Tuesday, 23 December 2008


I had some Stollen in Thornton’s Coffee Shop the other day and decided to buy one for Christmas. Not a single shop in Heswall had any so I headed for the recipe books and despite a shelf full of books found not a single recipe. So it was off to the web. Lots of recipes, including one from Liverpool chef Simon Rimmer so I had to choose his. Here it is, slightly adapted by me, now cooling in the kitchen...

3½ fl oz warm milk
2 tsp dried yeast
pinch salt
1 tsp caster sugar
8 oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp ground mixed spice
7 oz mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, mixed peel, glace cherries)
1 oz flaked almonds
2 oz butter
1 free range egg, beaten
9 oz marzipan
1 oz melted butter
2 oz icing sugar (or caster sugar)

1. Place the milk and yeast in a bowl and mix well. Leave to sit for 5 – 6 minutes.
2. Sift the sugar, flour, salt and mixed spice into a mixing bowl.
3. Add the fried fruit, almonds and 2oz butter and mix well.
4. Add the yeast and milk mixture and mix well.
5. Add the egg and stir to make a dough.
6. Knead the dough for 5 -6 minutes, cover and leave to prove for 20 minutes.
7. Uncover the dough and turn out onto a clean, well-floured, work surface. Using your hands knock the dough back to reduce the volume, then knead for 3 – 4 minutes.
8. Push and roll the dough out by hand into a flat oval about 9 x 7 inches.
9. Roll the marzipan into a piece about 7 x 2 inches. Place the marzipan into the centre of the dough, then fold the edges of the dough to seal in the marzipan.
10. Place the stollen seal-side down onto a greased baking tray. Cover and place in a warm spot to prove for 1 hour.
11. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ Gas 4 / 365°F.
12. Place the stollen on the baking tray into the oven to bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
13. To finish, remove the stollen from the oven, brush with melted butter and dust with icing sugar.
14. Leave to cool then serve in slices.
15. (May be served warm by re-heating in microwave for a moment and can be accompanied by a dollop of thick cream or ice cream if so desired.)

Monday, 15 December 2008


I’m not supposed to drink alcohol. Firstly it gives me migraines (or should I say more migraines) and secondly it clashes with about six of the tablets that I take. Normally I don’t miss it. A glass of wine with the occasional dinner would be nice but the price is not worth it.

However, as Christmas comes around I begin to fancy a drink. I love liqueurs. I also love eggnog. At this moment I’m absolutely dying for an eggnog (and I haven’t even had breakfast yet!)

So, instead of having an eggnog I’ve settled for looking at all the recipes I could find and deciding which I would like best. I’ve settled for this recipe.

There are a number of websites totally devoted to eggnog and whilst I haven’t explored this one I love the way the topping has been put on in shapes.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Chips (British Chips!)

The ideal chip is crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. My Mum always used to peel and cut the chips well in advance of the meal and leave the chips soaking in water. I always assumed this was just to save time when she came to make the meal itself. Instead it seems there was method in her madness (so to speak). Leaving the cut potatoes to soak for at least two hours reduces the starch content.

The chips should then be patted dry and deep fried in hot fat (150°C) for about six minutes. Then they should be taken out and drained on paper towels to remove the excess fat. A couple more minutes of frying with the fat at a higher heat (180°C) should create the perfect British chip.

Saturday, 6 December 2008


I came across this recipe on Nan’s Blog. I anticipated that my son would love them. He didn’t – I just wish I’d eaten them all straight out of the oven as I was tempted to do. Next time I won’t leave him any!

1 ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 ¼ olive oil
1 ¼ rolled oats
1 egg

Beat the egg, then add the oil and beat again.
Stir in the cheese and the oats.
Put in a greased 8in x 8in baking tray.
Put in the oven at 180°C for about 40 minutes.

In my view they are best eaten warm.