Category Archives: Boozy Recipes

A Burns night feast

Last week, everyone was talking about Burns night – what to eat, what to drink, and how to celebrate the birthday of Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Not wanting to be left out, despite no significant Scottish link, I decided to host a ‘traditional’ (I use the term loosely) feast for my family at the weekend (as one of my work colleagues said, “nobody wants a weekday whisky hangover”).

We started the evening with a taste test of three Scottish whiskies…

1. Highland Park 12 year old single malt – smoky and powerful with a slightly honeyed aftertaste
2. The Macallan Fine Oak 10 year old – mellow with flavours of rich vanilla and a smooth finish
3. Glenfiddich 12 year old – orange peel and pear flavours with an intense oaky aroma

I’m not a whisky drinker so you will have to excuse my sketchy tasting notes, however I can vouch for the fact that they all make a great whisky mac (1 part whisky, 1 part ginger wine, 4 parts Canadian dry ginger ale).

Following our mini tasting, we all sat down to enjoy baked haggis, neeps and tatties, followed by raspberry cranachan trifle (adapted recipes below – thanks again, BBC Good Food).

Now, I’d never had haggis before so I was a little apprehensive, however this went down a treat. Savoury and delicious, I served it with lashings of onion gravy.

A little tired of whisky cocktails by this point, alongside the haggis we enjoyed a bottle of easy-drinking South African Garden Route Shiraz from Tesco. The sweet black fruit flavours of this wine balanced out the meaty flavours of the haggis perfectly.

Baked haggis

Ingredients (serves 6)
2 x 450g haggis

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C for a fan oven)
2. Remove the outer packaging from the haggis and stab the skin all over with a fork
3. Wrap each haggis separately in foil and bake for 1 hour in the oven
4. Once cooked, slice each haggis open with a knife and spoon the contents alongside neeps, tatties and onion gravy

(I did take a picture of the haggis but it wasn’t very photogenic!)

Neeps and tatties

Ingredients (serves 6)
5 large baking potatoes
Large knob of butter
1 swede
Salt and black pepper

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into equal sized pieces – roughly 4 pieces per potato
2. In a large saucepan, boil the potatoes until starting to go soft
3. Peel the swede and cut into equal sized pieces – roughly 2cm by 4cm
4. In a separate pan, boil the swede for 50 minutes – 1 hour until soft
5. Meanwhile, tip the potatoes into a roasting dish and coat with butter
6. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until crisp on the outside and soft on the inside
7. Tip the swede into the roasting dish with the potatoes, add some more butter and season with salt and black pepper
8. Roughly mash the swede and potatoes together and serve with a generous spoonful of haggis

Whisky and onion gravy

1 tsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely sliced
25ml whisky
500ml good quality beef stock
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp water

1. In a pan heat the olive oil until sizzling, then fry the onion until soft, but not browned
2. Turn the heat up and add a shot of whisky to deglaze the bottom of the pan
3. Once the whisky has burned off (you should no longer smell alcohol), pour over the beef stock
4. To thicken, mix the cornflour and water in a separate cup and gradually add to the pan

Raspberry cranachan trifle

Ingredients (serves 10)
600g frozen raspberries, defrosted
600ml double cream
200g mascarpone
5 tbsp whisky
100g butter
4 tbsp honey
75g caster sugar
150g jumbo oats
75g chopped hazelnuts
60g plain flour

1. Preheat the oven to 180°c (160°c for a fan oven)
2. Melt the butter and honey in a large saucepan, then stir in the sugar, hazelnuts, oats and plain flour until everything is fully coated
3. Spread the mixture out on a lined and greased baking tray, bake for 20 minutes, allow to cool, then crumble into large chunks
4. Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold in the mascarpone and stir in the whisky
5. To assemble, spoon a layer of raspberries into the bottom of a trifle bowl, followed by a layer of cream and a layer of oats
6. Repeat 2-3 times and scatter the remaining oats on top

If you’re not completely full and whiskied-out by this point (well done!), add a shot of Highland Park to your coffee and off to bed with ye!


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An Alternative use for the Wine Glass

With some leftover Madeira sponge cake, Greek yoghurt and soft fruit in the kitchen, I decided to make these individual trifles. Served in wine glasses, I think they look rather fancy!

Why not try your own variation on a traditional trifle? Plus it’s lower in calories without all the custard and cream (see previous post on a sherry trifle)

Ingredients (makes 3)
½ Madeira sponge cake (almost any cake will work! I’ve used Panettone before)
3 tbsp liqueur such as Grand Marnier, sherry, or Baileys (your choice)
120g soft fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
6tbsp Greek (or natural yoghurt)
1 tsp hot chocolate powder for decorating

1. Place 1cm thick cake slices in the base of each wine glass
2. Drizzle over 1tbsp of liqueur in each
3. Layer 40g soft fruit on top
4. Pour 2tbsp yoghurt in each glass
5. Decorate with a scattering of hot chocolate powder


Filed under Assorted, Boozy Recipes

Sherry trifle

A tad old- fashioned but a firm favourite in my house (if it ain’t broke…) is a sherry trifle. Not only is it great at this time of year when we’re all thinking about dusting off the barbeque (although today looks a bit cloudy!), it’s also a good way to make use of any leftover Christmas sherry, which as a fortified wine, is deserving of a place on this blog.

Here’s what you’ll need…
Quantities are dependent on what size bowl you use and how thick you like each layer:

Madeira sponge cake
Few glugs of good quality dry sherry (I usually go for Croft)
500g box of frozen fruit- fresh fruit works too but I don’t put jelly in this trifle and frozen fruit seems to ooze into the sponge and custard nicely
1 or 2 tins Ambrosia custard (there is a low fat version to make you feel less guilty)
1 large pot double cream (no low fat equal to this I’m afraid)
Small Cadburys flake bar for crumbling over the top

Here’s how…

1. Cut the sponge cake into 1cm pieces and layer across the bottom of the bowl
2. Pour a few tablespoons sherry over the cake
3. Put the fruit on top
4. Spoon over the custard and put the trifle into the fridge for a few hours to set -home made custard sets much better but I’m an Ambrosia fan
5. Whisk the cream with an electric whisk (if you’ve got one) to save your poor forearms, until it forms soft peaks
6. Carefully spoon the cream over the custard- this can take some time as the custard may still be wobbly
7. Crumble the flake over the top to decorate
8. You can then eat this straight away, or prepare it a day in advance to allow the layers to set and blend together


(picture to follow)

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Grand Marnier chocolate bread pudding

Yes, I know Grand Marnier is not wine (for those of you who don’t know it’s an orange liqueur, a lot like Triple Sec) but I simply couldn’t resist putting this in under Boozy Recipes. Since my passion for food is no less than it is for wine, there will be a few sneaky recipes sneaking into this section (even non boozy ones but panic not, I promise I’ll try and find a wine match!)

Look magazine is my weekly fashion and gossip fav and a few months ago, whilst poring over the latest Topshop releases, I came across an article with celebrity recipes. One of these was Kelis’ Grand Marnier Chocolate bread pudding (dieters look away now!)

9 slices white bread
150g good quality dark chocolate
75g butter
110g castor sugar
3 eggs
425ml whipping cream
4 tbsp Grand Marnier
Double cream to serve

1. Pre- heat the oven to 200˚c (set a fan oven to 180˚c)
2. Remove the crusts from the bread and cut each slice into 4 triangles
3. Put a small saucepan of water on to simmer, with a mixing bowl over the top (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl)
4. Melt the chocolate, sugar, cream, Grand Marnier, and butter in the bowl over the water until all the chocolate has melted
5. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, and add the melted chocolate mix. Whisk this together until smooth
6. Pour around half of the mixture (enough to make it 1cm deep) into a deep ovenproof dish, such as a square lasagne dish
7. Place half the bread triangles in overlapping rows across the chocolate mixture and gently press them down into it
8. Pour half the remaining chocolate mix over the bread triangles
9. Place the rest of the bread triangles across the dish in overlapping rows
10. Pour the rest of the chocolate mixture over the bread- ensure there are no bits of bread uncovered as these might burn when it comes to baking
11. Place in the centre of the preheated oven for 30 minutes
12. Once cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes and serve with a good splash of double cream

I have made this dessert four times now… Its great for winter dinner parties as its incredibly indulgent, you can prepare it in advance (no more than overnight in the fridge and make sure it is left out for a couple of hours to come up to room temperature before you cook), and it goes a long way (my latest batch served 8 people even though the original recipe states that it serves 4!).

One warning- don’t offer to take it to someone else’s house in a car or via public transport prior to oven cooking as it is very wobbly! If you want to take it anywhere I recommend pouring the chocolate mix into a secure tub and assembling in situ!



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French onion soup

As we are steadily making our way through Luke’s Casillero del Diablo, I decided to make a delicious French onion soup to use it in (and to drink it with of course).

A good wholesome soup followed by a cheeseboard is a delicious yet very simple winter supper (while my French onion soup does not come from this book, I recommend BBC Good Food’s Soups and sides which you can find here
for under three quid!)

Here’s what I recommend:

Serves 4- 6

Knob of butter
1kg brown onions
1.2 litres good quality beef stock
2 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water
Generous glass of red wine
Sliced baguette
Sliced hard cheese such as mature cheddar

1. Heat the butter in a large sauce pan and gently cook the onion until it has softened. This should take around 20-30 minutes
2. Turn up the heat and cook the onions for a further 15-20 minutes until the onion becomes sticky and caramelised, stirring the whole time
3. Add the wine and simmer for a few minutes
4. Add the stock and bring to the boil
5. Season with pepper (it will be salty enough from the beef stock)
6. Simmer for 10 minutes until ready to serve
7. While the soup is simmering brown the bread on one side under the grill, place the sliced cheese on the other side and place back under the grill
8. This part is really down to personal preference- if you feel the soup needs thickening slightly then add the cornflour/ water mixture taking care not to be too heavy handed
9. Serve the soup into bowls and place the cheesy croutons on top- each one will sink into the soup, becoming deliciously soggy so you can slice through it with your spoon- yummy.

This can be quite a light supper (depending on how many cheesy croutons you have) but if you’re feeling indulgent follow the soup with a cheese board (mmm brie!) and alongside a nice full bodied red wine.


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Mulled wine

As it’s still pretty chilly out there, I love nothing more than snuggling up in the warm when I get home from uni or work. When a steaming mug of hot chocolate won’t hit the spot, then it has to be mulled wine (yes, I know Christmas is over, but the cold weather is clinging on!).

Whenever I get a scent of this hot spiced wine, I get flashbacks of visiting the Christmas markets  in Brussels or Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, and the taste of it makes putting on every layer I own in the morning absolutely worth it!

Having walked home from the station yesterday afternoon in the biting wind, I couldn’t resist grabbing a saucepan, cutting up an orange and an apple and reaching for one of the leftover bottles of Sainsburys Taste the Difference Mulled Wine my dad stocked up on (I was too cold/lazy to spend time making my own- but this recipe with brandy and Grand Marnier is a winner if you fancy making it yourself-

This variety, blended from Tempranillo and Merlot (I recommend using a nice, reasonably priced, medium- bodied merlot such La Gioiosa Merlot Veneto if making your own) ‘with flavours of orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla’ is deliciously sweet and spicy and, at 12% alcohol it’s an excellent winter warmer, as the bottle suggests… Just don’t assume that since its ready- made mulled wine that it must be watered down and low in alcohol, as my mother did when she added a toddy of brandy to ‘warm us up a bit’. Needless to say afternoon naps were required!

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Clementine and Bucks Fizz Jellies

When planning Luke’s birthday meal, I was stumped when it came to deciding what to follow a rather filling main course such as paella. I didn’t think a heavy chocolate dessert or cheesecake would do the trick and wanted to make something light and refreshing (any attempt to make me feel a little more summery!).

After browsing through the BBC Good Food website I came across a pudding that incorporated the fruity refreshing flavours of clementines with my favourite celebration drink; prosecco. Some of the reviews claimed this dish was ‘lacking in flavour’ so I opted to substitute the prosecco for one of the bottles of Clementine Bucks Fizz we had leftover from all our Christmas festivities.

As I was only making enough for two of us, I did adjust the ingredient quantities somewhat and since I couldn’t find gelatine leaves as the recipe suggested, I substituted gelatine powder. Here’s what you need:


200ml clementine juice (from about 6 clementines)

Juice of one lemon

100ml Bucks Fizz

½ sachet gelatine powder


  1. Juice the clementines in a blender
  2. Put 50-100ml of the clementine juice into a small pan and gently heat
  3. When the juice is just simmering, remove from the heat and add the gelatine power. Stir thoroughly, making sure there are no visible lumps of gelatine before you continue
  4. Stir the hot juice into the rest of the juice with the Bucks Fizz, then transfer to a jug
  5. Pour between 2-4 small glasses, cover with a sheet of cling film and chill for at least 4 hrs until set
  6. Decorate with a lemon wedge or mint leaf (optional)

These were the perfect accompaniment to an otherwise heavy meal and were incredibly refreshing and palate cleansing.

My one criticism would be that peeling and juicing the fruit was rather time consuming and they did not produce a smooth jelly as I didn’t strain the blended clementines (an easier option would be clementine juice if you can get it) but for those who like bits (Luke) it was yummy! 

Here’s the finished article…


And here’s Luke enjoying the rest of the Bucks Fizz! (well, it was his birthday weekend after all)

For those of you who wish to try the original recipe and not my Christmas leftover variation, you can find it here

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