Baking Blind Christmas Booklet

Maribel and Penny Cooking in Kitchen

By Penny Melville-Brown

Just in time for the holidays, Penny Melville-Brown, featured on VisionAware in Maribel Steel’s post Two Blind Cooks in My Kitchen, is excited to announce her Baking Blind cookbook is scheduled for release in the spring of 2022.  

In her forward, she writes: 

“During the months of the pandemic, I’ve been posting recipes for my “Covid cookbook” and, with the support of Open Sight Hampshire, running a series of online cooking demonstrations. These aim to get back to basics for visually impaired beginners and rebuild kitchen confidence for those recently coping with sight loss. I’ve been blind for over 20 years but am still happily at home in the kitchen. The videos show how easy it can be to cook, even with no sight. 

This is a selection of seasonal recipes to bring Christmas cheer and even create unique homemade gifts for your family and friends.  Each recipe has links to YouTube video demonstrations.  Although the video is a visual medium, they all focus on my spoken explanation of what is happening… 

You can see my regular recipes on Facebook or my Blog

In Spring 2022, I’ll publish my book about the Baking Blind world tour with all the recipes and tales (including two near-death experiences!) through Amazon and Kindle.  There are also hundreds of recipes on YouTube, including my world tour.” 

Penny invites you to check out the Open Sight baking playlist and to send comments and questions to her at: [email protected].  

To whet your appetite, here are two recipes from her cookbook. We also include YouTube links to all the recipe demonstrations in the book. 

Maribel --on left standing next to Penny on right
Maribel and Penny Standing Next to Each Other


I learned about this simple snack from fellow blind cook Maribel Steel when I visited her in Melbourne. 


a couple of handfuls of pumpkin seeds. 

A couple of slugs of dark soy sauce (preferably sweet). 


In a dry pan, heat the seeds until they are popping. 

Add the soy sauce and continue heating and stirring until all the seeds are coated and the liquid has evaporated. 

Remove from the pan and allow to cool.   The seeds may need separating as the soy sauce can stick them together. 

Microwave Ginger Cake 

A cake or pudding for unexpected guests using the recipe given to me by one of the Blind Veterans UK team. 


145g milk (about ½ cup) 

115g butter (about 8 tablespoons) 

85g syrup and treacle (molasses) (about 2 tablespoons each). 

85g brown sugar (about 3/8 cup) 

115g self-rising flour (about ¾ cup) 

1 teaspoon soda 

2 level tablespoons of ground ginger. 

1 teaspoon mixed spice. 

Pinch of salt. 

2 eggs, beaten. 


Gently heat the milk, butter, syrup, treacle, and sugar until warm and the sugar has dissolved in a pan or the microwave. 

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. 

Add the heated ingredients and mix in (I used a hand whisk). 

Add the eggs and mix well. 

Pour into a microwave-proof ring container that has been lightly buttered and floured.    

Cook on high power for 9 minutes. 

The cake should feel barely done, soft and spongey, but it will get firmer as it rests and cools before turning out. 

Penny’s Tips 

This cake doesn’t keep long but makes a delicious pudding with custard, cream and/or stewed pears. I used a silicone ring mold that worked perfectly. 

Savory Tart 

Tarragon Chicken 

Soda Bread 

Fruit Crumble 

Lemon Victoria Sponge 

Ginger Biscuits