Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper
muffin cases. Stir the sugar and rhubarb
together and set aside while you make
the crumble topping. Mix together the
muscovado sugar with the flour, oats
and cinnamon, then rub in the butter
until clumpy with your fingertips.
Stir the oil and egg, vanilla and
buttermilk into the sugary rhubarb
(don’t worry if it’s a little bit juicy).
Now, add the flour, baking powder
and bicarbonate of soda and stir well.
Quickly spoon into the cases, then
scatter each with a thick layer of the
crumble mixture. Bake for 15-18 mins
until golden and a cocktail stick poked
into the centre of a muffin comes
out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Stir together the butter, sugar, egg yolk and
vanilla using a
wooden spoon. Stir in the flour – you
might need to get your hands in at the end.
Tip onto a floured surface and bring together
into a smooth dough.
Roll out the dough – half at
a time if you like – and stamp out 5-6cm
stars. Keep re-rolling trimmings, and you
should get about 40 biscuits. Cut out a
thin triangle about 2cm long and ½cm
wide at one of the indents of each star.
Arrange on trays lined with baking
parchment, cover with cling film and chill
for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/
gas 6. Remove cling film and bake the
biscuits for 8-12 mins until golden. Cool, then
dust with icing sugar. The cooked
biscuits can be frozen for up to 3 months.
the coffee and Kahlúa in a Martini
glass. Slowly pour in the double cream
over the back of a teaspoon so that it
gently settles on the top of the coffee.
Dust with a little cocoa and serve with a star biscuit slotted onto the
glass and a plateful of Mint chocolate truffles, if you like (see 'Goes
4 kaffir lime leaves (available from Thai shops or dried from supermarkets)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp palm or soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced, to serve
jasmine rice, to serve
Prep:15 minsCook:2 hrs, 10 mins
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6,
then roast the peanuts on a baking tray
for 5 mins until golden brown. When cool
enough to handle, roughly chop. Reduce
oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Heat 2 tbsp coconut cream in a large
casserole dish with a lid. Add the curry
paste and fry for 1 min, then stir in the
beef and fry until well coated and sealed.
Stir in the rest of the coconut with half
a can of water, the potatoes, onion, lime
leaves, cinnamon, tamarind, sugar, fish
sauce and most of the peanuts. Bring to
a simmer, then cover and cook for 2 hrs
in the oven until the beef is tender.
Sprinkle with sliced chilli and the
remaining peanuts, then serve straight
from the dish with jasmine rice.
Ask a grown-up
helper to switch
the oven on to 180C/
160C fan/gas 4. Snip
or cut up the spring
onions and put them
in a bowl. Add the
peas to the bowl.
your rotary grater,
one half at a time,
then add it to the
Cut the ham
into pieces with
your scissors, if you
do this over the
bowl it will fall
Break the feta
into the bowl by
crumbling it with
Crack the eggs
into a bowl and,
if any bits of shell
fall in, scoop them
out with a spoon.
Whisk the eggs until
the yolks are mixed
into the white.
Pour the eggs
into the other
bowl and stir. Brush a round ovenproof dish, about 16cm across, with oil. Tip
the dish. Ask a
helper to put the
dish in the oven for
30 minutes or until
the egg is set. Serve with salad and crusty bread.
About an hour before cooking, take
the duck out of the fridge to come to
room temperature. Heat oven to 140C/
120C fan/gas 1. Pull out and discard any
large lumps of fat from inside the duck,
then rub it all over with some salt, the
oil and five-spice powder. Sit the duck
in a roasting tin, then roast for 2 hrs.
For the glaze, mix the honey, soy,
Sherry and mustard in a bowl. When the
duck has had its time, remove it from the
oven, pour off any fat from the tin and
baste generously with the glaze. Turn the
oven up to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and
roast the duck for a further 20 mins until
sticky and bronzed. Remove the duck to
a clean dish to catch any juices and allow it to
rest for at least 20 mins before serving.
To make a simple
gravy, pour the
juices from the
roasting tin into
a jug or bowl and
leave to settle.
Use a ladle to
remove the fat
from the juices,
then tip the juices
back into the
reheat to serve.
Put the onions in a large pan with the
ginger and vinegar. Bring to the boil, then
simmer for 10 mins. Add the rest of the
ingredients, except the rhubarb, plus 2 tsp
salt to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring.
Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 mins until
the apples are tender.
Stir in the rhubarb and cook, uncovered,
until the chutney is thick and jammy, about
15-20 mins. Leave the chutney to sit for
about 10-15 mins, then spoon into warm,
clean jars, and seal. Label the jars when cool.
Keep for at least a month before eating.
the bread. meanwhile mix the watercress, carrot, lemon juice and olive
oil together. In a small bowl spread the houmous over each slice of
toast. Top 1 slice with the watercress and carrot salad, sandwich with
another slice of toast and top with the tomato. Lay the final slice of
bread, houmous side down, then press down and eat as is or cut the
sandwich into quarters.
1.3kg piece pork belly, boned, rind left on and scored (ask your butcher to do this)
2 tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp white peppercorns, crushed
3 large onions, sliced
2-3 tbsp clear honey
2 tsp ground cumin
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
Prep:10 minsCook:3 hrs, 30 mins
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Lay
the pork, skin-side up, on a rack in a roasting
tin. Trickle with a little oil, then lightly press
on the crushed peppercorns and a sprinkling
of coarse sea salt. Place in the oven, then
cook for 1 hr. Remove from the oven and
baste with the juices. Continue to cook for
a further 1½ hrs, basting every 20 mins.
Put the sliced onions in the roasting tin
under the pork. Mix the honey together with
the cumin and chilli, brush it over the pork,
then increase the oven to 200C/fan 180C/
gas 6. Cook for a further 30-40 mins, basting
occasionally, until caramelised with a rich,
golden glaze over the pork. Once cooked and
tender (this can be easily tested by piercing
the flesh with a knife), remove pork from the
oven, then leave to rest for 10-15 mins.
While the pork is resting, heat the tin on
the stove with the onions, adding 2 tbsp
water. This will lift any residue from the pan,
creating a moist cooking liquor. Season the
onions with salt and pepper, then divide
between 6 plates. Carve pork into 6 portions,
then serve on top of the onions. Pour any
remaining liquor over and serve with the
Pumpkin mash (below).
250g bag mixed salad leaves (including young beetroot leaves and watercress)
bunch each parsley and mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped
140g radishes, thinly sliced
8 x hot-smoked salmon steaks, skin removed
4 spring onions, sliced diagonally
For the dressing
3 tbsp lemon juice
125ml olive oil
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 red chillies
Prep:20 minsCook:10 mins
Boil potatoes in salted water for 10 mins
until tender, adding the asparagus tips for
the final 2 mins of cooking. Drain and allow
to cool. Whisk together the salad dressing
ingredients. then season to taste.
In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes,
asparagus, salad leaves, herbs and radishes.
Add two-thirds of the dressing, thoroughly mix
through the salad, then spread the salad over
a large platter. Break the hot-smoked salmon
into large chunks, then scatter over the top
along with the spring onions. Finish by
pouring remaining dressing over the top.
See recipe method, below, for all the ingredients you'll need for your canapés
Prep:30 minsCook:30 mins
Bloody Mary shots with horseradish:
For 10 shots mix 700ml tomato juice with 50ml vodka, juice from 1 lemon
and a good splash of Tabasco and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce in a
jug. Season then chill. To serve, pour into 10 shot glasses, add a thin
cucumber stick to each as a stirrer, and top with a small spoon of
Quails’ eggs with sesame dukka:
Toast 1 tbsp each of cumin and coriander seeds and 85g hazelnuts, then
whizz in a food processor until finely chopped. Mix with 50g sesame
seeds and salt to taste, then serve in small bowls with 24-36
hard-boiled quails’ eggs, halved, alongside for dipping.
Mini avocado tarts:
Buy mini croustade cases from the supermarket, then put a small
spoonful of sour cream in each case. Finely dice ripe avocados and mix
with a little lime juice, some poppy seeds and finely snipped chives,
then pile on top of the sour cream.
Parsnip chips with maple-mustard dip: Peel
a parsnip per person, then cut into chunky chips and roast with
sunflower oil and seasoning at 220C/200C fan/gas 7 for 20-30 mins until
crispy and golden. Mix
a 200ml tub crème fraîche with 2 tbsp grainy mustard, 2 tbsp maple syrup
and some seasoning and serve the hot parsnip chips alongside for
Halloumi dippers with chilli pineapple salsa:
For the salsa, finely dice 200g fresh or canned pineapple and mix with 1
finely chopped red onion, 1 finely chopped red chilli and juice of 1-2
limes to taste. Use a 250g pack halloumi per 5-6 people, slice into
chunky strips, thread onto small soaked wooden skewers and grill,
turning, until crispy. Serve with the salsa.
Greek kebabs with houmous & tzatziki: Cook
and cool bought falafel, then skewer each one with a chunk of cucumber,
small cube of feta and a cherry tomato. Serve with pots of houmous and
tzatziki on the side.
Crunchy poppadoms with mango chutney: To
feed a crowd, finely shred 3 peeled carrots, dice ½ a cucumber and
finely slice 4 spring onions. Mix together with a squeeze of lemon juice
and 1 tbsp toasted mustard seeds. To serve, pile into bought mini
poppadom crisps, top with a small dollop of mango chutney and scatter
with coriander leaves.
Fig & blue cheese skewers:
Skewer wedges of fig and cubes of blue cheese onto small cocktail
sticks or skewers, then drizzle with a little runny honey and scatter
with thyme leaves to serve.
Christmas pudding truffles:
Melt together 200g dark chocolate and 200ml double cream, then crumble
in 100g leftover cooked Christmas pud (buy a vegetarian one), then
chill. When firm enough, use a melon baller or roll into balls, then dip
the tops in some melted white chocolate, scatter with edible
decorations, then chill to firm.
Mini cranberry & orange scones:
Knock up a batch of scone dough, adding some dried cranberries and orange zest into the
mix before stamping out 4cm rounds and baking. When cool, split and
spread generously with orange or jaffa curd (we used Waitrose) and top
with a small dollop
of clotted or thick double cream.
Thickly spread 2 of the brioche slices
with the chocolate hazelnut spread, then
top with the remaining slices to make
2 sandwiches. Use a large heart-shaped
cutter to cut the sandwiches into hearts.
Whisk the egg, milk, vanilla and caster
sugar in a wide, shallow bowl. Tip the
hazelnuts onto a plate. Dip the sandwiches
into the egg mixture, leave for 1-2 mins
each side to allow the brioche to soak
up the liquid, then dip one side of each
sandwich into the nuts. The sandwiches
can be chilled like this, covered loosely
with cling film, for up to 1 hour.
Heat the butter in a wide frying pan
until melted and foaming. Add the
sandwiches and cook for 1-2 mins each
side until golden brown and puffed up.
Dust with a little icing sugar and serve
with ice cream and raspberries.
Pour the Tia Maria into small cocktail or
liqueur glasses. Carefully pour the cream
into the glasses over the back of a
teaspoon so it floats on the surface of
the Tia Maria and makes a separate layer.
Dust the cream with cocoa by shaking
it through a tea strainer, and serve.
2 sea bass fillets, about 140g each (see tips, below)
1 small head of broccoli
6 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp small capers
6 anchovies, roughly chopped
Prep:15 minsCook:15 mins
Before you start cooking, get
everything prepared. Trim each sea
bass fillet so they are both the same
shape, then score the skin, cutting into the
flesh slightly, 5 or 6 times at about 1cm
intervals. Set aside.
Segment the orange – slice off the
top and bottom, then cut away the
skin and pith. Cut away each segment,
then squeeze out the juice from the rest of
the orange into a bowl. Cut the broccoli into
To make the warm broccoli salad,
cook the florets in a pan of boiling
salted water for 1 min until just
cooked. While the broccoli is cooking, put a
frying pan on to heat. As soon as the broccoli
is cooked, drain it, then tip straight into the
hot frying pan to ‘scorch’ out all the moisture.
Turn off the heat, then scatter the
orange segments over the broccoli.
Toss for a few moments just to heat
through, then tip into a bowl and dress with
the orange juice and 2 tbsp olive oil. Season
with pepper and a small sprinkling of sea
salt, then set aside.
Wipe out the pan. Season the fish with a little salt and
pepper just before cooking.
Heat the frying pan until
very hot, then add 2 tbsp oil. Lay the
fish fillets in the pan, skin-side down.
As soon as it goes in, press each
fillet down with your fingers or a fish
slice to stop it from curling up.
Reduce the heat to medium, then
leave the fish to cook for 3-4 mins,
undisturbed, until you can see that
the flesh has cooked two-thirds
of the way up and the skin is crisp
Flip the fillets over, then fry on the
flesh side for about 2 mins until just
done, basting the skin with the oil in
the pan as it cooks. Leave to rest on a warm
plate, skin-side up, and baste with the
hot oil and juices from the pan.
Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into the pan and
place it back on a high heat. Scatter in
the capers and anchovies, then cook
until they start to crisp. Grate over the lemon
zest and squeeze in the juice of ½ the lemon.
If there isn’t enough juices in the pan to
drizzle over both plates, add a splash more
oil. You are now ready to plate up.
Mix the crème fraîche with the horseradish
and a little salt and pepper. For the dressing,
whisk the lime juice and zest with the honey,
ginger and seasoning, then whisk in the oil.
Lay the smoked salmon and prawns on
2 plates, then top with a dollop of the horseradish
cream. Toss the salad in most of the dressing
and pile on top. Drizzle the remaining
dressing around the plate and serve.
2 tbsp single cream, plus a little extra for drizzling
8 large raw king prawns, peeled
6 scallops, roe removed
1 tbsp garlic butter
small handful coriander, leaves picked
½ red chilli, thinly sliced
toasted bread, to serve
Prep:10 minsCook:5 mins
Heat the lobster bisque, harissa and
lime juice In a small pan until bubbling.
Add the cream, reduce the heat and keep
warm while you cook the seafood.
Season the prawns and scallops.
Heat the garlic butter in a frying pan
until starting to foam. Add the seafood
and cook for 1 min on each side until
the prawns are pink and the scallops
are cooked and starting to brown,
but still have a little bounce.
To serve, pile the prawns and scallops
into the centre of 2 shallow soup bowls,
pour around the spicy bisque, scatter
with a few coriander leaves, chilli slices,
lime zest and a drizzle of cream. Serve
with toasted bread.
4 scoops good-quality vanilla ice cream and crisp biscuits, to serve
Prep:10 minsCook:2 mins
Tip the blueberries into a pan with the
sugar, vinegar and 1 tbsp water. Heat
very gently for 1-2 mins until the berries
soften, but don’t burst. Set aside until
ready to serve. Spoon over the ice cream
and eat with crisp biscuits.
Put the flour, butter, sugar, vanilla
and egg yolk in a food processor.
Dribble in 1 tbsp water and blitz until
the mixture comes together to form
a dough. Tip onto a work surface and knead briefly to bring together, then
wrap in cling film and chill for 20 mins.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1
coin. Use your 8cm heart cutter to stamp
out heart shapes – you’ll have to re-roll
the trimmings to make 20 biscuits. Put the
hearts on 2 baking trays and bake for
12 mins, swapping the trays over halfway
through, until pale golden and crisp.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Dye your lump of icing with red food
colouring and wrap in cling film until
ready to roll. Mix the icing sugar with
enough water to make a thick icing.
Dye the icing with the black food
colouring. Pour the icing into a piping
bag with a small plain nozzle attached
(or use a small sandwich bag and snip off
the corner). Roll out the red icing to 3mm
thick and use your 6cm
cutter to stamp out
hearts. Stick onto the
biscuits with a little
of the black icing.
Use the black icing to
give your love bug a head at the pointy end, draw a line down
the centre to give it wings, then add
spots. Stick 2 pearly balls onto each
love bug’s head, then leave to set on
a wire rack. You can pack your love
bugs into boxes or cellophane bags
to give as gifts for Valentine’s Day.
small bunch mint, chopped, reserving a few leaves to serve
small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped, reserving a few leaves to serve
2 handfuls rocket
Prep:40 minsCook:40 mins
Boil the barley for 20-25 mins until
just tender but with a little bite. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 200C/180C
fan/gas 6. If using butternut, thickly slice
into rounds, flicking out the seeds as you
go, or slice small, round squashes into
thin wedges. Toss with 1 tbsp oil, the
orange zest and seasoning. Spread over
a baking sheet and roast for 40 mins until
golden and tender, turning halfway. Set
aside while you finish the dish.
Mix the orange juice, vinegar and
remaining oil with the pearl barley and
plenty of seasoning. Stir in the onion
and chopped herbs, then layer up
on a platter with the squash, rocket
and remaining mint and parsley leaves.
150ml vegetable stock (we used Kallo yeast-free vegetable stock)
3 tbsp chopped tarragon
4 tbsp gluten-free breadcrumbs (we used Sainsbury's 'Free From' English muffins)
1 tbsp grated dairy and lactose-free cheese (we used Cheezly)
Prep:20 minsCook:30 mins
Mix half the oil and flour in a saucepan (off
the heat), then blend in the soya milk (it must
be well blended before heating). Bring the
sauce slowly to the boil, whisking constantly,
then simmer for 1 min. Remove from the heat,
cover with greaseproof paper and set aside.
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat
remaining oil in a frying pan, add the chicken,
then fry for 2-3 mins or until brown (it won’t
be cooked through). Transfer to an ovenproof
gratin dish. Add the onions to the pan and fry
for 2-3 mins. Spoon over the chicken, then
top with the tomatoes and asparagus. Set
aside while you prepare the sauce.
Put the sugar and vinegar into the pan.
Stir over medium heat until the sugar is a dark
caramel colour, then add the stock. Bring to
the boil and simmer for 1 min. Whisk into the
milky sauce until blended, season, then add
the tarragon. Spoon sauce over the chicken
and veg, sprinkle with crumbs and cheese,
then bake for 20 mins or until cooked through.
4 haddock or other chunky white fish fillets, about 120g each (or use 2 small per person)
2 tbsp plain flour
broccoli, to serve
Prep:15 minsCook:20 mins
Cover the potatoes in cold water, bring
to the boil, then turn to a simmer. Cook
for 10 mins until tender, adding peas for
the final min of cooking. Drain and
roughly crush together, adding plenty of
seasoning and 1 tbsp oil. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, for the dressing, mix 1 tbsp
oil, the lemon juice and zest, capers and
chives with some seasoning.
Dust the fish in the flour, tapping off
any excess and season. Heat remaining
oil in a non-stick frying pan. Fry the fish
for 2-3 mins on each side until cooked,
then add the dressing and warm through.
Serve with the crush and broccoli.
beat the egg white in a shallow bowl and spread out the caster sugar on
a baking sheet or tray. Dip the grapes and
the holly or bay leaves into the egg white, or use a paintbrush. Shake
off the excess, then coat in the sugar. Set aside to dry for at least 10
mins, ideally about 30 mins.
you’re ready to decorate, make the frosting. Put a large bowl over a
pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not
touch the water. Put the egg whites and icing sugar into the bowl and
whisk for 5-7 mins until you have a thick, very glossy frosting. Use a
spatula to clean around the edges of the bowl every so often as you
whisk. Scoop the frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it around
with a flat-edged knife, swirling as you go to create a snowy effect
(see Knowhow, below).
the clementines, figs and kumquats, then arrange on top of the frosted
cake with the physalis, frosted grapes and leaves. Fix a ribbon around
the base and leave the cake somewhere cool – but not the fridge – until
your guests arrive.
50g shelled walnuts or pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
2 red-skinned eating apples, cored and cut into slim wedges
175g Stilton (or any leftover cheese)
4-5 tbsp ready-made honey and mustard dressing, to serve
Ready in 20-30 minute
Preheat the oven and cook the garlic bread according to packet instructions.
the bread is in the oven separate the chicory into leaves and toss in a
large bowl with the celery, radishes, nuts and apples. Crumble the
stilton in large chunks over the top.
finish the salad, cut half the garlic bread into the marked slices. Cut
the remainder into chunks and toss into the salad with as much dressing
as you like. Serve with the remaining garlic bread on the side
a few sprigs of winter herbs such as thyme or sage, chopped
freshly grated parmesan
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Ready in 1¾ hours
Heat the olive oil in a large
saucepan and slowly fry the
carrots, onion and celery until soft
and dark. This will take about 20
minutes but it’s worth it – the slow
cooking gives a lovely taste. Add
the garlic, chard stalks and half the
parsley, and stir to prevent sticking.
Stir in the tomatoes and cook for
10 minutes or until reduced.
Add half the Swiss chard leaves,
half the cavolo nero, three-quarters
of the beans, and the boiling stock.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the
heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Pour
in more stock if needed – don’t add
too much – it should be thick.
Add the remaining Swiss chard
and cavolo nero and blanch briefly
so they remain green and crisp.
Season when slightly cooled.
Purée the remaining cannellini
beans coarsely in a blender with
some of the cooking liquid. Add
to the soup – it should be very
green. Stir in the herbs and serve
hot with Parmesan and a drizzle
of extra virgin olive oil.
2 leeks, thickly sliced and washed to remove any grit
8 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
350g/12oz pumpkin flesh, cut into chunks (or use butternut squash)
1 chicken stock cube
250g long grain rice
Ready in 35-45 minute
Serves 4 hungry trick or treaters
Hubble. Toss the leeks, bacon
and pumpkin together in a large
microwaveable bowl. Dot the
butter on top and cover the bowl
with cling film or a plate. Pierce
the cling film a couple of times if
using and microwave on High for
5 minutes until everything’s hot and
starting to cook.
Bubble. While the veg is cooking,
bring a kettleful of water to the boil
and make 700ml/11⁄4 pints stock
using the cube. Carefully remove
the bowl from the microwave and
uncover, watching out for the hot
steam. Tip in the rice and season
with salt and pepper, then pour in
the stock and stir to mix.
Worth the trouble. Cover the
bowl with a fresh piece of cling film
or the same plate and microwave on
High for 10 minutes. Uncover and
give it a stir, then microwave for 5-10
minutes until the rice is cooked.
Leave to stand for 5 minutes before
giving everything a final stir. Serve
scooped straight from the bowl.