• Baked apples, shortcrust pastry, mince pies and roast potatoes…

    By Anna Montali

    How to make Grandma’s baked apples
    Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the apples in half and scoop out a little of the apple flesh to make a small indentation in the centre. Mix together the scooped-out apple, some nuts, brown sugar, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and enough butter to form a paste. Spoon this mixture into the centre of each apple half. Squash the halves together again and secure with kitchen string. Place on a baking tray and brush with a little pomegranate molasses, if desired. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until soft, about 10 minutes.

    How to keep shortcrust pastry together
    Pastry in general starts to break up when it becomes too warm or is over-manipulated. To prevent your pastry from breaking, keep it chilled at all times. If it becomes toowarm while you’re working with it, refrigerate it for a while before continuing. A trick with shortcrust pastry: chill it well, then grate it into the prepared tart tin and gently push down with your fingertips so that it comes together and lines the tin evenly.

    How to make cheat’s mince pies

    with baked custard Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry and use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Press these into the openings of a 12-hole muffin tin. Spoon ready-made fruit mince onto each pastry disc and top with ready-made custard. Bake until the pastry is cooked, about 15 minutes.Serve dusted with icing sugar.

    How to make fluffy-inside,crunchy-outside roast potatoes
    Cut 2 potatoes into quarters and parboil them in plenty of salted boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain welland pat dry. Toss with a little cake flour and shake off the excess flour. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Melt 60ml (¼ cup) butter and 20ml (4 tsp) olive oil in a roasting pan. When it is hot, add the potatoes and toss to coat. Roast for about 50 minutes and serve hot, sprinkled with Maldon salt.