Canterbury resident Lynda Bellaney was baking from an early age, armed with her Edmonds Cookery Book and with her mother Patsy Mountford’s guiding hand. Now she run Billies, offering provisions, a cooking school, catering company and B&B in Rangiora, named after her great Aunty Billie. “I just love making people happy, it’s just that simple!” says this inspirational and generous cook. Carrying on her aunt’s legacy, Lynda is a powerhouse of energy when it comes to food. “Cooking is never a chore,” she says, “it’s like being a ballerina - you just become absorbed in the process, the dance, and you lose yourself in the process, it’s just wonderful!”


Lynda's favourite Edmonds recipe

The go-to Edmonds recipe in Lynda’s house was and still is ginger crunch. She cooked with her Mum from a young age, and the Edmonds Cookery Book was the only recipe book they had. “I can still remember looking through the pages and wanting to make ginger crunch, banana cake, fudge and toffee. Other recipes we had were hand written and shared. We never changed a recipe, except to occasionally add some crystallised ginger. We always needed to double the recipe though, especially the topping, as one batch was never enough!”


Lynda's baking tips

  • Always have all your ingredients ready before you start and preheat your oven.
  • Don’t over mix flour into cakes as the gluten will make your cake “tight”
  • Never bake with cold eggs and butter
  • Use unflavoured dental floss to cut rolled cookie dough or scrolls (slide about a foot of floss under the dough and pull up and cross over to cut)
  • To use a glass as a cookie cutter dust with flour first
  • Use an ice cream scoop to get uniform cupcakes or meat balls
  • Cut cookie dough then weigh to get uniform cookies
  • Using caster sugar makes a better cream mixture and beat for at least 5 minutes to get a lighter cake
  • You can also add 1 tsp lemon juice to creaming butter and sugar
  • Coat your cake with a thin layer of frosting to help seal any crumbs. Leave it to set then continue icing.
  • To get a good cover of ganache, sit the cake on a wire rack over an oven tray. While still warm use a soup ladle to pour into the middle of the cake using the base of the ladle to smooth it out let it cascade over the side and set. You can repeat this until you get the cover you need.
  • If your cake is cooking too quickly place an oven tray at the top of your oven, this will deflect a little heat to the top of the cake.
  • Use rings to get a perfect round biscuit. Weigh the mixture and place in rings and spread with a spatula. This works great for Yo-Yo’s or Belgian biscuits
  • To use less fat in your cake, substitute half of the oil with yoghurt or applesauce
  • Use yoghurt mixed with a little milk it you don’t have buttermilk
  • Make your own mixed spice:


  • 4 Tbsp ground cinnamon, 4 tsp ground coriander, 4 tsp ground nutmeg 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground allspice, 1 tsp ground cloves.
  • Place in a jar and shake. Place airtight lid and store in cupboard.