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Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook Recipe: Turkey Sloppy Joes

The sloppy Joe is so much more than a sandwich or a burger, and giving it the Christmas treatment means we’re taking that bun filled with delicious pulled meat and exciting crunchy veg. served with gravy for dunking, to the next level.

Jamie Oliver Turkey Sloppy Joe Recipe

Serves 4, 20 minutes

200g leftover cooked turkey meat

200ml leftover turkey gravy

1 carrot

1 apple

1/2 red onion

2 sprigs of fresh mint

2 gherkins

1 fresh red chilli

4 seeded wholemeal buns


BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon HP sauce

1 teaspoon English mustard

1/2 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco sauce

1 splash Worcestershire sauce


Shred and pull apart your leftover turkey meat and place in a small pan with a splash of water and 3 tablespoons of gravy. Pop a lid on and place on the lowest heat for 190 minutes to warm it through. Warm the rest of the gravy in a separate pan on a low heat, ready to use it for dunking later.

Meanwhile, peel and finely shred the carrot, matchstick the apple, peel and finely slice the red onion, and pick and slice the mint leaves. Place is all in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of pickling liquor from your gherkin jar. Finely slice the gherkins, using a crinkle-cut knife if you’ve got one, and the chilli, add to the bowl, mix well, lightly season and put aside. Mix all the BBQ sauce ingredients together.

Split and toast your buns, then spread the BBQ sauce inside them, top and bottom. Pile your pulled turkey on the bun bases, drizzle with a little gravy and top with some of that tasty slaw. Pop the bun lids on, and you’re away./ Serve the rest of the gravy on the side for a naughty dunk, along with any leftover slaw.


Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House ⓒ Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2016 Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook) Photographer: David Loftus

Top 10 gifts for people who are hard to buy for


What do you get for the person who has everything?  It can seem an impossible task to find something!  But here’s a list of 10 fun and quirky items that might just inspire you.

1) 1001 Quotations to Inspire You

For anyone interested in history, culture, or just witty observations, this book is an ideal gift.  From William Shakespeare to Ellen DeGeneres, this fascinating book shares hundreds of stirring, thought-provoking and amusing quotes, covering topics from art, literature, politics, psychology, religion and philosophy.  It is perfect for busy individuals to dip into every now and then, but for those who wish to know more, each quote is complemented by detailed information on its origins.

2) Hedgehog Doorstop

For something a little sillier, how about an adorable hedgehog doorstop for the animal-lover in your life?  It’s both cute and useful, and would make a great little companion for someone’s home!

3) Robot Mug

This cool and colourful mug would be ideal for a gadget-lover, or anyone who appreciates something a bit different!  The handle of the mug itself is in the shape of a robot, making this an awesome and very unique gift.

4) A Book on One Page

The literature-lovers you know may have jam-packed bookshelves reaching saturation point, but these amazing literary works of art, each comprising a full work of literature beautifully arranged on a single page, are very different to your typical read!  Choose from a selection of wonderful works, including Alice in Wonderland, Shakespearean plays, Jane Austen novels, princess-themed stories and adventure books.

5) Socks: The Rule Book

Did you know about the extensive etiquette concerned with wearing socks?  Me neither.  But at least your friends and family can now be in the know with this funny and informative gift!  This indispensable rule book divulges 10 essential rules when it comes to the serious business of sock-wearing.  Unbeknownst to most of us, crimes of fashion are being committed every day when it comes to hosiery, but this book provides great advice on how to avoid this fate.  It answers all the important questions, such as: which socks best complement brogues?  And are patterned socks permissible with sneakers?  Every sock secret will be revealed in this humorous read.

6) Paint Your Own Ceramic Mug Set

Perhaps you know your friend would love a mug, but you’re not sure which mug to get them?  Get them to paint their own!  They’ll love tailoring their gift to their very own taste with this set of colourful paints and not one, but two white mugs.  They’d make great ornaments, artworks, or unusual pen-pots!

7) Hurrah for Gin by Katie Kirby

Perfect for any parent, this riotous read will be hugely relatable for anyone who’s raised a child.  It contains absolutely no useful advice whatsoever, but does prove highly entertaining with its candid portrayal of the wonderful highs and desperate lows of parenthood, complemented by a series of amusing stick-man illustrations.

8) Vintage Learn to Play Set with Book – Harmonica

Few people realise how much they’d love to play the harmonica until they have one, so indulge your friends and family with this gorgeous vintage learn-to-play set!  Whether they want to pursue their harmonica dreams, or just play for fun, this kit will take the harmonica novice to the harmonica pro, with easy-to-follow instructions and a numbered guide.

9) Colour and Doodle Gift Box

Colouring for adults is now a hugely popular activity, helping grown-ups to relax and be mindful in a chaotic world.  With this gift box, your friend or family member will be treated to a beautiful book of botanical patterns, six high-quality colouring pencils, and a smaller book of colouring and wordsearches.

10) Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle

This fabulous cocktail book is perfect for the book-lover and the booze-lover.  It combines the titles of much-loved classic novels with delicious drink recipes and a good dose of humour.  Recipes include Gin Eyre, Bridget Jones’s Daiquiri, Rye and Prejudice and Huckleberry Sin.  It also contains alcohol-free concoctions for the kids (or for the recovering reader), such as Charlie and the Chocolate Fake-tini and Pear the Wild Things Are.


Halloween heebie-jeebies! Fear in children’s literature benefits early development

With Halloween just around the corner, research shows a third of parents (33%) would avoid reading a book to their children if it included a scary character, despite expert evidence suggesting fear is healthy for youngsters.

Book People | Reading scary books

Book People surveyed 1,003 UK parents about their attitudes towards scary children’s book characters and whether they believe that villains of the page have valuable lessons to teach their own kids.

When asked about the characters they found the most scary when they were a child, a fifth (20%) of mums and dads said that The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz gave them the shivers, closely followed by the infamous Child Catcher from Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang (17%).

Although a third of parents try to avoid exposing their own children to scary characters during story time, an overwhelming 84% agreed that ‘bad’ characters are an important part of children’s books.

More specifically, over three-quarters (78%) of parents said they felt that the baddies in fiction help children differentiate between good and evil, while around half (53%) felt that they help kids learn to cope with difficult situations and conquer fears (48%).

Their views are backed by leading psychologist Emma Kenny, who said: “There are lots of positives that can be drawn from the role of fear in children’s literature, including engaging a moral conscience, so learning to take sides with the forces of good, for example.

“Fear is something that we encounter in lots of situations, so understanding what it is and enabling a child to have a fear ‘compass’ is an equipping experience for a child.”

Commenting on the research, Claudia Mody, children’s buying director at Book People, said: “With the season of fear well upon us, it’s the time of year when we’re most likely to recall those characters that scared us as children, and perhaps still scare us as adults!

“Whether it’s the Child Catcher or Lord Voldemort, for younger readers these characters are incredibly important in developing understanding of right and wrong. Although we’re reluctant to admit it, our favourite books just wouldn’t be the same without these sinister protagonists!”

To find out more about Book People’s study and to read psychologist Emma Kenny’s full interview visit:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Atomik Research. Total sample size was 1,003 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th-20th June 2016. The survey was carried out online.

Bruce Bogtrotter-inspired chocolate cake


Everyone remembers the bit in Roald Dahl’s Matilda when poor Bruce Bogtrotter is forced to eat an enormous chocolate cake just to himself. We know that there will be some who would like to try it for themselves, especially as this week we’re celebrating the centenary of Roald Dahl, so we’ve put together a Bruce Bogtrotter-inspired chocolate cake recipe for you and the little ones to try – ‘you can do it, Brucey!’

For the chocolate cake:

3 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
175g caster sugar
175g softened butter
1½ level tsp baking powder
40g cocoa powder
4 tbsp boiling water

For the chocolate spread:

150ml double cream
150g plain chocolate

You will also need:

2 x 17cm deep sandwich tins, greased and lined with non-stick baking paper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas 4.
  2. Beat the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter and baking powder until smooth in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Put the cocoa in separate mixing bowl, and slowly add the water to make a stiff paste. Add to the rest of the cake mixture.
  4. Put into the sandwich tins, level the top and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the icing: measure the cream and chocolate into a bowl and carefully melt over a pan of hot water over a low heat, or gently in the microwave for 1 min. Stir until melted, then set aside to cool a little and thicken up.
  7. To ice the cake: spread half of the chocolate spread on one of the cakes, then lay the other cake on top, sandwiching them together.
  8. Use the remaining chocolate spread to ice the top of the cake – and gorge!

The formula to nurturing a well-rounded child

Classic children’s adventure books such as Swallows & Amazons and Famous Five revealed as having the greatest impact on our personalities and interests as we develop into adults.


A survey that we have recently conducted has revealed that the kind of books we choose to read as children have a clear impact on the personality traits and interests we develop as adults.

One thousand UK respondents aged between 18 and 65 were asked to select one of a number of children’s book groups, which most accurately described their reading tastes as children. Next, they were asked to select three personality traits and three hobbies that best described how they are, and what they enjoy now. The data was then analysed to determine trends and patterns, and found that children’s adventure books such as Swallows and Amazons had the biggest impact on our adult personalities, followed by more serious titles such as Anne Frank.

People who read fantasy titles such as The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter were the most likely to describe themselves as imaginative (25.4%) and have an interest in astronomy (6.8%), whereas people who read soft horror/gore titles such as Goosebumps and Horrible Histories were most likely to consider themselves to be brave (14.7%) and enjoy spirituality/ghost hunting (12%).


Readers of fun, imagination books such as The Cat in the Hat revealed themselves to be the cheekiest (14.4%) and wittiest (15.6%) and have the greatest interest in gaming (23.3%), whereas people who read more serious titles such as The Diary of Anne Frank and War Horse were most likely to say that their leading personality traits were honesty (50%) followed by intellect (25%). They also proved themselves to be the most charitable, with 19% of readers citing volunteering as an interest.

Fans of classic adventure books such as Swallows & Amazons, Famous Five etc. described themselves as handy/resourceful (22%) and law-abiding (24.9%), and expressed the greatest interest in puzzles (21.7%).

The study also analysed book selection by city: with The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Winnie-the-Pooh and Paddington Bear most popular in Edinburgh (27%) in contrast to The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia etc. in Liverpool (29%) and Swallows & Amazons, Famous Five etc. in Newcastle (22%).

Overall, the data revealed clear correlations between book themes and associated interests/traits, and while less common hobbies/interests such as astronomy, volunteering etc. were not heavily selected across the board, there was an evident association between a heightened level of interest in a more niche hobby, and the reading of a related book group.

The study also acknowledged the benefits of reading books that spanned a variety of genres in order to develop an interest in a broad range of hobbies, and guide young readers towards adopting traits that would help ensure a well-rounded personality. Parents who may wish their children to be intellectual but honest, sporty, compassionate and witty could, for example, encourage the reading of Winnie the Pooh, Famous Five, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Cat in the Hat and Charlotte’s Web.


Sue Palmer, literacy specialist and author of many books on child development (including Toxic Child and 21st Century Boys) said: “It is not surprising that favourite books from childhood affect our personalities as we grow older. Not only are stories emotionally and intellectually stimulating, but reading – or even listening to a book read aloud – engages our attention in a very active way. So when mum or dad shares a favourite book as a bedtime story, it’s a special experience. And when children discover their own favourites, it’s like making new friends.

“Screen-based entertainment, like TV or a computer game, tends to be a transitory experience. But good books live on in children’s minds, affecting the way they think and behave. And for parents, there’s the reassurance that children’s fiction is written for children, by people who care about their welfare, so the influence it exerts is hugely positive.”

Claudia Mody, Children’s Book Buying Director at Book People said: “We know that many children have a favourite book genre or type of book, but we were surprised to discover just how much our childhood reading choices shape us in adult life. Encouraging children to read a mix of books is only ever going to have a positive effect on personal development, and they may discover something new that they love!”

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