Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Apple and Raisin Chutney

This is an excellent chutney to have with cheese or cold meats, particularly nice with goats cheese baked with walnuts.

This recipe yields about 3kg


2.3kg apples
2 oranges, juice and finely chopped rind, be careful not to include any pith
100g chopped walnuts
900g granulated sugar
275g raisins
6 cloves, freshly ground
100ml distilled vinegar


Peel and core the apples and cut into small pieces.

Put all the ingredients into a large pan, stir well and simmer, with lid on until tender.

Remove the lid and simmer, stirring often until chutney is thick.

Choose jars with plastic lids, the vinegar may cause a reaction with metal lids.

Put clean jars into the oven at 110C/225F/ gas 1/4 to warm.

Fill warm jars, almost to the brim, with hot chutney. Put the lids on at once.

Store in a cool dark place.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Naughty But Nice

Chocolate Nut Cake


6 egg whites
Pinch of salt
325g caster sugar
175g hazelnuts
1 1/2 white vinegar
1/2tsp vanilla extract

For the filling

300ml double cream

For the sauce

200g dark chocolate
450ml water
125g granulated sugar


Grease 2 9in diameter cake tins and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas 4

Using a hand held electric whisk, whip the egg whites until really firm, then gradually add the caster sugar, continue whisking until the mixture stands in peaks.

Brown the hazelnuts by baking for 5-6 minutes in a hot oven, then rub the nuts inside a tea towel to remove the skins, chop finely in a food processor.

Fold the nuts into the mixture with the vanilla and vinegar then transfer the mixture into the prepared cake tins.

Bake for 35 minutes then wait 5 minutes before turning out.

Break up the chocolate and put it in a saucepan with the water, stir over a gentle heat until dissolved then add the sugar and boil gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes until it has the consistency of cream.

Pour the chocolate into a bowl, dust with caster sugar, cover with damp greaseproof paper to prevent a skin forming and leave to get cold.

Lightly whip the cream and fold in 2-3 tbsp of the chocolate mixture to flavour it. Spread this on one half of the cake, place the other half on top and press together lightly.

Leave cake overnight in the fridge or chill for several hours.

To serve: Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and serve with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Passion fruit Creme Brulee


450ml double cream
65g caster sugar
2 fresh Passion fruit
1 vanilla pod
5 egg yolks


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

Place the cream and vanilla pod in a saucepan over a low heat, simmer for 3 minutes, then let it stand for 20 minutes to infuse.

Add the egg yolks and sugar to the cream and stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla pod and scoop the passion fruit seeds into the custard, stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish and fill the baking dish with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the custards are just set.

Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and refrigerate for 1 hour until they are cold. Place the ramekins on a tray and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Place the tray under a preheated grill until the sugar melts and is golden.


Place the ramekins in a deep tray to grill and put some ice cubes in the tray to keep the custard cold.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Another Recipe For the Tomato Harvest

Cream of Tomato Soup


40g unsalted butter
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2kg ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded , and chopped
25g plain flour
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
1tbsp chopped Parsley
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 Bay leaves
1tbsp sugar
450ml double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Fry the onion, garlic, carrot and celery for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Slowly add the stock and the sugar, Parsley, Thyme and Bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Remove the Thyme and Bay leaf and pass the soup through a fine sieve, pressing it down with the back of a spoon.

Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently with the cream. Season to taste.

Serve with chunks of bread for dipping.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

A Sweet Treat

Swiss Milk Tablet

900g granulated sugar
200ml fresh milk
75g butter
1 small can condensed milk (200g)
1/2tsp vanilla extract

Put sugar, fresh milk and butter in a large pan over a low heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Bring to the boil and add the condensed milk. Boil carefully, (i.e. stir occasionally to stop it sticking to the pan) until the soft ball stage, 240F (put a teaspoon of mixture in cold water, when you feel it between your finger and thumb it should feel like a soft ball).

When the bubbles subside, remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.

Beat thoroughly until the mixture begins to sugar on the bottom of the pan.

Pour into an oiled Swiss roll tin 7x11 inches.

When set mark into squares. When cold it should break apart neatly.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Cook Today Eat Tomorrow

Bolognese Sauce

1tbsp vegetable oil
15g butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large stick of celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
250g carrots, diced
350g lean minced beef
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
250ml red wine
350g tinned, chopped tomatoes
2tbsp tomato puree, mixed with 250ml water
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh Thyme, chopped


Heat the oil and butter over a moderate heat, add the onion and cook until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic, carrot and celery, cook for a further 2 minutes stirring to coat all the vegetables.

Add the minced beef and stir constantly until the meat is browned. Season with salt, pepper and about 1/2tsp nutmeg.

Add the wine and let it simmer until it has evaporated. Add the tomato puree liquid and tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for 3 hours, stirring frequently. Add a little water if necessary.

The final sauce should have hardly any liquid left at the end of cooking.

Eat immediately or cool completely before refrigerating for the next day.

To serve

Serve hot with 700g cooked pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Fluffy Lemon Pudding with Toasted Coconut

A lovely, light, summer dessert, perfect for a warm day.


425mls water
1 large lemon
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
110g sugar
2 eggs, separated
50g dessicated coconut, toasted


Put the water in a saucepan with the finely pared lemon rind. Try not to include any of the white pith, this will make your puddings bitter. Simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Mix sugar and cornflour together in a large bowl, blend with 3tbsp cold water.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice to the cornflour mixture and add to the pan, bring to the boil, stirring, and cook for 2 minutes.

Pour the lemon mixture onto the egg yolks and beat well together. Set aside until cold and slightly thickened.

Whisk the egg-whites until firm and, using a metal spoon, gently fold into the lemon mixture.

Pour into small dishes or 1 large dish and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Millionaires Shortbread


200g plain flour
150g butter
75g caster sugar


25g butter
25g soft brown sugar
1 large tin condensed milk


200g milk chocolate

9in square cake tin lined with parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 170C/340F/ gas 3

To make the base

Rub the butter into the flour, add the sugar and stir to combine.

Press into the cake tin and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown

Remove from the oven and allow to cool

For the filling

Place all the filling ingredients in a sauce pan and stir constantly over a moderate heat until it begins to simmer. Continue stirring until it thickens, this should take a few minutes.

Spread over the base and allow to cool completely.

For the topping

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and spread it over the filling.

Cool completely and cut into squares.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Make Your Own

Raspberry Jam Sandwiches

Delicious with a glass of cold milk or a nice cup of tea.

For the Raspberry jam


1/2kg fresh raspberries
1/2kg granulated sugar, heated in the oven for a few minutes


Place the fruit in a pan and bring to the boil. Stir in the hot sugar.

Allow the sugar to dissolve then boil rapidly until set. If the fruit is firm and fresh this should take about 3 minutes.

Ladle into warm jars, cover with waxed discs, cool completely and cover with lids. Store in a cool dry place.

Quick and easy wholemeal bread


450g wholewheat flour
2tsp salt
355-380ml hand-hot water
1tsp brown sugar
2 level tsp easy blend yeast
A little extra flour

2 x 1lb bread tins, buttered


Combine the flour and salt in a bowl then warm slightly in a low oven for about 10 minutes.

Tip the warmed flour into a mixing bowl, mix in the easy blend yeast, make a well in the centre, and, using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the water to form a dough. Finish off the rest of the mixing with your hands until you have a smooth dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

Transfer the dough to the bread tins and dust lightly with flour.

Cover the tins with a damp tea towel and leave to stand, in a warm place, for 30-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6

Bake the bread for 35 minutes. Turn out the bread and return it upside down, to the oven for a further 10 minutes to crisp the base and sides.

Cool the bread on a wire cooling tray and store when absolutely cold.

To serve: Cut slices of the bread, spread lightly with butter (optional) spread generously with raspberry jam.


Top of the loaves with a few sunflower or pumpkin seeds before you dust with flour, prior to baking.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Moist Chocolate Cake

The ultimate in chocolate desserts, this is a cross between a cake and a mousse. Its made with best quality dark chocolate and ground almonds and it has a slightly moist squidgy centre. This cake will sink when it comes out of the oven. It is meant to be gooey on the centre with a crunchy crust on the outside, a bit like a chocolate brownie.


4 eggs
225g caster sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa solids
125g unsalted butter
50ml water
25g plain flour
50g ground almonds
icing sugar or cocoa powder to dust
whipped cream to serve


Preheat the oven to 170C/320F/gas 3

Grease and line a 7in loose bottomed cake tin.

Using a hand held electric whisk, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Put the chocolate, butter and water in a large bowl, and heat over a pan of simmering water. When they are all melted, stir gently together.

Using a metal spoon, gently fold the creamed mixture into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the almonds and the flour. Pour into the tin and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar or cocoa powder and serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Vegetarian Recipe

Roast Vegetables with Asian Pesto

Vegetarians, and non vegetarians, will love this recipe. Its a great way to use up your harvest of Spring/Summer vegetables. The pesto can also be served with pasta or noodles. The vegetables used are probably regarded as Mediterranean but the Asian pesto completely transforms them.

For the roast vegetables

2 courgettes, peeled and thickly sliced, at an angle
1 aubergine, halved thickly sliced
8 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 red peppers, cut into chunks
2 yellow peppers, cut into chunks
250g large mushrooms, quartered
4tbsp vegetable oil
2tsp roasted sesame oil

Prepare your vegetables and place them all, except the mushrooms, in a deep roasting tin. Mix the vegetable oil with the sesame oil and drizzle them over the vegetables. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes then add the mushrooms, return them to the oven and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender and starting to colour at the edges.

For the pesto

200g fresh coriander, with stalks
250ml olive oil
45g fresh mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper
45g unsalted roasted peanuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

Place the peanuts, garlic, herbs and lime juice in the bowl of a food processor, at medium speed. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, until it forms a smooth paste. Season to taste.

To serve

Drizzle half the pesto over the vegetables and mix to combine, put the rest of the pesto in a jug to serve at the table with toasted crusty bread and the roasted vegetables.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Easy Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice-cream

400g puff pastry
4 crisp green apples
1tsp granulated sugar
1 knob butter

For the caramel sauce
350ml double cream
250g caster sugar

Melt the caster sugar in a heavy saucepan and only remove from the heat when the caramel is quite dark and starting to smoke, but not burn.

Away from the heat, slowly add the cream. Be careful if it is spluttering.

Whisk the sauce until smooth and all the caramel is dissolved.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6

Roll out the pastry to 3mm thick, and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Cut the pastry into 12.5-15cm discs, using a pastry cutter.

Peel, quarter and core the apples, then slice thinly.

Arrange the apple slices evenly over the pastry discs, overlapping slightly and 3mm away from the edge, finishing with 1 round apple slice in the centre.

Sprinkle the tarts with a pinch of sugar and a little butter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle the central apple slice with sugar, then caramelize using a blowtorch or under a hot grill.

Serve the apple pie with a drizzle of caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream (for the ice-cream recipe, see my blog for 4 June 09)

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Something Special for the Weekend

If you are looking for something a bit special to serve to dinner guests or if you are having a celebration meal with the family, you will love this souffle. It can be cooked in advance and reheated. The spiced pears can also be made in advance and refrigerated.

Roquefort Cheese souffle with Spiced Poached Pears

For the souffle

50g butter
50g plain flour
150ml milk
100g Roquefort cheese, crumbed
2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper
5 egg whites
A few drops of lemon juice
60g Brioche crumbs, mixed with 40g ground walnuts
Butter for greasing

Butter 4 ramekins with soft butter and freeze, repeat this step to ensure a good coating.

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

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes a light coloured roux.

Gradually add the milk to make a thick Bechamel.

Add the cheese.

Put the mixture into a large metal bowl, fold in the egg yolks and season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and add the lemon juice.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the souffle mixture.

Coat each ramekin with the Brioche crumb and walnut mixture.

Add the souffle mixture to the ramekins and tap on a work surface to expel any bubbles.

Smooth over the top with a spatula.

Place the souffles in an oven tray filled with boiling water and bake for 15-20 minutes.

When risen and firm, remove from the oven.

Serve with Rocket salad dressed with a walnut oil vinaigrette and spiced poached pears. Sprinkle with chopped toasted walnuts.

Poached Spiced Pears

250g caster sugar
550ml water
1 Cinnamon stick
1 strip lemon zest
1 strip orange zest
300ml red wine
4 pears

Male a light syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the Cinnamon, lemon and orange zest and the wine.

Peel the pears and cut them in half. Carefully scoop out the cores.

Place the pears in the poaching liquid and cover with parchment paper, cut to size.

Simmer until soft. Then leave to cool and infuse in the liquid.

Remove from the fridge 15 minutes before use.

Serve, sliced, with the souffle.


Any leftover poached pears can be eaten within 2 days as a dessert.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Quick and easy

This is a very quick and easy recipe. If you don't have time to make the oatcakes, it's also very nice with shop bought oatcakes.

Chicken Pate with Scottish Oatcakes

For the pate

1 large onion, chopped
50g butter
300g cooked chicken
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4tbsp double cream
1-2tbsp dry sherry
1tsp cayenne pepper

Fry the onion in butter until soft. Add the chicken to the onion, mince, or put in a blender. Add the cream and cayenne and just enough sherry to moisten. Season to taste and blend until smooth.

Place in a dish and refrigerate until needed

Scottish Oatcakes

1tbsp bacon fat
100g medium oatmeal
A good pinch of salt
A good pinch of Bicarbonate of soda
Tepid water to mix

Melt the fat and add to the dry ingredients.

Mix to a softish dough with water.

Sprinkle a little oatmeal on a board. Turn dough onto it and knead to remove any cracks.

Roll out and cut into even sized triangles.

Bake on a hot, dry griddle until the edges start to curl. Toast second side under the grill, until crisp, but not brown.

Cool and serve with chicken pate.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Spicy Lamb Cutlets with Sweet Potato

8 lamb cutlets
1tbsp Cajun seasoning
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges, (not too thick)
2tbsp olive oil
2 green peppers, halved, deseeded and cut into wedges
Soured cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7
Preheat the grill or griddle

Rub the sweet potato wedges all over with 1tbsp olive oil and half the Cajun seasoning. Put them in a large roasting tin and cook for 10 minutes. Coat the lamb cutlets and green pepper wedges with the remaining olive oil and Cajun seasoning. Add the peppers to the sweet potato and cook for a further 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Grill or griddle the lamb for 4-5 minutes each side for pink or until cooked to your liking.

Serve the lamb and vegetables with a spoonful of soured cream.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Peppered Pineapple with Vanilla Ice cream

This is an unusual dessert but absolutely delicious, hot pineapple with pepper may sound odd but wait till you taste it. The vanilla ice cream is one of the best I have tasted.


For the ice-cream

4 egg yolks
90g caster sugar
250ml milk
250ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, cut lengthwise

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl.

Heat the cream and milk together until hot, Gradually add the yolks and put the mixture in a saucepan.

Add the vanilla and bring the mixture to just below boiling point, stirring continuously until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove immediately from the heat and allow to cool by standing the pan in a bowl of cold water, stirring occasionally.

Strain through a fine sieve and freeze in a container. An ice-cream maker can be used.

For the sauce

100g caster sugar
50ml fresh orange juice
50ml Creme De Cacao (chocolate liqueur)
20ml lemon juice

Melt the sugar in a pan until it becomes slightly brown.

Add the orange juice, Creme De Cacao and lemon juice. Simmer gently to reduce a little. Melt the butter in a pan and allow it to brown a little. Add to the sauce.

For the pineapple

1 Pineapple, peeled, core removed and cut into 1/2in slices.
Freshly ground black pepper
40g unsalted butter
25ml Creme De Cacao

Sprinkle ground black pepper over the pineapple slices.

Heat the butter in a pan, add the pineapple slices and flame with the Creme De Cacao. Add the sauce and heat gently.

To serve: Divide the pineapple slices between four plates and arrange a scoop of ice-cream in the middle of each slice. Pour the hot sauce over the ice-cream and serve immediately.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Spinach Gnocchi with Stilton

600g potatoes, washed
150g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
1tbsp Thyme, finely chopped
100g fresh spinach, pureed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg

To make the gnocchi

Cook the potatoes in their skins, peel whilst hot, then push through a fine sieve or potato ricer, into a bowl. Blend in the flour and eggs until smooth. Mix in the Thyme and enough spinach puree to achieve a good colour. Season to taste with salt pepper and nutmeg.

Pipe or roll the mixture into a log about 1in in diameter and cut into 1 1/2in lengths. Dust well with flour and roll each piece in your hands. Press with the tip of a fork to make a pattern.

Poach in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes, and drain carefully.

For the sauce

100ml double cream
100ml Fromage frais
150g Stilton, crumbled
2tbsp chopped, fresh herbs (a mixture of Chives, Basil, Thyme)

Reduce the cream andFromage frais together in a saucepan, then add the crumbled cheese, Stirring over a low heat until melted. Reheat the gnocchi gently in the sauce for about 2 minutes. Add the herbs, test the seasoning and serve hot.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Seasonal Recipe of the Week

A delicious and refreshing sorbet, which can be served with cooled poached rhubarb or ginger biscuits.

Rhubarb Sorbet with Ginger Biscuits

900g fresh rhubarb
1tbsp liquid glucose
350g sugar
2tbsp water
8 mint leaves, finely chopped

Wash the rhubarb in cold water and cut into 1 inch pieces.

Place the rhubarb in a heavy based saucepan and add the water. Cook for 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft.

Strain off the juice and reserve 1/2 pint

Put the juice in a pan with the glucose and sugar and bring to the boil. Boil for 4 minutes, strain and cool.

Puree the rhubarb and mint leaves in a food processor, then mix with the sugar syrup.

Pour into a freezable container and freeze for one hour. Remove from the freezer and whisk, to prevent crystals forming. Return the mixture to the freezer and whisk twice more, at two hourly intervals.

Cover and freeze until firm.

Serve with ginger biscuits.

Ginger biscuits

Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/ gas 3

170g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
3/4tsp Bicarbonate of soda
115g golden syrup
70g sugar
70g butter
1tsp ground ginger

Sieve flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, ginger and Bicarbonate of soda, mix well to combine. Add syrup and bring together to form balls of dough. Space well on a baking tray and flatten slightly.
Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Place on a cooling tray. When cooled completely, transfer to an airtight container.

Seafood Paella

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