Monthly Archives: November 2014

Taste of London 2014

Taste sign

Twinkling Christmas lights, the smell of mulled wine and festive food – yes, we were at the Taste of London winter show this weekend.

The beautiful Tobacco Docks were a wonderful setting for this festive event and the stands and food on offer certainly did not disappoint. We also picked up some great baking and flavour inspiration whilst we were there.

Macaroons We particularly loved these colourful and delicious macaroons from Ganache Macaron. Seeing all these delicious bitesize treats has reminded us what a great homemade gift our own Christmas macaroons are.

Note to self: add ingredients for macaroons to Christmas shopping list.

Some bakers had got really creative with the Christmas theme, there was an adorable display of Christmas elves completely crafted from chocolate which looked too good to eat.

Christmas cupcakes There were also a good selection of festive cupcakes and a rather impressive tiered Grinch cake. To make your own version of these Christmas cupcakes check out our recipe with a simple step by step guide to decorate with your favourite characters.

Christmas tree We were particularly fond of the marshmallow stands. These really would make a delicious foodie Christmas gift (hint hint Santa!) however if you aren’t lucky enough to receive these in your stocking this year, don’t get too down as we have a simple recipe to make you own.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the show and left brimming with lots of creative ideas to spread the Christmas joy this year, we really can’t wait for the big day now.

The ultimate guide to Stir Up Sunday

stir up sunday dateOne of our favourite Christmas traditions is Stir Up Sunday – officially the first day where it is publicly acceptable to start preparing for the impending Christmas celebrations.

Stir Up Sunday is a great family tradition with everyone in the family having a chance to give the batter a mix and make a wish. Some households even place a coin (traditionally a sixpence) in the pudding which is thought to bring good luck, health and happiness in the upcoming year.

We have fond memories at HQ of stirring the Christmas pudding mix as kids and making a special Christmas wish, whilst festive tunes were playing in the background – good quality family time. So, we have put together the ultimate guide to Stir Up Sunday for you all.

Step 1 – find a yummy Christmas pudding recipe on CHECK!

Click here for our Christmas pudding recipe

Step 2 – buy your ingredients. We personally believe that using the very best quality ingredients that you can afford will turn your Christmas pudding into a real showstopper. Ingredients shot

Step 3 – check that you have got all the correct baking equipment, such as non-stick baking parchment, tin foil, kitchen string, wooden spoon and of course the pudding basin! A 1.25lt basin is perfect for a standard recipe and all these bits can be bought from good homeware stores.

Step 4 – so now comes the time to begin making your pud

[Cue the cheesy Christmas music – ‘All I want for Christmas is yoooooou……”]

TIP: It is ideal to soak your fruit overnight, however, don’t worry if you forget or don’t have the time a quick cheat tip is to place the fruit in a microwaveable bowl, pour over the liquid, cover and microwave for a few minutes to allow the fruit to absorb the liquid.

Traditionally bakers use rum or brandy to soak their fruit however you can use your favourite tipple or if you are looking for a child friendly version, replace the alcohol with fruit juice.
Follow the recipe and don’t forget to gather everyone round to make a wish (sssh it’s a secret, don’t share your wish otherwise it won’t come true!)

Once your pudding has been made store in a cool, dark place until the big day. If you have time, make extra puds (or even mini puds) as these are great homemade giftS to impress your friends and family.


Steam your pudding for several hours (as per the recipe instructions) and serve with delicious brandy butter. We even have a homemade brandy butter recipe for you to try.

Christmas Pudding image For an extra flare try flambéing your pud – once steamed turn out on to a dish with a rim to catch any excess alcohol. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of spirit (brandy, rum or whisky) into a long-handled ladle and heat over a gas hob until hot, carefully tilt the ladle over the gas flame until it sets alight. Then gently pour over the pudding (be careful not to burn your hands) and carry to the table.

[Cue the applause]

Make sure that the flames are fully out before serving and enjoy!

BakingMad about bake sales

Pudsey cakeWe love nothing more than getting our bake on for a charity bake sale and with Children In Need this Friday that is exactly what we plan to do. We are not alone though as this year many famous faces are also doing the same all for a fantastic cause.

Nick Grimshaw, Fern Cotton, Tess Daly, Terry Wogan, Matt Baker and Alex Jones have taken it upon themselves to champion their favourite bakes and encourage everyone to take part in baking together to raise money for Children In Need. Each celebrity is heading up their own team and are encouraging bakers to share on twitter their favourite cakes using special baking related hashtags.

Nick Grimshaw is backing the delicious chocolate cake #TeamChocolateCake, Fern Cotton is taking on the yummy carrot cake #TeamCarrotCake, whilst Tess Daly fancies the traditional victoria sponge #TeamVictoriaSponge. Children In Need veteran Terry Wogan loves a tasty lemon drizzle cake #TeamLemonDrizzle and One Show hosts Matt Baker and Alex Jones are championing the might fruit cake #TeamFruitCake and colourful battenburg #TeamBattenburg.

But which camp do you sit in? If like us you really can’t pick between them all why not combine Tess and Terry’s favourite by baking our Pudsey Bear Lemon Sponge Cake.

For bake sale recipe inspiration for all of these popular cakes click below.

Chocolate Cake
Carrot Cake
Victoria Sponge
Lemon Drizzle
Fruit Cake

Bonfire night bonanza

Toffee apples Remember, remember the 5th November… childhood memories of bonfire night for the team brings back happy memories of enjoying yummy sausages and toffee apples whilst watching spectacular firework displays. This year though we have decided to give the traditional toffee apple a twist with these fun lollies.

As a kid we remember enjoying the toffee more than the apples so have used cute apple cookie cutters to shape our apple slices into more manageable bitesize chunks. This is a really fun activity to do with the kids in the build up to bonfire night, plus you can always use the remaining apple in a different dish, such as apple sauce to go with your Sunday roast, so as not to waste anything.

Making the toffee will require adult supervision though as it will be extremely hot, however, once cooled down slightly, the kids can get their fingers sticky dipping their apple lollies. You could even decorate further with chocolate or sprinkles if you like.

A twist that the adults in the family might enjoy is to coat the toffee with a crumble mix to create apple crumble on a stick. Simply mix together, plain flour, unrefined light muscovado sugar, cinnamon and butter until it forms a breadcrumb like texture then dip your lollies in, whilst they are still sticky.

All that is left to do now is wrap up warm and enjoy your lollies whilst watching the sky fill up with fireworks. What better way to spend your bonfire night?

You can find our toffee apple lollies recipe here.