Chestnut and Cranberry Stuffing Roll


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Bramley apples , approx 140/5oz each, peeled
3 x 450g packs good-quality pork sausage
2 x 200g packs vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
small bunch parsley, leaves roughly chopped
small bunch sage, leaves roughly chopped
small bunch thyme, leaves stripped
1 egg
100g white breadcrumbs
175g fresh or frozen cranberries
24 rashers streaky bacon
butter , for greasing


1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then gently fry the onion for 5 mins until softened. Finely chop the apples either by hand or in a food processor.

2. Squeeze the sausagemeat from the sausages into a large bowl, then add all the other ingredients, except the cranberries and streaky bacon. Season generously, then get your hands in and mix well. Weigh out 450g of the stuffing and mix a handful of the cranberries into it. Use to stuff the neck of the turkey.

3. To assemble, butter and season a large sheet of foil. Stretch out the bacon rashers slightly with the back of a kitchen knife, then overlap 12 rashers on the foil. Spoon half of the stuffing mix evenly over the bacon, leaving a border of about 3cm. Scatter with half the cranberries, then pat them in. Tuck the long edges of the bacon over the stuffing; then, using the foil to help, roll the stuffing up into a log shape. Repeat to make a second roll.

4. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Put the foil-wrapped rolls onto a roasting tin and roast for 45 mins. Unwrap, draining off any juice, then finish roasting for 15 mins until the bacon is crisp.

Get ahead
The rolls can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and kept, raw, in the fridge, or frozen for up to 1 month. Roast up to 1 day ahead if you wish, then reheat, wrapped in foil, for 30 mins while the turkey rests and your vegetables finish cooking.

I made this an it was a hit at both the Christmas Dinner table and also at my Christmas Buffet!! I did have problems getting the roll to stay together (it unrolled) which is why I have borrowed a photo of it. It still tasted great though!!

Hey! I'd love to know if people are using my recipes!! If you are leave a wee comment on the recipes post! Also, why not head back and let me know how you got on!!?

White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake

For the biscuit base
75g digestive biscuits, crushed
75g gingernut biscuits, crushed
75g butter, melted
For the filling
400-600g white chocolate, broken into pieces
65g butter
1/2 vanilla pod
500g cream cheese
50g caster sugar
180ml whipping cream
1 punnet raspberries plus a few more to decorate


1. For the biscuit base: combine the biscuits and butter and press onto the base of a 23cm springform tin.

2. For the filling: place the chocolate, butter and vanilla pod in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water until melted. Allow to cool slightly.

3. In another bowl mix together the cream cheese, sugar and whipping cream to a smooth consistency.

4. Remove the vanilla pod from the melted chocolate mixture and stir into the cream mixture. Gently stir in the raspberries, being careful not to release the juice.

5. Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base and place in the fridge to set for 8-24 hours.

6. To serve: remove from the tin and place on a serving plate. Decorate with a few whole raspberries.

Serves: 6
Prep: 20 min, plus 8-24 hrs chilling

This is an awesome cheesecake!! It was so simple to make and people were queuing for seconds!! Its was a great addition to my Christmas Buffet table!!!
Hey! I'd love to know if people are using my recipes!! If you are leave a wee comment on the recipes post! Also, why not head back and let me know how you got on!!?

Beginners Guide to Equipment - Cooking

Once you have prepared your culinary Masterpiece you are going to need to cook it, now what dish depends on the Dish! Obviously things like cakes will need baking tins, muffins and cup cakes their appropriate trays and pies and puddings deeper ceramic dishes. Take a look at the basics below and decide what you will need...

Baking Trays
Baking tray come in all shapes and sizes, I would recommend buying two as they come in handy not only for baking cookies and biscuits but also standing dishes upon to make it easier to put them in and out of the oven.

Baking Tin
Baking tins come in a HUGE arrange of sizes and shapes. The most basic are round or square and it is one of these that I recommend you buy. In terms of size, go mid way, maybe a 17cm, to get you started then decide whether you want to go bigger or smaller. Again, as with all the products the amount you spend is entirely up to yourself and the style you buy is also your own choice. If you want a bit more of an advanced look at baking tins check out my guide: Baking Tins - Big Sides No Bottoms?

Muffin and Cupcake Trays
There is less choice in these items, but as with everything, there is still a choice! I recommend keeping it simple and just going for ones like those in the picture: metal. The muffin tin is the larger of the two.

Cooling Rack
Get yourself a nice cooling rack - you'll be glad you did. These are not expensive and pretty straight forward in thier choice.

Frying Pans
All shapes and sizes. Stainless steel or non-stick. Removable handle or not. I reccommend for the beginner a mid-range size, non stick frying pan. It will do for everything and be able to cope with all sorts of quantities.

As with the frying pans these come in a range of features but once again the beginner would be best suited to a mid range pan, non-stick.

Beginners Guide - Basic Recipes

Everyone new to the kitchen needs some easy challenges. As with any skill there is no point diving into the tricky stuff without learning the basics! You wouldn't sit down at a piano, having never played, and expect to knock out Mozart! It takes practice!! Unlike learning the piano though, cooking can be fun and rewarding even though it is simple! No boring scales and chords you can get straight into producing something great, and tasty!!!

Below I have compiled a list of some basic tasty recipes for beginners to try, I will always be topping this list up and they will appear on the main blog as I do!!

Basic Recipes

~ Cruncy Oat Biscuits
These biscuits are very simple to make and taste great.

~ Flour Tortillas
Use these for you lunch with some cheese and ham inside. Or leave open and cover in fried chicken, salsa and lettuce!

Beginners Guide To Equipment - Preparation

The cooking and baking world is filled to the brim with gadgets and gizmos that are intended to make our lives easier in the kitchen. But what do we really need? What are the essentials? And what can we really just do without? For the starter cook the array of equipment available is immense and can seem daunting, Indeed, many of us avoid the kitchen after gazing blankly at the shelves of equipment and deciding that that takeaway or microwave meal looked a lot easier to deal with! So I have put together a list of what I believe are the essentials for a beginners kitchen. Now cost is not essential, not if you are just starting out! If you want to buy the best of the best then feel free but you don't need it. Buy what you can afford, my first pot and pan set came from my mum collecting Co-Op vouchers and getting them free!! As I progressed I upgraded to the types and kind of pots I want (I still only own two saucepans, and one is from that free set!!) If you discover you love making Muffins, for example, and that 79p muffin tin doesn't cut it any more then go buy a more expensive one, if you've only used it once... money saved.


Knives - Chopping:
Knives are very important, and when you find the knife that is right for you, you will know it! Sounds odd? You'll find out what I mean! A huge selection is not necessary but make sure you have a range of sizes, preferably small, medium and large! In general chopping terms the small and medium will be your most used instrument. The larger knife will be great for slicing up those delicious cakes you make!! If you want to add to the collection later options include, Bread Knife or Serrated Edge Knife.
Knives - Other:
I have included this section as there are other types of knives you will find useful such as the Palette Knife, great for icing cakes!

Chopping Board:
A chopping board is a great all purpose item. Now you only need one, many people use two or three, depending on what they are preparing but if you take care of your board and are sensible then one is enough to start you off. I used to use the same board as a chopping a rolling out board, one side for chopping, turn over, new smooth side for rolling!!
There are loads of different types and styles of chopping board so pick one that you like the look of and fits to your budget to start with.

Rolling Pin:
Rolling pin, there are all sorts of uses for rolling pins beyond the obvious. Again there are many fancy ones out there but a good solid wooden one is just fine!!

Spoons & Spatulas:
Make sure you get yourself a nice wooden spoon! Great for mixing those cake batters!! A spatula is also handy for getting every last drop from your bowl, but a spoon is great for scraping so the spatula is not as essential!!

There are loads of different types of scales out there; digital, ones with dials and ones with weights. Again your first set of scales is down to you, your preference and your budget. Digital scales, are good as the are compact and are considered most accurate. Dial scales allow you to make adjustments if you think your scales are slightly off, weights look more traditional but are more cumbersome. I currently have a set of Woolworth's cheap digital scales, which have worked great for me and I have no complaints but I learnt with a set of weight scales and as I have recently inherited a set from my grandmother I am going back to them, just my preference!

Measuring Jug and Measuring Spoons:
Do exactly what they say on the tin, here's something where money doesn't matter, the cheaper the better I say. My only advice would be: for measuring jugs get a clear one (don't ask me why they make them opaque with the measurements on the outside and for measuring spoons get a set with 1/4 tsp, 1/2tsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 tbsp and 1 tbsp at least. Some have more some have less.

A set of good bowls is always a great thing to have, I find that I use loads of bowls when I am cooking!! So if you can get yourself a nice set. Having said that one or two is plenty if you aren't a bowl nutter like me!! Choose anything that takes your fancy, plstic, glass or ceramic! Any colour is fine too!!

This is down to personal preference and budget! There are hand whisk and rotary whisks. These both take a bit of elbow grease but have, I feel, the most scope. You can use them, particularly hand whisks, anywhere and in any situation. Rotary whisks give you bit more 'oomph' for your energy expenditure
Then of course there are electric whisks both handheld and as part of your mixer. Obviously if you are starting out you may not wish to rush off and but the latest Kenwood, just to beat some cream but if you plan on buying one then the whisk adaption is handy. For the beginner though I would recommend the hand whisk!!

These are entirely down to what kind of biscuits you want to maks! ANy shape will do and any material! There are thousands out there, go mad! One point though, if you are looking to make scones or the Mozzarella Parcels then make sure you buy a round cutter (or set of them).

Well, that is the basics for your preparation equipment! You can add anything you like to this that you think might be handy but to get started, with the Basic Beginners Recipes this is all you will need!! To get a list of the best Starter Cooking Equipment see my other Beginners Guides.

Creamy Basil Casserole

Creamy Basil Casserole

Steak, chunked to bite sized pieces (enough for 2 - 3 people)
1 Red onion
1 White onion
3 garlic cloves
4-5 tablespoons of whipping cream
2 tsp of pesto
200mls gravy


  1. Pre-heat oven to 200oC.
  2. Brown the steak chunks in a little olive oil. I used Olive Oil infused with basil to add extra flavour. When meat is ready transfer to an ovenproof casserole dish. I left the meat a bit red on the inside to avoid it getting chewy in the oven.
  3. Cut the onion into large chunks and add to the frying pan. Finely chop the garlic and add that. Brown the onion chunks, keep stirring to avoid them burning. Add the gravy, I just used instant but any will do.
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then add the cream. Stir in well.
  5. Add the pesto and ensure it is thoroughly mixed.
  6. Tranfer the onion mixture into the casserole dish and mix in the meat. Put the lid on then put into the oven for 45 - 60 mins. Stir occassionally to avoid the top of your casserole drying out.
  7. Serve. I served with home grown runner beans and a baked potato.

Hey! I'd love to know if people are using my recipes!! If you are leave a wee comment on the recipes post! Also, why not head back and let me know how you got on!!?


Review to come -

Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Just S**t?

Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Just S**t?

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: Sphere

Language: English


A comical look at the British Society.

A very easy read with several laugh out loud moments and loads of 'That is so true!!' moments!!

Definately recommend to anyone who wants a bit of giggle, with a more sophisticated edge!!!

Good Read:


Loose Girl - Kerry Cohen

Loose Girl

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Ebury Press

Language: English


Another book picked up as a holiday read. It tells the sory of a young girl stuggling to be accepted by, well... anyone and believes that turning to sex is the only way.

The story and language makes this a very easy and fast read. A surface view could see this book as quite shallow and without much story. However, I found that you had to look deeper to try and see beyond what was written to what the character was trying get out. The story of an insecure girl desperate to be loved and cared for, but without the resources or social training to achieve this. Grabbing at anything she can with both hands..

Good Read:


Labyrinth - Kate Mosse


Paperback: 720 pages

Publisher: Orion

Language: English

Author: Kate Mosse


This book was great, I just couldn't put it down!! I picked it up in the Glasgow Airport outlet of WH Smith as a holiday read. It tells the story of the holy grail but in two different times. The stories run parallel to one another throughout the book but avoid confusion through some great story telling!

The two women Alice and Alias, both have a journey to take in order to protect the Grail from those that would use it for evil. Both women are unaware of their task or its importance, at the outset, but soon it becomes apparent how vital their success is.

This book easily rivals The Da Vinci Code in its exploration of the history and myth surrounding the Grail. The stories are fast moving keeping the reader captivated and eager to read on.

Descriptions of the areas in the stories are even accompanied by a 'Grail Walk' photos and descriptions of each of the places visited in the stories with even the option of doing the walk yourself, should you find yourself in the area!!!

Loved this book: