Fishy Festive Food …

My parents-in-law came over for lunch (and Christmas present swap) today. I wanted to do something so completely un-Christmassy food-wise and in the end went for a Fish Pie. It is packed full of lovely vegetables – onion, leeks, spring onions, celery and of course, potato. It is topped off with a leek and bacon crispy combo:


The white sauce is made up of milk and cream that the fish had been poached in, lots of lovely fresh herbs (parsley, dill and tarragon) and some butter. We had it with some festive chutney and plum jam.

Pudding was an old favourite, Chocolate Fondant, served with some warm chocolate sauce (expertly made by my 11 year old) and some pouring cream, yum!!




Festive Food …

I’ve really enjoyed preparing all of our festive food this year. I started a few weeks ago with a Beetroot Chutney that I first made this time last year, it proved to be delicious again and will no doubt be made again next year. I also tried a Plum Jam recipe, this tasted incredible with the turkey – a truly delicious combination. Also served with our turkey were Turmeric & Polenta coated Roast Potatoes, Glazed Carrots and Parsnips and a Sausage-meat, Apricot and Butternut Squash Stuffing:

xmas collage 2The Salmon Blinis were made yesterday (Boxing Day) and were served alongside various leftovers, Confit Turkey Legs, Sausage Rolls, Focaccia Bread and Lamb Samosas.

The cheesecake in the photo above was a ‘Trifle Cheesecake’ – I don’t think I’ll ever make a trifle again as this was so much better! The base was a simple buttery biscuit base (click here to see a you tube clip that we are reminded of each time we hear the words ‘Buttery Biscuit Base’!), the cheese layer was a killer combination of cream cheese, double cream and custard and the final layer was simply raspberry jelly with fresh raspberries. It turned out to be a huge cheesecake (weighing over 2 kilos!!) – it’s no wonder that it has lasted 3 days so far and there’s still more left for tomorrow. It’s a gift that just keeps on giving!!

Other festive treats have included Chocolate Truffles with orange matchmaker ‘sticks’, Coconut & Chocolate Caramels (the Caramel was infused with cardamom pods, star anise, fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick) and Strawberry Cream Shortbread Biscuits:

xmas collage 3

Finally, it just wouldn’t be Christmas with out our Biscuit Tree. We’ve made one each year for the past 7 years, it has become as much a part of our family Christmas as our Christmas tree and Christmas crackers:

xmas collage 1


It’s been a wonderful feast of a festive time and we will no doubt be enjoying the left overs for many more days to come 🎄



Work in Progress …

I had a wonderful time at the Fishponds Festive Fair on Saturday. Not only did I sell lots of cards but I was also lucky enough to receive a lot of positive feedback about my art. I had returning customers who have sent cards that they have previously bought and wish to buy the same again plus some of the newer styles. There were also plenty of ‘new’ customers who were extremely fulsome in their praise of my pictures, I have to admit that I was quite overwhelmed!

By far the most popular of my newer designs were these:


Whilst at the fair, I made a little progress with the design below. It’s taking me a long time to complete, I started it over a week ago, however, I am really enjoying working with the patterns and the colours that I really don’t want to rush it:

IMG_3371 IMG_3372

Hopefully I’ll spend some more time on this at the weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing the final result.

The Main Event …

The food at Christmas is a real highlight for me. I love repeating some recipes each year, to the extent that they become part of our family’s traditional Christmas. A great example of this is our Biscuit Tree :

This year, my 10 year old made our biscuit tree – he prepared the biscuit dough, baked the biscuits, iced the biscuits and built the tree, all with only a small amount of help from me. I was very proud of him, he did a superb job.

Another of our favourites is the Salted Caramel Tart that I first made last year, click here to see the post. Here is this year’s version:

I also like to try a few new recipes each year. To begin our Christmas meal, we had some delicious smoked salmon blinis, served with an anchovy and tarragon butter:

To follow we had the traditional roast turkey, served with roast potatoes, curried carrots and parsnips, my mum’s stuffing, pigs in blankets and the chutneys and pickles that I had made during the past few weeks. Sadly, I didn’t photograph the main course, but I did make the leftovers in to a kind of roulade/puff pastry meal on Boxing Day:

To follow our turkey, we had a choice between the Salted Caramel Tart and a Caramalised Clementine Pavlova :

All in all, it was a very tasty Christmas !!

Snapshots of Christmas …

It’s been a while since I last posted, a combination of Christmas preparations, work being full-on and a chest infection meant that free time has been in short supply over the past few weeks. Anyway, I hope you have all had a happy and healthy Christmas, here are a few shots of my Christmas, taken on Christmas morning, after present opening with my boys and before my parents and in-laws arrived :

Beetroot Bombshell …

It’s been nearly a week since I last posted, it’s not been for a lack of things to blog about, it’s more like the opposite!

This Beetroot Chutney is something else that I’ve made in preparation for Christmas. The colour is beautiful, better than anything chemicals could produce and as it’s a chutney, it’ll last a long time too:

Beetroot ChutneyIncluded in this chutney are: beetroot; bramley apples; onions; raisins and ginger, it tastes divine.