Food & Drink

Giant Pavlova with mixed berries and Salted Caramel

Giant Pavlova with mixed berries and Salted CaramelIf you are not keen on Christmas cake or Christmas pudding and are looking for something which is easy, relatively quick and not as heavy as our traditional seasonal sweets, our Antipodean cousins have the answer. Bearing in mind that it’s the height of their summer at this time of year the mixture of soft fruits is perfectly reasonable. But love them or loath them the super markets will supply you with all the fruits you’ll need. This take on a classic Pavlova is a reasonably modern Australian adaptation and is apparently very popular at Christmas and New Year. If anybody would like to assist in the research cost in verifying this, donations would be gratefully received!!!!


6 eggwhites

350g caster sugar

1 tbs white wine vinegar

1 tbs cornflour, sifted

1/3 cup (50g) icing sugar, sifted

600ml double cream

500g mixed berries

Salted caramel

2 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar

300ml double cream (at room temperature)

1/2-1 tsp sea salt flakes, to taste


(1) Preheat oven to 150C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

(2) Place eggwhite in the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 3-4 minutes to soft peaks. Add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next, whisking until mixture is glossy. Reduce speed to low, then add vinigar, cornflour and icing sugar, beating to combine. Spread mixture over the baking paper in a round or oblong shape, making a slight indent in the centre. Reduce oven to 130C and bake meringue for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave meringue in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1-2 hours until cooled completely. Remove from oven and place on a platter or serving board.

(3) Meanwhile, for the salted caramel, combine sugar with 1/2 cup (125ml) water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and cook, without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush, for 8-10 minutes until a golden caramel forms. Remove from heat and pour in cream (be careful, as mixture will bubble, then seize). Return pan to low heat, add salt to taste and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until smooth.

(4) To serve, whisk cream to soft peaks, then spread over meringue. Scatter over berries and drizzle with salted caramel.


Christmas Eve Baccala Napolitana

Christmas Eve Baccala NapolitanaA traditional Italian Christmas celebration is centered around a family feast on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve Baccala Napolitana is an iconic dish with it's roots buried deep in the past.

( Baccalà  - Salted Cod )


(1) When you pick out a piece of baccalà remember that the color of the meat should be close to white and the skin light colored. Stay away from meat with a yellow hue.

(2) If sold whole, try to buy a long, thick fish; if possible it should be a bit more than one-inch thick in the middle of the filet.

(3) Prior to soaking, cut your baccalà into large pieces. Cutting the fish before soaking helps speed up the re-hydration process.

(3) At least two days prior to cooking begin soaking your salted baccalà in fresh water (for at least 36-48 hours). First wash the pieces thoroughly, washing off all the salt on the surface, and then completely submerge in any container that will hold a lot of water; change the water at least three times a day (every eight hours or even more frequently). While soaking, keep the baccalà in a cool place. Refrigeration is not necessary.

(4) Just before cooking, peel off the skin and remove any bones—a pair of small pliers will be very helpful for this.


1/2 teaspoon cracked anise seed

1 teaspoon mace

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, washed 

1 onion, peeled

1/3 cup pitted olives

1/4 cup Capers in Salt, soaked and drained

5 cloves garlic

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 pounds baccalà, prepared

1 can Crushed Tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup Plain Breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 cups white wine


(1) To make the spice mixture, combine all of the dried spices with the exception of the bay leaves in a bowl.

(2) Slice the potatoes and onions and place in a large mixing bowl.

(3) With a food processor, pulse the olives, capers and garlic briefly—until roughly chopped. Add to potato and onion mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture and about 1/4 cup olive oil.

(4) Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

(5) Assemble the dish in a large casserole dish. First, layer 1/2 of the potato and onion mixture on the bottom of baking dish. Next, top with 1/2 of baccalà, then a half can of tomatoes. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of spice mixture, bay leaves, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano over tomatoes.

(6) Repeat layering with remaining ingredients, including the white wine. Top with remaining cheese, breadcrumbs and any spice mixture. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.

(7) Cover and bake.

(8) Cook for about 1 1/2 hours covered, then uncover the dish and lower heat to about 300˚F, cooking for another 30 minutes.. Depending on how you like the dish (with more or less liquid) you can let the dish cook longer.

(9) Remove from the oven and let it set covered for at least 45 minutes before serving.

Bayerischer Schweinebraten - Bavarian Christmas Pork Roast

Bayerischer Schweinebraten   (Bavarian Pork Roast)Traditional Christmas Eve is the great feasting occasion for the festive season in Germany. Christmas day reals comprise something a little more modest, but still mouth wateringly good.

Bayerischer Schweinebraten  - Bavarian Christmas Pork Roast Recipe


A nice cut of pork - roast size (about 3 -4 lbs)

1/2 lb Pork Bones

1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds

2 Onions

1 Carrot

1 Turnip (about 1/4 lb) 

1 Leek

Salt & Fresh Pepper

Guinness or Porter

Chicken Stock

2 tablespoons Flour




(Preheat oven to 400° F.)

(1) Score the rind deeply in two directions. Or ask your butcher to do this for you/ 

(2) Season the pork and the bones with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds.

(3) Cut each onion into wedges. Wash the carrot, turnip, and leek and cut these into cubes.

(4) In a frying pan, melt the butter. Sear the roast and bones on all sides. Remove the roast and bones, then add 1 cup stock to the frying pan, and with a wooden spoon, scrape off any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. 

(5) Put roast and bones in a large roasting pan and pour the pan juices over them. Add the vegetables to the roasting pan as well.

(6) Bake the meat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Every 15-20 minutes, pour some of the dark beer over the meat to baste it and moisten the meat.

(7) Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the roast to a plate, cover to keep warm.

(8) Pour the pan drippings and juices through a sieve into a saucepan.   Combine the flour and 3 tablespoons stock.  Slowly drizzle this into the gravy, whisking so that no lumps form.  Bring the gravy to a boil.  Season with salt and pepper.

(9) Cut the roast into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange the slices on a serving plate, and drizzle with a little gravy. Serve with the crackling attached.


The Kings Arms - North Duffield

The Kings Arms - North DuffieldThe Kings Arms in located in the heart of the village of North Duffield by the village green, just off the  A163 between Skipwith and Budwith.

In addition to the great traditional pub atmosphere at the bar, they have a comfortable conservatory which seats 32. The Kings Arms can accommodate parties of up to 90 dining guests and are pleased to cater for family functions such as weddings and christenings etc.

Their home cooked menu is available here. There are also have daily specials and a Sunday carvery from 12 to 5pm. You can book your table for larger parties by clicking here. There are also regular events throughout the year. Details can be found here.

It’s great to find a traditional village pub thriving in times when all we seem to hear is bad news about the pub industry. Village pubs should be seen as the heart of the community and supported in their pivotal role. So next time you are in the area, call in for a pint and a bite to eat. Mark and his staff will offer you a very warm welcome…

The Kings Arms, Main Street, North Duffield, Selby. North Yorkshire. YO8 5RG

01757 288492

The Origins of Christmas Pudding

The Origins of Christmas PuddingChristmas, or Plum Pudding is the traditional end to the British Christmas dinner. But what we think of as Christmas Pudding, is nothing like the original.......

Christmas pudding originated as a 14th century porridge called 'frumenty' that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. This would often be more like soup and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities. By 1595, frumenty was slowly changing into a plum pudding, having been thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and given more flavour with the addition of beer and spirits. It became the customary Christmas dessert around 1650. In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding. By Victorian times, Christmas Puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.

Over the years, many superstitions have surrounded Christmas Puddings. One superstition says that the pudding should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and His Disciples and that every member of the family should take turns to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west, in honour of the Wise Men.

The Sunday before Advent Sunday is sometimes know as 'Stir-up Sunday'. This is because opening words of the Collect for the day (the main prayer) in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 said:-

"Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

During Victorian times, puddings in big and rich houses were often cooked in fancy moulds, similar to jelly moulds. These were often in the shapes of towers or castles. Normal people just had puddings in the shape of balls. If the pudding was a bit heavy, they were called cannonballs!




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