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Chocolate Yule Log from Craigies Farm Deli and Cafe

Chocolate Yule Log from Craigies Farm Deli and Cafe

Chocolate sponge:

4 large eggs
100g caster sugar
65g self-raising lour
40g cocoa powder

Chocolate icing and topping:

2 x 200 bars of Bournville dark chocolate broken into small pieces
600ml (one pint) double cream
4 tablespoons apricot jam
Icing sugar for dusting

Serves 10-12.

Pre-heat your oven to 200c/Fan 180c/Gas 6. Lightly grease a 33 x 23cm swiss roll tin and one with non-stick paper or baking parchment, pushing it into the corners.

For the sponge, whisk the eggs and sugar using an electric hand mixer in a large bowl until the mixture is pale in colour, light and frothy. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and carefully cut and fold together using metal spoon until all the cocoa and flour are incorporated together into the egg mixture. Be careful to not beat any of the air out of the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly out into the corners. Bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes until page golden and the sides are shrinking away from the sides.

Place a piece of baking parchment bigger than the Swiss roll on the work surface. Invert the cake onto the paper and remove the bottom lining paper.

Trim the edges of the cake with a sharp knife and make a score mark 2.5cm (roughly 1 inch) along the longer edge. Roll up from the longer edge using the paper, rolling with the paper inside. Set aside cool.

While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Melt the chocolate and 450ml of the cream in a bowl over a pan simmering water until completely melted (be careful not to overheat and the bowl must not touch the water). Put into the fridge to cool and firm up (this icing needs to be very thin for piping). Whip the remaining cream.

Uncurl the cold Swiss roll and remove the paper.  Spread a third of icing over the surface the spread the whipped cream on top and re-roll tightly. Cut a quarter of the cake off from one end on the diagonal. Transfer the large piece of cake to a serving plate ad angle the cut end to the side of the large cake to make a branch. Cover the surface of the cake with the melted apricot jam.

Put the remaining chocolate icing into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe long thick lines along the cake, covering it completely so it looks like the bark of a tree. Cover each end with icing or, if you want to see the cream, leave un-iced.

Dust with icing sugar and garnish with fresh holy serve.

Top tips:

If you’re making this Yule Log for the Christmas dinner table then why not be prepared and make it up to two days ahead of the big day? The log, completely filled and iced can freeze well – even for up to a month!

Ideally though, if you are planning on freezing, the cake should be frozen filled but un-iced and once defrosted it can be iced which ensure it keeps a nice shine. Defrost in the fridge overnight before serving.



Mince Pies from Craigies Farm Deli and Cafe

Mince Pies from Craigies Farm Deli and Cafe

Roughly 350g of mincemeat
1 egg, beaten for glazing
Icing or caster sugar for dusting

For the pastry:

175g plain flour
75g butter, cut into cubes
25g icing sugar
finely grated rind of one orange
1 egg, beaten


For the pastry, measure the flour, butter, icing sugar and grated orange rind into a food processing bowl and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Pour in the beaten egg and pulse the blade until the dough starts to form a ball. Knead lightly by hand on a floured board.

Pre-heat your oven to 200c/Fan 180c/Gas 6.

Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out 18 rounds using a 7.5cm fluted cutter. Use these to line 18 holes of two 12-hole bun tins. Spoon a generously heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry case.

Re-roll the pastry trimmings and cut out 18 stars using a 4.5-5cm star cutter. Put a star on top of the mincemeat, and brush the pastry with a little beaten egg.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool slightly and dust with icing or caster sugar before serving.

Top tips:

Prepare ahead and bake the mince pies but don’t dust with sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to three days. When needed, place on a baking tray, pre-heat your oven to 160c/Fan 140c/Gas 3 and reheat for 8-10 minutes.

To freeze the pies after baking, prepare to the point of having baked the mince pies until golden brown and crisp but don’t dust with sugar. Pack into a rigid plastic container and freeze for up to a month.

Thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours the warm through as directed above.


Ratatouille Balgove by Liana Nickel of Balgove Larder

Ratatouille Balgove by Liana Nickel of Balgove Larder

2 red peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced – 1 kept separate
4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, plus juices
3 sprigs of thyme, plus 1tsp thyme leaves kept separate
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
2 courgettes (a mix of yellow and green is good if possible), thinly sliced
1 aubergine, thinly sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

This dish pairs well with white fish or, for an Italian twist, serve on top of pasta and garnish with fresh basil.

Heat the oven to 230ºC.

Place whole peppers on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes until the skin has blistered and is starting to blacken. Remove, place in a dish and seal with cling wrap until they’re cool enough to handle. Turn the oven down to 140ºC.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over a low heat, add the onion and cook until very soft (about eight minutes), after five minutes add three cloves of minced garlic. Stir in the tomatoes and juices, and the sprigs of thyme and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Peel and dice the peppers and add them to the pan.

Remove the thyme springs, season to taste, and stir in the vinegar.


Spread the sauce on the bottom of an oven dish (sauce should be about 2cm deep), then arrange the sliced vegetables on top. Season each layer as you go. You will likely end up with two to three layers of sliced vegetables.

Mix the remaining clove of garlic with the extra virgin olive oil and thyme leaves, season and sprinkle over the top. Cover tightly with foil, and put in the oven for 90 minutes to two hours until the vegetables are tender.

Remove the foil, and cook for another 30 minutes, until the edges of the vegetables begin to brown and crisp. Let it cool slightly and serve.


Fudge Cheesecake with West Craigie berries from Craigies Farm Deli and Cafe

Fudge Cheesecake with West Craigie berries from Craigies Farm Deli and Cafe

250g Island Bakery Crumbles (or other oaty biscuits), crushed
75g butter, melted
200g Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
250g West Craigie fudge, chilled then roughly grated
600ml double cream, lightly whipped

This recipe was specially designed for Craigies by Sue Lawrence and serves 10.

To make the base, mix the crushed biscuits and butter and press into the bottom of a greased and lined 24cm springform cake tin. Beat the cream cheese until soft then tip in the fudge and combine gently until smooth.

Spoon the mixture onto the cheesecake crust, smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula landcover with cling film.

Chill the cheesecake overnight before carefully removing from the cake  tin.

Slice into wedges and drizzle over the delicious raspberry sauce.


Top tips:

For easy grating, chill the fudge well or freeze for a couple of hours

The best West Craig fudge to use for this cheesecake are chocolate-vanilla, caramel and vanilla.

Serve with a simple raspberry sauce made from pureeing West Craigie raspberries (fresh or defrosted) with sifted icing sugar dusted over the top to taste. We even recommend adding a wee bit of gin to the raspberry puree – strictly adults only though!



Chocolate cake with Channel Farm beetroot from Loch Leven's Larder

Chocolate cake with Channel Farm beetroot from Loch Leven's Larder

250g well-drained, cooked beetroot, blended
½ tsp vanilla extract
300g Caster Sugar
250ml vegetable oil
3 eggs
225g plain flour
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Channel Farm beetroot makes this cake deliciously moist.

Preheat your oven to 180c/Gas 4. Grease and flour a baking tin, roughly sized 20x30cm

In a large bowl, combine pureed beetroots, eggs, vanilla, oil and sugar. Mix with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa. Add to the creamed mixture, beating together well. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool and frost with your favourite icing.




Blueberry & Vanilla Cheesecake by Leanne of Castleton Farm Shop

Blueberry & Vanilla Cheesecake by Leanne of Castleton Farm Shop

Cheesecake base
250g crushed Digestive biscuits
150g margarine, melted

Cheesecake topping:
115g caster sugar
3 tblsp cornflour
900g full fat cream cheese
2 eggs
115ml whipping cream
2 tbsp vanilla essence
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Compote topping:
2 cups of blueberries
3 tbsp water
¼ cup of sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Grease and line a 24cm springform cake tin and preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

Prepare the base. Mix the biscuits and butter in a bowl, press into the base of the tin and leave to set.

Turn the oven to 200°C/400ºF/gas 6. Combine the sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Add the cream cheese and beat with an electric whisk until creamy. Add the eggs and beat well. Gradually add the cream, beating until smooth, then beat in the vanilla and zest.

Tip the mixture into the tin, level the surface and sit on a baking sheet and place in the centre of the oven. Bake for 40–45 minutes until the top is browned and the filling set around the edges.

A piece of foil over the top will stop it browning too much. Let the cheesecake cool, then put in the fridge for three hours or overnight.

Put the blueberries in a pan, sprinkle over the sugar and add a splash of water and the lemon juice. Put on a low-medium heat to simmer gently for 10 minutes. Cool and serve with the cheesecake.


Swedish Apple Cake from Eve's Apple Shack, Edinburgh

Swedish Apple Cake from Eve's Apple Shack, Edinburgh

For the pastry:

200g butter, softened
200g golden, unrefined caster sugar
One large egg
400g plain flour
1 heaped tsp of baking powder

For the filling:

1.8kg (about 10) sweet dessert apples – available from Eve’s Apple Shack.
One lemon
2 tbsp unrefined caster sugar
Half tsp  ground cinnamon
A pinch of grated nutmeg


Pre-heat your oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

For the pastry:

Cut the butter into chunks and put it in a food mixer then beat. Add sugar and continue beating till pale and creamy. Break the egg into a cup and mix it gently before adding to the butter sugar mixture. Mix this in thoroughly.

Sift the flour and mix with the baking powder, then add slowly to the mixture. Stop as soon as the flour is incorporated.

Remove the dough from the bowl, put it on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a fat sausage. Wrap in baking paper or clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the filling:

Fill a bowl with cold water and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into it. Peel the apples and drop each into the bowl. This is called acidulation and it will help stop the apples form turning brown.

Quarter the apples, then core and thickly slice, dropping them back into acidulated water. Drain the apples and put them into a large, heavy-based saucepan with the golden sugar, cinnamon, grated nutmeg, juice of remaining half lemon, then bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer on a moderate heat for roughly 10-15 minutes until apples become tender but still have shape. Then leave to cool.

Lightly butter a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Remove pastry from fridge, cut off a third of it and return to the fridge. Cut thick slices from the large piece of pastry, using them to line base and sides of cake tin, pressing firmly into the corners and patching any tears or cracks. Chill for 20 minutes.

Line the inside of the cake tin with a sheet of baking paper half and fill with baking beans. Put a clean baking sheet in the oven until hot, then put cake tin on the baking sheet. The heat will help the pastry to cook underneath.

Bake for 15 minutes the remove and leave to cool slightly before carefully removing the baking paper and beans.

Return to oven for 5 minutes without the beans and paper, then remove and leave to cool down. Turn the oven down to 180C/gas mark 4.

Now fill the pastry case with apples to the rim, holding back any liquid.

Roll out the remaining pastry to fit over the top of the cake. Patch any holes by gently pressing any raw pastry on to edges of cooked pastry. Cut three slits in the top to let out the steam.

Bake on the hot baking sheet for 45 minutes till the top is nutty brown.

Remove from oven, dust with caster sugar and leave to rest and cool slightly for 15 minutes.

Run a palette knife round the edge to free the pastry from the tin, but leave the cake in place until cake is cool, then carefully remove from the tin.

To serve:

Cut into a thick slice and pour over some thick cream. Delicious!


What's on?

What's on?

See what's happening this Christmas at your local farm shop

Scotland’s farm shops are situated in some of the most beautiful parts of the country.  A visit to a farm shop makes an ideal day out for all the family when combined with a bracing winter walk.  Here’s a selection of our favourite walks available from farm shops across Scotland which will help you and your family kick-start 2016 in a healthy way.

Ardross Farm Shop, Fife

Ardross Farm Shop is in the East Neuk of Fife and the classic Fife Coastal Path runs right past the farm.  A path just 100 metres away from the shop leads visitors right down to the coastal path.  The Fife coastal path is a long distance route that runs along the rugged Fife coast through a number of picturesque fishing villages.  It’s easy to do small sections at the time, making this an easily accessible walk.


Craigies, West Lothian

Craigies Farm Shop has a number of nature trails around the farm with brass rubbings along the way for the kids.  In addition, there is a good range of walks around the area from Craigie Hill to Dalmeny Village.  Staff at the farm shop are able to provide maps and even bowls of water for thirsty dogs.


Northmains Farm, Aberdeenshire

Northmains Farm shop is next to the stunning Pitmedden Gardens which offers walks around the property.  In addition, a twenty minute walk around the farm links up with the Pitmedden garden walk, adding an extra 40 minutes to your stroll.


Whitmuir, Scottish Borders

A good selection of way-marked walks round the farm itself allow visitors to see where the food is produced.  There are also walks from the top of the farm to Cloich that will help everyone build up an appetite.


Loch Arthur Creamery, Dumfries & Galloway

Staff at the farm shop will be able to provide you with a good range of walks of varying distance.  These include a short walk to Drumcoltran Tower, a fortified mid-16th century tower house.


Skye Farm Shop, Armadale, Skye

The Isle of Skye is famed for its stunning landscape and there is a huge range of walks available for all levels.  If you’re visiting the Skye Farm Shop, remember to pick up picnic provisions for this charming coastal walk to the Point of Sleat, the southern most point of Skye.