Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat is fresh, fruity and sozzled with lots of lovely booze. It’s also the best choice for your free-from mince pie as it doesn’t have any pesky suet ruining things for the vegans, it’s nut free for our allergy afflicted friends and if you’re gluten-free you don’t have to worry about where to source your gluten-free suet.

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

This Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat is a re-post from a recipe that I published in 2013. I make this recipe every year to sell on my market stall and for personal use in my mincemeat recipes that require no suet such as Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding. I have kept the below text as written four years ago for posterity. I can’t believe the John Lewis ad hee haw is still going as strong as ever.

It all starts here people. I was watching the ad breaks during X Factor on Saturday and they were very clear that we have now been given the all clear on Christmas. Have you seen the John Lewis ad with the hare and the bear? Well I didn’t understand it but it still made me cry. If John Lewis think it’s Christmas then it must be. Finally I will stop being embarrassed that I have been listening to Fairytale in New York since November 1st, I can dust off Delia’s Happy Christmas and henceforth will step into Christmas. Well, Christmas food at least, but that’s all I care about anyway. So if you’re not ready to start thinking sleigh bells and winter wonderlands then I shall simply call you a miserable scrooge and that is all.

No, don’t go, I’m sorry for not understanding that everyone isn’t totally into the carols and commercialism (ahem, family time) as much as me. But in my defence I am making mince pies for our WI Christmas themed meeting on Monday so really I am leaving it quite last minute to whip up the mincemeat.
Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

I am making two different types of mincemeat this year and this is the first one. It’s veggie and nut free and very quick to boot.

I was going to make Dan Lepard’s Dark Rich Mincemeat as I wanted to steer clear of suet for mincemeat number one and his take on it sounded delicious but I couldn’t find any dried sour cherries. Even a trip into town and my trusty pocketrobber Whole Foods had run dry, though I did get to see the Carnaby Christmas lights so the trip wasn’t a complete bust. But still, I needed something sour to counterbalance all the sugary fruit. So I added fresh cranberries which seemed to do the trick, not breaking them up too much in the mix so they burst in your mouth, immediately quelling the layers of fruity sweetness. With dried and fresh cranberries all stirred up I couldn’t help but think of adding some sort of orange note since it’s a natural pairing with cranberries. When it’s Christmas you should always reach for the bottle so I poured in a good glug of Cointreau, my favourite Christmas tipple, which happily is made from oranges. Then it tasted so good, so I added a bit more. Then a bit more. Then I poured myself a small glass and the rest is history.

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

Print Recipe
Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat
Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat is fresh, fruity and sozzled with lots of lovely booze.
Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
4x 380g jars
Ingredients
  • 100 g dried cranberries
  • 200 g raisins
  • 275 g currants
  • 100 g soft prunes stoned and blended to form a paste
  • 2 dessert apples peeled, cored and diced small
  • 500 g fresh cranberries
  • 300 g dark brown sugar
  • 250 ml gluten-free pale ale
  • 1 bramley apple peeled and grated
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 30 ml brandy
  • 100 ml Cointreau
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
4x 380g jars
Ingredients
  • 100 g dried cranberries
  • 200 g raisins
  • 275 g currants
  • 100 g soft prunes stoned and blended to form a paste
  • 2 dessert apples peeled, cored and diced small
  • 500 g fresh cranberries
  • 300 g dark brown sugar
  • 250 ml gluten-free pale ale
  • 1 bramley apple peeled and grated
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 30 ml brandy
  • 100 ml Cointreau
Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat
Instructions
  1. Pour the fresh cranberries, sugar, ale, bramley apple, lemon juice and zest and all the spices into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until some of the cranberries start to break down.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the dried fruits and the dessert apples and add to the boiled mixture.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the dried fruits and give a very good mix through, making sure the prune paste is evenly dispersed.
  4. Leave to cool completely before stirring through the brandy and Cointreau.
  5. Decant into sterilised jars and store until ready to use or use straightaway.

Fancy more mincemeat recipes? Then treat yourself to traditional Victorian Mincemeat which uses real beef mince for the richest and most decadent mince pies this Christmas.

Victorian Mincemeat - a traditional mincemeat made with real beef for the best mince pies this Christmas

Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Clementine Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the festive turkey. The bright shiny flavours are enhanced by a touch of spice.

Cranberry Clementine Sauce

It’s about time that I came clean here on the blog with what my deal is at the moment. A lot of my posts have been late, if they have been posted at all and my Gluten-Free Flour series went on a rather long sabbatical. If you follow my market stall then I basically opted out of late summer/early autumn then upped sticks to a completely different market.

Back in July I was ahead of the game, I had managed to carve out a good amount of time of pure recipe testing, writing and photography and had posts planned for about 6 weeks ahead. I was intending to return to posting twice a week to get through all the recipes I wanted to share and things I wanted to say before the year was out. It was all going swimmingly.

Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Then I was struck down with both the most amazing news I had been wishing so hopefully for and the most debilitating morning sickness imaginable. Yes, I am expecting again and by goodness this new addition wanted my whole life to be put on hold whilst he settled into his temporary home for the next forty weeks. I could barely raise an arm out of bed, I couldn’t eat and when I did it was a huge mistake. All I was fit to do was sleep and my whole body felt wretched. Any ounce of energy I could dredge up from the depths went to ferrying Cole around to family, friends and nursery, anyone who could actually look after him whilst I went into complete hibernation and felt like the worst, most pathetic mother alive.

It took about 16 full weeks until I felt reasonably human. With the aid of my lovely husband I only managed to miss about 6 weeks of cake stalls. I had to change markets though to one much closer to home to suit my new exhausted and sickly state of being. Although this actually has turned out to be a great decision despite having to say goodbye to my lovely market at Tottenham Green. I’ve now had about a month of being okay, although of course with the next phase of pregnancy comes other challenges. However, I’m now well, eating healthily again and happy to be baking and preserving for all the festive markets on the horizon. Plus if you were reading with intent earlier in the post you’ll notice that we’re having another boy which fills me with so much excitement. Cole is simply the best little human in the world so to have two of those sounds like a dream. A dream in which the house is filled with double the amount of shouting, troublemaking, carnage, toy cars, fire engines, trains and Paw Patrol paraphernalia and where I am being constantly climbed on, grabbed, poked, pulled and run ragged. Wait, is that a dream or is it something else?

Cranberry Clementine Sauce

So all this is to excuse why my Cranberry Clementine Sauce recipe is coming the morning of Thanksgiving when anyone celebrating this holiday already has their cranberry sauce well and truly sorted. But hey, it’s lucky I live in London as we don’t need our cranberry sauce until Christmas Day so with those timings in mind I am super organised.

I had never been terribly bothered about the inclusion of cranberry sauce at Christmas until I began making my own. The syrupy sweet congealed sauce that is dolloped obligingly out of a jar is light years away from the ruby red zesty rich cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries, a touch of citrus and a whisper of spices.

Homemade Cranberry Clementine Sauce is also one of the easiest ways to take your festive feast to another level. It adds more than just sweetness to your plate as it seems to make everything taste fresher somehow. Since I began making it myself I have become a little obsessed with the stuff and now deem it a non-negotiable accompaniment to most of my meals throughout November and December. This recipe also keeps really well and I load up the fridge with jars so I still have plenty to delve into well into next year.

Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Print Recipe
Cranberry Clementine Sauce
Homemade Cranberry Clementine Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the festive turkey. The bright shiny flavours are enhanced by a touch of spice.
Cranberry Clementine Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
  • 150 ml caster sugar
  • 120 ml water
  • 300 g fresh cranberries
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • zest of 1 clementine
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
  • 150 ml caster sugar
  • 120 ml water
  • 300 g fresh cranberries
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • zest of 1 clementine
Cranberry Clementine Sauce
Instructions
  1. Pour the water and sugar into a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the cranberries and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring well. Once the cranberries are just beginning to break down then remove from the heat and stir in the spices and clementine zest.
  3. Chill the sauce until needed.
Recipe Notes

I find this Cranberry Clementine Sauce keeps for an inordinately long time in the fridge since the sugar syrup preserves the sauce very well. You can easily make this sauce weeks in advance, although there’s no guarantee there’ll be any left for Christmas Day if you do that.

I have also had great success in canning this Cranberry Clementine Sauce via the water bath method to ensure extra longevity. After all, I still want to be eating my cranberry sauce well into June next year.

This recipe was adapted from a cookery class I attended many years ago at Divertimenti Cookery School in London. I have long since lost any details regarding the original writer of this recipe or which cookery class it was exactly I attended. It’s a pretty safe bet it was some sort of a Christmas cookery class though.

Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins {gluten-free}

These Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.

These gluten-free Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.

I know where I am with a good tradition. Little routines and recipes that let my good conscience know that it’s the festive season. I’ve got my trifle, devils on horseback, stockings at the ready and Christmas Spotify playlist on a constant loop. I am thrown a little cock-a-hoop this year with not spending Christmas at home but with babies surrounding us these days and my sister having moved out of London this year, the family is getting bigger and more spread out so I do understand that I can’t hog Christmas anymore. Even if my inner toddler is throwing a mini tanty.

So that makes it even more important in my mind to solidify our own little family traditions where we can and introduce new ones now we have Cole at the centre of the festivities.

Of the three traditions I am welcoming in this year the first is our family advent calendar. Instead of chocolate hiding behind each window I have little cards with activities or special thoughts that I have carefully written for each day in mind. Cole has had great fun picking out the cards and re-arranging them much to mummy’s constant pleasure. So some days have been a little disappointing with empty air filling the windows and some a little overwhelming with Father Christmas to visit, presents to wrap and mince pies to make. I think I got a bit overambitious though with this tradition and might have hidden the advent calendar after the 10th on the realisation of how much work was involved in actually doing what was written on the cards.

These gluten-free Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.

The second tradition is our new memory box which I read all about on Pinterest. It seems a wonderful idea and I can imagine us all gathered around the Christmas tree, sharing anecdotes and cherished moments of this past year. No matter that I haven’t quite got round to buying the beautiful wooden boxes that are associated with this marvellous tradition. Instead we have a bit of scraggy old tupperware that I’m sure will be just as charming to hold our memories in until next year when I’ll order the wooden box by November at the latest.

The third tradition, which is probably the only one to be actualised, are these Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins. I think the title is pretty clear on when I intend to be making these bad boys. I don’t know why I haven’t made them before though as they are absolutely delicious, a cinch to make, without even requiring a food mixer, and best of all use up all the dregs of mincemeat that I always have hanging around my cupboards.

These gluten-free Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.

They are gluten-free, like all my recipes these days, made with a combination of white rice flour and chestnut flour. These Mince Pie Muffins are light and fluffy, but also deliciously moist thanks to the generous amount of apple puree and mincemeat in the batter. I have tried making them with all kinds of mincemeat, with suet, without suet, with nuts and without and they have all been wonderful. I must confess though, my favourite batch was made with my Cranberry and Cointreau Mincemeat which is so lovely fresh and fruity.

Do whizz up the apple puree the night before if you want to make these on Christmas morning as it saves you a boring job when you’d much rather be opening pressies and quaffing back Bucks Fizz, but apart from that they are very simple and I think an excellent new tradition addition.

These gluten-free Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.

These gluten-free Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.
Print Recipe
Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins (gluten-free)
These Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.
These gluten-free Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings
12 muffins
Ingredients
For the streusel topping:
  • 35 g white rice flour
  • 30 g chestnut flour
  • 50 g soft light brown sugar
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 40 g gluten-free porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
For the muffins
  • 200 g mincemeat gluten-free
  • 175 g apple puree about 4-5 apples
  • 120 g soft light brown sugar
  • 80 ml light olive oil not extra virgin
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g white rice flour
  • 50 g chestnut flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings
12 muffins
Ingredients
For the streusel topping:
  • 35 g white rice flour
  • 30 g chestnut flour
  • 50 g soft light brown sugar
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 40 g gluten-free porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
For the muffins
  • 200 g mincemeat gluten-free
  • 175 g apple puree about 4-5 apples
  • 120 g soft light brown sugar
  • 80 ml light olive oil not extra virgin
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g white rice flour
  • 50 g chestnut flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
These gluten-free Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.
Instructions
  1. First line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases and pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Prepare the streusel by placing the flours, sugar, butter, oats and spice in a large mixing bowl and rubbing together between your fingers. The streusel should come together but still be crumbly. Set aside whilst you prepare the muffin batter.
  3. Pour the mincemeat, apple puree, sugar, eggs and olive oil into a large mixing bowl and beat together until combined.
  4. In another mixing bowl sift together the flours, spice, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl, then tip into the liquid batter.
  5. Beat together for a minute or so until everything is well mixed then evenly distribute between the muffin cases.
  6. Crumble the streusel on top of the muffins then bake in the oven for 22-24 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the muffins from the tin and leave on a rack to cool.
Recipe Notes
  • This recipe was very heavily adapted from Alice Medrich’s Banana Muffins in her amazing book ‘Flavor Flours’

Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle {gluten-free}

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.

This year for the first year I am not hosting Christmas. I am not pre-ordering a turkey, stockpiling crackers or heaving the Christmas crockery down from the attic. Instead we are spending Christmas at my sister’s with her partner and my brand new niece. Cole has yet to meet his tiny baby cousin and we just can’t wait to get them together.

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.

It’s going to be a totally different Christmas for me as usually whilst everyone is chilling out with glasses of buck fizz, nibbling on nuts and chocolate and playing pre-lunchtime games, I am in a merry haze in the kitchen juggling brussel sprouts, frantically whisking gravies and wedging the pigs in blankets into an oven bursting at the seams.

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.

My sister has only made two food-related requests of me this year, that I bring the Christmas pudding and The Trifle. I am not taking my duties lightly either as these two dessert options are non-negotiable in our family. Christmas might as well be cancelled if neither are produced at the end of our midday banquet. No matter that none of us are able to manage one more mouthful after the full on turkey feast let alone a bowlful of two incredibly rich desserts. We struggle on nevertheless and more often than not leap in for seconds. There is enough of both desserts to feed twenty families and by December 27th you can usually find me face deep inside the fridge digging out inroads of leftover trifle on a teaspoon (the diet spoon). It is imperative to gather enough sponge, fruit, custard and cream for each bite, the teaspoon makes it a challenge but I assure you it is possible.

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.

Every year I tweak my trifle recipe depending on which fruit I am fancying. But this year for extra fun I have also adapted my trifle recipe to be gluten-free. I created a delicious almond sponge for Cole’s first birthday back in June and this has proved to be the perfect base for the trifle. It is a lovely sturdy sponge which it important as it has to soak up rather a lot of limoncello without dissolving into a pile of sog.

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.

I have also taken inspiration from Nigel Slater’s Lemon Trifle from his Kitchen Diaries cookbook as my love for his recipe knows no bounds. I have mercilessly cribbed the bits I love best from it, namely the use of limoncello as the alcohol soak for the bottom layer of sponge and his idea of a fruit curd for the fruit base. He uses lemon, but here I have used a very easy homemade raspberry curd. Then I copied directly his no-egg lemon custard, which is made from only double cream, caster sugar and lemon juice, to ladle on top of the curd. At this point you leave the trifle to rest overnight and the custard sets like a dream. I usually take the recipe to this stage on Christmas Eve (or even the 23rd if there is room in the fridge to store) and then whip up the double cream for spooning on top of the whole affair just before serving on Christmas Day.

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.

It is a magnificent way to end the most indulgent meal of the year and in our family Christmas would not be the same without it. We also cannot possibly forget the tradition of exclaiming after the first mouthful how much this year’s trifle is the best one ever. There is no way that my Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle will disappoint us.

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.

This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.
Print Recipe
Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle
A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge, drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with a dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish. Serves 10-12
This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
10-12 people
Ingredients
For the almond sponge:
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 120 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 90 g gluten-free plain flour
  • 90 g ground almonds
  • ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons limoncello
For the raspberry curd:
  • 150 g raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry powder optional – see notes
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 55 g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
For the lemon custard:
  • 500 ml double cream
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml lemon juice from about 3 lemons
For the topping:
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 20 g flaked almonds
  • 75 g raspberries
Equipment
  • 20 cm round trifle bowl
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
10-12 people
Ingredients
For the almond sponge:
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 120 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 90 g gluten-free plain flour
  • 90 g ground almonds
  • ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons limoncello
For the raspberry curd:
  • 150 g raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry powder optional – see notes
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 55 g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
For the lemon custard:
  • 500 ml double cream
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml lemon juice from about 3 lemons
For the topping:
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 20 g flaked almonds
  • 75 g raspberries
Equipment
  • 20 cm round trifle bowl
This Lemon, Almond and Raspberry Trifle is a perfectly special way to end your winter feast. A gluten-free lemon and almond sponge is drizzled with limoncello, cosseted by a thick blanket of raspberry curd and topped with dreamy lemon custard and clouds of double cream. A crunch of toasted almonds and fresh raspberries are scattered to finish.
Instructions
To make the almond sponge
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and line and grease a 7 inch square cake tin.
  2. Beat the sugars with the butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions.
  4. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt then beat into the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the tin and then place in the oven
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about four hours.
  8. Once cool, cut circles out of the sponge which are easier to assemble into the bottom of the trifle bowl. When your sponge is in place then spoon over the limoncello.
To make the raspberry curd
  1. Heat the raspberries in a medium saucepan with a small splash of water until the raspberries have completely softened. Strain, keeping the juice for the curd.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine the strained raspberry juice, raspberry powder, lemon juice, caster sugar and butter and whisk them together whilst bringing to a low boil.
  3. Remove from the heat then pour a splash of the raspberry into the beaten eggs and whisk well, pour a little bit more of the raspberry in and continue whisking, then continue pouring the raspberry liquid into the eggs in a slow stream until combined.
  4. Pour it all back into the saucepan and bring to a boil, still whisking all the time, then continue whisking for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain so the curd is very smooth.
  6. Place the curd in the fridge for an hour to cool.
  7. Once the curd has cooled then spoon over the limoncello soaked sponge in an even layer.
To make the lemon custard
  1. Pour the double cream and the sugar into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, allowing to simmer for a couple of minutes.
  2. Remove the cream from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  3. Pour the lemon custard over the raspberry curd and place in the fridge, this time to rest overnight so the custard can set.
The final layer:
  1. Whip the double cream until thick then spoon over the top of the trifle. Decorate with toasted almonds and fresh raspberries.
Recipe Notes
  • The raspberry powder is completely optional. It does amp up the raspberry taste but the main reason for using is to improve the colour otherwise the curd can look a little grey.

Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart {gluten-free}

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

The holiday baking starts here. I hadn’t meant to leave it over two weeks in between posts but I have been working on the market stall every weekend for the past few weeks, doing winter fairs and my usual spot at Tottenham Green Market and it’s left little room for anything else. It’s been the best ever season for my stall which I finally transitioned to be 100% gluten-free in October and I have had a brilliant response from it. I am still working on tweaking the recipe for a few of my more popular wheat cakes to taste just as good in their gluten-free form so any spare half hour I have I am flinging cakes in the oven. There is a lot of half eaten cake in our house at the moment.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I hadn’t even really thought how turning my stall gluten-free would affect my preserves and it was only when looking at my ingredients list that I noticed cheeky gluten hiding in a few of my recipes. The ale in my Boxing Day Ale Chutney has now been swapped for a gluten-free variety, the flour in my Piccalilli has been substituted for cornflour and tapioca starch but doom fell upon my kitchen during the curse-laden end of my Traditional Mincemeat prep. I was ding donging merrily on high along with spotify, happily pouring in boxes of suet to all the other ingredients, when what to my wandering eyes should appear but a treacherous coating of flour on each individual strand of suet. It was way too late by then to salvage the situation so instead of tossing the lot which I couldn’t bring myself to do I now have one thing on my stall that isn’t gluten-free. I still have a lot of love for it despite its tainted status as it’s a pretty fantastic mincemeat, made with real beef along with the suet. Not a veggie fantasy. I am also soothed by the fact that my Cranberry and Cointreau Mincemeat is naturally gluten-free so ingredient intolerant customers do not have to go without.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

One of my favourite preserves at this time of year though is the ubiquitous cranberry sauce and once you have tried a homemade version you will be convinced, like me, to eat it all year round. I make loads of jars of it at the end of November when the supermarkets just begin to stock up and from then on I am pretty much game to serve cranberry sauce with anything. This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart though is where the cranberry sauce really shines. It pairs so well with the stilton and chestnut that you really don’t need to look any further if you are wondering what to do with the rest of your jar after the turkey has been eaten.

My mum, who hates stilton, took an extra slice home with her after visiting this weekend. Luke, who always claims he hates quichey things, was thrilled when I made the tart two days running for supper. Cole though made it clear that he preferred the tart when he was eating it from our plates rather than his, so you might want to take his feedback into consideration when serving it out. Also, if you eat the tart straight out of the oven then you get that melty cheese factor which is so good. By letting it rest out of the oven for a couple of hours the tart will firm up so it’s a bit more stable if you like it that way or if you need to transport it anywhere.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I have wanted to experiment with gluten-free pastry for a while now but had heard so many crumbly, dry or soggy horror stories that I have been putting it off. However, my happy experiences with the recipes in Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s Alternative Baker encouraged me to give her pastry a go as well. I changed things a little as I wanted to make a savoury tart rather than a sweet tart but I mostly followed her instruction for her buckwheat flaky pastry and I have to say that the pastry tasted great on the very first go. Both the texture with the flaky snap of the tart case, and the buttery taste which is made more complex by the variety of flours, including one of my faves, buckwheat, has left me thoroughly satisfied that this can be my new go-to pastry.

I have since made this tart a few times and except for an extra two minutes to sift the different flours together, this pastry comes together just as quickly as my normal wheat flour version. In fact quicker as you don’t need to work the pastry as much or bother with chilling it every time you go near it as the gluten doesn’t need to rest.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I am really enjoying my gluten-free experiments these days, it is forcing me to try new things and think about my ingredients in a different way rather than relying on the dominance of wheat flour. It makes every little success in the kitchen that bit more rewarding as careful thought has been put into every ingredient. I know I am opening up my recipes to a wider audience and it doesn’t hurt that I can now eat everything on my stall, give or take a mincemeat.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Print Recipe
Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
For the pastry:
  • 80 g sweet white rice flour
  • 25 g oat flour
  • 45 g buckwheat flour
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 15 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g ground chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g cold unsalted butter cut into very thin slices
  • 1 egg medium, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons iced water
  • A few tablespoons of a gluten-free flour blend for rolling
  • 1 egg beaten for the egg wash
For the filling:
  • 15 g salted butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 400 ml crème fraiche
  • 175 g Stilton crumbled
  • 100 g vacuum packed chestnuts roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 75 g cranberry sauce
Equipment:
  • 25 cm round tart tin
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
For the pastry:
  • 80 g sweet white rice flour
  • 25 g oat flour
  • 45 g buckwheat flour
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 15 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g ground chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g cold unsalted butter cut into very thin slices
  • 1 egg medium, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons iced water
  • A few tablespoons of a gluten-free flour blend for rolling
  • 1 egg beaten for the egg wash
For the filling:
  • 15 g salted butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 400 ml crème fraiche
  • 175 g Stilton crumbled
  • 100 g vacuum packed chestnuts roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 75 g cranberry sauce
Equipment:
  • 25 cm round tart tin
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Instructions
To make the pastry
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, chia seeds and salt.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour in between your fingertips so it resembles very rough breadcrumbs then stir in the beaten egg with a fork.
  3. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and start to bring the dough together with a pastry scraper. It should start to form quite quickly.
  4. Tip the dough onto the work surface and bring the ball into a round ball. You want the pastry to still be a little sticky.
  5. Wrap the pastry in greaseproof paper and flatten the ball slightly.
  6. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  8. Dust the work surface with a gluten-free flour blend then roll the pastry out into a circle large enough to line a 25cm tart tin.
  9. Once you have lined the pastry in the tin and neatened the edges with a knife, place greaseproof paper over the pastry, so it comes up the sides, then fill the tin with baking beans.
  10. Place the tart tin in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven then remove the baking beans and parchment and brush the surface of the pastry with the beaten egg.
  11. Place back in the oven for a final five minutes to seal the pastry. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before adding the filling.
To make the filling
  1. First prepare the onions by adding them into a saucepan along with the salted butter. Cook on a low heat for 25-30 minutes until the onions are completely soft, translucent and just beginning to caramelise around the edges. Leave to cool for half an hour before adding to the other ingredients.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and crème fraiche together, then add the stilton, chestnuts, caramelised onions, salt and pepper. Do reserve some of the stilton and chestnuts for crumbling onto the top.
  4. Pour the filling into the ready-baked pastry case and then dot the remaining stilton, chestnuts and cranberry sauce on top.
  5. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. You can either eat the tart straightaway hot from the oven or leave to come to room temperature where the tart will firm up a little more.

Piccalilli

Piccalilli is the perfect preserve for your festive table. Bite-sized pieces of Autumn vegetables fragrant with curry spices which is excellent with any kind of cheese or cold cut.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

There was one word with which people always used to describe me; my school teachers, my work colleagues, my family, friends, strangers on the bus, the butcher, the baker, the weirdo on the corner. All of them would mutter a singular word in my direction as I floated past, filofax in one hand, iphone in the other. Organised.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

I never really took kindly to that word, as surely it’s just another way of saying god she’s boring, always making those lists and getting things done. What a teacher’s pet. Boo, let’s all go off down the pub and leave her at home. Ha ha, what a loser.

I would also get the bum job of booking our holidays. This meant researching the itinerary, making a powerpoint with appropriately fun fonts to share with the world on a domain specifically bought for the purpose, taking all the photos on the trip then sorting them into the photobook on our return complete with on point bon mots, then printing them out for Christmas presents, sourcing personalised wrapping paper for every recipient and ribbons to match; finally making sure everything was couriered off a week before to ensure a proper punctual Christmas.

Ah, the good life. The me I knew and loved and now have lost. As then came baby.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

My house keys are currently misplaced. For the third time in the past month. No doubt I will find them in a shoe or the blender in a week or two. I have forgotten numerous vet appointments (sorry Billy Buddy), play dates (sorry Cole). I have been to weddings and sent thank you cards three months after the fact, if at all (sorry all of this year’s newlyweds). I have a multitude of blog posts half finished, mostly for recipes that are now irrelevant with the changing seasons. I haven’t been out for dinner in about four months as I can’t be bothered to find a babysitter and I’m now just about to cancel our anniversary holiday at the end of the month as I haven’t got around to booking the hotel as quite frankly it sounds more hassle than it’s worth. Just the thought of another wrestling match with the travel cot from hell is enough to make me shudder.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

There is one job though that I have forced myself to do, and blimey if I haven’t gone and completed it with weeks to spare. And that is my Piccalilli. To be fair, I had to finish it really as I’m planning on selling it at the Christmas fairs I am attending later this month and empty jars just don’t sell as well.

My Piccalilli is so important to make as it is the most popular preserve on my stall. Without fail it is the first to sell out but I have to make sure I keep a couple of jars back for my family each year, otherwise there will be cheese knives at dawn on Boxing Day if there is no Piccalilli to enjoy with the cold cuts.

For years I would make it just for us, sometimes along with another chutney or jam but the Piccalilli was the break out star and soon became the number one preserve that was clamoured for and I pretty much set my whole preserve stall up around it.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

Now is the best time to make it as although you can eat it freshly bottled and has a lovely bright taste if you do, if you allow the Piccalilli to rest for a few weeks, the vinegar has a chance to mellow and the spices are given room to breathe and really envelop the vegetables.

The only real labour of making a Piccalilli is the chopping of the vegetables which I like to be bite-sized so they can nestle happily in a sandwich or on a cracker without weighing it all down. The vegetables should then be brined overnight which helps them retain their crunch. Then all that’s left to do the next day is to quickly poach them in vinegar and sugar before adding them into your delicately spiced curry dressing. I stick to the traditional vegetables of cauliflower, green beans, cucumber and onions. Although by using romescu and purple cauliflower the Piccalilli is given wonderful texture and a beautiful rich colour.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

If you are thinking of making homemade gifts this year then I don’t think you can ever go wrong with chutneys and pickles, at least that’s what I say whenever I hand a festively wrapped jar over to an unsuspecting recipient. They always give a good show of being appreciative and that’s the main thing. Plus I think if I can pull myself together enough to knock up a few jars then it gives me hope that one day I can be that organised loser so beloved once more.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.
Print Recipe
Piccalilli
Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.
Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
10x 300ml jars
Ingredients
  • 1 white cauliflower
  • 1 purple cauliflower
  • 1 romescu cauliflower
  • 800 g small onions
  • 700 g green beans
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 3 red chillies sliced
  • 100 g salt
  • 1500 g malt vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoons ground allspice
  • 525 g granulated sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 50 g tapioca flour
  • 50 g cornflour
  • teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder I used a Jamaican curry powder blend but any will do
  • 3 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
10x 300ml jars
Ingredients
  • 1 white cauliflower
  • 1 purple cauliflower
  • 1 romescu cauliflower
  • 800 g small onions
  • 700 g green beans
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 3 red chillies sliced
  • 100 g salt
  • 1500 g malt vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoons ground allspice
  • 525 g granulated sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 50 g tapioca flour
  • 50 g cornflour
  • teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder I used a Jamaican curry powder blend but any will do
  • 3 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.
Instructions
  1. Cut the cauliflowers, onions, green beans and cucumbers into bite-sized pieces then place in a large bowl, along with the chillies and sprinkle with the salt. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day drain the vegetables and rinse with cold water to remove the excess salt.
  3. Place the vegetables in a large preserving pan with the malt vinegar, nutmeg, allspice and sugar. Crush the garlic with the salt and add that in too. Bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat then remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon leaving the liquid behind. Pour the liquid into a separate jug and set aside for a moment.
  5. Sift together the tapioca flour, cornflour, turmeric, ginger, curry powder, mustard powder and pepper. Add 200ml of the reserved liquid and blend together to make a smooth paste.
  6. Pour the paste into the preserving pan and with the heat on very low, slowly pour the rest of the reserved liquid into the paste, whisking all the while.
  7. Bring to the boil, then cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  8. Add the vegetables back into the sauce, stirring to coat thoroughly. Turn off the heat.
  9. Decant into sterilised jars and store in a cool dark place until needed.