Rum baba stollen bites

A simple, kind of “throw it all together” bake, this is basically stollen crossed with rum babas and is a popular sweet treat in this house. It is not just for making and eating at Christmas either; I often make it for Easter and at various other times of the year. Continue reading “Rum baba stollen bites”

Thai chicken ballotine in lemongrass & ginger broth

Packed with Thai flavours and served with a simple and delicious broth, these rolled and stuffed chicken thighs make what I think is a light but gorgeous dish. Continue reading “Thai chicken ballotine in lemongrass & ginger broth”

Carrot & caraway mince pies with smoked sugar

This is my take on Heston Blumenthal’s delicious Night Before Christmas mince pies that can be bought in Waitrose.
Continue reading “Carrot & caraway mince pies with smoked sugar”

Honey-glazed pigs in blankets with cranberry & apricot

For me, a roast is just as much about all the vegetables and other sides than the centrepiece itself: perhaps more so! And it’s little treats such as pigs in blankets that add even more bursts of pleasure when tucking into a roast.

Continue reading “Honey-glazed pigs in blankets with cranberry & apricot”

The perfect Brussels sprouts!

This is my ultimate Brussels sprouts dish: little goodies such as smoked bacon, slightly caramelised red onions and chestnuts adding exciting additional flavours and textures that complement the sprouts. Continue reading “The perfect Brussels sprouts!”

My ultimate carrots to accompany a roast

A simple, delicious and slightly extravagant carrot side dish that can be prepared in advance and then heated up just before serving

Continue reading “My ultimate carrots to accompany a roast”

Chocolate, orange & ginger pots

Chocolate, orange and ginger are great bedfellows and, for me, are some of the flavours that scream Christmas. This quick and very simple dessert is ideal over the festive period. A warning, though: it is very rich, so serve it in small shot glasses or espresso cups! Continue reading “Chocolate, orange & ginger pots”

Chocolate and cinnamon mini pavlovas

These mini pavlovas are not only a favourite dessert in my kitchen in the summer, when freshly picked fruit from the allotment gets put to good use, but it is a dessert I make over the winter months, often using fruit I had frozen months earlier. Continue reading “Chocolate and cinnamon mini pavlovas”

Mantecados de Almendra (Spanish almond shortbread)

These sweet, crumbly almond delicacies might be traditionally served at Christmas, but they are so good to eat at any time of the year. Continue reading “Mantecados de Almendra (Spanish almond shortbread)”

Perfect roast potatoes

Shatteringly crisp potatoes with a very soft, fluffy and nicely seasoned interior are a must with any roast dinner. To be honest, though, I could eat them just on their own! Continue reading “Perfect roast potatoes”

Orange and star anise macarons

These punchy macarons are far too easy to eat and when dipped in dark chocolate with a grating of orange zest they are sure to liven up the palate. Continue reading “Orange and star anise macarons”

Christmas stuffing sausage rolls

Well, a sausage roll is for any time of the year, but I quite like to add a few festive flavours around Christmas: chestnuts, dried apricots, Stilton, perhaps a few cranberries: oh, and just a kick of mustard. Continue reading “Christmas stuffing sausage rolls”

Spiced chocolate orange truffles

Another batch of chocolate truffles, this time with orange and a few drops of Fiori di Sicilia, an intensely fragrant citrus extract, often used in panettone. Continue reading “Spiced chocolate orange truffles”

Chocolate and ginger truffles

Perfect as a gift, to serve with coffee or just to eat as a moment of indulgence, these chocolate truffles are bound to have you coming back for another…. Continue reading “Chocolate and ginger truffles”

A light Christmas pudding with no-weighing out

Whenever I have served this to people who claim they do not like Christmas pudding, they have eaten their words – and the pud!

Continue reading “A light Christmas pudding with no-weighing out”

Chocolate and spiced orange Panettone

This is my chocolate and orange version of panettone, which gives a wonderful chocolate hit that complements the buttery and light-as-air crumb that melts in your mouth effortlessly. Not to mention the heady flavours of vanilla and orange…. Continue reading “Chocolate and spiced orange Panettone”

Quick and easy festive Danish pastries

Whether made using traditional Danish pastry dough, a shortcut version or, even simpler, commercial puff pastry (the all-butter variety, not the cheap, nasty version made with oil!), these festive treats are sure to hit the spot. Continue reading “Quick and easy festive Danish pastries”

Panettone

This is my take on the classic panettone: a rich, buttery but oh-so-light sweet bread, adapted from a recipe by Andrea Tortora, using multiple fermentations for THE best flavour. Continue reading “Panettone”

My YouTube video for my apple, marzipan & mincemeat tart

As I am getting to grips with YouTube, I am very much enjoying being filmed as I cook some of my favourite dishes. Continue reading “My YouTube video for my apple, marzipan & mincemeat tart”

Glazed apple tarts

The flavour of buttery puff pastry, rich almonds and sharp apples is sublime and they combine to give a fabulously simple, speedy tart. Continue reading “Glazed apple tarts”

Home-made gianduja chocolates – chocolate & hazelnut treats

A chocolately nutty treat of such joy, these smooth bites dissolve in the mouth in an intensely luscious way.

Continue reading “Home-made gianduja chocolates – chocolate & hazelnut treats”

Pork, apple & apricot pie: a left-overs feast!

This thrifty pie, made with a simple mustard-flavoured hot watercrust pastry, is packed with pork, stuffing, juicy apricots, sharp apple, a few pickled vegetables and roasted onions: left-overs from a roast dinner and store-cupboard ingredients. Continue reading “Pork, apple & apricot pie: a left-overs feast!”

Pea and ham filo bites

This is a such a simple bake, and is ideal using left-over ham at Christmas and bits and bobs lurking around: frozen peas, a dollop of chutney and mustard…… Continue reading “Pea and ham filo bites”

Cake of Christmas Present!

While I sometimes love going “all out” when it comes to decorating cakes, when it comes to Christmas cakes, I tend to go for the simplest of approaches. Continue reading “Cake of Christmas Present!”

No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake

This is an incredibly simple gingerbread cake with a mixture that is made up in seconds: it is very moist, with jewels of stem ginger throughout and the underlying heat of spice from the ground ginger. The icing has a ginger kick with a nice lime zing to it – two flavours that are made for each other. Continue reading “No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake”

Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries

These are very quick and easy treats: small sweet pastries that are crisp, buttery and wonderfully sticky: quite fabulous served with coffee or tea! Continue reading “Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries”

Christmas cake bites

This is just a simple variation on a Christmas cake, going for individual bites of cake rather than making a large cake. Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s puddinis (such a fabulous name!), which use left-over Christmas pudding, these instead use some of the Christmas cake mixture I made for this year’s Christmas cake – ok, I made a little extra mixture but why not? Continue reading “Christmas cake bites”

Smoked salted honeycomb

This is my take on honeycomb, playing up to my absolute love of salted caramel by incorporating a little smoked sea salt – an ingredient that is now readily available in supermarkets here in the UK. But made with standard sea salt, and you still have a marvellous sweet treat. Continue reading “Smoked salted honeycomb”

Luxury orange shortbread mince pies with a macaroon topping

I usually prefer to make mince pies using shortbread dough rather than pastry: it makes them more special than a standard pastry mince pie and it is really no harder to make. Besides, Christmas would not be Christmas without shortbread! And whenever I have made these mince pies, they have gone very quickly. Continue reading “Luxury orange shortbread mince pies with a macaroon topping”

Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake

This easy, no fuss cake is deeply chocolatey (such a good thing!), with the sharp citrus kick of candied orange and a warming hint of spice. Continue reading “Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake”

Orange & vanilla rum babas

Surely it is time for a full-on revival of these fabulous 1970s dessert trolley staples? Continue reading “Orange & vanilla rum babas”

Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries

This is a variation on the Kouign-Amann (roughly pronounced “queen ah-marn”) I posted ages ago. This time I went for apple and cinnamon flavour which works so well with the caramelised sugar, giving a kind of tarte tatin – but a touch more indulgent! Continue reading “Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries”

Mince pies with pistachio Viennese biscuit topping

I do like to take a humble mince pie to a level that is so much more than what commercially is usually just indifferent pastry with a fairly non-descript filling. So I often vary things a little so that the mince pie is that bit more special. Continue reading “Mince pies with pistachio Viennese biscuit topping”

Ginger snowmen macarons

Although I make macarons frequently, it is a first for me to do a macaron shape that is anything other than circular, so having seen meringue versions of snowmen in a shop recently I felt I had to make some as macarons….well, why not?! Continue reading “Ginger snowmen macarons”

Glazed Fruit & nut vegan Christmas cake

I adapted a standard fruit cake recipe to make it vegan for a Cake Club evening with the theme: “A vegan Christmas”.  Continue reading “Glazed Fruit & nut vegan Christmas cake”

Spiced cranberry & orange baklava

A Christmas-inspired baklava that is simple and very tasty. Ok, it doesn’t skimp on the calories but this is, after all, an indulgent treat rather than a staple bake! Continue reading “Spiced cranberry & orange baklava”

Cranberry, orange & fennel seed biscotti

I adore a good biscotti, but have never been a fan of the (ridiculously expensive!) ones you can buy in coffee shops and the like that can be little more than an expensive work-out for the jaw! Continue reading “Cranberry, orange & fennel seed biscotti”

My ultimate rich fruit cake

This is an easy fruit cake to make, taking minutes to mix together once the fruits have been soaked. It has bags of flavour, with a nice level of spice and little bursts of moist fruit inside. This fruit cake is suitable for any time of the year, and makes a wonderful wedding cake. Continue reading “My ultimate rich fruit cake”

Piccalilli & black pudding pork pie with a cider jelly

 

Using black pudding and piccalilli gives one of my favourite flavour combinations for a pork pie, resulting in a hearty but very easy-to-eat pie. The jelly is flavoured with cider and chicken stock which, in the absence of making a stock from pigs trotters, works so well in a pork pie. Continue reading “Piccalilli & black pudding pork pie with a cider jelly”

Brioche Stollen with a citrus marzipan

I have gone for more of a spiced brioche-type dough here, resulting in a stollen that leans more towards a cake in terms of texture than a bread, which I prefer here. For me a stollen does need a buttery, rich flavour that crumbles away and melts in the mouth, which is precisly what this brioche-style dough achieves. Continue reading “Brioche Stollen with a citrus marzipan”

Raspberry & Spiced Port Chocolate Truffles

These are Christmassy truffles, albeit rather loosely, although chocolate truffles are, quite frankly, for any time of the year in my book! Continue reading “Raspberry & Spiced Port Chocolate Truffles”