Sunday, 30 October 2011

Now the shopping is Divine, as well as the chocolate!

The Divine Chocolate Shop has been redesigned and enhanced to make for a seamless shopping experience for every Divine customer. It offers something for every age and chocolate palette and there's more choice than ever before - customers can stock up on their favourite chocolate flavours as well as choosing beautiful gift sets with unique combinations that can't be found anywhere else. The gift sets range in price from £12.50 to £50.00 and all come packaged in elegant powder blue and pale green boxes.

Visit the Divine Chocolate Shop here: and start your Chirstmas shopping in earnest!

As well as gift boxes there are over 40 individual products for sale including the following hugely popular lines: strawberry white chocolate, raspberry dark chocolate, and a dark chocolate infused with ginger & orange.

Baking enthusiasts can stock up on Divine's plain white, deliciously dark 85%, and the acclaimed 70% bars, of which Charles Campion, food critic for The Independent describes as "very fruity, with a good texture and a long finish".

Spruce Up Your Festive Feasts With Castle MacLellan's Luxury Pâtés

Castle MacLellan is offering food lovers top tips on how to make festive entertaining easier, but just as indulgent, with a selection of mouth-watering recipe and canapé ideas using their luxurious premium pâtés.

Made from the finest Scottish ingredients, sourced from local independent producers, Castle MacLellan’s core range of pâtés comes in five delicious varieties, ideal for hassle free Christmas feasts and New Year party snacks.  Each flavour provides simple recipes to inspire quick and easy dishes and stylish, flavoursome canapé suggestions.

Rannoch Smoked Duck Pâté with Bramley Apple Jelly - A deliciously smooth duck liver pâté with pieces of Rannoch smoked duck, complemented by locally produced Bramley apple jelly and aromatic tarragon
Chicken Liver Pâté with Scottish Heather Honey - A smooth, rich and creamy chicken liver pâté enhanced with the sweetness of Scottish heather honey
Scottish Smoked Salmon Pâté with Lemon Juice and Horseradish - A blend of Scottish smoked and poached salmon, enriched with cream, lemon juice and horseradish
Luxury Orkney Crab Terrine with Lemon Juice and Galloway Mustard - A luxurious blend of Orkney crab enriched with créme fraiche and enhanced with lemon juice and locally produced Galloway mustard
Oven Roasted Mushroom Pâté with Garlic & Thyme - A rich, creamy, oven roasted mushroom pâté made with full fat soft cheese and créme fraiche, and seasoned with a hint of garlic and thyme (suitable for vegetarians).

For hosts who want to impress with their festive banquets, Castle MacLellan pâtés can be used to create impressive but easy to prepare dishes and warming winter fare.  The on-pack  suggestions feature mouth watering recipe ideas such as Mini Duck En Croutes With Beetroot Chutney or Orkney Crab Spring Rolls.

The luxury pâtés are also great served as a snack straight from the fridge, making ideal and stylish canapés for New Year celebrations. Simply top artisan oatcakes, blinis and brioche with your favourite flavours or serve sandwiched between palmiers or smothered on fresh crusty bread.

Castle MacLellan has been making the finest fresh luxury pâtés since 1982 and is dedicated to sourcing the very best local ingredients from small, independent companies rooted in Scottish heritage and provenance. The company remains an established and trusted brand, working with a number of local suppliers, which include Rannoch Smokery and The Orkney Fisherman’s Society.

Castle MacLellan pâtés are available in supermarkets throughout the UKincluding ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose as well as independent stores priced from around 99p to £2.35.

For more details and recipes please visit

Give your winter soups a bit of a boost with Wing Yip

With winter around the corner it’s time to leave the lunchtime salads and sandwiches behind and opt for a warming soup to help us through the cold days.

Packed full of fresh ingredients and spicy flavours, Oriental soups are an inspiring alternative to the typical tomato, chicken or vegetable.

Served as a filling meal in a bowl, delicious and nutritious Oriental noodle-based soups are perfect for hungry appetites on a chilly day.

Leading Oriental grocer, Wing Yip, stocks a range of ingredients that are perfect for creating big saucepans of tasty and wholesome soups.

Mr Wing Yip said: “Soups are easy to make at home and are a great way of experimenting with new flavour combinations from simple ingredients – and ensure you add some Oriental spices and Wing Yip soup pastes to liven up the tastebuds.”

Wing Yip is the UK’s leading Chinese grocer, with stores in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood and Croydon. With over 3,000 products from the Far East stocked online at and in store.

To get you started try the following popular Oriental soup recipes at home.

Hot and Sour Soup

This soup is popular because it has so many different flavours - pepper hot, slightly sweet and savoury. Our version uses spicy szechuan bean sauce.


• 1 jar Wing Yip Spicy Szechuan Bean Sauce
• 113g lean pork (finely sliced into strips)
• 28g Dried sliced Chinese mushrooms (soaked & shredded)
• 14g Wood Ear Fungus (soaked and shredded)
• 1/2 pkt Soft Tofu (cut into 1cm cubes)
• 850 ml (11/2 pts) chicken stock
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1 Tbsp Red or White Wine Vinegar
• 1 egg (beaten)
• 1 spring onion (finely chopped)
• 1 heaped tsp cornflour (mixed with 2 tsp water)
• 2 tsps peanut or vegetable oil
• 1 tsp sesame oil


1. Heat both oils in a large pan and gently fry sliced pork for 5 minutes.
2. Add Wing Yip Spicy Szechuan Bean Sauce, fungus, mushrooms and stock. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
3. Add pepper and vinegar, adjust seasoning, then the diced tofu.
4. Bring back to the boil and add cornflour.
5. Then add beaten egg in a stream, stirring carefully with a fork in a circular motion. Turn off heat and cover pan for 1 minute.
6. Serve with chopped spring onions to garnish.

Thai Spicy Noodle Soup

There are many versions of this ever popular street food but the vital ingredients are; good quality stock, lime juice, chillies and fresh herbs to garnish. A meal in a bowl, this recipe is quick and easy to prepare using a Tom Yum soup base. Recipe is for one so do double quantities if cooking for more.


• 1 small chicken breast or 100g minced pork
• 1 tsp cornflour (if using minced pork)
• 1 clove garlic (crushed with the flat side of a knife)
• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 400-500ml chicken stock
• 1 tsp Mai Siam Tom Yum soup paste
• 5 Pak Choi leaves
• 1 handful bean sprouts
• 1 red chilli (optional)
• 3 sprigs fresh coriander
• 2 sprigs mint (take the leaves off the stems)
• 2 tsp Mai Siam fish sauce (to taste)
• 1/2 tsp sugar (to taste)
• 1 clove garlic (crushed)
• 1-2 lime wedges
• 100g Mai Siam flat rice noodles (dry weight)


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan and quickly fry the garlic.
2. Before it burns, add the chicken stock and bring it to the boil.
3. Add the Tom Yum paste and when the soup is boiling, add the sliced chicken breast.
4. If using minced pork; season lightly with fish sauce and pepper, add 1 tsp of cornflour, mix well and form into balls the size of a small marble.
5. Drop the meatballs into the boiling stock and add fish sauce and a little sugar to taste.
6. Meanwhile, prepare the noodles in another pan by boiling in hot water.
7. Strain and keep aside.
8. When the meat is cooked, add the noodles and pak choi.
9. When the pak choi is al dente, take the noodles off the heat and pour into a large bowl.
10. Garnish with beansprouts, coriander and mint leaves.
11. Serves, steaming hot, with lime wedges.

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

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Monday, 24 October 2011

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Super Club revolution? That's Social Republic!

Social Republic LogoThere’s a buzz brewing on the supper club scene, and it’s set to revolutionise group dining!

Social Republic ( is for anyone who loves getting people together and entertaining over food, and for people who want to share the pleasures of dining.

It’s a fact that supper clubs have been around for a long time but traditionally they can be rigid with membership and expensive to join, plus they tend to diffuse the buzz created when new faces get to know each other over food because it’s the same private members who turn up every time.

That’s where Social Republic is different. When founder David Chapple recognised a lack of choice preventing people enjoying the true benefits of group dining, he took action. He says: “I wanted to create a global network of supper clubs where people enjoy choice and hosts have a greater pool of interested people to bring together for events. In other words, something very far removed from the rigidity of some introductions agencies.”

So much more than a What’s on Guide
Unlike some other dining events websites, Social Republic isn’t just a ‘what’s on’ guide to dining events or a general directory of supper clubs. It’s a whole networking platform for bringing hosts and guests together, face to face, with a focus on great food.

Social Republic members also have access to pop-up and underground restaurants and the home dining scene and restaurateurs and caterers wishing to boost their income or fill tables on quiet nights are fully supported in organising events and promoting them to members.

Something for Everyone
Whether looking to forge new friendships, seeking a love interest, networking for business or simply wishing to fulfil a desire for sharing the joys of good food whilst indulging in new company, members can find a perfect event on Social Republic. And the beauty is, if they want to make it their own, they can become a host and organise their own events.

David Chapple says: “We fully support our hosts. They can promote their events on our website and social media, share tips and receive support on our Facebook page and use our sales material. They can also take advance payments through our website.”

Charity Support for Global Angels
Social Republic is free to join for members and hosts and when a member pays for their meal in advance on the site, they also buy a meal for someone else in the world who needs it because Social Republic has teamed up with Global Angels (, who put members’ donations in their entirety towards feeding people, and sometimes schooling them too.

Registration is free and takes just a few minutes. Visit

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Antioxidant juice responds to consumer demands for convenience, health & flavour

AOk Drinks targets the “I want it yesterday” generation with a Christmas/Winter survival guide!

As we approach the traditional cold and flu season, Stuart Roberts, a naturopathic nutritionist and creator of AOk Drinks (, questions why we all assume catching a bug is inevitable, and suggests a new approach to combating seasonal aches and pains to help us survive Christmas indulgences.

“We live in an ‘I want it yesterday’ society. We demand convenience when it comes to our lifestyles, which also transcends into our approach to food, drink, health and nutrition. If we get a bout of flu, many of us accept this as part and parcel of the winter season, and take some medication to make us feel better as soon as possible,” says Stuart Roberts.

“However, we rarely take the time to consider how we can boost our immune system to protect us from everday illnesses. We don’t need to accept that we will get ill just because of the time of year. Small, gradual changes to the way we eat, drink and live our lives can add up to make a real difference as we approach Christmas, so you can enjoy the party season without feeling sluggish, tired, overweight and full of cold.

“There are no quick-fixes to health and nutrition, however, there are small steps that we can take that add up to massive changes in how we look and feel.”

AOk is a red grape, cherry, aloe vera and ginger drink, with a hint of vanilla. One 250ml bottle of AOk provides your daily recommendation of antioxidants (nutritionists recommend 3000-5000 per day and AOk contains 3,600) and just 145k cal. Stuart created the drink in 2008 to provide a synergistic combination of antioxidant packed ingredients. Designed to meet consumer demands for healthy convenience, the drink is a tasty alternative to mainstream flavours and offers an original flavour.

Stuart Roberts says: “Antioxidants are vital in our diets. With most things, consistency makes the difference. Eating our five a day, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly in the fresh air, and consuming your recommended amount of antioxidants (which can help prevent injury and muscle soreness after exercise too) will all add up to make you look and feel better over time.”

“Sleep is also important, as this is when your body carries out some of its most important repair and maintenance work. Ahead of the Christmas party season it is worth putting in plan in place to help you look and feel better. There is a tradition of putting off healthy eating and exercise until the New Year, but this is not the best time to jump into a major change in lifestyle and eating habits. Instead, gradual changes ahead of Christmas can help your body prepare and survive the inevitable indulgences.”

Getting to grips with antioxidants…
Antioxidants are established as a marketing buzzword in the food and drink industry but they remain a confusing concept for the majority of us. We know they’re good for us, but we’re not entirely sure why. Stuart Roberts, creator of AOk Drinks and naturopathic nutritionist, is on a mission to clear the confusion and dispel the myths surrounding antioxidants.
What are antioxidants?

Our bodies are equipped with special antioxidant substances that, in conjunction with antioxidants from fresh fruit and vegetables, help to neutralise the harmful effects of free radicals.

What are free radicals?
Free radicals are highly active and dangerous chemical groups that are unavoidable. Every day our bodies are exposed to vast numbers of free radicals. Their destructive actions on the body are known as oxidation (hence the name antioxidant).

What are ORAC units?
The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) test is one of the main industry standard tests for antioxidant strength. AOk scored 3,600 ORAC units per 250ml in an independent laboratory test. Nutritionists recommend we consume 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day.
How are free radicals produced?

In many ways: every breath you take creates free radicals from chemical residues of oxygen used by your body. Excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays, pollution, viruses, consuming certain foods, and even aerobic exercise can result in free radical production.

Free radicals play a role in the development of many diseases as a result of the degeneration of body tissues. This tissue degeneration contributes towards ageing and can lead to diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Antioxidants are required to counteract the negative effects of free radicals.

Antioxidants can be found in natural foods including red grapes, cherries, blackberries, beans (such as kidney, pinto, red and black), blueberries, broccoli, garlic and green tea. AOk provides the recommended amount of antioxidants in one 250ml bottle, which complements a diet rich in fresh and natural fruit and vegetables. The drink was created by Stuart Roberts to provide an optimal combination of antioxidants in a convenient form.

You can start today! “I’ve lost count of the number of times people have told me at sampling events that it’s ‘too late’ for them to make changes to their diet and lifestyle. This is not true. Small changes such as doing more exercise and adding antioxidant-rich food and drink to the diet can make a big impact on health and wellbeing over the long term. The cells in our bodies are constantly renewing and repairing themselves, so over time, we can make a huge difference to the way we look and feel,” says Stuart.

AOk retails for £1.69 per 250ml bottle and is available at selected Waitrose stores nationwide (, and
One 250ml bottle of AOk provides:
Your daily recommended requirement of antioxidants
One of your ‘five a day’
Only 145 calories

(EDITOR: And it tastes good, too!)

Monday, 10 October 2011

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New! Recipes from Essential that are healthy AND taste good, too!

Ethical vegetarian health food brand Essential has commissioned five new recipes to mark its annual Healthy Eating Fortnight (October 17-30, 2011). 

The two savoury and three sweet dishes have been created by highly regarded nutritionist Christine Bailey who has used a number of nutritious, natural ingredients that are widely available at health food stores. 

The recipes are:
·      Muesli Slice
·      Pesto Butterbean Burgers
·      Chocolate Tahini Fudge
·      Butternut Squash, Coconut & Chickpea Curry with Toasted Coconut Flakes
·      Berry Coconut Cheesecake

The recipes aim to inspire people to try new healthy ingredients but also to experiment with familiar ingredients – such as pesto and tahini - in a new way. 

They are available to download now from and will be produced as collectable glossy A5 cards at selected health food shops from October.

While the focus for the new recipes is the Healthy Eating Fortnight, the five dishes can be enjoyed throughout the autumn and winter with the Chocolate Tahini Fudge, Butternut Squash, Coconut & Chickpea Curry and Berry Coconut Cheesecake recipes particularly worthy of festive entertaining.

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Sunday, 9 October 2011

It's Chocolate Week!

Melted chocolate
Chocolate Week, the nation’s favourite themed week, returns for a seventh consecutive year this October to celebrate the wonderful world of fine chocolate
Chocolate Week, the nation’s favourite themed week, returns for a seventh consecutive year this October to celebrate the wonderful world of fine chocolate. chocolate week 2011 sees over 350 events taking place around the UK and culminating in a deliciously indulgent exhibition, Chocolate Unwrapped, featuring some of the best chocolate brands from around the world. chocolate unwrapped

The UK’s top chocolatiers and chocolate companies celebrate Chocolate Week by hosting talks, tastings, demonstrations and sampling, as well as creating exclusive products, new launches, offers, chocolate meals, cocktails and recipes.
Just some of this year’s events include:

• Chocolate Unwrapped – a dedicated chocolate show in London on 15th & 16th October. With over 4000 visitors and 40 exhibitors attending, the exhibition features top British chocolatiers and chocolate companies along with chocolate makers from France, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Holland and Germany. Visitors have the opportunity to view chocolate art, meet the chocolatiers, attend talks and demos, taste the very best chocolate, paint with chocolate onto a giant canvas and watch chocolate being made in the smallest chocolate factory in the world.

• The Great Chocolate Cake-Off – home bakers can enter their favourite chocolate cake to be judged by a panel of experts.

• William Curley’s pop up shop on St Martin’s Lane, London

• Hotel Chocolat launches its tasting adventures pack to encourage consumers to hold chocolate tastings at home.

• One of the UK’s top chocolatiers, Paul a Young, collaborates with renowned fusion chef Peter Gordon to create a 6-course chocolate dinner at Providores on Monday 10th & Friday 14th October.

• Jason Atherton hosts a chocolate tasting at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge and launches an exclusive chocolate dessert at Pollen Street Social. The Ivy have created an exclusive chocolate bombe dessert for the week.

• Thorntons continues its centenary celebrations by giving away a chocolate smile to everyone who visits their shops during the week.

• Divine Chocolate launches recipes from baking extraordinaire and Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry, Baking Made Easy’s Lorraine Pascale and Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace and hold a plethora of events around the country.

Chocolate Week was set up to promote fine flavour chocolate, the independent artisan chocolatiers and the chocolate companies who work in direct partnership with the cocoa farmers. It aims to encourage consumers to pay a fairer price for their chocolate.

• For more details on the week and participants visit chocolate week
• For more information on Chocolate Unwrapped visit chocolate unwrapped Press tickets are available for the show
• For a video on the week and the show visit (also on the homepage of the site)
• Chocolate Week is kindly funded by the Ministry of Tourism Ecuador, Divine Chocolate, Thorntons and Hotel Chocolat.

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More discount dining from

Online retail voucher codes specialist is helping diners enjoy more eating out for their budget over the autumn through new restaurant deals. UK consumers can save money at more than 800 retailers through and this week the site is home to savings at top restaurants Burger King, Pizza Hut and Prezzo.

Treating a partner to an Italian meal out this autumn need not cost the earth thanks to new deals redeemable at top diner Prezzo. has published new Prezzo vouchers which UK consumers can use to get themselves 2 courses and a drink for £11.95 or 3 courses and a drink for £13.95.

All the UK's most popular restaurants feature at all times on the website, and one of the country's favourite burger joints is on show now in the shape of Burger King. Logging onto right now allows consumers to get new Burger King vouchers which can be exchanged for 2 for 1 on selected burgers and the Double Cheeseburger King Deal just £3.49.

Another of the country's most popular family restaurants to feature in the new autumn dining deals on is Pizza Hut. Diners can look forward to taking the kids out to enjoy pizza and pasta on a budget thanks to new Pizza Hut vouchers offering 'eat for just £5 at Pizza Hut' plus also Kids Eat free and free unlimited salad.

Doug Scott, managing director at, comments, “Because we review and update our deals all the time we can always offer people the latest money-saving offers for top restaurants. With these new deals for Prezzo, Burger King and Pizza Hut, UK diners can look forward to eating out on a budget this autumn." offers consumers money saving deals at major high street brands and specialist retailers, including stores like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Travelodge, First Choice, and Boden.

For details visit

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Gourmet Explorer 6-day October cookery course in Carcassonne - special offer price!

 Jean Marc Boyer & September clients
Due to some last-minute cancellations on the French House Party Carcassonne's flagship cookery course, the Gourmet Explorer has spaces available at the unbelievable price of £950 - usual cost £1400, for single travellers.

The all-inclusive course includes cookery tuition from not one, but two master-chefs who run their own multi-star restaurants in the Carcassonne region of France.

Transfers from Toulouse or Carcassonne airports are also included, plus two meals out at restaurants and various other outings.

French House Party is recommended in the book "100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life".

See website for more information:

In the mood for some baking? Leisure Range Cooker 90 teams up with Jo Pratt

Range cooker specialist, Leisure, has enlisted the assistance of TV chef Jo Pratt to create a simple yet delicious set of recipes.

With years of expertise working alongside a host of top name chefs, Jo Pratt brings her flair for fine flavours and fresh ideas to this collection of recipes. Tweaking classic dishes and using familiar ingredients in original and inventive ways, Jo’s recipes are effortless to recreate in the comfort of the home with the aid of the Leisure Range 90 Cooker.

Sweet or savoury, one of the six mouth watering dishes is bound to capture the imagination. If you are tiring of wintry menus, the “Tomato and Asparagus Ricotta Tart” will evoke that al fresco feel. For those wishing to tackle the evening meal, a classic with a twist such as “Fish Pie with Crunchy Topping”, is guaranteed to appeal. Interested in something a little bit different? The “Savoury Sausage and Tomato Bread and Butter Pudding”, will definitely tickle the taste buds. For something sweet, the “Strawberry and Vanilla Cream Sponge”, “Pecan Pie” or “Blueberry Muffins” are sure to satisfy cravings.

Bringing to light all of the clever and easy to use features the Leisure Range 90 Cooker has to offer, the different recipes by Jo Pratt take advantage of its proficient oven, hob and grill. Whether you are baking a batch of “Blueberry Muffins” in one of the large capacity triple ovens, or grilling sizzling sausages for the “Savoury Sausage and Tomato Bread and Butter Pudding” recipe, this energy efficient range cooker will make it a breeze.

Created for Leisure by Jo Pratt, all of the recipes are available online at including; “Tomato, Asparagus and Ricotta Tart”, “Fish Pie with Crunchy Topping”, “Savoury Sausage and Tomato Bread and Butter Pudding”, “Strawberry and Vanilla Cream Sponge”, “Pecan Pie” and “Blueberry Muffins”.

The Leisure Range 90 Cooker has an RRP of £1,199.99, one of the more affordable 90cm range cookers on the market.

Leisure is one of the original range cooker brands, and as well as its traditional and contemporary 90cm models, also offers 100cm electric and dual fuel models. To support the traditional-style range cooker line up, Leisure also offer the Mini Gourmet Cooker, a standard 60cm cooker width with all the style and features of the larger range cookers. The 100cm models have an RRP of £949.99, while the 60cm models cost around £549.99.

See for videos of Jo Pratt creating each recipe.

serves 4-6
Preparation time - 10-15 mins

• 10 spears of asparagus
• 375g ready-rolled puff pastry
• 250g ricotta cheese
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
• 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
• a large bunch of basil leaves, finely shredded, plus extra for garnish
• 4-5 ripe tomatoes, quartered
• olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC fan oven/gas 6.

Place the pastry on to a lightly oiled baking tray and prick several times with a fork.

Mix together the ricotta, eggs, half of the parmesan, garlic, basil and seasoning and beat until smooth. Spread over the pastry base, leaving about a 2cm border.

Trim or snap the tougher woody ends from the asparagus, then lay, with the tomatoes on top of the ricotta, pressing down gently. Season lightly, scatter with the remaining parmesan and drizzle over a little olive oil.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling has set and the pastry is golden. Serve warm or at room temperature cut into pieces.

Serves 6
Preperation time - approx. 25 mins

For the filling:

• 75g butter
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 bay leaf
• 50g flour
• 150ml white wine
• 200ml milk
• 600g salmon fillet, cut into 3cm cubes
• 200g raw tiger prawns
• 200g scallops (optional, the equivalent weight of salmon can be used)
• 3 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
• 2 tbsp chopped dill

For the crumble topping:

• 1 ciabatta loaf
• 50g finely grated parmesan cheese
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• small bunch of parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC fan oven/gas 6.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently sauté the onion with the bay leaf until the onion is softened but not coloured. Stir in the flour for about 30 seconds before gradually adding the wine, stirring to prevent any floury lumps, before doing the same with the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes until you have a thick sauce.

Stir in the salmon, prawns and scallops (if using) and return to the simmer. Cook for a few minutes, until the prawns are pink, before adding the eggs, dill, salt and pepper. Spoon into a large ovenproof dish and keep to one side.

To make the topping, tear the ciabatta into pieces and place in a food processor. Blitz to a rough crumb. Add the parmesan, olive oil and parsley, then briefly blitz to combine.

When you are ready to cook the pie, scatter the topping over the top of the creamy fish sauce and place in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes (or slightly longer if you are cooking the filling from chilled) until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling at the edges.

Serves 4
Preparation time - Pudding - approx. 30 mins

• 6-8 good quality sausages, of whatever flavour you prefer
• 9 medium slices of white bread
• 40g butter, at room temperature
• 4 tbsp bought caramelised onions/ onion relish
• 12-16 cherry tomatoes
• 5 large eggs
• 200ml double cream
• 1 tbsp English mustard powder
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 100g mature cheddar, grated

You will also need a 1.5-1.8 litre baking dish.

First of all you need to cook the sausages either in the oven, grill or frying pan. Once cooked, and cool enough to handle, slice into roughly 1 cm pieces.

Butter the bread, then cut each piece diagonally in half. Spread the caramelised onions on the bottom of the buttered dish. Arrange the bread in the dish, in overlapping layers, adding slices of the sausages and tomatoes in between the layers.

In a large bowl beat together the eggs and then mix in the cream, mustard powder, thyme and half of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper, then slowly pour this over the bread, pressing down so the slices are submerged. Scatter over the remaining cheese, and leave to stand for about 10 minutes, for the mixture to soak into the bread.

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC fan oven/gas 4.

Place on a baking tray and then put into the oven for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and the eggs are set when you press the centre of the dish.

Serve hot with a vegetable of your choice.

Preparation time -20-25 mins

For the sponge:
• knob of butter, melted
• 225g butter, at room temperature
• 225g caster sugar
• 4 large free-range eggs
• 225g self-raising flour, sifted, plus 1 tbsp extra for dusting the tins

To serve:
• 250-275ml double cream, lightly whipped
• 1 vanilla pod
• 2 tbsp good quality strawberry jam
• 150-200g fresh strawberries, stalk remove and halved or quartered
• 2 tbsp sieved icing sugar, plus extra for dusting the finish cake

• You will also need 2 x 15cm-17.5cm cake tins

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC fan oven/gas 4.

First of all, to prepare the tins brush inside with the melted butter. Place a circle of greaseproof paper in the base of both tins, then coat the inside edges with a dusting of flour.

Place the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat well until light, creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, with a spoonful of flour with each egg, to prevent the mixture from curdling, the gently mix in the remaining flour.

Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Spread over the surface with a palate knife or spatula and place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently with a finger and are pale golden in colour.

Remove from the oven and take them out of the tins after about 5-10 minutes. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely (for about half an hour).

While the cakes are cooling, place the cream in a bowl. Split the vanilla pod, and scrape out the seeds into the cream. Add the icing sugar and whip to form soft peaks.

Once the cake is cool, spread the jam on the surface of one sponge, and the cream on the other. Sit the strawberries on top of the cream, and place the strawberry jam sponge on top, pressing lightly to hold in place.

Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and serve.

serves 8
Preparation time - 30 mins plus 20-30 mins resting time

For the pastry
• 150g plain flour
• 1 tablespoon caster sugar
• a pinch of salt
• 100g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

For the filling
• 250g pecan halves
• 3 large eggs, beaten
• 125g golden syrup
• 175g soft brown sugar
• 3 tablespoons whisky or orange juice
• 40g unsalted butter, melted
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• you will also need a 23 to 24cm loose–bottomed tart tin

First of all, you will need to make the pastry. Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor or mixing bowl and blitz or rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and bind until it just comes together, adding a little more water if it is needed. Knead very lightly on a floured surface to form a smooth dough. Roll out and line the tart tin. Prick the base several times with a fork and chill in the fridge for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC fan oven/gas 6.

Line the chilled pastry case with a piece of greaseproof paper and fill with a layer of baking beans or rice. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the paper, brush the base with a little of the beaten egg and cook for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is just becoming golden.

During the last 5 minutes of cooking the pastry, spread the pecan nuts on baking tray and toast them in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and leave to cool slightly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC/fan 140ºC/gas 2–3.

Roughly chop half the pecans and mix with all the rest of the filling ingredients, including the whole pecans. Pour and spread into the pastry case. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the centre is just set.

Serve warm with the extra-thick cream, clotted cream or ice cream, or cold with pouring cream.
If you don’t have time or prefer not to make your own pastry, use about 300g bought shortcrust pastry and sprinkle over 1-2 tablespoons of caster sugar while you roll it out to add a little sweetness.

Makes approx.12
Preparation time - 20 mins

• approx. 375g shortcrust pastry
• 250g good quality mincemeat
• 50g plain flour
• 4 tbsp demerara sugar
• 40g butter
• finely grated zest of ½ orange
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon

• you will also need 1 or 2 x 12 hole patty tins.

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC fan oven/gas 6.

Thinly roll out the pastry and using a 7.5-9cm pastry cutter, cut out as many disks as you can, re-rolling the trimmings as you go. Press the disks into the holes of one or two 12 hole patty tins.

Spoon a couple of teaspoons of mincemeat into each pastry case and set aside.

To make the crumble topping, rub together the flour, demerara sugar, butter, orange zest and cinnamon until you have a chunky crumble mixture. Scatter over the top of the mincemeat and place in the oven for around 15 minutes or until the mince pies are golden and the tops are crisp.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before taking out of the tins. Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar to serve.

For those who aren’t lovers of mincemeat, a delicious alternative is to replace it with some apple pie filling, and make as above with the crumble topping.

Makes 12
Preparation time - Blueberry muffins - 20 mins

• 250ml milk
• 50ml vegetable oil
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 75g caster sugar
• 250g plain flour
• 3 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 200g blueberries

Streusel topping:
• 25g plain flour
• 2 tbsp Demerara sugar
• 15g cold butter

• you will also need a 12 hole muffin tin lined with 12 muffin cases

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC fan oven/gas 6.

First of all, you need to prepare the streusel topping by rubbing together the flour, Demerara and butter until you have a crumble consistency.

To make the muffins mix together the wet ingredients (milk, oil, vanilla extract and beaten egg).

Add the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix briefly, just enough to moisten the flour, giving you a lumpy batter. Keeping it slightly lumpy will ensure lighter muffins once cooked. Fold in the blueberries and then divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases.

Scatter the streusel mixture over the top of each muffin and then place in the oven to cook for 20-25 minutes until they are golden. Once cooked, cool slightly before leaving to cool further on a wire rack.

Makes 4
Preperation time approx. 45 mins

For the pastry
• 400g plain flour
• good pinch of salt
• 100g butter, chilled and cubed
• 100g lard, chilled and cubed
• cold water to mix
• beaten egg, to glaze

For the filling
• 1 medium-large potato, about 175g, peeled weight
• 175g swede, peeled weight
• 400g braising steak, cut into small pieces (0.5-1cm big)
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• freshly ground white pepper
• 4 small knobs of butter

First of all, to make the pastry, season the flour and sift into a large bowl. Add the butter and lard, then rub into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with 6-7 tablespoons of chilled water (enough to just bind the dough) and draw the mixture together with a round-bladed knife.

Turn onto a floured work surface and knead gently to bring together then wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/fan 200ºC fan oven/gas 7.

To make the filling, slice potato and swede into thin, small pieces about 1-2cm across.

Dust the work surface with flour. Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Using a small plate cut out four circles (around 15cm diameter). Moisten the edge with milk or water and support half of the pastry nearest to you over the rolling pin. On the other half, put a small layer of prepared vegetables then a layer of beef, seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper as you go. Repeat this once but be careful not to have too much filling as this will cause the pastry to burst during the cooking process.

Add a small knob of the butter and sprinkle a dusting of flour over the filling, which will help to make a gravy. Fold the other half of pastry that has been resting on the rolling pin over the filling and squeeze the half circle edges firmly together. Starting at the right side whilst supporting the left side with other hand, using first finger and thumb turn the edge over to form a crimp. Repeat this process all along the edge making sure you get a good seal.

Brush pasty with beaten egg wash and put a 1-2cm cut in the centre of the top to allow steam to escape. Sit on a baking tray and place in the hot oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan ovens/gas 4 or a further 45 minutes. If they are browning too quickly cover loosely with greased paper.

Cool slightly before eating.

• With a 200 year history, Leisure is at the forefront of cooker design and innovation. Part of Beko Plc, the UK’s third biggest white goods manufacturer, Leisure has built its reputation around a high standard of quality.
• Designed to suit both traditional and contemporary kitchens, the Good Housekeeping endorsed Leisure Range 90 Cooker is available in both electric and dual fuel versions, to ensure it matches perfectly. Allowing the user to easily keep track of the cooking times, the range cooker also features a handy large LED clock.
• Accustomed to creating scrumptious recipes, Jo has three books under her belt including The Nation’s Favourite Food, In The Mood For Food and In The Mood For Entertaining. Working with big name chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and John Torode, Jo Pratt has really come in to her own within recent years with her recipes featuring on TV shows such as Saturday Kitchen, Great Food Live, Taste, Soapstar Superchef and Market Kitchen.
• Website: Telephone: 0845 600 4916

Monday, 3 October 2011

Sunday, 2 October 2011

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