The best Christmas trifle ever

The best Christmas trifle ever



I love Christmas and everything involved. I love the build up and the festive feeling of December. I host the Turkey Tasting Theatre at the Ideal Home Show Christmas so you could say by December I am fully prepped with my Turkey skills. 

This year we were lucky enough to be sponsored by Campbell Bothers  They say: Campbell Brothers offer knowledge and experience through over 100 years working as butchers striving for butchery excellence and expanding into fish & seafood and produce to offer a full range of ingredients to professional kitchens throughout Scotland and North England. Despite the changing times and developments in technology and hi-tec production processes, Campbell Brothers have maintained their traditional values of quality product with a quality service.

Campbell brothers work with Copas Turkeys. and Copas Turkeys supplied all the Turkeys at the show. As a chef I am lucky that I get to work with fantastic suppliers and I can honestly say Copas Turkeys are the best I have EVER tasted. FACT: Copas Turkeys are loved by some of Britain’s best butchers, farm shops, delis and food halls as well as a loyal following of home delivery and farm gate customers. Christmas is truly a day of celebration, relaxation and gaiety which is why, over the last fifty years, we have dedicated each year to producing the finest award winning turkeys in the land, just for Christmas.


The Turkeys are a wonderful flavour. Succulent, juicy and full of Christmas joy

The Turkeys are a wonderful flavour. Succulent, juicy and full of Christmas joy


Wonderful Copas Turkeys

Wonderful Copas Turkeys


We don’t get to see everyone at Christmas and I like to host few ‘Christmas dinners’ before the big day. The one thing I have learned is PREPARATION IS KEY. I made my herb butter two days in advance. I use the herb butter under the skin of the turkey as well as on top. 

Herb Butter:

250g salted butter

Handful sage, chopped

Handful Thyme, Chopped

100g Chopped dried cranberries ( soak in port for 24 hours )

Zest of three clementine



Squish and squelch all the ingredients together with your hands. Leave in the fridge but take it out the night before you are going to use it. I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it. You need it to be soft so you can smear it under the skin. I still had a few lumps in mine but that’s fine. When removing the skin from the breast I use a table spoon to gently ease it away. You may need to make a small incision with a knife to start.

 Halve an onion, apple and clementine and place in the cavity of the Copas Turkey 


The herb butter has been smooched under the skin

The herb butter has been smooched under the skin

I then use a lot of foil as I like to make an airtight parcel. Lay the seasoned Copas Turkey on sliced Onion, parsnip, garlic, carrots and potatoes. Add 400ml of white wine or chicken stock.


Season and wrapped up

Season and wrapped up

If you have a Copas Turkey you will be sent a pop up cooking timer. Insert your pop-up cooking timer at a point approx 3cm to the right or left of the front tip of the breastbone. The timer should not
touch any bone.

Follow the Copas Turkey PREPARATION tips 

pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8 (or 210°C for fan ovens). Cook your turkey at this temperature for the first 30 mins & then lower the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 (or 170°C for fan ovens). Total cooking time will be approximately 30-35 mins per kg.
Weight Full Cooking Time Weight Full Cooking Time
2kg 1hr 15mins 7kg 3hr 40mins
3kg 1hr 45mins 8kg 4hrs
4kg 2hr 35mins 9kg 4hr 25mins
5kg 2hr 55mins 10kg 4hr 45mins
6kg 3hr 15mins 11kg 5hrs
Do not overcook your turkey – it should be moist & succulent. It will be ready when the juices run clear when tested with a fork (plunge into the deepest part of the thigh or breast), or when your pop-up cooking timer has popped! If using a thermometer, the internal cooked temperature will be 165°F/74°C.

If following my recipe – Approximately 30mins before the full cooking time, remove foil so the breast bronzes. Make sure you allow the turkey to rest.

The best Brussels Spouts EVER 

I love this recipe and I hope you try it.

 Brussels Spouts puree

300g Boiled until soft

150ml Creme fresh

Pinch of fresh nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Blitz in a food mixer until a smooth puree is formed.

Brussels Sprouts & Chestnuts

300g Shredded brussels sprouts

100g Vacuum packed chestnuts, crumbled

100g Pancetta


Bring a large saucepan of waterloo the boiling add the shredded sprouts. Boil for five minutes android.

In a large frying pan, fry the pancetta until crispy. Add in the sprouts and chestnuts. Fry for five minutes whilst constantly stirring.

To Serve on warmed plate:

Drop and drag a large tablespoon of the puree then sprinkle on the brussels sprouts mixture.




I love this recipe

I love this recipe



With Chestnuts


I like to roast my carrots and parsnips in a little olive oil and maple syrup. It really brings out the sweetness


I add a little Maple syrup and olive oil

I add a little Maple syrup and olive oil


I made the stuffing a few weeks before and froze it. It was delicious!!!


400g Pork sausage meat

150g pancetta, fried

150g Chestnuts, tinned or vacum packed

Fresh sage, handful chopped

Fresh thyme, handful chopped

100g Port soaked cranberries

150g Mixed nuts, toasted 


Mix all of the ingredients together and either roll into ball or put into a baking dish. You can freeze or bake on 170c for 4o minutes.




I set the table with a few silvery decorations. It looked very Christmassy. 



The sausage in blankets, bread sauce and gravy I bought. Don’t judge. They all tasted great and I did add the cooking juices to the gravy. The roasties were home made with duck fat. Super crispy and fluffy on the inside.


The Trifle 





The best Christmas trifle ever

The best Christmas trifle ever


Clementine prosecco trifle

Clementine prosecco trifle

The trifle does take a while to make but is worth it. Once a year you can pull all the stops out!


Line a baking  tray

Pre heat the oven to 200c 

Choux Pastry for the profiteroles:

60g plain flour, on parchment paper 

150ml water

50g butter

2 eggs, beaten


Heat the water and butter until the butter melts. Do not boil as the water will evaporate. 

Turn off the heat and add in the flour. Quickly and firmly beat in the flour until a dough is formed and it comes away from the sides.

Beat in the egg a bit at a time ensuring it is fully incorporated before you add more. The paste should glossy.

Sprinkle a touch of water onto the lined baking tray. This will help create steam. Pipe onto a lined baking tray ensuring an 1 1/2 space between each profiteroles. 

Bake for five minutes at 200c and then turn down to 180 oc for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and make a small hole in the back of each profiterole. Allow to cool and dry out.



300ml Whipping cream

Vanilla pod, de seeded 


Whisk together the cream and vanilla seeds until soft peaks are formed. Pipe into the profiteroles. Line the bottom of the trifle dish.

Creme Patisserie with orange oil

4 Egg yolks

125g caster sugar

45g cornflour 

300ml full fat milk

200ml double cream 

2 Tsp of orange oil 

I vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds removed.

Directions :

Gently heat the milk, cream, vanilla and orange oil in a heavy bottomed pan.

In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolk, corn flour and sugar 

When the milk and cream mixture is about to boil take off the heat and slowly pour half the mixture into the egg and sugar mixture stirring constantly. 

When incorporated pour back into the saucepan with the remaining creamed milk mixture. Place on a low heat and stir until thickened. Use a large whisk. 

Transfer back into the large bow and contact cling until cooled.

Once ccooled spread over the profiteroles in the trifle dish.

Place in the fridge.

Two stages complete of the trifle

Two stages complete of the trifle

Prosecco jelly

Bottle of prosecco

5 gelatine leaves

2 tsp of orange oil

Juice of 4 large oranges 

Segments of 4 clementines. Pith removed. 


Heat a bottle of prosecco

Heat a bottle of prosecco




Boil the orange juice and then add the gelatine leaves. Stir until dissolved.

Heat a bottle of prosecco in a large pan and add in the orange gelatine 

Add in the orange oil

Allow to cool and slightly thicken

Pour over the creme pat in the trifle dish and add in the clementine segments

Place in the fridge to set overnight.


Italian Meringue;

4 egg whites

200g caster sugar

100ml water

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks are formed

( Whilst whisking) In a heavy bottomed pan heat the sugar and water to 121c.

Gently pour into the margin and whisk until the cooled. The meringue should be glossy.

Pipe onto the jelly and use blow torch to brown slightly




I made simple white chocolate decorations and added edible gold glitter. I use the pump action glitters from The Cake Decoration company


Please do let me know if you make any of these recipes.

Merry Christmas!


Lisa x 


@cocoabox TWITTER

@lisamarleychef Instagram


PS – We made a delicious Turkey Thai curry with the leftovers 






Sweet ingredients for cake




Pre heat your oven to 175/325/Gas 3 and line a muffin tin with 10 cupcake/muffin classes

This is my favourite time of year. The month of December has a magical feel to it. I am also addicted to baking with Christmas spices.

You will need:

100g light muscovado sugar

50g caster sugar

150g butter

2 medium eggs

150g self raising flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

25g rasins

50g dark chocolate, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

half a teaspoon of all spice

pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This will take quite a while. I find the muscava

Mmm tuck in….

Mmm tuck in….

do sugar takes a lot longer to cream. However, if you have a very powerful machine such as a kitchenAid it probably wont take that long. Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate over a bain marie and allow to cool ( but not set)

Combine the flour, spices, salt and baking powder together and add two tablespoons to the dry mixture. Add one egg and combine. Add the second egg and gently combine.

Add the remaining flour and gently mix to combine. Add the chocolate and mix until combined and lastly add the raisins.

Spoon or pipe into cupcake cases. Fill just over half way.

Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until golden and spring back to the touch. You can also insert a cocktail stick/cake skewer to see if it comes out clean.

Place on a baking tray. once cooled slightly remove from the muffin tray.

All to cool.

For the Buttercream:

250g soft slightly salted butter

300g icing sugar

100g dark chocolate

100g milk chocolate

Melt the chocolate over a bain marie and allow to cool.

Cream together the butter and icing sugar.

Mix in the melted chocolate and whisk for at least 5 minutes.

If the mixture is quite loose allow it to firm up in the fridge.

Once you have piped the buttercream you can decorate with home made or shop bought decorations.


Merry Christmas!




Come to mama! These little treats are so naughty you almost need to go to church after you have eaten one.

Simple to make and LUSH!

The recipe:

150g margarine or butter

150g caster sugar

100g self raising flour

50g cocoa powder

2 eggs

fresh raspberry’s



200g dark chocolate

300g heavy or double cream

Makes around 10 or 11 cupcakes

Oven – 160

cook for 18 to 20 minutes

Raspberry cupcakes with a chocolate ganache





How to make these bad boys.

Cream margarine and sugar so it becomes pale and fluffy

add the eggs

sieve the flour and cocoa powder and slowly mix gradually getting faster.

Lastly add in the chopped raspberry’s and stir.

Once the mixture is at ‘dropping’ consistency then spoon into cupcake cases.







If the mixture is thick and not ‘dropping’ consistency I suggest you add a table spoon of whole milk. Sometimes the cocoa powder can make the mixture a bit dry.

If your oven is really hot cook at 150 (my oven only need to be on 150 to cook them in 18 minutes..)

Allow to cool.

For the Ganache:

Heat the cream in a saucepan on a medium heat. You don;t want to bring the cream to boiling point.

When it is a sneeze away from boiling take off the heat.

Add in the chocolate and gently stir.


cream and choc gnash





making gnash












Believe it or not I used half fat double cream from M&S.

Leave the gnash to cool then smooth over the cupcakes. Decorate with a raspberry.

eaten one






With the left over gnash I am going to keep it in the fridge over night and make truffles in the morning. I will blog this tomorrow…

Light and east blueberry cupcakes for Summer

Light and easy blueberry cupcakes for Summer








So you want to be healthy as well as naughty? I understand.

Look no further than blueberry cupcakes. A super food no less. Packed with goodness the humble blueberry is genius.

The cupcake:

150g flour

2 eggs, beaten

vanilla pod or teaspoon of vanilla extract

150g butter

150g sugar

2 tablespoons whole milk

20 blueberry’s

blueberry cupcakes






What to do?


With this recipe I decided to throw caution to the wind and I put ALL the ingredients apart from the blueberry’s in a bowl. I whisked with a hand whisk ( I didn’t use the kenwood mixer) until the mixture was at dropping consistency.

I then used a knife to cut the blueberry’s in half and add them to the mixture. I did this so the colour would run into the mixture.

I baked in 18 minutes on 150. However, you may need to have your oven higher. GeT to know your oven and it’s hot spots. It will make your baking life so much easier.


Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcakes cases as any drips on the edges will burn.


250g SOFT butter – must be lovely and soft. You can use salted or un salted.

300g icing sugar

Vanilla – pod or extract

Baby blue food coloring

Whole milk (if mixture isn’t fluffy enough)

Place EVERYTHING into a bowl and hand whisk until you think your arm may fall off…it takes ages to get the butterfrosting nice and light.

Failing that do what I do and save up and buy a Kenwood. Put it all in and let the machine do the work. It is worth the price tag.

I used a LARGE STAR tube and a disposable piping bag.

I also made little butterfly’s from cutters and baby pink sugarpaste.












Chocolate philly cupcakes







Philadelphia and Cadbury chocolate philly!

Honestly, it’s amazing if you have a sweet tooth.  I admin its not for high end entertaining but for fun its great.

I think its perfect for making and baking with children,

Here’s what I did.

I used two tubs of the chocolate cream cheese and 1 120g bar of Cadbury milk chocolate.








I melted the bar of chocolate over some hot water then left it aside to cool and thicken.

choc 2







I then creamed 150g of butter and 150g of caster sugar. I then added two eggs and 150g of self raising flour and slowly mixed.

When my mixture was at dropping consistent I then spooned in the melted chocolate.

mixing choc





I then piped the mixture into cupcake cases.

pipe philly





Bake for 20 minutes of 160 or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Take the two cold tubs of Cadbury chocolate Philadelphia and empty into a bowl.

Add 100g of icing sugar and gently mix in.

I then piped the mixture onto the cupcakes.

cream choc






We all LOVE butterfrosting/buttercream?

The all important finish to a truly scrumptious cupcake has to be butterfrosting! Also known as butter cream, this topping can transform the most humble of cakes into a magical affair. If you have never made it before then fear not! True our simple an easy to follow step by step recipe to achieve great results and hours, well maybe minutes of pleasure.

Ideally you will use a food mixer that has 1000 watts of power, a piping bad and nozzle. At ‘The Cocoa Box’ when making butter icing we work in measurements of 250g.

Recipe: 250g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

250g icing sugar

50g melted chocolate (cooled) – if you would like to make chocolate butterfrosting!

10ml vanilla extract

dash food colouring (pink is great)! – only if you do not add the chocolate

dash milk/cream (optional)


Place your butter and icing sugar into the mixer. Start the mix on a slow setting at first. Wait until the mixture has blended together and then add your vanilla extract. Keep mixing at the same speed for another minute or so.

soft butter

icing sugar

Now add you colouring drops ( or chocolate) Start by a couple of drops at first, and then add more if desired. When you happy with the colour of the mix turn up the power to three quarters capacity and leave for at least two to three minutes.

mix 2

mix one

Now at this stage your mix should be ready. However, if you want to add extra milk or cream you can do so. This will add an extra smoothness to the cream and makes your mixture go that little bit further. Add milk/cream a little at a time ( 2-3 glugs) and turn the mixer onto full power for a couple of minutes.


Empty the contents of the mix into your piping bag. Piping bag should already have nozzle in place. Once the mix is in the bag, twist the top of the bag nice and tight and your ready to pipe!

in the piping bag

Seasonal butter cream

From this recipe you can create a variety of different colours, tastes and styles. Why not try Baileys butter cream at Christmas! Just replace the vanilla extract with Baileys. Or what about blueberry or raspberry butter cream in the summer time. Another good one for that special occasion is a little liquor of your choice. Naught but extremely nice!

Lisa x


Fondant icing is really simple to make and even easier to apply. However, at the Cocoa Box we buy our icing from Silver Spoon. You can also get ‘designer’ such as Wilton.

When you use Fondant icing the result is a smooth, even surface on a cake, without brush or knife marks.

You can use it in place of almond paste for an undercoat and you can mix it with some desiccated coconut and flavored with almond essence. Nice!

Try Orange water as well.

If you want to make it:

Ingredients Required:

1 egg white

450g. icing sugar

50g. liquid glucose

Flavoring and coloring

Sift the icing sugar into a basin. Make a bay in the centre and add the softened glucose, egg white and flavoring. Beat, drawing the icing sugar into the centre until the mass is a stiff paste. Turn on to a board, which has been lightly dusted with sifted icing sugar, and knead into a paste.

With the Silver spoon we add water or reduced strawberry’s. it’s delicious. You can also add lemon juice as well. Be careful how much liquid you put in as you don’t want it runny. It should be thick! doh.

Also, don’t pour a lots of the mixture onto your cake, start slowly and add. Fondant has a habbit of expanding on the cake and dripping over the sides.

fondant 1

fondant 2

fondant 3

fondant 4

We add paste to make pretty colours for our cupcakes…ahhh.

Lisa x