Make these either with a hook at the top for hanging on the Christmas tree or keep them as straight sticks of rock. These are definitely a bit more tricky than the average recipe but are very rewarding and great fun. It is best for two people to be involved, particularly for folding and twisting the sugar mixture, as one person can work on each colour before it sets hard. Make sure you are working in a warm environment to help prevent the sugar mixture hardening too quickly.

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I love these meringues, they’re so easy to make and with their festive spices and chopped hazelnuts these are perfect for Christmas. This method makes meringues with a whole in the centre, so you can use ribbon to hang them as decorations from your tree or anywhere around the house. Once made, the meringues keep in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.

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The combination of aromatic sweet spices and decorative red and green icing make these gingerbread biscuits fabulously festive. I like to serve these biscuits at Christmas parties and they’re easy to make ahead as stored in an airtight container they will keep for a week.

Preheat the oven to 180’c/325f/gas3.

Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

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Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6, Butter an 18cm x 26cm (7in x 10in) ovenproof dish.

Divide the peeled and sliced potatoes into four lots, and divide the anchovies into two lots. Arrange a quarter of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, then place half of the anchovies on top of these, in three lines, evenly spaced across the width of the dish. Season with salt – not too much, as the anchovies will be quite salty – and some freshly ground black pepper.

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Antony Worrall-Thompson, one of London’s most creative chefs, has been a trendsetter for many years. This recipe, inspired by one of his creations, is possibly my favourite summer lunch. We do lots of variations depending on what we have to hand.


Slice the aubergines and courgettes lenghtwise into ¼ inch (5 mm) thick slices. Sprinkle with a little salt, put into a colander and allow to degorge for a few minutes.

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This is a smart and speedy way of transforming leftover roast chicken into a completely new dish.

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Rachel Allen

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To make the hazelnut oil dressing, add the hazelnut oil, the sunflower oil, the white wine vinegar, and the Dijon mustard to a screw-top jar. Shake well to mix. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a little sugar.

Cut the apple into thin wedges and mix with the roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon of the hazlenut oil dressing. Use a sharp knife or some kitchen scissors to remove the skin and the fatty membrane from the centre of the kidneys, and cut the kidneys into small cubes of about 1-2cm.

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Oatcakes are perfect for anyone with wheat intolerance. Few things rival them for serving with cheese. They aren't strongly flavoured – some people put spices in their oatcakes but I don’t think that’s necessary. The oatcakes should only play a supporting role while the cheese itself is the star of the show.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3.

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Molly Malone was a beautiful girl who sold cockles and mussels and died tragically of a fever while still young, or so the song goes. Molly may not have been a real girl, but since at least the 17th century, there have been fishmongers on the streets of Dublin who sell ‘Cockles and Mussels, alive, alive, oh!’

Cockles, with their distinctive flavour and lovely curved shell, are traditionally eaten in Ireland with Oatcakes. If you can only find mussels, this chowder will be just as good.

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Put the softened butter in a bowl and beat until it is soft. Add in half of the icing sugar and continue to beat, then add in the other half. Keep beating until it is all incorporated. Next, add in the flour, the beaten egg, the ground cardamom, the finely grated orange zest and the salt, then continue to beat until everything is well combined.

Roll the dough out into a log shape approximately 4cm (1½in) wide and about 35cm (14in) long.

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