I am thrilled to be able to announce that I am a contestant on BBC’s Britain’s Best Home Cook, with Episode 1 being shown on Thursday 3rd May at 8pm on BBC1. Continue reading “As a contestant on Britain’s Best Home Cook – BBC1”
(Post updated: June 2018). 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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
A croissant is one of the greatest things both to bake and to eat. A crisp outer shell that rains flakes as you bite into it, revealing an open honeycombed interior structure with a buttery flavour and a lovely, almost nutty aroma. A joy! Continue reading “Croissants”
If you have ever wanted a fool-proof, yet accessible recipe for making macarons, this is the place to be! Whether you are a newcomer to these delighful treats, or if you have battled with perfecting macarons or you just want some ideas for macaron flavours, I am sure my tips and the recipe will help you make terrific macarons. Continue reading “Perfecting macarons – the queen of confections”
This is a very simple salad with bags of flavour that is a great way to use courgettes, which are very much in season here in the UK at the moment. Continue reading “Char-grilled courgette salad”
I adore classic dishes and often like nothing more than to bake a true classic without embellishment. However, while clearing out the fridge and thinking how to use up what was left in there, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to make my twist on the brilliant Quiche Lorraine: so much for unembellishing! Continue reading “Smoked ham and fennel tart: a great “left-overs” dish”
A fruity take on éclairs: one of my favourite pastry treats. Fresh, frozen or even tinned soft fruit work well here to give a sticky, tangy icing. In this post, I also give a recipe for an easy fruit mousse filling and tips for getting a neat sticky glaze. Continue reading “Tangy fruit éclairs & tips for a neat glaze finish”
These crisp chocolate shells are filled with a rich chocolate ganache that has been blended with toasted and crushed nuts: a kind of grown-up Nutella, with a soft, melt-in-the-mouth finish. And this is a great way to use up the remains of various packets of nuts that were opened ages ago! Continue reading “Toasted nut chocolates”
This is a hearty spiced cauliflower soup that is easy and costs very little to make. I often make at least double the quantities and freeze some for a later time – although all too often even a larger amount of soup gets polished off in one sitting! Continue reading “Curried cauliflower soup with cumin & onion flatbreads”
Stilton, shallots and balsamic vinegar are great bed-fellows, and they come together beautifully in this savoury cheesecake in which creaminess, sharpness, sweetness and sourness all come into play. Continue reading “Stilton cheesecake with balsamic & honey roasted shallots”
This is one of my “go-to” snacks for whenever I want something quick and tasty. Assembled in moments and cooked in about 10 minutes, these epitomise fast food for me and are perfect devoured in front of the television, or passed around at any gathering for others to tuck into. Continue reading “Speedy spiced tortilla bites”
Blackcurrant curd is vibrantly coloured, intoxicatingly fragrant and tangy – and it is very simple to make. As blackcurrants are very much in season here in the UK (I am picking punnets of them every few days at the moment), I love making several batches of them. Continue reading “Blackcurrant curd – and a video from me!”
Clotted cream is one of those phenomenal things that never fails to give me utter contentment. Slathered over freshly made, slightly warm scones and everything is perfect with the world! This is my quirky take on clotted cream, flavouring it with lemongrass. Continue reading “Home-made lemongrass clotted cream”
Freshly made scones with cream and home-made curd or jam is one of life’s best food pleasures. But savoury scones are also very exciting both to make and to eat. This post gives a selection of my recipes for both sweet and savoury scones. Continue reading “All about scones: sweet and savoury!”
I have always been a fan of fruit curds: they liven up any scone and cake. They are so simple to make and they taste far better than any curds you can buy: even the luxury ones that cost a small fortune at farm shops. This is my recipe for raspberry curd. Continue reading “Raspberry curd (and a top buttercream tip!)”
This is my Harry Potter-themed cake for the daughter of one of my colleagues. Chocolate sponge and salted caramel buttercream, with various fondant Potterisms I made….. Continue reading “Harry Potter Spell Book birthday cake”
This is one of my favourite summertime drinks to make, needing only fresh lemons, fresh mint, water and a little sugar: made in seconds, it tastes much better than any of the artisan lemonades you can buy and can be made for a fraction of the cost of those! Continue reading “Instant minted lemonade”
Pesto is one of my favourite go-to sauces to make. I usually make it with basil I have grown, but it is fabulous made with other leaves: wild garlic makes a stunning pesto and rocket, which I have used here, gives a nice peppery kick. Here I give my favourite way of serving pesto: with freshly made pasta and crispy chorizo. Continue reading “Pasta with wild rocket pesto & crispy chorizo”
This is a totally fuss-free light meal: freshly made sourdough (toasted), crispy pancetta and a slowly cooked duck egg, with a few fresh chives snipped over the top. When simplicity reigns! Continue reading “A sous-vide duck egg brunch!”
Shatteringly crisp, buttery pastries, glazed with lemon syrup, filled with an almond and vanilla cream and fresh strawberries: what is not to love?
Caramel-filled chocolates are right up there among my favourite chocolates to make, so this time I used smoked sea salt to flavour the caramel. These are great to give to people as gifts or simply to munch on without guilt! Continue reading “smoked sea-salted caramel chocolates”
This is a soup that I love to make whenever I have fresh crab shells: in fact, whenever I buy fish from the fishmongers I always like to ask for some of the shells from crab, prawns and the like to use as the basis of a great seafood sauce. Continue reading “Crab bisque”
To celebrate making this pudding in the final of Britain’s Best Home Cook, I am reposting my updated recipe for sticky ginger and tamarind pudding: a dessert that always goes down well,
Arguably the ultimate in comfort puddings, this is my take on a sticky toffee pudding, that I have been making for decades: it has the warming kick of spice from ginger and cinnamon, and what I think is a delightfully sour undertone from tamarind that is a subtle counter-balance to the sweetness of the pudding.
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I made a wild mushroom arancini during the quarter-final of Britain’s Best Home Cook, which got great comments from the judges and this is one of my favourite risottos to make. However, with the first of this year’s beetroot being picked on the allotment, I couldn’t wait to use some for my different take on arancini.
A good sausage roll should bring a smile to one’s face and have a very moreish quality: one should never be enough! A far cry from those mass-produced affairs you can buy from high street chain bakeries that are full of squidgy pink “meat”! Continue reading “Herby sausage rolls”
Maltesers have always been one of my favourite sweets: honeycomb and chocolate – a perfect match, and I often make chocolate cakes using Maltesers. This particular cake was made for my 6th formers at school. Continue reading “Cascading Maltesers cake & chocolate wraps!”
I posted my recipe for Brie scones yesterday, recommending this bacon jam to be served with them. Today, however, I felt the bacon jam deserved its own post. Seriously, this jam is THAT good: or, rather, whenever I have made this over the past decade, people have always asked for a pot of it – one of the best compliments that can be paid!
Brie and bacon: a marriage made in Heaven. These savoury scones, pairing these two wonderful flavours are so simple, so moreish and are so loudly calling out to be made!
I am generally not a huge collector of gadgets in the kitchen, but I will make an exception for my sous-vide machine which I use several times a week. But whether using a sous-vide machine or not, this is a very simple meal, highlighting the joys of the wonderfully inexpensive pork tenderloin. Continue reading “Sous-vide pork tenderloin with creamed leeks & chorizo”
I adore honey and love using it in both sweet and savoury dishes. The sweetness in this very easy recipe is carefully balanced with the salt and gives a dessert that has always proved hard to resist.
I am not the greatest fan of rhubarb, so finding ways to use up the allotment rhubarb we inherited years ago is a particular challenge for me. However, I do love this particular cake, which I always make around this time of year when my rhubarb is prolific. As an extra bonus, this cakes takes moments to “throw together” before getting baked. Continue reading “Rhubarb and ginger crumble cake”
Last week, the roasts cooked by Dipa and me on Britain’s Best Home Cook were chosen as the judges’s favourites, which was a real thrill: and I was so pleased for Dipa, my wonderful “bench buddy” in the show. So we were given the task of choosing the ingredient for the Ingredients Challenge: crab or cauliflower…. Continue reading ““Britain’s Best Home Cook – episode 4”: our roasts followed by a crab or cauliflower dish”
I love scotch eggs but I don’t make them often enough. A crisp exterior, a well flavoured sausagemeat with an egg in the centre (runny yolk!) add up to give what I think is a lovely few bites. Continue reading “Quail scotch eggs with black pudding”
Every week can be National Sandwich Week as far as I am concerned! I adore sandwiches and can happily fill up on these any day of the week: for me, the sandwiches are one of the highlights of any Afternoon Tea. Continue reading “National Sandwich Week: a few of my favourite sandwiches”
I loved making my ultimate pie during “pie week” on Britain’s Best Home Cook, and as expected there was much debate among us contestants (as well as among the judges) regarding whether a pie needs a bottom as well as a top…..
Personally, I am in the “I really don’t mind as long as it tastes good” camp! Continue reading “Stilton, pear & piccalilli pork pies”
Episode 2 on Britain’s Best Home Cook proved to be something of a particular challenge for me, with a few elements in my earlier dishes being not quite right: schoolboy errors mainly! But that was part of the entire delicious learning experience. Continue reading “Episode 2 of my time on Britain’s Best Home Cook – the roulade challenge”
A good salad is hard to beat and this very simple salad, made in moments, is an immensely satisfying dish in its own right. It is also a somewhat healthy salad that doesn’t taste as if you are missing out – a bonus in my book! Continue reading “Chicken, peach and Feta salad”
These tangy, refreshing and very simple desserts need to be eaten with no shame whatsoever! They are great for parties, buffets, Afternoon Tea or just as a sweet treat whenever the mood takes you. Continue reading “Orange & coconut domes”
This is a very simple version of the great classic dessert, crème brûlée, made with an easy posset (that has barely any hand-on time), which I like to serve with easy (no rolling out!) orange shortbread biscuits. Continue reading “Simple orange & raspberry brûlée”
This is a very simple shortbread, flavoured with orange. The dough is made up in moments, left in the fridge to chill before being sliced thinly and baked. Continue reading “Easy orange shortbread”
Something of a resurrection has been going on in my kitchen: what I though was dead sourdough starter has now been gently nurtured back to life……
A simple cake: tangy, refreshing and with the level of indulgence needed to satisfy any cake craving! Continue reading “Lemon and elderflower cake”
If you like cauliflower cheese you really must make this tart!
I have been making this particular tart for several decades and I never tire of it, whether made as one large tart to serve at the table or made into small individual tarts. Savoury comfort food at its best, this tart is perfect served hot with a salad, and whenever I serve it, it always goes down well. Continue reading “Roasted cauliflower cheese tart”
This is a suitably rich cake with the deep, but not over-powering, flavour of Guinness and the refreshing topping of white chocolate, tangy crème fraîche and cream. Easy to make, it is a cake that demands more than one slice…..or maybe that is just me being greedy!! Continue reading “Guinness and chocolate cake”
Having not made a Battenberg cake in a long time, I felt it time to re-visit this very firm favourite of mine. This time I went for the wonderful flavours of lime and ginger: two ingredients that go so well together.
For me, a sausage roll is truly one of life’s simple culinary pleasures. As long as it has a generous, well-flavoured filling and a crisp, buttery pastry, I can eat one (well, several!) at any time of the day or night. Continue reading “Croissant-wrapped sausage rolls (croissage rolls!)”
Updated recipe of one of my favourites
Post updated Feb 14th 2018 (new photos)
Rich, buttery biscuits topped with a very firm royal icing are always a joy to eat. While I have made these heart-shaped with simple heart icing embellishments, these are great made into any shape for eating at any time of the year: with or without the icing!
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My rich chocolate loaf cake with a kick of coffee and the crunch of fabulous walnuts: a combination that makes what I think is a perfect tea-time treat! Continue reading “Mocha walnut loaf cake”
I adore passionfruit and I need no excuses to use its fragrant sharpness in a dish: these macarons are filled with a simple passionfruit filling which cuts through the sweetness of the shells. Continue reading “Passionfruit macarons”
Re-posting what has become a festive macaron favourite.
I love different flavours with biscotti so I have gone for what I think is a festive cherry and clementine version, studded with chopped pistachios.
A chocolately nutty treat of such joy, these smooth bites melt in the mouth in an intensely luscious way.
This is my version of the gianduja, a classic Italian sweet, and this recipe uses just 3 ingredients – well, four if you want to top it with dark chocolate! It might not be totally authentic, but it has now over-taken good commercial gianduja in this house. Continue reading “Home-made gianduja chocolates – chocolate & hazelnut treats”
A return to one of my festive favourites: orange, cranberry and fennel seed biscotti