You know how it is, you haven’t had time to bake a Christmas cake but you don’t want a shop brought one but its far too late to make a cake.  Wrong.  With this easy to bake recipe this moist fruit  cake will be the centerpiece of your Christmas tea spread.  This cake can even be left until the day before to cook. Ingredients 1 x 400g (approximately) jar luxury mincemeat 50g glace cherries, quartered 175g dried mixed fruit 225g self-raising flour 3 level teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1½ level teaspoons mixed spice 150g spreadable butter 150g dark… View Post

I love mince pies.  They just had to be my favourite part of Christmas.  I usually start making them mid November and make at least once batch a week.  I also make them as gifts for friends.  I think as you get older a festive gift of food is so much nicer.  To make my mince pies I use my Nan’s pastry recipe which is just perfect.  She was an amazing sweet pastry cook and everyone I know loved her mince pies.  Mine are good but will never taste like hers! To make the mincemeat and marzipan slice I have… View Post

I’m not sure if you have a starter or not with your Christmas lunch but even if you don’t this classic and simple to make prawn cocktail is a lovely addition to any meal or as a main for a light lunch.  This recipe is 5 simple ingredients: Pre cooked prawns Lettuce Mayonnaise Tomato ketchup Lemon wedges No cooking is required which makes this starter an ideal recipe for the kids to make when you are busy cooking the turkey and all the trimmings.  If you have purchased frozen prawns please make sure they are thoroughly defrosted before eating.  They… View Post

Christmas isn’t Christmas without homemade mince pies. Flaky buttery sweet pastry encasing rich mincemeat full to the brim with rich decadent fruits and that lovely sticky sauce. If you’re lucky it will also have a little alcohol, brandy for example, mixed in as well. My Grandmother was a tremendous sweet pastry cook. He pastry was to die for. A quite simple yet gorgeous tasting rough puff pastry recipe. A recipe I use from her hand written recipe book dating back to the 1930’s. In our house from about now there at least 1 batch (24) mince pies cooked every week.… View Post

Everyone loves an easy dessert.  One that is quick to make but looks and tastes like you have taken forever to make.  This is a cheat’s chocolate and fresh raspberry trifle with no cooking or baking involved. Chocolate roll or chocolate cake 200g of dark chocolate Punnet of raspberries Seedless raspberry jam 250g Mascarpone cheese 400g tinned custard 275ml double cream Cut the chocolate cake in to slices and spread with the raspberry jam then place them in to a trifle dish.  Sprinkle over the raspberries. Break up dark chocolate and melt all apart from 1 chunk.  Whilst the chocolate… View Post

December can be such a drag.  Christmas seems so close yet you have so many thuings that you feel you need to do to celebrate and also the list of things you wanted to do this year has hardly been dented.  The pressure, 99% of the time comes from ourselves and by us believing that we should do this, do that, do whatever or the whole of Christmas will be ruined. Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we keep putting unrealistic pressures upon ourselves just because somebody decided Christmas isn’t Christmas without X,Y, Z and a sprinkling… View Post

Christmas is getting more expensive and extravagant each year; people compete with their Christmas trees,, parties, cakes, lights and decorations. However, at the same time, people are increasingly opting for personalised, handmade, bespoke gifts, gifts which are locally sourced, exclusive and bought or made with love and some thought. It seems more than ever that there are more people to buy for as family grow or blend, new partners appear, children and grandchildren, step-families, then there are the teachers you have to consider – it’s almost worth getting one of those Teacher jobs for the number of presents they get.… View Post

Early last year I wrote about 25 things I had learnt in life.  Over the past 21 months so much has happened in life and I can honestly say there is so much more that I have learnt.  The number of friends you have doesn’t matter. It is the quality of the friends you have that counts. There is no such thing as drinking too much tea. Keeping plants alive is hard. Sometimes it’s necessary to swallow your pride and ask for help. Nothing ever happens if you stay in your comfort zone. There is no greater feeling than going on… View Post