Archive of ‘recipes’ category

Almond and Berry Loaf

Nothing perks up an afternoon like a good old mug of tea and, of course, a piece of cake. We added some yummy summer berries to this classic almond loaf and topped with an amazing bright pink berry glaze and it’s delicious. But don’t just take our word for it, why not try it for yourself? Just don’t forget to pop the kettle on! Almond Berry Loaf cake

50g raspberries
120g blueberries
180g caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
200g butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
200g ground almonds
40g flour
3 tbsp berry compote
100g icing sugar

– Rinse berries under cold water then add them to a heavy bottomed saucepan and coat in the sugar and squeeze in the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and then take off the heat and strain to remove the broken berries. Turn down the heat and reduce the compote until it’s nice and thick – about 10 minutes.

- Pour into a sterilised jar, ready to use for the almond loaf and berry icing. Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 2 and line and grease a 1lb loaf tin. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition.
– Next, mix in the eggs, followed by the ground almonds. Stop mixing as soon as soon as the almonds are fully incorporated.

- Add the mixture to the loaf tin and smooth the top with a knife, spoon blobs of cooled berry compote all over the top and then use a toothpick to swirl the compote in with the loaf mixture to create a marble effect. Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the icing by adding the compote to icing sugar and mixing vigorously until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the loaf once cooled.

Recipe and and photography by Emine Hassan

Homemade Mulled Wine

Homemade Mulled Wine

From mince pies to mulled wine, the festive season wouldn’t be complete without some traditional treats. One of the best things about the Christmas period is enjoying a steamy cup full of mulled wine that’s both warming and spicy. There’s something special about this beverage and it cooks up an image of cosy firesides and twinkling fairy lights; it’s a celebration of everything festive.

The term ‘mulled’ means to be heated and spiced and its origins can be traced to the Roman Empire where it was regarded as medicinal with healing properties. The Romans heated quality wine with herbs and spices to create an aromatic potion and named it the Hippocras. Later it featured in Charles Dickens’ work of A Christmas Carol where there is reference to a cup of Smoking Bishop, which is believed to be made using port. Now the festive tipple is an international tradition and the recipe is adapted across different parts of Europe with additional spices.

Mulled wine doesn’t just have to be made using wine, non-alcoholic versions can be brewed. Below is a recipe that will be sure to warm your cockles and ignite your senses; it’s rich in spices and free from alcoholic ingredients. Merry Christmas!

You will need:
2 litres of grape juice
2 cups of water
1 cup of sugar
2 dozen cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 orange zest
1 lemon zest
3 squeezed lemons

Step 1: First heat the water and add sugar, cloves, cinnamon and lemon zest.

Step 2: Boil for five minutes. Once the ingredients have boiled, simmer for a further five minutes.

Step 3: Now strain the liquid, add the lemon juice and continue to heat.

Step 4: Finally, add the grape juice and keep it on a low heat for another five minutes.

Step 5: Once it’s as warm as you like, serve into cups and enjoy.

Recipe by Laura Dunham

Double Chocolate Dulce De Leche Cookies

Whilst most of us try to eat a relatively healthy diet, every now and then you just need something that is so bad that it’s amazingly good. These Double Chocolate Dulce De Leche Cookies will do just the trick and they’re not too difficult to make…

You will need:
200g plain flour
240g bread flour
40g cocoa powder
1 ¼ baking soda
1 ½ baking powder
1 ½ sea salt
284g unsalted butter
284g light brown sugar
225g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
250g milk chocolate roughly chopped
250g dark chocolate roughly chopped
200g brazil nuts, skin on and roughly chopped
1 jar dulce de leche (approx. 400g)

- Measure out the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder into a bowl and plump the mixture up with a fork.

- Place the sugars and butter into a freestanding mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; a regular bowl with electric whisk works just as well. Beat the two together on high speed for five minutes, until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, mixing thoroughly after each addition, followed by the vanilla extract.

- On low speed, slowly pour in the dry ingredients and mix until everything is just combined – do not over mix! Add all of the chocolate and chopped nuts and mix until evenly distributed.

- Tightly wrap the dough in cling film and leave to set in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours.

- Put a square of baking paper over a plate. Place teaspoon dollops of dulce de leche onto the baking paper using two teaspoons to make a rounded dollop. Place in the freezer to harden, ready for the cookies.

- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Roll the dough into 50 gram balls, press your finger into half of the balls to create a dip and take a dollop of frozen dulce de leche and place in the middle. Top it with another 50 gram ball of dough and press together to enclose the dulce de leche.

- Place on a lined baking sheet 3 inches apart. At this point, you can place the balls back in the fridge to re-chill. Bake for 18 minutes, rotating the cookies half way through.

- Leave to cool on the baking sheets for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack – serve warm. Cookies last for three days if kept covered. Raw cookie dough can kept in the freezer for up to one month.

Recipe and Photography by Em

Apple Butter Hand Pies

These intensely buttery and flaky hand pies are like a posh man’s McDonalds apple pie. If you read the recipe ahead and bake them over two days though, they can be enjoyed by anyone. And they darn well should be, because nobody should be subjected to applesauce that tastes like wall glue.

Apple Butter Hand Pies

Apple Butter
14-16 Braeburn or Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored & sliced into chunks
1 cup (275ml) apple juice
2 tbsp brandy
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Pie Dough
2 ½ cups (290g) plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup (230g) cold, cubed butter
¼ / ½ cup (around 100ml) cup cold water plus extra for brushing
½ cup (110g) sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Notes: as the apples are cooked down, it doesn’t matter which apples you choose for this recipe, just go for the ones that you believe have the best flavour.

Apple Butter Hand Pies


1. Put the flour, sugar, salt and cubed butter in a food processor and pulse until breadcrumbs form. Before it forms a ball, slowly add the water – add a little extra if it feels dry, pulse until dough forms. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes, preferably overnight.    

2. Make the filling. Combine all ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir every so often. The apples will start to break down and will eventually reach a saucy consistency. Cook for 45 minutes and mash up unbroken pieces of apple. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 2 hours until the sauce is much darker, thicker and half the amount. Transfer to a jar and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate, will last there for 1 month or up to 6 months in the freezer.   

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out a ¼ inch thick. Take a 4/5 inch cookie cutter and cut out as many rounds as you can, you should have about 16. Place the rounds on a baking tray, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spoon 1 ½ teaspoons of apple butter in the centre of half the rounds, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch gap between the edges of the pastry. Brush water around the edges of rounds and place another round on top. Gently seal the dough with your fingers and create a cross in the centre using a knife. Repeat with the rest of the rounds. Place back on baking sheet, cover and and refrigerate for 30 minutes.   

4. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Brush pies with water and then sprinkle with cinnamon before baking. Bake for 22 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool or eat warm, lasts for 3 months in the freezer or 4 days at room temperature.

Apple Butter Hand Pies finished

Recipe and photography by Emine Hassan

Cocktail Hour

Whilst summer has been a little fleeting of late, this weekend is set to be a scorcher. Now that the British Isles will be graced with blazing hot, sunburn-worthy sunshine, we should definitely make the most of the weather.

With a bank holiday on the horizon and the potential (or vain hope?) for more sun-drenched days ahead, here are some cocktail recipes which are full of summer flavours and ingredients. These quick and easy concoctions will upgrade even the most impromptu of garden parties, barbecues or picnics in the park.

Cucumber Gin Cocktail

The Summer Gimlet
This cocktail is a modern variation on the traditional gimlet, a mixture of equal parts lime juice and gin which is said to have been used by the Royal Navy as a way to combat scurvy. There is nothing medicinal about this reincarnation, which combines delicately fragrant elderflower with refreshing mint and cucumber. It looks oh so pretty in the glass and tastes of pure essence of summer. Though it packs a serious punch!

50 ml gin
25 ml St. Germain elderflower liqueur
15 ml lime juice
3 cucumber slices
Handful fresh mint

In a cocktail shaker, muddle two cucumber slices with the mint until nicely bruised. A pestle or small rolling pin does the job nicely. Add the gin, St Germain, lime juice and a handful of crushed ice. Shake well before pouring through a sieve into an awaiting martini glass. Garnish with the remaining slice of cucumber.

Extra Step: Infuse your gin with cucumber for a deeper flavour. Simply peel half a small cucumber (the skin can taste bitter), scoop out the seeds from the middle and cut into small cubes. Leave these to steep in 200ml of your preferred gin for as long as possible. Pre-chill the glasses for extra brownie points from cocktail connoisseurs.

pomegranate & prosecco cocktail

Pomegranate and Prosecco
Pomegranate is a delicious ingredient with a vibrant colour which looks great in cocktails. The following recipe couldn’t be simpler. Or tastier.

20 ml pomegranate juice
10 ml sugar syrup (you can buy this in most supermarkets or make your own by heating
equal parts sugar and water until fully dissolved)
125 ml Prosecco

Mix together pomegranate juice and sugar syrup in a champagne flute. Top up with ice-cold
Prosecco. Drink. Easy peasy!

Extra step: If you’re feeling fancy, first rub the rim of the glass with a wedge of lime and then dip incaster sugar.

Raspberry slushie
Boozy Raspberry and Orange Popsicle

The humble ice lolly is not simply a chunk of flavoured ice on a stick. It is that, but it also evokes childhood memories of endless summer days, paddling pools and bare feet on grass. In adulthood, arguably the best way to enjoy this nostalgic treat is to corrupt it with a little tequila.

Ingredients (makes four):
A popsicle mould
10 raspberries
30 ml water
50 ml cherry juice
20 ml tequila
20 ml Cointreau
10 ml sugar syrup
150 ml orange juice

Blend together the raspberries, water, cherry juice and tequila in a blender. Sieve into a jug (you should have around 120 ml liquid after this) and distribute evenly between four moulds. Next, mix the Cointreau, sugar syrup and orange juice in a jug and top up your moulds. Measure the alcohol carefully as too much will prevent your popsicles from freezing. Leave to freeze for at least two hours.

Extra step: If you’re a child of the nineties, you may be more interested in slushies than ice lollies. To make your own, simply pop your lolly into a martini glass, leave to melt ever so slightly and crush with a fork. A childhood favourite, reimagined.

Recipe and photography: Kate MacCarthy

Lemon and Gin Drizzle Cake

soft, fluffy lemon drizzle seems like a suitably summery cake. One to be enjoyed, perhaps, with afternoon tea on the lawn in some genteel, fantasy Oscar Wilde landThe only thing that could improve a lemon drizzle would be the addition of a substantial quantity of gin, and so here is a recipe for just such a cakeAfter all, it’s what Oscar would have wanted…



The following recipe is 
quicksimple and deca
dently boozy. It goes from mixing bowl to cake stand in less than an hour and makes a light, delicate sponge. We don’t think you can get drunk on cake, but this one is strictly adults only.


3 large eggs

200 g butter (softened)

200 g caster sugar

2 lemons

150 ml (!) gin

100 g granulated sugar


Preheat the oven to 180 °C (fan). Cream together the butter and sugar. Next, crack in the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture between each addition. Add the flour and mix well. Add the zest of two lemons and the juice of one, and finally 75 ml of gin. 

Mix again, then tip into a greased and lined loaf tin, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes and cover with tin foil if the top is browning too much.

To make the drizzle, gently heat 75 ml gin, 100 g granulated sugar and the juice of one lemon in a pan until dissolved.

Once the cake is out of the oven, use a toothpick or skewer to evenly cover the cake with tiny holes which reach to the bottom of the tin. Carefully pour over the drizzle while the cake is still warm, aiming for an even distribution.

Leave to cool in the tin for around half an hour and then tuck in. Gin and tonic accompaniment is optional, but recommended.

Recipe and photography by Kate MacCarthy


Easter Egg Nests

Next to Christmas, Easter is the most food-oriented holiday of the year. If you want a break from all of the usual Easter eggs you snack on over the weekend, why not take a stab at these tasty Easter Egg Nests?
Makes 4
2 tbsp golden syrup
56g butter
2 dsp brown sugar
4 large handfuls of cornflakes
1 tbsp peanuts
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp dried pineapple 
1 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp dessicated coconuts
Mini chocolate eggs

- Put the golden syrup, butter and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then change from a medium to a low heat and boil for 1 min
- Add the syrup to the cornflakes and mix, make sure that they are all covered in a sticky layer
- Add the coconut flakes, dessicated coconut, raisins, dried pineapple and peanuts and mix
- Press down the mixture in cupcake cases, press the mixture down in the middle and sprinkle a little dessicated coconut over each ‘nest’ and place a mini chocolate egg in each
- Ready to eat!

Valentine Tarts

Valentine’s Day is pending and there is no doubt that there is no better opportunity to use a bit of creativity and show your love for someone special! For those who like the cute, crafty and sweet things, try making your special someone peanut butter chocolate spread Valentine tarts. Decorated with heart-like strawberries on some pretty paper will make a very pretty edible gift!

225g Butter crust pastry mix
Jar chocolate spread (can be any but we recommend Nutella)
Jar peanut butter
Strawberries (cut in half)
Edible gold spray
-       Heat oven 180C
-       Make the pastry as the packet manufacturer instructs
-       Then sprinkle the surface with flour and roll out the pastry so that it is quite thinly but not too thin!
-       Use heart pastry cutter to cut out the tarts then use your thumb and make a deeper imprint as deep as you would a jam tart and fill each case with baking paper and rice to hold in place
-       Put in the oven for 20mins
-       Spread the base thickly with peanut butter then layer on top the yummy chocolate spread
-       Bake extra 10mins or until crust is golden
-       Take out the oven and allow to cool
-       Spray gold and serve with cut strawberries and cream

By Melodie Walter

Perfect Pancakes

It’s almost one of your favourite days of the year and, no, we don’t mean Valentine’s Day. Before we even get to that there’s Shrove Tuesday, or as we prefer to call it, Pancake Day! There are hundreds of different ways to spice up your pancakes to make them a little different to last year’s. Here’s what we’ll be making on the 12th…


110g plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
½ pint of milk (can use half water and half milk)
Lotus caramelised biscuit spread
Lotus caramelised biscuits
4 bananas (chopped)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp brown sugar
Caramel sauce (optional)
-       Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl; add the egg
-       Add ¼ of the milk and stir carefully with a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until it is smooth and then let it stand for 15mins
-       Slowly add and beat together the rest of the milk and then use an egg whisk to get air into the mixture
-       Into a small pan add a dessert spoon of oil and heat until you can see steam rising faintly, pour the mixture on to the pan so that it covers the whole area in a thin layer
-       Cook for 2mins each side
-       To make the filling you will need the bananas, vanilla extract, water, brown sugar and 2 healthy dollops of biscuit spread
-       Heat everything in a pan apart from the bananas on a low to medium heat until the sauce starts to sizzle
-       Add the bananas and caramelise them, add filling to pancakes, sprinkle with crushed Lotus biscuits and serve with vanilla ice-cream 

By Melodie Walter

Bacon and Chestnut Bites

Delicious bacon, apricot and chestnut bites – a great way of using all your Christmas Day leftovers and incredibly moreish too!

7-8 rashers of bacon
1 medium onion
170g cooked chestnuts (chopped) or use tinned or puréed chestnuts
1 tsp sage (dry or fresh)
3 dried apricots (chopped)
60g oatmeal or fine breadcrumbs
1 egg (beaten)
Cranberry sauce

* Heat oven to 200C
* Melt butter in pan and fry onions and bacon until soft
* Transfer to bowl
* Mix in sage, oatmeal/breadcrumbs, seasoning, apricots and chestnuts
* Bind with beaten egg to give a fairly moist consistency
* Form mixture into desired shapes, brush with any leftover egg and crisp breadcrumbs (if you have any)
* Bake in the oven for approx. 15 mins or until crisp and golden brown
* Dip in cranberry sauce – yum!
By Melodie Walter

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