Monday, 31 May 2010

Cheese Onion and Potato Gratin
with Spring Lamb Chops



Serve this tasty gratin with spring lamb chops or good quality pork sausages, it also tastes great with a crisp green salad.

Ingredients

40g butter
4 medium onions, finely sliced
40g Parmesan cheese, grated
30g Gruyere cheese, grated + extra for the topping
1.5kg old potatoes, peeled
180ml chicken stock
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

Method

Cut the potatoes into 3mm slices.
Cook the onions in the melted butter over a low/medium heat for 15 minutes then mix well with the cheeses.
Layer the potatoes with the onion mixture.
Mix the stock and nutmeg together.
Pour over the potatoes and season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Bake, uncovered, in a moderately hot oven for 1 hour 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated

Serves 4

For the chops 

8 lamb chops
Salt and freshly milled pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
Grated zest of 2 lemons

Season the chops with salt and pepper and coat each side with thyme and lemon zest.
Cook in a pre-heated grill for 12-15 minutes, turn them halfway through cooking

For something a bit different, replace the onions with 2 large leeks chopped and cooked in the same way as the onions.


Friday, 28 May 2010

Lasagne with Rosemary Potatoes and Baby Leaf Salad


The Bolognese sauce for this lasagne was made the night before as part of a batch for the freezer and the all in one cheese sauce made this a reasonably quick dinner.  The Rosemary potatoes added a nice crunch and salad leaves straight from the garden made it all seem very healthy.

Ingredients

For the Bolognese

5oog lean minced beef
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
100g smoked bacon, chopped
50g Chorizo, diced
4 chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
10 fl oz red wine
2 tbsp tomato purée, mixed with 10 fl oz water
Bouquet garni, made with bay leaf, sprig of thyme, sprig of marjoram, 1 sage leaf and parsley

Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion, gently cook for 5 minutes then add the garlic, carrot and celery, cook for a further 2 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.

Add the bacon and chorizo and cook for a couple more minutes before adding the minced beef.  Stir until the minced beef is browned then add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring continuously.

Add the wine, tomatoes, bouquet garni and tomato purée, bring to a gentle simmer and cook, with a lid on, for 21/2-3 hours.

Rosemary Potatoes

200g new potatoes, boiled in salted water for 10-15 minutes then cut into small chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
3 sprigs Rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped

Place the potatoes in a small roasting tin, drizzle over the oil add sprinkle on the chopped Rosemary, mix well.
Cook at the same time as the lasagne for the last 40 mins of cooking but on a lower shelf.

For the sauce

1 litre whole milk
50g butter
60g plain flour
Freshly grated nutmeg
50g cheddar cheese + extra for grating on top
25g grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the milk, butter and flour in a large saucepan, over a medium heat and cook, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens.  Cook for 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the grated nutmeg (around 1/2 a nut).  Add the grated cheddar and Parmesan and stir until melted.

Remove the bouquet garni.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F / gas 5

Add 1/2 the Bolognese to the base of a lasagne dish, drizzle over a couple of ladles of the cheese sauce and lay 4 sheets of lasagne (dried pre-cooked is fine) over the sauce.  Repeat with the remaining Bolognese sauce 2 more ladles of cheese sauce and another 4 sheets of lasagne.  Finish with the remaining cheese sauce and some grated cheddar.  Cook in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes until the pasta is tender and the top is golden.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Courgette Cakes

The courgettes season is almost upon us.  They are probably one of the most versatile vegetables. Steamed, grilled, roasted with Mediterranean vegetables, diced in soups, used in stir fries and especially delicious, courgette cakes.

If you are growing Courgettes, start collecting the recipes now. They are probably the easiest vegetable to cultivate and are very fast growers. Its best to harvest them before they get to Marrow size. The smaller, the tastier. Try thinly sliced courgette in a salad with grated carrot and shavings of Fennel.

Courgette Cakes

200g courgettes, grated
2 shallots, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
2tbsp olive oil
1 green chilli, finely chopped
50g breadcrumbs, made with brown bread
1 egg, beaten
50g Gruyere cheese, grated
1tbsp fresh Coriander, chopped
1/4tsp salt
Freshly milled black pepper

Squeeze the water out of the grated courgette and place in a large bowl.
Fry the shallots and spring onions in a little olive oil to soften. Add the chilli and remove from the heat. Add the mixture to the courgettes, then add the breadcrumbs, egg, cheese, Coriander, salt and pepper.  Form into balls and flatten to make patties.
Fry in olive oil, over a medium heat, turning a couple of times, until golden and crisp on the outside.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Seasonal Recipe of the week

Watercress Soup with seeded croutons and cream


Watercress is in season at the moment, so try this recipe for a lovely smooth and peppery watercress soup. You will find it light and tasty and packed with nutrition. Just perfect for springtime!

Ingredients

1oz butter
1 medium onion (chopped)
4 medium sized potatoes (peeled and diced)
600mls chicken stock
8oz watercress
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 oz double cream, lightly whipped
2 slices seeded brown bread, cubed and drizzled with olive oil

Method

Melt the butter and add the chopped onion, cook for around 3 minutes until soft but not browned.
Add the potatoes and stir to combine
Add chicken stock and reduce the heat, simmer for 14 minutes.
Add the watercress and continue to simmer for a further minute
Leave to cool slightly , then put in a blender and blend to a puree
Return the soup to the pan, add salt and pepper to taste
Place the croutons on a tray and bake in a pre heated oven for 5 minutes at 200c
Serve hot, top with a spoonful of cream and croutons.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010





Potato Rosti with Smoked Salmon and Soured Cream


This dish makes a great starter or an accompaniment to poached salmon or garlic prawns on skewers.  Scaled down it's a fantastic canapé served with a small spoonful of Caviar or lump fish roe.

Ingredients

400g waxy potatoes, such as Desiree
2 tsp finely chopped chives + a few whole strips for decoration
2 tbsp sunflower oil
25g butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 tsp soured cream
150g smoked salmon

Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes, place in a tea towel and gather the corners, twist to form a ball and squeeze out the excess water.

Put the potatoes into a large bowl add the chives and season well.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat.

Divide the potatoes into 8 equal portions, flattening each portion slightly to form patties.

Turn the heat down slightly and cook the patties for 5 minutes, turn and cook the other side until crisp and golden.

Serve warm with a dollop of soured cream, a slice of smoked salmon and a couple of chive strips.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Lemon and Thyme Chicken Escalopes
with Corn Relish  


A very versatile chicken recipe and a delicious and easy corn relish which can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.  Have the chicken with salad and new potatoes, pasta or as picnic food with corn relish.


Ingredients


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 slices seeded brown bread, made into breadcrumbs
2 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves only
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Make the breadcrumbs by placing the bread, lemon zest, thyme and salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor and blend briefly until the bread is crumbs and the thymes finely chopped.

Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of cling film and using a rolling pin flatten till about twice their size.  Dip them first into the egg and then into the herb breadcrumb mixture until coated.  Place them on a plate in the fridge until needed.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat and cook the chicken for 4 minutes each side until crisp and golden.


For the corn relish.  
Make 2 hours ahead


200g tinned corn kernels, drained
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small red pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
3 tbsp clear honey
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
Salt and pepper


Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly.
Pour into a large jar with a lid and set aside for a couple of hours.






Friday, 21 May 2010


Lamb Chops with Rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4

8 lamb chops
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs Rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 dessertspoon plain flour
150ml red wine
1 tsp redcurrant jelly
150ml lamb or vegetable stock

Fry the lamb chops in 1 tbsp olive oil, for 1 minute each side to seal. Set them aside in an ovenproof dish.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the garlic and Rosemary. Cook gently for 1 minute. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for a further minute.

Add the red wine, any juices from the chops and stock and simmer to reduce the sauce by half.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the redcurrant jelly

Pour the sauce over the chops and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes and spring greens.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

Ingredients

For the crumble

175g plain flour
75g golden caster sugar + extra for sprinkling
100g cold, unsalted butter
25g ground almonds
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
Small handful pine nuts

For the fruit

250g strawberries, halved length ways
250g rhubarb, chopped into chunks
3tbsp golden caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
25g cold, unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 180C/ gas 4

Place all the crumble ingredients except the pine nuts, plus a pinch of salt, into a large bowl, rub in with your finger tips until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Place the strawberries, then the rhubarb in a ovenproof bowl, add the sugar and lemon juice.

Press the surface of the fruit to make it flat and the crumble mixture will be less inclined to fall down the side of the fruit.

Dot with small pieces of butter, then spoon the crumble mix over the fruit (don't press it down).

Sprinkle the surface with pine nuts and caster sugar and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden and the pine nuts toasted.

To serve: The fruit juices will be runny when very hot, so, crumble is better eaten lukewarm, with cold double cream or custard.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Seasonal recipe of the week


Cheesy Asparagus Flan




Ingredients


Shortcrust pastry, enough to line an 8" flan dish
150ml double cream
2 eggs
100g Cheddar cheese
100g Red Leicester or similar cheese
200g asparagus
Handful fresh parsley or chives, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard 
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.


Roll out the pastry and line an 8" flan dish, prick the base all over with a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes then remove it from the oven and brush the base with some beaten egg.


Wash the asparagus thoroughly to remove any grit and chop into 5cm chunks. Steam it lightly for 5 minutes, then drain well.


Grate the cheeses.


Beat together the cream and the eggs. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and the mustard.
Put half of each cheese into the cream mixture.


Arrange the asparagus spears in the flan dish and pour the cream mixture on top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.


Bake for about 35 minutes, until the egg mixture is risen and set.


Serve with salad and new potatoes.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Comfort Food at it's Best


Sun-dried Tomato and Chorizo Risotto

Risotto is not something you can pop into a pan and leave to cook but if you prepare all the ingredients beforehand  you will enjoy making it.  It will take around 20 minutes to cook and you should  keep the stock on the hob over a low heat.  It also makes a great accompaniment to pan-fried fish, particularly Red Snapper.

Ingredients

25g sun-dried tomato in oil, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
1tbsp olive oil
100g chorizo, cut into little chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
400g risotto rice
1.5 Lt's chicken stock
150g grated Parmesan
Parmesan shavings to decorate
Salt and freshly ground pepper
25g butter



Put the olive oil and the oil from the tomatoes into a heated pan and sweat the onions and celery for 1-2 minutes, add the Chorizo and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously then add the risotto rice and tomatoes, cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the stock 1 ladle at a time and  keep stirring after each addition, this should take around 20 minutes.  Test the rice by squeezing a grain between your thumb and index finger, if there is a white line running through the centre of the grain, it is ready. It should be soft but still have a bite.

Taste and season if needed.

Add the grated Parmesan and Sage, stir gently to combine.

Rest the risotto for a couple of minutes and serve in warm bowls.  Garnish with Parmesan shavings.

Monday, 17 May 2010


Raspberry Pavlova


Try this lovely light dessert, it's very easy to make and can be made in advance and assembled at the last minute.  You can also make it with strawberries or any other soft fruit.  It's also good with half cream and half Marscapone cheese.


If you are preparing the meringue in advance, store it in an airtight container until needed.

Ingredients

4 egg whites from large eggs
200g brown caster sugar
300ml double cream
200g fresh raspberries

Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they form stiff peaks.  Add the sugar 25g at a time whisking between each addition.  Be careful not to over-whisk, the mixture should stay in the bowl if you turn it upside down.

Oil a large baking tray and place a sheet of greaseproof paper over.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C

Draw an 8" circle on the greaseproof paper and pipe the meringue mixture inside it. Flatten the centre of the meringue building it up at the sides.  Place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 140C.  Bake for 1 hour then turn the oven off and leave the Pavlova to cool in the oven.

Beat the cream to a soft peak consistency.

Pile the cream onto the meringue just before serving and sprinkle over the raspberries.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Seasonal Recipe of the Week

Spinach Filo Parcels




with Garlic, Pine Nuts, Nutmeg and Lemon



Young tender spinach leaves are great in salads, especially with chopped, smoked bacon and a warm poached egg. It is the perfect leaf for wilting with warm dressings, can be added to curries for the last minute or two of cooking and is delicious in Italian dishes. It also goes particularly well with goat's cheese.

The following recipe is something a bit different and would make a great starter, a light lunch, or fabulous picnic food.

700g of spinach looks like an awful lot but spinach loses half it's weight in cooking.

For the filo parcels

Ingredients

700g fresh spinach, washed and stalks removed
75g unsalted butter
50g pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, crushed
12x10cm squares of Filo pastry
50g butter, melted
salt and freshly ground pepper
1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2tsp lemon juice
2 tsp sesame seeds
Rosemary leaves to garnish

Method

Pat the spinach dry with kitchen paper. Melt the butter in a deep pan with the garlic, over a low heat, then add the spinach. Cover and cook over a moderate heat for 3 minutes until soft and wilted.

Toast the pine nuts under a grill for around 3-4 minutes until golden. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent them burning.

Brush 3 squares of filo pastry with melted butter and pile on top of each other to form a star shape.

Season the spinach with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the lemon juice. Place a heaped spoonful of spinach in the centre of the pastry star and sprinkle on a few toasted pine nuts.

Bring the corners of the pastry up over the filling and scrunch to make a parcel. Repeat to make another three parcels. Place on a lightly greased baking tray. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Before baking, brush the filo parcels with melted butter and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C/400F/gas6 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crisp.  Garnish with Rosemary leaves and serve at once.

Tip
For a more substantial lunch, add some crumbled goat's cheese to the parcels and serve with a crisp green dressed salad.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Herb Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Soured Cream

Ingredients

2 eggs
100g wholemeal flour
300ml milk
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fennel
1 tsp chopped tarragon
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 lemon, zest only, finely grated

Filling

200g smoked salmon
150ml soured cream
2 tbsp chopped chives

Dill leaves to garnish

Place all the pancake ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Allow to stand for 1 hour before using.

Oil a heavy frying pan and over a medium heat, add a little of the pancake batter and spread it over the base. Cook for 2 minutes then flip over and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Keep them warm in a low temperature oven.

Spoon a little soured cream on each pancake top with a slice of smoked salmon and some dill.

Fold each pancake over and serve warm.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Orange Crème Brulee with Candied Orange Zest


Try this light and very fresh orange brulee, it looks so impressive but is easy to make.  The candied orange zest is lovely, sweet and not at all bitter as you sometimes expect with citrus fruits.

Ingredients


Serves 6-8

500ml double cream
30g icing sugar, sifted
2 vanilla pods, split
Finely grated zest and juice of 1orange
7 egg yolks
180g caster sugar


Method

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas3

Put the cream into a pan, scrape in the seeds from the vanilla pods and add to the pan with the finely grated orange zest, heat to simmering point. Beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until pale, add the orange juice and stir in the cream.  Pour the cream mixture into shallow ramekins. Bake in a Bain-Marie, for about 25 minutes, until lightly set. Remove from the oven and leave until lukewarm. Sprinkle the icing sugar over the top and caramelize under a preheated grill, set at maximum, or with a kitchen blow torch. Leave until topping has cooled and hardened.


For the candied orange zest

1 orange, zest only
1 tbsp sugar

Wash the orange and cut into fine strips with a zester.  Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain.

Return the zest to the pan with the sugar and just enough water to cover, simmer gently over a medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated.  Be careful not to let the sugar caramelise.  Cool completely.

 To serve:
Garnish the brulee with candied orange zest and a sprig of mint.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

One Pot Cooking

Honey Pork Casserole
with Sweet Potato

Ingredients

2tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
150ml chicken stock
900g boneless pork shoulder, cut into large chunks
1 tin ready cooked haricot beans, drained (optional)
75g raisins
50g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
50g blanched almonds
2tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp clear honey
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Salt to taste
Chopped Parsley, to garnish

Method

Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/ gas 9

Melt the butter in an ovenproof casserole, add the onion and fry for 2-3 minutes to soften.

Add the nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

Add the cubed pork and stir to coat in the spices.

Add the almonds, lemon juice and chicken stock.

Season with salt to taste.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, lower the temperature to 180C/350F/gas 4 and cook for a further 1 hour.

Add the sweet potato, beans if using, raisins and honey and cook for 30 minutes until the pork is very tender.

Strain off the juices and return to a saucepan, boiling for 4-5 minutes until reduced to a thick and shiny sauce. Pour back over the meat.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche and sprinkle with chopped Parsley just before serving.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Panna Cotta with Rhubarb and Strawberry Puree


For the Panna Cotta


75g caster sugar
150ml double cream
2 leaves gelatine, soaked in a bowl of water until soft, squeezed dry
300ml buttermilk



For the panna cotta, bring the sugar and cream to a simmer in a pan, stirring continuously until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Add the softened gelatine leaves and continue to simmer until dissolved.  Then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.  Add the buttermilk and stir until well combined.



Place four glasses onto a tray.  Pour in the panna cotta mixture. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or until set.


Rhubarb and Strawberry Puree


4 medium stalks rhubarb, chopped
1/2 1 small orange, juice only
200g strawberries, hulled
50g icing sugar
2 leaves gelatine, soaked in a little water until soft


Poach the rhubarb and strawberries in the orange juice for 4 minutes until tender, cool slightly and place in a blender with the icing sugar blend until smooth and pass the mixture through a sieve. Add the gelatine and mix well.  Cool until almost set and pour a little on top of each glass of panna cotta.  Cool completely.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Taking a short spring break now, I shall be back to blogging 10 may.  Fingers crossed for some good weather.

Monday, 3 May 2010



Lamingtons

If you have ever visited Australia you have probably come across the Lamington, a square sponge cake cut into cubes, with a chocolate coating which has been dipped into dessicated coconut.  Most café's, lunch bars, bakeries and supermarkets sell them.
The history of the Lamington is a bit ambiguous, one account claims Lamingtons are named after Baron Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901.  The Lamington's chef  Armand Gallad, was called upon at short notice to provide something to feed unexpected guests. According to the Melbourne Age newspaper, Gallad cut up some left over French vanilla sponge cake baked the day before, dipped the slices in chocolate and set them in coconut (an ingredient not widely used in European cooking at that time). Lady Lamington's guests then asked for the recipe. Another account claims the dessert resembled the homburg hats favoured by Lord Lamington. 
Try them for yourself you will love them.


Ingredients
For the sponge
3 large eggs
75g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
25g cornflour
25g soft butter
For the chocolate icing
500g icing sugar
75g cocoa
10g soft butter
120 ml milk
315g dessicated coconut
You will need a 7" square cake tin at least 2 1/2" deep, lined with parchment paper.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C / gas 4
Beat the eggs and sugar together with a hand held electric mixer until doubled in volume.  Gradually sieve in the flour and cornflour, add 3 tbsp hot water and the butter and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the tin, with the lining paper still on and place on a wire rack to cool.
In a bowl, sieve together the icing sugar and cocoa.  Mix in the butter and milk and beat until smooth.  Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until the icing is glossy.  If it seems stiff add a little milk.  Remove from the heat.
Remove the paper from the cake and cut into 16 cubes.  Using a fork dip each square into the chocolate icing then roll them in the coconut and on to a plate to allow the icing to set.
They are best eaten fresh but any leftover can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Spicy Meat Pies with Capers







Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
225g lean beef mince
1 tsp capers, chopped
375g puff pastry
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the garlic chillies and cinnamon then add the tomatoes and fry for a minute or two.  Finally add the meat and capers.  Fry over a high heat for 8-10 minutes until the meat is browned and the juices have evaporated.  Check the seasoning and add if necessary.  Turn the meat out on to a plate and leave to go cold.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C / 425F / gas7

Roll out the pastry on a floured board, to 1/8 - 1/4" thick use a 2 1/2" cutter to cut out 12 rounds and a 3" cutter to cut out another 12 rounds.

Place the larger rounds in the base of a 12 hole patty tin, fill each one with the meat mixture, dampen the edges of the smaller rounds and place on top of the pies.  Press the edges lightly to seal.  Make a cut on top of each pie and brush with beaten egg.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until well risen and golden brown.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Apple Lattice Tart

Ingredients

For the pastry

175g plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
75g butter
50g lard
Pinch of salt

For the filling

450g cooking apples
2 tbsp golden syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
25g butter
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

To make the pastry

Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a large bowl, rub in the butter and lard until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.  Add a tbsp of cold water and bring the pastry together to form a ball.  Wrap in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into chunks.  Put them in a saucepan with the syrup and lemon juice and simmer for 10-15 minutes until soft.  Leave to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F / gas 5

Roll out 2/3 of the pastry on a floured board and use to line an 8" flan dish.  Lightly prick the base.

Spoon the apples into the flan case and cut the remaining pastry into 10 x 1/2" wide strips.  Arrange half the strips over the top spaced equally and lay the other 5 over diagonally and trim the edges with the back of a knife.

Mix together the caster sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the tart.  Bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.  Dust the top with icing sugar (optional)

Serve warm or cold with cream.

Haggis and Clapshot Pie

Some hae meat and canna eat, And some would eat that want it But we hae meat, and we can eat, Sae let the lord be thankit. By Robert Burns ...