Festive Old Fashioned Cocktail

The old fashioned is the classic whisky cocktail.

And you know me, there’s nothing I like more than putting a twist on a classic…

Festive old fashioned ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

Especially when said twist happens to be a festive one.

I mean, there’s a very limited period of time when people (my boyfriend) won’t judge me for adding cinnamon and cranberry to any food/drink that gets near me. And I fully intend to make the absolute most of it.

Festive old fashioned ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + WhiskyFestive old fashioned ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

The perfect festive mix of sweet cranberry syrup, zesty orange and warming cinnamon, this festive old fashioned remains true to its classic roots, but with a little cheer-y lift.

Festive old fashioned ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + WhiskyFestive old fashioned ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

The perfect berry & bright tipple to go alongside a spot of tree decorating and Bublé singalong.

But you know the drill – don’t drink and drive, ‘elf and safety etc…

Festive old fashioned ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky


More (easy but life-changing) recipes to make this Christmas

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas martini (VE)

Turkey + cranberry sausage rolls

Christmas orange salad (VE)

Festive Brussel sprout slaw (V)

Festive Old Fashioned Cocktail

Mulled Wine Inspired Christmas Martini

‘Tis the season for Christmas parties & a little festive tipple!

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas Martini ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

And in that field, things don’t get any better than a tangy Christmas Martini.

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas Martini ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

I first tried them at the Borough Kitchen Christmas press do, and they immediately became a seasonal staple.

They are a modern take on traditional mulled wine and a real Christmas cracker of a drinks recipe!

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas Martini ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky

Super easy, quick and completely delicious, I have it on good authority that Mr & Mrs Claus enjoy a few of these on the run up to Christmas eve.

Just make sure you drink them responsibly… ‘elf & safety first, promise?!

Mulled-wine inspired Christmas Martini ● Christmas cocktail recipe ● Cake + Whisky


More festive inspiration & recipes

The A to Z of Christmas in London

Cranberry & turkey sausage rolls

Christmas orange salad (VE)

DIY Christmas bingo cards

Mulled Wine Inspired Christmas Martini

Cranberry & turkey sausage rolls

Christmas is –finally– coming!

There’s less than 20 days to go ’til the most wonderful day of the year and -having been ready for it since the beginning of August- I’m so excited.

I’m not going to lie; part of it is because, for the first time ever, we managed to get a date in the diary to host our own little Christmas party. And we’ve managed to agree on said date early enough for all of your favourite people to not be already triple book, which means everyone was there.


Cranberry & turkey sausage rolls ● Festive canapés recipe ● Cake + Whisky

Which made things both very exciting and a teeny tiny bit complicated in terms of logistics, given that we hosted 15 people and only have 4 chairs. So yeah, Christmas-themed drinks and canapés it was!


Cranberry & turkey sausage rolls ● Festive canapés recipe ● Cake + Whisky

So this week, I’ll be sharing the snacks I made for our little festive get-together – starting with those amazing cranberry & turkey sausage rolls.

Cranberry & turkey sausage rolls ● Festive canapés recipe ● Cake + Whisky

Super easy to make and soooooo festive, they’re a party favourite.

No matter how many you make (there’s no such thing as too many), they’ll disappear in a flash!

Cranberry & turkey sausage rolls ● Festive canapés recipe ● Cake + Whisky


More festive inspiration

The A to Z of Christmas in London

How to cook Christmas dinner in an hour

DIY Christmas bingo cards

Christmas orange salad (VE)

Cranberry & turkey sausage rolls

The A to Z of Christmas in London

‘Tis the season to be merry from A to Z!

The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky

A is for Afternoon tea

‘Tis the season to overindulge – and afternoon tea is the way to do so in style.

From a round up of all the classic festive treats at the Bulgari, to a creative, Dyptique-inspired spread at Hôtel Café Royal, a ‘Scent of Christmas Tea’ in collaboration with Penhaligon at The Savoy, a festive feast with a view at the Shangri La, or a slightly mad and definitely tipsy tea party at the Sanderson, the options are plentiful and so-oh-oh cheerful!

B is for Burgers

I love Christmas. I love a good burger. So obviously I LOOOOOOOVE a good Christmas burger.

Every single one of London’s thousand burger shop seems to have (at least) one festive special on this year but the strongest contender in my opinion is Ben’s Canteen‘s Xmas Turkey Burger.

With sage-brined & buttermilked turkey breast, Karma cola-braised ham, squashed stuffing ball, brie, bacon & chestnut mayo, mulled wine & cranberry sauce, buttered Brussel tops, it’s basically a full Christmas dinner in a bun.

And then of course, there’s the croquettes, the loaded roasties (!!) and the doughnuts with festive fillings…

More info & bookings

C is for Carols

From the traditional affairs in classic venues such as Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral, to fun-filled Christmas Carol Singalongs, a festive Norwegian concert, and a variety of charity-led carolling events, a few hours of Christmas carols is a surefire way to warm even the most frozen of hearts into the holiday spirit!

D is for Drinks

This time of the year, mulled wine is absolutely compulsory, but there are a few other options worth considering as well…

Icebar London, the UK’s only permanent icebar, is the coolest spot for cocktails in town for chilled drinks (quite literally – cocktails are served in Icebar’s signature ice glasses!).

At the other end of the spectrum, Charlotte’s W5 Sipsmith terrace is all about cosying up. Complete with blankets, fairy lights and roasted chestnuts, Ealing’s own winter wonderland is all about the hot drinks – including innovative takes on traditional Negronis and Espresso Martinis – all made with Sipsmith Gin.

The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky

E is for Elf (and other Christmas movies)

In the mood for some festive big screen time? One of those cinemas got you covered!

So pack your bag with mince pies and festive popcorn (Irish coffee, mince pie, brandy butter, mint choc… so many possibilities…) and let the magic of seeing a movie you know by heart at the cinema begin!

F is for Fondue

Looking for a fun festive do? Give the gift of cheese-sharing this Christmas season!

With dozen of winter-themed ephemeral restaurants popping up in the run up to Christmas adding to London’s already strong melted cheese scene, fondue is everywhere – from Broadgate’s Winter Forest, to Soho’s St Moritz, Spitafield’s Androuet, Shoreditch’s Walluc, Southbank’s Jimmy’s Lodge, Dulwich’s French House, Camden’s Cheese Bar and many, many more…

G is for Gelato

Christmas Cake, Panettone, Gingerbread, Speculoos, Stolen, Advocaat (the Dutch answer to eggnog) and even Roquefort & pear – the Christmas flavours at (my favourite!) ice cream parlour Gelupo is celebrating some of the best Christmas flavours from the 6 original EU countries.

Quirky flavours, pro-EU stance and an excellent reason to eat ice cream all year round – not your classic Christmas things but some I can definitely get behind!

H is for History

Want to learn more about Christmas past? The Geffrye Museum’s festive exhibition explores festive traditions in Britain through the ages.

Every year, the museum uses seasonal decorations, lighting, greenery and music to showcase how Christmas has been celebrated during different eras in English history, and explains the origins and meanings of Christmas traditions such as Christmas stockings, cards, crackers and kissing under the mistletoe.

FREE entry – more info

I is for Igloos

Baby, it’s cold outside! Which is the perfect excuse to head to The Sipping Room and warm up in one of their six giant pop-up igloos!

With toasty touches, including electric heaters, sheepskin throws, hot water bottles and Aran jumpers, festive cocktails in abundance and a delicious menu of festive-themed canapés (yes to pigs in blankets and stilton + walnut tarts!), the igloos are the perfect Christmas party hotspot!

Info & bookings

The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky

J is for Jumper

Christmas Jumper Day is the perfect opportunity to dig out your favourite festive sweater.

Ugly or whimsical, with fairy lights, baubles, snowmen and Christmas tree, on December 15th, thousands of people will be donning their most wonderful woolies – all for a great cause.

So what do you say? Ready to make the world better with a silly jumper?

More info & sign up

K is for Kew

One of the most beautiful places in London all year round, the Kew Gardens are even more so in the rundown to Christmas.

Every evening from 22nd November until January 1st, as twilight falls, the Gardens light up with over one million twinkling lights, illuminating heritage trees and buildings and the magic begins.

Fairy-tale meets fantasy in a world of singing trees, larger-than-life flora, ribbons of light, giant baubles, and a flickering Fire Garden. The Palm House leaps into life with a dazzling show of laser beams, jets of light and kaleidoscopic projections.

Little ones can catch a glimpse of Santa and his elves at the North Pole village and enjoy a vintage fairground ride. Not so little ones can warm up with some mulled wine or hot chocolate and toast marshmallows around the fire.

And if that doesn’t put you in a festive mood, nothing will, really.

More info and tickets

L is for Lights

My favourite London festive tradition is to take a walk around the city to see the lights.

More often than not, it will mean facing the crowds, but it’s well worth it as each year, London seems to cover itself in decorations more impressive than the year before.

2017 favourites so far include Carnaby’s carnival-themed installations (so different and SO cool!!) and Covent Garden’s giant mistletoe, but there’s a lot more I want to explore before flying home for Christmas!

M is for Mince (pie and everything else!)

Mince pies are the Christmas-sy equivalent of Marmite.

But love it or loathe it, as soon as Halloween’s past (and sometimes even before!!), they’re everywhere.

On the counter of every coffee shop worth its name and next to every hot drink served to you from Nov. 1st, obviously, but as the years go by, there’s more and more mince pies in disguise across the capital.

In croissants at Paul, doughnuts at Crosstown, cheesecake, ice cream, flat white, gin… there’s enough fruity goodness to get your 5-a-day in mince pie form the entire festive season!

N is for Nutcracker

Set on Christmas day and filled with cheerful decors and magic, The Nutcracker is the quintessential Christmas show.

This year, London’s top music and ballet venues all have it on their festive program – from the Royal Opera House, to the London Colliseum and the Royal Albert Hall.

The Royal Opera House’s production will also be shown in local cinemas across the UK on December 5th.

O is for Ornaments

Choosing a new ornament to add to your collection each year is a brilliant Christmas tradition.

London’s best selection are to be found at Liberty’s ever-so-fantastic Christmas store on the 4th floor of their flagship Oxford Circus store.

Alternatively, Etsy local pop-up markets are bound to have beautiful, locally-made options too!

The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky

P is for Presents

Present-shopping (and wrapping!) is one of my favourite pre-Christmas activities, but it can be quite daunting if your nearest and dearest are on the notorious ‘difficult to shop for’ list.

Some of my personal favourite shops to hit when the gifting inspiration is low: Fortnum & Mason for the foodie types (I love their jam/tea/biscuits), Botanique Workshop and Oliver Bonas to treat the women in your life, Anthropologie for quirky home bits, We Built This City for London-themed-and-made knick-knacks and J Crew for the cutest socks and most gorgeous knitwear.

Oh, and TKMAXX’s wrapping papper game is very, very strong this year, in case you were wondering!

Q is for Quiz

Festive trivia at the ready!? You’ll definitely need it to triumph at any of the incredibly cheerful pub quizzes taking place in the capital this month!

R is for Races

Maybe it’s just for good fun & charity, maybe it’s linked to the extra calorie intake (see ‘mince pie’), but London is especially obsessed with all sorts of quirky races around Christmas time.

There’s the world-famous Santa Run, where thousands of people dressed as Father Christmas raise thousands of pounds for charity each year. There’s the Great Christmas Pudding Race – the most festive of obstacle races. And then there’s the Peter Pan Cup, where brave outdoor swimmers compete in the icy waters of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park on Christmas morning…

All welcome spectators and should be a fun addition to any festive calendar!

S is for Sauna

Dreaming of a Scandi Christmas? Southbank Centre’s festive calendar’s got you covered!

In December, they’re hosting a whole lot of Nordic inspired events as part of their Wintertime festival.

Think fondue in a snow globe, mulled wine, ABBA singalongs and a full-on Finnish sauna on the rooftop, complete with a sauna expert showing you all the ropes!

Info & bookings

T is for Tree

Christmas trees are everywhere in December, but the most iconic one is the gigantic one on Trafalgar Square. It’s actually a present from the people of Norway in gratitude for Britain’s support for Norway during World War II, a tradition that’s been going on since 1947.

Usually over 20 metres high and 50-60 years old, the tree is selected from the forests surrounding Oslo with great care several months, even years, in advance. The tree is felled in November during a ceremony in which the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo participate, before being brought over to London and decorated in traditional Norwegian fashion, with vertical strings of lights.

This year, the lighting ceremony will take place on 7 December 2017 in Trafalgar Square at 6pm.

More info

The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky

U is for Urgh

As beautiful and magic as it is, Christmas time in London can also be incredibly upsetting.

The crowds, the queues, the wait time… none of those are on anyone’s wish list.

Be mindful of this when planning your festive activities. Get up early if you want to hit Oxford Street or Covent Garden for a spot of shopping. Book restaurants activities and events whenever possible.

And if it all gets too much, there’s always Amazon & Deliveroo #justsaying…

V is for Volunteering

As much as present buying is good for the economy, Christmas is really all about giving – and there’s no gift more precious than the one of time.

If you want to volunteer this festive season, The Londonist has put together a helpful list of the volunteering operations taking place over the festive period that could use an extra hand…

W is for Windows

Another Christmas time favourite of mine – doing the round of store windows and oh and ah at the creative displays put up each year for shoppers’ enjoyment.

The usual suspects for the title of best Christmas windows include Liberty, Fortnum & mason, Selfridges and John Lewis. that being said, I must admit that this year, I’m especially taken by Hackett’s magic-themed ones!

X is for Xmas day

The most wonderful time of the yeaaaaaaaar!

(and a great day to see London zombie-apocalypse style as pretty much everything’s closed and most people have fled the city!)

Y is for YOU!

With all that Christmas cheer in the air, the many Christmas parties making their way into your agenda and the never ending to do / to buy / to pack lists to keep track off, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

So make sure you save some time aside for yourself and relaxing ahead of the always-wonderful-but-oh-so-tiring festivities!

Z is for Zigzags

The ones you’ll invariably do in streets and shops as you spot pretty little (and bigger) things you want to take a closer look at.

Don’t fight it – in the end, every little helps when it comes to increasing your daily footsteps to allow for one more mince pie!

The A to Z of Christmas in London ● Cake + Whisky

This blog post was written as part of this month’s #travelinkup, where we unwrapped another fun topic: Festivities. Do you love them, hate them, put up with the season? Anything goes! Want to join this cheerful edition? Pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th December 2017), add it to the link up widget found on Adventures of a London KiwiSilverSpoon LondonFollow Your Sunshine or The ZRW.

The A to Z of Christmas in London

12 Fool-proof Ways to Get into the Festive Spirit

In just two more weeks, Christmas will have come and gone. But weirdly enough, the closer the C-day gets, the less it really feel like Christmas to me…

Maybe it’s a case of early cranberry & cinnamon tiredness (in which case I would have no choice but to plead guilty) or my brain’s last desperate attempt to slow time down (so I actually have time to get everything done), but the fact is, my Christmas spirit-o-meter has been running low for the past few days.

But I simply love Christmas too much not to fit as much as possible into this whole month, so something had to be done.

So if the festive cheer hasn’t quite reached you yet (or if it’s trying to leave early), then here’s a checklist of tried-and-tasted ways to get into the festive spirit.

12 ways to get into the festive spirit | Cake + Whisky

1. Decking the halls.

Whether you go all out, put up a tree with lights, bobbles, garlands and then some, or the less-is-more way with a little festive corner, any amount of hall-decking will do wonders for your Christmas spirit-o-meter!

12 ways to get into the festive spirit | Cake + Whisky

2. Festive baking

The more of them you make/eat, the merrier you get. Trust me, I have the experience to back this up. Nothing like mixing, baking, icing and sprinkling to get into the festive spirit!

3. Opening your advent calendar.

Counting down days, building anticipation AND getting treats along the way… So, so much better than regular calendars!

4. Cinnamon anything everything.

Cinnamon roll, cinnamon cookies, cinnamon chocolate truffles, cinnamon granola, cinnamon-scented orange salad… Don’t miss any opportunity you get to make every single bite you take ’til the 26th a festive one!

12 ways to get into the festive spirit | Cake + Whisky

5. Hot chocolate with little marshmallows on top.

With cream on top, obviously. Everyone knows that Christmas calories don’t count, so better make the most of it while you can!

12 ways to get into the festive spirit | Cake + Whisky

6. Taking yourself on a lil’ Christmas lights/windows tour.

Wrap up warm and take yourself on a walk/drive around the ‘hood to see the twinkly lights in all their twinkly glory. Do not however sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle little star’ as you go or it’ll be stuck in your head forever (you’re welcome).


Wine, cider, fruit juice… Whether you’re off the booze or very much on it this Christmas, a mulled drink of some sort is an absolute must to get the ho-ho-ho vibes going.

Most supermarkets sell spice mix you can warm up over the stove with your poison of choice, or you can easily mix your own.

8. Peeling an orange.

There’s something about the smell of citrus that makes everything feel super merry. Aromatheraphy? Magic? Who knows / cares?!

10. A visit to your local Starbucks.

Because gingerbread-toffee-eggnog filled red cups and the most festive of Chrismas playlist are absolutely the way to get even the Grinch-iest of people have a Christmas movie marathon.

12 ways to get into the festive spirit | Cake + Whisky

11. Do some Christmas shopping.

Nothing will warm your heart the way buying something you know will put a big smile on your fave faces will.

Remind yourself of that when you have to elbow your way through the Oxford Street crowds. And also of the fact that, despite it sounding all Agatha Christie-esque, a Christmas Murder would sort of get in the way of all the eating, drinking and being merry.

12 ways to get into the festive spirit | Cake + Whisky

12. If all else fails, just switch off & spend time with your loved ones.

Because that (and a brilliant excuse to eat cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner) is what Christmas is really all about! 

Actually, that’s what I’ll be up to for the next two weeks or so, so things might slow down a bit over here and on social media. In the meantime, you guys have the most festive of times!

What are you favourite ways to get festive? Anything I definitely need to try to go back to my cinnamon-fuelled, extra merry self?

12 Fool-proof Ways to Get into the Festive Spirit

Spiced chocolate truffles

The plan for this year’s festive recipes was to give old favourites a fresh twist.

But despite having won bit battles on the brussel sprouts, snacking nuts and dessert fronts, there are still some classics I’m reluctant to let go off.

Spiced chocolate truffles | Cake + Whisky

Every year for as long as I can remember, my family’s Christmas feast has started with a plateful of oysters, continued with smoked salmon in one form or another, and finished with a cup of coffee and a couple of homemade chocolate truffles.

And if I’m not really big on the first one, the other two are absolute Christmas must-eat in my eyes.

Spiced chocolate truffles | Cake + Whisky

So this year, much like last year, I will be making a few versions of my failproof recipe besides the obligatory cocoa- and coconut-coated ones.

Spiced chocolate truffles | Cake + Whisky

Super easy to make, delicately spiced, and utterly irresistible, these cinnamon spiced chocolate truffles are sure to make an appearance!

What can I say, that’s just how I r-ho-ho-oll!

Spiced chocolate truffles | Cake + Whisky

Spiced chocolate truffles (makes about 25)


  • 200g good quality baking chocolate (I usually go for Nestlé’s or Green & Black dark baking chocolate)
  • 100ml crème fraîche (about 3 big tbsp)
  • a little knob of butter (about 20g)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder (or any other powdered winter spice of your choice)

1. Chop the chocolate and tip into a large bowl. Place the bowl atop a pot of boiling water (double-boiler) and stir the chocolate until fully melted.

2. Take off the heat, then add in the butter, cream and half of the cinnamon. Mix well, then add the egg yolks and mix thoroughly.

3. Pour the chocolate batter into a bowl, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 2h.

4. Mix together the cocoa powder and the remaining cinnamon powder. Shape the truffles using your hands or a spoon dipped in hot water, then roll each of them in the cocoa and cinnamon mix until evenly coated.

Store the chocolate truffles in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.

What are your Christmas food essentials? Anything you simply can’t do without?

Spiced chocolate truffles

Christmas Granola

In case you haven’t already guessed, I love Christmas. As in LO-O-OVE it.

As far as I’m concerned, December is all about packing in as much of the festive spirit as possible.

Christmas Granola | Cake + Whsiky

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every meal inbetween is basically one long succession of warm, spicy, festive goodness.

This Christmas granola is no exception.

Christmas Granola | Cake + Whsiky

Full of crunchy, nutty, fruity goodness, it’s as festive as the smell of pine trees and the taste of the season’s first mince pie.

Christmas Granola | Cake + Whsiky

It’s packed full of Christmas spices, and the maple syrup gives it a lovely crunch without the overly-sweet taste of most granolas.

Christmas Granola | Cake + Whsiky

This Christmas granola the perfect thing to have in the cupboard to keep the festive spirit alive from breakfast onward.

If you are hosting people over the festive period, make an extra-big batch so your guests can help themselves to brekkie even if you’re still in bed.

Christmas Granola | Cake + Whsiky

Presented in Kilner jars decorated with pretty ribbons and handmade labels, it also makes for a great gift.

Oh, it’s the quickest way to make the whole house smell like Christmas. Win-win-win!

Christmas Granola | Cake + Whsiky

Christmas Granola (for one big batch, about 6/8 servings)


  • 200g rolled oats
  • 50ml maple syrup
  • zest of 1 organic orange
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • big handful almonds
  • small handful walnuts
  • handful raisins
  • handful dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp chopped dried apricots

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (gas mark 6).

2. Using a mortar & pestle or a big knife, roughly chop the nuts.

3. In a big bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest. Pour in the maple syrup and mix until it just about gets together (add a bit of water if necessary).

4. Place the mix onto a big oven tray and bake for about 20 min or until golden.

5. Sprinkle the dried fruit on top and let it cool completely before transfering into an air-tight container.

Christmas Granola

Cinnamon & Ginger Thumbprint Cookies

J-23 guys! 23 more days til the most wonderful time of the year and I cannot wait! And really, what better way to get in the festive mood than a plate of spicy, cinnamon-ey cookies?

Cinnamon & ginger thumbprint cookies | Cake + Whisky

Nothing. My point exactly.

Cinnamon & ginger thumbprint cookies | Cake + Whisky

For me, that first bite of something sweet, crumbly and unmistakably cinnamon-ey is what marks the official start of the festive season.

Cinnamon & ginger thumbprint cookies | Cake + Whisky

Most years, mince pies are the way this happens (and I absolutely love it that way!).

But this year was different. This year, that ‘first bite’ was one of these gorgeous, homemade Cinnamon & Ginger Curd Thumbprint Cookies.

Cinnamon & ginger thumbprint cookies | Cake + Whisky

Flavoured with the warm aromas of cinnamon and ginger, they are the super Christmas-sy version of the already quite Christmas-sy jam thumbprint cookies.

They’re super easy to make (absolutely no need to be a smart cookie!) and with all these spices, they definitely make for the perfect seasons’ greetings!

Cinnamon & ginger thumbprint cookies | Cake + Whisky

Cinnamon & Ginger Thumbprint Cookies (makes 30)

For the cookie dough:

  • 200g flour + some for dusting
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • a small pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

To garnish: 

1. In a big bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the sugar and salt until it becomes fluffy and doubles in volume.

2. Add in the flour and cinnamon and mix. You should get a crumbly texture, not dissimilar to that of crumble, only much finer.

3. Incorporate the butter and knead lightly until the dough comes together, adding more flour as you go if necessary.

4. Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and let it rest in the fridge for about 30 min.

5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Take the dough out of the fridge and shape into balls the size of a large cherry.

6. Place the balls about 5cm apart on prepared baking sheets. Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1 cm deep.

7. Bake for 15 min.

8. Let the cookies cool entirely. Fill each indentation with about 3/4 tsp ginger curd, then dust the cookies with ground cinnamon.


Cinnamon & Ginger Thumbprint Cookies

DIY Christmas Bingo cards


(sorry about the all caps, but not sorry because OMG SO EXCITED!!)

Time to get wrapping & sticking & enveloppe licking, hosting, toasting & turkey roasting, baking, dishing & mistletoe kissing… and then some!

Christmas Bingo cards | Cake + Whisky

Because as much as I LOOOOVE the festive season, there’s just SO MUCH to do before Christmas Day!

Christmas Bingo cards | Cake + Whisky

Decorate the tree, wrap the presents, fill the stockings… the list goes on and on and managing to get it all done is often a challenge.

Unless of course you turn the whole thing on its head and into Christmas Bingo cards!

Christmas Bingo cards | Cake + Whisky

Because what’s more satisfying than popping golden stars onto a beautifully festive card and shout BINGO! once you complete a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line? Nothing. Exactly.

I pre-filled them with festive chores & treats and left some polka-dotted spots empty for you to fill with your own Christmas traditions.

DIY Christmas Bingo cards | Cake + Whisky

Save the image above, print a bunch of Christmas Bingo cards and share them at home, at work, between friends… After all, there’s no gift like the gift of festive productivity (plus this one is free!).

Christmas Bingo cards | Cake + Whisky

…so get gold-star-sticking and don’t forget to shout BINGO! (and maybe treat yourself to a couple of chocolate truffles) as soon as you have marked five consecutive squares on your card!

DIY Christmas Bingo cards

Christmas Dinner in an hour – Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

The countdown to Christmas has -almost- officially begun! Only 25 days to go!

Which means it’s about time to get organised so you don’t run around like a headless chicken trying to hit the stores in quest of the perfect present / the necessary bits to cook up a worthy feast, plus getting it all wrapped, cooked and appropriately festive a few hours before the whole family rings the door bell.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

I’ve been there and I wouldn’t even wish that on my worst enemy.

Luckily, this year, I’ve had a bit of help from the expert es Super-Duper-Organised-Christmas, Katherine Frelon, whose Hall of festive fame includes a detailed plan on how to cook Christmas dinner in an hour.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

And while I’m still working on the one-hour-feast, I’m already well under way when it comes to edible presents, thanks to a little push from Mrs. Frelon herself and the kind folks at the Borough Market who recently invited me over for a little preview of Katherine’s demo sessions.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

We drank mulled cider, nibbled on festive treats (read: all the dried/candied fruit that were really meant to go into making said treats) & got a headstart on making all sorts of edible treats to be enjoyed by your nearest and dearest.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

First things first: the secret to Katherine’s mulled cider.

Because you’re definitely going to need some hot, liquid form of encouragement to get through the mountains of organisation and prep any Christmas feast requires.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

The one and only secret is home-made ‘Christmas spiced fruit bombs’. Aka mixed fruit and spices, wrapped up in tea bags and infused into your choice of hot drink for an instant festive hit!

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Christmas spiced fruit bombs (makes 24):


  • 1 lemon, thinly pared without pith
  • 1 orange, thinly pared without pith
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 10g cloves
  • 20g crystallised ginger, crushed
  • 1 nutmeg, smashed into pieces
  • 10 juniper berries, smashed with the back of a heavy knife
  • 80g dried blueberries
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 80g dehydrated strawberry or raspberry flakes
  • 24 x 10cm squares of muslin
  • Undyed cotton string

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

1. Place the citrus peel on a lined baking sheet and leave in the oven set at 60C-80C until the peel has dehydrated, but not coloured, so at least 60 minutes or more depending on the moisture of the peel.  Alternatively leave the peel overnight in a warm airing cupboard or by the Aga if you have one.

2. When the peel is cool chop it into small pieces and add to a bowl with all the other ingredients. Stir to combine well.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

3. To make the bags place approximately ½tsp of the fruit spice in the centre of each piece of muslin, gather up the corners and then twist and tie up each bundle securely with string. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

4. To make a serving, place one bag in a mug and pour over boiling water (or use boiling apple juice / cranberry juice / red wine / cider…) and leave to steep for 5 mins, then remove the bag.

To make a big batch, place one bag of mulling spice in a heavy bottomed saucepan with 2l of your choice of liquid, place on the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Remove the bag and serve the cider in heatproof glasses or mugs.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Next up, an absolute festive must-have in the form of a gorgeous Crimson Christmas Chutney.

Sweet and sour, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful cheese plate. Presented in Kilner jars decorated with pretty ribbons and handmade labels, it also makes for a great gift.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Crimson Christmas chutney (makes 1.5kg)


  • 1.2kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 700g cranberries
  • 400g soft dates, stoned and chopped
  • 4 clementines, zest and juice
  • 500g soft brown sugar
  • 2tsp ginger, peeled and grated
  • 30ml ruby red port or cherry brandy
  • 3 cloves
  • 7cm piece cassia bark
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 10g flaked sea salt

1. Place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer for approximately 60 minutes, until all the ingredients are soft.

2. Bottle in sterilised jars, seal and ideally leave to mature for a few weeks.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Last but not least: CHOCOLATE! Because what’s even the point of Christmas if not as the number one excuse to have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, eh?

Katherine’s jewelled Borough bark is super simple treat to make and the ultimate oh-gosh-I-have-no-present-for-[add the name of any last minute guest here] present.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Just melt, stir and swirl to achieve a dramatic edible gift for friends and family. Plus you get to lick the spoons, so it’s definitely a winner!

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Jewelled Borough bark (makes approx. 600g)


  • 250g good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 350g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150g Turkish delight, chopped into small dice
  • 40g green unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

1. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stir occasionally until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and repeat the process with the dark chocolate.


Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

2. Spread the dark chocolate onto a lined baking sheet to a thickness of 5mm.  Drop spoonfuls of white chocolate on top, and swirl the chocolates together with a skewer to make patterns.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market


3. While the chocolate is still molten sprinkle over the pistachios and Turkish delight and lightly press into the chocolate so they set firm. Chill until set, approximately 60 minutes.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

You can also jazz up the bark with your favourite dried or candied fruits, nuts, coffee beans or even liquorice if you dare.  Or try some heat and spice with crystalised ginger, chilli flakes and crushed cardamom.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

To package as gifts break the bark into large pieces and wrap in parchment paper with a pretty ribbon, fill a glass jar or a clear bags, or place in a pretty box and wrap with tissue paper.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Want to get a piece of the – Christmas prep – action?

Katherine will be in residence in the Borough Market Demo Kitchen (in the glass market hall) throughout December showing the shortcuts to the most amazing Christmas meal without spending days in the kitchen.

Throughout her demo sessions, Katherine will be focusing on the following topics, so make sure you come down to the Borough Market for tones of festive tips, a little nibble (and maybe a headstart on the grocery shopping too, ’tis the best place for it after all!) on the following dates:

1st December – 12.30-2pm – Edible Gifts.
8th December – 12.30-2pm – It’s all in the planning.
15th December – 12.30-2pm – The final countdown: 60 minutes in the kitchen on Christmas Day.

*All Borough Market demo kitchen sessions are free for all to attend. I was invited by the Borough Market to attend a preview of Katherine’s demo sessions, but all pictures, words, opinions & love for that iconic foodie spot, its legendary traders & tendancies to compulsively eat any fruit/nut/candy I can get my hands on my own.

Christmas Dinner in an hour – Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market