Very Easy Bread Recipe

Bread for the weekend: start Friday evening, cook Saturday morning for warm delicious brunch

  • Only four ingredients
  • Friday: Take two minutes to weigh  and mix ingredients
  • Knead for five mintues
  • Leave to rise overnight in fridge
  • Saturday morning: Punch air out of risen loaf, knead again for five minutes, shape and leave for final rise
  • Delicious bread ready to eat in 35 minutes


2 minutes to weigh and mix ingredients

5 minutes kneading

60 minutes for first rise

5 minutes to knock down and knead again

35-60 minutes for second rise in tin

35 minutes to bake in oven



  • 500g strong white bread flour*, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 2 teasps salt
  • 7g fast-action dried yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 300ml tepid water


  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and water, and mix well. If the dough seems a little stiff, add 1-2 tbsp water, mix well then tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead. Once the dough is smooth, place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Place in the fridge to allow it to rise slowly overnight.
  2. The next morning remove the dough from the fridge and knock it back, gently kneading for around three minutes. Mould into the shape you want and place on a baking tray lined with parchment or place in a loaf tin. I like the free form shape as it appears more rustic.
  3. When shaped, cover loosely with cling film and leave to prove for a further hour until doubled in size.
  4. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Dust the loaf with a little flour and cut three slashes across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Allow to cool on a wire rack and enjoy while still warm.

* Select good quality flour; see

White Christmas Cocktails

Here are some fabulous white coloured cocktails to make up for the lack of snow. Cocktails always get the party going and the rule of thumb is that one per person is too little, two is divine and three is too much!  See at the end of the post for quantities and tips on how to serve cocktails at parties.

Christmas cocktail with lime leaves and cranberry

WHITE MISCHIEF – Martini Glass

I devised this for an Out of Africa themed party, and it is based on the classic White Lady. This drink combines a hit of vodka with the fragrance of elderflower and sweetness of the pear juice. Apple and ginger add a bit of a kick.

  • 2oz Absolute Vodka
  • 1oz Funkin William Pear
  • 1oz James White Apple and Ginger
  • 1 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Lemon juice

This quantity makes one decent size cocktail. Make up the mixture x 100 in clear bucket, then shake with ice in giant cocktail shakers and pour into chilled martini glasses.

madmen0005THE WHITE LADY

This is the first cocktail I tasted and it felt so glamourous.

It’s a clean-tasting drink and needs to be drunk very cold, so make sure you have plenty of ice.

  • 20ml Dry London gin
  • 10ml Cointreau
  • 10ml  lemon juice

Shake the ingredients together well with ice. Strain into a frosted cocktail glass and serve in a martini glass. Glorious.


A light change to the classic Kir Royale, with a dash of lemon juice to cut through the sweetness. I love the gorgeous St Germain version

  • 10ml Elderflower Liqueur
  • 5ml lemon juice
  • Top up with well chilled prosecco

Pour into tall Champagne glasses and serve very cold.


The ultimate festive martini, using edible loose leaf gold to give a gold snow storm effect. You can buy gold flecked vodka, but this represents very bad value, as you can order leaves of edible gold leaf quite cheaply from Amazon, or buy in art shops. You are then free to add it to your favourite vodka. You can also order gold leaf flakes here

The quantities are for 10 as it is not worth making any less.

  • 750ml vodka
  • 250ml dry martini
  • 2 sheets edible gold leaf
  1. Blend the vodka and vermouth
  2. Shake together vodka and vermouth with ice in cocktail shaker
  3. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with crushed edible gold leaf


To help in calculating how much you get from a bottle of spirits and mixers see the measurements below:

70cl Spirit Bottle = 14 Drinks @ 50ml (double measure)

1 Litre Carton of Mixer = 20 Drinks @ 50ml (double measure)

1 Squeezed Lime = Roughly 35ml of Juice

1 Squeezed Lemon = Roughly 45ml – 50ml of Juice

How to serve cocktails to large numbers:

For a party of 100, I would offer a choice of two to three different cocktails. The idea of shaking up individual cocktails for a crowd of thirsty revellers  just doesn’t work. Our trick is to make up large quantities of the mixture in advance,  then shake with ice in our special giant cocktail shakers. Thus you can serve 10 people at a time very quickly.

If you are offering a choice of cocktails, stick to two-three base spirits, a vodka, a gin and a rum, and offer both long and short drinks. When buying or hiring martini glasses be aware that they vary in size, so check out what size yours are then adjust the quantities for your drinks accordingly. It is important to match your drink to the correct glass, both for practical and aesthetic reasons. Who would want to drink a martini out of an old fashioned glass?


Don’t forget to think about the garnish.  In some cases they add to the taste of the cocktail, though usually add visual appeal Check your cocktail recipe for the type of garnish and calculate how many ingredients you will need for the number of cocktails you are making.