Let’s Make Christmas at Fortnum & Mason and My Turkish Delight

Yesterday was one of those days that I will remember and look back on with truly good memories. Spending a day with fellow food bloggers, chatting and looking at what everyone had brought for the gift swap was such a pleasure.

The “Let’s Make Christmas” gift swap held by Vanessa Kimbell at Fortnum & Mason was attended by 50 food bloggers.The idea being that each person could submit up to 3 gifts within the categories of “Sweets, Alcohols/Drinks, Cakes, Biscuits and Baked goods, Pickles and  Preserves”. At the end of the event, everyone would take home gifts made by someone else and blog about them.

The gifts were being judged by someone I greatly admire, Dan Lepard. Master baker, food writer at The Guardian and author of “Short & Sweet”, probably one of THE best baking bible’s ever written.

Vanessa Kimbell organized this wonderful gathering of like minded food mad bloggers. Having not met her before, I have to say she was utterly charming and someone I would love to get to know more!

Winner’s in each category were as follows…

Drinks/Alcohols – Damson Schnapps made by Jaynerly
Baked goods –  Amaretti biscuits made by Claire’s Handmade Cakes
Sweets – Cranberry & Port Mincemeat Pops made by Orange Thyme blog
Preserves & Pickles – Blackberry curd made by The Botanical Baker

What I really enjoyed was being able to put faces to names of some of the blogs that I love to read and follow. It was a day of discovery and of a shared love of food and cooking. No better way to spend a Friday afternoon!

I came away with some fantastic gifts too. As I had submitted three gifts myself, I came away with three gift swap items.

They are….

Gingerbread cookies made by Claire’sHandMade Cakes.
Blackberry Curd made by The Botanical Baker.
Crunchy Topped Mini Christmas Cake made by What Kate Baked.

I will give these recipes a try over the coming weeks. They were each so delicious that I will be making them as gifts myself for friends and family as long as I can resist them!

In the meantime, I will share with you the gifts that I took along……

Ginger Cordial ( recipe here )
Fruit and Nut Bars ( recipe here )

My final entry, which I had high hopes for, I shall write in full because I looked at the photos and thought they were worthy of posting. I hope you like them too!Using freshly ground cardamom seeds gives the Turkish Delight the most wonderful headily perfumed scent not for the fainthearted…….

Fry’s Turkish Delight – A version of a 70s favourite of mine


Ingredients:- Makes 36 sweets


  • 25g powdered gelatine

  • 255ml water

  • 2 or 3 tsp rose water

  • 450g caster sugar

  • 3 cardamom pods opened and the seeds crushed in a pestle & mortar

  • Red food colouring

  • 100g of 85% dark chocolate

  • 100g salted pistachio nuts finely chopped


  1. Line a brownie tin with baking parchment.

  2. Mix the gelatine, water and rose water in a heavy based saucepan and add the sugar.

  3. Heat gently until the gelatine and sugar have dissolved and stir continuously (I used a mini whisk).

  4. Then bring to the boil without stirring over a medium heat.

  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. I gave it a few stirs once it was simmering nicely.

  6. Remove from the heat and add the red food colouring to achieve the desired colour- this depends on the quality of your food colouring so start off slowly and build up the colour drop by drop.

  7. Add the crushed cardamom seeds and stir in well.

  8. Pour the mixture into the tin and leave to set for 24 hours.

  9. Cut into squares by using a very sharp knife that has been run under hot water.


  1. Melt 100g gram bar of 85% dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water.

  2. Dip half your batch (18) in the chocolate and then let them cool on a tray lined with baking parchment.

  3. While the chocolate Is setting, sprinkle a topping of the finely chopped pistachio nuts to garnish.


  1. With the remaining chopped pistachio nuts, dip the other 18 sweets into the nuts and let them get a good coating. They stick naturally to the surface.


Recipe adapted from www.uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/573989  by Merrilees Parker.


  1. says

    It was a BRILLIANT event and what a wonderful write up too……I will be posting my notes soon, just got back to France and am a bit flummoxed! Great to meet you and what a wonderful array of stuff there was on display too.

    • laura says

      Wasn’t it just brilliant. Very pleased you put back your trip to France, couldn’t imagine you not being there! Well done on getting so close to winning, I thought you had it with your mincemeat! xx

  2. says

    Laura, it was lovely to meet you on Friday, wasn’t it a super afternoon?  I was so impressed with the effort everyone had made.
    I found the box to follow you.
    If your ever Petersham/Ham way do get in touch, I do love coffee and cake at the Petersham Nurseries.
    Jude x
    PS the turkish delight looks scrumptious, I’m going to have to have a go at making it.

    • laura says

      Hi Jude,
      thanks for your lovely comment! I am often popping over your way, admittedly more in summer than winter, but when I do I shall most certainly let you know! Still miss it…..xx

  3. says

    Your Turkish delight looks like a winner to me and very glamourous. I’d have been very happy with those as a gift – Dan fell down there! Good to see your write up and thanks for getting the winners, I couldn’t remember who had won what. It was a really fun event and it was good to meet you and so many other fabulous foodies.

    • laura says

      Thank you!
      The reason I wanted to post this up is that i actually managed to take some photos that I was really pleasd with for once. I have managed to find a spot in my house which creates very good, natural yet golden light. I feel such a saddo saying that, but it’s true!
      Hope you took away a yummy gift, there were so many goodies weren’t there……Great to hear from you, Laura xx

  4. says

    Wasn’t it just a lovely, lovely afternoon? It was really great to see you again Laura- thank you for rescuing me on the ground floor beforehand! I think I’d have spent at least half my monthly salary on F&M chocolates otherwise. Really, really enjoyed reading your write-up, it brought back many a happy memory of a great time.

    • laura says

      Thanks Kate,
      I think it’s one of those days that I will always remember ……..such a wonderful gathering. Sorry I didn’t tag you in #foodbloggersunplugged but I thought it would seem a little strange to tag Two people who had already been tagged! But I did debate it for a long time as I love what you do xx

  5. says

    Oh so these were actually chocolate covered Turkish delight! How beautiful!
    I never believed making Turkish delight is not very complicated (I belived it was extremely complicated business requiring a sugar thermometer at least!) 
    I might make some now! Thanks for sharing!

    • laura says

      I wouldn’t have believed it either, no sugar thermometer! All I would say is don’t be put off by the funny scum that appears when it’s boiling. I just scooped it off at the end as you would do for a stock xx

  6. says

    It was such a wonderful afternoon. I felt very lucky to be there and it was lovely to meet you briefly. My husband absolutely loves Turkish Delight so I think I will be trying your recipe soon.


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