- 110g (4oz) plain flour
- 175ml (6fl oz) water
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 75g (3oz) butter, chopped
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- 2 red onions, finely sliced
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp soft brown sugar
- 200g (7oz) soft goat’s cheese
- 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) whipping or double cream
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200ºC, fan 180ºC. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Sift the flour onto a piece of folded and opened out parchment paper.
- In a saucepan, heat the water, salt and butter until the butter has just melted. Bring just to the boil, remove from the heat and tip in the flour at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon.
- Beat until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan to form a ball, about 20 seconds. Return the pan to the stove and beat for half a minute on a very low heat. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating hard between each addition. Beat the last egg in a bowl with a fork and add a little at a time. You may not need all the egg. When enough egg has been added, the dough will be shiny and soft enough to fall from the spoon.
- Pipe the pastry mix onto the baking paper in small mounds well-spaced apart. Dip your finger in cold water and press lightly on the top of each to ensure they are even and not pointy on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until well risen and golden. Remove from the oven and pierce the side of each bun with a sharp knife to allow the steam to escape. Return to the oven for 2 minutes to crisp up and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the red onion relish. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions, thyme, seasoning and fry over a gentle heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, turn up the heat and bubble for 2-3 minutes or until caramelised. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
- Whip the cream and gently fold in the goat’s cheese, season with black pepper.
- To serve, spoon the creamed goats cheese into a piping bag, pipe a spoonful of the mix into the middle of each choux bun. Top with a little spoonful of the relish and then serve immediately.
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- groundnut oil, or vegetable oil
- 400 g Maris Piper potatoes
- 250 g cauliflower
- 125 g frozen peas
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
- 1 fresh green chilli
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ a lemon, juice from
- ½ bunch of fresh coriander
From The Dough:
- 550 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ajwain seeds, optional
- To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, a good pinch of salt and the ajwain seeds (if using) in a large bowl. Use your fingers to rub in 120ml of oil until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in 150ml of cold water, then bring it together with your hands into a rough dough, adding a splash more water, if needed. Place in a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes into roughly 2.5cm chunks, then break the cauliflower into florets so they’re roughly the same size. Add the potatoes to a large pan of boiling salted water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender, adding the cauliflower after 3 minutes. Add the peas for the final minute, then drain.
- Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, then peel and finely grate the ginger. Deseed and finely chop the chilli. Heat a lug of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, then add the cumin and onion. Fry for 8 minutes, or until softened but not coloured, stir in the garlic, ginger and chilli, then fry for a further few minutes. Bash the fennel seeds to a fine powder and add to the pan along with the garam masala and ground coriander. Mix well.
- Stir the cooked veg into the pan and crush gently with a potato masher – don’t overdo it: you want a fairly chunky mixture. Squeeze in the lemon juice and season to taste. Leave to cool, then pick, finely chop and stir in the coriander leaves.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Lightly grease a large baking tray with oil.
- On a flour-dusted surface, halve the dough and roll out each portion to about 3cm thick. Using a 7cm pastry cutter, stamp out as many circles as you can, then roll into rounds, roughly ½cm thick and 18cm in diameter. Cut each round in half, then brush the straight edges with a little water. Roll into a cone shape, bringing the straight edges together and pressing lightly to seal. Spoon in the filling, brush the exposed dough with a little water, then fold over and press to seal.
- Place onto the prepared baking tray, then repeat with the remaining ingredients, keeping the samosas covered with a damp tea towel as you go. Brush with a little oil and place in the hot oven for around 45 minutes, or until golden and piping hot through. Serve straight away with mango chutney.
- 350g (12 1/2oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- 350ml (12 1/2fl oz) double cream
- 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- edible glitter (optional)
- grated or melted white chocolate (optional)
- silver balls (optional)
- hundreds and thousands (optional)
- Melt the chocolate by crumbling it into a glass bowl and setting it over a pan of simmering water, without the bowl touching the water. Stir until all of the chocolate has melted. Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a microwave on a low power.
- Add the cream and cinnamon to a pan and place on a medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the salt and turn the heat off.
- Slowly add the cream to the chocolate, stirring to incorporate with each addition of cream. Once all of the cream is mixed in, set aside to cool slightly.
- Use baking paper to line a small tray that is at least 1 inch deep. Pour the chocolate mixture into the tray and leave for 4 hours to set at room temperature. After 4 hours, place in the fridge for 5-6 hours until set.
- Use a melon baller or small teaspoon to shape the chocolate into small truffle-sized balls – if the chocolate is too firm and difficult to work with, leave to stand at room temperature to soften slightly before continuing. This can get pretty messy, so it might be an idea to wear an apron when doing this.
- Layout your choice of decorations; such as edible glitter, confetti, grated or melted white chocolate, silver balls or hundreds and thousands. Get the kids to roll the truffles in the various decorations and place the finished products onto a lined tray.
- Once each truffle ball is decorated, gently press a lollipop stick into the middle of each truffle and place in the fridge.
- Stuff the pot with some crumpled up newspaper. Cut a piece of florists foam to fit snugly in the top of the flower pot and disguise the foam with some more decorative paper and ribbons.
- Press the truffle lollipops into the florist foam to create a flower bunch of truffles and give to family and friends as a gift. The truffles will keep in the fridge for up to a week after making.
- 8 baby artichokes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon, juice of
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 handful fresh mint, leaves picked
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Start by preparing the artichokes, peel them back to their pale, light leaves, then halve them and remove the hairy chokes with a teaspoon. Place them in a pan with just enough water to cover them. Add the garlic cloves and a little squeeze of lemon juice and cook until the stalks are tender.
- Drain in a colander, then place the artichokes straight back into the empty pan with 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil and fry for 4 minutes to get a bit of colour on them. When they’re slightly golden, remove from the heat, squeeze in a little lemon juice, add the mint and season carefully to taste.
- Remove 4 artichoke halves from the pan and put to one side, then mash all the rest in the pan, using a fork to squash the garlic out of the skins (throw the skins away).
- Smear across your basic bruschetta, tearing one of the reserved artichoke halves over the top of each. PS It’s also really nice to add a handful of freshly grated Parmesan to the mashed-up artichokes.
- 2 x 395g tins taco mixed beans
- 1 tbsp chipotle chilli and smoked paprika paste
- 20g (3/4oz) coriander, chopped
- 200g (7oz) Cheddar, grated
- 1 x pack 10 mini plain tortilla wraps
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 x 150g pot soured cream
- 2 tbsp chives, snipped
- lime wedges, to serve
- Tip the beans into a bowl. Stir in the chipotle paste, coriander and the cheese. Mash with a potato masher, leaving the mixture quite rough.
- Pop a baking tray into the oven and preheat to gas 1/4, 110°C, fan 90°C. Arrange 5 tortillas on a board and divide the cheesy beans between each one, then top with another tortilla and press together.
- Brush a griddle or frying pan with a little oil and put over a medium-high heat. Cook the tortillas, one at a time, for 1-2 mins each side, until golden and slightly charred. Pop the cooked tortillas onto the baking tray in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remainder.
- Remove the tortillas from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes to let the filling set before cutting each one into 8 wedges. Mix together the soured cream and chives, spoon into a bowl and serve alongside the tortillas with the lime wedges for squeezing over.
- 100g dark chocolate
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 5 tbsp almond milk or coconut milk drink
- 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa, sieved
- 2 large ripe avocados, flesh scooped out
- Set aside 25g chocolate for decoration and break the rest into squares. Melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of shallow, simmering water. Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, almond or coconut milk, ¼ tsp fine salt and the cocoa until smooth.
- In a blender or food processor, whizz the chocolate mixture with the avocado flesh until silky smooth. Divide the mixture between 6 small serving glasses. Chill for at least 3 hrs, or for up to 12 hrs.
- To make the decoration, scrape the edge of the reserved chocolate using a vegetable peeler to make long shards. Store in an airtight container until needed. Scatter over the mousse just before serving.
- 15 chorizo slices
- 30 cocktail sausages
- red pepper houmous
- smoked paprika
- Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C.
- Halve the chorizo slices and wrap around the cocktail sausages, then roast until cooked through.
- Serve with red pepper houmous, dusted with smoked paprika, for dipping.
- 1 kg butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli
- olive oil
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ bunch of fresh sage
- 200 g vac-packed chestnuts
- 30 g Parmesan cheese
- plain flour, for dusting
- 500 g all-butter puff pastry
- 1 large free-range egg
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6.
- Deseed the squash and cut into 8 wedges, then place in a roasting tray and sprinkle over the chilli, drizzle with oil and season. Toss well, spread evenly and roast for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool.
- Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, pick the sage leaves and roughly chop the chestnuts. Finely grate the Parmesan.
- Add a drizzle of oil to a pan and place over a medium heat. Fry the onions for 10 minutes, until soft, then add the garlic, sage and chestnuts. Continue to fry for 3 to 4 minutes, then add to a large bowl.
- Remove the skin from the squash and mash the flesh together with the Parmesan, then season.
- Dust a clean surface with flour and roll your pastry into a 30cm x 45cm rectangle, about 5mm thick and cut into two equal pieces.
- Beat the egg, then brush the longer side of each piece of pastry with the egg. Place your filling down the centre, then fold the pastry over, using egg to seal the edges (press down with a fork).
- Cut each into 8 equal-sized pieces and place on a lined baking tray.
- Brush with the egg and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until crisp and golden.
- 4 egg whites
- 250g caster sugar
- green food colouring gel
- hundreds and thousands
- 12 yellow stars from 1 x tub multi-coloured stars
- Preheat the oven to gas ½, 120°C, fan 100°C and line 2 baking sheets with nonstick baking paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with a hand-held mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add half the sugar, 1-2 tbsp at a time, whisking well between each addition. Mix in the green food colouring, and then add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy.
- Spoon the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe Christmas trees onto the lined baking sheets, sprinkle over a few hundreds and thousands, and then top each tree with a yellow star.
- Bake for 1 hr until the meringues are crisp and dry. Turn the oven off, prop the door open a little and leaves the meringues inside to cool for an hr – this will prevent them from cracking as they cool. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the baking paper.
- 70g (2 3/4oz) plain flour
- 125ml (4fl oz) whole milk
- 50g (2oz) slightly salted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 medium eggs
For the filling:
- 125g (4oz) light cream cheese
- 3 tbsp crème fraîche
- 2 tsp creamed horseradish
- 2 tbsp chopped dill, plus a few extra fronds, to decorate
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- 125g (4oz) smoked salmon, cut into strips
Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a small bowl. Put the milk and butter into a small saucepan and gently heat so the butter melts but the liquid doesn’t bubble. Once the butter has completely melted, increase the heat until the liquid is boiling. Immediately turn off the heat, tip in the sifted flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth dough that comes away from the sides of the pan. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes or until cool enough to touch.
Once the dough has cooled, beat in each egg, one at a time, until you have a smooth, shiny mixture.
Spoon the choux mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (1/2in) wide nozzle. Pipe 12 x 8cm (3 1/2in) long eclairs, well spaced apart on the prepared baking sheet. Turn down the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and puffed up.
Remove from the oven, split down the middle with a small sharp knife while still hot and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, crème fraîche, horseradish, chopped dill and a squeeze of lemon juice and season. Spoon the filling into the cleaned piping bag with the same 1cm (1/2in) wide nozzle and pipe about 1 tablespoon of the filling down the middle of each eclair. Top each one with a few strips of smoked salmon and a few dill fronds and serve.
- 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp rum
- 2 x packs 9 choc chunk brownie bites
- cocoa powder
- Beat the double cream, icing sugar and rum to soft peaks. Spoon onto the choc chunk brownie bites and top each with a few raisins. Dust with a little cocoa powder before serving.