Archive for December, 2019

Dec 24

Cola ham with brown sugar, orange and honey glaze

2kg unsmoked boneless gammon joint

2l cola (not diet)

1 carrot, chopped

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 tbsp peppercorns

1 bay leaf


1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves


Put gammon in large pan and cover with cola. Add carrot, onion, cinnamon, peppercorns and bay leaf.

Bring to boil then turn down to simmer for around 2.5 hours, topping up with boiling water if necessary to keep gammon fully covered.

Carefully pour liquid away then let ham cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170C (fan). Lift ham into roasting tin then cut away skin leaving an even layer of fat. Score fat all over in criss-cross pattern.

Put all glaze ingredients in small saucepan and boil together on medium heat and cool for several minutes to thicken.

Then pour onto ham and place in oven to bake for 45 minutes. Baste a couple of times.

Remove from oven and leave to cool or serve. Slice – can be served cold for the next couple of days ahead.


Dec 24

Vegan tiffin

MAKES: 25 small squares


  • 75g coconut oil, plus extra for the tin
  • 200g vegan dark chocolate (at least 70%), roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 200g vegan ginger nuts
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 50g pistachios, toasted and chopped


  1. Lightly oil a 20cm square brownie tin with coconut oil and line the base with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil and golden syrup in the microwave in 30-second bursts until smooth and glossy.
  2. Break the ginger nuts into small pieces in a bowl, then add the dried cranberries and pistachios. Scrape in the chocolate mixture and give everything a good mix to combine, then spoon the tiffin into the tin. Use the back of the spoon to smooth out the top and press it down, then chill in the fridge for 2 hrs or until set hard. Once set, cut into 25 mini squares. Will keep for a week in the fridge.


Dec 24

Ginger surprise

10 fl oz (1/2 pint) double cream

4 tbsp icing sugar

6 tbsp orange juice

30 ginger biscuits


Whisk cream, icing sugar and orange juice until thick.

Sandwich biscuits together with cream mix.

Cover and leave overnight in fridge.


To serve, grate chocolate on top (optional) and cut diagonally.


Dec 23

Oreo-Stuffed Brownies

9 large brownies

¾ cup vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)

1¾ cups semisweet chocolate chips

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

3 eggs, lightly whisked

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1⅓ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

9 Oreo cookies


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and then line the pan with parchment paper, letting it hang 1 inch over the sides.

2. In a medium-size heat-safe bowl, combine the oil with the chocolate chips. Place the bowl over a medium pot of simmering water and stir until the chocolate is melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat.

3. Whisk the sugars into the melted chocolate mixture. Add the whisked eggs gradually, mixing until well combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.

4. Add the flour and salt, and mix until fully incorporated. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.

5. Press the Oreo cookies into the brownie batter in a three-by-three grid. Use a spatula to help cover the cookies with batter, if needed. They should be fully submerged in the batter.

6. Bake until the brownies are set at the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. When you insert a toothpick into the center, it should come out clean.

7. Let the brownies cool completely. Once cool, cut into nine even pieces (each brownie should have one cookie in the middle). Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.


Dec 23

4-ingredient vegan brownies


  • 400 g tightly packed dates, pitted (measured after pitting // make sure they’re fresh! If dry, soak in warm water 10 minutes, drain, then add to processor)
  • 60 ml warm water
  • 128 g salted peanut butter* (if unsalted, add a healthy pinch of salt to the batter)
  • 30 ml melted coconut oil* (if avoiding coconut oil, see notes)
  • 32 g cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 60 g dairy-free dark chocolate chips (optional // we like Enjoy Life)
  • 60 g roughly chopped raw walnuts (optional // or other nut of choice)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line a standard loaf pan (or similar size pan) with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Add dates to food processor and blend until small bits or a ball forms. If your food processor has a difficult time processing the dates, ensure there are no pits in the dates and that your dates are fresh and sticky. If too dry they can have a difficult time blending. (It may also be an issue of food processor strength if it has a hard time blending.)

  3. Once blended, separate the dates into chunks using a spoon. Then add hot water and blend until a sticky date paste forms. Scrape down sides as needed.

  4. Add peanut butter, coconut oil, and cacao powder and pulse until a sticky batter forms. It should be tacky and thick (scrape down sides as needed). Lastly add chocolate chips and walnuts (optional) and pulse to incorporate.

  5. Transfer batter to lined loaf pan and spread into an even layer. For a smooth top, lay some parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object (like a drinking glass) to press into an even layer.

  6. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes – the edges should be slightly dry. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then carefully lift out of the pan using the edges of the parchment paper and let cool on a plate or cooling rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing. The longer they cool, the firmer they will become.

  7. Enjoy warm or cooled. Store leftovers covered at room temperature up to 3 days, in the refrigerator up to 5-6 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month (let thaw before enjoying).


4-Ingredient Easy Vegan Brownies


Dec 23

The Most Perfect (and Easiest) Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever

2 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1¾ teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the baking powder and salt, then whisk gently to combine.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, then mix to combine. Scrape the side of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are evenly incorporated into the mixture.

3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ½ inch thick. Cut the dough using your favorite cookie cutters, then transfer the cookies to an ungreased baking sheet.

5. Bake until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway through baking. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, and cool completely before decorating or serving.


Dec 23

Baked Mac-and-Cheese Bites

48 bites

1 pound small elbow pasta

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2½ cups whole milk

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups grated white cheddar cheese

2 cups grated yellow cheddar cheese, divided


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two mini-muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow pasta and cook according to the package instructions, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain.

3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.

4. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

5. Add the milk and whisk well to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

6. Season the sauce with the cayenne pepper (if using), salt and pepper. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the white cheddar and 1½ cups of the yellow cheddar. Stir until the mixture is melted.

7. Stir in the cooked pasta and mix until it is evenly coated with the sauce. Scoop 1½ to 2 tablespoons of the mac-and-cheese mixture into each cavity of the prepared pans.

8. Sprinkle a few pieces of yellow cheddar on top of each mac-and-cheese bite and then transfer the pans to the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted and the bites become golden, 17 to 20 minutes.

9. Let the bites cool for 15 minutes before unmolding and serving. Serve hot or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.


Dec 23

Spicy Pineapple Prosciutto Tarts

8 servings

1 pineapple—skin removed, cored (about 610g) and cut into eight ½-inch thick rings

⅓ cup (71g) light brown sugar

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of fine sea salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 sheets frozen puff pastry (482g), thawed

Egg wash, as needed

Aleppo pepper, Korean chili powder or crushed red-pepper flakes

8 ounces (226g) prosciutto


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pat the pineapple dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar, pepper and salt to combine. Dip each pineapple into the brown sugar mixture, lightly coating both sides.

2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the sugared pineapple rings and cook until the sugar is caramelized and golden on both sides, about 3 minutes total. Remove from the pan and let cool.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheets to ¼-inch thick. Cut each sheet into 6 even squares; you should end up with 12 squares total.

4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange the dough squares evenly between them. Brush each piece of dough evenly with egg wash, and dock all over with a fork.

5. Place a cooled pineapple ring on top of each piece of dough. Bake the pastries until the crust is very golden brown and the pineapple is tender, 15 to 17 minutes.

6. Sprinkle each tart with Aleppo pepper, Korean chili powder or crushed red-pepper flakes to taste. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then top each pastry with 1 ounce (28g) prosciutto in a pile just before serving warm or at room temperature.


Dec 23

Sweet-and-Sour Pork Skewers with Pineapple

6 servings


½ cup pineapple juice

¼ cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 teaspoon sriracha

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch


1½ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into cubes

1 pineapple—peeled, cored and cubed

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1. MAKE THE SWEET-AND-SOUR SAUCE: In a small pot, combine the pineapple juice with the rice vinegar, ketchup, sriracha, soy sauce and garlic. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar with the cornstarch to combine. Add the sugar mixture to the pot and whisk well.

3. Simmer until the sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

4. MAKE THE SKEWERS: Arrange the pork and pineapple on the skewers, alternating between the two. Repeat until all the skewers are assembled.

5. Brush the skewers with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook on a preheated grill or grill pan until nicely charred on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

6. While the skewers are still hot, brush generously with the sweet-and-sour sauce. Garnish with scallions and serve.


Dec 23

Mini Quesadillas

24 mini quesadillas

24 wonton wrappers

1½ cups refried black beans (from a can)

1½ cups grated Pepper Jack cheese

3 tablespoons sliced scallions, plus more for finishing

Vegetable oil (or other neutral oil), as needed for cooking

Chopped fresh cilantro, as needed for garnish

Salsa, sour cream and guacamole, for serving


1. Working one at a time, take 1 wonton wrapper and spread 1 tablespoon refried black beans on one side. Top with 1 tablespoon grated cheese.

2. Sprinkle ⅓ teaspoon scallions on top of the cheese and then fold the wonton wrapper in half. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, beans, cheese and scallions.

3. Heat ½ inch oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, place the quesadillas into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

4. When the wrappers are golden and the cheese is melted, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain slightly. Repeat with the remaining quesadillas.

5. Serve immediately, garnished with more scallions and cilantro. Serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole on the side for dipping.