How do I make Refrigerator Cake?

refridgerator cakeRefrigerator cake is a sneaky cake if ever there was one.  Everybody’s recipe is different and changing a single ingredient can send people spiralling off into tirades, completely incensed that you might suggest an alternative! Some call it refrigerator cake, some call it tiffin, some call it rocky road.  They are all made on the same premise and I cannot work out the difference between them.  Whatever you call it, it’s very popular and decadently delicious.  Kate and Wills had it for a wedding cake – who needs a higher accolade?

The recipe I am sharing with you includes one of my favourite flavours, ginger.  Mixed with the honeycomb of the Crunchie bars and the gooey marshmallows, this is my absolutely favourite version of this very moorish cake.  I’ll be interested to hear what yours are.

crunchie barsIngredients
  • 450g milk chocolate
  • 150g ginger biscuits, broken up haphazardly
  • 100g small marshmallows
  • 2 x 40g Crunchie bars, cut into 1cm chunks

How to make it

Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment.

Place the milk chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly. Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and allow the chocolate to cool to just above room temperature, otherwise it will melt the marshmallows.

Stir in the other ingredients and press into the prepared tin. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or until set, then cut into squares and serve!

 ginger refridgerator cake


The Mads Blog Awards 2013

badge2Yes, it is shameless pleading to your better nature, but I am asking for you to consider nominating me for the Mads Blog Awards.  What Would Nigella Do?  may not be the most polished or cheffy of food blogs, but I hope it is honest and, well, normal!  So, I would be very excited to see it on the list of nominees for Best Food Blog.

I can tell you’re keen….so

Copy my url

Click the picture here or on the sidebar 

Follow the instructions and enter my url under Best Food Blog.

Of course, if you are really feeling generous I would love my other blog to be nominated for Best Blog Writer and Mad Blog of the Year.  But only if you think it worthy.

Sod that, do it anyway!

A bloggy friend said I should offer mini lemon drizzle cakes as bribery thank yous.  Always a possibility and I have just bought some lovely Wilton mini loaf tins which need trying out…..

How do I make…..Eggs Benedict?

This is a classic recipe and perfect for brunch.  If you are vegetarian, there is Eggs Florentine which is just as delicious.

The two scary parts are poaching the eggs and making the hollandaise sauce.  But fear not, I am now a dab hand at this and can help you out!

Eggs Benedict is basically a toasted muffin with bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.  Now, there are many variables out there, but I am going to give you my basic recipe and leave it to you to spruce up as you see fit.

Eggs BenedictHow to do it

1. Toast your muffin and leave in toaster to reheat at the last moment.

2. Fry 3 strips of streaky bacon however you like it (I always err on the crispy side myself).  Then wrap them in foil and pop in a very low oven to keep warm.

3. Bring a small frying pan of water to the boil and add a tablespoon of vinegar.  Reduce to a healthy simmer.  Then, break an egg into a small glass or cup and gently ease into the simmering water but do so at the edge of the pan and with a wooden spoon to catch it.  What you are trying to do is form a pocket with the pan and spoon for the egg to slip into.  Keep the spoon there for about 5s then gently take it away.  This should stop the egg from spreading everywhere and give you a nice blobby egg.  Doesn’t always work and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, but with practice this works 9 times out of 10 for me.  Simmer for exactly 2 minutes then carefully lift the egg with a slotted spoon and drain away the water.

4. I use the whisk on my kitchenaid to make the hollandaise, but if you don’t have one you can use any other whisky thing to do it.  Separate 2 large eggs and season the yolks with salt and pepper.  Discard the whites. Whisk the yolks for about 1 minute.  Heat 1 dsp lemon juice and 1 dsp vinegar (pref white wine vinegar) in a small pan and when starting to bubble (happens quickly, so keep an eye on it) add to the eggs yolks whilst whisking, then switch off.

Use the same pan to melt 110g butter over a very gentle heat.  When foaming, remove from heat, turn on the whisk again and gently pour the butter into the egg mixture.  The slower you add it the better.  Hey presto!  Hollandaise sauce!  (This makes enough for four people)

5. Now, the timing to get all this ready at the same time is tricky and little bit stressful!  I put the poached eggs water on to boil then start the hollandaise.  Then, before I add the butter to the sauce, I put the eggs into poach.  This allows the sauce and eggs to finish at roughly the same time so you can pop the muffins down to reheat, get the prepared bacon from the oven then construct your Eggs Benedict – muffin, bacon, egg, sauce and a grind of pepper on the top.  Absolutely delicious and don’t bother thinking about the calorific value, it’s just too depressing.  Eat and enjoy!


To make Eggs Florentine you replace the bacon with wilted spinach.  Equally scrumptious.

This does take a little practice with timings etc, and the hollandaise is not done in the conventional way BUT it works and really is quite simple to do.  Just prepare first – get everything ready and do the toasting/frying ahead of time as you will be rushing around like the proverbial blue-a**ed fly at the end.  But those you feed will love you forever.

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!

A Gingerbread Gift

Gingerbread GiftI saw this in the Waitrose Weekend paper and thought I would a) make it for my child’s teacher and b) share it with you.  It is so difficult to find nice gifts that don’t cost an arm and a leg and this really appealed to me.  I would love to receive it and because it is, in effect, home-made I think it makes it a thoughtful present as well as a delicious one.

I bought this jar from Fenwicks – it is airtight with the ribbon and wooden heart attached, but you could easily decorate your own.  But at £4.50, I thought it was good value.  I tied on the Christmas cutter and filled the jar with the gingerbread mix (recipe below).  Then, on a festive tag, I wrote the instructions.  I think it looks really pretty.

So, what’s in the mix?  You will need 375g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarb of soda, 2 tsp ground ginger and 90g light, soft brown sugar.  Just combine until evenly mixed and pop it in the jar!

On the label you will need to write:


1 quantity of gingerbread mix

125g chopped, unsalted butter

230g golden syrup

80g sifted icing sugar

To make:

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Pu gingerbread mix, butter and syrup into a food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth dough.  

Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of baking parchment until 0.5cm thick.  Cut into shapes and place on lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 mins until golden.  Allow to cool.

Mix 80g icing sugar with 2tsp hot water and mix until smooth.  Decorate the biscuits as you wish.  Enjoy!



Hootycreek Cookies

hootycreek cookiesThese scrummy little cookies are SO moorish, you’ll have to be careful not to scoff them all in one sitting.  The cranberries give them a festive flavour and they are perfect to offer to family, friends and hungry carol singers.  Honestly, I can’t effervesce enough about how nice they are – what they lack in the looks department, they certainly make up for in taste.

I made these for the kids’ Christmas Fair and left out the pecans (no nuts!) but I think they are better with.  Still, very nice either way!

To make:

Preheat oven to 180º (160 fan)

In a bowl, mix 150g plain flour, ½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt and 75g rolled oats (you can use porridge oats if you must but NOT the instant kind).  Put to one side.

Using a mixer or a lot of elbow grease, cream together 125g soft, unsalted butter, 100g caster sugar and 75g soft dark brown sugar.  Then beat in 1 large egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract.  Add the floury mixture and mix then carefully fold in 150g white chocolate chips, 80g dried cranberries and 50g roughly chopped pecans.

Now things get sticky!  Roll the mixture into ping pong ball size dollops, pop on a lined baking tray and flatten down the tops a little with a fork.  If the fork sticks, just dip it in water and keep going.

Bake for 12-15 mins until starting to turn golden around the edges.

If you are a regular reader you’ll guess what I do to festive them up a bit….edible glitter!  I’ll take any chance to sparkle things up a bit.

Biscuit anyone?

I had to share with you this marvellous biscuit jar I spotted in John Lewis this week.  Every now and then I allow myself a visit to John Lewis Home where I wander about ooh-ing and ah-ing until I reach the kitchen department, where I grind to a halt.  Just so many lovely things to look at/fiddle with/take out of the box and then not be able to get back in.

I couldn’t resist buying this jar.  Standing proudly on my kitchen shelf, biscuits tumbled within, it looks fab.  And it’s large enough to house a batch of home-made cookies too.  I don’t know about you, but when I make biscuits at home we eat a fair few then they are stored away in an airtight tin and rediscovered a couple of weeks later looking a bit sheepish at the bottom. This proudly displays your wares and akin to the bottle in Alice in Wonderland the biccies whisper as you go past….’Eat me!’.  And I do.

John Lewis, £15.00.  Marvellous.