A big bowl of creamy champ, just on its own, is my quintessential comfort food. As a child my mother would serve it piled high on the plate and each potato tower would have a well of melted butter in the centre. There are many additions that work well with mashed potatoes, such as fresh herbs, roasted garlic or mustard, but one of my favourite ways to serve mashed potato/champ is with the addition of some finely chopped wild garlic leaves. If you are lucky enough to have access to a patch of wild garlic, this is the time of year to harvest it. If you have never picked wild garlic before, there is a helpful guide to identifying, picking and using wild garlic on Brooklodge's blog. Wild garlic leaves make the most delicious pesto, but they can also be added to cooked pasta or to any dishes where you would normally use spinach. Adding some finely chopped wild garlic to mashed potatoes gives a seasonal twist to creamy champ, and if you happen to have some leftover baked ham it too makes a tasty addition to the mash.

Wild Garlic & Baked Ham Champ


2kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper, Roosters or Kerr’s Pink, cut into even-sized chunks
50g butter
150mls of cream or milk
4 scallions/ spring onions, finely sliced 
50g wild garlic leaves, finely chopped
Handful of leftover baked ham, approx. 100g, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Butter, to serve


  1. Steam the potatoes until cooked.
  2. Over a low heat, add the butter and the cream/milk to a large saucepan. Once the butter has melted add the cooked potatoes into the saucepan. Mash well until they are lump free and have a smooth consistency. Using a wooden spoon beat the mash until smooth and creamy. Stir through the scallions, wild garlic and baked ham.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir well and serve immediately with a little knob of butter on top.

As far back as I can remember my mother would have hot cross buns ready to serve straight after the Good Friday ceremonies. I was never too keen on them as there always seemed to be too many sultanas and too little of the actually ‘bun’, for my liking. I'm now a great fan of these traditional cakes, but my children would share the opinion of my childhood self.                                                       

Little hands make easy work of scone-making!
 So, in a bid to uphold a long-standing Good Friday tradition a few years ago I decided to create a scone recipe that would encapsulate the familiar flavours of the hot cross bun, with mixed spice and orange zest. Of course, they could hardly be offered as hot cross anything if not for the cross on the top, so a little paste made with flour, sugar and water, and piped onto the uncooked scones, gave the appropriate look to these Good Friday bakes. They worked out a treat and were declared a hit with both adults and children alike.

Hot Cross Scones


For the Cross:
50g plain flour
25g caster sugar
50mls water

For the Scones 
450g plain flour, plus extra for the work surface
1 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
½ tsp mixed spice
100g cold butter, cut into cubes
100g sultanas
Zest of 1 orange
250mls milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

For Glaze:
30mls milk
25g granulated sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas mark 6.
2. First make the mixture for the cross, by combining the flour and caster sugar together in a small bowl. Gradually add the water until it turns into a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nuzzle. Leave to one side.
3. Sieve the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.
4. Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sultanas and orange zest. Combine well.
5. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the milk and the egg to the dry ingredients.
6. Mix together with a wooden spoon, and then use your hands to make a soft dough.
7. Turn dough out onto a floured board. Wash and dry hands. Knead lightly- not too much as the scones will become tough. Roll out the dough and cut out using a medium circular cutter, making about 12 scones.
8. For the cross mix the flour and sugar in a bowl.
9. Place the scones on a floured baking tray and pipe a cross onto each one. Brush the un-piped area of the tops with a little milk and then sprinkle each with a little granulated sugar.
10. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool on a wire tray. Best served warm with a good smothering of butter.

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Easter!
Nessa x