Orange and Poppy Seed Syrup Puddings


Take one large orange.

Peel, simmer in a pan of water, then puree. Cool then fold into a mixture of butter, sugar and eggs. Add ground almonds and poppy seeds.

Bake in a muffin tin.


Drench in an orangey, sweet, zesty, cardamomy syrup.


Make some creme patissiere, add some double cream to transform to creme legere, and pipe over the puddings. Make milk chocolate shards and scatter over.


The proof of these puddings is in the eating.

I knew that adding a touch of chocolate to the orange flavour was sure to work well. But what I really like here is the sweetness and the moistness together with the texture given by the ground almonds and poppy seeds.


Dundee Cake


Here’s a bonny fruit cake for christmas.

Although I’ve swayed from the usual almond-only decoration, the cake itself is full of tradition, and that means full of raisins, currants and mixed peel.


I’ve followed a lovely recipe by Katie Stewart, as found The Complete Book of Bread and Baking by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake.


Of course, this wouldn’t be a Dundee Cake without the baked-on almonds, but to go further, on top of a sugar and milk glaze, I’ve added angelica strands together with sliced glace cherries, both red and gold.


Poached Black Worcester Pears


Also known as Parkinson’s Warden, this is one of the oldest pear varieties in Britain, said to have been introduced by the Romans. It is strictly a cooking pear. Valued for being a long keeper, it can be harvested in November and will store until April.


However, not to keep a good thing waiting, I have poached these three plump fellows in Merlot, spiced with cloves, cinnamon and orange peel and enhanced with orange juice and vanilla extract.


I have left the fruit to soak up extra colour and flavour in the cooling juice for a few hours before continuing to simmer and reduce the liquid to a syrup.


The liquor has then been poured over the pears to pool around the orange-zesty cream cheese swirls.


The Radnorshire Gingerbread Hoard


Here’s a my treasure trove of christmas biscuits!


During the festive season, these jewels of Broad Street are on display as one of twenty five local Advent Windows.


Made to a hard, yet tasty, construction gingerbread recipe incorporating butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, golden syrup, vanilla extract and, of course, ginger.


Various kitchen-handy tools have been used in the crafting.


Apart from pastry cutters, shapes and patterns have been formed with a fork, a cheese knife, an assortment of piping nozzles and the lid from a golden syrup tin.


Fox’s Glacier Fruits have made the glorious gemstones. (Other boiled sweets are available, but in my view not as clear, bright and beautiful.)


Stout Cake


Standing tall and stout, this is my version of Nigella Lawson’s moist masterpiece that beautifully combines, among other ingredients, sour cream, vanilla extract and Dublin’s famous black stuff, all beneath a lovely smooth cream cheese frosting.


Apart from the obvious shape-shift, my own stamp is the addition of a dark chocolate ganache coating (which also separates the three sponge layers inside).





Scandi Candy!

Sweet Finnish funnel cakes, traditionally prepared by pouring batter through a funnel and deep fried.


Eaten to celebrate the first day of spring on the first of May at street festivals called Vappu.


My batter is made with seven egg whites, one yolk, caster sugar and flour. It has then been piped through a round nozzle and swirled into a deep pan of hot sunflower oil. Dusted with icing sugar, they are better for not being left for too long.