Tartare Sauce

  • 2 banana shallots, very finely chopped
  • 40g baby capers, rough chopped
  • 50g cornichons, topped & tailed, quartered lengthways and chopped small as possible
  • 1 tsp tarragon vinegar
  • 10g picked curly parsley finely chopped
  • 125g mayonaise

Mix Well

 

Tarragon Vinegar

  • Sterilise an old wine bottle (screw top) by washing through the dishwasher.

  • Put 100g tarragon in the bottle and fill with white wine vinegar.

  • Leave for a couple of weeks, then it's good to use.

Chocolate & Beetroot Cake

125g whole beetroots
Dark Chocolate 100g
1/4 espresso shot
100g butter
70g ground almonds
5g baking powder
25g cocoa powder
5 eggs, separated
50g caster sugar
50g soft dark brown sugar

Method

  • Clean whole beetroots, wrap in tin foil and bake at 180c for 45 mins until tender. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, remove foil and peel of skin with the back of a knife and grate. You might want to wear gloves!
  • Melt the chocolate and butter, with the espresso, in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
  • Add the grated beetroot
  • Whisk egg yolks until white & fluffy and add to the chocolate mix
  • Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks then gradually whisk in sugars
  • Fold into the chocolate mix
  • Sift dry ingredients and fold into the mix
  • Bake in a lined cake tin for 40 mins @ 160c

Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownies

The perfect treat for hard-working mums.
 
Ingredients
225g unsalted butter
275g dark chocolate
400g caster sugar
5 eggs
150g of plain flour
50g cocoa
75g of skinned hazelnuts, toasted & chopped
10g of sea salt

Method

  • Melt butter and chocolate together.
  • Separately, whisk eggs and sugar till white and fluffy.
  • Gently stir the butter and chocolate mix into the eggs and fold in sifted flour, salt and cocoa.
  • Fold in hazelnuts, pour into a lined baking tray and bake in pre-heated oven at 160C for 45 minutes.

Bubbles of Love (Makes 1)

Ingredients.
1/2 Clementine
25ml Pomegranate juice
Top with Prosecco
Clementine zest

Method

  • Chill fruit and juice in fridge for at least an hour.
  • Cut a piece of zest from the clementine for each drink, about the size of a 10p, then cut clementine in half around the waist and juice.
  • Strain juice through a tea strainer to remove pulp and pour into chilled champagne flute along with pomegranate juice and top up carefully with Prosecco.
  • Gently squeeze zest over the glass to release fragrant oils, take to your loved one and enjoy together.

Spiced Arancello
(Makes 1 Litre)

Ingredients
500ml Vodka
5 Blood oranges
1 Cinnamon stick
3 Cardamom pods
500g Caster sugar
500ml Water

Method

  • Zest orange, ensuring no pith is attached to peel. 
  • Add zest and spices to vodka in sterile jar or bottle and seal.
  • Leave to macerate for 1-2 weeks, shaking daily.
  • When ready, strain out peel and spices.
  • Boil water and stir in sugar till dissolved. Mix strained vodka and sugar syrup together and bottle.
  • Best served straight from the freezer.

Mulled Wine

'Tis the season for mugs of hot wine and rosy noses.
 
Ingredients
1.5 litres Red wine (two bottles)
10 Cloves
2 Star anise
1 Orange (halved)
6 Mace husks (or 1/2 tsp ground mace)
1 Lemon (halved)
1 Cinnamon stick
150g Caster sugar

Method

  • Choose a fruity, unoaked red wine like a Merlot or a Chianti and pour one bottle into a large pan.
  • Add the other ingredients (feel free to tweak spices to your own tastes), and heat until sugar has dissolved, then simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the second bottle of wine and serve, or allow to cool and reheat as needed in the microwave.

Dark & Stormy

The national drink of Bermuda, perfect for warming up on a wet & windy winter night.
 
Ingredients
50ml Gosling's Black Seal
(or other dark navy rum)
1/2 Fresh lime
Ginger beer

Method

  • Cut the lime into four wedges and squeeze into a tall glass, and drop spent wedges in too.
  • Fill glass with ice cubes, add rum, top with ginger beer (the more fiery, the better), stir well and enjoy. 
  • For those who like an extra kick, crush about half a birds-eye chilli with a spoonful of caster sugar, in the base of the glass first.

Cranberry Flapjacks
(Makes 18)

Ingredients.
250g dry cranberries
300g rolled porridge oats (not jumbo)
50 ml ginger wine
300g dark brown sugar
350g butter, plus extra for greasing

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180C. Tip the cranberries into a bowl, and toss
    with the ginger, ginger wine and small pinch of salt.
  • Gently melt the butter and honey in a saucepan. In a large bowl,
    mix the oats, flour, pumkin seeds and sugar together, making sure
    there are no clumps of sugar, then stir in the butter and honey until
    everything is combined into a loose flapjack mixture, finally fold the
    cranberries through the mix.
  • Flatten mix out into a greased, 20cm x 20cm baking tin and bake
    for 45-50 mins until dark golden and starting to crisp a little around
    the edges.
  • Leave to cool completely, then cut into 18 little bars.
  • Will keep in an airtight container for 2 days or can be frozen for up
    to a month.

Hot Buttered Rum

Ingredients
25g of unsalted butter
1 tbsp of maple syrup
(or soft brown sugar)
Pinch of nutmeg (to taste)
Pinch of allspice (to taste)
35ml of golden rum
Large piece of orange peel
(stud with cloves to taste)
Cinnamon stick

Method

  • Beat butter together with maple syrup and spices until thoroughly
    combined.
  • Place butter in base of a mug or thick-sided glass, add rum and
    orange zest and top with boiling water.
  • Whisk briskly until butter
    has completely melted.
  • Serve with cinnamon stick to stir with, and release flavour as it steeps in the drink.
  • You can batch up a block of spiced butter and it will keep in the fridge for a few months.
  • It's great on crumpets or in crumbles too.

Sloe Gin

Not normally around till November, the weather this year has led to an early, bumper sloe crop. Here's how to turn it into a perfect tipple in time for Christmas.
 
Ingredients
450g Washed sloes
175g White sugar
750ml Gin

Method

  • Freeze sloes overnight so they burst.
  • Add all ingredients to a sterilised litre-sized container with an air-tight lid (squash bottles work well).
  • Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week.
  • Then shake once a week for at least two months.
  • Strain through muslin into a sterilised bottle when ready.

Tommy's Margarita

The margarita is the world's most popular cocktail. This recipe was developed by a tequila ambassador, because as a diabetic, he couldn't drink regular margaritas.
 
Ingredients
50ml Tequila
25ml Agave syrup
30ml Fresh lime juice

Method

  • Shake the ingredients and plenty of cubed ice in a cocktail shaker
    (or jam jar) and pour out with ice, into a rocks glass, with or
    without a salt rim.
  • Agave syrup can be bought from larger supermarkets and many
    health food shops.
  • It is a natural sweetener with a low GI index, so a great option for diabetics.

Shortbread

Buttery, crumbly biscuits, perfect with fresh strawberries and a drop of cream.
 
Ingredients
Makes approximately 24 biscuits.
450g Butter
450g Flour
140g Icing sugar
Pinch of salt

Method

  • Beat all ingredients together with electric whisk until smooth.
  • Clingfilm mix and refrigerate for 40mins.
  • Roll to 5mm thick and cut to shape.
  • Bake on a greaseproof lined tray for 6 mins at 180 C.

Perfect Punch

Great for sipping in the Summer sun.

Ingredients

2 bottles Sauvignon Blanc
200ml Elderflower Cordial
1 ltr Lemonade
1 ltr Sparkling water
Juice of three lemons
6 sprigs of mint

Method

  • Stir everything together in a fancy big bowl, load up with plenty of ice cubes and bring out to the delight of everyone.

Makes 15-20 glasses

Tom Collins

Perfect in the sun.
 
Ingredients
50ml Gin
25ml Fresh lemon juice
2 tsp Caster sugar

Method

  • Top it all off with soda, in a tall glass filled with big ice cubes.

  • The Tom Collins is a great G&T alternative.

  • Try crushing a few mint leaves, fresh strawberries & thyme, or adding a favourite cordial too.