Mellow mincemeat



  • 2 lemons
  • 6 clementines
  • 150 g dried apricots
  • 100 g dried cranberries
  • 200 g raisins
  • 200 g unrefined light muscovado sugar
  • 2 eating apples
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 150 g vegetable suet


Finely grate the lemon zest, plus the zest from 2 of the clementines. Roughly chop the apricots and cranberries. Coarsely grate the apples.

Add the lemon and clementine zest to a bowl and squeeze in all the clementine juice.

Stir in the dried fruit, sugar, apples and spices, followed by the suet, then mix until combined.

If making your mincemeat for this December, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three weeks. Alternatively, spoon it into sterilised jars and store in a cool place for up to a year.


Sour cherry stollen



  • 200 g dried sour cherries
  • 3 tablespoons kirsch
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 500 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 225 ml milk
  • 2 sachets dried yeast
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 150 g mixed peel
  • 50 g whole almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 300 g marzipan or almond paste
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 1 clementine


A few hours ahead, or even a day ahead, soak the cherries in kirsch.

Melt the butter. Sift the flour into a bowl. Heat the milk to lukewarm, pour into a jug and stir in the yeast, sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Leave for 5 minutes, then stir in the butter and beat in the egg. Pour into the flour and mix till smooth and shiny. Turn onto a floured surface and make a hollow in the centre.

Drain away any excess booze from the cherries before adding them. Chop and add the mixed peel and almonds, followed by the cinnamon. Knead well. After about 5 minutes the dough should be elastic, but not sticky.

Flour the bowl and put the dough back. Cover with a cloth and leave for 1 to 2 hours, till doubled in size.

Empty the dough onto a floured surface and briefly knead; roll into a 36cm x 26cm rectangle. Roll the marzipan out to be the same length and place along the middle. Fold the dough over, encasing the marzipan, and place on a tray. Leave to rise until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/gas 5.

Bake the stollen for 45 minutes, till golden. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, add the clementine zest and juice to make a thick icing. Drizzle over the stollen before serving.

Squash, Stilton & walnut rolls


Tap For Method


  • 1/2 butternut squash , (cut lengthways)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 100 g Stilton
  • 50 g walnuts
  • 50 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 500 g puff pastry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

Deseed the squash and place on a roasting tray, drizzle with the oil, scatter over the chilli flakes and strip over the thyme leaves. Roast for 45 minutes, or until soft.

Allow to cool a bit, then spoon out the flesh and discard the skin, then place in a bowl.

Crumble the Stilton and chop the walnuts, then add to the bowl along with the breadcrumbs. Mix to combine, then set aside to cool.

Beat the egg. Roll out the puff pastry to 18cm x 60cm, then cut into 2 long thin strips.

Lay half the squash mix down the centre of each strip and brush the long edges with beaten egg, then fold over lengthways and press together to seal.

Turn the rolls so the join is underneath, then cut into 5cm pieces and place on baking sheets lined with parchment.

Brush the tops with beaten egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 35 minutes, till puffed up and golden.

Gobble-oink pie



  • 1 small swede
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 knob of unsalted butter
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 500 g higher-welfare turkey mince (or leftover cooked higher-welfare turkey)
  • 50 g higher-welfare ham
  • 500 ml organic chicken or vegetable stock
  • a few sprigs of fresh sage


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4.

Peel and roughly chop the swede and sweet potatoes, then boil in a pan of water for 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain and leave to steam dry, then mash with butter and set aside.

Finely chop the carrot and celery, then peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.

Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Cook the carrot, celery, onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the turkey and cook for another 10 minutes (skip this stage if using cooked turkey.)

Shred in the ham and turkey (if using cooked turkey), then add the stock. Pick in the sage leaves and leave it all to bubble for another 10 minutes.

Spoon into little ovenproof dishes and top with the mash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until hot through and golden.

Triple chocolate trifle



  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1 large free-range egg yolk
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g flour
  • 50 g cocoa
  • dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 75 g butter
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 3 large free-range egg whites
  • 150 g sugar
  • 2 gelatine leaves
  • 500 ml double cream
  • 100 ml milk
  • 50 g sugar
  • 100 g milk chocolate
  • 100 g white chocolate
  • 500 ml double cream


First make the mousse. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and add the chocolate, whisking until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar until you get a semi-stiff meringue.

Fold the two mixtures together and pour into a trifle dish, or 12 individual dishes. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm baking dish.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk with the sugar until fluffy. Gently fold in the flour and cocoa.

Pour into the baking dish and spread it out – it needs to be big enough to cut out to the size of your large trifle dish, or individual dishes. Bake for 6 minutes, until golden.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool.

Trim the sponge to fit the trifle bowl and place on top of the mousse.

For the custard, place the gelatine in a bowl of cold water and set aside. Heat the cream, milk and sugar in a pan over a medium heat until almost at boiling point.

Whisk in the milk chocolate, then the gelatine. Pass through a sieve and pour over the sponge layer.

Leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, melt the white chocolate, then whisk with the cream until soft peaks form. Add to the trifle and top with dark chocolate shavings.

Black forest frozen cheesecake



  • 75 g unsalted butter , plus extra for greasing
  • 300 g dark chocolate biscuits
  • 2 x 425 g tins of dark cherries in syrup
  • 2 clementines
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 400 ml double cream
  • 560 g Philadelphia plain cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) , plus extra for serving
  • 1 dash of double cream
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 clementine


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease the sides and line the base of a deep 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

To make the biscuit base, melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs, then add to the melted butter.

Mix well to coat the crumbs, then tip into the prepared cake tin, spreading it out evenly.

Place in the hot oven for 10 minutes, or until darker in colour, then remove and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, add the tinned cherries and their syrup, the clementine zest and juice and 150g of sugar to a pan over a medium heat.

Cook for around 20 minutes, or until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Leave to cool and set aside.

Separate the egg yolks and whites into 2 separate bowls. Add the remaining 200g of sugar to the yolks, then use an electric whisk to beat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until pale and fluffy.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Place the cream, cream cheese and vanilla extract into a third bowl and beat into soft peaks.

Fold the egg yolk mixture into the cream cheese mixture and gently fold through the egg whites. Spoon the mixture onto the biscuit base, then gently swirl through the cherry syrup.

Place the cheesecake in the freezer to set overnight.

When you’re nearly ready to serve, make the chocolate glaze topping. Place a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, then add the dark chocolate, cream and butter. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally.

Remove the cheesecake from the tin and place on a cake stand.

Pour over the chocolate glaze, then decorate with some gratings of dark chocolate and clementine zest. Serve with a gold leaf and sparklers to make it extra special.

Food Allergy Mums’ really chocolatey chocolate cake



  • Cake
  • 450 ml rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 300 g gluten-free self-raising flour , sifted
  • 100 g cocoa powder , sifted
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
  • pinch of salt
  • 160 ml sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Icing
  • 225 g dairy-free
  • sunflower spread
  • 225 g icing sugar , sifted
  • 50 g cocoa powder , sifted
  • 100 g dairy-free dark chocolate , 70% cocoa
  • To decorate
  • dairy-free chocolate buttons , or fresh berries


Photo by Chris Terry

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas mark 7. Line the base of two 20cm cake tins with baking paper and lightly grease the paper and tins with oil.

Mix the rice milk and cider vinegar together and set aside. Don’t worry if it separates – you are effectively making a buttermilk that will give the cake a light texture and help to activate the raising agents.

Mix the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb of soda, xantham gum and salt together in a bowl. Make sure they are really well mixed together.

Pour the oil, vanilla and the rice milk and vinegar mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix them together really well either by hand or gently using a handheld blender.

Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins.Tap the tins on your work surface to remove any large air bubbles and place on the middle shelf in the oven. Bake for about 30–35 minutes (test with a skewer or sharp knife – if it comes out clean it is cooked).

Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

To make the icing, whisk the sunflower spread, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Break the chocolate up into pieces in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high in 10-second bursts until it has just melted. Add the melted chocolate to the icing and mix.

Spread an even layer of icing on one of the cooled cakes and then place the other cake on top. Top the cake with the rest of the icing. Decorate with dairy-free chocolate buttons (or fresh berries if preferred).

Vegan chocolate tart with rhubarb



  • 150 ml soya milk
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 250 g dark vegan chocolate (70%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 125 g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 125 g soya margarine (cold) , plus extra for greasing
  • 400 g rhubarb
  • 25 – 4 g sugar
  • 1 splash of ginger cordial
  • 1 orange


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Lightly grease a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

To make the pastry, sift the flour, icing sugar and ginger into a large bowl. Roughly chop and add the margarine and, working quickly, rub into the dry ingredients. Add enough cold water so you can bring the mixture together into a ball. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

Once chilled, roll the pastry to ½cm thick and line the tin. Trim any excess and prick all over with a fork. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes.

Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes. Remove the weight and cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

For the filling, place the soya milk in a small pan with 200ml water, crush and add the cardamom pods, and the sugar, then warm over a low heat.

Put the cornflour in a small bowl with a few tablespoons of the warm soya mixture and stir till smooth, then return to the pan, stirring to combine, and bring back to the boil. Remove the cardamom pods.

Snap the chocolate into a bowl and pour over the hot soya. Stir to combine. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt, pour into the case, chill for 5 to 6 hours.

To cook the rhubarb, cut into 5cm pieces and place in an ovenproof dish with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sharp the rhubarb is. Add the cordial, orange zest and juice, and cover with a cartouche (greaseproof-paper disc).

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until soft but holding its shape. Leave to cool. Serve thin slices of the tart with the rhubarb.

Chocolate whoopie pies



  • 275 g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1½ tesapoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 75 g dark chocolate
  • 75 g unsalted butter
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 125 g light muscovado sugar
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 125 g soured cream
  • 75 g white chocolate chips
  • 100 g white chocolate
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 100 g unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 150 ml single cream
  • 1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar


Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas 3. Line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of sea salt.

Chop and melt the chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg, then whisk in the sugars and soured cream. Stir in the melted chocolate and butter to combine.

Add the sifted dry ingredients and 5 tablespoons of boiling water, and mix until smooth. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Spoon 12 even dollops onto each baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between them. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Leave to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the buttercream frosting, melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth, then leave to cool.

Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add the butter and vanilla, then beat until smooth and light. Add the cooled chocolate and stir to combine.

Fill a large piping bag with frosting and pipe onto the flat side of 12 of the whoopies. Sandwich with the remaining cakes.

Melt all the glaze ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Leave to cool slightly. Spoon over the pies, decorate with sprinkles, if you like, and leave to set before serving.


Coconut penny toffees



  • 50 g unsalted butter , (cold)
  • 25 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon glucose


Line a baking sheet with baking paper and have it standing by alongside a large basin of iced water. Cube up the butter. Lightly toast the coconut until golden.

Put the sugar and glucose in a medium-sized heavy-based pan with 2 tablespoons of water. Pop in a sugar thermometer and heat gently over a medium heat, until the sugar has melted and begins to caramelise.

Once it reaches 150ºC, remove from the heat and quickly set it in the basin of iced water to halt the process. Immediately remove and whisk in the butter until incorporated. If it begins to separate, place back on the heat and continue to whisk and emulsify.

Using 2 tablespoons, drop spoonfuls of the toffee onto the lined tray. Sprinkle immediately with the desiccated coconut. To make lollipops, press the sticks into the toffee now, almost all the way across the discs, so that they hold in place.

Set aside to cool and harden. Store between sheets of greaseproof paper or cellophane in a sealed container and eat within 10 days.