Made TV-Honeycomb

Honeycomb

This is fuss free AND delicious for an edible Christmas gift or centrepiece for a party.  The key here is to take your time with melting the mixture, and not be in a hurry as it will more likely sieze or burn.  Don't make the same mistake as Jamie and I, add the bicarb straight after it comes off the heat....don't get distracted by another job!!

Don't forget to check out our Christmas Rocky Road, Sticky gingerbread and Fuss Free Mince Pies or the festive recipes I made on The Hairy Bikers recently including panforte and amaretti biscuits... Merry Christmas! Lisa x

Honeycomb

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 8 tbsp. golden syrup
  • 3 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  1. Put the sugar and syrup into a saucepan. You mustn't stir once the pan's on the heat
  2. Place the pan on a medium heat and let the mixture first melt. Only give the pan a gentle shake, no stirring!
  3. Let the mixture melt slowly over 10-20 minutes (that way it won't burn!). Once it turns to goo it will start to bubble and then you need to wait till it goes the colour of maple syrup
  4. Immediately take the pan off the heat, whisk in the bicarbonate of soda and watch the syrup turn into a bubbling cloud pale gold in colour.
  5. Tip this out immediately onto a piece of reusable baking parchment or greased foil.
  6. Leave until set and then break it into small pieces or long shards

Made TV-Sticky Gingerbread

Sticky gingerbread

This is another of my go-to Christmas recipes, that I have made to hand out to the children's nursery teachers or taken to a childrens party!  It's another classic from the Nigella Christmas book, which is my seasonal bible!

Have a go and let me know of the FFF Facebook page what you think.  Remember to check out the other recipes that Jamie and I made: Christmas Rocky Road, Mince Pies,  Honeycomb and the edible gifts I made on the Hairy Bikers recently ...including cream free truffles and stained glass window biscuits!

Sticky Gingerbread

  • 150g butter
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 200g black treacle
  • 125g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 2 x 15ml tablespoons warm water
  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten to mix
  • 300g plain flour

1 Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and line a roasting tin or ovenproof dish (approx. 30cm x 20cm x 5cm) lined with baking parchment (I grease it as well!)

2 In a saucepan, melt the butter over a low-medium heat with the sugar, syrup, treacle, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and cloves

3 Take off the heat, add the milk, eggs and dissolved bicarbonate of soda in water

4 Sieve the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. The batter will be a very liquid, but that's OK, it will be what makes it sticky later. Give a quick whisk if there are some lumps of flour

5 Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes until risen and firm on top. Try not to overcook, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools

6 Transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the tin before cutting into 20 squares, or however you wish to slice it!

Made TV-Christmas Rocky Road

Christmas Rocky Road:

Rocky road is great at any time of year, but especially at Christmas!  This is a classic recipe from Nigella that I make year after year, and I often mix it up by changing the type of fruit, nuts or biscuits I use.

Jamie from Made TV was surprised at how easy it was to make, so I hope you will give it a go. I am sure if you turned up to a party with a plate of these you would be very popular!  But be warned...they are super moorish...

Remember to check out the fuss-free mince pies we made too and the edible Christmas gifts that I made recently on the Hairy Bikers Home for Christmas show...Truffles and Panforte & Amaretti and stained glass window biscuits

Christmas Rocky Road

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 175g soft butter
  • 4 tbsp. golden syrup
  • 200g ginger biscuits
  • 150g hazelnuts
  • 150g red glace cherries, chopped
  • 125g  mini marshmallows
  • edible stars or glitter
  • Approx 25cm x 20cm tray or disposable foil tray, parchment
  1. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and then put it into a heavy-based pan with the butter and syrup, then melt over a gentle heat
  2. Put the biscuits into a bag and bash them with a rolling pin to get big and little-sized crumbs
  3. Put the hazelnuts into another bag and bash them as well
  4. Take the pan off the heat, and add the crushed biscuits and nuts, chopped glacé cherries and mini-marshmallows. Stir well to coat everything with syrupy chocolate
  5. Tip into a foil tray or dish lined with parchment (I used one approx 25cm x 20cm, smoothing the top as best you can with a spoon.  Sprinkle over the edible stars or glitter if using
  6. Once cooled, leave in the fridge until firm enough to cut, which will take about 1½–2 hours. Then take the set block of rocky road out of the foil tray onto a chopping board and get ready to cut with a sharp knife
  7. Cut it into bite-sized squares (or larger!) It is quite rich, so it can go a long way if you chop it small!

Cracking Christmas Cooking

Christmas chocolate truffles and Panforte

The last few weeks have been the craziest in the 1-year lifespan of The Fuss Free Foodie! A last minute shoot working on short foodie video for a British food maker, local TV network Made coming to do Christmas cooking in my house, and not to mention all the chat about my Hairy Biker appearances! (Click here to see Ep. 8 29 mins Ep. 9 29 mins on the iPlayer)

It made me wonder; at this time of year in the nature of living my brand...how does the Fuss free Foodie keep life fuss-free?! Well first of all in true FFF nature, let's keep things real. I don't always manage it! But I am aware of how it needs to be and I am getting better at living life this way.

It's so easy, at this time of year to feel the weight of the 'to-do' list on your shoulders. Balancing the daily routine whilst working towards making the magic of Christmas come alive and putting things in place for the big day.

This year's journey has been very much of a journey of self, as well as bringing the FFF to life. If there is one thing I have learnt to do more this year is trust that things will work out as they are supposed to.  So I'm trusting that Christmas will happen!  No amount of me playing over my to-do list in my head will make it happen any faster...or easier.  The doubts and negativity (monkey chatter!!) do not help!!

But what I do listen to more is my internal sat nav....or intuition! Those things that pop into your consciousness, normally at random times...in the shower for me. Maybe, someone, I've not contacted in a while, or an event I need to book or an idea of how to do something better. These are the things I'm listening to. So as I'm internally directed as to what 'feels' right for me, I get less caught up in the things I feel I 'should' be doing.  At this time of year, fuss-free is for me!

As the last week draws in, I am conscious I need to dedicate some time to my family and enjoy our Christmas. So I will be posting up my pieces from Made TV and see below some of my classic Christmas recipes from last year. Remember to follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to not miss a thing!

I hope you will continue to join me on the journey in 2018. Thank you all for your kind comments, loves, likes and shares this year!

Merry Christmas all!  Lisa x

Christmas Spiced Truffles (Hairy Bikers Home for Christmas Ep.   mins)

Syrup

  • 50g dark brown sugar
    • 250ml water
    • 1 mulled spice bag
  1. Put everything in a pan. Stir, bring to the boil, and simmer for a minute
  2. Pop into a jar and leave overnight or at least for a few hours.

Truffles

    • 100ml of syrup
    • 25g brown sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 150g dark chocolate, finely chopped
    • Cocoa powder, chocolate strands or edible bronze rocks (Waitrose)
  1. Finely chop chocolate on a chopping board
  2. Place chocolate in a bowl and set aside
  3. Place the syrup, sugar and salt into a pan. Bring to the boil for 30 seconds
  4. Pour the syrup over the chocolate
  5. Leave for a couple of minutes, to let the warmth start to melt the chocolate. Stir the mixture, starting from the inside and working your way outwards
  6. Cool and then place in the fridge until it is firm but not too hard
  7. I always feel less is more with the stirring to avoid splitting potential. If there are a few little bits of choc it actually gives the truffle a nice bit of crunch!
  8. If you chill the mixture overnight pull it out of the fridge half an hour before rolling
  9. Dip your hands in cocoa to stop the mixture sticking to your hands. Take spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into lots of little balls
  10. Then re-roll the balls in the palms of your hands to make them sticky, then dip them in your chosen coating
  11. Pop into a cellophane bag or box....or just enjoy!

Panforte (Original recipe from Nigella Christmas )

Chewy Tuscan fruit and nut dessert. Great with a cup of tea, coffee or a great addition to a cheese board esp a sharp white cheese!

Ingredients

  • 20cm springform tin
  • Parchment
  • Extra butter for lining the tin
  • 125g almonds in skins
  • 100g blanched almonds
  • 120g whole hazelnuts
  • 75 soft figs, cut off the stalk, snipped into little slithers
  • 200g orange and lemon peel
  • Shake of white pepper
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 50g plain flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g honey
  • 30g butter

Prepare the tin

  • Rub the base of the tin with butter, then add a disk of parchment the size tin to the base and around the sides
  • Rub butter over the parchment to ensure it is easy to remove at the end

Prepare the wet ingredients

  • In a pan gently melt the butter, sugar and honey until the sugar is no longer grainy and all nicely melted. Mix

Prepare the dry ingredients

  • Meanwhile, place the whole nuts and chopped fruits in a heatproof bowl. Stir
  • Add the spices, flour and cocoa into the nuts and fruit. Stir
  • For a fully traditional Italian version you can add separate spices, but for a more fuss free recipe you can use mixed spice. (1/2 ground cloves, 1 tsp cinnamon, grating of nutmeg)

Make the batter

  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir thoroughly so that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together with no bits of flour left un-stirred

Pour into the tin and cooking

  • Pour the mixture into your springform tin. Pat down with the back of the spoon
  • Wet your hands and push the mixture into the tin to compress it all together and achieve a flat surface. Use your fist in the middle and knuckles to get around the edges.  You could wear disposable gloves if you prefer!!
  • Cook in an oven at 170 deg/gas mark 3 for 45-1hr. It is ready to come out when the top of the cake is bubbling all over the top, not just around the edges. Leave the cake in the tin to completely cool before removing from the tin. At this point the cake should feel firm to the touch

Cutting and presenting

  • Remove the collar and paper and place onto a chopping board and chop into quarters and then into eighths. Chop each eighth into 3.
  • A tip for cutting is to go in with the tip/point of the knife into the middle and carve without using the back of the knife, as this can result in it breaking.
  • Place 6-8 in a bag and tie with ribbon
  • If your panforte feels too bendy and not hard. Reline the tin and stick it back into the oven for another 20-25 minutes until its really bubbling. It needs to reheat totally and then it will start the bubbling process again.

See the blog with the recipes from the first 2 episodes of The Hairy Bikers Home for Christmas

How to put together your Christmas cheese board

Christmas Chicken liver parfait

Made TV-Mince Pies

Fuss free homemade mince pies

Amidst the Christmas craziness of launching the FFF website, my clips airing on the Hairy Bikers Home for Christmas,  I found time to welcome Jamie from Made TV into my kitchen!

After agreeing for him to cook with me, I had a slight panic about letting them all into my home...my sanctuary .....for all to see! But I needn't have worried. Jamie, Ingrid and Tom were a pleasure to work and we were soon relaxed enough to be getting our hands into the same mixing bowl like we'd know each other for years!

Jamie made no bones about the fact that he's not much of a baker, and comes from a long line of non-bakers.  It was at this point I was wondering how the next few hours were going to pan out!

I believe enthusiasm in the kitchen makes up for any lack of skill ...and  Jamie was no exception! As he discovered new things you could just see his mind being blown.... who knew that the flecks in the mincemeat were suet and not rice?!! I could see we were starting to open Jamie up to the magic of the culinary world...

Being from a similar part of the world, we established that despite the decades between us, we had a few things in common.  It turns out he shares my annoyance for chefs on TV who don't fully scrape out a bowl when demonstrating a recipe ...the others I shall reveal over the next few posts alongside the next cooking instalments!

So here is the recipe I cook with Jamie ... Mince pies.  If you have any questions or comments please come and find me on The Fuss Free Foodie Facebook page. Remember to like and follow so you don't miss the next cracking Christmas recipes we cook together! Merry Christmas!!  Lisa

Mince pies with homemade pastry 

  • 340g plain flour
  • 200g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 2 large free range egg yolks
  • 500g of mincemeat for mince pies
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tbsps. water
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Rolling pin, cake tray (12), 10cm round cutter, 7cm star cutter
  1. Preheat the oven to 200degC
  2. Sieve the flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt
  3. Add the butter to the flour and rub it in the flour using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs
  4. Stir in the caster sugar, then the egg yolks. Mix with a knife. Add 3-4 tbsp, mix with a knife until you can pull it together into a dough
  5. Press the dough into a flat oval, then wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least 10 minutes
  6. Roll the pastry out to about 3mm thick using a rolling pin. Use a 10cm fluted cutter to cut out about 12 bases and place them in small cupcake tray, pushing the pastry down into the edges of the tray
  7. Put about 1 tsp of mincemeat into the pastry case (don't be tempted to overfill the case!) Cut out the top of the mince pies with a 7cm pastry star. If you need more stars, pull the pastry back together and roll it out again to 3mm. Brush each mince pie with a little-beaten egg
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tray. Then take out and place on a plate or bag up for edible Christmas gifts!

Jamie does Christmas Rocky Road