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Our Branches Festive Favourites

Published: 18/12/2019

Each of our branches have suggested their favourite Christmas recipes or shared their top tips for the festive season!

Burnham Market

Burnham Market’s top mince pie tips!

Karen from the Burnham Market Office has shared with us how she makes her scrumptious mince pies. Take a look at her top tip!
“A gorgeous tip for mince pies is to make your pies in the usual way and then add a teaspoon of cream cheese and grated orange rind to put on the cheese – simply scrumptious!”

Deck the halls with…mince pie macarons fa la la la la la 

We had two suggestions from the Burnham Market office and this one is a homemade recipe from Spencer’s daughter. With a Christmas twist to your typical macaron, this is definitely a brilliant festive dessert!


140g icing sugar
130g ground almonds
3 eggs
90g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g unsalted butter
80g icing sugar
1/2 tsp milk
2 tsp mincemeat + extra
Edible pens in green and red


1. Combine the icing sugar and the almond flour together by processing in a blender or food processor, leave them in their until later.
2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites by passing the yolk between the two halves of the shell over a large bowl, letting as much white as possible fall through each time, until all the whites are left in the bowl.
3. Beat the egg whites until they become foamy, at this point begin to gradually add the caster sugar until glossy, stiff peaks form in your meringue. For extra flavour add your vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
4. Sift the almonds and icing sugar into the meringue, discarding any large almond  chunks, once sifted, take a silicone spatula and gently fold the dry into the wet, being careful not to take too much air out of it. You know that the mixture is done when it is combined and the mixture gently falls of the spatula but be careful that it isn’t too runny.
5. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a nozzle that is about 1 cm wide. On a large, limed baking tray, pipe out 40 macaron halves, about 1 inch wide, being careful not to pipe them too close together. When all the macarons are piped, bang the tray down on the table a few times to get a smooth top, and let any air bubbles rise to the top.
6. Leave your piped mixture to sit for about 30 minutes, until a skin forms over the top so that you can run your finger along the top without any batter coming off.
7. Place your tray on the middle shelf of your oven and bake at 160°c for 8-10 minutes. Take them out and wait for them to fully cool before taking them off the tray.

1. Put your softened butter into a medium bowl and beat until pale, then gradually sift in the icing sugar and carry on beating with an electric mixer.
2. Take your buttercream and add in 2 tsp of mincemeat, adding more icing sugar if the buttercream becomes too liquid

1. First pair up your individual shells with others that are a similar size. (Optional) take one of the two shells and using your edible pens, draw two holly leaves with three berries in between.
2. Put your buttercream into a piping bag with a 1cm tip and pipe a ring of buttercream in the non-holly shell, going to the edges. Then in the middle of the ring spoon a bit of mincemeat and put the top on
3. Repeat with all and enjoy!


Fakenham's top recipe to make your parsnips out of this world!

Ginny from the Fakenham branch has suggested one of the ‘Delia Smith’s’ recipes that is one of her favourites during the Christmas season.

2 oz (50 g) freshly grated Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano); see recipe introduction
2½ lb (1.25 kg) parsnips
6 oz (175 g) plain flour
groundnut or other flavourless oil for baking
a knob of butter
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).
Using a fan-assisted oven? Click here

You will also need a large, solid roasting tin.

Begin by combining the flour, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
Peel the parsnips using a potato peeler. Then halve and quarter them lengthways and cut each length in half across, so that you end up with smallish chunks. Cut out any tough woody centres. Now pop the parsnips in a saucepan, pour in enough boiling water just to cover them and add salt. Put on a lid, bring them to the boil and boil for 3 minutes. Meanwhile have a large kitchen tray ready. Then, as soon as they are ready, drain them in a colander and, whilst they are still steaming, drop a few at a time (with the aid of some kitchen tongs) into the flour and parmesan mixture, shaking the bowl and moving them around so that they get a good even coating. As they are coated transfer them to the tray. Make sure you do them all fairly swiftly as the flour mixture will only coat them whilst they are still steamy! When they're all coated they are ready to cook or store in the fridge or freeze.

Any leftover flour and Parmesan can be kept (sifted) in the fridge or freezer for another time. What is important is to have plenty in order to coat the parsnips quickly.
To bake them, place a large solid roasting tin in the oven to pre-heat and in it put enough oil just to cover the base and a knob of butter for flavour. Then, when the oven is ready, remove the tin and place it over direct heat (turned fairly low) and, again using tongs, place the parsnips quickly side by side in the tin. Tilt it and baste all the parsnips with hot fat, place the tin in the oven and bake them for 20 minutes, then turn them over, drain off any surplus fat (a bulb baster is good for this) and continue to bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until they are crisp and golden.


Fancy an alternative, homemade snack to have this Christmas?

Octavia from the Dereham office has shared her own Christmas creation that will blow you away. This sweet and savoury delight may find itself on your Christmas table this year! Although this does not have a name, I think the best way to describe is… “Cherries in Blankets?”

Bacon Rashers

Open the packet of bacon and slice each rasher in half. Wrap the bacon round a cherry and secure with cocktail stick. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven until the bacon is crispy (about 20 minutes - see note below). Tip. Cooking time depends on how crispy you like the bacon - 20 minutes tops and it's nice and moist. Enjoy these warm or cold.


Sunny Hunny’s bread sauce recommendation…

Our Hunstanton branch has chosen their favourite sauce recipe to add that little bit extra to your Christmas dinner!

600ml milk
50g butter
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves
6 peppercorns
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs
100g white breadcrumbs
4 tbsp single cream or mascarpone
pinch nutmeg, freshly grated

Simmer the milk, butter, onion, cloves, peppercorns, garlic and herbs in a pan for 20 mins. Strain and return the liquid to the pan. Add the breadcrumbs and simmer for 3-4 mins. Stir in the cream or mascarpone. Add nutmeg, season and serve. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and heated up on the hob or microwave on Medium for 3 mins.


Holt has found the most delicious sausage roll recipe…tempted? 

Holt has nominated Etty’s Sausage Rolls from ‘Delia Online’ as they were a roaring success for a local village Christmas Fayre – 100+ rolls were gone in the first hour!

For the Quick Flaky Pastry
75g block butter
110g plain flour
A pinch of salt
Cold water to mix

For the filling:
225g good quality pork sausagemeat
½ medium or 1 small onion, finely chopped in a mini chopper
2 rounded tablespoons chopped sage leaves (about 10g chopped with the onion in the mini chopper)
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
1 egg, beaten, to glaze

Begin by making the pastry as described in quick flaky pastry.
Then leave it to rest in a polythene bag in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile mix the sausagemeat, onion, sage and seasoning together in a mixing bowl, then divide it into two and roll each piece with your hands on a lightly floured surface to 30cm long.
Put them on a piece of parchment, or a tray, whilst you roll out the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 220C, Gas mark 7.
Roll out the pastry as described in the recipe for quick flaky pastry below to form an oblong approximately 30 x 20cm. Cut this oblong into two strips 30 x 10cm and divide the sausagemeat also into two, making two long rolls the same length as the strips of pastry (if it’s sticky sprinkle on some flour and flour your hands).
Place one roll of sausagemeat onto one strip of pastry. Brush the beaten egg along one edge, then fold the pastry over and seal it as carefully as possible. Roll the whole thing over so the sealed edge is underneath. Roll lightly and repeat with the second piece of pastry and sausagemeat.
Then use a small sharp knife to cut each roll into six sausage rolls, each about 5cm long. Snip three V shapes in the top of each roll with the end of some scissors and brush with beaten egg. Place the rolls on the baking sheet and bake high in the oven for 20-25 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to cool.
You can store the cooked and cooled sausage rolls in an airtight tin, but they do lose their crunchiness. For this reason I think it is preferable to freeze them in polythene boxes and remove a few at a time as and when you need them.
Defrost them for an hour at room temperature and then warm them in a hot oven for 5 minutes.


Wow…the ‘Classic Snowball’

Wells has chosen ‘BBC Goodfood’ festive drink called the ‘Classic Snowball’! This retro cocktail is the ultimate drink for this season!

50ml advocaat
50ml sparkling lemonade
ice, to serve

For the garnish
1 maraschino cherry

Add the advocaat and lemonade to a tall glass filled with ice. Stir gently until the outside of the glass feels cold. Garnish with the maraschino cherry.


Norwich’s delicious nut and spinach roast with wild mushroom gravy.

Our Norwich office has recommended ‘Red Online’ fabulous nut roast as an alternative meat-free option for your Christmas meal.

200 g fresh spinach leaves
250 g unsalted mixed nuts
25 g of unsalted cashew nuts
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
200 g tinned tomatoes, drained and chopped
50 g sundried tomatoes in olive oil, rouhly chopped
1 free-range egg, beaten
100 g Gruyère cheese, finely rated
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tbsp. freshly chopped curly parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp. vegetable stock concentrate
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
knob of butter for greasing tin


knob of butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 banana (long) shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
250 g wild mushrooms
300 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. plain flour
1 tbsp. butter
sea salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Blanch the spinach in boiling water, then drain it well and squeeze out all the water. Chop the spinach finely and set aside.
Put the mixed nuts and cashews in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but take care not to reduce them to powder.
Tip the nuts into a large mixing bowl and add the onion, carrot, tinned and sundried tomatoes, egg, cheese, sage, mint, parsley, spinach, garlic, stock and seasoning, then mix everything together well.
Grease a loaf tin with butter and pour in the mixture. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit the loaf tin, grease it and lay it over the top to stop it burning. Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour until the nut roast is cooked through. Turn it out onto a plate for slicing.
While the nut roast is cooking, make the mushroom gravy.
Gently heat the oil and knob of butter in a medium pan, then add the diced shallot. Sweat for five minutes or until transparent. Add the garlic and sweat for 1o minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook gently for a further five minutes.
Add the stock and soy sauce, then season to taste and simmer with the lid on the pan for 10 minutes.
Mix the tablespoon of flour into the tablespoon of butter and stir into the gravy to thicken it. Serve piping hot with the nut roast.

King's Lynn

Traditional and classic…your favourite Christmas Cake Recipe

Our Kings Lynn office has nominated ‘BBC Goodfood’s’ Christmas Cake recipe for their festive favourite. Filled with mixed fruit, nuts and spices this traditional recipe is golden.

1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
zest and juice 1 orange
zest and juice 1 lemon
150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
250g pack butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
175g plain flour
100g ground almond
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
100g flaked almond
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.
Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.
Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it.
Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.


Watton’s Polish Honey Spiced Cookies 

These spiced honey cookies are a traditional dish made at Christmas time in Poland. The recipe from ‘polska foods’ is below and see whether you fancy these on your Christmas table!

1 cup clear honey Christmas Polish Cookies
4 eggs
3-4 cups all purpose flour (for a more traditional flavor, use all-purpose rye flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2-1 cup sugar (optional)
Cookie Glaze
200 g (7 oz) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 tsp almond extract


Beat together the honey and whole eggs until light and fluffy.   (You may need to slightly heat the honey and cool to liquify it).  Sift over the flour, baking soda, spices, and beat to combine
CHILL DOUGH FOR SEVERAL HOURS or overnight, covered.  This will harden the dough.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out dough on a slightly floured surface, about 1/4 inch thick.  Stamp out dough with cookie cutters.  Place on greased baking trays.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until pierniki are golden brown. Remove with spatula to cool.
For the glaze, add the water slowly to the sugar and mix to a smooth paste with a couple drops of almond extract.  Spread over cookies with a knife and let set.

Our Marketing Team 

So…what have our marketing girls picked for this year? Without a doubt, BBC goodfood’s Rudolph’s carrot flapjacks! Packed with seeds, fruit and spices – this simple and easy recipe is definitely our festive favourite for the Christmas season. 

200g butter
100g golden syrup
50g soft light brown sugar
300g rolled oats
2 grated carrots
zest 1 orange
100g chopped apricot
1 tsp cinnamon
50g pumpkin seed

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Line an 18cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper. Melt butter, golden syrup and sugar in a large pan. Mix in rolled oats, carrots, orange zest, apricots, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds. Stir everything well, then pack into the prepared tin, pushing down firmly. Bake for 40-45 mins, then cool in the tin before slicing into 16 squares.