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 




Chocolate chunk cookie dough

Chocolate chunk cookie dough

Amazing and delicious chocolate chunk cookies
Amazing and delicious chocolate chunk cookies






















It’s raining – we need cheering up!  What better way than to bake some chocolate chunk cookies to have with a cup tea.

I made a huge batch of these and then baked them over a few days. I kept the cookie dough in the fridge. I like them warm ( good times)


Pre heat your oven to 190/170 fan/ gas 5

Line 2 or 3 baking trays with parchment


150g of soft butter, I only had salted to had and it worked well for me.

80g Golden caster sugar

80g caster sugar

1 large free range egg

225g of plain flour

Half a teaspoon of bicarb

200g Dr.Oetker chocolate chunks.

2 teaspoons of limited edition caramel flouring by Dr.Oetker

100g chopped pecans – optional

How to make the cookie dough:

I used my Morphy Richard’s stand mixer but you can do this by hand if you don’t have a mixer.

In a large bowl ( of mixer) beat the rebutter and sugar together

Sift in the bicarb and flour and mix in with the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon

Add in the Dr.Oetker chocolate chunks / chopped nuts and mix

Allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Remove from the fridge and using a teaspoon or tablespoon ( I like monster cookies) shape into mounds and add to the baking tray. Leave at least 2 inches between each cookie as they will spread.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until turning golden at the edges.

Allow to cool slightly so they become firm.

Put the kettle on…..







Why chocolate is so great

BY LISA HANLON – ( I wrote this a few years ago for iVillage)

chocolateI am a woman with needs and desires. I’m not obsessed with chocolate but I think I may need it and I certainly desire it. I have worked with chocolate for many years. I am a trained chocolatier. I know that makes me sound quite posh but, quite frankly, it just gives me a great excuse to eat more than the perceived ‘normal’ amount.

Chocolate has definitely become more fashionable over the past few years. We are a lot more aware of what goes into our chocolate. Most people when asked their favourite chocolate will say ‘Green and Blacks’, ‘Lindt’ or ‘Devine’.

They may claim they never eat anything with less than 70 per cent Cocoa. It’s a rare and beautiful thing when someone around the dinner table admits they love a chunky KitKat over a tiny piece of high quality dark chocolate.

Chocolate and health

Don’t get me wrong. I am one of the 70 per cent crowd. I know the health benefits of good quality dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa in chocolate the less sugar it contains. Chocolate contains vitamins and minerals, it contains phenylethylamine ( the same chemical released as when you are in love) and also contains good fat, cocoa butter and Iron.

In fact, good quality chocolate has more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. If you are a chocolate connoisseur you may wish to only eat chocolate from single origin or single estate chocolates. It’s like having single malt whiskey.

Tasting with five senses

Although most of us can’t help but eat chocolate quickly, with a bit of will power you can actually prolong the pleasure. Here are the five senses tasting techniques:

We eat with our eyes as the saying goes. Take the time to look at your chocolate. Does it have a gloss or sheen? This signals that the cocoa mass (cocoa butter) has been well-tempered, (cooled down in a controlled manor) moulded and cooled.

Does the chocolate have a wonderful aroma? This is a good sign of the percentage of the cocoa and quality of the roast. Single origin chocolates tend to have a delicious smokiness that a lesser quality chocolate lacks.

Is it a well-balanced taste? Does it have the right degree of sweetness? Is it slightly bitter? All these answers are indications of the quality of the chocolate, the percentage of cocoa and degree of roasting.

Chocolate should be smooth and silky. Is the surface slightly rough? Does it begin to melt as soon at you touch it? This should enable you to judge the cocoa butter content.

When you break a piece of chocolate do you hear a ‘snap’ or does it break silently? In s perfect world you want the combination of the two. A pronounced ‘snap’ could mean the chocolate is too cold to be sampled under optimum conditions

All chocolate comes from the cocoa bean. All cocoa beans come from the cocoa pod and all cocoa pods grow on the Theobroma Cacao tree. Harvesting is done by hand from May to December of every year.

The cocoa beans are scooped out of the pod and left to ferment. They are then dried and gently roasted to bring out the flavour. A process called winnowing is used to break down the cocoa beans so you are left with cocoa nibs. They then use a process called conching. This compresses the nibs so the cocoa butter is extracted in a liquid form.

Then it’s the tempering and forming of chocolate. The conched chocolate mass is tempered and moulded into bulk bars (depending on the manufacturers).

Things you may or may not know about chocolate

– There is no proven link between spots and chocolate. Just ask a dermatologist.
– Years ago, chocolate symbolised fertility, health, life and wealth.
– The cocoa bean was one of the first forms of currency.
– Frys was the first company to introduce chocolate bars in the UK.

So next time you get the urge to unwrap a piece of heaven you can sit back and do the five sense test. Or you can think, ‘stuff it’ and eat the whole lot in one go! As long as we have chocolate in the world I’ll be happy.

You have a few spare hours and you would like to bake a cake. Not just any cake, the best cake you can make. You can’t wait to slice into that cake and eat it with a nice cup of tea.

me I’m looking at the flour

First things first, what flour should you use? Wholemeal or white? Is wholemeal the better and healthier option? Wholemeal flour contains 100% of the wheat grain. Cakes made with wholemeal flour tend to have a closer texture. Ideal for fruit cakes and such like but maybe not so good for sponge mixtures.


What about Arthur and Martha? Wheatmeal? This flour contains all the germ and a bit of the wheat bran. The only thing is they don’t keep very well so be sure to buy in small bags.


Wholemeal and White flour are readily available in plain or self-raising. Self-raising flour by the way has a mix of raising agents evenly blended. Of course you can use plain and add baking powder yourself. Usually this would be 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder per 8 oz of plain flour.


The main difference in types of flour is the gluten content. This will vary depending on weather the flour is made from hard wheat or soft wheat.

All-purpose flour is has a number of uses such as cookies. Quick breads and some cakes. It’s a mixture of high-gluten hard wheat and low gluten soft wheat.

Whats Gluten??? Gluten is the protein that helps yeast stretch and rise.

Cake flour made mostly with soft wheat. It has a fine texture and a high starch content that makes it perfect for tender cakes, cookies and pastries.


Cake Flour – this flour has the lowest protein flour. It has gone through a bleaching process that increases the flours ability to hold water and sugar. This means that when you’re making baked delights with a high ratio of sugar to flour, the flour will be able to hold its rise.

A few tips if we may

If you aren’t sure what flour to use then go with plain.

Best not to use strong/bread flour for your yummy cakes as it will result in an open texture. Ideally you are looking for the finer texture in your creations.