Thursday, 16 April 2015

Chocolate Cream (without gelatin) - easy

4 ozs. semi sweet chocolate or a good dark chocolate - melted
16 ozs. ( 2 Packs) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 pint (2 cups) Sour Cream (could use half sour cream and half double cream)
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsps. grated orange zest - or few drops of orange essence.
1 tblspn. chocolate liqueur or choc/orange liqueur (optional)

1. melt the chocolate in a bain marie and set aside to cool.
2. beat the cream cheese, sour cream and icing sugar until smooth.
3. Add the cooled melted choc, orange zest and liqueur and beat until blended.
4. Pour into one large bowl or smaller ramekins and leave, covered with Klingfilm, in fridge overnight - or about 10 hrs.

Nice served with a dark fruit compote.

(PS: photo above is not mine - but is very pretty.)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Cheesecake Ice Cream

8 ozs. (1 package) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of plain Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 cup of single cream
1/2 cup of double cream
1 - 1.1/2 tsps. vanilla extract
2 tsps. finely grated orange or lemon zest
12 small macaroons - crumbled,  or meringues - crumbled - optional

Using an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese (!)
Add sugar, pinch of salt - beat together for a few minutes until well combined
Add the yogurt - mix in thoroughly.
Gradually add the creams, the vanilla and the zest.

Chill in the fridge for about 45 mins. - until mixture is cold.
Either freeze in an ice cream maker or place in freezer and take out when just beginning to 'set' and  whisk so as to stop any crystals forming. 
Repeat this a couple of times.
On the last 'mix' add the crumbled macaroons/meringue pieces if wanted.
Store lidded in the freezer.

Recipe originally

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Storing fresh Corriander/Cilantro

Best way to store Corriander/Cilantro :
Dont wash until needed -
Place stems in glass/jar of water and cover with plastic bag - (keep in fridge)
Corriander can also be frozen in plastic bags (or ice cube trays) - 
these can be used in soups/stews etc. 
I found this information on the Internet, but I've also found that washed and storing it in a salad spinner (lidded) works well.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Speedy Shepherds Pie - with Cooked Lamb

I bought a ready-prepared piece of lamb in red wine sauce and roasted it - I didn't think it was that good so I minced the meat in the food processor (saving the gravy).  I also had a pack of Ready-Mashed Potatoes  ...........  Perfect! ........  made a Shepherds Pie .........

Ingredients & Method:
1. Place the minced cooked lamb into your oven-proof dish.
2. Fry over some roughly chopped Chestnut Mushrooms and a small chopped onion - fry until just softened.
3. Add the layer of mushrooms and onion on top of the meat.
Season to taste.
4. Pour some (or all) of the sauce/gravy on top of the meat - depending how wet you like the dish.
5. Break up the ready-mashed-potato and fork it on top of the meat.
If wanted, pour a little melted butter over the potatoes and bake at approx. 190 deg.C until the mixture is bubbling and the potatoes are just 'tipping' brown.

Serve with a nice green veg such as sprouts - (this may be contraversial! :) ) and Heinz Baked Beans - (excellent).

PS: Apologies - this is not my photo - we ate it too quick!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vegetarian Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

This recipe is by Lorraine Pascale - 
looks like a lot of ingredients but also looked just delicious -
from the BBC programme The Hairy Bikers and Lorraine Pascale - - - super recipes.

Ingredients for filling:
1 tblspn. of oil
1 leek trimmed and finely chopped
2 carrots - finely chopped
150g (5.1/2 ozs) chestnut mushrooms - roughly chopped (not too small)
1 large garlic clove - finely chopped
3 fresh sage leaves and 3 springs fresh thyme leaves
1 x 400g tin of Puy green lentils - drained
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
300ml. (10 fl.oz) veggie stock
250ml. (9 fl.oz) red wine
1 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbls. soy sauce
1 tsp. chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp. sugar (optional), honey or maple syrup
salt and ground black pepper

2 sweet potatoes (approx.500g. -  1lb.2oz. total)
2 floury potatoes (approx 500g in total) - cut into chunks
1/2 small cauliflower - remove leaves and separate into florets
knob of unsalted butter
salt and black pepper
1 tbls. grated parmesan (optional)

1. heat the oil in a frying pan over med. heat and add the leeks and fry for 4-5 mins. or just beginning to soften.
2. Add the carrots, mushrooms and garlic and continue to cook, stirring - 4-5 mins.
3. Add  the chopped sage and thyme and lentils, tomatoes, stock and red wine.  Stir together. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat until it simmers and continue to simmer for 18-20 mins.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C (180F/Gas 6)
5. Add the sweet potato chunks to a pan of boiling water and boil for approx. 8-10 mins. Add the cauliflower and continue to boil until the veggies are tender.  Drain and return to the pan.
6. Add butter and seasoning then mash until smooth.
7. Stir in the Worc. and Soy sauces, chilli and sugar - simmer 1 or 2 mins. adding a little water if the mix is too dry.  Season to taste.
8. Transfer the filling to an ovenproof dish and spoon over the topping and spread evenly.

9. Bake for 18-20 mins or until the topping is becoming golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Easy Lamb Hotpot - All-in-one Dish

There are several methods of making this dish, the recipe I've given below is pretty straightforward, as you just layer everything into your casserole - without precooking anything.  However, you can cook the lamb stew in advance, and add sliced par-boiled potatoes on top afterwards and brown them in the oven - as per Jamie Oliver's version:

Ingredients: enough for 2 or 3 (or 4 smaller portions)
approx. 1lb. lamb steaks - trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces - (you can use any other suitable cuts)
1 large courgette
1 stick or 2 of celery
1 large tomato
3 or 4 potatoes
1 onion
1 large carrot
couple of garlic cloves - peeled and chopped
Try and cut the vegetables into approx. the same size chunks
handful of barley - if wanted
dried oregano, fresh rosemary (if poss)
salt and pepper

Lay the vegetables, except the potato and onion, on the bottom of your casserole.
Dredge a little flour over the top, some salt and pepper and the herbs.
You could also throw in a handful of barley - which is lovely with lamb.
Toss the lamb pieces in seasoned flour and place on top.
Add the potatoes and onions.
Pour hot water or stock over the top to just about cover - a little less is fine.
Season the top layer of veg.

I cover the casserole with a layer of either greaseproof or cooking parchment, then a cover of double-foil.  (A lid is fine :) )
1. about an hour at 190 deg.C
2. turn the oven temperature down a little and cook for another hour or so,
3. then you can just leave it in the oven at about 100 deg.C until you want it.  The longer it cooks - it's just fine.

If you find the gravy hasn't come out thickly enough for you - just carefully strain it off, add some slaked arrowroot or cornstarch and reheat it separately in a small saucepan - this should thicken it up to your taste.  Pour it back over the casserole.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Mashed Potato/cheese/onion - Very Quick Supper dish

Oven: 190/200 deg.C 
Approx. 20-mins to 1/2 hr. cooking time**
Buttered tin approx. 6" x 8" x 2" deep

1 or 2 packs of 'ready' mashed potato (400/800g.) (depending how much you need)
1 onion, peeled, chopped and sauteed in oil and butter (inc.clove of garlic if wanted.)
approx. 3ozs. (plus or minus) Cheddar Cheese - or hard cheese of choice - grated
1 large egg - beaten (if using 2 packs of potato - use 2 eggs)

Mix the mashed potato, cheese, onion and beaten egg together and season to taste.*
Place in the tin  and smooth out.
Add a little more grated cheese on top and bake until going golden -  still looks nice, without being too burnt!  - (timing isn't too crucial**)

* Before putting the mashed potato in, you could place, another cooked vegetable layer down, or .....
eg:  bacon bits (cooked), peas, baked beans, sausages - anything you may fancy as long as it's pre-cooked.

The potato cooked on its own will keep very well in the fridge (covered) and you could use it throughout the week - (until you get fed up with it that is).

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Sake Lees


Having just found out what Sake 'Lees' is - I thought I'd blog it just in case anyone else was interested.........

"Also called sake kasu, the thick rice paste that’s left at the end of the sake-making process. Often used in Asia as a marinade for fish or meat, sake lees are given an unusual twist in Dufresne’s kitchen."

"Their deep umami flavor is reminiscent of miso, but sake lees have a sweetness and a lingering note of sake that makes their taste distinctive. They are available at many Asian specialty-food stores."

interesting video link with recipe: 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Vinaigrettes and Mayonnaise and Oriental Dipping Sauce

Vinaigrette: (screw-top jar)
I usually use about
6 measures of oil (small cup, tablespoon, eggcup)  to one or two measures (same) of cider vinegar (or vinegar of choice)
Plus approx. a teaspoon of Dijon mustard - you can use mustard powder, but ready-made is better,
1 tsp. of sugar or some Maple Syrup
Salt and black pepper and a large squashed clove of garlic.
Shake the jar well (remembering to screw the lid on tightly!)
This will store in your fridge for ages.  You can use this as a basic vinaigrette and add other stuff to ring the changes.
You dont need to remove the garlic.

Sweet Vinaigrette: (screw-top jar)
1 cup of salad oil
1/3 cup of vinegar
1 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons (or more) sugar
1.1/2 tsps. dry mustard
a little ground black pepper
Mix and shake together well.
This is very good with finely shredded red cabbage.

Mayonnaise: (Liquidiser)
To make a light mayonnaise I use
1 egg (+ 1 extra yolk if wanted)
Salt, ground white pepper, clove of crushed garlic (optional)
Approx. a tablespoon of lemon juice or a good vinegar.
Blitz briefly.
Pouring a little oil at a time, (pouring through the lid of the liquidiser), blitz gently until you have the consistency you want.
I use either Sunflower Oil/Olive oil or a combination.
Taste and adjust seasoning - can also add a little Dijon mustard.

Basic Oriental Dipping Sauce: (screwtop jar*)
3 (cups/measures) rice vinegar
2           "                sugar
1           "                Soy Sauce
crushed garlic(optional)
Shake together.
*Beforehand, I sometimes pour boiling water into the jar and lid just to sterilise it.

Salad Cream Recipe

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Sweetmeal/Digestive Biscuits

Oven: 200deg. C/400 deg.F
Ingredients for approx. 12 biscuits:
2ozs. wholemeal flour (50g)
2ozs. plain flour (50g.) + extra for dusting
4 ozs. (100g) medium oatmeal
1oz. (30g) caster sugar
1/4 tsp. bi-carb.
4ozs. (100g) butter
2 tablespoon of milk

1. Grease a large baking sheet
2. Mix the dry ingredients together then rub in the butter, until you have breadcrumbs.
3. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring vigorously, until you the mixture starts binding together.  Knead gently until you have a smooth dough.
4.  Roll the dough out to about 1/4" thick and cut into 3" rounds.
5. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes until slightly darker around the edges.

Leave to cool on the baking tray for about a minute and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Original recipe from: Home Baking, Biscuits & Cookies - Wendy Hobson.

The digestive was first developed in 1839 by two Scottish doctors to aid digestion. The term "digestive" is derived from the belief that they had antacid properties due to the use of sodium bicarbonate - when they were first developed.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Maison Blanc

lovely selection for Valentine's Day from Maison Blanc
!gorgeous patisserie!
Marzipan Bootees


Friday, 6 February 2015

"One-Banana" Cake - very easy

This cake just fits the bill when you have one (manky) banana left. 
It makes a super cake - very moist and just delicious.

Oven: 160/180 deg.C
Approximately 40 mins. cooking time - test with skewer to see if cooked through

1 ripe banana
1/8 cup of sunflower oil ..... (approx. 1/2 of a quarter cup measure)
1/8 cup of butter
1 cup of self-raising flour
pinch of cinnamon
1 scant cup of sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
handful of raisins - dusted in flour 
small amount of hot water (if necessary) 

1. Place all the ingredients (except the hot water and raisins) into a large bowl and beat together.  Try not to overbeat the mixture.

2. Add some hot water if the mixture is a little thick, and beat in.  It should be a nice 'dropping' consistency. Mix in the floured raisins.

3. Grease and/or line your tin (a pound size loaf tin is good) - and put the batter in - smooth the top, making a small well in the centre.

4. Bake until nicely risen and golden.  Test with a skewer to see if cooked through.  You can also actually hear if there is still some raw mixture cooking - dont burn your ear though :o)

PS: could also add some Chocolate Chips.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Flower Sprouts

If you like Sprouts - you will like these!

While browsing through the Waitrose Weekend giveaway paper, I noticed an article relating to this new vegetable.  The seed was developed by a British company - Tozer Seeds.  

I know Sprouts are contraversial! but I just love Sprouts, but haven't as yet noticed this variety in the stores.  I haven't tried them, but as soon as I see some - I shall be.  I'm sure they're delicious. Apparently they taste as a cross between Brussels Sprouts and Curly Kale.

You can steam them for 5 - 6 minutes or microwave for 2-3 minutes (800w).  
Also stir fry - 2 -3 minutes or boil  3-5 minutes - until tender.

Let me know how they were, if you give them a go.

Friday, 30 January 2015


While trying to whip some double cream for topping a cheesecake - something wasn't going right - though not quite sure what.  When I put it on to the cheesecake, it started sliding about - probably had overwhipped it.  I scraped it off and rather than waste it I carried on beating it with the electric whisk and was thinking 'butter', which I hadn't a clue what actually to do.  I carried on beating until it looked as though it had curdled, beat it some more until a liquid began to seep out.  I decided this was probably the whey, poured it off and continued beating it until I saw virtually no liquid  coming out.  (Put it into a sieve just in case, for the last few drops). ..... (I had added some salt and lemon juice but nothing else.)

I then began to pat it together with a flat knife, and lo and behold it looked like butter, felt like butter, definitely tasted like a creamy butter - - - - so presume I have made butter! :)

300 ml. of double cream (plus salt) will make approx. 6ozs. of butter.

Wh-hey!  ..... sorry about the pun :( 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Chicken Balls - really easy

8ozs. (225g)  cooked and boned chicken
4 ozs. bread - crusts removed
(2 ozs. pistachio nuts finely chopped or blitzed - if wanted)
1 tablspn. olive or a salad oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and white pepper

flour for coating before frying
Sunflower or similar oil for frying

1. Soak the bread in some water and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Set aside.
2. Blitz, mince or chop the chicken in your food processor. (Include the pistachios if using).  Remove to a large bowl.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, to taste, (except the flour) - measurements are not crucial.   Knead thoroughly.
4. Shape into patties or small balls, and gently roll in flour.  Shake off the excess flour and drop into hot oil (the oil doesn't need to cover the balls - you can turn them over).
5. Fry until golden, remove and leave on kitchen paper to get rid of excess oil.

TIP: dont try and turn them over too early - they will tell you when they're ready!  When the underside has a crust on it, it's usually ready to turn.  Use a flat spatula.

These can also be poached in soup and served hot.
Are also good eaten cold.

Claudia Roden recipe.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Veggie Filo Pie

This Recipe doesn't have one carrot in it! but it is 'veg' and it ispretty! :)

Oven: approx. 180 deg/C 
2 courgettes - topp'd, tailed and roughly cut into small chunks
2 or 3 cooked potatoes (remove peel if using jacket pots.) - also cut into chunks
1 red onion - roughly chopped - (a white onion is fine.)
clove or two of garlic if wanted (chopped)
Olive or Sunflower Oil + a knob of butter
2 or 3 beaten eggs
Salt, Black Pepper, dried Oregano/Marjoram
Filo Pastry Sheets

1. Saute the courgettes, garlic and onions until softened in the oil and butter.

2. Add the chopped potatoes - continue frying the veg. but dont colour them.
Season them and leave to cool. (This can be done well in advance.)

3.Don't forget to brush each sheet of Filo with oil/melted butter 
as you place them in the tin.
Grease a baking tin/dish - and place two or three sheets of Filo, overlapping in one direction, then place another 2 - 3 sheets on top, overlapping in the opposite direction - so the filling will be well covered, when the flaps are folded over.

4. Place the filling on the filo sheets, adding some dried oregano and more seasoning if necessary, beat two or 3 eggs and pour over the top, making sure the egg is evenly spread.  (It doesn't have to cover the filling.)   Fold the flaps over so the filling is well covered - (you can put another sheet on top to pretty it up). Brush with oil/butter.  
Bake until beautifully golden.

I like to serve this cold - good as part of a buffet, or just serve with a green mixed salad (and vinaigrette) for a light supper.  Keeps well in the fridge for a good few days.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Gingerbread Cake Recipe - easy, and excellent as a Traybake

Oven: 350 deg. F : 180 deg. C - approx. 50 mins

Liquid Ingredients:
3 rounded tablespoons of Golden Syrup (approx. 6 ozs.) *
3 rounded tablespoons of Black Treacle (Molasses) *
3 ozs. of caster sugar
6 ozs. of butter
Melt all these ingredients together,  in a large bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
*When measuring out the syrups - have a small bowl of very hot water handy and dip your tablespoon measure in - the syrups will glide off easily.

2 large eggs
1/4pt. milk + 4 tablespoons - beat the eggs into the milk

Dry Ingredients:
12 ozs. (325g.) Plain Flour
2 teaspoons of Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon of Mixed Spice or Allspice
1 teaspoon of Bi-Carbonate of Soda
+ pinch of salt
handful of raisins or sultanas - dredged in some of the flour before adding in.

Add the dredged raisins into the dry flour and mix together.
Pour the melted ingredients into the flour.
Add the eggs and milk and beat gently until combined and glossy.
Pour into a prepared tin (lined or greased and floured) and bake.
Test with a skewer to see if cooked through, or just press lightly and if it springs back to the touch - it's ready.  I also 'listen' to my cakes and you can still hear if the mixture is uncooked :)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Courgette Noodle Snack, DIY Soda and Kale Chips

Courgette Noodle Snack:
Grate courgette/s on the large hole of your grater and place in a bowl.
Add some pesto to taste, and mix together
Eat raw.

Zest 4 oranges and 1 lime - add to a pan.
Juice the oranges and lime and also add to the pan.
Add 1 cup of sugar (or less)
Bring to the boil, then simmer for 8 - 10 mins. and cool.
Strain into a sterlised bottle or jar.
Dilute a little with carbonated water to make a fresh drink.

Kale Chips:
Toss some washed and dried kale leave in some olive oil and place evenly on a baking tray.
Bake at 180 deg. C/350 deg.F for about 15 minutes.
When done add salt and black pepper.

I found these good tips here.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Lovely Banana Smoothie with Ginger

Ingredients: - 1 large or two small servings
1 Banana
Apple Juice with ginger (or plain apple juice with piece of grated fresh ginger) - enough juice to make a nice pouring  mix.
1 quartered, cored and peeled sweet apple
Juice of 1 satsuma (or similar)
Small handfull of porridge oats
Dollop of plain yogurt
and another dollop of Runny Honey or Maple Syrup

Place all the ingredients in your liquidizer and blitz until you have a nice creamy pouring drink.
Sweeten to taste.
Drink immediately.

this is delicious - - you can also add some blueberries.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Porcini Mushroom Stuffing/ Loaf/ Patties

This is a Nigel Slater recipe - just slightly tweaked.

Oven 200 deg. C :  400 F :  Gas 6 
Cooking time: approx. 30 mins.

40g. (1.3/4 ozs.)  dried porcini mushrooms
300ml. hot water from the kettle
250g. (9 ozs.) chestnut mushrooms - white ones are fine too.
150g. (5ozs.) pre-prepared cooked chestnuts
1 x 400g. (14ozs.) flageolet or haricot beans - rinsed and drained
1 large egg
3 tbls. honey or maple syrup
3 tbls. soy sauce
100g. (3.1/2 ozs.) fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbls. groundnut/sunflower oil plus extra for greasing
small amount of lemon zest - to taste
Seasoning to taste.
(The original recipe has kale and also macadamia nuts - but I didn't use these)

1. Grease a baking tray.
2. Soak the dried porcinis in the 300 ml. of hot water - for about 10 mins.
3. In your food processor add the chestnut mushrooms and beans and blend till you have a rough paste with a little texture.
4. Reserving the liquid**, drain the porcini - add to the food processor and briefly whizz again.
5. Tip the above into a large bowl and add, the egg, honey and soy and finally the breadcrumbs.  Stir well to mix.  Taste for seasoning.
6. Either shape into patties and place on to a greased tray or bun tin, or roll into a loaf shape (using Klingfilm, then remove Klingfilm).
Place loaf on a greased tray, cover with foil and bake for approximately 1/2 hour - it's better to slightly undercook this than let it go dry by overcooking.
You can either completely wrap this in foil or just cover it - - remove the foil near the end of cooking.

** if using Kale you can cook the kale in the porcini liquid, or just save it to use in a  mushroom sauce or soup.  The Kale is served alongside.

I love cold stuffing, and this quantity is large enough (usually) to have some extra leftover to keep in the fridge.  This keeps pretty well - and you can keep grazing on it :o)
Apologies - I forgot to take a photo, and it disappeared pretty quickly anyway!

Chestnut Mushrooms
Porcinis in a jar!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Leftovers! (and Banana and Choc Cube Ice Lollies)

I think everyone must have their favourite Leftovers after Christmas - I enjoy the Leftovers just as much as the 'proper' meals they came from, 
and the good thing is you dont need to cook for a few days - at least.
.. so I haven't posted any exciting grown-up's recipes ...
just two teeny ones  - for the kids:

Banana Ice Lollies (recipe 1.)
using over-ripe bananas -
mash them down and add some Maple Syrup or Honey 
Freeze in ice cube trays, with little pieces of 
straws (the firmer ones) stuck in them, for sticks.
When ready to eat, you may need to release them by quickly 
dipping them into a tray of hot water.

Recipe 2
500ml. carton of chilled ready-made vanilla custard
200g dark chocolate, melted
(popping candy)
1 ripe banana - mashed
1-2 ice cube trays and some lolly sticks 

Warm the custard slightly
Stir in the melted chocolate and banana
Cool the mixture and pour into ice cube trays 
Freeze until almost solid and place the sticks in.
When the ice cream has set you can coat them in melted choc and popping candy
and place them on baking parchment until the choc has set.
Serve immediately.

Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year - with lots of lovely food to come :)

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Quick Crab Cakes/Patties

there are only 4! as I ate one before taking the pic!
 Ingredients: enough for 5
1 tin of white crabmeat (121 g.)
1 beaten egg
about 1 tablspn. melted butter
fresh breadcrumbs
small amount of chopped fresh corriander
lemon zest
little salt, black pepper

groundnut oil

This is a really basic recipe, and are very nice plain,  but you could add your choice of herbs or other stuff ........ if you keep tinned crabmeat in your larder, they are a good standby.

1. In your food processor, blitz the crabmeat, beaten egg, melted butter.
2. Put this  mixture into a bowl and add some breadcrumbs and seasoning. Mix well together and add more breadcrumbs to make a nice pattie-texture - (not too wet, not to dry!)
3. Season to taste, adding the lemon zest.
4. Heat a few inches of groundnut oil in your wok/pan
5. Make the mixture into patties or balls, roll in flour, once or twice - depending how 'wet' they may be, reshape again. 
I put mine into the oil with a slotted spoon, and just pat them down a little.
6. Fry in the hot oil, but (try and) wait until they are just brown before turning them over.

They only need frying for a few minutes on each side.
Drain them on kitchen paper - nosh!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Chocolate Mousse - Frozen - fine for Vegetarians

I think you have to pre-prepare as much as you can for Christmas lunch, to save hassle on The Day.  Lots of the vegetables can be precooked, frozen and will re-roast well.  Stuffing can be frozen. Puddings too can be frozen. eg. Christmas Pud and also a Frozen Chocolate Mousse (always good).  Biscuit dough can be frozen.
Do check online, as there's lots of good advice on freezing and making stuff in advance.
Recipe for Choc. Mousse - fine for Vegetarians as there isn't any gelatin in this.
9ozs. approx. a very good quality chocolate (preferably)
5 ozs. unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1 ozs. icing sugar
1 tablspn. dark rum or orange juice

Line a loaf tin (or tin of choice) with Klingfilm.  Overlapping the sides so you can wrap it once the tin is filled.
Either very carefully in your micro*, or using a bain-marie, melt the chocolate and butter.
Stir so it's smooth and glossy.
Cool slightly.
Add rum/orange juice - stir well.
Beat egg whites till softly peaky, and add the icing sugar - whisk till soft peak stage.
Beat about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate, then fold in the remainder.
Pour into your tin, wrap and freeze.  Once frozen wrap again.

This will need defrosting before you can eat it, but dont over-defrost - it should still be a little firm.

* You can melt the chocolate and butter - until just melting.  Take the bowl out of the micro and keep stirring until melted.  You have to be pretty careful with this, so as not to over-micro it.  If you do - adding a little boiling water may bring it back!
I like this served with a Dried Fruit salad (and cream) - just an easy fruit salad with sultanas, raisins, maybe prunes, cherries and figs, apricots - whatever you have handy.  Place in a saucepan with water just to cover, sugar to taste (include a little honey or maple syrup) - cook gently until fruit is soft, add a small amount of cinnamon - cool and refrigerate.  This keeps very well.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Stuffing - freezeable

I normally double this recipe (or larger - if you love stuffing) :)

4 ozs. (1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs (made in processor - can use any mix of breads - no crusts)

1/2 tsp. salt and pinch of pepper
1 small onion - 
1 egg
1 garlic clove
2 tblspns. sunflower oil  

Whiz these ingredients together in your processor and add to breadcrumbs.
Add your selection of dried herbs - I use either an Italian mix or oregano and basil.
Taste and re-season if necessary.

Lay a sheet of klingfilm on your countertop and gather the stuffing into a rough sausage shape.
Roll up the klingfilm and tighten the ends, so you have a nice firm sausage shape.
Wrap in another layer of klingfilm and label - just in case you forget what it is and when you made it!  I put the label on to the first layer of klingfilm so it doesn't drop off when frozen.

You can cook this (defrosted of course) - either inside your bird of choice, or cook separately - covered with foil - but do be careful not to overcook.  Cooking inside the bird makes it 'moister'.

You could also add finely chopped chestnuts to this recipe, but may need to adjust the liquid content so it is still the right consistency.  A little water/apple juice is fine.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas Carol Cake - Women's Weekly recipe from 1976 (slightly updated)

7" square tin: 
Oven: 160 C for 1/2 hr. then 
2.1/4 hrs. at 150 C. (300 F, gas 3)
Store, then decorate two weeks before Christmas*
nb: (1oz. = 25g.)

4ozs. (125g) currants
10 ozs. (275g) sultanas
4 ozs. raisins
4 ozs. glace cherries (rinsed, drained, dried and chopped)
(2ozs. blanched almonds if wanted)
Grated rind of 1 lemon
9ozs. (250g) plain flour + pinch of salt
1 tsp. mixed spice,
1 tsp. nutmeg,
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8ozs. (250g) butter - softened
8ozs. soft brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespn black treacle
1 dessert spn milk
2 tablespns rum or brandy

1.  Grease the tin and line with 2 doubled strips of greaseproof paper, crossing over the base of the tin to extend an inch above the rim on both sides.  Grease the paper lining.
2. Mix the dried fruit together in one bowl (adding the nuts if using these)
3. Mix the flour, salt, and spices in another bowl.
4. In a third bowl,  beat the butter and sugar until creamy and gradually add the eggs, adding a little of the flour, to stop it curdling.
5. Beat in the treacle
6. Finally fold in, using a metal spoon, the dry ingredients plus the rest of the ingredients.
Combine well, but dont overbeat.
7. Turn into the prepared tin and make a small well in the centre.
Bake on the centre shelf at 160 deg.C for 1/2 hr. then turn down to 150 deg.C for a further 2.1/4 hrs.  
Test with a skewer to see if cooked through.  The skewer should come out 'clean' from the centre of the cake.  
Leave the cake in the tin for at least 1 hr. to cool completely, then pack into an airtight tin until 2 weeks before Christmas.*

Turn the cake upside down to ice and decorate, so you have a nice flat surface.

Almond Paste:
10ozs. (275g) ground almonds
5 ozs. caster sugar
5ozs. sifted icing sugar
2 egg large egg yolks.
juice of 1/2 lemon.
about 8ozs. sieved apricot jam
and a dusting of Cornflour.

Mix all ingredients together, dont overwork, dust a surface with icing sugar and roll out.
Brush cake with warmed sieved apricot jam to 'glue' icing on. 
Cut icing to shape and 'stick on' carefully to cover the cake.
Stand the cake on a wire tray and leave for about a week to dry out before icing.

Royal Icing:
3 large egg whites
1.1/2 lbs.l sifted icing sugar
2 tsps. lemon juice
1tsp. glycerine
a little yellow and brown food colouring.

Beat the eggs whites and lemon juice together lightly and gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar until the consistency thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the glycerine and a small amount of the colouring, to make a creamy colour.  Spread enough of the icing to cover the top and sides - prick out any bubbles with a skewer - and leave for 3 days for the icing to dry.

Decoration: - (to choice.)
Cake Board 9"square
a sheet of gold paper
little sifted icing sugar
If writing on the cake: 
no.2 plain writing pipe
no.3 plain writing pipe
no. 7 star pipe
spring of holly,

4 greaseproof paper icing bags.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Prune, Apple and Armagnac Cake - Delia's - good recipe for Christmas

Oven: 180 C : 350 F : gas 4 
20cm. tin (8" - greased and lined
350g (12 ozs.) ready-to-eat prunes (stoneless)
75g (3ozs.) caster sugar
150 ml water   
75 ml. port or Armagnac

Place ingredients, except Armagnac,  in a saucepan, bring to boil, then simmer gently for 15 mins. 
Drain, discard the liquid - place the prunes in a bowl, add the Armagnac/Port, cover and leave overnight.
Delia soaks her prunes, (although it's not necessary), so if doing this, soak prunes the night before baking the cake.

Streusel Topping:
75g self-raising flour
25g butter - room temp.  ... crumb these 2 ingredients, then add
75g demerara sugar
Add 1 dessertspoon of cold water - stir in until mixture is coarse and lumpy - set aside

50g whole un-toasted almonds - halved lengthways and finely shredded - leave to one side.

75g (3ozs.) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
50g (2ozs.) soft butter
25g (1oz.) ground almonds
50g (2 ozs.) caster sugar
1 egg (medium or large)
2 tblspns. milk
50g (2ozs.) diced Bramley apple

1.  Sift flour add baking powder
2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the apple)
3. Beat until smooth.
4. Fold in the apple then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.
5. Arrange the prunes over the mixture then fork the streusel topping over them, and finally sprinkle the almonds evenly over the surface.
6. Place cake in centre of oven and bake for approx. 1 hr.  Remove it from the oven and leave in the tin for at least 30 mins before turning it out.
7. Sift icing sugar over the top before serving.

Friday, 7 November 2014

No-Bake Easy Cheesecake - with gelatine

250g plain sweet biscuits
125g melted butter
375g cream cheese
zest of 2 limes
2 tsps vanilla
1/3 cup of lime juice
400g condensed milk
10g sachet of gelatine

Springform tin - 20cm. greased

1. Crush the biscuits in your food processor and add the butter - mix well.  Using half of this, press firmly into the tin base, and with the other half, press (using the side of a glass) into the sides of the tin.  Refrigerate for 20 mins.

2. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, add the vanilla and zest and mix well.

3. Sprinkle the gelatine  over the mixture and gradually add the condensed milk and lime juice - beating until smooth.

4. Pour into the tin and refrigerate for approx. 4 hrs. (minimum) but preferably overnight.
Decorate with lime zest over the top.

This recipe was created by Jennifer Cheung for KIDSPOT

Friday, 31 October 2014

Monday, 27 October 2014

Almond Sponge Cake (with sunflower oil) - very easy and quick

Oven: 350 deg. F
2 eggs (medium)
just a little less than 1 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup of milk - semi-skimmed is fine
1/3 cup of sunflower oil
3/4 cup of self-raising flour (or plain flour plus 3/4 tsp. baking powder)
1/4 cup of ground almonds
few drops of vanilla, and almond essence.

(can add: large handful of sultanas or sour dried cherries -  dredged with some of the flour)

1. Beat the eggs and sugar together well.
2. Add the milk - beat.
3. Add the oil - beat.
4. Add the flour and ground almonds. Stir in the essences and combine well but dont overbeat.
5. Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 30 - 40 mins. - approx.

Test the center with a skewer to make sure it's cooked through.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Raspberry Bakewell Fairy Cakes

Ingredients: makes about 12
Oven: 160/170 deg.C
120/30 g. ground almonds
approx. 10g of dessicated coconut - making the amount  up to 140g.

140g softened butter  - or Flora and butter
140g golden caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Raspberry Jam
Paper Muffin cases plus tin.

1. In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients together.  Dont overbeat.
If the batter looks a little heavy, beat in a  little slightly cooled boiled water, until the right consistency is reached.  
2. About half fill the paper cases with batter, leaving about a teaspoon of batter in the bowl, to top each cake.  
3. Place a small 'dollop' of jam (use a teaspoon and your finger :) ) on top of each cake, and place approx. a teaspoonful of the remaining batter on top of the jam.  A blob of batter is fine, as long as the jam is mostly covered. 

Dont overfill the paper cases.

Bake for 20 minutes - plus extra time if necessary.  
Bake until the cakes have risen, and beginning to become golden.  
Test with a skewer to see if cooked through.  

175g softened butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons of milk and/or lemon juice - (lemon juice is good against the sweetness).
350g icing sugar - sifted

I made a fairly thin glaze, which you can pour/spread on to the top of each cake.  However, I find the cakes store better (in an airtight tin), without the icing/glaze, but they are lovely with the glaze poured over just before serving.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Fruit Loaf (easy and delicious)

Oven: 180/90 :  325 :  Gas 3
Ingredients and Instructions:
2 cups of dried fruit - sultanas and raisins - - - can also use apricots, dates, currants - any good combination of dried fruits - roughly chop larger pieces
1 cup of hot black tea
1 cup of sugar - Demerara is good
Soak the fruit overnight in the sugar and hot tea - (stir until the sugar dissolves.)

The next morning, (or later is fine), stir the fruit then add:
1 beaten egg - medium or large  
2 cups of self-raising flour
Mix well together with a wooden spoon and pour into a greased loaf tin and bake for
approx. 50 mins.
Test with a skewer to make sure it's cooked all the way through.

Delicious! - - sliced and spread with butter
Store in a lidded cake tin - it will keep well for a good week - (or a bad one :) )

Monday, 15 September 2014

Rice Pud as loved by Lytton Strachey - The Bloomsbury Group

4 ozs. of pudding rice (or Arborio)
1.1/2pts. whole milk
2 ozs. butter
4 eggs - beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large tablespoons of (moist?) sugar
flavouring to taste

"Strew the rice very gently in the above proportion of new milk, and when it is tender pour it into a basin, pour in the butter and let it stand to cool, then beat the eggs, add these to the rice with the sugar, salt and any flavouring that may be approved, such as nutmeg, powdered cinnamon, grated lemon peel, essence of bitter almonds or vanilla.  When all is well stirred, pour the pudding into a buttered basin, tie it down with a clean cloth, plunge it into boiling water , and boil for 1.1/4 hours.  Sufficient for 3 to 6 persons."

This recipe is originally from Mrs. Beaton's Book of Household Management dated 1895.

I think the up-to-date version would be to put all the ingredients into a buttered dish and place in a 'medium' oven until lovely, soft and creamy.

Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) - writer and critic - founder of The Bloomsbury Group

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Mushroom Burgers

Ingredients - for about 6 small patties or 3 bigger ones.
3 cups of chopped mushrooms (I used white capped ones, but chestnut would be good)
1/2 cup of finely chopped onions  (echalottes are good)
4 - 6 cloves of minced garlic
2/3 cup of porridge oats
1/3 cup of grated parmesan
2/3 - 3/4 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 to 1 tsp. of dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Sunflower/Olive oil and knob of butter for sauteeing

1. Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic until soft.
2. Mix the mushrooms with the oats, paremesan, egg and seasonings.
3. Add the breadcrumbs until you have a mixture that is 'right' - sorry cant be more precise - but you'll know what I mean :)

Pic doesn't exactly look appetising, but burger does taste really good.
4. Shape into patties (wet or dry hands will do).
5. Melt the butter and oil together, and place the patties carefully in.  Brown on each side - turning over carefully.

Delicious served on half burger bun, bread, toast and a fried egg on top.  Yum.

Recipe originally from