You Gotta Roll With It….

joseph joseph rolling pin set

I am a fan of Joseph Joseph stuff – I love the colours, quality and the practicality of it all.  So imagine my delight, when recently I was sent a Joseph Joseph gift set to review with a much coveted rolling-pin in its contents.  I know.  Most people set their hearts on a Tiffany necklaces or an iPad mini….not me, I have my covetous eyes lurking over rolling pins and kitchen gadgetry.

Anyway, the very nice people at Amara Living sent me the gift set, worth £40, to try out.  Can I just say, that for forty quid I think it’s a really nice pressie for someone…it comes beautifully presented with rolling-pin, silicone brush, spatula and timer.  I might get one for a wedding coming up this year…

joseph joseph adjustable rolling pin

…I digress.  What makes this particular rolling-pin a ‘must-have’ is the fact that it is adjustable.  It has three discs either end that you can easily take on and off and in doing so you can choose the thickness of whatever you are rolling.  I wish I’d had it at Christmas when I was rolling out my dough for my gingerbread tree.  There I was, ruler in hand, trying to ascertain whether it was 5mm think or not, but with this roller, I just pop on the 5mm discs and roll away!

baking-gift-set-multihome made biscuits

I have used it to make all sorts of biscuits and yesterday I made a rather delicious apple pie, with a perfectly even crust!



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Following a bit of twittering with the lovely Mat from Bakestore, he volunteered to send me a 12-hole brownie pan and asked me to come up with a brownie/Easter type idea. The pan is a brilliant thing.  It is of fantastic quality and is non-stick. It makes the perfect size brownies and they come out beautifully formed and ready to serve.  I also plan to use it with other traybake recipes, especially when I am sending in kids cakes to school for birthdays. I find traybakes much less hassle than cupcakes for such occasions, and this will thwart the need to cut it all up and try to make it look pretty.

easter teacher gift idea

Anyway, back to the brownies.  Having pondered recreating Jesus’ tomb out of stacked brownies, I had a much better idea. Lemon brownies. I really should be calling these ‘yellowies’ but it doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it?

Now, I am a sucker for all things lemon. Not literally *winces* BUT it is absolutely my favourite flavour for pudding or cake. It is also the lovely sunny colour we associate with Easter. Add a few of those bizarre little chicks (which I have a great fondness for) and a generous helping of mini-eggs and I reckon you have yourself a gorgeous pudding for Easter lunch. Who am I kidding? I am going to be scoffing them at every opportunity over the Easter hols and, as you will see, they package up rather nicely as a gift for friends, family or teachers. Much prettier than a box of Creme eggs and some hastily picked daffs.

I tried a few recipes and in the end, fell back on my lemon drizzle cake recipe for the sponge.  Then, for the icing, I mixed 200g sifted icing sugar with the juice of one lemon and a couple of drops of lemon colouring.  Gently spread the icing on top of the cool sponges and hastily scatter with springtime sprinkles before the icing dries.

easter lemon brownies

Now, if all this leaves you thinking ‘But I want CHOCOLATE!’ then fear not.  I have a chocolate brownie recipe for you too.  All that Lentian abstinence can be rewarded with a few of these on Easter Day.


    • 100g unsalted butter, cubed
    • 200g milk chocolate
    • 4 medium eggs
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 100g plain flour
    • 1tsp baking powder
    • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder

Grease and lightly flour your brownie tin (I am using an individual brownie tin from Bakestore)
Preheat oven to 180°C (160° fan)

  1. In a bowl over a simmering pan of water, melt the chocolate and butter and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Then, using the paddle attachment on your blender or hand-held whisk, mix the sugar and eggs together until pale and thick.
  3. Next, carefully fold the chocolate mixture into the whisked sugar and eggs.
  4. Sieve the flour. baking powder and cocoa powder into the mixture and carefully fold in.
  5. Put a generous tablespoonful of the mixture into each hole in the pan.  They should be about half-full.
  6. Bake for 10-12 mins until crusted on the top but gooey in the middle.
  7. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins before removing to wire rack.  Dust with icing sugar and serve whilst warm!

Makes 24


Don’t forget if you enter code ‘nigella’ at checkout you can get 10% and free delivery at Bakestore!


How to Cook the Perfect Christmas Dinner

How to cook the perfect Christmas Dinner – a few tips

It’s one of the most important meals of the year – one you don’t want to get wrong. The pressure on your shoulders to deliver a brilliant meal is huge!

But never fear, you are not alone. Far from it.

If you’re freaking out about festive food, or want a stress-free schedule, here’s a few top tips from the range cooker provider Leisure Cooker.

A few days before…

Before the Christmas period it makes sense to go through your fridge and clear it out of all the food approaching its use by dates to free up a bit of space. Stock up on all the essentials you are going to need to see you through – from sauces and soft drinks, to wine, beer and nibbles.

Christmas Eve

Right, you’re 24 hours from the Big Day – and now’s the time to get prepared…

Wash and peel all your vegetables. Potatoes can be stored in a saucepan of salted water, while carrots and sprouts can be peeled and left wrapped up in the fridge overnight.

For bread sauce, cut all the crusts off as many slices as needed and leave them covered until Christmas morning.

You may need to defrost your turkey at this point – so go by the golden rule of 10-12 hours per kg if in a fridge, 3-4 hours per kg if at room temperature. You also need to plan the time you will be sticking it in the oven. According to the Food Standards Agency, a turkey weighing 4.5kg or under will take around 3 hours at 180 degrees.

Christmas Day

It’s the Big Day! Time for all that preparation to pay off!

Now you know what time you need to put the bird in the oven (say midday?, ready for 3pm) here’s a guide.

6 hours before (9am) – Take the turkey out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature

5 hours before (10am) – Time to make the stuffing

4.5 hours before (10:30) – Preheat your oven

4 hours to go (11am) – Season the turkey, stuff it and fasten it

3.5 hours to go (11:30) – Lay the table and get all the bits and bobs ready for serving up

3 hours to go (12pm) – Stick it in the oven and warm the water in saucepans ready for boiling

2.5 hours to go (12:30pm) – Take the potatoes and part boil for 10 minutes, shake them up to get them fluffy and put them on the roasting tin with your turkey

2 hours to go (1pm) – Open up red wine and let it breathe, put out the nibbles and things

1 hour to go (2pm) – Roast the bacon-wrapped-chipolatas on a separate tray. Check the turkey’s not overcooking and pierce the skin to crisp it up.

30 minutes to go (2:30pm) – Remove the turkey from the oven and check it’s cooked. It may need a bit more time depending on its weight. If satisfied, cover with foil and let it stand.

20 minutes to go – Get the veg on!

15 minutes to go – Make the gravy, and pour yourself a glass of wine – you deserve it.

Good luck, Happy Cooking and Happy Christmas!

Christmas Gingerbread Tree

gingerbread christmas tree

The lovely people at Bakestore sent me some cookie cutters to try out. Or so I thought….what they actually sent was a full on tree kit. How to make a tree out of gingerbread stars. Momentarily I thought they had seriously over-estimated my baking skills. Then I saw the rice krispie treetree for sale in M&S for £18!! And theirs is barely decorated, so I thought ‘Hang on just a minute. It’s lots of biscuits piled up in a stack. Surely I can do that? My decorating skills are ok, I can bake biscuits, my icing isn’t too bad..’.  So I gave it a go!

I used the Biscuiteer recipe for treacle spice biscuits (or treacley gingerbread to you and me).  I trust Biscuiteer wholeheartedly as will any of you who have ever had the pleasure of diving in to a tin of their biscuits.  See below for recipe.

The Christmas Tree kit did include some other recipes as well as tips for icing, decorating etc.  Not all the recipes were gingerbread.  One idea (see pic) was for a rice krispie cake tree.  I might try that one as well.  Also in the kit were all the cookie cutters and good quality icing bags and nozzles.  The kit is made by Wilton, so I would expect good quality anyway.

In total I made four batches of gingerbread.  At first I thought you would need one of each size biscuit, but a bit of basic maths told me that some sizes would need to be doubled or tripled even to get a decent height in the tree.  Although it is a bit of a faff making these type of shaped biscuits (a lot of putting it back in the fridge to harden up) the recipe is pretty easy and they do turn out well.  I made 18 biscuits in total and stacked them by placing a blob of royal icing in the centre of the board and then each biscuit to ‘glue’ them in place.  Do keep peeping at the overhead view too, else you’ll end up with the leaning tower of Christmas!

gingerbread christmas tree

Once stacked and (sort of) straight, I hummed and hawed about how to decorate it.  I went for the easier option of dusting it with icing sugar so it ‘snowed’ over the tree and then adding a blob of white royal icing to each corner as snowdrifts.  Then I popped a silver ball on each and decorated the top with the smallest star, iced.  To finish it off I sprinkled it with edible glitter so it was like a little bit of winter wonderland in my kitchen.  For the photos I resisted the urge to add a robin and plastic deer for a bit of kitsch but I’m sure they’ll be adorning it very soon.

I think it looks pretty impressive and as you now I am not a highly skilled cook, so this is very do-able for anyone, including the kids.  A lovely Christmassy activity with the kiddiwinkles on those cold, festive afternoons and one to wow the relatives with.  Aunty Marge will see you in a whole new light!

To get a Christmas Tree kit click here to visit the Bakestore website.  They have such gorgeous stuff that I bet you’ll see a few more must-haves while you’re there!  And they are based just up the road from me, so I wholeheartedly support my local business AND if you enter the code ‘Nigella’ you get 10% off your order!  Yes, dear reader, that’s me with my very own discount code.  Check. me. out.

Happy cooking (and eating!)


Treacle Spice Biscuits Recipe


200g plain flour

½tsp baking powdergingerbread christmas tree

½tsp ground ginger

½tsp cinnamon

½tsp mixed spice

50g muscovado dark brown sugar

100g salted butter, diced

50g black treacle

Sift and mix the flour, baking powder, spices and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter.  Either rub in with your fingertips or use the paddle on a mixer to combine until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add the treacle and bring it all together until it is of an even colour with not too many streaks of treacle.

Line a table top with baking parchment and place the dough on, squashing it into a flat disc.  Place another piece of parchment on top and roll out to 5mm thick.  Put in fridge to chill for ½ hour and pre-heat oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan).

When chilled, cut out biscuits and place on lined baking tray.  You can keep the cuttings to be re-rolled.  Bake for 14-18 minutes – the biscuits will turn a darker colour (even these already dark treacley ones) but be careful not to burn them!

Transfer to wire rack to cool but do this VERY carefully as they are fragile and will break easily.  Totally cool before storing in airtight tin (for up to a week) or assembling tree.

Emma Bridgewater

One of my many passions that link in with food is my love of Emma Bridgewater pottery. From the very first spotty mug I treated myself to as a new teacher to my starry teapot that sits proudly on my kitchen shelf – everything seems to taste better when served on/in nice pottery. It’s hard to choose which design is my favourite….I have an awful lot of spots and stars but I also can’t resist the specialist pieces like my diamond jubilee mug. I was in a cookery shop in Tunbridge Wells the other day that stocks Emma Bridgewater and I was slathering over the vast array of goodies…in particular the mixing bowls, which I am persuading myself I NEED desperately if I am to make decent cakes…

emma bridgewater mixing bowl

I have an ever-growing collection and it makes me very easy to buy for! And the personalised pieces make gorgeous presents. If the pottery is a little out of your price range (but you do get what you pay for – quality and beauty without!) there are melamine and tins ranges too. And linens. And stationery. Even iPhone cases! I could go on….and they do a cracking sale!

Go see for yourself. Grab a cuppa, click here and prepare to drool….

emma bridgewater pottery
Just some of my collection…..