Triple Layer Pavlova

Christmas isn’t Christmas without at least one pavlova. I usually make a huge one and then struggle to fit it in the fridge… Having watched the Bake Off Showstopper challenge this series, I fancied a go at a triple layered version for this year. It worked! I used raspberries and mixed summer berries in ours but you can use whatever you want as long as it’s not horrible crunchy passion fruit seeds or pomegranate 😉

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For 8-10 portions you need

  • 6 egg whites (use the yolks in something else)
  • pinch salt
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 600ml double cream
  • 2 x 250g packs of frozen fruit, defrosted (or whatever you want to fill and top it with)
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Line three baking sheets with baking parchment.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar a little at a time, whisking all the time on a slower speed until they are stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and vinegar.
  4. Spread 1/3 of the mix on each baking sheet fitting to the size of whatever serving dish you will be using.
  5. For the final layer, spread out a circle and then pipe the remaining meringue mixture to form peaks.
  6. Reduce the oven heat to 130 degrees and bake the meringues for 1-1.5 hours until they are risen, golden brown and crispy.
  7. Switch off the oven and leave the door open a crack by wedging a spoon into the door. Leave to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, whisk the cream to soft peaks and layer up the pavlova with the fruit and cream finishing with a layer of fruit.
  9. Stand back and admire your creation.

Salted Brown Sugar Fudge

fudge salted

What is Christmas without some fudge to nibble on? I’ve attempted fudge a few times in my past, and it has always ended in abject failure – crunchy fudge or fudge flecked with burnt bits from where it’s caught is not the fudge I am looking for. However this recipe was a joy to make. Quick, easy and delicious. Perfect!

For enough fudge to make you feel sick and also give as presents you need:

  • 1 x 397 tin condensed milk
  • 80g salted butter
  • 150g light brown muscavado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp salt flakes

Begin by placing the milk, sugar and butter in a heavy based pan. Gently melt the butter and sugar into the milk. Once it has melted, slowly bring to the boil stirring constantly. Don’t be tempted to rush this phase.

After about 5 mins of constant stirring you’ll feel the texture of the fudge change. At this point drop a small amount into a glass of cold water to check it’s at the soft ball stage. You want it to form a ball and be nice and soft. If this happens, remove from the heat. If not keep heating until it does.

Add the vanilla and salt, then beat vigorously for 2-3 mins. Again, you’ll feel the fudge change in consistency as you beat it signalling that it’s done.

Tip into a 20cm square baking dish lined with greaseproof paper and leave to set. Merry Christmas 🙂

Salted Caramel Tarts

My boyfriend’s mother requested these after I’d made millionaires shortbread. It’s a simple caramel that is poured into a pre made sweet shortcrust tartlet and then devoured. Highly calorific but utterly delicious.

For 16 individual tartlets or one big one you need
1 tin condensed milk
200g butter
4 tbsp golden syrup
1-2 tsp salt flakes depending on taste
2 packs pre made sweet shortcrust pastry tartlets (I used Morrisons which were yummy).

Place the ingredients, minus the tart cases, in a non stick heavy based pan and heat gently. The key to the caramel is patience. Keeping the heat low to medium, and stirring constantly, heat it gently until all the butter is melted. Continue to stir and heat until it comes to the boil and then still stirring keep going until it’s thickened and turned a dark golden brown colour. This takes about 15-20 mins in total. Beat in the salt flakes and then carefully pour into the tart cases and leave to set.

Chocolate Christmas Trifle

I used to be able to make lovely trifles, but my trifle mojo has been usurped by my boyfriend’s mum who makes a very mean one indeed. So much so Lex requested I didn’t make another for fear that it didn’t live up to one of hers…! However, this creation puts my mojo firmly back in contention I am pleased to say. It started as a way to use up some (embarrassingly) out of date sponge flan cases. But upon further inspection they were rock solid. So a chocolate swiss roll was purchased and the chocolate Christmas trifle extravaganza was born. It has the perfect combination of sour raspberries and strawberries to counter the sweet jelly and not-too-sweet chocolate custard. Decorate as you wish, we wanted sparkly poo so had a heavy hand with the festive glitter 😉

For 12-14 portions you need
1/2 chocolate swiss roll
1 tin strawberries, drained
1/2 pack frozen raspberries
1 packet halal jelly (or any other veggie jelly)
2 tbsp sweet sherry
2 tins ready to eat custard
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp boiling water
450ml double cream
decoration of your choice, we used chocolate vermicelli; glitter and stars for extra bliiiiiiiiiing

Slice the swiss roll into 1cm slices. Place these in the bottom of a trifle dish and cover with the sherry, raspberries and strawberries. Make the jelly up according to the packet instructions and pour over the base. Leave to set.

Meanwhile mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water to make a smooth paste. Add to the custard and mix well. Once the jelly is set, pour over.

Whip the cream to soft peak stage and put into a piping bag. Pipe over the custard and then go wild with the decoration. Eat, eat and be merry!

Proper Boozy Egg Nog

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a belly full of dangerously alcoholic egg nog. Not in my book anyway.

For 6-8 glasses you need
1/2 pint double cream
1/2 pint milk
3 eggs
4 tbsp icing sugar
3 measures each rum, brandy and whisky
freshly grated nutmeg
cocktail cherries to serve

Place everything apart from the nutmeg and cherries into a blender and blend for 2-3 mins till smooth and thoroughly combined. Strain through a fine meshed sieve into a jug and decorate with lashings of freshly grated nutmeg. Serve topped with enough cocktail cherries to just make you start to feel rather sick. Hic.

Festive Flapjacks

So called because the festive season calls for an added layer of luxury in terms of ingredients, and I CBA to melt two different types of chocolate to decorate them at any other time of the year 😉 Beware, these flapjacks are addictive and FULL OF CALORIES! But that’s why they taste so good 😉

For 12-16 bars you need
(sorry can only remember this recipe in imperial measurements!)
6oz butter
6oz sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
10oz rolled oats (not cheap ones, proper scottish decent ones but not jumbo ones)
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 glace cherries
100g each milk and white chocolate, melted

Begin by placing everything apart from the oats and chocolate in a large pan and letting the butter melt. Meanwhile, line a swiss roll tin with baking paper. Once the butter et al is melted, add the oats and mix well. Press into the lined tin and bake in a moderate (180 degree) oven for 15-20 mins until bubbling and golden brown. Take care not to overbake or the edges and sides will become brittle and too crunchy when it’s cooled.

Remove from the oven once cooked and leave to cool for 30 mins or so before sliding out of the tin. Leave on the baking paper to cool totally. Drizzle/spread over the melted chocolate in any pattern you like and then cut into bars once the chocolate has set. Deeeelishous!!!

White Chocolate Mousse Torte

I am a rubbish blogger at the moment. I know. I have been cooking, but I just haven’t been blogging. And I have, er, sort of fallen off of the veggie wagon in recent months and therefore haven’t felt able to blog. It’s disgraceful I know. I am climbing back on again. I just needed a bit of a hiatus…

This recipe is veggie. And it’s also sinfully good. It’s ridiculously easy to make, but O. M. F. G. it blows your socks off. It would be perfect as a Christmas pudding. It’s also perfectly yummy for breakfast. Becka bad. I have adapted the recipe slightly from the original which can be found in Celia Brooks Brown’s most excellent New Vegetarian cookbook.

For 10-12 slices you need:
200g amaretti biscuits, crushed to smithereens
75g butter, melted
500ml double cream at room temperature
30ml milk at room temperature
30ml amoretto liqueur (or cointreau if you want an orangey flavour or indeed any other liqueur you fancy and happen to have to hand…)
400g white chocolate, melted and left to cool slightly.

***Firstly remember to take the milk and cream OUT OF THE FRIDGE at least 2 hours before you want to make this as it’s crucial they are not cold or the chocolate will try and set too quickly when you combine everything together and you will not achieve the light, moussey texture you are after***


Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave to cool to room temp. Meanwhile mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and line a 20cm round silicone tin with the buttery mixture (or line a 20cm springform tin).

Whip the cream, milk and whatever booze you are using until the cream forms soft peaks. Be careful not to over whip as otherwise it will be impossible to combine the chocolate in.

Slacken the chocolate mixture with one spoonful of the cream, then carefully fold this in to the remaining cream. Pour on top of the biscuits and leave to chill for at least four hours.

Serve in thin slices with exotic fruit – cape gooseberries, persimmon and passion fruit work particularly well against the creamy richness of the torte.

Roquefort and Walnut Salad with Garlic Croutons

This was an attempt to use up some more of the seemingly endless Xmas leftovers…

For one person you need:
3 walnuts, shelled and broken into bits
1 slice bread, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
olive oil
salad leaves e.g. watercress and endive
leftover cheese
walnut oil
white wine vinegar

Toss the bread in a bowl with the garlic, salt and pepper and some olive oil. Toss on to a baking sheet and cook in a hot oven for about 10 mins, checking every couple of minutes. DO NOT LET THEM OVERCOOK!!! Remove and leave to cool.

In the same bowl you made the croutons in, place the salad leaves and walnuts. Season with pepper but no salt. Drizzle over some walnut oil and white wine vinegar. Toss the salad and place on a plate. Top with the croutons and cheese.

Boxing Day Breakfast (v)

This is an excellent way to use up those leftover potatoes…

For one person you need:
2-3 leftover potatoes (roast or boiled)
1/2 onion
salt and pepper
handful tomatoes, sliced
if you’re veggie then add an egg
1-2 vegan bacon style strips (or a handful of bacon bits salad crispy thingies)

Roughly dice the potatoes and finely chop the onion. Fry on a high heat in a little oil for 5-10 mins till crispy and golden all over. Add the bacon strips if using and the tomatoes and cook for a further 1-2 mins. Season to taste. Fry the egg if using and serve with copious orange juice and coffee.

Old School Melon Boats (v)

I ended up doing three starters yesterday as blue cheese has been giving me a frightful migraine recently 😦 So this was my starter, much to the disgust of L who wanted it for himself too…!

For one portion you need:
3 slices of melon
3 slices of orange
3 cocktail cherries
3 cocktail sticks
1/2 tsp ground ginger.

Lay the melon slices on a plate and slice the flesh from the skin. Cut into segments. Carefully thread the orange on to the cocktail stick and top with a cherry. Stick into the middle of the melon slice. Repeat. Dust with ground ginger. Feel like you’re stuck in the 1970s eating the height of novel and new cuisine…