Blackberry Brandy.

Quantities for a 1 litre preserving jar.


12 oz Castor Sugar

250ml Vodka

250ml Brandy

Discard any damaged berries and wash in clear water and dry gently. Fill the jar by one third with blackberries, add 12oz of sugar. Pour in the Vodka and Brandy in equal measure until you are left with 5cm of headroom in the jar. Seal the jar and turn it upside down until the sugar is well mixed in, place the jar into a cool dark cupboard. Repeat this process every week for at approximately 10 to 12 weeks. Line a plastic sieve with two layers of muslin and pour your brew in and leave to strain.


Boozy Trifle


Preparation time:
15-20 minutes

Cooking time:
20-30 minutes (depending on your choice of custard…)

Madeira sponge cake (shop bought is good)
Approx 150g dark sweet cherries (frozen)
Fresh custard approx 1 pint (Home made or shop bought is fine)
Liqueur – Disaronno
600ml double cream
Flaked almonds

Thinly slice the Madeira sponge and line 6 individual trifle dishes. (I use one whole slice on the base and half two more for this outer edges)

Add 5-6 cherries to each glass spreading them evenly – pressing gently into the sponge. Add 1 tablespoon of Disaronno to each dish, pouring evenly over the sponge.

Evenly distribute the custard between the dishes – depending on the depth of your dish there may be a little bit left over. Put in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile whip the double cream until it forms very soft peaks – you don’t want it too stiff otherwise it will be difficult to place on top.

Evenly distribute the cream on each trifle.

Toast the flaked almonds (I dry fry mine gently in a small frying pan until lightly brown). Allow to cool. Before serving sprinkle almonds on top of each trifle.


Key Lime Pie

This recipe came to me from my late, demented Grandmother (Phyllis). There are a few variations of this dessert knocking about, but this is a faithful reproduction of what came to me (measures converted in to metric, obv). Phyllis always told me that this was a ‘hot day’ dessert, but we don’t often get the chance for such things in this country! I like this dish because it’s quick and easy to do (if you don’t count the waiting time!)

Prep time:

  • 90 minutes (mostly waiting time)

Cooking time:

  • 8-10 minutes


  • 375g ordinary (plain) digestive biscuits
  • 150g/unsalted butter
  • 8-10 large limes
  • 570ml double cream
  • 1 x 397g/can of sweetened condensed milk
  • crystallised lime zest, to decorate (and hold back a biscuit to decorate too)


  • Crush the digestive biscuits
  • Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the crushed biscuits
  • Lightly (not too firmly!) press the mixed butter and biscuits into the base of a deep, loosed-bottomed, flan tin
  • Chill the flan tin and mix in the fridge, while you do the next thing
  • Grate the zest off the limes
  • Squeeze the limes
  • Put the juice in to a large bowl
  • Add the cream and the condensed milk
  • Whisk the contents of the bowl for a couple of minutes
  • Add in to this mix the lime zest and lightly stir to ensure it blends in
  • Remove the biscuit base from the fridge
  • Pour the mix onto the biscuit base
  • Place the flan tin on to a tray and chill it in the fridge for 90 minutes or so
  • Decorate with the lime zest and the crumbs of the biscuit you held back

Key Lime Pie 1-580-75