Christmas Stollen Recipe

Have a go at making a Christmas Stollen this year – here is a recipe that I use and love. Enjoy and Merry Christmas



Recipe taken from St Michael, Cooking for Christmas




25g fresh yeast

2tsb warm water

75g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

6tbs warm milk

2 tbs rum

Few drops of almond essence

400g strong plain flour

1 egg beaten

150g unsalted butter, softened

50g raisins

50g glace cherries, chopped, washed

50g currants

25g angelica, chopped

50g cut mixed peal

40g flaked almonds

Sifted icing sugar




  1. Blend the yeast in the water. If using dried yeast, add 1 teaspoon of the sugar and leave in a warm place until frothy. Dissolve 50g sugar and the salt in the milk. Add the rum, essence and yeast liquid.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl, making a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture, egg, 75g softened butter cut into small pieces, and the fruits and nuts. Mix to a soft dough and knead for 10 minutes by hand, or 4-5 minutes in a large electric mixer fitted with a dough look.
  3. Replace the dough in the bowl, cover with oiled polythene or a damp cloth and put to rise in a warm place until doubled in size – about 2 hours.
  4. Knock back the dough and knead until smooth, then roll out to a rectangle about 30x20cm (12×8 inches).
  5. Melt the remaining butter and brush liberally over the dough; then sprinkle with the remaining caster sugar. Fold one long side over just beyond the centre and then the other long side to overlap the first piece well. Press lightly together and slightly taper the ends.
  6. Place on a greased baking sheet, brush with melted butter and leave in a warm place until almost doubled in size.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until well risen and browned. Cool on a wire tray. Before serving dredge heavily with sifted icing sugar and serve cut into fairly thin slices.


Debs – an amazing lady and case study Kitchen Challenge

This is Debs debs

A few years ago she did Kitchen Challenge She shone. She changed her life herself. Kitchen Challenge nudged, guided and helped her to work a few things out for herself.

She very kindly has this open message for your all. Thank you Debs for sharing so openly:

Hi to everyone that is thinking about doing the Kitchen challenge or who are already doing it. My name is Debra, but everyone calls me Debs, I would like to tell you what Kitchen Challenge did for me. First I will tell you a little bit about my past.

My childhood was ok, but in my teenage years a lot of bad things happened to me, one was being bullied. I didn’t get the help that I needed and I carried these traumas around with me. I started to drink as it gave me confidence, so I thought at the time. The drinking gradually got worse as time went by. I went through a rocky marriage and two really bad relationships, the only good thing that came out of all that were my 3 children.

My drinking escalated in my late 30’s, I then started to take drugs. To cut a very long story short, I ended up losing everything and became homeless living on the streets. After a year and a half living rough, I decided to seek help, ended up in and out of detox 4 times, finally I hit my rock bottom and managed to get into Rehab and there I received the right help which I was longing for.

I decided not to go back to London and decided to stay in Cheltenham and concentrate on getting back on feet and to rebuild the relationships I had lost with my children. Before all of this happened to me, I worked in the catering business and always wanted to do an NVQ in catering.

After rehab I went into a dry house, were there are rules in place, I needed this as I had to get a structure in place for me to move forward. Whilst in the dry house, my project worker told about the Kitchen Challenge and would I be interested in going on the course as she knew how desperate I was to get back into catering. I jumped at the chance, the course was amazing, built up my confidence, help me communicate with others and work as a team, I found out I had skills which I didn’t know I had, really gave me that boost I needed. The course really changed my outlook on life for the better and I’ve never looked back, I can’t thank Rob Rees enough for this opportunity. I went on and did level 3 in professional cookery and worked full time at the Star Bistro. I also had a couple of friends on the same course who choice different careers paths and are doing extremely well, this course benefits everyone, whether you want to be a mechanic or work in a shop.

I wish everyone the best of luck for the future

Debs x


Kitchen Challenge – wins UK Award and new site

Big congratulations to UK colleagues at The Wiggly Worm Charity that Rob founded and is a proud Ambassador for who last week won the award for Best Marketing at the Gloucestershire Business Awards.

It was for the Channel 4 TV Program and work with Kitchen Challenge that helped secure the award fending of some fantastic Gloucestershire, UK talent.

Kitchen Challenge adds best marketing award to most innovative product award it picked up when it was first developed from the then alliance of Gloucestershire Not for Profits.

It was great timing as here in Australia Kitchen Challenge has secured its first commissions and also its own website:

Kitchen Challenge Australia

The site has lots of information and evidence on how it works.

With a 10% first adopters offer available until 31st October 2016 – its worth looking and booking.

Well done Team Wiggly and great that Kitchen Challenge goes global.


Bendelta Leadership Breakfast – Aug ’16

A great breakfast at the NSW Art Gallery, Sydney last week!

It was a delight to share the process of creating a social movement and transformation of School Food in the UK as part of Bendeltas program on Human Futures and Complex Systems.

Over 100 people gathered to improve their learning about collaboration and change.

Thank you Sydney, always a pleasure.

Home Economics Victoria Conference ’16

A huge thank-you to Home Economics Victoria for inviting me to speak at their conference earlier this month.

I was delighted to be at the Melbourne Hotel School alongside Key note speaker and Masterchef Australia ’16 Winner Elena Duggan and the amazing Farmer Tammi Jonai from Jonai Farms.

There is pure joy in sharing the work of the Kitchen Challenge that has been embraced by Bendigo Senior Secondary College among the 40 fantastic teachers in attendance.


Hospitality Program to Give Big to Students

“Bendigo Senior Secondary College is seeking to raise $15,000 for a program run by an internationally-acclaimed chef, which aims to change lives through the power of food.”

BSSC have launched a ‘Big Give’ campaign in order to run a Rob Rees, Food Works Australia Pty Ltd Kitchen Challenge Program with some of their senior students.


kitchen challnege

The program uses experiences in the hospitality industry to encourage people to find solutions to problems they might be facing. It aims to develop a range of social and professional skills that encourage the ability to engage in society in a meaningful, active and creative manner.

Check out the Bendigo Advertiser article detailing further information here.

Read about the “Big Give” campaign and donate to the cause here.


Children’s Food Changemaker Sessions

Time to join the momentum to transform Children’s Food in Australia. There are some fantastic organisations helping and supporting parents and teachers to develop Whole School Approaches to Food. We are delighted to join them and be part of that solution.

We are holding two similar sessions in November as part of our not for profit service and are encouraging parents, teachers and young people themselves to come along and hear about some good practices and how to make school and children’s food great. These informal sessions for 3 hours will be a relaxing and interesting way to learn about how to make change happen from Rob Rees MBE who has supported UK transformation for nearly 15 years.

To book your session at just $30 plus Eventbrite Fee and join no more than 15 people who want to become Children’s Food Changemakers click the link below.

Eventbrite Chidrens Food Changemaker

YUM: Mushroom and Chorizo Risotto!

Get in the kitchen this weekend and treat your insides to a yummy, healthy and hearty meal.

Mushroom and Chorizo Risotto


Portions: Serves 4


250g Risotto Rice

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 finely chopped onion

25ml Olive Oil

25g Unsalted Butter

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons dried thyme

175g Quartered Chestnut Mushrooms

1L water

150g Chorizo (diced thumbnail size)

½ Bunch Finely chopped chives

30g grated Parmesan cheese

Place a saucepan onto medium heat and add the Olive Oil

Add the garlic, onion and thyme and fry for 2 minutes until soft but not coloured

Add the butter and melt.

Add the chorizo and mushrooms and fry for a further 3 minutes.

Add the rice and bay leaf – then stir.

Gradually add the liquid and keep stirring as the risotto simmers (approx. 20 minutes)

Once the rice is tender stir in the chives and cheese and serve.

Copyright Rob Rees MBE DL.