Red Velvet Trifle

I make this trifle every year. My Mia loves trifle and I am always conjuring up all sorts of variations for her. It’s so quick and easy and perfect for anyone who is not a fan of Christmas pudding. The more kitsch little decorations you can find to adorn the snow scene on top of it the better.

Ingredients

1 red velvet cake – cut into 1 inch thick slices

100ml of sherry

150g raspberries

Small can of mandarins

400g tin of custard

300ml double cream

Chocolate to crumble over the top – 1 Flake or 1 Ripple are ideal

Method

Line the bottom of your trifle bowl ( always a glass one) with your cake slices and pour over your sherry.

Add your mandarins and raspberries on top and then the custard.

Whip up your cream so it holds it shape but be careful not to over whip or it will be difficult to spread over the custard. Once whipped but still drops off the spoon easily, spread over your custard.

Crumble over your chocolate and adorn with your kitsch little Christmas figures.


Turkish Delight Canapés

A simple little sweet canapé idea that looks so pretty when you are serving drinks. Turkish delight dipped in chocolate and crushed pistachios. Perfect served with a glass of fizz.

Ingredients

100g milk chocolate

12 cubes of Turkish delight

Handful of pistachios – crushed

Method

The most ridiculously easy recipe which to be honest I love.

Simply melt your chocolate in short bursts in the microwave or over a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Stir the chocolate so it is smooth.

Place each Turkish delight cube onto a stick and dip first into the chocolate, then into your pistachios.

Arrange on a pretty plate and serve with a glass of fizz.


White Chocolate Biscoff Mousses

There’s enough to do at Christmas without spending hours cooking each course. I love a quick and easy recipe that’s also delicious and that is what I aim to offer.

White chocolate mousse made with cream and marscapone which I think always makes creamy desserts that bit more luxurious. Sprinkled with Biscoff. It’s so elegant and pretty and tastes like Christmas in a glass. I make them the night before.

Makes 4

Ingredients

20g caster sugar

250g single cream

100g marscapone

125g white chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 Biscoff biscuits

Method

Mix all of your ingredients together except the white chocolate and Biscoff. I do this with an electric whisk to to make it as smooth as possible.

Melt your white chocolate in short bursts in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of hot water.

Stir the chocolate and whisk into your mixture.

Crumble a little Biscoff into the bottom of the glass and spoon in your mixture so it’s 3/4 full.

Crumble a little more Biscoff on top.

Chill in the fridge for a few hours preferably overnight.


Mistletoe Wishes Cocktail

Who wouldn’t want a kiss or a wish under the mistletoe?

This cocktail is so light and delicate and the rhubarb and prosecco are a perfect match. Just the thing to get you into the Christmas spirit. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas. Hope it’s magical.

Ingredients

1 measure Rhubarb Gin

70ml Prosecco

Top up with Lemonade

Squeeze of lime and lime wedge to decorate

Serve over ice.


Christmas Gammon

Another Christmas must have. Delicious served as a meat with a roast dinner with lots of fresh veg, crunchy roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese but best sliced up and eaten on its own or with sandwiches made with thick sliced bread from the bakery, pickles and chutneys.

Ingredients

2kg gammon

10 cloves

2 onions – cut in half

2 carrots – peeled

1 celery stalk

10 peppercorns

Glaze

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apricot jam

1 star anise

Method

Place your gammon joint in a large pot of water that just covers the joint of meat.

Bring to the boil.

Drain away water and refill with cold water, onions, carrot, celery, star anise and peppercorns and bring to the boil once again.

Turn the heat to a low simmer for 20 minutes per 500g so for another hour and 20 mins for a 2kg gammon.

Remove from pan and set aside to rest for 10 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 220c / 200c fan and pop gammon in a roasting tin.

Mix up your glaze in a cup.

Score the fat into a diamond pattern and brush with your glaze.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes basting with the juices half way through and another couple of times if you can.

Remove from oven and spoon over the juices one last time.

Rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.


Coconut Snowy Rocky Road

Christmas and rocky road are two of my absolute favourites so I thought why not combine the two together to make a snowy rocky road. It contains all the usual suspects but I’ve packed this one full of sweet coconut for all the snowy Christmas vibes.

Ingredients

200g milk chocolate

60g marshmallows

50g coconut – desiccated and extra to sprinkle when serving

80g golden syrup

180g choc chip cookies

135g butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Line an 18cm x 18cm tin with greaseproof paper.

Start by smashing up your cookies into small bits ( not crumbs).

Chop up your marshmallows or just use mini ones to save doing this.

Melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup over a low heat in a saucepan, stirring all the while and once fully melted and slightly cooled add the marshmallows and cookies. Stir so it’s all combined.

Finally, add your coconut and vanilla extract, mix thoroughly so every bite is full of coconut.

Transfer to your tin, smooth over with a palette knife but still leave it a bit rocky. Allow to refrigerate for a few hours but preferably overnight.

Remove from fridge, chop into pieces and sprinkle over more coconut for more snowy delightfulness.


Mulled Wine

Anyone for a mully? I’ve been mulling it over whether to share this recipe and the answer is a resounding yes. Anyway, enough of the Dad jokes. The ultimate drink that epitomises Christmas for me.

Fruity, bold and full of all the Christmas flavours. I always make this first thing Christmas Eve, our favourite day of the year. It simmers away while all the greatest festive crooners are singing. It fills the house with the smell of Christmas that lasts the whole day and night and it fills my heart with joy.

Makes about 12 glasses

Ingredients

2 bottles red wine of choice. I like a fruity red.

2 large orange – sliced

2 apple – sliced

4 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise

8 cloves

1 lemon cut into slices

4 tablespoons caster sugar

Glug of Cointreau – optional

Method

Pour your wine into a large saucepan over a low heat.

Add all the ingredients and simmer gently for 10 minutes or so then turn the heat right down and allow to cool a little. You don’t want it too hot or it will smash the glasses!

Ladle into your glasses. I do mine through a sieve as no one wants a clove in their pipe! Not really feeling a trip to A&E Christmas Eve to be honest.

If you still like it hot and you’re impatient like me, add a metal tea spoon into each glass to stop them shattering.

Enjoy whilst listening to all your Sinatra Christmas favourites with people you love.


Winter Berry Trifles

Trifle is such a quick and simple dessert especially if you make the jelly the day before. It’s perfect for when you’re entertaining but you’ve got lots to do and let’s face it who hasn’t at this time of year.

Individual trifles look cute and you can make the whole thing in advance and keep in the fridge for a day or two before you eat them. You might want to omit the sherry or Chambord for little ones.

Makes 4

Ingredients

4 teaspoons sherry or Chambord

Sachet of raspberry jelly

Bag of frozen winter berry fruits

Half a madeira cake

Large carton of custard

270ml whipping cream

1 chocolate Ripple or Flake to decorate

Method

Add a slice of madeira cake to each glass and spoon over a teaspoon of sherry. Top your cake with 2 tablespoons of frozen berries.

Make up your jelly mix according to instructions in a jug and pour over and divide between your four glasses.

Allow to set in the fridge for a couple of hours or so.

When the jelly is set pour over an inch or two of custard into each glass.

Whip up your cream so it is not too thick but still holds it shape. Divide over the four glasses and top with quarter of a sprinkled up ripple or flake.


Pork and Apple Sausage Rolls

I always make these Christmas Eve as I just love the tradition of it. We have so many delights, glazed ham, mulled wine, chocolate log, prosciutto puffs, mince pies it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

Give these pork and apple sausage rolls a try. The apple adds just the right amount of sweetness. They are so simple and what’s more there’s no need to faff about making your own pastry. Even Jamie Oliver buys a pack of ready roll now again and if it’s good enough for Jamie!

Makes approximately 16

Ingredients

1 pack ready roll puff pastry – remove from fridge 15 mins before at least

450g sausage meat

1 grated apple – peeled

1 small onion grated

Half teaspoon Salt

Half teaspoon Cracked black pepper

Egg – beaten to glaze

Puff of flour to roll out the pastry

Method

Place your sausage meat in a large mixing bowl and grate in your onion and then apple. Add your salt and pepper and mix to combine.

Puff a little flour on your work surface and roll out your pastry. You need to make sure it’s been out the fridge for at least 15 minutes or it will be too hard to roll and snap.

When you’ve rolled a squarish shape cut in half so you have two long strips.

Place a sausage shape of sausage meat all the way down the middle of each strip, fold over and press to seal. Slice into slices a couple of inches thick.

Glaze with the beaten egg

Place each strip on a lined baking tray and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

Remove, shake over a little salt and you will be in heaven.


Chocolate Orange Millionaire’s Shortbread

Oh my, what can I say about this one. I’ve been dreaming of this recipe for ages but wanted to save it for you until Christmas. So the 1st December seems fine. Trust me when I say it’s probably going to be one of the most delicious things you’ve ever eaten. The orange gives it a delightful fragrance and a real festive feel.

Shortbread, gooey caramel, rich chocolate orange. Serve it with a cup of tea and it’s heaven on earth. If you’re a millionaire’s shortbread fan and let’s face it who isn’t, you’re going to be in your element.

Ingredients

Shortbread

100g butter

50g caster sugar

50g cornflour

Few drops of water to mix

For the caramel

1/2 can of caramel – I used Carnation

Topping

1 Terry’s chocolate orange

Method

Pre heat oven to 160c / 140c fan

Grease and line a square tin. You could use an 8″ round cake tin but you will have triangles instead of squares.

Make sure your greaseproof paper overhangs slightly so you can ease out the shortbread.

Cream together your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Now add your plain flour and cornflour bit by bit. I do this in about four stages so it’s easier to mix into the butter and sugar and doesn’t puff all over the kitchen.

Knead the mixture to bring it together into a ball and press it into your tin. Level off with a palette knife and prick with a fork around the edges.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes. Slightly before the baking time is up ( about 5 mins before) gently press on the centre of the shortbread to check that it’s crisp. If not allow it to bake for another 5 mins.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so.

Now pour over your caramel and allow to set in the fridge for at least an hour.

Melt your chocolate in short bursts in the microwave or in a basin over a saucepan on the stove. It won’t hurt if you have a sneaky slice before you melt it. Stir so it’s lovely and smooth and pour over the top of your caramel.

Pop back in the fridge for at least 2 hours. I did mine overnight.

Remove from tin and chop into squares with a sharp knife.

Have yourself a piece with a cup of tea.