and Rice Crispies.

3. Pour into a greased square tin and allow to cool in the fridge.

4. Once solid, melt the dark chocolate in a bain-marie (do not allow the water to touch the bowl and do not stir, the gentler the better) and pour over the cooled rocky road.

5. Put back in the fridge until everything has set, then remove from the tin and cut into pieces. 

Chocolate and Ginger Cupcakes

This is in imperial measurements as it's adapted from a recipe I've used for years (approximately 100g=4oz). You can make this by hand or use an electric hand mixer.



4oz caster sugar (I used granulated if I don't have any caster)

4oz butter

3oz self raising flour 

1oz coco powder 

1tsp baking powder 

2 eggs (beaten)

2tbsp milk

4oz chocolate chips

4oz stem ginger


To decorate

Chocolate fudge topping (Betty Crocker's is good, but I'll put on a recipe if you want to make your own)

Pieces of crystallised ginger  



1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

2. Cream together the sugar and cream.

3. Sift the flour, coco and baking powder into the cream and add the eggs. Mix together, but don't over do it. Add the milk, enough to make it sloppy.

4. Cut the stem ginger into chunks and add it to the mixture, along with the chocolate chips. Mix well.

5. Spoon into cupcake moulds (approx. 12). Bake in the oven for 15mins or until cooked (I turn them after 10mins to get an even colour, but my oven is a little dodgy). 

6. Allow to cool.

7. Decorate with chocolate fudge topping and a piece of crystallised ginger.


Tip: I make half with ginger and half without (Josh doesn't like ginger). The choclate cupcakes I decorate with grated white chocolate. 

Chocolate Fudge Topping


175g dark chocolate (the darker the better)

250g softened butter

275g sifted icing sugar

1tbsp vanilla extract



1. Gently melt the chocolate with the vanilla in a bain-marie. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water and do not stir.

2. Beat the butter until it is very soft.

3. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

4. Gently add the melted chocolate and vanilla. 

Buttercream topping


150g butter, softened

305g icing sugar, sifted (very important that it is sifted).

2tbsp milk



1. Beat the butter into the icing sugar until smooth.

2. Add the milk and beat again. 


Tip: You can add food colouring or flavouring of your choice, but use as part of the milk measurement. 

Crumbly Jammy Nibbles

These are very light biscuits and even easier to make. Use your favourite jam or curd.



150g self-raising flour

50g cornflour

100g caster sugar 

100g butter

1 egg, beaten

Your favourite jam



1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C

2. Rub together both flours, sugar and the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs (I use a pastry blender as it keeps the ingredients cool).

3. Add the egg, enough to bring it together into a ball.

4. Roll into a sausage and cut into 2cm-thick slices and out onto a greased baking tray (they will spread so space them out).

5. With a finger or end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the middle of each (how big depends on how much you like jam  ) and put a small amount of jam into each (not too much or it will overflow).

6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins. Allow to cool.