First questions: do you love cakes?

(If you said no then just leave now. Come on.)

Second question: do you like being charitable?

This is a trick question as clearly it’s not really OK to answer no to this one.

You will be pleased to know that this year you can combine these two loves to help provide vital support to those who have suffered life changing injuries and their families, for life. All you have to do is take part in the Colossal Cake Sale, which has been set up by Help for Heroes, the charity which help those who have been wounded in Britain’s current conflicts.

Colossal cake sale

Help For Heroes are asking every community to get together between 19th April and 5th May to raise money by holding a cake sale, either at their local school or shopping centre or just making cakes to sell around the office or to friends and family. This year the event is being sponsored by Whitworths sugar and they have loads of recipes on their website to get you started. View Post

How is your post-Christmas diet shaping up? January is supposed to be a time for fresh starts – healthy eating, wholesome walks in the countryside, that sort of thing. Not so for me. We get given so many food related Christmas gifts that the first half of January at least is awash with sugar in a veritable sea of fudge, fruit liqueurs and violet creams.

Thursday was a particularly shameful day for me as I was entirely alone and so had no one to look at me, eyebrows raised, as I reached for the seventh biscotti.

Here’s roughly what I ate (in chronological order): View Post

Of my my very favourite bits about Christmas – obviously – is the food and drink. Not only do I generally like eating and drinking, but I also like giving and receiving foodie things as gifts. At least when you give someone a box of chocolates you know that they are going to eat them and not just leave them for ten years getting dusty in the bathroom cabinet. (Unless you give them to my sister, in which case you know that you will have to eat them for her six months later when they are approaching their sell by date. Win win.)

I’ve been trying out some festive treats over the last few weeks, selfless woman that I am, to bring you a few food and drink Christmas gifts that I think anyone would be pleased to be given. View Post

This week I took part in a live cookery Google hangout with Great British Chefs and Tesco Real Food.

 

I have done a couple of these now and they are always great fun. You basically get to cook along with a chef – in this case Galton Blackiston – and ask them questions about anything to do with the recipe as you go. We were trying out one of their Christmas recipes – Christmas pudding ice cream.

If you are anything like my family then you buy a Christmas pudding because you think you should, have one portion out of it, and then get left wondering what to do with the rest. This recipe is a great way to use up those leftovers, but can work just as well with Christmas cake or dried fruit. It’s much easier to make than you think and you don’t even need an ice cream maker. View Post

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend a day at Vale House Kitchen, a brand new cookery school near Bath. Run by Bod and Annie, two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, Vale House Kitchen aims to reconnect people with their food by teaching basic hunting, fishing, foraging and cooking skills.

You can see for yourself how beautiful it is and find out more about the making of Vale House Kitchen in this short video:

I went on the Chef Skills course, run by fantastic local chef Kieran Lenihan. Kieran was an excellent tutor and I will definitely be paying his restaurants a visit.  View Post

I made these mincemeat puff pastry swirls last weekend and just had to share them as they are so simple yet so impressive looking. They’re perfect if you’ve got friends coming round and need to whip up a tasty hot treat, so long as you don’t mind a bit of pastry on the carpet.

Puff pastry mincemeat swirls

Firstly, you need a packet of ready rolled puff pastry. Unroll it, but leave it on the baking parchment. Spread it with whatever you fancy – jam, mincemeat, or perhaps even some of my home-made lemon curd? We went for mincemeat as I have been planning my #WinChristmas giveaway this week and it has been making me feel rather festive. View Post