Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas cake

Merry Christmas everyone!

This year's cake:
Made using my mum's traditional recipe, with cherry brandy instead of Irish whiskey (don't tell her!), and fed with brandy over a few weeks. Decorated with a layer of marzipan and then royal icing. The Christmas tree is made from green fondant, using a snowflake cutter in three different sizes, then stacked up, and stuck with royal icing. The gold star is marzipan, the gifts are fondant icing. Sprayed with Pearl lustre for the sparkly sheen.

With extra decoration by the kids:

fondant penguin snowman

Ho Ho Ho!

Monday, 16 December 2013

40th Birthday Spurs Cake

The same friend who asked me to make a Spurs cake for a 50th (not hers!) has asked me to do another for a 40th (not hers), but 'not as big'! 

So I reduced the number of sponges to two, updated the collar, changed the name and shrunk the logos!

Otherwise it's exactly the same as before...

Spurs cake
Spurs' new signing...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Eastern Feast

To celebrate, well, Friday night, a little Eastern feast with friends. First, a little shopping in Chinatown for essentials like gyoza pastries and plum wine, some Chinese chives and shittake mushrooms. Tesco provided the sushi-grade tuna (ok, tuna steaks)

First up, to prepare MULLED WINE to drink whilst cooking (A Delia recipe):

2 bottles Cabernet Sauvignon
2 litres water
1 orange, stuck with cloves
2 lemons, sliced
6 tbsp honey
1 stick cinnamon
1 inch finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp brandy

Add everything to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Do not allow it to boil!
Simmer for about 20 minutes, then serve through a sieve if you don't want bits!

Served with a soy, vinegar, ginger and chilli dip
and/or homemade sweet chilli sauce 

school of wokThis recipe is from the School of Wok, where I learned some Dim Sum!


Wonton or gyoza pastries (circular)

For the marinade:
2 tsp sesame oil
salt to taste
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar

For the filling:
500 g minced turkey (you could also use pork)
1/2 bunch coriander. chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
5 shiitake mushrooms, chopped small
1 bunch Chinese chives, finely chopped


Mix all the filling ingredients together. Add in the marinade ingredients and mix well with your hands.

To wrap the gyozas, place a tsp or so of filling in the centre of the circular pastry. Then fold over to form a semi circle - you can use some water to stick the pastry together. Then you can fiddle about and try and make a pretty over-lapping shape but essentially you want to end up with a wobbly half moon shape. I would recommend going to a class at the School of Wok to learn this properly from the experts!

To Cook:
You can deep fry for about 5 minutes at 180 degrees, until golden brown.

If you don't have a deep fryer, you can shallow fry quickly on a high heat, then turn down to medium, add in some boiling water (careful now!) to half cover the gyozas and cover with a lid. Steam them for about 10 minutes until all the water has gone, then give them a minute or so to crisp up.

To Serve:

Mix some soy sauce, Chinese vinegar, fresh chopped chilli, and ginger chopped in matchsticks. Dip in and enjoy!
You could also have a homemade chilli sauce - mix up some finely chopped chilli, garlic, a squeeze of lemon, sugar to taste, chopped coriander and rice vinegar.


This was one of my favourite non-tapas dishes that I had in Barcelona, and have wanted to try it out ever since.

japanese recipe
The recipe was taken from a Beef Tataki recipe that I found online somewhere and adapted it to our sushi-grade tuna (or, truthfully, Tesco tuna steak).


4 tuna steaks (1 per person)
60 ml soy sauce
75 ml Chinese rice wine
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
salt & pepper to taste


First make the marinade by combining the soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil in a bowl. Pour into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer, then add in your chopped spring onion and garlic. Fry for a few minutes, don't let the onions get too soft. Remove all this from the pan and set aside. Next season the tuna and leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes. In the frying pan, add a splash of extra sesame oil, then sear the tuna steaks evenly on both sides for about a minute, they can remain rare on the inside.

To serve, place each steak on a plate and pour over the marinade.



Recipe here. These worked perfectly with the tuna, adding a nice spicy kick to proceedings.


Served with Plum wine

Plum wine from Chinatown went down really well with dessert. I didn't really think we needed any more photos at this point of the evening...!