Spiced Cheddar Cheesecake

A showstopper, make-ahead appetizer, and addictive in the extreme. This would also make a really nice cheese course in lieu of dessert. To make this, you will require a 5-inch diameter springform tin, easily procured online. Make sure your cream cheese is very soft before starting, otherwise you won’t get a light, fluffy cheesecake. ThisContinue reading “Spiced Cheddar Cheesecake”

An Italian Easter Feast Outdoors

After a year of cancellations I am only too thrilled at the prospect of a government-sanctioned holiday, albeit an outdoor one. Of course, dining al fresco in early April is always going to be a gamble. Apart from the obvious practical steps (advise guests to dress warmly, come up with a rain plan), a menuContinue reading “An Italian Easter Feast Outdoors”

Orange Ice Cream

Like a grown-up version of an orange creamsicle. The alcohol and freshly squeezed clementine juice give it the perfect ice cream texture – no churning required. Ingredients 300ml double cream200g (approx.) sweetened condensed milk (half a 397g tin)2 dessert spoons of CointreauZest and juice of 2 clementines Method: Add the ingredients to a large bowlContinue reading “Orange Ice Cream”

Crispy Duck Wraps

Fresh, vibrant and just a little festive, these are just the thing after a few days of heavier Christmas fare. This also works beautifully with leftover turkey! Just fry the meat in a pan with the five spice until it crisps and you’re in business. Feeds 4 Ingredients 2 duck breasts Chinese five spice SaltContinue reading “Crispy Duck Wraps”

Mince Pie Twists

A twist on a Christmas classic. All you need for this recipe is shop-bought shortcrust pastry, a jar of mincemeat, an egg and some coarse sugar. Oh, and brandy cream (see tip below). This recipe isn’t about laziness, nor is it about making things into a festive shape just for appearances. (Though, it does haveContinue reading “Mince Pie Twists”

A Christmas Market-Inspired Party

Outdoor entertaining at Christmastime is usually reserved for the magical, twinkly markets put on in places such as Germany and Austria. Sparkly, warm, and overwhelmingly festive, these markets provide the perfect inspiration for a small back garden party. Homemade soft pretzels with senf, the ubiquitous German condiment (or the closest thing we could get toContinue reading “A Christmas Market-Inspired Party”

White Chocolate Cranberry Stars

A light, sweet ending to any festive meal. Normally I steer clear of white chocolate; its extreme sweetness is not my thing at all. However, when balanced with the tart cranberry, smooth cream and intense, fresh pomegranate, it really works. Ingredients 150ml double cream 75g white chocolate 4 tsp cranberry sauce Pomegranate seeds (to serve)Continue reading “White Chocolate Cranberry Stars”

Mini Chicken, Bacon, Leek & Chestnut Pies

These pies just say Christmas! Big enough to be generous, but small enough for a party snack, if I saw a plate of these beauties any time over the festive period, I would instantly know I was welcome. If homemade shortcrust pastry isn’t your thing, you can buy pre-made shortcrust pastry in most grocery stores.Continue reading “Mini Chicken, Bacon, Leek & Chestnut Pies”

In Praise of Make-Ahead Gravy

Jamie Oliver has brought many food-related joys into my life, and with the exception of that time I made his chicken liver pâté, he hasn’t let me down yet. Chief among his festive brain waves is his notion that we should all be making our Christmas gravy well ahead of time, freezing it, and simplyContinue reading “In Praise of Make-Ahead Gravy”

Warm Salad of Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Pecans, Feta and Dried Cranberries

A Christmassy salad if ever there was one. Feeds 2 as a light lunch Ingredients 500g brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved through the stem Olive oil Salt and pepper Handful of pecans Handful dried cranberries 50g feta cheese Method: Roast the brussel sprouts. Meanwhile, toast the pecans by adding them to a dry frying panContinue reading “Warm Salad of Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Pecans, Feta and Dried Cranberries”