Food and Drink

Dinner Party Recipe

Sopwell House Spill Their Meringue Secrets

Often featured in the kitchen is the mighty meringue, a necessity for your Pavlova and a staple in a classic British dessert, Eton Mess.

Sopwell House’s Executive Head Chef Gopi Chandran reveals his easy recipe for creating the perfect meringues at home.

Gopi Chandran, Executive Head Chef
at Sopwell House

This recipe is perfect for a dinner party dessert and has been specially created by Sopwell House’s Executive Head Chef, Gopi Chandran.

Serving size – will make enough for 4 Eton Mess puddings.

Eton Mess Recipe


• 2 large egg whites
A dash of Lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 tea spoon of vanilla essence
120g sugar
Dusting of cornstarch


1. Whisk together the egg whites, lemon juice, salt and vanilla essence to form soft peaks. A peak is where you can pull the mixture with the whisk and the mixture will create dome-like shapes that support themselves.

2. Slowly add the sugar and then the corn-starch, whisking together until firm, self-supporting peaks form. The Chef’s biggest tip for this stage is to add these ingredients slowly and steadily, if you add the sugar to the previous mixture too quickly, you’ll find small caramel bubbles that can appear burnt once you’ve baked the meringue. Taking it slow will ensure the mixture is smooth and you’ll achieve better results.

3. Once firm peaks have formed, pipe out the meringue mixture using a plain nozzle into your desired shape. For Sopwell House’s Eton Mess, create droplet shapes by squeezing the piping bag intermittently onto the lined baking tray.

4. Bake at 90°C for 75-90 minutes.

5. Leave the meringue to cool in a dry area before attempting to pick up or move them, as they will be soft to touch.

Serves 4

If you choose to recreate this recipe at home, Sopwell House would love to know, so be sure to tag them on social media at #SopwellHouseRecipes

About Sopwell House

Sopwell House is a stunning 18th Century Georgian house located in the city of St. Albans deep within the Hertfordshire countryside. Located only 20 minutes from London St. Pancras, the hotel is the idyllic getaway just outside of the hustle and bustle of the capital.

The hotel is the perfect place to dine boasting a 2AA Rosette restaurant, a vibrant Brasserie, an elegant cocktail lounge, and conservatory bar, all of which look out on 12-acres of beautiful gardens.

Sopwell House is based at Cottonmill Lane, St Albans, AL1 2HQ.

For reservations, please call: 01727 864477

Or visit

Festive Christmas Drink

Eggnog Recipe By British Lion Eggs

Christmas celebrations all over the world would not be complete without a glass of Eggnog – a rich and creamy drink flavoured with spice, served chilled. 

It’s traditionally laced with alcohol but this recipe can be adapted to cater for all dietary requirements, with non-alcoholic or dairy-free options.

This seasonal recipe has been created by British Lion Eggs.


300ml milk
150ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split
1 cinnamon stick
3 large British Lion eggs, separated
75g caster sugar
175ml dark rum or Bourbon whisky (optional)
A little freshly grated nutmeg


1. In a pan combine the milk and cream, the vanilla pod and cinnamon. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then set aside to cool and infuse for 30 mins.

2. Place the egg yolks and 50g of the sugar in a bowl and whisk until they are pale, fluffy and leave a trail.

3. Remove the spices from the milk, then slowly whisk it into the egg mixture, then add the alcohol (if using). Pour into a large jug, cover and refrigerate overnight.

4. When ready to serve, whisk the egg whites in a large clean bowl until foamy. Add the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

5. Strain the milk mixture and discard the vanilla and cinnamon.

6. Fold the egg whites into the milk mixture, then ladle into glass tumblers. Sprinkle with a little more grated nutmeg before serving.

Serves: 8

Preparation / cooking time: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes infusing time and refrigeration

Cook’s Tips

For a dairy free version: replace the milk with 2 cans of coconut milk and use rum.

For a non-alcoholic version: leave out the rum/whisky. The warming flavour of the spices mean that this mix makes a great tasting alcohol-free drink too.

For further information and recipes from British Lion Eggs visit the website at

Hearty Winter Warmer

A Recipe for Jugged Beef in The Old Way

Jugged beef that has been cooked slowly so the meat is very tender and juicy is an old fashioned casserole type dish that your grandma may have made for you when you were a child

This seasonal recipe has been created by Steenbergs.


 1 – 1½ kg / 2 – 3 lb beef shin, cut across the bone into 3cm slices
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 onions finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon dried garlic
2 strips orange peel or orange powder would be fine
4 carrots peeled and chopped
125g / 4 oz /½ cupbutton mushrooms, halved
2 organic bay leaves
500ml / 2 cups red wine, beer or stock 
Steenbergs Organic ‘s natural sea salt
Freshly milled organic black pepper 
Alternatively you can use Steenbergs organic perfect salt seasoning which works very well.


1. Sprinkle beef with salt and freshly ground pepper, dredge generously with flour.

2. Heat oil and butter and sauté the onion and garlic, then separately the carrots and mushrooms over a moderate heat until soft and just beginning to colour. Remove with slotted spoon and drain.

3. Sauté the beef until it is well browned. Arrange the onions, garlic, mushrooms and carrots in the casserole,  then add the prepared meat, bay leaves, orange peel and stewing liquid, whether you are using red wine, beer or stock.

4. Cover lightly and cook very gently until the meat is tender and the onions have disintegrated into a thick sauce.

5. When ready to serve, remove the bay leaves and orange peel, skim off the excess fat. Check the seasonings and reheat.

6. The secret is to season early and then to cook slowly at 125°C / 250°F 2½ – 3 hours.

7. Serve with mashed potato mixed with Dijon mustard and red wine.

Serves: 4 people

For more information about Steenbergs click on

Chiappa Sisters Recipe

Egg Cupcakes 

This month we have a nutritious and easy to make egg recipe and video from Michela Chiappa from the Chiappa Sisters, brand ambassador for British Lion Eggs, for her delicious Egg Cupcakes.

This fun to make savoury recipe is perfect for cooking with young children or enjoying as a healthy teatime treat.

Michela explains why this recipe is so special, “These little egg cupcakes are a fabulous treat for the kids because they look like cupcakes and you can get the kids involved. Let them have a bit of fun. Mix and match the ingredients.

“They are super simple to make. You can probably prepare them in under 5 minutes and they are perfect for breakfast, lunches, picnics and packed lunches. Whatever you want! The whole family can enjoy them.”

Try this fabulous recipe with easy to follow step-by-step instructions below and watch the video so you can cook along with Michela and make these scrumptious cupcakes that your children, family and friends will enjoy.

Egg Cupcakes


6 medium British Lion Eggs, whisked
50ml milk
1 large sweet potato, grated
100g feta cheese
Pepper to season


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.

2. Line your muffin tray with 6 silicone moulds. If you don’t have silicone moulds you can grease your muffin tray with some oil but the cupcakes will be more difficult to get out.

3. Add the milk and pepper to your whisked eggs, whisk again and set aside.

4. Place a tablespoon of grated sweet potato into each silicone mould.

5. Crumble the feta cheese on top of the sweet potato.

6. Pour your egg mix into the silicone moulds and fill to the top.

7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and cooked through then set aside to cool.

Serves: 3

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Now Watch the Video

Click on arrow to watch

For more British Lion Eggs recipes visit the website at website at British Lion Eggs   

Christmas Entertaining

Caramel Christmas Showstopper from Bonne Maman

Bored of the same old Christmas pudding and mince pies every year? Bonne Maman introduces a fantastic alternative – a soft, mallowy meringue layered with caramel and caramel cream then frosted with toasted almonds and icing sugar – a delicious and super pretty festive dessert to wow your dinner guests this festive season. 

Bonne Maman’s ‘Caramel Christmas Meringue’ is a wonderful showcase for the French specialist conserve brand’s new Salted Caramel, a deliciously rich caramel, lightly seasoned with Guérande sea salt from the North Western coast of France.

This recipe has been created by Bonne Maman.

Ingredients for the Meringue

5 egg whites
300g caster sugar
1 tsp distilled malt vinegar
300ml carton double cream
60g Bonne Maman Salted Caramel

Ingredients to Decorate

50g shredded toasted almonds
Icing sugar
Icing snowflakes


1. Heat the oven to 110°C, 90°C fan oven, mark low. With a pencil, mark a 22.5cm square on a sheet of baking parchment and turn over, pencil down, onto a large baking sheet.

2. Mix together the egg whites, sugar and vinegar in a heatproof bowl. Place over a saucepan of gently simmering water and beat with an electric whisk for 10 minutes or until very stiff and shiny.

3. Spread the meringue mixture into the marked square and bake for 40 minutes then cool. The meringue will feel soft and mallowy and the top just slightly firm.

4. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape and fold in half the caramel. Keep whisking slowly for a few more seconds until the cream is just firm enough to spread.

5. Cut the square into 3 lengths, each roughly 7.5cm x 22.5cm. Using a palette knife, lift one length of meringue onto a serving platter and spread with about a third of the cream. Drizzle with half the remaining caramel and place a second length of meringue on top and spread again with cream. Drizzle with the remaining caramel and top with the final meringue.

6. Scatter the top with the almonds, dust with icing sugar and add edible snowflakes, to serve.

Cook’s tips

The assembled Caramel Christmas Meringue, without the almond decoration, will freeze for up to 1 month – meaning you can play the perfect host knowing dessert is under control, simply thaw in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.

Bonne Maman Salted Caramel is now available nationally from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco and Morrisons as well as Ocado, Amazon and independent fine food stores. Salted Caramel is £2.19 RRP for a 220gm jar.  

For more information about Bonne Maman visit

Winter warmer recipe

Breakfast Baked Beans

This delicious winter warmer is a great way to start the day and includes nutritious beans.

This recipe is from Bonne Maman ‘Breakfast Savoir Faire’ (Publisher – Primo), available through Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles, £9.99. Recipe is by Moyra Fraser.


1 red onion, finely diced
Olive oil
1 stick of celery, finely diced
300ml passata
2 t bablespoons of tomato purée
2 x 400g cans of beans, drained (kidney, pinto, cannellini etc)
3 tbsp Bonne Maman Salted Caramel
100ml water


1. Fry the onion and celery in the olive oil until soft and golden. Stir in the smoked paprika and cook for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to boil. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Cook’s Tips

Adding a combination of Bonne Maman Salted Caramel and paprika to the beans adds a rich, sweet smoky flavour. If you make these the night before, they’ll taste even better – just keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat them.

For more information about Bonne Maman visit

Sixtyplusurfers Competition

Win Gin Lane 1751 “Victoria” Pink

Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Gin Lane 1751 – the “gin for gin lovers” – to offer two lucky readers the chance to win a bottle of “Victoria” Pink.

Gin Lane 1751 is a celebration of the Victorian gin-making era, with a style of bold juniper & hints of liquorice.  It has been created by Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers, an 8th generation distiller, and The Bloomsbury Club – a group of gin lovers & drinks industry professionals.

Gin Lane 1751 “Victoria” Pink is a small batch gin, and the only authentically-made pink gin on the market.  It is infused with naturally blended spiced bitters and can be served neat and well-chilled as the simplest of cocktails or as a chic alternative to a Gin & Tonic. 

Gin Lane 1751 was named after an important historical landmark on the gin timeline; the Gin Act 1751, which was in part brought about by artist William Hogarth’s iconic depiction of Gin Lane. 

The act banned the sale of gin in prisons, the workhouse and any shops selling everyday staples. Distillers were unable to sell gin direct and publicans were no longer able to issue credit. Gin became less readily available and more expensive with quality improving significantly; by Victorian times it had become a drink of respectability.

Gin Lane 1751 “Victoria” Pink is available online via Amazon or at Aldi and Selfridges (from £19.99).

For more information about Gin Lane 1751 visit

Or follow Gin Lane on Twitter @ginlane1751

For Your Chance to Win

 Tell us which famous artist painted the iconic Gin Lane in 1751?   

 a) Claude Monet
 b) John Constable
 c) William Hogarth
 d) Thomas Gainsborough

To Enter the Competition

Tell us which famous artist painted the iconic Gin Lane in 1751? Then send in your answer, together with your full name, postal address and telephone number by clicking on the Sixtyplusurfers link below:

* Please label your entry
Victoria Pink Gin

  * This competition is open to
   our UK readers only

* Entries will not be shared with any third parties and deleted once the prize has been dispatched

Christmas Entertaining

Blue Pepper Christmas Pudding Recipe

Enjoy this traditional Christmas Pudding with your family after your festive meal.

Packed with delicious dried fruit and set alight with brandy, it’s sure to be a winner with your guests.

This delicious recipe is by Blue Pepper Catering.


1,500g mixed dried fruit
100g chopped dates
3 tablespoons chopped crystallised ginger
125g suet
125g plain flour
125g caster sugar
150ml milk
150g breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of brandy
Zest of 1 orange
1 handful of chopped nuts
1 egg


1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

2. Put the mixture into a greased pudding bowl and cover with two layers of aluminium foil.

3. To keep the foil in place, tie a piece of string round the bowl.

4. Place in a large saucepan and fill half way with water

5. On the hob, bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer, covering with a tightly fitting lid.

6. Leave to simmer for 3 hours, topping up the water so it doesn’t boil dry.

7. Once cooked, remove foil and tip out of the bowl onto a serving plate.

8. Set your pudding alight with a splash of brandy and enjoy!

For more information about Blue Pepper Catering and other great recipes click on

Family Favourite Dessert

Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding

As the weather starts to turn cooler, thoughts (and taste buds) turn to foods that warm and comfort. 

Milk & More, the nation’s largest doorstep milk delivery service, has created this delicious family favourite recipe to tantalise the taste buds using many of the products its local, friendly milkmen and women deliver to customers every day.


6 slices Kingsmill Thick Sliced Soft White Bread (300g)
75g Netherend Farm Organic Unsalted Butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
150g Cartwright & Butler Fine Cut English Breakfast Marmalade
50g sultanas
300ml pot Country Life Single Cream
300ml Country Life Semi Skimmed Milk
75g granulated sugar
3 Rambling Free, Free Range Hens Eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4. Grease a 2 litre shallow serving dish.

2. Spread the butter and marmalade evenly over the bread, sprinkle over the sultanas. Cut each slice into 2 triangles. Arrange in the prepared dish, overlapping the slices.

3. Mix the cream, milk, 50g of the sugar, eggs and vanilla together and pour over the slices of bread. Press the slices down into the liquid and leave to soak for 10 minutes.

4. Sprinkle over the remaining sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.

Preparation: 15 minutes plus 10 minutes soaking

Cook: 35-40 minutes

Serves 6-8

Cook’s Tips

Add chocolate chips for extra richness or swap the bread for wholemeal and the milk for skimmed for a healthier option.

Milk and More products can be ordered online at or direct from your milkman to have the items delivered to your door by 7am.

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