Category Christmas

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. This is the inaugural bake using a new pie tin from John Lewis (the Silverwood Bakeware range). This excellent tin is so adaptable […]

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……The actual proportions are only a guideline, so add more or less depending on what you have to hand. It can be made even speedier using bought […]

Whole ham with chilli, marmalade and rum glaze

I adore hams, not just around Christmas and the New Year, but at any time of the year. Ham is wonderful eaten hot as the key component of a roast dinner, but for me it is at its best when sliced (thickly!) and served with some good bread, cheese, pickled shallots and a few chutneys: […]

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. This is my spiced fruit cake, an ajusted-over-the-decades recipe, but instead of the almonds on top, this year I have gone for a layer of marzipan and […]

No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake

This is an incredibly simple gingerbread cake: 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. The cake takes literally moments to […]

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! Measurements not essential here! For pastries such as these, whether sweet or savoury, I confess that I do not measure out the filling ingredients; I just sprinkle over enough to give a light covering […]

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: I simply increased […]

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. Honeycomb is fabulous eaten just as it comes, sprinkled over ice cream, added to a rocky road, used to […]

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. These are also easy […]

Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake

Deeply chocolatey, with the sharp citrus kick of candied orange and a warming hint of spice work together very well in this easy, no fuss cake. Sticky bundts! This is my first ever bundt, so I feel I am coming very late to the bundt party that has been something of a craze for the past […]

Orange & vanilla rum babas

Surely it is time for a full-on revival of these fabulous 1970s dessert trolley staples? Rum babas should have a beautifully light texture, a rich buttery flavour and a real adult kick of indulgence from the rum. They are, I think, a winning end to any meal, a great sweet treat as part of an Afternoon Tea […]

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! I have made the apple and cinnamon Kouign-Amann before, using a little bit […]

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?! Looking online, it is little surprise that macaron snowmen and other quirky […]

Glazed Fruit & nut vegan Christmas cake

A vegan fruit cake for a recent Clandestine Cake Club event, with the theme “A vegan Christmas”: and what an exciting theme it was and a great way to research an area of baking that is not often in my repertoire. I will freely admit that I haven’t made a vegan cake before but I […]

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! This version is not as sickly sweet as some baklavas can be: sweet, yes, but not to the level that you need to ring the dentist after a couple […]

Stilton, pear & piccalilli pork pies

This one of my favourite pork pies and it goes down especially well at Christmas: pear, Stilton and piccalilli are so good for each other anyhow as part of a cheese board or light snack, and they work particularly wonderfully in a pie with a crisp, melt-in-the-mouth pastry. A pork pie confession! Growing up near […]

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! Flavour and texture are crucial in any biscotti: the taste should certainly pack a real punch as you eat […]

A very special 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, not just at Christmas. Whilst I adore marzipan and Royal icing, […]

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. There are so […]

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 […]

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! The filling is a soft white chocolate ganache, mixed with a fresh raspberry purée and pieces of dried raspberry. A little spiced port reduction (below) is added to the ganache before being coated in dark tempered chocolate. Spiced […]

Caramelised Orange & Chocolate Roulade

An indulgently chocolatey dessert – and yet one that is not too sweet – with the addition of caramelised oranges to the filling and for decoration. This recipe is a tweak on many chocolate roulades that are “out there”. Caramelised oranges: Some of the intensely orangey syrup that is produced while the oranges cook is […]