Monday, 7 December 2015


Another Christmasy recipe, that’s a piece of cake to make! So delicious, especially with some clotted cream! It is made in minutes if you have a processor. A little longer if you have to rub in the butter. Either way is good. I found this recipe in a magazine some years ago and have been making it ever since, during the build up to Christmas.

You will need a traybake tin about 12” x 8”, lightly oiled, then lined with parchment. Hang it over the sides, to help you lift it out when it has cooled, to slice.   Makes about 12 large slices, more if you make smaller ones or little squares.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Preheat your fan oven to about 170C

Place in a bowl, or your food processor:

11 oz plain flour 
7 oz cubed butter
3 ½ oz ground almonds
3 ½ oz caster sugar

Rub in, or pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Tip about ¾ of the mix into your prepared tin. Level it off and press quite hard. I find the back of a tablespoon hand for this job.

Take a jar of mincemeat and spread it evenly over the base. Be careful about your choice of mincemeat. Some of them are very thin with too much liquid these days. [Robertson’s is awful].  I use Lidl Deluxe brand. Brandy and Ginger or Rum and Raisin. Just fabulous and so reasonable.  You need one that is packed full of fruit and flavour.

To the remaining third of your mix, add 2 - 3 oz flaked almonds, then scatter evenly over the top of the mincemeat. Just press lightly with this layer. Scatter a few more flaked almonds on the top and pop into your oven for about 45 mins. Maybe a few mins less.

Cool in the tin, then carefully lift out, when almost cold, using the overhanging parchment on the long side and cut into slices. You could sift a little icing sugar lightly over the top too, if you wish.

Just yummy. So seasonal!

Thursday, 3 December 2015


A brilliant make ahead dessert for Christmas [or any time]. You can warm it up again for a few seconds in a microwave! It tastes just amazing with such a luscious orangey flavour. Plus the cake is easy peasy all in one!!!

You need an 8” round baking tin at least 2” deep, well buttered, that does not have a loose bottom [all the syrup would run out]

You start off by slicing 3 unpeeled clementines into rounds [discard each end and any stray pips] and placing 2 oz of caster sugar in a shallow pan [I used a frying pan] along with 2½ fl oz water plus a good slug of Cointreau or similar.

Simmer until the syrup has almost disappeared and the fruit has softened - around 20 mins, set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle arrange them in the bottom of your tin, along with the remaining syrup - should be about 1 tablespoonful. More pics on my Blog.

Take a couple more clems, peel and get rid of all the pith and membranes then chop the fruit.
Drain off the excess liquid.

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

In a medium mixing bowl place:

the chopped clementine
5 oz softened butter
5 oz soft light brown sugar
5 oz SR flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 oz ground almonds
3 eggs
½ teaspoon of orange extract [be careful, it is very strong]

Mix well. This is far easier using an electric hand mixer. Tip over the arranged clems, being careful not to dislodge your circles. Place in your oven and bake for around 40-45 mins until firm to the touch. 
Place your serving plate [I used an ornamental rack here] over the top of the sponge and invert quickly - BE CAREFUL, the syrup in the bottom will be very hot.

Just beautiful. It looks just as good as it tastes!

Before serving you could spoon over a tablespoonful more of Cointreau for each slice.