9oz dark brown sugar
4oz unsalted butter
12oz plain flour
0.75pint boiling water
2oz chopped pitted dates
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
2 medium sized eggs
1.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1.5 teaspoons vanilla essence
Sticky toffee Christmas Pudding
with brandy caramel sauce
1. Pour the boiling water onto the dates, currants, sultanas and raisins and add the bicarbonate of soda. Allow to cool.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until soft.
3. Add the eggs and beat them into the mixture.
4. Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla essence and mix in well.
5. Finally, add the fruits and water mix and then mix together thoroughly.
6. Spoon mix into pudding basins which have been thorougholy buttered and dusted with flour. I tend to use individula pudding bowls each holding approximately 3oz of mixture but you can bake in a large fairly shallow tin or cake mould. Again, make sure the tin is well buttered and dusted with flour.
7. Bake for approximately 18 minutes at 170 degrees in a fan assisted oven. (180 degrees for a conventional oven).
8. Tip the puddings out whilst they are still warm or they will stick to the mould.
For the Caramel sauce
4oz caster sugar
1 pint double cream
Brandy to taste
1. Place the sugar into a fairly large pan and apply to a direct heat. The sugar will start to burn fairly quickly so stir it around with a medium sized whisk.
2. Allow the sugar to turn to caramel and once a medium to dark amber colour is achieved, add the cream and stir constantly until the sugar disperses into the cream. Be very careful when doing this as it creates a very hot steam.
3. Allow the sauce to boil back up and the sugar to dissolve. This will thicken it up.
4. Add brandy to taste and pour over the portions of sticky toffee Christmas pudding and serve with vanilla ice cream.
150g Scottish oatcakes
50g unsalted butter
200g goats cheese
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 red onion
1 plum tomato
100ml tomato juice
25ml malt vinegar
75g caster sugar
1 cooking onion
salt and pepper
Mixed leaves to garnish
with Sweet and Sour vegetables
1. Using a food blender, turn the oat cakes into crumbs and add the butter ensuring it is cold and firm.
2. Once it is well mixed and soft, press this into the bottom of each serving dish or stainless steel ring. Each receptacle should be able to hold approximately 5oz of food. Chill for an hour.
3. Puree the goats cheese also in the food blender until very soft and creamy. You may, at this stage add 100ml of double cream if you wish. This will make the cheese a little less strong in taste.
4. Spoon the mix into the rings, filling them to the top. Smooth the top over making it nice and flat with a palette knife. Rest in fridge until required.
5. Cut the peppers, courgette, aubergine and red onion into small squares approx 10mm in size. Save any trimmings you have except the seeds and skins.
6. Put the tomato juice, vinegar, sugar, orange juice and segments and cooking onion into a pan and bring to a boil. Add the trimmings from the other vegetables and simmer for an hour or so until it thickens.
7. Gently pan fry or roast the diced vegetables to soften them and give a little colour. Be sure to regularly stir them to avoid the edges burning.
8. Pass the sweet and sour liquid through a strainer and add the softened vegetables to the sauce. Remember to season with the salt and pepper.
9. Blanche the tomato in boiling water for 10 seconds and plunge straight into ice cold water for a minute. Remove the skin and seeds and dice fairly finely to decorate the plate.
10. Place your cheesecake in the centre of the plate. Spoon the sweet and sour vegetables over and around and decorate with some fresh leaves and diced tomato.