Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Apricot Scones 

1 egg
40 g sugar
225 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp buttermilk
Pinch of salt
75 g ready to eat apricots, chopped
75 g butter

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar and chopped apricots and mix to combine.

Beat the buttermilk and egg together, add to the flour mixture and bring together to form a dough, try not to over work it.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently roll to 1" thick, shape with a 2" cutter place on a baking tray and brush with a little buttermilk.

Bake at the top of the oven for 11-12 minutes until the top is golden.

Serve with apricot jam.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Spicy Pork Burgers
with Mint Raita

For the burgers

500g lean minced pork
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1 egg

For the coating

2 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, beaten
Fine breadcrumbs, made with 3 slices brown bread then seasoned with salt and pepper

Olive or sunflower oil to fry

In a large bowl, mix all the burger ingredients and season well.  Take heaped tablespoons of the mixture and form into patties, dip the patties into the flour and shake off any excess.  Dip the patties, one at a time into the beaten egg and then into the breadcrumbs.  Leave them in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, to a medium temperature and put in the patties to fry for 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown.

For the raita

1 small carton natural yoghurt
1 tsp mint sauce
Black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and serve with the pork burgers.

Serving suggestion:   Pork burgers, new potatoes and corn on the cob
                                Burgers in small buns with salad and raita, served with potato wedges
                                Pitta bread with pork burger and sautéed onion and  pepper strips 
Moules Marinier

2 kg live mussels
300ml white wine
5 banana shallots, finely chopped
Small sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper

Scrub the mussels and remove the beards.  Discard any that are open.  Rinse under running water.

Pour the wine into a large pan or a wok the has a lid.  Add the shallots thyme and bay leaf, season with pepper.

Bring to the boil, add the mussels, cover with a tight lid and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, over a medium heat for 4 minutes until the mussels have opened.

 Remove the thyme and bay leaf and any unopened mussels.

Serve the mussels in bowls with a little of the cooking liquor poured over, garnish with the chopped parsley and eat with some crusty bread.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake


1 large pineapple cut into slices
150g soft brown sugar
75ml water
150g butter
150g thick natural yoghurt
175g melted butter
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
175g caster sugar
240g self raising flour
Double cream

Line a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180c, fan 160c, Gas 5.


Peel the pineapple and cut into slices
Dissolve the light brown sugar in the water, over a gentle heat, stirring to make sure the sugar is dissolved
After 15 minutes it will start to colour, swirl the pan and heat until it is a deep gold
Remove from the heat and carefully add 150g of butter
Stir until smooth
Arrange the pineapple slices in the bottom of the cake tin and pour over the sauce
Stir the yoghurt with 175g melted butter and the eggs
Mix together caster sugar and flour and carefully fold into the yoghurt mixture
Pour into the tin and bake for 45 minutes until risen and golden
Serve in wedges with double cream

For a richer, more luxurious cake, use Jersey Butter and Jersey Double Cream.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Mozzarella and Sage
with Baked Cherry Tomatoes


4 chicken breasts 
2 balls of Buffalo Mozzarella, halved to make 4 pieces
4 sage leaves
4 slices streaky bacon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 sprigs of cherry tomatoes on the vine

Pre-heat the oven to 180C / gas 6

Make a slit in the side of each chicken breast and stuff in the mozzarella and sage leaf.  Lightly season the chicken and wrap the bacon rasher round, you may have to stretch it to cover the chicken.

Place the chicken on a baking tray and roast it for 30 minutes.   Add the cherry tomatoes halfway through cooking.  

Serve with boiled new potatoes.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Smoked Trout Pate with Scottish Oatcakes

450g smoked trout fillets
225g unsalted butter, softened
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp creamed horseradish
large pinch of cayenne pepper
4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
105ml sour cream or crème fraiche
4 tbsp chopped chives

Skin and fillet the smoked trout ensuring that you remove all the bones. Roughly flake two of the fillets into the bowl of a food processor, reserving the remaining two for later.

Add the butter, lemon juice, horseradish, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and a good seasoning of black pepper. Pulse to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and flake in the remaining trout fillets. Fold in the sour cream, add the chives and parsley, stir well to combine. Check the seasoning, adding more lemon juice if required.

For the 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 rounds.

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

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Seasonal Recipe

Grilled Mackerel with Rhubarb Sauce

For the rhubarb sauce


Juice of 1 orange
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 piece of root ginger, approx 1 inch, peeled and thinly sliced
tbsp clear honey
8 sticks of pink rhubarb, chopped


In a heavy based pan, warm the orange juice, orange zest, honey and ginger.
Add the rhubarb and simmer for 6-8 minutes
Puree in a food processor or blender
Place in the fridge until chilled

For the mackerel
2 mackerel, filleted, skin on, or four mackerel fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the grill to high.   Brush both sides of the fillets with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the mackerel skin-side up on a baking sheet and place under the grill for 4-5 minutes, or until just cooked through. Set aside to keep warm.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Almond and Orange Cake
with Orange Syrup

150g soft margarine
150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
150g caster sugar
Grated rind and juice from 1 orange
50g ground almonds


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

Place all the ingredients, except the ground almonds and orange zest, in a large bowl and mix with a hand-held electric mixer, until light and fluffy.  Using a spatula, fold in the ground almonds and orange zest.

Spoon the mixture into a lined, 20cm cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-35 minutes until the cake is springy to the touch.  Remove from the oven and drizzle over half of the syrup.  Leave to cool.

For the orange syrup

2 oranges, zest and juice
2 cinnamon sticks
275g granulated sugar

To make the syrup, put all the ingredients in a pan with 1 pint water and bring slowly to a simmer, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.  Reduce the heat and simmer until syrupy, about 10 minutes.

To serve :  Drizzle the remaining syrup over the cake and serve with chilled cream.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Cheese and Bacon Breakfast Muffins


100g smoked bacon, grilled and chopped
275g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
125g Edam cheese, grated
75g sun dried tomatoes, chopped
20g chives, chopped
2 eggs
200ml fresh milk
75g butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5

Oil a muffin tin. 

In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking powder, stir in the sugar, salt, 3/4 of the cheese, bacon, sun dried tomatoes and chives into the flour mixture and mix well to combine.

Beat together the eggs, milk and melted butter and pour over the dry ingredients.

Stir until just combined- the batter should be lumpy.

Fill the muffin tins and sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and firm.

Serve with poached eggs.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Roast Belly of Pork with Creamed Potatoes and Spinach

For the pork belly

2 tbsp vegetable oil
800g pork belly, cut into 4" squares
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the squares of pork belly in a pan of boiling water for five minutes, then drain, pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside to cool.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the squares of boiled pork belly, skin-side down, in batches, and fry for 6-8 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. Turn the pork belly squares over and fry for a further 3-4 minutes, or until crisp. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Repeat the process with the remaining batches of pork belly.

Pre-heat the oven to 170C / 325F / gas 3

Season with salt and pepper and place the pork belly squares on a rack in a roasting tin and roast for 50 minutes, leave to rest in a warm place. Reserve the juices.

For the creamed potatoes

1.5 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized chunks
25g butter
50ml crème fraiche
Salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes until tender.  Drain add the butter and mash or blend with a hand-held electric mixer until they are smooth (be careful not to over mix).  Add the crème fraiche and beat in with a wooden spoon, add some freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

For the spinach

200g baby spinach, washed thoroughly (if it is not pre-washed)
50g butter
Salt and pepper
A good grating of fresh nutmeg

Melt the butter in a large frying pan (a wok is good) add the spinach and stir continuously until the spinach has wilted (this only takes a couple of minutes) add a little salt and pepper and a good grating of fresh nutmeg.

Take the juices from the pork and spoon off any obvious fat.  Put the juices in a pan and bring to the boil, let it bubble until reduced by half.

To serve Place a large spoonful of creamed potato on a plate top with a portion of spinach and place a square of pork slightly to the side of this. Spoon the meat juices round the sides of the plate.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Warm Rhubarb on Crumble Biscuits
with Real Custard

Crumble biscuits

100 g self raising flour 
½ teaspoon of salt
100 g rolled oats
50 g currants
50 g caster sugar
1-2 tablespoons of golden syrup
100 g butter 

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/ 350F/gas 4. Grease a 7 inch cake tin. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan. Once melted remove from heat.
Sift the remaining ingredients (flour and salt) and add the oats and currants. Pour the cooled syrup mixture onto the dry ingredients. Mix and stir this well.
Press the mixture into the cake tin.
Bake the mixture for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Mark into slices but leave to cool. Once cooled, turn out onto a wire tray.

For the custard

300ml double cream
300ml milk
1 vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and keep
3 egg yolks 
3 tbsp sugar

Place the cream, milk vanilla pod and seeds into a sauce pan and cook until the mixture is almost at boiling point.  Place the egg yolks and 3 tbsp sugar into a bowl and whisk until the mixture becomes frothy.  

Gently pour the milk and cream over the egg mixture whisking continuously to combine.  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over a medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and is the consistency of double cream.


400 g young rhubarb, cut into batons
200 g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 orange

Place all the ingredients in a shallow pan and simmer for 5-6 minutes until soft.  

To serve:  Cut the crumble biscuits into squares, place 1 square per portion on a plate, lay over some rhubarb batons and pour over custard.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Focaccia Rustica

An easy to make bread which is great with any pasta dish or warm, basil and tomato salad, made by roasting halved plum tomatoes with garlic and fresh basil until soft , season with salt and freshly ground pepper and leave to cool slightly.  Serve with salad leaves and Parmesan shavings and mop up the juices with warm Focaccia.

Makes 1 Focaccia Rustica

For the dough

500 g strong bread flour
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
2 sachets dried yeast
1 tsp salt
350ml warm water


3 tbsp olive oil, to drizzle
1 tbsp rosemary leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
Sea salt

Knead together all the dough ingredients and grated Parmesan until soft and elastic.  Leave to rise for 20 minutes.

Spread the dough out on a baking tin to 1.5 cm deep and leave it to rise for another 15 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 250C / 475F / gas 9

Sprinkle the Focaccia with Rosemary, pine nuts and sea salt and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Chicken Ham and Mushroom Pie

For the pastry

75 g block margarine, cut into cubes
75 g white cooking fat, cut into cubes
300 g plain flour + a little for rolling out
Large pinch salt
Cold water to mix
1 egg, lightly beaten

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and add the margarine and cooking fat.  Rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips (works best with cold hands) until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add the water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough comes together.  Place the dough in cling film and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the filling

Piece of ham around 250 g, cut into small chunks
4 chicken breasts or 6 boneless thighs, cut into small chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
100 g sliced mushrooms
1.5 tbsp plain flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
400ml chicken stock
4 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan, add the shallots and mushrooms and cook until softened.  Add the chicken and ham and stir fry until lightly browned.  Sprinkle over the flour and stir to combine.

Stir in the stock, a little at a time and leave to simmer gently for 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and cream and simmer for 1 minute, remove from the heat pour into a deep pie dish and leave to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas 4

Roll the pastry out to the shape and size of the pie dish allowing a little to go over the edge.

Brush the beaten egg over the top and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with buttered cabbage and boiled potatoes

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

         Chicken Liver Pate

         500g chicken livers
         1 clove garlic, peeled and
         2 rashers bacon, chopped
         1 onion, finely chopped
         2 tbsp chopped parsley
         3 tbsp sherry
         3 bay leaves
         150g clarified butter
         Salt and pepper     

  1. Place a large frying pan onto a medium heat and allow to warm .  Add the chopped bacon. Fry it for 1 minute, stirring occasionally .  Add the onions and garlic, fry for a further 2 minutes.  Add the  butter and stir in.

    Add the livers and stir them in.  Fry for 7-10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

  2. Then add  the parsley and sherry, season with salt and pepper.  Remove immediately from the heat.

    Spoon the mixture into a blender and cover with the lid. Switch it to pulse and pulse a few times. Remove the lid, pushing the contents down with a spoon. Then blend until smooth.

    Now spoon the chicken liver pate into a bowl, smooth until it's flat and even. Lay the bay leaves on top. Then slowly pour the clarified butter over. Cover with cling film and set aside to cool for at least 1 hour and serve straight from the fridge.  Any left-over pate will last for 2 days if refrigerated.

  3. Serve the pate with Melba toast.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Grilled Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce

4 boneless salmon fillets
Fresh ground pepper

Hollandaise Sauce

2 egg yolks
2 tbsp white wine
2 tsp lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
125g soft butter
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Season the salmon fillets with pepper.  Grill for 10 minutes each side , under a moderate heat.

Place the egg yolks, lemon, pepper and salt into a saucepan, place over a low heat and whisk until very fluffy. Add the butter a teaspoon at a time whisking continuously.  Don't let it boil.

Remove from the hob and stir in the mustard.

Pour the hollandaise sauce over the salmon and place under the grill until golden brown.

Serve immediately with fresh vegetables.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mother's Day Treat

Easy Banoffee Pie

This is a Mother's day treat which I have adapted so it can be made by young children with the help of an adult.  Buy the caramel ready-made, the ginger biscuits can be crushed in a poly bag with a rolling pin and the bananas easily sliced with a very blunt knife.

The topping of greek yoghurt will, at least make you feel better about all that caramel.


200g ginger snaps, crushed
100g butter, melted
4 bananas, sliced
450g ready-made caramel
500ml greek yoghurt, 2% fat
50g plain chocolate

Place the biscuit crumbs and melted butter (let it cool a little) in a bowl and mix together.  Press the mixture into a cake tin and leave in the fridge to set while you prepare the topping.

Arrange the banana slices over the biscuit crumb base and pour over the caramel.  Spoon the Greek yoghurt over and top with grated chocolate.

Leave in the fridge until you are ready for dessert.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Mince and Tatties

Mince and tatties is a traditional Scottish dish and, for me, the best use of minced beef.  I always use the leanest ground beef and baby onions if I can get them.  A bit like a disassembled cottage pie but seems a bit lighter, the diced carrot gives it a slight sweetness, give it a try.


500g lean minced beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
8 baby onions, peeled but left whole
2 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced
1 tbsp oil for browning
1 tbsp plain flour
250ml beef stock
1.5kg potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized chunks
25g butter
A little warm milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the chopped onion and diced carrot, cook until the onion has softened.  Break up the minced beef and add it to the pan then stir to brown, add the flour and mix in well.  Pour in the stock, stirring continuously.  Season with salt and pepper and drop in the baby onions.  Simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Boil the potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes until tender.  Drain, put back in the pan and cover with a tea towel while you melt the butter with a little milk.

Add the milk and butter to the potatoes and mash until smooth.

Serve with vegetables of your choice, I like mashed swede or tinned processed peas.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Mini Chicken Pasties


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion chopped finely
1 clove garlic

1 tsp Cayenne pepper
75 grams coarsely grated potato
75 grams coarsely grated sweet potato
200g chicken mince
1 tbsp finely chopped Mint leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped Parsley


Heat oil in a medium frying pan.  Add the onion and cook gently until softened.

Crush the garlic and add it to the pan, cook for a further minute.

Add potato, Cayenne, sweet potato and chicken, cook, stirring, until chicken is lightly browned.

Stir in the mint and parsley


4 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg beaten lightly

cut 5 x 9cm rounds from each sheet of puff pastry
Place level tbsp of filling of each round and brush edges with egg
Fold edges together making a semi circle
Pinch edges and seal with a fork
Place on greased oven trays and brush with beaten egg
Bake at 200c for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with salad and a dollop of soured cream

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding


4 eggs
900ml milk
50 g sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
50 g butter
25 g currants
1 Brioche loaf, sliced
Grating of nutmeg
175 g orange marmalade

Pre-heat the oven to180C / 350F / gas 4

Beat the eggs and the milk together, stir in the sugar and orange zest.

Butter the slices of Brioche and spread with marmalade, cut each slice into 4 triangles, butter an oven-proof dish and arrange the Brioche slices inside it. Scatter the currants between the layers.

Pour over the egg mixture and leave to stand for 30 minutes until the egg mixture soaks in.

Grate the nutmeg over the top and dot with butter.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve warm with chilled double cream or ice-cream.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Fish Goujons with Home-made Tartare Sauce

Fish Goujons

150g breadcrumbs
75g desiccated coconut
250g white fish, skinned and cut into strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
125g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten

Place the breadcrumbs and desiccated coconut into a bowl and mix well.
Heat the oil in a heavy based pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it.
Season the fish all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then coat in the flour.
Dip the floured fish strips into the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture to completely coat.
Carefully place the fish strips into the hot oil and deep-fry for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

For the Tartare Sauce

50g mayonnaise
30g gherkins, finely chopped
30g capers, drained
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tartare sauce, mix all of the tartare sauce ingredients together in a bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Serve with hot fish Goujons, garnished with lemon wedges, and some brown bread and butter.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Honey Roast Pork
with Rosemary Pine Nut and Raisin Stuffing

Can be eaten hot as a roast dinner and any leftover pork is delicious cold with jacket potatoes, salad and apple coleslaw (replace the carrot with grated apple and add a few raisins).


1.25-1.5 kg rolled pork shoulder
2 sprigs Rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
100 g seedless raisins
2 cloves garlic
75 g pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp clear honey

Pre-heat the oven to 220C / 425F / gas 7

Chop the raisins, pine nuts and garlic and add the chopped rosemary mix with 1 tbsp honey.  If the meat hasn't been rolled yet, spread over the mixture , roll up and secure with string.  If you buy it ready rolled just press the mixture deep into the gaps.

Season with salt and pepper and spread the remainder of the honey over the pork, including the skin.

Sit the meat on a sheet of foil placed inside a roasting tin, bring the foil round the sides of the pork, this will save the juices, leave the top skin exposed.

Place in the oven on a high shelf for 10 minutes then baste with the honey juices.  Place the meat on a lower shelf and lower the oven temperature to 170C / 325F / gas 3 and cook, basting occasionally. for 2 hours.

Rest the meat while you make the glaze.  Put the juices in a pan and drain off the fat let the juices boil hard for a couple of minutes until thickened.  Brush the glaze over the pork.

To serve cut the meat into thin slices and eat hot or cold.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Potato and Leek Soup with Cheese Straws

Try this delicious soup for a light lunch and a healthy start to the week.

Potato and leek soup with cheese straws


1 large onion, chopped
4 large leeks
200g potato, diced
1oz butter or 1tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pints vegetable stock
10fl oz semi skimmed milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little cream to garnish


Wash the leeks thoroughly and chop finely
Melt the butter and add the chopped onions, leeks and potato. Add salt and pepper and sweat vegetables over a low heat for around 10-15 minutes. Remove just a few leek strips for garnish
Add the stock and milk, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Leave to cool a little
Place in a blender and blend to a puree
Return to the pan and heat gently
Before serving, sprinkle with leek strips
Serve with a swirl of cream and warm cheese straws

Cheese straws

1 pack puff pastry
1 egg
Mature Cheddar

Roll puff pastry to a rectangle, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with grated cheese. Press cheese onto pastry. Rest the pastry in the fridge for 30-40 minutes. Cut into strips 3/4 in wide. Hold one end of each strip and twist into a coil. Carefully place onto a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper, and bake at 200C gas 6 for 20-25 minutes.

 Serve warm with the soup.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Beetroot and Orange Soup


500 g grated beetroot
1 1/2 litres beef stock
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice and zest of 2 large oranges
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Soured cream to garnish


Heat the oil in a large pan and sweat off the onions for 5 minutes add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the beetroot, stock, orange juice and zest to the pan.  Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 50-60 minutes.

Cool the soup slightly and blend until smooth.

Re-heat gently and serve with a spoonful of soured cream and some crusty bread.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Beetroot and Chocolate Brownies

After to my visit to Blackheath Farmers Market I found I have a glut of  beetroot. Having pickled some roasted some and dyed my fingernails red, I came across a few more recipes for what was left.    If you try this delicious brownie recipe be sure to wear some disposable gloves.  The natural, earthy sweetness of the beetroot really comes through in these delicious chocolate treats and I still have enough beetroot for an exciting beetroot and orange soup.  (watch this space).


180 g dark chocolate (no less than 70% cocoa solids
100 g flour
100 g ground almonds                                                                  
90 g sugar
90 g butter
4 eggs
200 g grated raw beetroot
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar for decoration


Peel and grate the beetroot and set aside                            
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water
Beat the eggs and butter together add the sugar and beat the mixture until light and fluffy
Add the chocolate, flour, ground almonds, beetroot and vanilla extract and mix well
Line a small square baking tin with greaseproof paper, pour in the brownie mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes.  The brownies are cooked when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Dust with icing sugar and when cool store in an airtight container.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Kale Colcannon Cakes

Kale Colcannon Cakes with Crispy Bacon

Kale has become fashionable as a 'superfood' and it's nutritional value is astounding. It's packed with beta-carotene, folate and vitamin C, in fact 17 times more vitamin C than carrots and 4 times more than spinach.

It takes a bit longer to cook than cabbage and is better eaten soft than al dente.  I really like it in Colcannon with crispy bacon and sometimes top it with a poached egg.


750 g potatoes, peeled and cut into small even chunks
300 g curly kale, shredded
5 spring onions, roots removed, the remainder finely shredded
75 g butter
250 g smoked streaky bacon, grilled until just crisp
A little flour for dusting
1 tbsp olive oil


Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft.  Set aside in a bowl.

Cook the kale in a large pan of boiling water until soft, drain and put back in the pan with 50 g butter and the spring onions, stir until the butter has melted.  Add the kale mixture to the bowl with the potatoes.

Mash or crush the contents of the bowl then break up the bacon and stir it into the potato mixture.  Using your hands form balls of the potato mixture into patties and coat them with flour.

Melt the remaining 25 g butter in a large frying pan add the olive oil and fry the patties, over a moderate heat for 4 minutes each side until they are golden brown and a little crisp at the edges.

Serve immediately

Can be served with poached eggs or as part of a mixed grill

Thursday, 4 March 2010

One Pot Winter Warmer

  • Spicy Goulash Soup


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 800g shin beef, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 1 1/2 litres beef stock
  • 1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed, sliced
  • 300g potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Soured cream to garnish

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a casserole or heavy saucepan. Add the onion and sauté, but do not brown. When the onions turn transparent, add the beef, garlic, chilli and caraway seeds.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the paprika, stirring constantly to make sure it is absorbed well by the meat.

Return to the heat, add the beef stock and simmer gently for at least 1 1/2 hours.

Check that the meat is cooked by testing a small piece. Add the tomatoes, pepper, potatoes and some salt and pepper and continue simmering for 30 minutes. 

Serve topped with a teaspoon of soured cream.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

St Clements Sponge

Orange and Lemon Sponge 
with Home-made Lemon Curd


6 oz Self-raising flour
6 oz caster sugar
6 oz soft margarine
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon

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

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a  large mixing bowl, add the rest of the sponge ingredients and whisk with a hand-held electric mixer until the mixture is pale and light.  Line the base of two 7" sponge tins with greaseproof paper, divide the mixture between them and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden and the sponge springs back when pressed.

Leave the sponges in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool.

For the icing

Put 5 tbsp icing sugar in a bowl, add the juice of a lemon and one or two drops of yellow food colouring to make a lemon coloured icing.  The icing should be the consistency of double cream but can be too thin or thick depending on the size of the lemon and how juicy it is.  If the mixture is too stiff add a teaspoon of hot water.  If it is too loose add more icing sugar 1 tbsp at a time.

Sandwich the sponges together with a generous helping of lemon curd (I have used home-made but shop bought works very well)  Pour the icing to the middle of the sponge and gently push to the edges with a spatula, let the icing drip down the sides.  Decorate the top with some orange and lemon zest.

Tips:  For a creamier filling fold in 2 tbsp of double cream whipped to soft peaks to the lemon curd.

         If you like a stronger lemon flavour add the zest of two lemons to the sponge mixture.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Quick Mid-week Dinner

Gnocci with Sausage Tomato and Fresh Fennel

1 4oog tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
6 good quality pork sausages, skin removed meat chopped
130ml red wine
1 500g pack fresh Gnocci
Basil leaves to serve
Freshly grated Parmesan to serve

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion and fennel, fry gently for 5 minutes, add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes, stir in the thyme and sausage meat.  Continue stirring until the sausage is cooked through, 6-7 minutes.

Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes to let it reduce, add the tomatoes and purée.  Simmer for 10 minutes while you cook the Gnocci in boiling salted water.  Drain and mix with the sausage mixture.

Serve topped with grated Parmesan and a few Basil leaves.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Courgette and Cauliflower Curry

with Spicy Potato Cakes


3 courgettes, washed and diced
250g cauliflower, broken into small florettes
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the onion over a moderate heat for 5 minutes until softened add the garlic and spices, lower the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes then add the tinned tomatoes.  simmer for 5 minutes, season to taste and cool slightly then blend until smooth.

Heat the remainder of the oil and add the courgettes and cauliflower, stir fry for 5 minutes.  Add the sauce to the pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

For the potato cakes

1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into even sizes chunks
2 green chilli peppers, de-seeded and finely slices
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp natural yoghurt
salt and pepper
2 tsp ground cumin

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender.  Drain, add the yoghurt and mash until smooth.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Heat a little oil and fry the onions, chilli peppers and cumin for 5 minutes until the onions are golden.

Fold the onion mixture into the mashed potato and shape into patties.  Fry the potato cakes for 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown.

Serve with the vegetable curry.

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