Mince Pie Stars

I adore mince pies but Madeleine's not quite old enough to make them with any great success so I've developed this foolproof recipe which are great fun to make with kids and the results are so pretty and taste AMAZING.



1 pack of ready-to-roll shortcrust pastry

1 jar mincemeat (homemade or shop brought)

1 egg, beaten

a load of icing sugar


Preheat your oven to 200oC and line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment. Set aside whilst you cut out as many stars as possible from the pastry before re-rolling and repeating- (place the stars on the prepared parchment as you go). Once you have filled the trays brush the stars with the egg before placing a small teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre of each stars. Place in the oven for 10-12minutes or until golden. Remove and immediately sieve over a layer of icing sugar before transferring them to a wire cooling rack. Repeat the icing sugar before serving.

Spelt Blinis

Christmas nibbles aren't complete without smoked salmon blinis in my house, particularly as my daughters adore both smoked salmon and pancakes. I always find the shop brought blinis are very dry so I  thought I'd have a go at developing my own recipe. These take not time at all and disappeared in a flash. Madeleine loved helping me arrange them and adding the finishing touches.


Makes 30-32 bitesize blinis


100g spelt flour

70g plain flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp dried yeast

2 eggs

250ml full fat milk

30g butter


Put all the ingredients apart form the butter in a bowl and stir until combined. Cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature for 2-3 hours (or in the fridge overnight).

When you are ready to make your blinis, heat a large frying pan or pancake pan and melt the butter. Use a piece of kitchen roll to carefully spread all the butter evenly over the pan and then using a tbsp scoop (from a set of measuring spoons) pour 1 scoop per blini onto the pan and cook 3-4 blinis at a time [You can make larger ones but I love these little bitesize ones both for adults and kids]. Cook for 1-2 minutes on both sides until golden and then remove onto a plate. Continue to cook until all your mixture has been used and store in a airtight container for up to 2 days.

To assemble: smear a good helping of cream cheese on the blinis and twist a strand of smoked salmon. 

Gingerbread People

One of my neighbours requested a healthy gingerbread recipe she could make with her children and after a few experiments here it is! The oven temperature is very low as you are not really cooking them but rather setting the mixture together. You can leave them plain or decorate as much as you like. 

[Note: you need a good quality food processor such as a magimix for this recipe otherwise you will not be able to achieve the desired paste]. 


Makes 9 if using an Ikea kid's DUKTIG cutter


100g pecan nuts

100g destoned good quality dates, roughly cut

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp cold water

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground all spice


Preheat your oven to 100oC and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Set aside.

Place the pecans in a food processor and blitz down until they resemble rough breadcrumbs. Now add the remaining ingredients and blitz for 2-3 minutes or until you have a thick sticky paste. Remove and roll the mixture into 9 balls. Now place your gingerbread cutter in the corner of your baking tray and place one of the balls in the centre of the cutter. Using your fingertips gently push the mixture so it fills the cutter evenly and ease the cutter away [Note: the mixture is sticky so you need to just slowly remove the cutter]. You now have your first gingerbread man. Repeat with the remaining 8 balls and then place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The gingerbread will still be soft so use a fish slice to transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a tupperware box and placing in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. I leave mine in the freezer and serve from there.

Turkey + Cranberry Sausage Rolls

No christmas morning is complete without sausage rolls in our family- a tradition from when I was my daughter's age. The cranberry gives a lovely sweetness and you really know its Christmas when you can smell these baking. If you eat pork and fancy going that step further wrap the turkey 'sausage' with two pieces of parma ham before covering in pastry. Its. Amazing.


Makes 8 individual or 1 large sausage roll


250g turkey (or chicken mince)

3 spring onions, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp cranberry sauce

2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted  

1 egg, beaten


Place the turkey in a large mixing bowl. Put the spring onions, garlic, mustard and cranberry sauce in a food processor and blitz down into a paste before adding into the turkey. [Note: I add 1/2 tsp sea salt here but leave out if you want to]. Using your hands mix together and once everything looks evenly distributed wash your hands. Place a large sheet of clingfilm on your work surface. Divide the turkey mixture into two. Place one half lengthways along with clingfilm and roll into a sausage using the clingfilm. Twist the ends to secure and place in the freezer for 1 hour to set a little. Repeat with the second half.

To assemble: once you are ready to make the sausage rolls unroll the pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Cut in half lengthways so you have two long rectangles. Using the beaten egg, lightly brush a border around the edge of the pastry. [If using parma ham place 2 slices lengthways on both pieces of pastry]. Remove the turkey from the freezer and place along the length of  the pastry. Now fold one long side of pastry over the sausage to meet the other (and thus create the sausage roll) and using your finger tips press down to seal. Brush with egg and if you want individual rolls then cut each roll into 8 or leave as one big sausage roll. Now using scissors cut a slit in the pastry of each roll or every 2-cm if making one large one. Scatter with black sesame (or white if you can't find any). Bake for 20 (or 30 minutes) depending on if you make individual or one large one.

Coconut Snowballs

These little white treats are fantastic to make with your kids although my daughter generally eats half the mixture before we even get to roll it in the coconut! It's a great recipe for festive parties too as they are nut and refined sugar free and you can store them in the freezer so they are perfect if last minute guests pop in!


Makes 8 snowballs


1 cup (or 65g) desiccated coconut plus 3 tbsp for coating

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


Line a baking tray or tupperware box with baking parchment and set aside.

Place all the ingredients, apart from the final 3 tbsp coconut, in a food processor and blend until it starts to come together in a paste. Put the remaining coconut on a plate and set aside. Using your hands roll the coconut mixture into 8 even balls and then roll in the remaining coconut until you have an even covering. Place directly on the prepared baking tray and place in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours to set. [Note: I store mine in the freezer and take out as and when I need them.]

Simply Roast Chicken

There simply isn't anything more delicious than the smell of a roast chicken in the oven and, to be honest, at Christmas I prefer it to a traditional turkey so this is what will be at the centre of our table. One chicken will feed 4-6 people (depending on appetite and age) so over the festive period I just cook two, (or three) to feed the crowds which looks fantastic sat along the table so you can reach over and dig into your 'groups' little chicken. 


Serves 4-6 people depending on age and appetite


1 medium roast chicken

50g butter, at room temperature

1/2 tsp sea salt

zest of half lemon

small handful of thyme, leaves picked and sprigs discarded

2 garlic cloves, crushed


Preheat the oven to 220oC. Place all the ingredients (apart from the chicken!) in a food processor or bowl and beat together. Push the butter under the skin of the chicken and spread on top of the legs. Place in a medium roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes before turning the oven down to 180oC and cooking for a further hour [Note: when done the legs should easily pull away from the body.] Remove and allow to cool before serving. I save all the juices and use them to cook my vegetables.

Note: shred any leftovers and storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Roasted Sprouts with Bacon + Parmesan

Sprouts get a bad name but treated well and cooked in the right way they can be utterly delicious. Here sprouts are served exactly as they should be. With cheese. With bacon. With breadcrumbs. And roasted into crispy morsels that I could quite happily snack on all day. 


Serves 2 adults and 2 children but just increase as necessary


500g brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half

2 tbsp olive oil

2 sprigs rosemary

140g pancetta

20g breadcrumbs

30g grated Parmesan  


Preheat the oven to 200oC and line a large roasting tin. Set aside.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and add the Brussels sprouts. Cook for 3 minutes before draining and leaving to steam dry for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the olive oil (or juices from your roast) to the roasting tin along with the rosemary sprig and pancetta. Add the sprouts and toss everything together. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Whilst this is cooking mix together the breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan. After 20 minutes of cooking remove the sprouts and scatter over the Parmesan crumbs. Place back in the oven for a further 10-15minutes until golden and the edges of the sprouts are going a little crispy.  

Maple Roasted Carrots & Parsnips

I am big on my veggies and I think they deserve to be as much a star on Christmas Day as the meat elements. These crispy wedges are in fact fantastic all year around with a lovely sweetness from the clementine juice (you can use orange) and maple syrup.


Makes enough for 2 adults and 2 small children but just increase as necessary


 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 6 'wedges'

2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 6 'wedges'

1 clementine, juice only

1-2 tbsp maple syrup

a small handful of thyme sprigs

two rosemary sprigs

1 bulb of garlic cut in half horizontally

1-2 tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200oC and have a large roasting tray ready. Bring a large pan of water to boil and add the carrots, thyme and rosemary and boil for 5minutes. Add the parsnips and boil for another 4 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for 5-10 minutes. Mix together the clementine juice, maple syrup and olive oil and set aside.

to roast: add the vegetables, herbs and garlic to your roasting tray and drizzle over the dressing. Toss so everything is covered and then place in the oven for 50 minutes or until golden. Check after 25 minutes to make sure that they are not catching and move the vegetable around. Once ready- serve immediately or cover with foil until everything else is ready.