Hot Cross Bun & Butter Pudding


It’s Spring and the weather is starting to heat up a little. Flowers are starting to show and share their beautiful colours with the world as they awaken from winter. It’s Easter this weekend; a time for rebirth, and the clocks ‘Spring forward’ giving us lighter nights to enjoy.

I’ve not quite joined the cold pudding club yet, as the nights can still give us a chill, so I’ve decided to choose an old favourite for my recipe creation with the Central England Co-Operative and bring you a twist on a bread & butter pudding, but using hot cross buns instead, and adding extra fruit.  These red berry hot cross buns are absolutely delicious and I’m really glad I didn’t use both packets when making my recipe as I know I’ve got spares to enjoy toasted with butter and a coffee tomorrow evening.  This is how I’ve made my Hot Cross Bun & Butter Pudding.  All my ingredients are Co-Operative own brand products:


Unsalted butter

6 red berry hot cross buns

1 punnet blueberries

4 large eggs

300ml double cream

30ml milk

Dark chocolate infused with orange oil

Custard to serve


1. Preheat your oven to 160°C.

2. Slice your hot cross buns horizontally and butter both of the cut sides.


3. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish.

4. Place the bottom slices of the buns, buttered side down, into the base of your dish.  Cutting them to fit the gaps.


5. Sprinkle the blueberries over the buns.

6. Using the cross on the bun tops, cut the bun tops into strips about 1.5cm wide. Make a cross with these, cut side down.

7. Cut the remaining pieces into chunks and place them around your cross, cut side up to give a contrast.


8. Beat the eggs, cream and milk together and pour over the hot cross buns.


9. Allow this to soak into the buns for 5 minutes.


10. Break the chocolate squares into smaller pieces and use to outline your cross.


11. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the egg and cream mixture has set.


12. Serve with custard.

This recipe was created for the Central England Co-Operative. I received vouchers to purchase my ingredients to create this recipe.

Christmas Cheat Treats with the Central England Co-Operative


When invited by the Central England Co-operative to work with them again to bring you tips on how to make Christmas easy and stress free, then what better way to do this than via the dessert table? Using some bought ingredients, along with a just a little, easy, home made preparation, I’m bringing you not one, but four sweet cheat treats to make your Christmas entertaining a breeze!

I bought:

* frozen puff pastry and used some homemade mincemeat (you could buy a jar of mincemeat to make it even easier on yourself, but I had some already made).

* jelly and a bottle of Prosecco to make a grown up, fizzy wobbly treat.

* cappuccino swiss roll, dark and milk chocolate with a tub of double cream to create the most deliciously easy chocolate ganache covered Yule log.

* ready made Christmas pudding and some butter and icing sugar to make the perfect rum butter pudding.


To make your Yule Log, firstly you need to make a ganache.  Simply take 200g dark chocolate and 100g milk chocolate and break/cut this into small pieces (the smaller the better as it’ll melt quicker).  Place this into a large bowl.  Pour 250ml double cream into a saucepan and heat very gently until hot, but not boiling, then pour this over the chocolate pieces.  Leave to sit for a couple of minutes until the chocolate starts to melt, then stir until fully melted.  At this stage I added a couple of tablespoons of Amaretto to my melted chocolate and cream mixture as I’d bought a cappuccino swiss roll and was going to make a tiramisu inspired Yule Log, but you can leave the alcohol out of yours, if you like.  Leave your Ganache somewhere cool for about 30 minutes to start to set and firm up. Don’t allow this to set hard or it’ll be too difficult to work with and to cover your swiss roll. Gently and slowly pour a couple of caps full of amaretto over your Swiss roll, allowing it to soak into the sponge (again, omit the alcohol if you want to share this with the kids!)

When your ganache is cool, and has started to thicken, spread it thickly onto your swiss roll and roughly leave a ‘bark/knot’ pattern in the chocolate to represent a log.


To make the grown up fizzy jelly. Following the packet instructions, break/cut up the jelly into small pieces (I use scissors and cut it into small pieces as they dissolve quicker).  Pour over up to 200ml boiling water and stir until the jelly has dissolved.  Carefully open the bottle of Prosecco and use this to make the jelly up to 500ml. Pour into serving dishes or glasses and leave somewhere to cool and set firm.


For your mince pies, preheat your oven to 200°C onto a floured board, roll out your pastry evenly until it’s about the depth of a pound coin. Using a cutter that’s larger than your tart tin, cut 12 rounds of pastry and use these to line the tin indentations.  Place a generous teaspoon of your mincemeat into each of the pastry rounds.  Using the leftover pastry, cut stars or other shapes to top your mince pies.  Brush the tops of the pastry with beaten egg to glaze, being careful not to allow it to drip down between the pastry base and the tin as this will cause your mince pies to stick.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the tops are golden and the pastry has puffed.  Remove to a wire rack to cool, then sprinkle with icing sugar to give them a festive dusting of ‘snow’.


To go with my Christmas pudding, I’ve made a delicious rum butter.  This is one of the easiest things to make as it only takes three ingredients: unsalted butter, icing sugar and rum!  Allow your butter to reach room temperature as this will make it easier to mix. The rule of thumb here is to use twice as much icing sugar as butter, therefore for 250g butter, you’d need 500g icing sugar.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter and the icing sugar together gently (adding the icing sugar in small amounts until combined, to avoid you, the house and entire neighbourhood being covered in a sweet, white dusting of sugar).  When fully combined, turn up the speed and whip it until it becomes light in texture.  Add a couple of capfuls of rum (or your preferred spirit), then beat again to incorporate it fully.  Taste and add more rum if you like.


So, there you go; four tasty treats, all of which have a little cheat attached to make your dessert table one to be envied and for you to enjoy as you’ve had a little help to make each of them stress free.


Wishing you a very Merry ‘stress free’ Christmas from the Central England Co-Operative, my family and myself.



I was provided with vouchers from the Central England Co-Operative to purchase ingredients to take part in this campaign.


Wine Review – Central England Co-Operative – Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay & Pinot Noir


This month for the Central England Co-Operative We Like Wine Blog, I’ve chosen to go for something with a little bit of fizz to celebrate what is finally summer; a Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Australia.  Sparkling wines tend to be fermented twice, as opposed to once for still wines, where the second fermentation produces the bubbles that we all love!image

Britain first started to become aware of the emerging wine growers of Australia in the 1990s, and by 2008 we were consuming more Australian wines than we were French and that love of Australian wines continues to grow today. With the diverse terrain and temperature range that can be found in Australia, you will find many varieties of grapes being grown and therefore a diverse amount of flavours being available to you.

Champagne tends to be made from the Chardonnay and Pinor Noir grapes from the ‘Champagne’ region of France.  The Chardonnay grapes introduce a crisp, citrus flavour whilst the Pinot Noir grape tends to produce a lightly coloured, medium bodied, low tannin wine. This wine from Jacob’s Creek incorporates both of these grapes and all of the flavours of ‘champagne’ without the associated price tag.

Sitting in the garden as the sun was going down on a Saturday evening, whilst enjoying a delicious dinner of roast and sweet potato wedges, chicken breasts stuffed with basil and haggis then wrapped with proscuito along with a serving of roasted onions and peppers, was the perfect accompaniment to this beautifully chilled bottle of wine.


I was sent a voucher with which to purchase this bottle of wine, which retails at £7.99. (Price as at 04/07/2015).

Father’s Day Dinner with Central England Co-Operative


This year, in the UK, we find Father’s Day being celebrated on Sunday 21st June. Personally for me and my family, this isn’t the easiest Father’s Day to celebrate as my own dad is in hospital and is currently very unwell. As a result, he won’t be at home with us to celebrate his special day, but will be visited by mum, my sisters, brother and myself as well as his grandchildren where we will tell him he’s loved and wish him a speedy recovery to come home again.

Dad loves what he calls a ‘proper dinner’ and I know he would love this one and that his plate would be empty after he’s enjoyed his dinner. In honour and to respect my dad, this one is for him, with love from his baby girl…

Serves 4

5 Medium potatoes
2 Sweet Potatoes
2 Red onions
25g Butter
8 Lamb leg steaks
Beef stock pot/cube
15ml Mint Sauce concentrate


1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C (150˚C fan).
2. Peel the potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions and slice thinly into 2mm slices.

image3. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a dish with the butter.
4. Place the potatoes in layers in the bottom of the dish.
5. Top the potatoes with the sliced onions.

image6. Arrange a layer of the sweet potatoes on top of the potatoes and onions.

7. Lay the lamb leg steaks on top of the sweet potatoes.image
8. Add a final layer of sweet potatoes on top of the lamb leg steaks.
9. Make the stock pot/cube up to 500ml with boiling water and stir until fully dissolved.
10. Add the mint sauce concentrate and stir to mix.
11. Pour the stock and mint sauce over the potatoes and lamb.


12. Cover the dish with foil.



12. Cook for 2 hours until the potatoes are cooked and the lamb is tender.

12. Serve with steamed cauliflower and minted Yorkshire puddings and gravy.