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Delia Smith: live webchat, TODAY, Thursday 28 February, 1-2pm

(129 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Feb-13 09:46:18

To mark the end of #FoodFeb, our month long celebration of great food, we're delighted that Delia Smith is joining us tomorrow (Thursday 28 Feb) between 1 and 2pm for a webchat.

Delia last joined us in late November 2011 where she talked about everything from perfect gravy to Christmas pud. She's back this time to celebrate the launch of her latest book Delia's Cakes. Delia's Book of Cakes was first published in 1977, and has never been out of print. To celebrate its success it has undergone a complete contemporary makeover. Delia's Cakes includes timeless classics like coffee and walnut sponge and old-fashioned cherry cake as well as new recipes such as iced hidden strawberry cup cakes and chunky marmalade muffins.

The Delia Online Cookery School also launches this Thursday 28th at

Delia will be announcing the winners of our cake decorating competition and answering your questions between 1 and 2pm on Thursday. As ever, if you're unable to make that time, do post your question in advance to this thread.

Kitkat0808 Thu 28-Feb-13 13:16:54

Are many of your baking recipes Gluten Free?

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:17:30


Delia, don't you think it is a tiny bit naughty to promote the baking of cakes during Lent? shock

Absolutely not! I think my views on Lent are that there's enough difficulty and trouble in every day without having to find extra ones. Make a cake and share it with others would be the best thing you could do during Lent.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Thu 28-Feb-13 13:17:31

Hello Delia. My husband keeps moving your books out of prime position on my shelves and keeps replacing them with Nigella's because she is a simpering wench and he fancies her. Should I LTB?

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:20:13


Hi Delia

Our children (one at primary and one at secondary school in multi-cultural London) have two 'International Food Days' coming up in March. We are at a loss as to what to cook to showcase British cuisine at its best, but which is easy to transport (on foot no car!), relatively cheap, easy to prepare and is a dish best served cold (as no cooking/heating provision).

Mindful that we are up against some fantastic international cuisine, particularly middle-Eastern, Asian and Eastern European, we would like to come up with something a bit more 'wow' than picnic staples such as jam and cucumber sandwiches, scotch eggs and sausage rolls which were as good as it got on the British stand last year! We are considering sweet and savoury options.

Would welcome your suggestions!

Many thanks

Hello Gazzalaw:
As we're all geared up for cakes today I have been flicking through and I think what's typically British in the collection is Marmalade Cake because only the Brits do really good marmalade. The other one is Parkin. This can be Yorkshire or Lancashire, each claims is at its own but its an amazingly lovely sticky cake made with oatmeal. Hope that helps. Finally we have just had
a brain wave at the last minute another stunner would be Traditional Eccles Cakes.

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:20:34


Hi Delia
Thanks for coming on Mumsnet.

Was at friend's house for supper recently.

When they brought out the food (lamb shoulder and then some kind of meringuey roulade thing) the guests went oooh and "wow"

Don't normally go into the competitive cooking thing but we are having the "wow"ers to our house soon and I am rather anxious that they don't feel like what we're serving is peasant slop in comparison (!)

Now desperately looking for something that will have same show-stopping impact.

I am vaguely competent in the kitchen but prefer things that can mostly be prepped in advance as tend to chat too much and forget things am easily flustered under stress.

ANy ideas?
Thanks so much

I like to serve my recipe for pork chops with cream and mushrooms. You can brown the chops in advance, and allow them to cool. Then put the mushroom topping and the creme fraiche on, and they're wrapped in foil, so can just be popped in the oven just 45 minute before you want to eat.

As my new cakes book is out today, I'm going to recommend the fallen chocolate souffle cake, with prunes.

I'm not really much of a show-stopping cook myself! But if things taste really good, that's the most important thing. Good luck.

TheEdgesHat Thu 28-Feb-13 13:21:36

Hi Delia,

Now that Jamie has done school dinners, and James Martin is doing hospital food where do you think will get the celebrity chef treatment next and would you consider doing something like this?

PS without fail, every year I make your christmas cake and mincemeat, and nothing is ever left!

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:22:25


Are many of your baking recipes Gluten Free?

Thank you for your question - when we finished testing all the recipes for the cakes book, we went through the whole lot again, testing them gluten-free, and I'm delighted to say that 90% can be baked gluten-free, with no problem!

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:24:24


Welcome Delia,

What is your favourite vegetarian recipe please?

And thank you x a million for your four nut chocolate brownies.

I'm afraid I don't have a favourite recipe of anything, but I love vegetarian cooking, and when my vegetarian friends come I often serve a four-cheese and spinach lasagne with pine nuts. And everyone always loves it.

The most popular vegetarian recipe in the catering at the football club is wild mushroom risotto.

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:25:01


Thanks for joining us on mn delia-I am a big fan!

Do you have any easy no-bake cakes recipes? I am currently without an ovensad and I am really missing my baking. Thanks.

Got just what you need, and its called - Chocolate Fruit and Nut Refrigerator Cake and is in Delia's Cakes or there is another version of this which you can access from Deliaonline and it's called Chocolate Crunch Torte - hope you get your cooker back soon.

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:25:54


Delia, I'd like to say thank you for your Christmas cake recipe. I make multiple cakes every Christmas and it is always loved by whoever tries it, I even made it for our wedding cake and came home from honeymoon to find a stack of requests for the recipe.

Do you have any good slow cooker recipes? I was given one for Christmas but am really struggling to find something the whole family likes to cook in it.

All casserole recipes can be slow cooked. In the winter collection, we did something called Top 10 Casseroles, and all of them can be made in a slow cooker, and I would say that most things benefit from very slow cooking.

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:26:17


Hi Delia smile

Can you give any tips & maybe a fail safe recipe for a good light & fluffy wholemeal seeded loaf, even better if it can be cooked, or at least risen in a crocpot.

I manage fine when baking white, whether I use strong white or basic flour for artisan breads, but every time I try to make a healthier loaf, be it following a recipe or trying my own, which I'm normally okay with in other areas - it comes out a cross between biscotti & a soggy heavy fruit loaf

The one I made yesterday for example looked like it was all going fine, rose beautifully in my crocpot, neaded well & wasn't sticky when i finished, it went in the oven & looked like I was going to have a huge fluffy artisan seeded loaf - but it soread sideways, not upwards & actually seemed to lose hieght sad it tasted great but ended up about an inch deep & you need a hacksaw to cut itconfused - also what am I doing wrong with seedy toppings - mine all fell offshock

Thank you smile

Hello Rockinghippy:
First and foremost wholemeal bread is never going to be light and fluffy but I do have a good recipe called Quick Wholemeal Loaf it can be made with all wholemeal or half wholemeal and half granary. Brush the top with milk and press the seeds down, but some of them will always fall off.

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:27:18


Hi Delia,

Now that Jamie has done school dinners, and James Martin is doing hospital food where do you think will get the celebrity chef treatment next and would you consider doing something like this?

PS without fail, every year I make your christmas cake and mincemeat, and nothing is ever left!

First of all, I'm not a chef - I'm only a cook! But what I'm going to be doing in the online cookery school is teaching people to cook at home, so they can learn together as a family and hopefully replace the huge gap that's left since they cooking lessons out of schools.

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:27:34


Hello Delia.
I am a complete novice when it comes to baking. I am 40 and have only ever done ready-made cake mixes. My youngest child has a nut allergy so we have to be careful what we buy. I would love to start baking so i know what we are eating and have healthier options for my children. But where do i start? I will be buying your book, but what recipes should i consider starting with. I need something easy to follow that requires v little skill! Also what equipment should i start with? I dont own a cake tin and am a bit clueless about the basics. Do you have any fool-proof tips for a complete beginner? Thanks so much

You are what I most want in the world. Someone who doesn't know how to bake and wants to learn is precisely what the deliaonline cookery school is created for. Follow this week's recipe and I promise you're guaranteed success. We have alongside the cookery school first lesson a video technique which is all about cake tins and liners. Wishing you every success.

motherofallmuddles Thu 28-Feb-13 13:28:40

Hi Delia, great to see you again on Mumsnet
I learnt to cook with your complete cookery course and have never look back. EXCEPT for Meringue it's my cooking nemesis - is there a secret?
My mixtures and I've tried so many times are always runny and never peak so to speak. I use a magimix, should I be using a whisk ? help
Thank you thanks

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:29:56


Hi Delia

I love baking and it's something that I enjoy doing with my children as well. Sadly my eldest son has an egg allergy (and fish but that's a less common ingredient in cakes). Would you consider doing something with recipes that avoid some of the most common allergens so that we can all cook with our children?

Thank you.

PS Go the canaries!

I'm very happy to tell you that there are 17 egg-free recipes in the new cakes book, and as I have a friend with a child who is egg-intolerant, I was particularly careful to include these. Not much chance of a special allergy book though, as I'm concentrating on the online cookery school.

I really hope the canaries do go - or rather stay! - in the Premiereship.

VenetiaLanyon Thu 28-Feb-13 13:30:45

Hi Delia,

Recently a lot of celebrity cooks' recipes were slated as not being as healthy as supermarket eadymeals - will your on-line school have a focus on healthy meals as well as tasty ones?

Thanks smile

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:32:19


Hi Delia, great to see you again on Mumsnet
I learnt to cook with your complete cookery course and have never look back. EXCEPT for Meringue it's my cooking nemesis - is there a secret?
My mixtures and I've tried so many times are always runny and never peak so to speak. I use a magimix, should I be using a whisk ? help
Thank you thanks

I think you've answered your own question. It is so much better to use an electric hand-whisk, which beats in the air. Start with a large, roomy bowl and switch the motor on low at first. Then, when the egg begins to get foamy, turn up the motor to high, and keep going moving the whisk around, thinking all the time that what you need most is air.

When you get to the soft peaks stage, just add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, still whisking. Make sure that the bowl and the whisk are really clean and dry, because meringue mixtures don't like any traces of grease, anywhere. Next important thing is to follow my instructions on the cooking. I hope you really do have success now!

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:33:55


Hi Delia,

Can you recommend a cake recipe that is really easy to make and contains raspberry jam inside it in some capacity to the other? Thanks!

That's an easy one! How to make a perfect sponge cake is now on Delia Online today and forever. Once you've seen this, you'll find it easy and along with the raspberry jam, you could put some whipped cream. Otherwise, just the jam will be fine!

fallenempires Thu 28-Feb-13 13:34:23

Ah thanks Delia!
That's exactly what I was hoping to hear as I'd hate to leave out the half bottle of brandy blush
I will bear this in mind when icing your beast of 11'' fruitcake later smile

TractorKate Thu 28-Feb-13 13:34:59

Apologies that this isn't about baking but I'm quite good at baking but wonder if you can help me with something else. The one thing I can't seem to get right is rice. The water always seems to boil away before the rice is cooked, the rice turns out too sticky or burns at the bottom of the pan. I have tried following various recipes but never get it right.Any tips? Thanks for joining us on Mumsnet. Your making me very hungry smile

Tinkerisdead Thu 28-Feb-13 13:35:17

Can I ask Delia, do you find yourself cooking the same meals a lit. Loads if us here have to ask each other whats for dinner to get new inspiration as we all tend to cook the same fail dafe staples like spag bol etc.

What are your failsafe fallback dinners?

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:35:20


Hi Delia

How did you feel about the negativity about your Cheat series?

I grew up watching you and now DS enjoys watching your shows on various food channels. In his words 'she's better than Jamie. She looks like she is being more careful and cooking carefully and nicely' hmm grin

I had the negativity but was consoled knowing that the book would eventually reach those it was written for i.e. people who sometimes need something quickly. Tell DS I love him.

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:36:20


Hi Delia,

I love all your books, and come back to them year after year.
Do you have any tips to stop fairy cakes coming out of the oven all pointy and mountainous? They don't look so good when you have to cut the tops off.

And how do I ice them neatly; my icing slides all over the place and down the sides of the paper case....

Thanks for any pointers! smile

If you the follow the recipe for our orange butterfly cakes, I'm absolutely sure they won't go pointy!

As for icing, please have a look at one of our video techniques at Delia Online on cake icing, where we show you how to test if it's thick enough by spreading some on the edge of the bowl.

Tinkerisdead Thu 28-Feb-13 13:37:01

Apologies for my typos delia, im on my phone with a one year old feeding me pretend pizza.

DeliaSmith Thu 28-Feb-13 13:37:17


I haven't got a question really. Just a huge thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for the Christmas cake / pud / mincemeat recipes thanks. They get trundled out every year and never fail to please: no need to 'upate' or 'ring the changes' because they are perfection. And the coffee and walnut cake mentioned in the intro is to die for!

Oh, I have a sort-of question. Can I second Jux's query: is there a formula for working out different timings when scaling up/down a cake?

Hello Senua and Jux:
Thank you for your very kind comments. The way to tackle scaling up or down is to allow less time obviously for a smaller mixture and more for a larger mixture, but you do need to keep an eye on things because its impossible to be exact. Because people who write recipes like me try to be very precise
my advice is make a cake and freeze half if you want less, and make two if you need more and freeze what's leftover. We have discovered while preparing the new book how brilliantly cakes and biscuits freeze.

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