The social kitchen – the true meaning of family cooking

The Social Kitchen brings the term family back into cooking with a selection of hearty recipes from inspirational chef and mother, the late Shally Tucker.

The Social Kitchen cookbook is bound by the stacks of recipes, craft ideas and inspiring story of Shally Tucker, a chef and  mother who passed away two years ago after a c battle with Psoriasis and various auto immune diseases.

Her daughter, Dani Tucker, found her mother’s hand written recipes in a pile when she returned to her and decided to create a project that gives back and honours her mother’s joie de vivre. Here we share some of Shally’s hearty bakes.

Apple Cake

Serves 8


  • 120g caster sugar 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • splash of whole milk (optional)
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples (about 250g)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar

This cake works well with dairy-free butter substitute, so it’s a good one to make if you’re lactose intolerant.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin and line it with baking parchment.
  2. First you need to cream the sugar and butter – make thesure the butter is at room temperature and nice and soft.
  3. Put them in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk really thoroughly until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is well mixed in before adding the next. Sift the flour into the bowl and fold it in gently. If the mixture feels too stiff, add a splash of milk to loosen it a little.
  4. Peel, core and slice the apples, then toss them with the cinnamon. Add about one-quarter of the apple slices to the cake mixture and fold them in gently, then scrape everything into the prepared cake tin.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the tin, pile in the remaining apple slices, then sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top.
  6. Bake the cake for 30–40 minutes, checking it with a skewer after 30 minutes. If the skewer comes out clean when you insert it into the centre, the cake is done. If there’s some mixture clinging to the skewer, pop the cake back into the oven for another 5–10 minutes.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then lift it out of the tin and set it on a wire rack to cool for a little longer. Enjoy while still warm with some vanilla ice cream.

Baked Cheesecake

Serves 8


  • 200g Rich Tea biscuits
  • 120g butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 500g mascarpone cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds from 1 vanilla pod finely grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • icing sugar (for dusting)

This is a great-tasting cheesecake. You can also bake the filling in an ovenproof dish, then just spoon it out to serve as a pudding.


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base with some baking parchment.
  2. Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz them to fine crumbs. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the biscuit crumbs. Tip this mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it to the edges with a spoon.
  3. In a free-standing mixer or with a hand whisk, beat the sugar with the cream cheese and mascarpone. Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest, then a squeeze of lemon juice and stir to combine. Carefully pour the mixture on to the biscuit base and gently shake the tin to level the top.
  4. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour, covering the top with foil if it starts to look too brown. At the end of the hour, turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven for 2 more hours until cooked through.
  5. Take the cake out of the oven and leave it to cool completely. Remove it from tin and dust the top with a little icing sugar before serving.

Honey Cake

Serves 8–10


  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 350g honey
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 200ml boiled water cooled to warm
  • honey, to glaze (as much as you want)

This cake is best made in a special bundt tin. This usually has fluted sides but the most important thing is the tube or chimney in the centre, which distributes heat more evenly through the cake as it bakes. Be generous with the honey – we sometimes pour a whole pot over this cake.


Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5.

  1. Add all the ingredients, except the water and the extra honey for glazing, to a large bowl and stir well to combine. Then add the warm water and mix to make a lovely smooth batter.
  2. Pour the batter into the bundt tin and bake the cake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  3. Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool slightly, then turn it on to a serving plate. Warm the honey for the glaze in a small pan, then brush some over the cake. Pour the rest over the top.

More information

For Shally, the kitchen was not only about the dishes and tastes but about bringing people together. She loved her home overflowing with guests and the food was there to add magic, to nourish and to indulge.

The Social Kitchen is available on Amazon and in bookstores. All proceeds from the sales will be donated to Dermatrust, the charity that supported Shally, to help others others with a greater chance of treatment and survival.

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 4:23 pm Food & Drink