Recipe posts

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As a contestant on Britain’s Best Home Cook – BBC1

One of my greatest ambitions – to cook on television – came true when I was chosen to participate in Series 1 of Britain’s Best Home Cook for BBC television. Continue reading “As a contestant on Britain’s Best Home Cook – BBC1”

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Coloured mirror glazes

(Post updated: May 2019). As its name suggests, a mirror glaze is a very shiny covering for a cake or dessert that is so reflective you should be able to see your face quite clearly in it. There are several recipes for mirror glazes but I make what I think is one of the simplest – and it always gives me great results. Continue reading “Coloured mirror glazes”

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Rough-puff pastry & other laminated pastries

I have been excited by laminated pastries ever since I was a boy, watching my gran make up batches. I love the process of achieving those buttery, light layers that melt in the mouth, especially with rough-puff pastry, a much simpler cousin to puff pastry. In this post I give the recipe for a fool-proof rough-puff pastry, along with recipe ideas for using the pastry. Continue reading “Rough-puff pastry & other laminated pastries”

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Shortcrust pastry & fool-proof blind-baking

It might be easy to feel daunted when it comes to making pastry, but I hope this post will go some way towards facing any doubts you might have when it comes to shortcrust pastry. I have also included what I think is the most fool-proof way to blind-bake the pastry, giving perfectly cooked pastry and a neat finish. Continue reading “Shortcrust pastry & fool-proof blind-baking”

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Tips for making & decorating cakes

Cake should be eaten without any hint of guilt whatsover. Even when wanting another slice…..

This post gives key tips for making several types of cake successfully, along with recipes for cakes and icings, troubleshooting and general ideas for decorating. I have also given the quantities needed to make a Victoria Sandwich cake for different sized tins. Continue reading “Tips for making & decorating cakes”

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Making Sourdough bread

A sourdough loaf really is a thing of great beauty: chewy, crusty, an open crumb with layers of flavour that is much more than even the joyous standard home-made bread. Heavenly! And perhaps there is also something of a fingers up at those ridiculously expensive sourdoughs that can be bought…… Continue reading “Making Sourdough bread”

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The joys of Afternoon Tea

A marvellous institution in itself, you do not need a reason to justify taking Afternoon Tea: wonderfully indulgent, it is one of the most pleasurable ways to spend what should be several unrushed hours, allowing gasps of excitement to escape out as both sweet and savoury goodies are presented. Continue reading “The joys of Afternoon Tea”

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Croissants

For me, a croissant is one of the greatest things to eat: its crisp outer shell that rains flakes as you bite into it, revealing an open honeycombed interior structure. And then there’s it’s rich buttery flavour and an almost nutty aroma. A joy! Continue reading “Croissants”

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Perfecting macarons – the queen of confections

If you have ever wanted a macaron recipe for what I consider to be “as fool-proof as is possible”, I hope you find that this is the place to be! Continue reading “Perfecting macarons – the queen of confections”

Carrots with cumin and caramelised onions

A great dish using a few very modest ingredients, this works well as a side dish to accompany all manner of curries.

Continue reading “Carrots with cumin and caramelised onions”

Quick chocolate and orange mousse pots

Food always makes me happy, especially in the most uncertain of times, and indulgent treats using what is probably already in the kitchen never fail to do their bit to create pockets of joy. Continue reading “Quick chocolate and orange mousse pots”

A fabulous store-cupboard curry sauce

This is an even simpler version of my Fish Curry (recipe here). Now that curry was hardly extravagant, but this version uses even fewer ingredients and still tastes, as my partner said the other day, “bloody good”. Praise indeed! Continue reading “A fabulous store-cupboard curry sauce”

Black truffle arancini

Light, crisp risotto balls bursting with the flavours of black truffle, garlic and Parmesan, with a melting Fontina cheese centre: terrific little bites. Continue reading “Black truffle arancini”

Burmese fish curry

This majestic and intensely fragrant Burmese curry, using common store cupboard spices, is very simple and quick to make. Continue reading “Burmese fish curry”

Confit garlic: a must-have ingredient!

Fat cloves of garlic, cooked very slowly in the oven in oil until it softens and slightly caramelises is a foodie treat: perfect mashed into potatoes, mixed with bread dough or eaten just as it is….. Continue reading “Confit garlic: a must-have ingredient!”

Spiced apricot & almond shortbread 

An easy fruity shortbread with a hint of spiced citrus and a gentle kick of almond. Continue reading “Spiced apricot & almond shortbread “

Orange and raspberry roulade

This orange and raspberry roulade, filled with vanilla cream and smothered in a orange-flavoured milk ganache, is an indulgent dessert that should hit the spot for any occasion.

Continue reading “Orange and raspberry roulade”

Star anise sugar

A great ingredient for the kitchen, this well flavoured sugar is excellent used when making cakes and biscuits, imparting a subtle aniseed flavour to the finished bake. Continue reading “Star anise sugar”

Orange and star anise macarons

These punchy macarons are far too easy to eat and when dipped in dark chocolate with a grating of orange zest they are sure to liven up the palate. Continue reading “Orange and star anise macarons”

Sticky ginger and soy pork belly

Melt-in-the-mouth pork belly in a sticky honey and ginger glaze with a hint of chilli heat: what’s not to love? Continue reading “Sticky ginger and soy pork belly”

Christmas stuffing sausage rolls

Well, a sausage roll is for any time of the year, but I quite like to add a few festive flavours around Christmas: chestnuts, dried apricots, Stilton, perhaps a few cranberries: oh, and just a kick of mustard. Continue reading “Christmas stuffing sausage rolls”

Spiced chocolate orange truffles

Another batch of chocolate truffles, this time with orange and a few drops of Fiori di Sicilia, an intensely fragrant citrus extract, often used in panettone. Continue reading “Spiced chocolate orange truffles”

Almond & pistachio shortbreads

These are biscuits to come back to again and again: tasty, easy shortbreads and really rather special, these shortbreads are sure to be a hit whether smothered in chocolate or not. Continue reading “Almond & pistachio shortbreads”

Spiced halloumi & hummus pockets

This modest offering ranks as one of my favourite meat-free dishes: packed with flavour and made in moments, it is very much one of my go-to snacks. Continue reading “Spiced halloumi & hummus pockets”

Tomato & pesto focaccia

Light, crispy and chewy, this focaccia is packed with flavour and is ideal torn apart to dip into oil, balamic vinegar or used as the base for a bruschetta. Continue reading “Tomato & pesto focaccia”

Chocolate and ginger truffles

Perfect as a gift, to serve with coffee or just to eat as a moment of indulgence, these chocolate truffles are bound to have you coming back for another…. Continue reading “Chocolate and ginger truffles”

Perfect & fool-proof Yorkshire Puddings

An essential accompaniment to any roast –  even Christmas lunch – Yorkshire Puddings have a reputation for being very hit and miss in terms of them working. My fool-proof recipe and top tips will guarantee crisp, light and towering  puds Continue reading “Perfect & fool-proof Yorkshire Puddings”

A light Christmas pudding with no-weighing out

Whenever I have served this to people who claim they do not like Christmas pudding, they have eaten their words – and the pud!

Continue reading “A light Christmas pudding with no-weighing out”

Custard Cream biscuits

This is my take on this classic biscuit: custardy biscuits sandwiched together with a simple custard-flavoured buttercream. A real tea-time treat. Continue reading “Custard Cream biscuits”

Poppy seed and saffron sourdough

The combination of poppy seeds and saffron make a wonderful combination in a cake, but they are fabulous in a bread such as this. Continue reading “Poppy seed and saffron sourdough”

Lemon, pistachio & rose cakes

Rose, lemon and pistachio work so well together and my poshing-up of the classic fondant fancies – real, unashamed retro food – gives what I think is a delightful sweet treat. Continue reading “Lemon, pistachio & rose cakes”

Spiced coconut & lime chicken

Spiced coconut & lime chicken is one of my go-to speedy curries! Easy, warming and very satisfying.  Continue reading “Spiced coconut & lime chicken”

Smoky butternut squash hummus

Roasted squash, smoked chickpeas and gently warming spices give what I think is a lovely autumnal twist on hummus.  Continue reading “Smoky butternut squash hummus”

Butternut squash gratin

Whether served as an accompaniment to a roast, with some slowly cooked sausages or simply eaten by itself with some bread to mop up the cheesy sauce, this gratin is real autumnal comfort food. Continue reading “Butternut squash gratin”

Apple and almond lattice tart

An easy tart using wonderfully sharp autumal apples with a kick of almonds, this is lovely served simply with custard or a dollop of crème fraîche. Continue reading “Apple and almond lattice tart”

Courgette, cheese & chilli soda bread


Perfect for using up some of the homegrown courgettes, this very speedy soda bread is made and ready to serve within about 45 minutes. Continue reading “Courgette, cheese & chilli soda bread”

Peanut butter biscuits with a chocolate filling

Chewy, nutty and oaty, sandwiched together with a peanut butter ganache, these incredibly simple biscuits are certain to be devoured quickly.

Continue reading “Peanut butter biscuits with a chocolate filling”

Fig, rose & pistachio rolls

This is particularly good timing: our fig tree is currently being generous with its fruit and the technical challenge for Episode 2 of The Great British Bake Off is that classic crowd-dividing biscuit: the fig roll. Continue reading “Fig, rose & pistachio rolls”

The best lemon meringue pie

A true British classic, this recipe is dedicated to my late gran who used to make THE BEST lemon meringue pie I have ever had: any other lemon meringue pie that I have tried since has not quite been as good. Continue reading “The best lemon meringue pie”

Blackcurrant, lime & vanilla Angel Cake slices

With the return of Great British Bake Off, it is the Technical round that interests and excites me the most. This is my tangy take on Episode 1’s Angel Cake slices.

Continue reading “Blackcurrant, lime & vanilla Angel Cake slices”

Smoked cheese & onion pasties

Some of my favourite dishes arise from using whatever is lying around and these full-flavoured pastries do just that: with the additional use of the indoor smoker for the remains of a block of cheese and some onions… Continue reading “Smoked cheese & onion pasties”

Apple & blackberry cake (gluten-free)

A very seasonal and light sponge cake, celebrating the delighful pairing of apples and blackberries. A tangy blackberry buttercream and fresh blackberries finish off the cake. Continue reading “Apple & blackberry cake (gluten-free)”

Smoked hummus

Forget that sludgy beige-grey slop that passes itself off for hummus in the shops. Home-made hummus is infinitely better than any you can buy and it is elevated to spectacular heights when you use smoked chickpeas. Continue reading “Smoked hummus”

Isaphan éclairs: with a cheat’s mousse filling!

These éclairs – with the great flavours of raspberry, lychee and rose – are made with a cheat’s  mousse and are topped with raspberry fondant. A sweet treat that is bound to please! Continue reading “Isaphan éclairs: with a cheat’s mousse filling!”

Quick Mongolian beef

Made in about 15 minutes, this insanely tasty dish – think hoisin sauce coating tender strips of beef – has THE most addictive sauce and it easily tops any dish you can buy from a take-away. Continue reading “Quick Mongolian beef”

Chinese steamed buns

Soft, pillowy and slightly sweet, steamed buns are a joy to eat. Perfect for a burger such as a sticky, spiced burger flavoured with lemongrass, ginger, soy sauce and the like. Continue reading “Chinese steamed buns”

Red velvet cake

With its light sponge, its generous hint of vanilla and chocolate and its tangy cream cheese and white chocolate vanilla icing, this red velvet cake – with very little food colouring –  is seriously good for any occasion. Continue reading “Red velvet cake”

Dairy-free sticky toffee ginger puddings

To hear Mary Berry saying this dessert is “to die for” is still one of the best moments in my life! This is my dairy-free adaptation of the sticky toffee ginger pudding I made in the final of Britain’s Best Home Cook. Continue reading “Dairy-free sticky toffee ginger puddings”

Stem ginger scones

The sweet heat you get from stem ginger works particularly well here in these quirky scones that are simple to make and will brighten up any day! Continue reading “Stem ginger scones”

Spiced lamb egg chops

This sublime dish – great as a starter or to serve with drinks – is a joy to behold and I guarantee that once you start eating these chops you will not want to stop!

Continue reading “Spiced lamb egg chops”

Coconut chocolates: posh Bounty Bars!

Sweet, sticky coconut enrobed in chocolate, a Bounty Bar is one of my guilty-pleasures when it comes to commercial chocolates. This is my very simple version….. Continue reading “Coconut chocolates: posh Bounty Bars!”

My ultimate burger buns!

Soft, slightly sweet and a perfect foil for a hearty filling, these brioche-style burger buns are my go-to whenever I want to make the buns from scratch. Continue reading “My ultimate burger buns!”