Show Guide for Novices:
Cookery Classes

These interpretations are based on guidance within;
The RHS Horticultural Show Handbook and
The NFWI On With The Show publication.
Both can be referenced at the Show Recorder's table.
Be aware the HIHS Rules for Exhibitors take precedence.

Links to articles posted below:
Cookery General Preserves Jams
Pickles/Chutney Relish Biscuits
Cakes Cookies Scones
White Loaf

Tea Loaf

No Rice/Couscous

Cookery Entries General

Judges of cookery entries consider:

Primerally flavour and aroma.
The appearance colour, shape and regularity.
The condition, crust, texture, distribution of ingredients.

Spices, flavourings or salt should not be overpowering.
The odour should be pleasently inviting
and not indicate rancidity, mustiness, yeastiness, etc.


Judges generally consider in order of importance.

Flavour and aroma.
Consistency and texture.
Colour and quantity.

External Appearance:
Clean, unblemished container, cover and label.
Air tight seal achieved by new lid.


jam making
Comply with the rules for exhibitors.

In a plain jar with a label of contents,
detailing the day, month and year made.
Label plain, neat, clean and unblemished.
Contents reaching within 3mm of top of jar.
Covered with waxed disk and cellophane top or
brand new plain metal top without internal waxed disk.
Polished external appearance with no finger marks.

Pickles and Chutneys

Comply with the rules for exhibitors.

In a plain jar with precise label of
contents including day, month and year made.
At least 12 weeks old and ready to eat.
Label plain, neat, clean and unblemished.
Contents reach within 12mm of top of jar.
Covered with a brand new white plain metal top.
Polished external appearance with no finger marks.

Chutneys and Relish

Comply with the rules for exhibitors.

Judges look for:
Attractive and interesting in flavour and texture.
Label plain, neat, clean and unblemished.
Jar polished external appearance with no finger marks.

Take care:
Treat as salads, refrigerate and use quickly.
Do not use airtight lid as fermentation may cause explosion.
Wax discs must not be used.


As a guide biscuits are generally:
Rolled and then formed with a 50 to 60mm diameter cutter.

Judges of biscuit entries generally look for:
A crisp snap when broken.
Uniform size and shape.
Thickness of the order 3mm.
Fluted cutter for sweet / Plain for savoury.
Even in colour, according to ingredients.
Flavour true, even and characteristic.

If schedule requires "fancy biscuits" :
Decoration and chosen colours delicate and refined.
Biscuits need not to be of identical decoration
and may be formed to different shapes.

If schedule requires "sandwiched" :
Filling to be even and not excessive for all biscuits.


Judges of cake entries look for:

Well risen, even in shape and baking.
Correct proportion with smooth sides.
No lining papers or top cooling rack marks.
Crust thin and even.
Texture true to cake type.
Even distribution of fruit.
No flour pockets.
Flavour true, even and characteristic.


A cookie is a biscuit made from a softer mixture,
which is hand rolled or sliced from a roll.

Judges of cookies entries look for:

Uniform sizes and shapes, not too large.
Flavour true, even and characteristic.


Judges of scone entries look for:

Even shape, size and colour.
Size 5-6 cms (2-2.5 inches) diameter and almost as tall.
Standing erect with flat top.
Pale golden colour.
Texture light and springy. (More like bread and not short like cake.)
True to flavour to reflect type.
No boldness of flavour of raising agent.
No overcooked fruit on surface.

Judges break scones to view texture and avoid compacting.

Small White Loaf

The loaf should be well risen
and evenly baked to warm golden brown.
No glaze is needed.

The base free from shaping cracks and bulges.

A cut slice showing light, fine, silky and even texture,
with no streaks or holes through inefficient kneading,
and crumb touch soft and springy.

Flavour and aroma clean.

Tea Loaf

tea loaf
The loaf should be baked in a loaf tin.
Presented well risen and evenly baked.
Cracking of the domed top is not an issue.

A cut slice showing even, fairly moist texture.

Flavour well blended with main ingredient recognisable,
spices should not predominate.

No Rice or Couscous

Bacteria can survive and germinate with cooked grains
and can cause food poisoning when not refrigerated.

On the show bench, entries are not refrigerated
and therefore if containing grains
canot be tasted by the judge,
so are not permitted and deemed,
"Not according to schedule (NAS)".

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Schedule: Link to pdf.
Entry Form: Link to pdf.
Rules and Standards: Links.
Cookery Recipes: Links.
Novices Guides: Links.

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