Archive for the ‘ recipes ’ Category


…these are so good together with  Christmas pudding, that you’d think it was a traditional combination…


1/2 pint (1 cup) chilled whipping cream or heavy cream,  2 Tbsp powdered sugar,  2 tsp vanilla extract

Sift the powdered sugar.

Lay ice cubes in the bottom of a 3 quart metal bowl, and cover them with water.  Nest a second 3 quart metal bowl on top.  For crème  Chantilly  use whipping cream, for whipped cream use heavy cream. Pour the cream into the second bowl, and beat it SLOWLY – with a LARGE BALLOON WHIP, circulating the whip all around the bowl, and lifting the cream as you whip it. Gradually increase the whipping speed, as the cream begins to foam, until a bit of cream lifted and dropped onto the surface will softly retain its shape. For crème Chantilly stop whipping here. For whipped cream, continue until a bit of cream lifted and dropped onto the surface comes near to retaining its shape.

Before serving, fold in the sugar and vanilla essence.

Serves 4 or more…



1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup white sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence

Best to use a heavy iron skillet or other ironware…

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form around the edge – do not heat it further and do not let it boil.

Heat the sugar in a large, heavy iron skillet, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar begins to melt, reduce the heat to low. Continue to stir constantly until the sugar has entirely melted and is a light brown color.

Gradually add the warm cream, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth. If some of the sugar crystallizes out, heat again, stirring constantly, until the crystals dissolve again.)

Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla essence.

(If you are making this in a regular pan, add 2 tsp sugar to allow for crystallizing out.)

…a tasty Bean Casserole!!!



It’s the onion powder makes all the difference…


2 cups green beans, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 6 Tbs flour, 1 Tbs onion powder, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 2 cups milk, 7 Tbs butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Set 5 Tbs of the butter to melt.  Wash the green beans and dry them completely. When butter is melted, stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Add the milk gradually, stirring until the mixture thickens. Fold in the green beans, Spread cheese over the top.

In a separate pan melt the remaining butter, then stir in the bread crumbs and onion  powder.  Spread this mixture over the cheese, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

…more often known as “royal icing” which is a British phrase… here is the recipe from the personal collection of Sir Kenelm Digby – a courtier of King Charles I of England,  cosmopolitan and gourmet…



…[orange flower-water or rose-water, powdered sugar, an egg white, lemon-juice, optional dissolved amber, optional essence of cinnamon]

…you must Ice them thus: Make a thick pap with Orange flower or Rose-water, and purest white Sugar: a little of the whites of Eggs, not above half a spoonful of that Oyl of Eggs, to a Porrenger* full of thick Pap, beaten exceeding well with it, and a little juyce of Limons. Lay this smooth upon the Cakes with a Knife, and smoothen it with a feather. Then set the pan over them to dry them… Repeat this, till it be as clear, and smooth, and white, as you would have it… You may beat dissolved Amber, or Essence of Cinnamon, with them.

* a “porringer” is a shallow bowl with a handle


Years ago, Peter used to sing in the chapel choir at St. John’s College, Oxford. This Christmas Punch recipe, written down on the back of a postcard by Lady Southern, wife of the college president,  brings back many, many  happy memories…


70 fl oz red wine (almost 3 bottles),  15 cloves, 3 sticks cinnamon, 3 oranges, 4 bay leaves, 3 or 4 allspice berries, sugar to taste, optional port, brandy, sloe gin or cointreau to taste

Slice the oranges.  Stew the spices,  oranges and bay-leaves in a quarter of the wine (approx. 17 fl. oz.) for at least an hour.  Mash it a bit to get the orange juice. Add to the rest of the wine and sweeten considerably, to taste.

Add optional port, brandy, sloe gin or cointreau to taste.

Serve hot, but do not let it boil at any time.



4 pheasant breasts (with the wings still attached), 2 level Tbs tarragon and thyme mustard, 1/4 pint whipping cream, 2 or 3 Tbs brandy, 1 1/2 oz. butter, 1 Tbs peanut, walnut, or olive oil, salt and pepper, fresh tarragon or parsley

A week or so ahead of time, add fresh tarragon and thyme to regular or Jack Daniels mustard. Let sit in the fridge, to become the tarragon and thyme mustard.

Preheat an iron skillet.

Remove the skin from the pheasant breasts.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter and oil and add the pheasant breasts. Cook  g e n t l y  for 15 minutes or so, turning at least twice until golden brown and just cooked through.  Pour the brandy over and set alight.  Remove and keep warm.

Stir the mustard into the juices in the skillet.  Remove from the heat, and keep stirring. When smooth, stir in the cream and blend well.  Reheat gently, and adjust the seasoning.

Arrange the pheasant breasts on plate(s) to be served. When the sauce is a good temperature, spoon over the breasts and garnish with fresh tarragon or parsley.

Serve immediately.

Monica’s ginger-snap Pizzelle…


For Rod,  Christmas-time is a time when the smells of vanilla, almond, ginger, and lemon are wafting through the house:   Christmas cookies… and above all,  Monica’s ginger snap pizzelle, with powdered sugar sprinkled on top!  The pizzelle  are wafer-thin!  And… “Before I know it the delicate treat is devoured.  Thank goodness there are so many!”…

…the recipe is Monica’s invention:  “For years I have made pizzelle as one of my holiday cookies:  the recipe has been in my family since before I can remember,  and can be made with a variety of different extracts.  Lemon, orange, vanilla, almond and anise were the ones I recall form my childhood. As I got older…  I found that the one flavor missing from my holiday cookie trays was ginger, so… I decided to cross breed the zesty gingersnap with the crisp and light pizzelle.  Here is the result…”

The yield is dependent on the size of  pizzelle iron.  And it’s best to buy the ground ginger fresh, every season.


1 cup butter,  2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup dark molasses, 6 eggs, 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 Tbsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 3 Tbsp freshly grated ginger, powdered sugar to finish

Melt the butter, and allow to cool some – but not solidify.

Beat the eggs well, combine with the sugar and molasses, and beat again.  Once incorporated, add the butter and vanilla slowly.  It may look lumpy or coagulated. but that is ok.  Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, in this order: both gingers, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder… if using a whip, switch to the wooden spoon to add the flour. Once all incorporated,  the dough should be solid but very soft.  It should be easy to form with spoons.

Allow the dough to rest briefly while you preheat your pizzelle  iron for about 5-10 minutes.

Use two spoons to drop a large marble to golf-ball sized ball of dough on to each pattern of your pizzelle iron.  If your iron is new to you,  you can experiment with the proper quantity.  You want the dough to press out to the edges but not overflow the iron when you close it.  If it overflows it can be trimmed immediately while still hot and soft   (if you wait too long the cookie will cool and become too brittle to trim.)

  • Some irons have a “ready” light to let you know when it is done,  but many do not.  Just watch the steam coming from the dough.  When it diminishes to almost invisible the cookie is probably done.  You are looking for a golden brown color.

After the first five are done the iron will be at its typical heat and you can time the rest based on the perfect color in your iron.

After baking, remove each cookie immediately and trim if necessary. For maximum crispness allow to cool completely on the cooling racks before packaging.

Before serving, sprinkle each cookie with powdered sugar.

Peter is an alum of Oxford University, England – and from the college archives he bakes this Christmas cake recipe – by Randolphus Ayres – every Christmas.

It’s at its best two to four weeks after you bake it, so anytime soon after Thanksgiving is perfect.


8 oz flour, 8 oz. wholewheat flour, 2 lb golden raisins, 3 oz candied peel, 1/2 oz  powdered nutmeg, mace, cinnamon (all mixed together), 15 powdered cloves, 9 oz brown sugar, 2 eggs plus 3 yolks, 3 fl. oz  sherry, 11 fl. oz beer, 2 tsp dried yeast, 15 oz heavy cream, 1/2 lb unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Set the butter to melt.  Dissolve the yeast in the beer to make a reasonable facsimile of ale-barm.  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the sherry, eggs, egg-yolks, beer and yeast.  Stir in the cream and melted butter.  Leave it all to stand in a  warm   place for an hour.  The mixture should rise and it will still be very sloppy. That’s ok. Grease 2  cake tins, line the base with parchment paper and pour in the mixture. Wrap a thick layer of newspaper round the outside of the tins.  Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, then turn the temperature down to 300 degrees. Bake for a further 1  hour  and 20 minutes. Test with a skewer or toothpick.  When the the toothpick comes out pretty much dry,  turn the oven off, and leave the cakes in the oven to cool with the oven door ajar.

Randolphus Ayres did not specify it, but this cake is outstanding with the traditional marzipan and “royal icing”.