Judith’s Mince Pies

Judith’s Mince Pies

This pastry is so rich and crumbly and makes the most melt in the mouth mince pies. Our friend Judith gave us the recipe – her mince pies are award-winning and she kindly shared her pastry recipe – add an egg to it if you like!

TIP: Let the pastry rest in the fridge overnight then work it in the morning for best texture. It’s not an easy task – but worth it.

Prep Time: 15 minutes (with a mixer)

Cooking time: 10 – 15 minutes


For the pastry:

  • 12oz salted butter
  • 1 free-range egg (medium) -optional
  • 2 heaped tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1lb plain flour
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

For the filing

  • 1 jar mincemeat
  • Egg and milk wash – (to stick lids on and glaze top


  1. For the pastry add all ingredients to a mixer and blend until all ingredients are mixed together.
  2. Let the pastry rest overnight if possible – or keep very cold before rolling out
  3. Roll pastry out and use a cutter to create pie bases and lids.
  4. Fill a non-stick bun tray (or mini muffin tray) with bases
  5. Add filling, then brush edges of pastry with egg wash
  6. Top with a lid and press down. Brush the top with egg wash
  7. Insert a hole or design to allow steam out
  8. Bake in an oven 190 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
  9. When cooled, remove from tin and dust with icing sugar

Hollandaise Sauce from Jamie

Hollandaise Sauce from Jamie Oliver

It’s so delicate, so tasty. The classic recipe made with love and care by Jamie Oliver. Perfect poured over asparagus, lightly steamed fish or over Eggs Benedict this is a failsafe recipe for Classic Hollandaise Sauce.

And to keep it without the sauce splitting – pour into a thermos flask – that’s what Jamie does.

TIP: Keep the egg whites for a melt in the mouth meringues.

Prep/cooking time: 20 minutes


  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 2 large free-range egg yolks
  • 1 dessert spoon white wine vinegar


  1. Get a saucepan and a heatproof mixing bowl that will sit stably over the pan. Half-fill the pan with water and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat as low as it can go but still have the water simmering.
  2. Place the butter in a medium pan over a low heat, so it starts to melt but doesn’t burn. When the butter has melted, take it off the heat.
  3. Place the egg yolks in your heatproof mixing bowl, which you should then place over the pan of just-simmering water. It’s important that the saucepan is on a low heat, or the eggs will scramble.
  4. Using a balloon whisk, start to beat your eggs, then whisk in your white wine vinegar.
  5. Keep whisking, and then start adding the melted butter by slowly drizzling it in, whisking all the time, till all the butter has been incorporated. The result should be a lovely, smooth, thick sauce.
  6. Season carefully with sea salt and black pepper, and loosen if necessary with little squeezes of lemon juice. Keep tasting the sauce until the flavour is to your liking.

Link to Jamie’s video – making Hollandaise Sauce

Halloween Almond and Orange Cookies

Almond and Orange Cookies – Baked with Love

These cookies have a hint of orange and almond, they’re crisp and golden and very easy to make. It’s a basic biscuit mixture that we have adapted to our taste. At Halloween, we’ve simply iced them and spiced them up with a spider’s web using food gels.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes

Makes 30 cookies

Almond and Orange Cookies

Ingredients:  for the filling

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 300g plain flour
  • Grated zest of 1 orange and a little juice
  • 2 tablespoons Almond flakes – toasted and crushed

Method:Halloween cookies

  1. Mix butter and sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon
  2. Add 1 egg yolk and 2 tsp almond extract and beat to combine
  3. Grate in the zest of orange and a squeeze of juice
  4. Sift over flour, add toasted almonds and stir until combined
  5. Wrap dough in clingfilm and chill
  6. Roll out and cut biscuits and place on a non-stick baking tray
  7. Bake in oven 180C/fan 160C/gas 4, for 12 mins until pale gold
  8. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack to firm up
  9. Decorate with icing if required


Crushed Almond Rounds: Prepare the basic biscuit dough. Shape the dough into a large oval log, about 8-10cm in diameter, then roll in 100g of finely chopped, whole blanched almonds, pressing the nuts onto all sides. Carefully wrap in cling film, then chill or freeze. To cook, heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4, then slice off 1cm thick ovals with a sharp knife before baking.

Choux Pastry Eclairs

Choux Eclairs – baked with love

Patisserie week in The Great British Bake off has to include Choux Eclairs. Paul Holywood used this recipe for The Great Comic Relief Bake Off so it’s good enough for us –  light crispy and easy to make.

Prep Time: 30 minutes – 1 hr
Cooking Time: 10-30 minutes

Makes 12

Ingredients: for the choux pastry
  • 65g/2½oz plain flour, sifted
  • pinch salt
  • 50g/2oz unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 free-range eggs, beaten

Ingredients:  for the filling

  • 65g/2½oz plain flour, sifted
  • pinch salt
  • 50g/2oz unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 free-range eggs, beaten


  • 100g/3 ½ oz chopped milk chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Generously grease a baking tray with butter.
  2. Sift the flour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper.
  3. Put 120ml/4fl oz water into a medium-sized pan with the salt and butter and heat gently until the butter has completely melted – don’t let the water boil and begin to evaporate. Quickly bring the mixture to the boil and tip in all the flour in one go. Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon – don’t worry, the mixture will look messy at first but will soon come together to make a smooth heavy dough.
  4. Put the pan back on a low heat and beat the dough for about a minute to slightly cook the dough – it should come away from the sides of the pan to make a smooth, glossy ball. Tip the dough into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool until tepid.
  5. Beat the eggs in a bowl until combined, then gradually beat them into the dough with an electric whisk or mixer, or a wooden spoon, beating well after each addition. (You may not need all the egg.) The dough should be very shiny and paste-like and fall from a spoon when lightly shaken.
  6. Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1.25cm/½in plain nozzle and pipe 12 x 10cm/4in lengths onto the greased baking tray.
  7. Sprinkle the tray, not the pastry, with a few drops of water, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, without opening the door, reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp.
  8. Remove the tray from the oven and carefully make a small hole in the side of each éclair to allow steam to escape. Return to the oven and bake for a further five minutes, or until the pastry is completely crisp. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. For the filling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until just stiff.
  10. Once the éclairs have cooled, cut down the length of one side of each éclair and pipe in the whipped cream.
  11. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and allow it to cool slightly. Dip the tops of the éclairs in the chocolate and let the chocolate set before serving.

Coconut Masala

Coconut Masala – egg curry cooked with love. Coconut masala (or egg molee) is a simple inexpensive vegetarian curry made with whole eggs that you fry before being finished off in the curry. This recipe comes from Rick Stein and his BBC Food programme – Rick Stein’s India. See more of Rick Stein’s India Curry recipes 

Prep Time: less than 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-30 minutes

Serves 4

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 free-range eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and left whole
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 400ml/14fl oz coconut milk
  • 2 medium red onions, very thinly sliced
  • 4cm/1½ in fresh root ginger, finely shredded
  • 3 fresh green chillies, thinly sliced, with seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp garam masala


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat, add the whole eggs and fry for 1–2 minutes, or until lightly coloured, then add the turmeric and chilli powder and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add the onions, ginger, chillies and salt, and simmer for five minutes, or until the coconut milk has reduced in volume by half and the onions are just softened, adding a splash of water if it becomes too thick. Stir in the sugar and coriander and sprinkle with garam masala.
  3. Halve the eggs and serve with boiled basmati rice.

Delicious Doughnuts

Mmm Delicious Doughnuts. The Apprentice challenge to make doughnuts was a sticky affair. We spotted an article in The Express  where  Food Blogger Britt Box of ‘She Who Bakes’ gave some top tips on where things can go wrong:
Dough: If you don’t leave your dough to prove long enough, you get a flat, dense doughnut that doesn’t inflate when you fry.  If you over prove it can lead to an oily and flat doughnut.

Fry or Bake: The oil needs to be at the OPTIMUM temperature 180C /350F. Fry in too low a temperature and they soak up the oil, burn and are raw in the middle. The doughnuts should float on the surface to fry for 1-2 minutes per side before puffing up and turning golden. Alternatively, why not BAKE in the oven. : See more from Britt Box – She Who Bakes by clicking here  We love Britt’s recipe and shared it here:

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes

  • 220g pumpkin
  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 60g softened unsalted butter
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Ingredients for the cinnamon glaze:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of water


  1. For the pumpkin purée – Cut off a section of pumpkin. De-seed, peel and cut into chunks.
  2. Boil for 20 minutes or until soft, whizz in a food processor or mash, then leave to cool.
  3. Make your doughnut dough: Mix together brown sugar and softened butter, then add eggs.
  4. Once mixed in, add in the flour, baking powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda and all the spices.
  5. Add in your pumpkin puree
  6. Mix on a high speed to create a wet dough.
  7. Add mix to doughnut pan or put the dough into a piping bag and pipe circles of the dough onto a lined baking tray.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes
  9. Once your doughnuts are cooled, make up the cinnamon glaze. Take 300g of icing sugar, 1tsp of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of water and mix in a bowl.

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake this recipe by Jamie Oliver is great to bake with the kids – and adding a vegetable too.  Flavour-wise beetroot is sweet, which is why it works really well in cakes even though it’s a vegetable. You can grate it by hand using a box grater, if you prefer, depending on how much time you have.

Prep Time: 50 minutes
Bake Time: 50+ minutes
Serves: 16


olive oil

plain flour, for dusting

300 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

250 g raw beetroot

4 large free-range eggs

150 g golden caster sugar

120 g ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon good-quality cocoa powder

natural yoghurt, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
  2. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with olive oil. Use scissors to cut out a circle of greaseproof paper, roughly the same size as the bottom of the tin, and use it to line the base.
  3. Dust the sides of the tin lightly with flour, then tap the tin to get rid of any excess.
  4. Break 200g of the chocolate into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl.
  5. Place the bowl on top of a small pan of simmering water over a medium heat, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water, and allow to melt, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once melted, use oven gloves to carefully remove from the heat and put to one side – beware of the steam when you lift up the bowl.
  7. Use a Y-shaped peeler to peel the beetroot (you might want to wear gloves to do this), then quarter them on a chopping board.
  8. Push the beetroot through the coarse grater attachment on the food processor, then tip into a large mixing bowl.
  9. Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a large clean mixing bowl and adding the yolks to the beetroot, then wash your hands.
  10. Stir the sugar, almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate into the beetroot and mix together well.
  11. Use an electric hand whisk to whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.
  12. Use a spatula to fold a quarter of the egg whites into the beetroot mixture to loosen, then once combined, fold in the rest but try not to over-mix.
  13. Add the mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly using a spatula.
  14. Bake in the hot oven for around 50 minutes, or until risen and cooked through.
  15. To check if it’s done, stick a cocktail stick or skewer into the middle of the sponge, remove it after 5 seconds and if it comes out clean the cake’s cooked; if it’s slightly sticky it needs a bit longer.
  16. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  17. When you’re ready to serve, melt the remaining chocolate (in the same way as above), then serve each slice with some yoghurt and a little drizzle of the melted chocolate.


Delia’s Scrambled Eggs

Super tasty scrambled egg – the Delia way

Not enough people can cook scrambled eggs so we thought we’d share this recipe from one of the greatest cooks who love eggs.

Delia made scrambled eggs for the very first time by following a recipe by the famous French chef August Escoffier, it’s still the best version of all. And like many chefs (including James Martin!) their preferred proper ingredient is butter.


  • Don’t have the heat too high; if you do the eggs will become flaky and dry.
  • Remove the pan from the heat while there’s still some liquid egg left, then this will disappear into a creamy mass as you serve the eggs and take them to the table.

Prep Time: 5minutes
Bake Time: 5 minutes
Serves: just for you – For more people, just multiply the ingredients accordingly.  The method remains the same, but more eggs will obviously take longer to cook.


2 free range eggs lightly beaten

Salt and freshly milled black pepper

20g (a knob) of butter

A little crème fraiche or cream for a treat


  1. First –  the pan goes onto a medium heat.
  2. Season the lightly beaten eggs with salt and pepper.
  3. Add a heaped teaspoon of butter goes into the pan and swirl it around so the base and sides are moistened.
  4. When it begins to melt and foam, pour in the eggs and start to stir.
  5. As the eggs begin to cook keep on stirring, getting into the corners of the pan with the pointed end of the spoon.
  6. Be patient and continue to scramble until three-quarters of the egg is a creamy solid mass. At this point remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining butter (about a teaspoon).
  7. Add a hint of luxury with a little splash of cream or crème fraîche – or even smoked salmon flakes. The eggs will carry on cooking in the heat of the pan until there is no liquid left. Serve quickly. And that’s all there is to it!



Pancake Day preparations with primary school pupils

learning where eggs come fromAll our eggs come from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes), so we went back to school with them this week, to help primary school pupils gain a better understanding of how the eggs they use for ‘Pancake Day’ are produced and packed. The children were also given recipe ideas to create some inventive fillings for their pancakes.

The Lakes team are regular visitors to Beaconside Church of England Primary School in Penrith, because they help bring learning to life.  One of the current overarching school topics this term, focuses on “You are what you eat” which Year 2 Teacher Miss Sarah Kendall,  felt was a perfect opportunity for an interactive session with Year 1 and Year 2 pupils – especially in the run up to Shrove Tuesday.

You are what you eat

Miss Kendall said “It’s very important that children understand where their food comes from – it’s part of the national curriculum.  The Lakes team brought with them a range of different eggs to look at and showed us some fantastic videos of the egg production process – right from hens ranging under trees, to the eggs being graded and packed in the factory. We were all mesmerised by the sheer volume of eggs produced and packed just down the road and were fascinated to hear how a hen ‘learns’ how to lay an egg.”

Mark Gaskin, Managing Director of The Lakes Free Range Egg Company explained that it takes time for a hen to perfect the art of laying an egg; he brought along a variety of oddly formed and mis-shaped eggs in varying sizes and also highlighted that it is at this stage that ‘double yolk eggs’ can be created.School class gets pancake recipe

Showing video’s allowed the pupils to escape the classroom and venture onto a hen range, where they could see hens foraging under trees. This bird’s eye view of life as a free range hen made a great impression – as did seeing robots packing eggs in the factory.

Helen Brass, co-owner of The Lakes Free Range Egg Company said “Visiting schools is a very important part of what we try to achieve in terms of educating the public about free range production and how we farm in a sustainable way.

Creating a pancake recipe leaflet
“For Pancake Day we created a recipe leaflet that uses leftovers for fillings – it’s just a simple and tasty way to encourage people to reduce food waste. Around 100 pupils went home with a new idea for making pancakes.”

At the end of the presentations ‘The Lakes’ team polled the pupils to find out which was their favourite way to eat eggs in the morning.  More than 60% said scrambled eggs were their favourites. There were a number of children who said they had not tried eggs for breakfast, so Miss Kendall is arranging a scrambled egg cookery morning next week and The Lakes team are supplying the eggs.

exploring eggs of different sizesLaid With Love egg shown to pupils

The Lakes Free Range Egg Company visits several primary schools each year and hosts factory visits for secondary schools and colleges.  To find out more about the company visit www.lakesfreerange.co.uk