Reading Time: 2 minutes


Did you know that the Christmas Pudding originated as far back as the 14th Century when the ingredients were quite different from how they are today, and was more of a main course containing mutton.

Then as it evolved it became a Christmas dessert and a silver coin, usually an old fashioned six pence was hidden inside.  The ideas was, whoever found it would get good fortune for the following year.  There were no health and safety or allergy restrictions in those days.

So why not bring back some of those old traditions, I don’t mean mutton or a six pence, but perhaps put something unusual but edible inside as a surprise when serving your Christmas feast this year.



  • 150 grams currants
  • 150 grams sultanas
  • 150 grams chopped prunes
  • 175 ml sherry
  • 100 grams plain flour
  • 125 grams fresh breadcrumbs
  • 150 grams suet
  • 150 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 medium cooking apple (peeled and grated)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 125 ml vodka or brandy (to flame the pudding)


  1. Put the currants, sultanas and prunes into a bowl with the sherry, swill the bowl a bit, then cover with clingfilm and leave to soak overnight or for up to 1 week.
  2. When the fruits have had their soaking time, put a large pan of water on to boil, or heat some water in a conventional steamer, and butter your heatproof plastic pudding basin, remember to grease the lid, too.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining pudding ingredients (except the vodka/brandy),
  4. Add the booze soaked fruits, scraping in every last drop of liquor with a spatula, and mix to combine thoroughly, then add the all important 'sixpence'.
  5. Scrape and press the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, squish it down and put on the lid. Then wrap with a layer of foil so that the basin is watertight, then either put the basin in the pan of boiling water (halfway up the basin) or in the top of a lidded steamer and steam for 5 hours, checking every now and again that the water hasn’t bubbled away.
  6. When it’s had its 5 hours, remove carefully and, when cooled slightly, unwrap the foil, and put the pudding in its basin out of the way in the kitche, until Christmas Day.
  7. On the big day, rewrap the pudding (still in its basin) in foil and steam again, this time for 3 hours.
  8. then transfer to a plate, add the booze and light it !
  9. serve with clotted cream, custard or just as is.



Reading Time: 1 minute


The very mention of Stollen sends many of us into raptures as we tuck into this delicious cake, mostly associated with Christmas.

Originally from Dresden, capital of the German free state of Saxony, where there is even a festival in its name, and dates back to the 15th Century.

Try this recipe and dare not to LOVE it, and it will also steal the hearts of anyone who tries it.




  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 10g fast action yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 150g/5½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 250ml/9fl oz full-fat milk
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 drops almond extract
  • 55g/2oz blanched almonds, finely chopped
  • 200g/7oz raisins
  • 100g/3½oz currants
  • 125g/4oz candied peel
  • 25g/1oz butter, melted
  • 225g/8oz marzipan
  • 25g/1oz butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar


  1. Put the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Add the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other. Add the softened butter and 200ml/7fl oz of the milk and stir together.
  2. Add the remaining milk and bring the mixture together to form a soft dough. Transfer to a generously floured work surface and knead for 6-7 minutes, or until smooth and pliable.
  3. Mix the nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and almond extract, almonds, dried fruit and mixed peel together in a large bowl. Put the dough on top and knead from the outside into the centre incorporating the dried fruit and spices as you go. When everything has been fully incorporated, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place, or until doubled in size.
  4. Flatten the dough and roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangle about 45x35cm/18x14in (or so the short side of the dough matches the longest side of your baking tray). Brush with the melted butter.
  5. Roll out the marzipan to about 35x15cm/14x6in (the long side should approximately match the width of the dough). Place on top of the dough in the middle. Roll the dough up to enclose the marzipan and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cover and leave to rise for about an hour, or until risen and doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 (fan 170C).
  7. When the dough is risen, bake for an hour. Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter, and dust with icing sugar. Serve cold.

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It’s Party Season – Time To Be a Little Bit Naughty?

It’s Party Season – Time To Be a Little Bit Naughty?

Reading Time: 1 minute


As Party Season comes into its own, we must be permitted to be a bit naughty as chocolate is the food of love, and we LOVE chocolate.

Here is a recipe for the most rich, moist chocolate you have ever tried.

Be naughty & enjoy hot or cold.

Indulgent Chocolate Cake

Indulgent Chocolate Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (sunflower or vegetable)
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup skimmed milk
  • 3/4 cup instant coffee
  • 1 250-ml Double cream
  • 250-grams dark chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (165°C fan)
  2. Grease or line an 8-inch round cake pan
  3. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Add oil, egg, vanilla and milk to the flour mixture and beat well to combine
  5. Add the coffee and mix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until a rounded knife inserted in the centre of the chocolate cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  8. Transfer cake to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
  9. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat over low heat for a few minutes. Watch that it doesn't boil.
  10. Once the cream is hot take the saucepan off the heat. Add in the dark chocolate.
  11. stir with a spatula until smooth, creamy and glossy.
  12. Refrigerate for one hour or hour until thickened
  13. Spread over the cake.
  14. Serve with Clotted cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



Reading Time: 6 minutes


It was a real wakeup call when I was told several years ago that some kids don’t know where potatoes come from, because in my day it was babies – as I was convinced they were left behind a bush by the Stork!!

Seriously though, Jamie Oliver has improved children’s awareness of fresh food by his campaigns in schools, but there are still families who rely so heavily on frozen fries and convenience food through necessity, that they have missed a major trick which is less expensive, far more nutritious and psychologically sound – cooking together as a family.

We all know that time is not always on our side when both parents are working, or if you are a grandparent only seeing the family at weekends, but any time put aside to get everyone involved from the ages of five to ninety-five, will be incredibly beneficial.

I did it recently with my young grandkids – yes still can’t believe I am a grandmother – far too young, but here I am and making the most of it!

I hatched a plan with my daughter, who struggles to cook an array of meals with her three young children all under 8 with different tastes and demands, and her husband who is also quite particular about his food.

We decided to consult each member of the family and find out what they would like for a special lunch at Nanna’s.  The youngest said chocolate and the older twins wanted pizza and my son-in-law a vegetarian dish.

So we set out to incorporate all of the ‘tastes’ and opted for a vegetarian pizza full of health giving fresh vegetables followed by a fabulous dessert of fresh fruit and meringue with a chocolate topping.

I set up the kitchen with music themed to please everybody, from Thunderbirds to Peppa Pig & Taylor Swift to Michael Buble and then set out the vegetables and home grown tomatoes and herbs, the latter still in pots for the kids to see.

There was a good selection of salad and fruit to be chopped up, and the little one was given the task of setting out the table and folding up the napkins, as well as stirring the chocolate topping, under the watchful eye of Dad in case of too much ‘secret tasting’.

Once the vegetables had been chopped and whilst waiting for the meal to cook, the twins entertained us with their wooden spoon air guitars as we bopped around the kitchen.

The event went off without a hitch and I threw in some subliminal information about where and how long the ingredients had taken to grow, some of them in my own garden, and everyone was happy.  Plus it had given my daughter ‘food for thought’ of how to tackle meals times in future – with a bit of planning and lots of imagination.



  • 6 small mushrooms, halved
  • 1 small courgette, sliced
  • 1 small yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons  dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ready made 12″ pizza crust
  • 1 can pizza sauce
  • mozzarella cheese


  • In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, courgette, peppers, onion, vinegar, water, 3 teaspoons oil and salt & pepper. Transfer to an oiled backing tin and grill on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until tender, turning once halfway through.
  • Brush crust with remaining oil, spread with pizza sauce. add the grilled vegetables and cheese. place in oven for 8-12 minutes at 180c or until edges are browned and cheese is melted.




  • large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 oz choc chips


  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 6 oz choc chips
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Fresh fruit or berries (blackberries, raspberries, peaches or strawberries etc)



Pre-heat oven to 150º c. Lightly grease a baking sheet.Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in large mixer bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar; beat until sugar is dissolved. Gently fold in morsels. Spread meringue into ten 3-inch nests with deep wells about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until meringues are dry and crisp. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Heat evaporated milk and bring to boiling in a thick bottomed saucepan.
Stir in choc chips,
Stir constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened and smooth.
Remove from heat; stir in sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
Drizzle meringues with Chocolate Sauce and fill with the fruit & serve.
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Quick, Easy & Tasty Miso Noodles with Egg

Quick, Easy & Tasty Miso Noodles with Egg

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A perfect quick and tasty lunch, so simple and quick to prepare
These Miso Noodles with Boiled Egg will get your taste buds tingling.


Ingredients (For one person)

  • 1 medium sized egg
  • 1 tbsp t oil
  • 50g Mushrooms sliced
  • small piece ginger, finely grated
  • small piece garlic,  finely grated
  • chilli flakes (small pinch)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • small handful beansproats
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 100g egg noodles (fresh or dried), (cook to packet instructions if dried)
  • salt & papper
Win a Delicious Pack of Turmerlicious Latte Blends

Win a Delicious Pack of Turmerlicious Latte Blends

Reading Time: 5 minutes

“As the nights draw in here is your chance to win the full range of Turmerlicious Turmeric latte blends –  a dairy and caffeine-free range of hot drinks made from coconut, a good daily dose of superfood turmeric and a delicate blend of aromatic spices.

Amazing as it is, turmeric is very hard for the body to absorb as it is a fat-soluble spice and needs pepper and heat to break it down (making many supplements ineffective).

Because of this founder Maggie Howell created the Turmerlicious range of turmeric lattes specifically to maximise the absorption of turmeric, so adding one cup to your daily routine is a really effective and delicious way to take turmeric every day.

 Available in four natural flavours – vanilla, ginger, choc and chilli choc.”

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine  – in fact, one of the Sanskrit translation for turmeric is “defender of diseases”. In more recent years it has been found to ease arthritis pain, aid the liver in detoxifying, boost blood circulation, heal and soothe the digestive tract, reduce the pain and fever associated with illness, and even help prevent ulcers due to the antiseptic properties.

It truly is a superfood and yet for most people, it has only ever been used as a flavouring or colouring in savoury dishes. However, more and more people have started adding turmeric to their daily diet from both a medicinal as well as preventative perspective. Amazing as it is though, turmeric is very hard for the body to absorb as it is a fat-soluble spice and needs pepper and heat to break it down (making many supplements ineffective).

A particularly easy and delicious way to take turmeric effectively is as a hot drink, based on the age-old “golden milk”. The popularity of turmeric lattes in trendy cafes is growing at a significant rate, however making it yourself can be time-consuming, tricky to get right in terms flavour – turmeric is a bitter, dry tasting spice and can stain everything in your kitchen a sunny yellow.

That is exactly what Mum of 5 Maggie Howell found when making turmeric lattes at home as she wanted to get a good daily dose of turmeric into her diet. So after a year of experimenting with different blends and spices, she came up with a range of four flavours that complemented turmeric and coconut perfectly. In addition she found a way to make them completely instant – a huge time saver in a busy household!

She launched Turmerlicious last year and now her range of turmeric latte blends are available across the UK in Holland & Barrett, over 500 independent health food stores and of course from Amazon

Turmerlicious ticks so many boxes as it is free from caffeine (apart from a small amount of caffeine in the chocolate versions), preservatives, artificial flavours, refined sugar, GMO products, nuts, eggs and gluten. It is also dairy free which make its suitable for vegans, those following a Paleo diet and anyone with a lactose intolerance.

And it is delicious! As one customer said “it is like a hug in a mug!” a really comforting hot drink which is a great healthy replacement for tea, coffee and hot chocolate, simply add 3 heaped teaspoons to a mug, pour in boiling water, stir well and enjoy!

Her is you chance to win 1 of 3 sets of mixed bundles (4x 200g packs of choco, vanilla, ginger and chilli choc) RRP £26
Just enter you details below.

Click here to view this promotion.

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