Rocky Road Bites

Winter has well and truly arrived and as I write this post, huddled under a blanket for warmth I am dreaming of a warm cup of tea and a sweet treat.

With Christmas around the corner, our favourite chefs adorn our TV screens sharing festive recipes for mince pies, chocolate logs and Christmas cakes. While they all taste really good, let’s be honest they can be a tad time consuming to make. Continue reading

Carrot and Cumin Soup

My culinary mojo seems to have disappeared over the last few months and there have been a few disasters including a gloppy pumpkin ravioli and a soggy bottomed apple tart Paul Hollywood would have raised an eyebrow at.

The easiest way to return to form is to get the basics right – in footballing terms keep a clean sheet and score a goal – and it was time to make a pot of soup, because (with the exception of a very peppery vegetable broth during the poor run) I make good soup.

Thankfully this carrot and cumin soup was a definite goal – a sentiment the husband agreed with as he returned for a second bowl. With the flavour of sweet carrot and smoky cumin this is the perfect soup to warm you up on a cold evening.

With one win under my belt and the festive period looming there will be ample opportunity to practice my pastry skills making mince pies and to make this a true tale of triumph over adversary I suppose the pasta maker will eventually have to come out of retirement …so stay tuned for a pumpkin ravioli recipe sometime soon!

Carrot and Cumin soup (recipe yields four good sized bowls)



  • ½ an onion diced
  • 6 medium sized carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds (roughly crushed using a pestle and mortar)
  • 6-10 black peppercorns (roughly crushed using a pestle and mortar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 10 grams of butter
  • ½ cup of milk


  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds, peppercorns and onion. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are soft.
  • Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes into chunks, add to the saucepan and reduce to a medium heat.
  • Mix the onion through the vegetables and sauté for a further 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the stock and simmer for a further 20 to 30 minutes until the vegetable are soft.
  • Allow the soup to cool slightly, use a blender to pulse the vegetables, creating a smooth and velvety mixture. Add 1/2 a cup of milk and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Return the soup to the heat and warm through before serving.
  • Top tip: delicious with a slice of fresh wheaten bread!



Mince Pies

Love or loathe them mince pies are a festive treat likely to be found tucked away in most pantries this Christmas.

While I am not particularly fond of mince pies, during the festive period I do eat the odd one for the sake of it and because it is Christmas.

A few weeks ago I made mince pies for the Christmas Market – sometimes you just have to take one for the team – and my version turned out rather well actually. Continue reading

‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly: Sold Out At The Christmas Market

Tonight Lord Sugar will choose his new business partner in The Apprentice Final, a programme that often leaves me shouting at the TV screen as the teams battle to make his Lordship cash.

Watching from the comfort of an arm chair it is easy to pin point errors such as poor branding, the wrong product selection or a flawed pricing strategy, and think I could do better than that.

Well a few weeks ago I had an opportunity like this at the Orba Health and Well Being Christmas Market, run by Bridin Mullan. Continue reading