Sunday, 22 December 2019

The Ultimate Roast Potatoes

The Ultimate Roast Potatoes
These are the ultimate roast potatoes, crisp on the outside and oh so fluffy on the inside!

Serves 6
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

1.5kg floury potatoes, Maris Piper or King Edwards, peeled and cut in half
100g duck fat
8 garlic cloves
Few sprigs of thyme
Few sprigs of rosemary
2tbsp semolina
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Preparation method
1.    Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas mark 7.
2.    Put the potatoes in a saucepan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil, parboil for 5 minutes.  Drain well and then give them a gentle shake to fluff p the sides.
3.    Meanwhile place the roasting tin in the oven and melt the duck fat.
4.    Sprinkle the semolina over the potatoes and carefully tip into the sizzling fat along with the garlic, thyme, rosemary and season.  Toss the potatoes gently to ensure an even coating of fat and spread them out in an even layer.
5.    Roast the potatoes until golden and crisp, this should take 45-50 minutes to ensure they colour evenly.  When cooked to perfection pat dry with kitchen paper to remove the excess fat and serve.  Enjoy!

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine
This is the prefect winter warmer to get you in the festive spirit!

Serves 12
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

2 unwaxed oranges
1 lemon, peel only
150g caster sugar
5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 bottles of fruity unoaked red wine
150ml ginger wine

Preparation method
1.     Peel and juice one of the oranges and place in a large saucepan with the lemon peel, sugar, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add some wine to just cover the sugar, heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.  Now bring to the boil for 5-8 minutes until you have a thick syrup consistency.
2.    Meanwhile, stud the remaining orange with cloves and cut into segments to use as garnish.
3.    Reduce the heat and stir in the remaining wine and ginger wine, gently heat through.
4.    To serve, pour into heatproof glasses and serve with the orange segments as garnish.  Merry Christmas!

Christmas Turkey with Citrus Butter

Christmas Turkey with Citrus Butter
Christmas dinner means Christmas turkey; this recipe keeps your turkey moist and full of flavour.

Serves 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours (plus resting time)

6 kg turkey, giblets removed
140g butter, at room temperature
1 lemon, zest and halved
1 orange, zest and halved
A few sprigs of thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large onions, peeled and halved
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp olive oil

For the gravy
1 tbsp plain flour
200ml white wine
600ml good quality chicken stock

Preparation method
1.     Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas mark 4.
2.    Make sure the turkey is dry all over by patting with kitchen paper.  In a small bowl mix together the butter, lemon and orange zest, thyme, rosemary and season well.  Now gently push your fingers under the turkey’s skin around the neck, breasts and tops of the drumsticks; easing the skin away from the flesh.
3.    Now spread the butter under the skin with your fingers and push it as far as you can.  Place half of the lemon and orange, 2 onion halves and bay leaves into the turkey cavity.  Now rub the turkey all over with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
4.    Arrange the remaining onions in the bottom of a large roasting tin and place the turkey on top.  Now completely cover the bird with tin foil.  Now roast the bird as per calculated cooking times; 40 minutes per kg.
5.    At 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time remove the turkey from the oven and increase the heat to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6.  Remove the foil and place back in the oven for 30 minutes until golden.
6.    Test the turkey is cooked by piercing the fattest part of the thigh with a skewer, the juices should run clear.  If pink cook for a further 10 minutes and check again, continue until the juices run clear.
7.    Rest the turkey lightly covered with foil at least 30 minutes to one hour before serving.  Reserve the cooking juices and onions in the tin for the gravy.
8.    For the gravy, pour away the excess fat from the turkey tin but leave the onions.  Place the tin over a medium heat and sprinkle over the flour.  Mix through with a wooden spoon and cook for  2 minutes and press down on the onions to extract the flavour.  Now gradually add the wine and stock and bring to the boil scraping any bits from the bottom of the tin.  Bring the gravy to a simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes.  Now sieve and season to taste before serving in a warmed gravy jug alongside the Christmas turkey.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Menier Chocolate Eggnog

Menier Chocolate Eggnog
This Chocolate Eggnog is the perfect pairing of everyone's favourite chocolate milk and the Christmas season's yummiest drink!

Serves 8
Prep time:  30 minutes
Chilling time: 10 minutes

100g caster sugar
3 free-range eggs, separated
600ml whole milk
¼ tsp vanilla essence
100ml rum
125g Menier dark chocolate, broken & extra for grating
100ml whipping cream


1.    Place the caster sugar and egg yolks into a bowl and mix with an electric whisk until thick and creamy.
2.    Heat the milk in a saucepan until it is near to boiling.  Remove from the heat and pour into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, whisking continuously.
3.    Pour the mixture back into the pan and gently heat, stirring until smooth and starting to thicken.  Add the vanilla extract and rum and whisk, remove from the heat.
4.    Place the chocolate into a bowl and pour over the egg & milk mixture, whisk until fully melted.
5.    In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form peaks and then fold into the cooled mixture. 
6.    Beat the whipping cream until thick then fold ¾ into the mixture.  Place into the fridge ready for serving.
7.    To serve ladle into 8 glasses and top with a spoonful of whipping cream and grated chocolate.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Menier Chocolate Christmas Cake

Menier Chocolate Christmas Cake
This Christmas cake pulls out all the stops, it is rich in dried fruits housed in a decadent chocolate and spiced batter. Dense, flavourful, with hints of cinnamon and mixed spice.

Serves 15
Prep time:  30 minutes (plus overnight soaking time)
Cooking time: 2 hours

225g sultanas
225g raisins
200g currants
200g glace cherries
150g dried apricots, roughly chopped
125g dried figs, roughly chopped
150ml brandy
200g unsalted butter
200g dark brown soft sugar
100g Menier dark chocolate, broken
1 tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp black treacle
200g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
3tbsp Menier cocoa powder
1tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 free-range eggs, beaten


1.    Place all the dried fruit into a large bowl and add the brandy.  Stir well and leave to soak overnight.
2.    Put the butter, sugar, chocolate, vanilla, treacle and soaked dried fruits into a large saucepan.  Heat gently until everything has melted together and is fully combined.
3.    Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark 2. Line a deep loose bottomed cake tin, 23cm round or 20cm square, with baking parchment.
4.    In a bowl mix the flour, almonds, cocoa and spices together. Stir the eggs into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture in the saucepan, followed by the flour mixture.
5.    Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 ½ hrs - 1 ¾ hours or until a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool in the tin, once cooled remove from the tin and wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an air-tight container until ready to decorate.  Enjoy!

Monday, 9 December 2019

Ginger Beer & Satsuma Glazed Ham

Ginger Beer & Satsuma Glazed Ham
The ginger ale adds both flavour and incredible tenderness to the ham.  This compliments a roast turkey perfectly!

Serves 6-8
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours, plus cooling time

2-3 kg gammon joint
1 onion, peeled & halved
1 carrot, peeled & halved
1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
Zest of 4 satsumas, removed with a vegetable peeler
4 star anise
2 litres ginger beer

For the glaze
20 cloves
4tbsp clear honey
tbsp wholegrain mustard

1.    Put the gammon, onion, carrot, celery, satsuma zest and star anise in a large pan.  Pour over 1.9 litres of ginger beer (reserve 100ml for the glaze).  If the gammon is not covered fully with the ginger ale top up with water if required.
2.    Bring the liquid to the boil, skim off any skum and reduce the pan to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer for 2 hours.  Set aside and allow to cool in the liquid.
3.    Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas mark 7.
4.    Once cooled remove the ham from the pan and carefully remove the fat from the ham whilst making sure that you leave a layer of fat.
5.    Score the fat into diamond shapes, placing a clove in the centre of each diamond.  Line a large roasting tin with foil and place the ham on top.
6.    For the glaze, in a pan warm the honey, mustard and the remaining ginger beer and boil until it starts to thicken.  Now spoon over the ham and bake for 20-25 minutes or until caramelised.
7.    The ham can be served hot or cold.  Enjoy!

Monday, 2 December 2019

Baileys & Menier Chocolate Truffles

Baileys & Menier Chocolate Truffles
Treat friends and family to a little bit of chocolate heaven with this delicious truffles recipe for an easy and thoughtful edible Christmas gift.

Makes 16
Prep time:  30 minutes (plus chilling time)
Cooking time: 10 minutes

100ml double cream
100ml Baileys
40g light muscovado sugar
300g Menier dark chocolate, roughly chopped
25g butter, softened & cubed
200g Menier milk chocolate
Menier cocoa powder, to dust


1.    In a pan heat the cream, baileys and sugar over a gentle heat until it begins to boil.  Allow to simmer for a minute and remove from the heat and cool for 2 minutes.
2.    Place the dark chocolate and butter into a large heatproof bowl and pour over the cream & baileys mixture.  After a couple of minutes stir well until smooth and glossy.  Add a pinch of salt and allow to cool, cover and place in the fridge for two hours to set.
3.    Remove from the fridge and using a teaspoon scoop out the truffles and then roll in your hand to form spheres.  Chill the truffles whilst you melt the milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
4.    Dip each truffle into the melted chocolate to coat, sprinkle with cocoa powder and place on greaseproof paper to set.  Enjoy!

The Best Lamb Keema Recipe

The Best Lamb Keema Recipe
A tasty lamb and pea curry recipe that is quick to make and can be made in advance.

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
50g butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled & chopped
6 whole cloves
1 inch of cinnamon
6 whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
2 inches of root ginger, peeled & grated
2-5 fresh chillies, deseeded & chopped (depending on heat preference)
500g lean lamb mince
100g frozen peas
Salt for seasoning

1.    Place the cumin and coriander seeds into a dry frying pan and roast until fragrant and then grind in a pestle and mortar.
2.    Place the oil and butter into a large pan and melt and then add the onion, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns over a medium heat until the onions are browned.  Remove the cinnamon stick and add the cumin and coriander mix with the garam masala and turmeric and fry for 30 seconds whilst stirring.
3.    Add the tin of tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chillies.  Cook the mixture over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
4.    Add the lamb and mix into the mixture breaking up the lamb.  Cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 35-45 minutes.  Add the peas 10 minutes before the end.  Season with salt and add more garam masala if required.
5.    This dish is best when it is cooled and reheated to allow the flavours to infuse.  Reheat in the pan and serve with basmati rice and Indian breads.

Cooks Tips
·          This dish is best when made a day in advance.

Steak, Ale & Mushroom Pie

Steak, Ale & Mushroom Pie
This is a wonderfully delicious pie full of rich flavours - the perfect pie for chilly weather!

Serves 6

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours


For the pie filling
3-4tbsp olive oil
200g smoked bacon lardons
1 large onion, peeled, halved & sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
2tbsp plain flour
700g good quality stewing steak, cut into 2.5cm cubes
500ml bottle of real ale (I used Newcastle Brown Ale, but I am a Geordie)
400ml good beef stock
2tbsp tomato puree
1tbsp creamed horseradish sauce (optional)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stalks & finely chopped
2 bay leaves
250g small chestnut mushrooms, wiped & halved or quartered
2 tbsp cornflour

For the pie
325g short crust pastry
325g ready-made puff pastry
1 egg, beaten to glaze

To Serve
Mashed potato


1.    Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan.  Fry the bacon and onion until pale golden in colour and then add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring regularly.  Set aside using a slotted spoon.
2.    Season the steak with salt and pepper and dredge with flour. Now heat 1-2 tbsp of oil to the frying pan and add the steak, you may have to do this in batches.  Fry the meat until it is well browned all over.  Add more oil if necessary.  Set aside.
3.    Deglaze the frying pan with half of the ale.  Bring the ale to the boil and stir hard to remove all the sediment from the base of the pan.  Transfer the steak and bacon to the frying pan then add the remaining ale, stock, tomato puree, horseradish and herbs to the dish.  Bring to the boil and then cover, simmer for 1 ½ hour or until the meat is very tender.  Mix the corn flour with 2tbsp of cold water and add to the pan.  Continue to simmer uncovered for a further 5 minutes or until the juices are thick.  Season to taste and allow to cool.
4.    In the meantime preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.  Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms over a high heat for about 5 minutes until golden and add to the meat.  Remove the bay leaves and then strain the liquid from the meat but add some of the gravy to suit your taste.  Set aside the rest of the gravy to serve as gravy with the pie.
5.    Roll out the short crust pastry to 4mm thick and line a 1.2 litre pie dish, leave the excess pastry hanging over the edge.   Spoon the cooled beef mixture into the dish and brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg.
6.    Roll out the puff pastry to 4mm thick and large enough to cover the pie.  Place the pastry over the pie and press the edges firmly together to seal and trim neatly.  Brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg.  Decorate with trimmings and brush with more egg to glaze.  Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown.  Divide the pie and serve with mash and plenty of gravy, enjoy

Friday, 29 November 2019

Venetian Orange Cake

Venetian Orange Cake
This is a stunning flourless orange & almond cake with a zesty syrup.  It is the perfect accompaniment to any coffee break.

Makes 12
Preparation time: 20 minutes (plus 2 hours boiling the oranges)
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes °

2 large oranges
100g soft dark brown sugar
400g caster sugar
6 medium free-range eggs
250g ground almonds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 orange, zest & juice

To serve
250g Mascarpone
2tbsp double cream


1.    Place the 2 oranges into a large pan, fill with water and boil gently for 2 hours.  Remove the oranges and allow to cool, reserve the liquid.
2.    Add the brown sugar and 200g of the caster sugar to a food processor and crack in the eggs.  Blitz until light and fluffy.
3.    Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas mark 4. 
4.    Cut the cooled oranges into medium sized pieces, removing any seeds and add to the food processor, blitz until smooth.
5.    Now add the ground almonds and baking powder, whizz to combine.
6.    Grease and line a 24 cm cake tin with baking parchment.  Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours.
7.    Meanwhile make the syrup buy pouring the orange cooking liquid into a large pan.  Use water to top up the liquid to 750ml (if there is not enough liquid).  Add the remaining 200g of caster sugar, the juice and zest of an orange.  Bring to a fierce boil for 10-15 minutes or until thick and syrupy, remember the syrup will thicken more when removed from the heat.  Allow to cool and drizzle the orange syrup over the cooled cake.
8.    To serve, mix the mascarpone with the double cream and serve on the side.  Enjoy!


·         This beautiful cake server was gifted by Arthur Price