Turkish Delight

turkish delightTurkish Delight is always a favourite at Christmas, and this versatile recipe can be made in minutes. Try different flavours such as lemon, crème de menthe and orange and vary the colours accordingly.

450g / 1 lb / 2 cups granulated sugar
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups water
25g / 1oz / 2 tblsp powdered gelatine
2.5ml / ½ tsp tartaric acid
30ml / 2 tblsp rose water
Pink food colouring
25g / 1oz / 3 tblsp icing sugar, sifted
15ml / 1 tblsp cornflour

Makes 450g / 1 lb

Step One : Wet the insides of 2 x 18cm (7in) shallow square tins with water. Place the sugar and all but 60ml (4 tblsp) of water into a heavy-based saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.

Step Two : Blend the gelatine and remaining water in a small bowl and place over a saucepan of hot water. Stir occasionally until dissolved. Bring the sugar syrup to the boil and boil steadily for about 8 minutes, or until the syrup registers 127oC / 260oF on a sugar thermometer. Stir the tartaric acid into the gelatine, then pour into the boiling syrup and stir until well blended. Remove from the heat.

Step Three : Add the rose water and a few drops of pink food colouring and stir, adding a few more drops, as necessary, to tint the mixture pale pink. Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and allow to set for several hours or overnight.

Step Four : Dust a sheet of greaseproof paper with some of the icing sugar and cornflour. Dip the base of the tins in bot water and invert on to the paper. Cut the Turkish Delight into 2.5cm (1 in) squares, using an oiled knife. Toss the squares in icing sugar to coat evenly.

Recipe taken from The Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

Mince Pies & Mincemeat & Cherry Tarts

A couple of recipes, one for traditional Mince Pies and another recipe using the same pastry recipe for making Mincemeat and Cherry Tarts which have a meringue, cherry and almond topping rather than a pastry top.


Cook time: 15 mins;
Makes: 22 pies

Ingredients for the pastry:
225g (8 oz) self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
25g (1oz) hard margarine
75g (3oz) lard

For the filling: 350g (12oz) mincemeat

Step One : Put the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the margarine and lard into little pieces. Add the fats to the flour and rub in with your fingertips. Add sufficient cold water to bind the pastry together, then knead lightly.

Step Two : Put half of the pastry on a lightly floured board and roll out thinly. Cut out 11 rounds with a 75cm (3in) pastry cutter and use to line a greased bun tray.

Step Three : Put a heaped teaspoonful of mincemeat into each pastry case. Use the left-over pastry and trimmings to make lids. Cut two little nicks in each lid with a knife, then dampen the edges before securing in place. Press lightly round the edges of each pie to seal.

Step Four : Make 11 more pies in the same way. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4 for about 15 minutes, until lightly coloured.

Tip: Vary these pies by adding 115g (4oz) of cranberries to the filling, and cutting out pastry stars for lids.


Cook time: 20 mins
Makes: 24 pies

Pastry recipe as for Mince Pies.

For the filling:
400g (14oz) mincemeat

For the topping:
2 medium egg whites
115g (4oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) mixed glace cherries, washed, dried and chopped;
25g (1oz) flaked almonds

Step One : Follow methods 1 and 2 as for Mince pies – but use all of the pastry to make 24 tart cases.

Step Two : Put a heaped teaspoonful of mincement into each tart case. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whisk in half the sugar, then fold in the rest. Fold in the glace cherries, and pile the meringue on top of the pies. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the meringue.

Step Three : Then bake tarts in a preheated oven at 190oC / 375oF / Gas 5 for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked and the meringue is lightly browned.

You can find alternative Mince Pie recipes in this book ….

Victoria Sponge Cake

Victoria Sponge cakeServes : 8-10

175g (6oz) butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
175g (6oz) caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
3 tblsp raspberry jam
1 tblsp caster sugar or icing sugar, for dusting

Step One : Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF / Gas Mark 4.

Step Two : Grease two 20cm (8 inch) sponge tins and line with baking paper.

Step Three : Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or a hand-held mixer until the mixture is pale in colour and light and fluffy.

Step Four : Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Step Five : Sift the flour and salt together and carefully add to the mixture, folding in with a metal spoon or a spatula. Divide the mixture between the tins and smooth over with the spatula.

Step Six : Place the tins on the same shelf in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until well risen, golden brown and beginning to shrink from the sides of the tins.

Step Seven : Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 1 minute.

Step Eight : Loosen the cakes from around the edges of the tins using a palette knife. Turn the cakes out onto a clean tea towel, remove the paper and invert them onto a wire rack (this prevents the wire rack marking the tops of the cakes).

Step Nine : When completely cool, sandwich together with the jam and dust with icing sugar. The cake is delicious when freshly baked, but any remaining cake can be stored in an airtight tin for up to one week.

Chilli Con Carne

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 392;   Prep time: 10 mins;   Cook time: 55 mins


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 ½ lb (675g) lean minced beef
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¾ pt (450ml) beef stock
  • 397g can chopped tomatoes
  • 430g can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • soured cream and freshly chopped parsley to garnish.

Step One – Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 mins. Stir in the minced beef and chilli powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5 mins, or until sealed.

Step Two – Stir in the flour and tomato puree, cook for a further 1 min, then add the stock, tomatoes, beans and chilli. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with soured cream sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Other Mexican Food recipes can be found in



Currently in Corfu and had this for lunch so thought I would add a recipe.

Serves : 4  –  Cals per portion : 575  –  Prep time : 20 mins, plus standing  –  Cooking time : 1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients: 1 aubergine, trimmed and sliced; salt and ground black pepper; 2 oz (50g) butter; 2 tblsp vegetable oil; 2 onions, peeled and sliced; 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed; 1 lb (450g) lean minced lamb; 1 tblsp tomato puree; ¼ pt (150ml) lamb stock; 1 tsp dried thyme. For the sauce: 1 oz (25g) butter; 1 oz (25g) plain flour; ½ pt (300ml) milk; 2 oz (50g) cheddar cheese, grated; 1 egg, size 3, beaten



  • Place the aubergine on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Leave to stand for 30 mins. Rinse well and pat dry.
  • Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 350oF, 180oC. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and fry the aubergine, turning frequently, for 3-4 mins or until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan, drain and reserve.
  • Add onions and garlic to pan, fry for 4 mins, then add lamb and continue to cook for 5 mins. Add tomato puree, stock and thyme, then season well and transfer to a baking dish.
  • To make the sauce: Melt butter in a pan, add flour and cook for 1 min. Remove from heat and stir in milk and cheese. Return to heat, season, and bring to boil, stirring frequently, Remove from heat and beat in egg.
  • Layer aubergines over lamb mixture, then pour sauce on top and cook in oven for 45 mins, or until cooked through. Serve with mixed salad.

A few things Greek that you may like:-


Makes 12 slices; Prep: 15 mins; Cook: 30-35 mins; Cals per slice: 233

100g (4oz) butter; 175g (6oz) soft, light brown sugar; 100g (4oz) black treacle; 50g (2oz) golden syrup; 5cm (2in) piece root ginger, peeled and finely grated; 15ml (1 tbsp) instant coffee granules; 225g (8oz) plain flour; 5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda; 5ml (1tsp) ground cinnamon; pinch of freshly ground black pepper; 2 eggs, beaten; whipped cream, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4. Grease a 27 x 17.5cm (10 3/4 x 7 in) rectangular cake tin.
2. Melt the butter, sugar, treacle, syrup and ginger together in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, dissolve the coffee granules in 90ml (4 fl oz) water, then sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.
4. Add a little freshly ground black pepper, make a well in the centre, then pour in the butter mixture, eggs and coffee. Beat well with a balloon whisk until smooth and slightly thick.
5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 25-30 mins until firm to the touch.
6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool. Cut into bars and serve warm or cold with freshly whipped cream. This pudding is also delicious served hot with custard.
Tip: If you haven’t got any fresh root ginger use 10ml (2 tsp) ground ginger instead. Real ginger lovers could also try adding chopped root ginger in syrup to the mixture too.

Luxury Shepherd’s Pie

Turn a humble shepherds pie into an extra-special supper by adding red wine and fresh herbs to the lamb mince, then top with a really rich and creamy mashed potato. To make cottage pie, use lean good-quality beef mince instead.

Serves: 6; Cost £7.70; Time to prepare: 40 mins; Time to cook: 1 hr 20 mins; Cals per portion: 685

Ingredients: 15ml (1 tbsp) oil; 1 large onion, chopped; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 900g (2 lb) minced lamb; 225g (8oz) carrots, diced; 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped; 15ml (1tbsp) freshly chopped oregano; 30ml (2 tbsp) tomato puree; 30ml (2 tbsp) worcestershire sauce; 150ml (1/4pt) red wine; 300ml (1/2 pt) lamb stock; 100g (4oz) mushrooms, sliced; 1.3kg (3lb) potatoes, peeled; 75g (3oz) butter; 90ml (6 tbsp) milk; 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic until golden brown. Add the minced lamb to the pan and fry until browned all over, stirring all the time. Drain off excess fat then add the carrots and three-quarters of the leeks.
  • Stir in the oregano, tomato puree, worcestershire sauce, red wine and stock, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 40 mins, stirring occassionally. Add the mushrooms to the pan after 20 mins.
  • Meanwhile cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 mins, until tender. Drain well, then mash the potatoes with the butter and milk until smooth and creamy. Taste and add a little more seasoning if necessary.
  • Spoon the mince mixture into a large ovenproof dish. Top with mashed potato. Fry the remaining leeks in half the olive oil for 2-3 mins, then sprinkle the rest of the olive oil over the mash. Bake at 200oC, 400oF, Gas 6 for 30 mins until golden.

TIP: To freeze, spoon the mash on top of the mince, then leave to cool. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen at 190oC, 375oF, Gas 5 for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until piping hot.