Honey Rum Butter (not brandy for Christmas puddings)

I’m in complete Christmas preparation mode at the moment and I had to include this but it is absolutely not a recipe just a throw together of ingredients to melt on top of your Christmas pudding.


175g butter

175g brown sugar

6 tablespoons brandy (or in my case honey rum as I thought the sweetness would go very well indeed)




  1. Blend the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk
  2. Add the alcohol
  3. Freeze if it’s before Christmas and bring out on Christmas morning to melt a little before applying to your cooked Christmas pudding that you’ve hopefully given a little flame!

Merry Christmas!!


Get Ahead Christmas Gravy (Jamie Oliver recipe)

After spending a Sunday afternoon lost completely in Jamie Oliver ‘Foodtube’ on ‘Youtube’ I came across his recipe for getting ahead on Christmas day gravy by making a mini batch now and adding it to the turkey tray on Christmas day. I love gravy and pride myself on it even having my own jar at home of gravy browning mix which is a mix of lots commercial brownings; my favourite spices and seasonings so I just have to add a spoon to the tray on Sunday lunch alongside the other ingredients. Therefore, the ability to an extra depth of gravy flavour on Christmas Day making it even more special really appealed to me.


I’ve taken his recipe almost literally except I was already making a roast chicken anyway on Sunday so I used that instead of especially buying chicken wings.



  • Pack of chicken wings (or the wings and legs off a cooked chicken)
  • Couple of sage and bay leaves
  • 1 pint chicken stock or even hot water
  • Trivet of chopped carrots; celery, onion, garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce or some sweet jam sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour



  1. Add the trivet vegetables and the leaves to the tray
  2. Top with wings (or chicken if you are cooking it)
  3. Cook the chicken for as long as it needs
  4. Remove the wings and legs from the chicken and place back in the dish (I removed the breast for Sunday dinner)
  5. Add the plain flour
  6. Add the liquid ingredients and fill up with hot water
  7. Simmer for 20-30 minutes
  8. Drain through a sieve
  9. Allow to cool and freeze until Christmas eve when you remove ready to add the turkey dish after cooking on Christmas Day so you get double the flavour


Christmas Chutney (for cheese & crackers)

Wandering around the Christmas markets this year we picked up a lot of new cheeses to try at Christmas with family. Imagine cheddar with chilli or lime; honey soft cheeses and various hard cheeses with fruits like cranberry and apricots. As we were going to the one off effort of the cheeses I figured the least I could do is make some fruity chutney to go with it. I also had a load of Christmassy mixed fruits and spices leftover from making mincepies (https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/?s=mince+) and my pudding (recipe to come).

Serve up with a lovely mulled wine!



  • 1kg dried fruit (I had sultanas; raisins and cranberries)
  • 450g white onions
  • 1 pint cider vinegar
  • 1 heaped spoon ginger
  • 50g sea salt
  • 1 pinch all spice (and any other Christmassy spices you have)
  • 450g brown sugar
  • 1 litre jar

Obviously tailor the quantities up and down to how much you want to make. This makes just over a 1 litre but I’m planning on keeping it until next year to see if ages well (or not).


  1. Chop everything into small pieces.
  2. Put all in a big pan or slow cooker if you don’t have one big enough.
  3. Cook on low for 1.5 hours.
  4. Test the jam on a cold plate to see if it firms up to a good consistency.
  5. Seal in the sterilised (dishwasher or boiling water) jar.


If you prefer something more sweet and fruity go for my pear jam to have on your Christmas crumpets.


Serve with lots of cheese; crackers, pate and butter.

If you want similar jars to mine to store it in you can find them at:


Christmas Mincemeat (slow cooker)

So it’s that time of year again. It’s time to get my mincemeat for mince pies ready. This year I saw an article in a magazine about using your slow cooker so decided to give it a whizz. The slow cooker is the perfect size for making mince meat and heats up everything together so the suet melts but you don’t risk boiling it or boiling any alcohol away. Just reduce a little of any liquids you add in as they won’t evaporate.

I tend to make my mincemeat at the same time as I do my Christmas cake as the ingredients are broadly the same and you can avoid wasting items. You can add whatever else you really like such as cherries or different fruits or spices to make it really personal. Let people know if you’ve add the alcohol if you are giving them away.

This year I added white rum as my alcohol so let’s see how it goes at Christmas time!


175g currants

175g raisins

175g sultanas

175g dried cranberries

100g mixed peel

1 small apple diced and cored

125 butter or suet

50g blanched or flaked almonds

225g brown sugar

½ tbs cinnamon

1 tbsp mixed spice

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

200 ml of brandy, rum, sherry or orange juice


  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a pan/slow cooker and warm through on simmer for about 25 minutes.
  2. Cool and add the alcohol.
  3. Store in glass jars (sterilize with boiling water or in the dishwasher first).

Some links to if you want to copy:

Similar slow cooker







Cheat’s Mulled Wine Recipe

It’s almost time for the annual Christmas markets in Manchester. Every year we attend and every year I spend a ridiculous amount on buying the cups as they have the year of the market on them. I have almost 10 cups, however I do love a good mulled wine. Now apart from buying my favourite flavour gluwein I have on occasion made it home (using the cups bought from the special market). Making mulled wine can be as elaborate or complicated as you like.


The simplest method is buy it! Simply go to a good Marks & Spencer’s supermarket and buy it.


Option 2, which probably yields the easiest results are to buy a bottle of good quality red wine. It doesn’t have to be expensive but don’t buy the really watery stuff. Then you can buy mulled wine spice mix (see picture below) and sprinkle some spoons of it in a pan with some of the red wine and warm through (don’t boil as you can boil off the alcohol). You can make it more elaborate by adding a few chopped oranges; lemons or a sprinkle of sugar and it’s starts to look a lot more homemade.


Option 3 which is where I am now is to make your own spice mix. I have a jar that I keep and use each year topping up and refreshing each year with a mix of:


  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground all spice
  • Ginger
  • Brown sugar
  • Dried orange and lemon peel


Basically put all your classic Christmas spices in a jar and mix it up. If you particularly like cinnamon add more of that or you hate ginger then leave it out. If you prefer your it sweet then a little more sugar. Don’t put too much sugar though as you can always add that later once you’ve tasted your mix in your red wine as your wine of choice will make it taste different each time.


Option 4 which is the final flourish is to then a large or very large splash of your favourite spirit such as honey rum; cherry brandy or even chocolate liqueurs. This is dangerous element as you can make your mulled wine so alcoholic you only manage a glass full!

Some links if you want to copy this recipe:



Cheat’s Spice Mix


Nice cups to drink from


mulled wine 2

Toasted Teacakes

Every Sunday we eat toasted teacakes. I think the tradition came from the local coffee shops offering them as a cheap and filling hot breakfast alongside a caramel latte coffee. They weren’t available the other week so I bought hot cross buns which are similar but felt too like Easter for me.  I’ve also recently gotten better at making bread (it finally proves and rises and everything) so I figured I’d have a go at making homemade teacakes.




120ml milk

350g bread flour (I had white in)

2 tsp white sugar

50g butter

1 sachet of yeast

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

100g fruit (I had raisins in)

1 egg beaten

Small spray of oil



  1. Slightly warm the milk and add the butter
  2. Take off the heat and add the yeast and sugar whilst still a little warm
  3. Mix together and add the rest of the ingredients except the fruit
  4. Knead into a smooth dough (takes about 5-8 minutes)
  5. Leave to rise in bowl with a damp tea towel over it for about an hour
  6. Add the fruit to the dough and shape into balls placing on a baking tray
  7. Cover again and leave to prove for about 30 minutes
  8. Brush with beaten egg or milk making sure to cover the whole surface so you don’t get stripes on the side like I did
  9. Bake at 180 degrees c for circa 45 minutes


Mine kept for a few days in a tin. Serve as you would normally sliced; toasted and with butter


Basic Cake Recipe

This recipe is just the standard recipe everyone in the world knows how to make and I use and adapt if for everything. It’s the first cake you make and once you crack it you are set for baking forever.


4 eggs (free range or organic if you can afford it)

225g sugar caster

225g self raising flour

225g butter or margarine

1 tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Ideally use a round tin but you can use any including cup cake tin or just the cases
  2. Grease the tin by dipping a bit of kitchen roll in the butter and covering the inside of the tin lightly
  3. Set the oven to 180 degrees c
  4. Mix all the ingredients together and beat well. You don’t need to cream the butter, just mix well
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin leaving a slight dip in the middle as it will rise higher there
  6. Cook for about 20 minutes until light and golden. It’s done if you stab the middle of the cake with something sharp and there’s no batter mixture on the stick. Cocktail sticks are good. It’s better to cook slowly and make sure the cake is cooked through than quickly. Also, if the cake starts to brown too much put some baking paper on the top to protect it
  7. Let the cake cook and slice in half through the middle if you used the round tin
  8. Victorian sponges are traditionally filled with jam and cream and a sprinkling of cater sugar on the top but make sure the cake is really cool so the cream doesn’t melt
  9. This cake batter can be used for anything. Just add cocoa powder to make chocolate or any flavourings you like such as coffee or lavenderCake

My simple cake tin if you’d like it:


Cupcake tin:


Pretty tin to store it in


Cheat’s Sausage Rolls

Cheat’s Sausage Rolls

I adore sausage rolls but I’m not a fan of the shop bought ones. I am however a fan of cheating by making homemade ones. Who has time to make puff pastry anyway. You can also make these as a whole in advance and freeze them so when anyone arrives you can quickly pop them in the oven and instant gorgeous snacks.


  1. Cover your baking tray with a tiny bit of olive oil just so the sausage rolls don’t stick.
  2. Set the oven to 180 degrees c.
  3. Using scissors cut the skins away from the sausage meat leaving the sausages intact.
  4. Open up the puff pastry packet and let it defrost in the fridge until cold but pliable.
  5. Position the sausages on the pastry in long strips with enough pastry on each side so you’ll be able to wrap the sausage.
  6. Slice down the pastry and wrap the sausages.
  7. Cut the sausages into small snack sizes or larger lunch size.
  8. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Serve warm.


If you really want to make them fancy you can add spices or fruit to the sausage mix. Apple sauce or sage spices work really well.


Some materials to buy if you want to copy this:



Frozen Pastry


Cake Tin (to store and keep fresh)