Grain-based salads are filling and nutritious, and work really well with fresh fruit, which adds colour, texture and taste.
Last-minute Christmas cake
Last-minute Christmas cake
In a large pan mix together the dried fruits, apricots, dates, cranberries and cherries. Add the cooled tea, whisky or brandy, orange juice, zest and treacle. Bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Transfer to a bowl and chill overnight or as long as you can.
Preheat the oven to 140ºC / 275ºF / Gas Mark 2. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking parchment.
Place all the remaining cake ingredients, except the nuts, into a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly, and then fold in the tea-soaked fruit and nuts.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top, making a slight dip towards the centre. Wrap the sides of the cake in a double thickness of brown paper. Check the cake after 3 hours, and cover with parchment paper if the surface is getting too brown. Bake for a further 30 minutes -1 hour, or until a metal skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out and allow to cool completely on a rack.
When ready to decorate the cake, dust a large work surface with icing sugar and roll the marzipan to a circle slightly larger than the cake. Heat the apricot jam in a small pan and brush over the cake. Ease the marzipan over the cake – rubbing with your hands to create a flat smooth surface. If time allows, cover the cake with a clean tea towel and then leave in a cool place for at least one day.
Roll out 150g of the fondant icing on a flat surface, lightly dusted with icing sugar and use your favourite Christmas cookie cutters to cut out some festive shapes e.g. snowflakes, stars or holly leaves etc. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave to set, uncovered, in a cool place.
Place the cake on a cake board. Brush the marzipan covered cake with a little water. Roll out the remaining icing to a 33cm round. Lift over the cake and smooth the icing down the sides. Trim off the excess icing around the cake’s base. Dust your palms with icing sugar, and gently ‘polish’ the surface of the icing to smooth out any creases and uneven areas.
Use the Christmassy shapes you prepared earlier to decorate the cake and finish off with a ribbon.
Make the most of your leftovers
If you loved this recipe, why not try
If you have leftover cooked potatoes to use, from the fridge or freezer, why not try this delicious, simple recipe from Blas y Tir.
These energy bars are great for using up any nuts or dried fruit you have in the back of your cupboard; desiccated coconut, chocolate chips, or anything else you fancy! For an easy vegan alternative, swap out the butter and honey for vegetable spread and maple syrup.
Chilling in the fridge rather than baking in the oven is the key to this simple yet spectacular fruity, nutty deliciousness which pleases nearly everyone and is great for entertaining.
A favourite at Chinese restaurants, these moreish pancakes can be served in the place of bread with many meals, or with a spicy dipping sauce as part of a Chinese-style meal.
Make the most of your potatoes and create this amazing Patatas Bravas with a UK twist dish invented by Albert Bartlett.
Here's a new take on a classic hummus, using beetroot to give freshness, lightness and vibrancy.
In this case, made with leftover wild mushroom risotto and stale end slices of a white loaf of bread. Crunchy on the outside with a hit of rosemary and gooey mushroomy and cheesy goodness on the inside. Boom!
Making Banana Bread is a popular way to use up leftover bananas, but if you've also got half a jar of peanut butter in the cupboard you can take this classic bake to the next level!
Keep your fridge at 5°C or below
Did you know that adjusting the temperature of your fridge could help to preserve your food for three days longer than usual? A big win to help keep your food fresher for longer. Our fridge temperature tool can help you learn how to change the temperature on your specific fridge brand.