Don't just stand there - get baking
When a simple holiday treat is called for, think butter, flour, eggs and a couple of easy recipes.
A snappy little biscuit and a chocolate cake from Zest are easy enough for baking newbies but the look and the taste suggest days of thought and hours of work. Don't tell.
Adele's savoury biscuits
100g strong cheddar cheese
100g softened butter
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1 egg yolk
cup pistachio nuts, chopped
Grate cheese in food processor. Replace grater fitting with blade and add butter, cayenne, and flour. Whiz together until a ball is formed. Knead a little before rolling into a fat sausage. Wrap in cling film and chill until very firm.
Cut into slices about the thickness of a wine biscuit. Use a small cookie cutter to cut out the shape - or use a sharp knife and cut freehand shapes.
Re-roll the leftover dough into a small sausage and freeze for another day. Line an oven tray with baking paper and place biscuits, leaving plenty of room for them to spread. Whisk egg yolk with a fork, brush as a wash over top of biscuits then sprinkle each with a little chopped pistachios and salt crystals. Feel free to sprinkle a little chilli on top if you fancy it. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 to 12 minutes.
For the time-poor or super-organised, the dough can be made and frozen in sausage form ahead of time.
Vanna's chocolate and raspberry cake
The original recipe includes 1 tablespoon of marmalade but Vanna often made a chocolate cake in two sponge tins and filled it with raspberry jam, as well as adding a layer of jam before the icing.
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 Tbsp raspberry jam
140g baking chocolate, melted
225g plain flour sifted with 2 tsp baking powder
55g ground almonds
Heat oven to 160C. Grease and flour the sides and base of a 23cm baking tin and line the base with a circle of baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating each into the butter mix. Add the jam with the melted chocolate and stir in. Add the sifted flour and baking powder and the ground almonds and stir in.
Whip the egg whites into peaks, and carefully fold into the mixture. Pour into the baking tin and bake for 1 hour and 15-20 minutes. Let the cake cool a little in the tin before turning out. When it is cold spread with raspberry jam, and chocolate-butter icing.
To make icing beat 50g soft butter with 75g icing sugar and 1 Tbsp cocoa powder. Add 1 tsp boiling water a drop at a time until the icing is the right consistency to spread. Spread over the cake with a spatula or knife.