16 October 2018


Autumn has arrived, the leaves are falling, the weather is uncertain, and our ladies are venturing into the kitchen for another exciting evening of baking. On the menu this month is a nutty shortbread and some petits Monts Blancs. Let us start with the shortbread, theses were made with Brazil nuts, which I personally feel are the more decadent nuts to be used for a rich biscuit, that is destined to be dunked into a cup of tea. On my list of things that I feel I ought to have had a go at in life, making shortbread is one of them, more as a nod to my distant Scottish roots if anything; and the combination of the decadent nut may set me off on the final leg of my biscuit journey. These Brazil nut shortbreads look like the perfect treat to include into a mini Christmas hamper or to take round to a neighbour in need of some biscuit heaven, a brew, and some company. For whatever your reason for making these, let’s face it, biscuits we all love but should never have more than one in a single sitting, have a go - apparently they are yummy.

Next comes the petits Monts Blancs, these are posh meringues that are supposed to resemble the snow-capped mountain peaks of Monts Blancs. Now apparently, que the baking club polishing their horns so that they could blow them, they worked perfectly. Despite their horn blowing and back slapping, they felt that the jury was out on the chestnut purée and found it a little bland. So, if anyone can enlighten our ladies how put the joie de vivre back into the purée please let us know. I did suggest that they, to all the French people out there, please cover you eyes and ears .. substitute the chestnut purée for some Nutella or similar spread. The response was that they were thinking raspberries and liquor! Hmm I see, if in doubt head for the drink cabinet – I think we are getting the measure of our ladies. What else is going on in baking club, I mean are they even having tea with their biscuits? When I commented on their predilection for rich foods, smothering weight watcher’s recipes in cheese and butter and alcohol being the saviour of all things bland – they said there were trying to be good! When one is trying, one still has not achieved! Our saintly baking group in all good conscience have decided to scoff the lot and not share … sounds familiar.

So, if you are looking for new biscuit ideas or wanting to impress the dinner guest, click here for the recipes.

26 September 2018


Hope you had a lovely summer and did not completely melt in the heatwave. I thought I would appraise you all with what our ladies have been up to during the August break.

On the last day of July, we went on our annual summer outing – this year we visited Sissinghurst Castle gardens. The weather was a little ropey to begin with, but the sun eventually came out and we had a pleasant day visiting the gardens and some of us braved the long climb up the tower. Sissinghurst was the residence of writer, poet and diarist Vita Sackville-West and her husband Sir Harold Nicolson, the family to this day still stay at Sissinghurst. It was a fascinating place to visit and to learn about this extraordinary woman and the unconventional marriage that she and her husband had. Vita Sackville-West was truly a woman ahead of her time and truly lived the life she chose, with very little compromise. The gardens at Sissinghurst was one of the true loves of her life and it was with a heavy heart that she signed over the property to the National Trust,but was done out of love and necessity to save the historic grounds and tower. Today the house, tower and gardens are visited and enjoyed by thousands of visitors a year. A truly peaceful place, nestled heartland of the beautiful Kent countryside. The area received very little phone signal, though this may be of frustration for the local residents, it was a breath of fresh air to get away from the distractions of modern day life. A truly inspirational day out had by all.


Our ladies are back from the summer break and got straight into an evening of bakes. September brings us the delights of mushroom and ham muffins and a cottage cheese, celery, and walnut loaf. Let us start with the muffins, the smell of the finished bake aroused their senses and the look of the well-formed muffin met with their approval. Now the taste comes with the caveat that it is a weight watched recipe, therefore this is the low calorie and healthy option … such a flavour was somewhat underwhelming for our ladies with rich tastes and felt that the muffin experience would be much improved with the addition of cheese. Not quite in the spirit of weight watchers I may add.

Next came the lengthy named cottage cheese, celery, and walnut loaf. As they presented their bake from the oven that were filled the satisfaction of a well baked and should I say handsome loaf. As per the muffins another Weight Watchers addition to the evening, the ladies felt that the recipe would be vastly improved with a large “dollop” of butter.

So, in short, Horley Evening WI baking group’s top tip to any Weight Watchers recipe is a good serving of cheese and butter! Please note such opinions are not held by all members of Horley Evening WI or The National Federation of the Women’s Institute. If you are watching your weight then these are a great treat, if you would like the naughty version please follow the baking groups top tip and reach for the cheese and butter.

If you want to have a go at these recipes click here

29 July 2018


The somewhat late update on the baking club antics, now that the weather has broken, I have managed to reconstitute myself from the melted version of myself and pull myself to the keyboard. Speaking of the heatwave, our ladies decided that the perfect pudding for the summer heat was a baked Alaska. Maybe they were fantasising the coolness of the snow or wishing the evening away thinking of cooler climates.

Overall they were very pleased with the outcome as the ice cream managed to survive the oven and not melt. The issues started when they removed it  from the oven … once cut the ambient temperature ‘forced’ them to eat it … quickly. Now as you know I’m not one to cast aspersions on our gallant ladies ….  but I suspect that there was a motive to their choice of bake. I mean fancy making something that would have to be scoffed the moment it was out of the oven!

As I write this there is a cool breeze coming through the window, though the hot summer heat is to return as the northern hemisphere continues its heatwave … maybe we can follow our ladies example and head to the kitchen and muster up a Baked Alaska, just so were can gorge ourselves on the cool ice cream buried beneath the perfectly baked meringue.

As I write this there is a cool breeze coming through the window, though the hot summer heat is to return as the northern hemisphere continues its heatwave … maybe we can follow our ladies example and head to the kitchen and muster up a Baked Alaska, just so were can gorge ourselves on the cool ice cream buried beneath the perfectly baked meringue.

5 July 2018


Our ladies have been making baby quilts for the Neonatal Unit at East Surrey Hospital. These quilts are used in the incubators of this special care unit for the babies to lay on and add a touch of home comfort and colour in a sterile environment. All the quilts are made of 100% cotton to withstand the rigours of frequent washing at high temperatures.
The staff at the National Unit on East Surrey Hospital were delighted to receive our quilts. They Care for around 450 babies a year. Some are only there for a few hours, while others stay for weeks or months until they can go home.

Due to the constant washing and parents being able to take them home if they wish, the unit are on continual need of these quilts.

4 July 2018


It’s a late addition to the baking club update. 

Our ladies did not stop at just one bake, but put together an assortment of pastries. They opted for savoury pasties, from rolls to puffy things, alas they were too busy eating them to furnish us with what they are! Mmmm they look nice though!

What is known is that they recommend the pinwheels. What we have learned from the June baking session, is that our ladies liked the pastry savouries so much that they ate them, and they are not going to share, not even the recipe! I suppose even the ladies of the Women's Institute are human!

18 June 2018


This May we held a quiz supper at Horley Scouts Hall, with Copthorne WI and Felbridge WI in attendance. Well what an evening, we can happily say that the evening was a success and was enjoyed by all.

Though each team was fiercely competitive, we could hear plenty of laughing and chatting as the little grey cells were hard at work. It wasn’t all work as we were treated to a lovely ploughman’s dinner washed down with our favourite tipple that we brought along. On that note, we cannot say enough about the organisation and the tireless effort of our Kath who stood station in the kitchens throughout the evening, ensuring that we were all fed!

This year we had a new quiz master, who took us through each brain-busting round with ease and a sense of humour. The rounds were not a walk in the park and as the evening progressed, each team upped their game and improved their scoring!

We would also like to take a moment to say a few special thanks, firstly to the committee who arranged the evening with ease. To all those that helped with the raffle, decorating the hall and the efficient clear up afterwards, the quiz master and visiting WI’s.

The quiz is always a draw and gives us the opportunity to test our knowledge with friends and family as well as a chance to spend a pleasant evening with our neighbouring WI’s. So, a big thank you Alison who has over the years been our quiz master and now gets to enjoy in the fun of being part of a quizzing team.

There can be only one winning team …..

21 May 2018


The ladies have been beavering away in the kitchen with an all-time favourite … carrot cake! Now who doesn’t like carrot cake? It’s moist, carroty and has a topping that makes you look at your cake guilt, consider it and then summarily dismiss it. 
Now our ladies are not ones to blow their own trumpet, but they are puckering up their lips on this one. They were very pleased with their effort this month and as we know one of the criteria for success is that it looked like the picture!

Now according to one of our budding bakers, as it is made with carrot, raisins, and orange, it constitutes 3 of your 5 a day. As we know the Women’s Institute are never usually wrong on these matters …though I think ladies we are reaching here!
So, all us poor readers can do is feast on the lovey picture of a cake we will never taste … well unless you make it yourself – head on over to our baking page for the recipe

24 April 2018


The ladies were back on form this month, one could even say they were on a roll! Horley Evening WI baking club took on the Swiss roll challenge and all in all it was a successful evening. They created a beautiful Swiss roll and chocolate roulade. To meet the challenge, one of our members had the whip hand of discipline and they were able produce results worthy of the front of a glossy food mag. 

By their own words the winning endorsement, was not the that they smelt and tasted divine, but the fact that the “Swiss roll turned out like the picture in the book!”.  Here we see a clear example of setting a goal, meeting such goal and recognising one’s achievements. A life lesson rolled up in a light sponge and a decadent cream filling. It seems only their wisdom is to be shared with us, as they dutifully ate the lot!

If we wish to know how they tasted, we are going to have to make one ourselves … head on over to our baking page for the recipe.

27 March 2018


The well anticipated éclairs were back on the menu in this months baking club. Were our ladies shooed away by the choux pastry? The answer is no! Now as we recall they had ‘heat issues’ last time and the aforementioned éclairs did not make the grade. So, this time round they switched recipe, one that did not involve the potential for ‘heat issues’ …

Well they did not let themselves down and more importantly the Women’s Institute and offered up some mighty choux buns worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake. Once those beasties were all dressed up for the occasion, smothered in a thick layer of chocolate and filled with cream, not only did they look good but tasted good too. Well done ladies … now the next question is when are you bringing some round for us?

Our ladies approach every bake with stoicism and when faced with a tricky situation they don’t back down, they get back out there and try again. Remember to bake a cake, you first need to brake a few eggs. Riding high on their choux pastry success, one of the ladies even toyed with the idea of revisiting the Battenberg cake! Let’s just say that’s fighting talk; we have the images of their Battenberg cake in our photo library, it’s not pretty ...

For more information on baking club and this year’s recipes head on over to our baking page.