Apple roses

Do you remember we said that we had tried out some new recipes for Thanksgiving? (And was that really just two weeks ago?)

Well, one of them was for these apple roses, which we thought would be a cute version of apple pie:


They should really have some icing sugar sprinkled over them, but more about that later…

We’d seen several recipes for these on Pinterest so decided to give them a go. They seemed pretty simple – but we all know about things that seem simple on Pinterest….

Anyway, these are actually pretty simple. This is our recipe, which is based on a mixture of several that we found online, but sadly doesn’t have the same fancy photography as any of them! These would be equally good for Christmas.


2 or 3 eating apples (preferably with red peel)

squeeze of lemon juice

sheet of ready rolled puff pastry

2 teaspoons of jam (apricot for preference but a ginger preserve would be delicious) mixed with 1 teaspoon of water and heated

ground cinnamon

icing sugar for dusting



Heat the oven to 375°/190°.

Grease a non-stick muffin tin with some butter.

Core the apples, cut them in half, put the cut side down and slice across. The slices must be really thin. Put the slices into a microwaveable bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon in it.


Microwave for about a minute – just until the slices are floppy.

Unroll the puff pastry, roll out slightly more with a rolling pin and then cut into 8 strips.


Then spread a little of the jam/water mix on one strip, sprinkle with a little cinnamon. (If you wanted to make them especially Christmassy, you could use mincemeat, which wouldn’t need mixing with water.)


Then place overlapping slices of apple along the top length and fold the pasty over like this:


You’ll need 7 or 8 slices of apple for each one. Then just roll up from top to bottom – this is actually easier than it sounds because the slices of apple are floppy – and place in the tin.

Then bake for 30 – 40 minutes. keep an eye on them though – because the apple slices are so thin, they burn easily. If it looks like the apple will burn before the pastry is cooked, cover them with some greaseproof paper. It’s important that the pasty is cooked all the way through.

Ours came out looking like the picture at the top. When they are cold, sprinkle with icing sugar. Sadly we don’t have a picture of that stage because we were running late and by the time the roses were cold, our guests had arrived so we prioritised drinks and canapés instead. And then when it was time to serve them, it didn’t really seem appropriate to start taking photos!

But they went down very well. If you left one of these for Father Christmas with a glass of the Christmas pudding spiced rum, he would either think you were very nice or that you had been very naughty indeed and were trying to make up for it at the last minute!






Another cake!


Remember the heart-shaped cake we made for Valentine’s Day? Well, we used the heart mould to make this guy for a birthday. We made the same chocolate cake and then cut it in half. We used the top half for the dog’s face, as it was slightly domed, and then cut the bottom to make the ears. It’s easiest to use the   top as a template and cut a curved shape so that they fit together properly. There’s a boat-shaped bit of cake left over – cook’s perks!


Then we just decorated with two different frostings, some fudge chunks for the whisker marks, two Galaxy Minstrels for eyes and chocolate writing icing for the mouth. The recipient was delighted and we were pleased to have found another use for the heart-shaped cake tin which otherwise is a bit occasion specific!


Wonder what else can be made out of heart-shaped cake?

Christmas Pudding Spiced Rum Recipe

We decided to test this recipe for Christmas Pudding Spiced Rum from the current Waitrose Kitchen magazine – isn’t that nice of us? You’re welcome! No really, not too much trouble at all…The recipe takes two weeks to infuse, so if you start today it will be ready by Christmas!

The ingredients are:

70cl bottle dark rum 
2 vanilla pods
2 large cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
3 whole cloves
75g light brown muscovado sugar
1 orange

First of all, a disclaimer. We didn’t have quite the right ingredients, but decided to go ahead anyway. We didn’t have any light brown muscovado sugar so used some dark brown soft sugar that was in the cupboard (it’s a moist sugar like muscovado, so it should be OK). And we only had one cinnamon stick so decided to just add an extra one in the next day. 

The method is:
1 Pour 100ml rum into a small saucepan. Using a small sharp knife, split the vanilla pods down their length, then add to the pan with the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and sugar. Using a vegetable peeler, pare thin strips of peel from the orange and add to the pan. Slowly  warm the rum over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar; do not allow it to boil.

2 Pour the contents of the pan into a large, sterilised jar, then add the remaining rum. Once cool, tightly seal the lid and shake vigorously. Leave the rum in a cool, dark place and give it a good shake every day to muddle the spices.

3 After 2 weeks, strain and discard the whole spices and orange peel. Decant the rum into small new, sterilised bottles (or a larger one, if you prefer) to give to your lucky friends. 
So that’s it. The rum is in the cupboard being muddled; we’re trying not to get muddled preparing for Christmas. We’ll report back on the rum when it’s ready, by which time we may be more or less muddled than now!
(Just so we’re clear, Waitrose owns the copyright to the recipe – although we take full responsibility for the pictures other than the one of the magazine itself.)

Happy 4th July!

That’s it really – happy 4th July! 
Love the photo above – if you are going to make a statement, make it a big one. As for the photo below,  at Hingham House the garden is all ready for planning tonight’s dinner. 

The book on the table is a much-loved first edition Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, originally published in 1950 by McGraw Hill (copyright General Mills Inc), but a facsimile edition was published in 1998 by John Wiley and Sons and is available here from Amazon. It’s a delight if you love old cook books and has this recipe for a cherry pie, complete with a hatchet decoration:

The caption suggests it would be suitable to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, but we think it would be equally suitable today too.
Happy 4th July!