Winter Warmers

It’s that time of year when we feel more inclined to cook, bake and make things that are warm and cosy!

Here are a few recipes we hope you will enjoy.

If you would like to share a recipe then please email Sarah your recipe and a photo or your make (& ideally a photo of you!)

Savoury Palmiers

One evening last summer when we had an entertainment window, friends were coming to drinks. Quite posh friends and a good cook. I wondered what I could produce from my freezer and store cupboard so invented these savoury palmiers. They’re very easy but look nice and taste delicious.
They’re also good for picnic snacks or a light lunch.

  • One packet ready rolled flaky pastry.
  • Some olives roughly chopped, probably about 12, green or black – use what you’ve got.
  • 4 oz strong cheese grated. Orange cheese e.g. Leicester is nice but any you’ve got. Orange cheese looks attractive.
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard or any of your choice.

Oven 220 C. 15 – 20 mins.
Makes about 12 – 14, depends how thick they’re sliced.
Line a large baking sheet with silicon paper.

1. Spread the pastry sheet out flat.
2. Use a palette knife to spread on the mustard.
3. Spread the grated cheese evenly over the pastry sheet.
4. Distribute the olives evenly over the cheese.
5. Roll the long sides towards each other until they meet in the middle, press gently
6. Lift onto lined baking sheet and slice as thinly or thickly as you like. Spread them
7. Cool on a rack slightly before serving or serve cold.

These freeze well.
They can be made just as single discs if the palmier shape is too large. In that case slice up the long middle between the rolls before cooking.
Variations are fun to try e.g. scatter cut surface with cumin powder before cooking, use capers instead of olives.
Invent a sweet version – jam and slivered almonds and scattered on cut surface with caster sugar before cooking.

Thank you to Julia Baker, Vice Chair and member of Kingswood and Lapworth WI for sharing her invention!

Click here for the recipe Savoury Palmiers Recipe

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

  • 450g ripe bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 110g ground almonds
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 110g butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • A drop of almond or vanilla essence
  • 110g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 175g dried fruit (cranberries/sultanas/cherries and/or mixed fruit)
  1. Line 1 large loaf tin or 2 small tins.
  2. Preheat oven to 165°C/ gas mark 3.
  3. Beat almonds, caster sugar, butter and essence until smooth.
  4. Beat in the bananas, then the eggs.
  5. Fold in the flour and lastly stir in the fruit.
  6. Pour into the tin/ tins and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the top is springy to the touch.
  7. Turn off the oven, leave the door open a crack and let the cake cool in the tin.

After Dinner Brownies

325g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
250 g unsalted butter, cubed
400g caster sugar
5 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon peppermint essence
200g plain flour
16 After Eight mints

For the glaze
75g dark chocolate, chopped
75g unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 teaspoon peppermint essence
100g icing sugar

  1. Preheat the over to 150c/300f/Gas 2.  line a 20 cm square tin with non-stick baking paper.  Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Let cool for 5 mins.  Stir in the sugar, eggs, peppermint essence and a pinch of salt, then fold in the the flour.
  2. Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin.  Place the mints all over the top then pour over the remaining mixture.  Smooth the top and bake for 40 mins.  Leave to cool in the tin.  Transfer to the chopping board and chill for 1 hour.
  3. To make the glaze, melt the chocolate, butter and peppermint essence in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, then set aside.  Mix the icing sugar with a few drops of water until just runny.
  4. Spread the chocolate and mint glaze over the cooled brownies.  Drizzle over the icing in long straight lines, then drag a cocktail stick across the lines of the icing to create a feathered effect.  Chill until the glaze and icing are firm and then cut into squares.

One of my favourites recipes that comes out every year for a special treat, After-Dinner Brownies.  These are so rich but very moorish.  I cut them into 2 inch sqaures and if there is any left over they are great to freeze…. though have not got into my freezer too many times !!!
Tip; A sharp knife, fun under hot water and dried off, will cut cleanly through the brownies.  Enjoy.
This is well worth the effort if you like chocolate !!  When you cut through them you can see the after eight mints through the middle.

Thank you to Trustee, Glynis Forknall for sharing this indulgent recipe

Click here to download the recipe After Dinner Brownies Recipe

Beer Pasta Bolognese

1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
75g cubed pancetta
1 red onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp of fresh or dried rosemary
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g beef mince
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
350ml pale ale
400g can of tomatoes
300g fusilli pasta or whatever you have in the cupboard
grated parmesan or cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the pancetta for 3 or 4 minutes until becoming crispy.
Add the onion and carrot and sweat over a low heat for about 8 minutes, until soft.
Add the garlic, rosemary and tomato puree and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the mince to the pan and turn up the heat. With a wooden spoon break up the mince and fry for 3-4 minutes until browned.
Add the Worcester sauce, ale and chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the sauce thickens to a sticky consistency.
Season well.
Follow the cooking instructions for the pasta.
Mix pasta and Bolognese sauce together and sprinkle the top with cheese.
Serves 4

Thank you to Veronica Chapman for another great recipe
Veronica Chapman
Click here for the recipe Beer Pasta Bolognese Recipe

My Grans Mincemeat 

There is nothing like home-made Mincemeat- It’s dead easy to make and I can guarantee that you will never have tasted such brilliant Mince Pies in your life!!

450 g sultanas
450g raisins
450g currants
100g mixed peel
675g cooking apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped.
450g vegetable suet
450g dark brown sugar
50g chopped almonds
10 fl oz brandy
Grated rind and juice of one orange
Grated rind and juice of two lemons
I tablespoon  ground mixed spice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and cover.
Leave to stand for one week, stirring several times each day.
Spoon into sterilised jars, adding a tablespoon of brandy to each one.
Cover and keep cool.
Use and enjoy at Christmas!

Thanks to Anne Bufton-McCoy, Federation Chair and Newton Regis WI member for this recipe.
Click here to download the recipe Mincemeat Recipe

Hot Toddy’s

Cider Toddy – 3 pints dry cider, 1oz (50g) chopped root ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger, rind of two lemons, 6 tablespoons of honey
Put the cider, ginger and lemon rind and heat until bubbles just begin to rise in the liquid. Remove from the heat, stir in the honey and strain into warmed glasses.

Apple Toddy (non alcoholic) – 3 pints water, 4 large apples, chopped, 6 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.
Put the apples in a saucepan with water. Cover and simmer gently until the apples are thoroughly softened. Sieve, then stir in the honey and bicarbonate of soda,
Drink hot. NB the bicarb is added purely to make the drink fizz

Thanks to Alwyn Farren member of Stockton WI for sharing these recipes.

Garlic, Cheese, Potato Loaf

4oz (100g) cheddar cheese grated
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 teaspoons of salt
12oz (350g_self raising flour
2 teaspoons English mustard powder
12oz(350g) potatoes peeled
1 egg
5 tablespoons of milk

Crush the garlic with the salt
Add the grated cheese
Mix the flour, mustard, garlic, salt and cheese in a bowl
Coarsely grate the peeled potatoes and add to the dry mixture
Then using a dough hook of a food mixer or a strong arm and hand, fold in the beaten egg and milk until you have a smooth dough.
Shape it into a ball on a sheet of baking paper and mark into wedges
Bake in a preheated own at gas mark 5, 375F or 190C for 40-45 minutes until golden

Thanks to Jeryl Stone – NFWI Vice Chair and Hampton Lucy & Charlecote WI for this recipe

Click here to download the recipe – Garlic, Cheese & Potato Loaf

Apple Cake

125g butter/margarine
175g sugar
2 beaten eggs
175g self raising flour
A little milk
1 large cooking apple or 2 eating apples – diced

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas 4.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, gradually beat in the eggs, mix in the flour and add about 2 tablespoons of milk to soften the mixture (it should be soft enough to drop off the end of the spoon when gently shaken).
Mix in the diced apple and pour into a greased 1 kg/1 lb loaf tin.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until risen and golden, firm on top and shrinking from the sides of the tin.
May be topped with cinnamon icing.

Note; Alternatives:  blueberries or blackcurrants instead of apple.
Raspberry Cake:  Put half the mixture in the tin, add a layer of raspberries then cover with remaining mixture.

Thank you to Anne Role – Studley Priory WI for submitting this recipe to our cookbook.

Spiced Squash & Fruit Loaf 

250g mixed fruit
70g glace cherries halved
30g mixed peel
1 lemon, zest finely grated
100ml cider
125g butter or margarine
125g light muscovado sugar
1 tsb ground mixed spice
¼ tsb ground cinnamon
2 medium eggs lightly beaten
150g plain flour
½ tsb bicarbonate of soda
100g peeled and deseeded butternut squash roughly grated
3 tbsp milk

Lemon Glace Icing (Optional)
200g icing sugar
Lemon juice  

Mix together the dried fruit, glace cherries, mixed peel, lemon zest and cider in a bowl. Cover and soak overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160c/gas mark 4. Grease a loaf tin roughly 20cm x 10cm x 7cm deep and line with baking paper.

In a large bowl beat together the butter/margarine, muscovado sugar and spices until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs.
Sift the flour and bicarb of soda in another bowl, mix then beat into the butter mixture. Stir in the grated squash followed by the fruit and milk.
Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin and then remove.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and beat in enough lemon juice to make a fairly stiff consistency.
Spoon over the top of the fruit loaf. This spiced loaf cake improves with age.

Thanks to Veronica Chapman, Trustee and member of Hatton Park WI, for this recipe
Veronica Chapman

Click here to download the recipe – Spiced Squash Fruit Loaf Recipe

Sausage Casserole (vegan)

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 tbsp olive oil
Large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
Ground black pepper
3 carrots, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 sml. glass red wine
1 vegetable stock cube
½ pt. water
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp rapeseed or other oil
8 oz button mushrooms, whole or quartered if large
6 vegan sausages
Can borlotti beans (or red kidney beans), drained
Sea salt

Fry the onion in the oil for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the garlic, smoked paprika, thyme and black pepper. Cook for a few moments, then add the carrots, celery and red pepper. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the red wine. Cook off the alcohol, then add the stock cube, water, bayleaf and tomato puree and simmer for 15 minutes.

In another pan, sauté the mushrooms in the rapeseed oil.
Cook the sausages in the oven as described on the packet. Remove from the oven and cut each into chunks.
Add the mushrooms, sausages and beans to the vegetable mixture – with a little more water if necessary – and cook on a low to medium heat for 20 minutes, adding salt to taste.
Serve with oven baked jacket potatoes and green vegetables.

Thanks to Sue Gill, Trustee and member of Stockton WI, for this recipe

Click here to download the recipe – Vegan Sausage Casserole