|Random Bakes of Kindness
What a fabulous idea…....Vanessa over at Prepped came up with a wonderful challenge called Random Bakes of Kindness. It’s simple, basically you bake a double batch of a delicious treat and give half of your baking booty to someone deserving……they could be anyone ~ for example Vanessa gave the man who washes her car a batch of home~made biscuits/cookies….he was over the moon and totally delighted, and that’s just the reaction that I wanted to achieve when I made my Rock Cakes for an elderly and lonely neighbour yesterday.
My elderly French neighbour Renée is an amazing person; she has been by herself for 20 odd years now as sadly just after she and her husband retired he died of cancer………so she was cheated of the golden years of retirement that they had planned to share together…….she has three daughters, but they all live a long way away from her and she rarely sees them, and yet, she is always so cheery and busy and drives her elderly neighbour (who is a few years younger than she is) to the shops in her old Renault Five! She is a mine of information about the area where we live and has written a book about the Charente Maritime and it’s peculiar patois and dialect……
So when I read Vanessa’s challenge I instantly knew who I wanted to bake my random bakes of kindness for……..a lady who welcomed me to the village and didn’t laugh when I made grammatical errors when speaking French; a lady who shares her family recipes with me; a lady who looked after our house and three cats for a few weeks; a lady who helps others; a lady who LOVES my English baking even though there is a wonderful pâtisserie in the next village that she frequents; a lady who always stops and speaks to me no matter what she is doing, a lady who is very lonely but who makes the very best of life……..and, a lady who is fascinated by my old vintage biscuit tins collection. It was an easy first choice; part of my random act of kindness was to also give her a vintage biscuit tin to keep for herself…….one that I know she has admired on several occasions.
Now the first batch of Rock Cakes, sometimes called Rock Buns, were devoured and not by the desired recipient……some friends popped by out of the blue ~ I am sure they sniffed them out ~ one thing led to another and to cut a long story short, I was left bereft of baked treats! So, back to the oven again…..luckily rock cakes are EASY to make and the next batch made it to the tin safely. Why rock cakes? Well, Renée LOVES scones, but I wanted her to try something different…….plus Rock Cakes keep longer than scones; I thought of baking a cake, but a large cake for one person is just too much, so I baked a dozen and gave her half a dozen in the lovely old tin.
What on earth am I giving ROCK cakes to an elderly lady I hear you saying; these little British tea~time treats have had bad press over the years as the texture resembled the rock more than the appearance! It IS the appearance of these free~form scones/buns/cakes that lends its name to these, not the heavy weapon like texture…..nobody should be injured when eating or indeed when throwing one of these……..trust me, I’m not a skinny cook!
Anyway, to get back to the act of giving……I popped them in the tin when they were cool and took them over to give to her, she was in her garden……she was thrilled and delighted, and promised to bring the tin back when she had eaten them……………”no need” I said and her face lit up even more, “plus I will fill the tin next time I am batch baking” I said……..an even bigger grin and then a BIG hug……..how good does that feel…..thanks Vanessa for reminding me that giving can be spontaneous; I am a VERY giving person already, but this act of baking spontaneity was a great idea and I already have my next “victim” in sight!
Printable Recipe Here
Rock Cakes or Rock Buns
(Makes 10 to 12)
Delicious little lightly spiced and fruited buns/cakes that are an essential treat for the tea-time table. The “Rock” part of the name should only apply to the appearance and not the texture ~ these are a cross between a scone and a cake.Ingredients:
225g (8ozs) Self Raising Flour
pinch of salt
100g (4ozs) butter
100g (4ozs) dried mixed fruit
50g (2ozs) mixed citrus peel
50g (2ozs) caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 large egg, beaten
milk to mixMethod:
Heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Grease 2 baking trays.
Mix the flour and salt together and then rub in the butter with your fingertips, until it is all rubbed in and resembles fine sand.
Stir in the dried fruit, citrus peel, sugar and mixed spice and mix well.
Mix to a stiff dough with the egg and milk.
Place spoonfuls of the mixture in rough heaps on the baking trays and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.