Category Archives: Cookery

Simple Christmas Cake

To easily make your Christmas cake, you can do no worse than buying a cake kit, I found one in Marks and Spencer for £13, all you had to add was butter, eggs and an orange.

After adding up the cost of the ingredients, it worked out cheaper to buy the cake kit.

I made the cake a month ago, and fed it once with some whisky and today was the day that I was going to decorate it with a simple design of a few snowmen. I have done a step-by-step guide for an easy Christmas cake to wow your friends and family!

I used the marzipan from the Marks and Spencer kit, but to keep to the theme of simplicity I used Dr Oetker Regal-Ice Ready Rolled Icing to cover the cake.

The next thing to do was to make the snowmen: these consist of a head, body, arms and legs and that’s it.

To make the eyes, just use a cocktail stick to wiggle a circle, then using black sugarpaste make small balls and after dabbing some water in the holes to make them stick, place the balls as eyes. For the nose, make a cylinder and place it on the face with a dab of water, the smile is created with a cocktail stick. You can have some fun making scarves, bowties, buttons, top hats, anything that takes your fancy!

Finished cake!!

You can add little snowballs, I used a snowflake cutter and holly leaf cutter and the cake sprinklings from the cake kit to decorate and finished with a light dusting of icing sugar for snow.

So there you have it, a simple Christmas cake which is fun, colourful and most importantly…. easy!

Chili with Cheese and Nachos

Another recipe from the Hairy Biker’s One Pot Wonders, we have actually made this dish a few times for friends and family and it’s never failed to impress.

This is their thoughts on this dish:

"We can't tell you how good this is - you just have to taste it. Yes, there are quite a few ingredients but a lot of them are spices and the prep is easy, just a bit of chopping. The nachos topping is amazing and you end up with different textures - crunchy on top and softer at the bottom, with the juicy, spicy chili underneath. Naughty but definitely nice!"


2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
I red pepper, diced
400g minced beef
200g minced pork
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp light brown soft sugar
400g can of tomatoes
2 x 400g cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
400ml beef stock or water
50g dark chocolate
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping: 200g tortilla chips and 200g Cheddar cheese, grated

To serve: soured cream and fresh coriander leaves.

How did I get on?

Out came the trusty Le Creuset casserole dish, which is ideal for these type of recipes. First step was to heat the oil in the dish, add the onion, celery and red pepper and cook over a low heat until the onion has softened and turned translucent. Then, add both minces, beef and pork and break up with a spoon until it’s completely browned then reduce the heat. Then it’s time to add all the spices, the tomatoes, kidney beans and stock. Bring to the boil and turn down the heat, leave the chili to simmer for an hour, stirring regularly.

After an hour of simmering on the cooker, the dark chocolate is added and while it is cooking for another 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Arrange the tortilla chips over the chili and top with the cheese and put in the oven for at least 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and started to brown. Serve immediately with soured cream, coriander leaves and lime wedges.

Finished dish!


Another easy dish to make – there are a lot of ingredients, but a lot are spices so you probably already have them in your cupboard. One thing to bear in mind is that the dish has to simmer on the stove for an hour, so it’s best to factor that in when cooking this dish, you don’t want your diners waiting around for their meal.

With the added components, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and a bottle of Sol, it all adds up to a great Mexican meal.

Guacamole Recipe

1 small red onion
1 medium very ripe tomato
1 red chili, deseeded
1 large handful fresh coriander
1 lime
4 medium ripe avocados
Olive oil

In a food processor, pulse the onion, tomato, chili and most of the coriander until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl.

Add the juice of the lime to the mix.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Squash the avocado to a pulp, so that it is creamy, but leave a few chunks for some texture. Mix this with the pulped ingredients. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some more coriander.

Just a note: Le Creuset has brought out a Harry Potter edition of their brand complete with a Hogwarts Express kettle, Deathly Hallows spoon rest and even a Spellcasting spatula set!