Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Another wonderful way to use homemade, or even a bought jar of good quality mincemeat, is a Mincemeat and Apple Jalousie. This dessert is really easy to make and a great way to use up leftover mincemeat.

If you make this now, say for recipe testing purposes, you may well find you are a Mincemeat and Apple Jalousie convert! I have slightly adapted the recipe - the baking times in the original recipe, I found, were too short to cook the apples. Bake at 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 for approximately 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4 for another 10-15 minutes, checking with a skewer the apple is cooked to your liking.

Next year on Christmas Day, guests who aren't too keen on Christmas Pudding, or would like something a little lighter, will be more than delighted to have a slice of this dessert with either cream poured over, as I did, or serve with the Cognac Creme Anglaise as suggested by Rick Stein, in Recipes for the Weekend, Weekend Telegraph.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gold Star Sparklers for Christmas

The Last Detail have supplied Gold Star sparklers to adorn my little shot glasses. I have filled these with buttery apple puree, mincemeat, and tiny scoops of ice cream decorated with gold sugar beads.

Another great way to use the sparklers is to place one in each cupcake. My cupcakes are made with fresh ginger, ground ginger, crystallised ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. A lemon icing is poured over, then decorated with a few pieces of crystallised ginger.

How about placing a Gold Star sparkler into the Christmas Pudding - light the sparkler, make your entrance and bring to the table, your guests will love it! This would be a great alternative to the traditional way of pouring Brandy over your Christmas Pudding and lighting it. Or even better, do both!

The Last Detail sell a selection of sparklers for special occasions.

Thank you Victoria and The Last Detail.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


It doesn't seem that long ago since I posted last years Christmas cake and yet here we are again............

Baby blue fondant icing covers the main cake and simple white snowflakes adorn the top. A sprinkling of snow white magic sparkles and silver hologram glitter. Wired ribbon to match the snowflakes and silver beads to add some Christmas bling.

I thought I would delve into the archives and put the Christmas cakes from other years alongside this posting for you to see. They are all very simple yet effective.

Christmas Cake December 2008.

Iced Christmas Cake 2007 (my favourite to date). This cake has served me well and this year is the first photograph on the first page of Google Images. Also on the top row of Google Images is the very same cake called 'A Slice of Iced Christmas Cake'.

Iced Christmas Star Cake 2006.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I can't resist making this at least once a year and somehow this dessert seems very appropriate for the festive season especially if you, like me, enjoy Baileys.

Cheesecake doesn't come much easier than this recipe, it's taken from the back of a Philadelphia Cream Cheese pack - too many years ago to remember.

The wonderful thing about this particular recipe is the ease with which it is made and definitely no cooking skills are required here, also it is a no bake recipe. Another positive, it isn't cloying which can be a characteristic of many cheesecake recipes. This definitely benefits from an overnight chill in the fridge and eaten the next day to give the flavours a chance to mingle and develop.
Mine, didn't manage to benefit from an overnight stay in the fridge. If you do let it sit in the fridge overnight the air bubbles in the cheesecake layer will disappear.

Serves: 10 people

A 20cm or 22cm springform cake tin. Grease the base. Put to chill until required.

For the base you will need: 225g digestive biscuit crumbs, 75g melted butter, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.

Filling: 1 packet lemon jelly (dissolve in 150ml boiling water, allow to cool), 2 x 225 packs Philadelphia (softened at room temperature), 150g caster sugar, 4 tablespoons of Baileys (or to taste), 100ml milk (I use semi-skimmed), 100ml whipping cream (lightly whipped).

1. Mix the biscuit crumbs, butter and cocoa. Press into the base of a buttered springform cake tin. Put to chill until required.
2. Beat the Philadelphia until smooth, Add the sugar, Baileys, milk and dissolved and cooled jelly. Blend well. Fold in the cream.
3. Pour onto the prepared crumb base and chill until firm and set.
4. Decorate.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

BBC Good Food Show Birmingham

The Jamie Oliver stand displaying all of his wonderful kitchen goodies.

Lavazza have just launched a new coffee machine, it is very sleekly designed and comes in a range of bright colours.

The Italian Fields stand had a wonderful display of Parmesan Cheese, Prosciutto, Limoncello just to name a few. My husband bought a piece of prosciutto from here, but at the moment I am still trying to figure out how he is going to carve wafer thin slices from it!

On the Kenwood stand, we were given a very informed demonstration of the Kenwood Cooking Chef , which is their latest product. On the left of the photograph is chef/demonstrator Paul Brodel (you may recognize him from the shopping channels) and on the right is Kenwood's Development Chef.

The above is only a taster of the many interesting stands we came across. I have been to the Good Food Show in Birmingham almost every year since the show first launched and it gets better every year, they always bring something new to the show for us. It's a great day out and lots of fun.

I spent a wonderful day with my husband here courtesy of Ginny Braynsmith from BBC Haymarket Exhibitions. Thank you Ginny.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Unearthed Panettone

Abbie who represents Unearthed sent me their range of panettone to try and as I love panettone on its own, with a cup of coffee or in panettone bread and butter pudding, I think she chose well!

I am always drawn firstly to the fragrance, then the soft texture, followed closely by the fruit, and not forgetting I love the paper it's baked in too.

Classic Panettone, this was the first one to be opened and I decided to eat this alongside a freshly made coffee latte, (because the milk knew I was about to photograph the latte, it decided not to foam very well!). The Classic Panettone didn't disappoint and I really enjoyed this. The single Classic Panettone is only available in Waitrose Coffee Shops, as is the single Double Choc Panettone.

Panettone is always a coffee shop favourite of mine and has the added advantage that they are individually wrapped.

For our enjoyment Unearthed sell a Twin Pack Choc Chip Panettone and also a Twin Pack Classic Panettone with Sugar Nibs in Waitrose Stores.

A recipe for Panettone Summer Fruit Pudding on the website caught my eye, what a great idea - simply take a classic panettone and scrape out the middle (I already like this recipe because it means I can eat some of the panettone whilst I am making the dessert), fill the centre with blackberries and serve with custard.
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