Sponge pudding

I made this for xmas pudding and am just putting another in the over with our roast duck for New Year as it was so good !

Borrowed from various sources and modified by me ... use different jams or just as a Marmalade pudding ... nice light alternative to heavy sponge puddings.

  • 3 thick slices of brown bread, crust removed
  • 20g Plain Flour
  • 60g Brown caster sugar
  • 100g Butter
  • 70g Strong Jam (I use rhubarb and ginger jam then add some fresh ginger) or Marmalade
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Bicarb

Mix dry ingredients, bread first till it is fine crumbs then adding other dry. Heat jam and butter together then add the eggs and blitz together till light mixture, add to the dry mix and blend.
Pour into pudding bowl, cover with cellophane or fitted lid and put in oven tray with a couple of inches of water in it. Place in oven for two hours, checking water every so often.

Use a little of the jam heated to make a thick sauce on top then serve with custard.


Truffle ingredients

  • 200ml Double Cream
  • 75ml Vodka
  • 1 Orange (or two mandarins), zest and juice
  • 125g Dark chocolate
  • Cocoa or icing sugar for coating

Heat Cream, Vodka, Orange juice and zest to just simmer, remove immediately from heat and pour over broken up chocolate in a bowl. Mix till blended, warm slightly if all chocolate doesn't melt. Blast with a hand blender to get some air into it ... makes it a lot lighter.
Refrigerate till chilled and set ... 3hrs or so or overnight.
Remove and make into balls, roll in cocoa or icing sugar and place back in fridge for 30 min, then roll again to finish.

Eat ... yum ... I can't manage more than one or two as they are very rich ... great with coffee.

Try other flavours of liquor, Baileys, or Rum are good, add coffee instead of orange. Just finished some white chocolate ones with lemon juice and a dash of vodka ... they are great !

Xmas day

We always meet a group of friends at a local beach for a quick snack, drink ... and this year Steve and I decided to take a dip ... one great leap in and out again very quickly ! I'm the thin one on the left obviously :-)

I had made a sweet potato soup with a few chillies for a kick that I was very grateful for when we got out !

Christmas Gingerbread house

A gingerbread house is great fun to make with the kids ...

Gingerbread recipe:

  • 100g butter
  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3.5g / 5 tsp ground ginger (Half a packet)

Simmer butter, sugar and golden syrup. Mix dry ingredients. Cool to medium heat then add wet ingredients and fold in, should mix to a thick fudge consistency. Cool.

To work the mix I used the microwave to warm slightly each piece before working (10 seconds warms a handful) roll out to a thin sheet, 4mm or so, using a little self raising flour to roll out. Cut shapes and bake, 10-15 minutes depending on piece sizes. Use the offcuts for biscuits to go with coffee ... make lovely ginger snaps, little bit chewy and quite yummy.

Here's a plan for the pieces use two of each:

Here's a couple of production pictures:

Stick it all together using a thick paste icing made from egg white and icing sugar, use jars and cans to hold it in place while the icing sets. The decorate with your choice of sweets, smarties are great and chocolate fingers to look like a log cabin.


I love having good stocks on hand, in the freezer. From a quick risotto dinner to gravy/veloute, soups, pies, fondant potatoes and more, it is one of the most useful ingredients to have.

To make good stock the starting point is a mirepoix (chopped onion, celery and carrots in 2:1:1 ratio), this gives the depth of flavour to the stock.

To the mirepoix and water add the following:
  • Vegetable stocks can have mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes ... a bit of citrus is good too. A basic stock can just be mirepoix as a great basic stock.
  • Fish stocks should be made with gelatinous fish, flat fish are great for this, also monkfish, don't bother with salmon or oily fish like mackeral. Trim gills and guts (after the fillets have been taken off), I also use a lot of Squid and scallop frills when I've got plenty from a good dive trip !
  • Prawn can be a stock on its own or add a little to fish stock ... be careful as they can be very overpowering.
  • Chicken stocks like a bit of citrus, half an orange or lemon, then you can use the raw carcass once you've taken the meat off or the bones from the roast for a darker stock.
  • Beef is delicious but takes more work ... roast some marrow bones (cut in half to let the marrow out) for an hour or so as the basis for the stock.
Never add salt ... never ever! Season the meal not the stock, different meals take different seasoning ... so season towards the end of cooking.

A lot of people like to add spices, particularly bay leaves, I prefer to add these to the meal in the same way as seasoning and keep the stocks just about the main ingredient of the stock.

For making each of the stocks its basically the same, heat in water, sieve and concentrate the flavour by reducing the volume.

Vege and fish bring to boil then keep hot but not boiling or it will turn bitter, it is ready in 30-45 minutes. Chicken and Beef can take a gentle simmer, chicken for 2-4 hours and the beef bones for up to six hours to get all the flavour out. Skim if there is foamy scum on top.

I then cool stocks and even fridge overnight to solidify any fat and scum before sieving and reducing, when sieving don't force the fluid out if you want clear stock. The finer the sieve the better.

Once sieved I think all stocks benefit from reduction, rolling simmer till the flavour is concentrated, vege and fish stocks don't take reduction to strong concentrate so well for me ... plus the smell can get too much ! reduce them by 30% or so. Freeze in portion sizes of about 1 cup.

Chicken and beef stocks are great for reducing right down, 95% of volume ... ie 10" of stock liquor in a pot reduces to 1/2" of fabulous concentrated flavour, it will be a thick jelly when cold. I freeze them in the ice cube bags, one 'cube' per portion as a rule of thumb.

Hokey Pokey

Every Kiwi knows what this is ... it's like the honeycomb in the middle of a well known chocolate bar. We were brought up in NZ on Hokey Pokey ice cream, either crumble on the top or mix into vanilla ice cream when it's nearly frozen to make the proper stuff (needs to be cold otherwise you'll have toffee ice cream)

2 tbsp Golden Syrup
5 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda


Heat syrup and sugar in non-stick milk pan until melted and slightly caramelised ... then add baking soda and quickly stir until mixed ... let it expand and pour onto silicon baking sheet ... it will set in 5 minutes ... be careful as it's very sticky and very hot in the pan

Smash into chunks as you like them as a sweet to nibble on.

For ice cream do not use the baking soda, I drip the molten toffee onto a silicon mat to make smooth drops then add them to the ice cream ... once it has frozen ... and churn again for a couple of minutes to mix through.

Sea Kale

Its the new stalks you want to eat, not the big leaves like this, dig down into the shingles a little to get white stalk and new shoots. Be careful not to damage the plant when digging around it and replace the shingle afterwards.

Sea Beet

Salty, sweet ... great salad food or toss in a little butter, season with pepper and serve with steak.

Sea Campion

Not so much flavour but great edible flowers.