Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Lovely time at This Morning making Lemon Creams!!

As I mentioned last week I was at This Morning today doing a cookery slot!! Really exciting and everyone is always so welcoming and friendly.I decided to make something I've done a few times and that is really simple and easy as there isn't much time on air.So I went for Lemon Creams with Lemon and Almond puff pastry biscuits.I made it for the first round of masterchef 2009 and it's so easy but looks really impressive.
Lemon Cream

6 eggs
275g caster sugar
zest of 3 lemons
juice of 3 lemons
300ml double cream

Whisk the eggs well and ad the sugar,zest and juice still whisking.Pour in the the cream and mix well.Place in a pouring jug and leave to rest for 30 mins.
Pour into creme brulee dishes or ramekins and bake in a bain marie for 15 - 20 mins in a 150oc oven until they just have a slight wobble.Leave to cool.
Mash a punnet of raspberries (saving a few for decoration) and put through a sieve.Add a little icing sugar to taste.


melted butter 25g
Ready rolled pack of puff pastry
100g sugar
zest 1 lemon
handful finely chopped almonds
squeezy clear honey
icing sugar to serve

Open up pastry and brush with melted butter.sprinkle evenly with zest ,almonds and sugar. Generously drizzle with honey. Roll up pastry into a susage shape and place in fridge for 15 mins to harden slightly.
Cut into 1cm rounds and place on lined baking tray. Bake at 180oc for 10 mins till crisp and golden.
Dredge with icing sugar when slightly cooled and serve with the lemon cream.
These can be made up to point of just putting in the oven and if having a dinner party they can be baked as the main course is being cleared.They are even more delicious warm.

Holly and Ben loved them!!!!

When I got home I had a Christmassy Idea!!! Why not do the biscuits with mincemeat and make puff pastry mince pies!!
Used a jar of good quality mincemeat and added a dessertspoonful of brandy, Grated the zest of an orange and sprinkled that on the pastry before spreading the mincemeat and rolling up. Bake as above and dredge with icing sugar. Really good!!!

Gracie has the baking bug!!!

Finished the play on Saturday and had another trip to Betty's for afternoon tea.
Kenny sent me a photo of Gracie with her creation. It was the Christmas Fayre at school and as I wasn't about to bake she decided to have a go herself!! She did a fantastic job and I'm really proud of her - not bad for a 10 year old. ( Kenny did say the kitchen was like a war zone though!!)Go Gracie!!!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Lemon Cake voted in for last week!!

Well it's the last week with Northern Broadsides and, therefore, the last week of cake club.
Decided to have a vote to decide the favourite cake of the tour and Lemon won by a small majority.

York is a beautiful city and woken up this morning to snow.
Had my usual visit to Betty's tea rooms for afternoon tea and it was delicious.
I'm really going to miss everyone but looking forward to other projects.
Look out for me making Lemon creams and puff pastry biscuits next wednesday on This Morning and singing on Friday 3rd on radio 2's Friday night is music Night.
In January I'm touring with Hull Truck theatre company in April in Paris. So busy times ahead but looking forward to holiday in a couple of weeks,
So Goodbye from Northern Broadsides!!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Awards night with Sexy,Sticky Toffee Pudding!!

Last night was Northern Broadsides Comedy Awards and show party for all us cast in't The Game.
Had a really great night and lovely food made by Barrie Rutter and puds by me.

Made Cappuccino Pavlova and my famous Sticky Toffee Pudding which John Torode loved.

Barrie looked great and felt very special in his F Word chef's whites and Liz and Jos couldn't wait to tuck in!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Scarborough has a new cake creation - Lettuce !!!

Back to a proper theatre yesterday - the lovely Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.
Didn't get home at the weekend so I was limited to what I could bake. I decided to do a recipe I've adapted and make a Lettuce drizzle cake.
Has a really unusual earthy taste but you'd never guess there was lettuce in it until it's been in a tin and you take the lid off. Cut into squares and it went really quickly.
We have an awards do on Thursday and end of show party so I'm making a couple of puds. Will post when made.

Ginger and honey cake in a cattle market!!

Skipton beckoned last week and it was an interesting experience!!!
The Mart Theatre is in the Cattle auction mart. Cows were still being sold on the Thursday afternoon as we were due to open in the evening.The space was warm but a little smelly!!!
I made a Ginger and Honey sponge to cheer us all up.

250 g butter
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
250g self raising flour
2 tsps ground ginger
1 tblsp runny honey
3 balls crystallised stem ginger in syrup (chopped very small)

Cream butter and sugar
add eggs,honey,ground ginger.
Sieve in flour and baking powder
Add chopped ginger
Split and place in 2 bottom lined sponge tins
Into 190oc oven for 20 mins


125g butter
150g icing sugar
2tsps runny honey

Mix together and layer sponges with buttercream and ginger preserve (if possible)

Spread top with icing and decorate with chopped ginger and flaked almonds

Really gingery and gooey - didn't mind the smell after a big slice.

On Saturday there was nowhere to eat between shows so Matt and Mr Roy did a fish and chip run and Phil made a spectacular cheesecake.What a healthy supper we all had!!!! Here's Phil with his creation and Mr Roy with his chips!!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Courgette Cake in Huddersfield!

Arrived at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in a very rainy Huddersfield with a courgette and lime cake.I could see a bit of apprehension on a few faces COURGETTE - - CAKE!!!!!!! as in Peter Kay's GARLIC - - BREAD!! but as soon as they tasted it, it was a hit.
You really can't taste the courgette even though you can still see specks of green and it makes the cake incredibly moist.I used Nigella's recipe from her baking goddess book but changed the filling a little.Instead of using lime curd I used lime marmalade and made extra cream cheese topping for in between too.Delicious!!!Not sure what to do for skipton this week - will keep you posted.
I'm doing The Wright Stuff on Tuesday to promote the last 3 weeks of the play. Hopefully get pudding plug in too!!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Halloween - Black Cupcakes!

Lovely week off ending with Halloween. Gracie carved a pumpkin and we decided to make some cupcakes and see how they would turn out by using black paste food colouring. They looked great and reall fooled the tastebuds when bitten into - you don't expect vanilla sponge from something so black.Gracie didn't just dress up for trick or treat , she had a dance show in St.Albans. She looked fab but did get loads of sweets while trick or treating too !
We went to our friends, Sam and Rob's for dinner on Saturday  night and had a really lovely time - haven't been able to catch up with friends for ages being on tour. There were a group of ten of us and the food was great including this white chocolate cheesecake, a Mary Berry recipe. That's Sam holding her creation.
Huddersfield this week and I'm about to start making a courgette and lime cake. Never tackled one before and am adding some twists too.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Nigella's Chocolate Fudge cake for Katie!!

We finished off at Halifax with a birthday.
Katie celebrated her 21st on Friday and came to see the play. Her mum, Rachel, is on the board at Northern Broadsides and I'd promised a cake.I had to make it a little in advance so opted for a family favourite that I knew wouldn't let me down - Nigella's Chocolate Fudge cake from her Nigella Bites cookbook.
It went down really well in the interval - all gone!!
We've got a week off now so no cake club this week.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Coffee and Walnut cake with tiramisu cream

Had a lovely long weekend off and really enjoyed a trip to the Union theatre, Southwark to see 'Bells are ringing'. Anna-Jane Casey was amazing (as usual) and it was a really well put together show,produced by Jonathan Russell and directed by Paul Foster. 
Back in Halifax this week at Northern Broadsides home - the Viaduct Theatre and it's great to be here even if it is a little damp and smelly!!!
Coffee cake was requested this week and i've decide to add a twist by sandwiching it together with a tiramisu cream. 
250g butter
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
250g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tblsps coffee (made strong)
75g walnut pieces

For cream

250g mascarpone cheese
142ml pot double cream
4 tblsps coffee liquor
2 tsps caster sugar
few drops vanilla extract

Make up sponges and cool.
To make cream, lightly whip double cream and then mix together with all other ingredients.
Split sponges and layer with cream.
Decorate top with cocoa and walnut halves.

Tastes really great and the alcohol gives it a bit of a kick!!
Matt, Jos and Mr.Roy thought it was fab!!!!!!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Cherry Bakewell at the New Vic!!

Finished the week in Salisbury feeling very pleased with ourselves - great reviews and houses and we managed to finish the jigsaw that was in the green room of Charles and Di's wedding - only 2 pieces missing!!!
Here it is.
Had a quiet Sunday at home and baked for this week. Couldn't decide which cake to make and then had a brainwave. Mr.Roy in the company was telling me how he was going to Bakewell for Christmas so I decided to invent my version of a cherry bakewell.
First I made the sponges
250g butter
250g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
150g Self raising flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp almond essence
100g glace cherries, chopped.

Once cooled I sliced them in half and filled with raspberry jam and a thin slice of marzipan and joined them together with almond flavoured buttercream.
Finally I iced and decorated with cherries and flaked almonds.
Gone in 20 mins !!!!!!

Gracie decided she wanted to join in too, so she made some almond buns and they were really moist.
Looking forward to Masterchef the professionals tonight after the show - really getting into it now.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

' The Game' cast scoff the lot !!!

Well the chocolate cake went down a treat. Didn't even make it to curtain up!!
Matt made some fantastic chocolate brownies using Jamie Oliver's recipe but added his own special touch with a hint of orange zest.They were delicious - really moist but not too gooey. I have competition!!!!

Everyone managed to force a piece down and all diets on tour have been put on hold.Above are Cath and Jo and Jos and Phil.Managed to take a piccie just before the last piece went.They'll have to wait a week for the next creation.
Play went well last night - a really receptive audience - although I have to knit at the end and when I picked it up off the floor about 10 stitches had dropped off and it all went horribly wrong .I was praying for the blackout sooner!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Chocolate this week!

Well Cake Club decided on chocolate so I spruced it up with raspberry conserve and fresh cream.
Hopefully it will disappear as quickly as the lemon cake last week.
We move on to Salisbury today so I'm away from home till late Saturday night but not too far to drive.
Caught up over the weekend with some telly and was thrilled that You an Yu went through on Ramsey's best restaurant. It's a fantastic Chinese restaurant very near to my parents at Copster Green near Blackburn and we visit a lot when ever we are up there. They are so welcoming and a wonderful family and the food is to die for. Fingers crossed they do really well in the competition.
Also went to see the 25th anniversary concert of Les Mis at the o2.It's never been one of my favourite shows but as I was given a ticket I decided to go and I'm so pleased I did. It was a brilliant afternoon with amazing voices - particularly Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean and Camilla Kerslake as Cosette.
The best bit for me though was at the end when a lot of the original cast came on Stage including Colm Wilkinson and Michael Ball and sang One day more - just great.
Away in a hotel for me so no cooking or baking till weekend unfortunately. 

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Cake Club has started!!

Well, at last had time to bake!!!
Decided Cake Club at the theatre had to start, so arrived with a lemon cake which disappeared very quickly!!
Just basic sponge mix but I add a dessertspoonful of lemon oil which adds great flavour and keeps the cake really moist. Split the sponges and filled with lemon curd and lemon buttercream. Had some jelly lemon slices in the cupboard so used them up - they really take me back to my childhood and cakes my Grandma Holden used to bake.
I've asked the cast of 'The Game' to put in requests for next week's cake so will let you know what the coice for Salisbury week will be!!
Had a lovely time visiting Lorraine Kelly and Phillip and Holly at This Morning.
They all make you feel so welcome and really help plug the play which is going really well and has got great reviews, thankfully!!
Phil suggested I come in to do a cake club for them, jokingly, but I think it's a great idea and would love to do it - so who knows.
Great that he mentioned my Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe that's now used in John Torode's restaurant Smiths after he loved it on Celebrity Masterchef. I'm thrilled but I bet I don't get a credit!!!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Home for a week!!

Having been away from home for the past few weeks , it's lovely to be back in my own kitchen and couldn't resist making a pud yesterday. Our friends, the Jacksons, came over for a takeaway ( didn't get back from Liverpool till the early hours of Sunday morning) and I threw together an old favourite - Auntie Lorna's Cappucino Pavlova!!
As the title suggests, it was passed onto me by my godmother who used to make it every Boxing Day for lunch and it's always been one of my favourites since I was small.
It's so easy - a basic pavlova but with coffee and tia maria added to the cream.
Went down a treat , adults and kids alike ( there's only a small amount of alcohol in it!!)
It was great catching up with everyone having been away for a while.
Looking forward to the new Nigella series starting. There's nothing that I've made of hers that hasn't turned out well!!! Great recipes!
The play is going really well and has had great reviews, which is fantastic.
At Watford Palace this week and move to Salisbury next. ( )
Now we are in a routine I must organise a Cake Club.
Watch out for me on Lorraine tomorrow and This Morning on Weds.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Thank Heavens for the crumbles!!

End of 2nd week of rehearsals. They are going well and I'm really enjoying the play and the company are great fun.
Unfortunately not had much time to do any baking or even cooking but I'm thrilled that there is another baker in the company, Matt, so we are going to set up a cake club and bake a different cake every week.
I'm still loving the Great British Bake off and this week it's puddings so I'll be looking oiut for new recipes and ideas!!!

At least we ate well this weekend!! Thank goodness for all those crumbles Gracie and I made. It was yummy !!!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Rehearsals tomorrow

Kenwood was a really great night with lovely performances from Faryl Smith, who reached the finals of Britain's got talent a few years ago and Wynne Evans, A brilliant tenor and very funny guy( great banter and stories ) Scones went down well too!!
Start rehearsals in Halifax tomorrow for new play 'The Game' details at
Really looking forward to meeting everyone but doubt I'll have much time for cooking.!

Scones for Kenwood!!

Well Celebrity Masterchef is over for another year!!!
Congratulations Lisa! Really disappointed for Christine though - had been routing for her, as you know, but realised she wouldn't do it when she messed up her final menu - although it's not supposed to be judged on that.Lisa's menu was lovely but felt Dick's was technically much harder and was also worthy of the title. Looking forward to the professionals now!!
Top tip from Konnie Huq on Friday on GMTV. An easy way for melting chocolate, especially when piping. Cut up choc really small and place in a plastic freezer bag. Dip the bag in a bowl of warm water until melted then snip off corner for piping. Brilliant !!! will try soon.
Saturday night we went to the last night of the proms at Kenwood House (luckily the rain stayed away!!).Our very good friends, Howard and Anthony, prepared a lovely picnic and I decided to do some scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
As I was busy Saturday day decided to use my mum's tip of preparing the dry mix the night before.
Put 1lb Self raising flour in the food processor with 4oz butter and whizz.
Place in large bowl and ad 4oz sugar and 4oz sultanas. Cover with cling film and go to bed.
Then in the morning put oven to 190oc and mix one egg in a measuring jug and make up to 1/2 pint with milk. Gradually add to dry mix until have dough. Cut out and brush with mix and sugar tops.
Into oven for about 15 mins.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A programme about baking - Hurrah !!!!!

The problem with being home all day with nothing to do (apart from cleaning, washing and ironing!!)is I watch too much tv !! Always been a square eyes!!
However, thrilled there are still so many cookery, food programmes on throughout the day.
Started with Ainsley throwing things on the barbecue ( doubt we'll have many more of those this Summer- hmm British weather!!).
Moved onto This Morning and Gino pinching ingredients from 'Happy Campers' to make them all a great meal.
Bit of a lull over lunch but can always catch a repeated 'Come dine with me' - seen them all so many times but still great viewing.
Then back to ITV and Michael Ball making chocolate pancakes with Jo Pratt. Really pleased to see her on tv. I love her books and often use her recipes for dinner parties - White bean and leek soup, really good and can be prepared in advance and the white chocolate and baileys cheesecake is to die for!!!Let's hope she starts making more appearances.
Now mid afternoon and washing dry so got on with some ironing and Gracie decide she wanted to make some cupcakes. Left her to it as I get a little frustrated by the mess!!!
Still ironing for Britain's best dish - interesting choices of dishes and contestants, assume there is an audition process to get to this stage!!
Needed to get out , so went for my swim ( try to go at least 4 times a week) and came back to cupcakes and kitchen with a film of icing sugar!!!!!Never mind, just thrilled she loves baking!!Settle down to dinner and the programme I've been waitng for all day- The Great Britsh Bake off.
So good to see Mel and Sue back together on tv ( used to love Light Lunch)and great to see the wonderful Mary Berry( a lady who really  knows her baking and can comment with great knowledge and empathy). She came to my local memorial hall a couple of years ago to promote a book and give a talk on her career. It was a really interesting afternoon (and I managed to get all my cookery books signed!!)
The programme was a good mix of history of baking and competion and totally agreed with the judges on the two who left. I know there's pressure in a competition but a competent baker whose reached this stage should know not to open the oven door mid way through cooking!!
So by the end of the day was completly cooked out - had a cupcake and went to bed!!!

Looking forward to 1st episode of the week of Celebrity Masterchef tonight. No doubt it will be full of drama.


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Why am I here ????

Ok !!!
I've been thinking of sharing my thoughts and tips for a while but have been spurred on this week by a few things.
1) It's Celebrity Masterchef final week and my mind has been taken back to this time last year, watching with interest and remembering all the fantastic things I learnt !!!! Really want Christine Hamilton to win ( a phrase I never thought I'd hear myself say!!!! ) however I think it's 90 % certain it will be one of the other 2.
Hence the name of my blog as this was what Greg called me a few times in the programme and I was thrilled.
2)Visited my mother in laws farm on Sunday and went for a walk and noticed that the blackberries are already ripening. My daughter, Gracie, was very enthusiastic  and insisted she come and help me pick some when we got home, ( more of that later).
and finally
3)Popped the tv on when I got to bed last night and was flicking through the channels and had to stop at Ideal World tv!!!!Has anyone ever heard of Clicart ? They have produced an amazing machine for cutting out icing shapes for cake decorating. Loved watching the machine working and the finished cakes but I can't imagine who would pay £500 to get those results!!!So, obviously, didn't succumb - however that was not the case a few weeks back with their Showroom Shine car wax - it really works !!!!! I'm either getting old or am just really sad !!!!! Answers please on a postcard!!

So, here I am.
Back to the blackberries. The common where I live is bursting with them. So Gracie and I set out with our tubs . A couple of hours later we arrived home with purple fingers and a little scratched but very pleased with our full tubs of sweet, beautifully ripe blackberries.
Next job was to make up crumbles for the freezer.
Gracie chopped up apples to add and I got out the tin foil trays bought in bulk from Costco (bargain!!)
Made a normal crumble mix - half butter and sugar quantity to plain flour quantity - and assembled 24 blackberry and apple crumbles to see us through the winter ( and maybe the next !!)
Gracie was very pleased with the results although I don't think she'll be eating them ( 10 and still has an aversion to fruit !!)  

Got a lazy! day at home today and preparing for going away on tour next week.
Doing a play called 'The Game' by Harold Brighouse for Northern Broadsides theatre company . Really looking forward to it but will be away from home , on and off, until 27th November so am stocking up the freezer for them. Just finished a big pot of chilli to freeze. Wednesday night has become known as Chilli night in our house as Gracie has ballet class till 7pm and it the easiest thing to prepare when we get in. Think this will last them !!!
My oven decided to pack in last Thursday so the lovely man from Britannia is here fixing it at the moment. It's been horrid not being able to bake etc but at least it was over a busy weekend!!

Any way enough for now - Go Christine !!!!