Monthly Archives: December 2009

Leftover Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

Every Christmas we end up with leftover Christmas pudding which is something I actually don’t like as I find it too heavy and rich.  Last year I turned the leftover pudding into a muffin/cupcake creation from Rachel Allen and they went down very well. This year though I wanted to see if I could incorporate it into Ice Cream. I decided to match the pudding with a cinnamon ice cream but to make it more festive I reduced the cinnamon and replaced it with fresh nutmeg. Thankfully it worked a treat, the cinnamon ice cream alone would have been just fine on its own, so feel free to omit it if you prefer, but I found the combination a really great alternative festive dessert and would be a welcome change to the normal tradition of Christmas pudding. Im guessing this would also be great with mincemeat if you have jars of that left as well. Continue reading


Perfect Homemade Mincepies

Since I was very young I can remember helping my Mum make mincepies each and every Christmas. They were one of the things I was allowed to help make, and I always looked forward to helping out. Now the mantle has been passed to me, so to speak, as I know make them myself but they have to meet the approval of Mum. This year we changed the tradition up a bit and for the first time made our own mincemeat. I followed a Delia Smith recipe but next time I would increase the spices, and I have reflected this in the post. I know its the weekend before Christmas and many people will be rushing around getting ready but if your not, why not stay at home, away from the cold and snow, and make a batch of these and get in the Christmas mood. Thats exactly what im going to do anyway. Continue reading

Almond Paste

This recipe makes more than enough to cover the previous cake recipe, probably double what you need, but don’t worry I have a way to use it that comes from my mum, an idea which she thought of many years ago and which has become a family tradition. You could of course half the recipe with no problem. It’s a super easy recipe, well worth the little effort required, but you do need to get in there with your hands, because there is no way a wooden spoon is gonna cut it. Whilst this is called almond paste its probably nearer to marzipan but isn’t quite as firm as marzipan and not as smooth or soft as normal almond paste. From what I gather traditional almond paste is usually just ground almonds, water and sugar mixed together and cooked to obtain a smooth consistency. Marzipan has more sugar (normally icing sugar) and egg whites so this recipe kind of straddles the two.

Almond Paste

700g Ground Almonds

350g Icing Sugar, sieved

350g Caster Sugar

2 Large Eggs

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/4 Tsp Almond Essence or Flavouring

1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tsp Orange Flower Water

2 Tsp Sweet Sherry (or rum or brandy)

1. Mix the almonds and sugars together making sure well combined.

2. Beat the the whole egg and mix in the lemon juice, flavourings, orange flower water and sherry.

3. Using a wooden spoon mix in half the egg mixture and once you have worked it in as well as you can add the second half. Once it becomes to hard to mix get your hands in the mix and bring together until you have a smooth consistent mix. Kept in a bowl covered with plastic wrap this will keep at least a week in the fridge.

My Nana’s Christmas Cake

I’m dedicating this week to traditional Christmas recipes and I thought that since I regularly post recipes from other people books and blogs it was about time I posted another of mine. This is another family recipe courtesy of my maternal Grandmother. I never had the chance to eat this as made by my Nana but I have been eating this every year courtesy of my Mum. You are supposed to make this cake as early as possible and the original recipe says it should be baked as early as September. Unfortunately in our house things tend to get on top of us and we don’t normally manage it till the start of December. Last year due to our delayed kitchen redecoration we couldn’t actually make the cake until a couple of days before the big day, this year we a manged to get it done by  the 12th. Continue reading

Eccles Cakes

I have said it before but I still find it very interesting how a lot of my memories from childhood, holidays and other important events revolve around food. I can still remember eating nothing but plums for breakfast in Spain on one holiday, or how I was shocked to receive a fish with its head and eyes still intact when I was just 6 in France. Its not just these one off events though. My memories of my older Sister, Nicola, from when I was little have very strong connections to two things, Blackpool and Eccles cakes. When I was still young Nicola took a job in Blackpool and we would regularly go to visit, but on the occasions she came back home she always brought Eccles cakes back with her. It became a bit of a tradition which unfortunately didn’t continue past childhood but has always stuck with me. So when I was feeling a bit nostalgic I decided to make a batch and they brought back quite a lot of memories, so whilst the tradition may not have continued past childhood maybe I cant start my own and take a batch next time I visit my Sister. Continue reading

Pâte Sucrée – Sweet Pastry

Very quick post as a follow up to the previous, to provide the pastry recipe which has to be my favourite pastry of all time. I know that hyperbole is not exactly helpful but I’m sorry, I simply love this pastry. You can make this dough either on the counter or for quicker and easier method, use a mixer. Continue reading

Lemon Tart

The second and final recipe I’m going to share from my Dads 60th is a wonderful, if slightly off season, lemon tart and by complete accident is yet another Pierre Herme recipe, not that this is a bad thing of course. I had planned on giving Monsieur Herme’s recipes a well deserved break from the blog but didn’t realise this was his recipe until I was making it. A couple a years back I picked up a book called simply “The Cooks Book” which I got for the bargain price of £5. Its a kind of text book in that it is very in-depth and shows the steps clearly. It also cover many different styles from Chinese and Indian to Desserts and Breads. Chapters are divided by chef and it includes the likes of Ferran Adria, Rick Bayless, Atul Kochar, Dan Lepard, Marcus Wareing and of course Pierre Herme. It was only whilst checking over the recipe whilst making the tart that I realised I had chosen another Pierre Herme recipe, but no apologies because it is wonderful. The tart shell was crisp and flavoursome, flecked with vanilla seeds and made more indulgent with ground almonds. I decided to only make half the filling and top with fresh berries so the tart nature of the lemon was cut by the fruit. Continue reading