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Festive Family Cooking Demo at Home in Jo’s Kitchen

Join award winning food writer Jo Pratt as she brings you a festive cookery demonstration from her home kitchen.


Recipes from the Demo

Sticky Pomegranate Chicken with Jewelled Quinoa

Wow – the tangy, sweet, mouth-watering glaze you get when cooking the chicken is out of this world. You can cook the chicken straight away but if can do some advance planning it’s definitely best to leave it overnight to marinade. Chicken thighs are best as they stay nice and juicy, and opt for larger ones if possible. As with any meat do choose high quality as the flavour and end result will be well worth it.

The super colourful, super healthy salad pairs well with the chicken, and if there happen to be any leftovers, stir through some feta and enjoy as a lunch the next day.

Time taken: 1 hour 15 plus 30 minutes (minimum) marinating
Serves: 4

For the chicken:

  • 8 decent-sized chicken thighs, boneless
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
  • juice ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • handful of pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

For the salad:

  • 200g/7oz quinoa
  • 500ml/18floz vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • ½ cucumber, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • large handful each of mint, parsley, coriander, chopped
  • flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the chicken with the pomegranate molasses, tomato puree, garlic, coriander, cumin, sugar, lemon juice and olive oil. Leave to marinade in the fridge for about 30 minutes or over night if you have the time.

Put the quinoa in a saucepan and cover with the stock. Bring to the boil and cook at a fast boil for 2 minutes. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 10 minutes, without removing the lid. Remove from the heat, keeping the lid on, and sit for 5 minutes. By now the quinoa will have absorbed all of the stock and will be light and fluffy when you run a fork through to separate the grains. Leave to cool.

To cook the chicken, heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Transfer the thighs, skin side up, and all of the marinade into a roasting tray just big enough to fit the thighs in one layer. Cook for 35-40 minutes until the chicken is sticky and golden, basting halfway through and adding a splash of water if the juices are cooking too quickly.

While the chicken cooks, toss the cooled quinoa with the all of the salad ingredients, reserving some of the pomegranate seeds for serving. Season to taste.

Once the chicken is cooked, serve with the jewelled quinoa salad, and scatter over the reserved pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios.

Flexible… Vegetarian: Sticky Pomegranate Aubergine and Feta.

Mix together the marinade ingredients. Cut 2 aubergine and 2 red onions into wedges. Put directly in a roasting tray along with 200g/7oz feta cheese, cut into large chunks. Gently mix with the marinade ingredients as per the chicken recipe above. Roast for around 30 minutes basting occasionally until tender and golden.

Star Biscuits

These are called star biscuits for many reasons, firstly and obviously because of their shape, but they are also stars in the kitchen because of the way in which you can handle them. The biscuit dough is very robust as once made as you can’t over knead it. You can re-roll it as many times as required, which is particularly handy when kids are involved in helping!

The dough can be stored in the fridge or freezer once made and cooked on demand.

You can change the flavours to suit, plus you can make it vegan friendly (see flexible…).

Once cooked, they will keep crisp for well over a week, and also travel well without crumbling up. I could go on about why they deserve their title but how about you give them a go and see for yourself.

Time Taken: 25 minutes plus 30 minutes resting
Makes: approx. 20, using a 4-5cm/ 1 ½ – 2 inch cookie cutter
Gluten-free, dairy-free

  • 140g/5oz ground almonds
  • 125g/4 ½ oz granulated sugar
  • finely grated zest of ½ orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 25g/1oz cocoa powder
  • 25g/1oz icing sugar
  • 1 egg white

Put the almonds, caster sugar, orange zest and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder and icing sugar and mix together to combine.

Add the egg white and mix well until you have a smooth dough, turn onto the work top and knead lightly for a minute until smooth.

Shape into a disk, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 5.

Once rested, roll the dough between two pieces of parchment, to about ½ cm/ ¼   inch thick. Using a star shape cookie cutter, or in fact any shape you fancy, cut out the dough shapes. Bring together the trimmings, re-roll and continue until all of the dough is used.

Sit the cookies on parchment lined baking tray. They won’t spread when cooking so you should get them all on the same tray.  Cook for 12-14 minutes, until the bases are slightly crisp but the middles remain just a little soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. As they cool they will firm up even more. Store in an airtight container. They should stay crisp for up to 2 weeks.

Be Flexible… Vegan/Egg-Free: Swap the egg whites for 1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 4 tbsp. cold water. Leave to thicken for 10 minutes before mixing into the dry ingredients. The biscuits will probably need a further 1-2 minutes of cooking time until they are firm on the base with the middle still a little soft. They will firm up more when cooling.

Festive Spice: add ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground ginger and ¼ tsp ground cloves to the dry mixture, either with or without the orange zest.

Make ahead: once the dough has be made and wrapped up, it can sit in the fridge for up to 1 week (just check the use by date on your eggs first). You can also freeze the dough once cut into shapes. If baking from frozen, add on a couple more minutes to the cooking time.

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Jo Pratt The Flexible Vegetarian Cookbook at The Decorcafe - Cutout Cover Image

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