My ideal carrot cake

Although I love carrot cake and spices, I am not a fan of those carrot cakes that are overly laden with spices, resulting in a cake that tastes almost medicinal. This carrot cake is gently spiced, has a very moist sponge and the most luscious melt-in-the-mouth icing that is both sweet and slightly sharp.

Continue reading “My ideal carrot cake”

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5-minute cheat’s trifle: passionfruit & lemon

This is such a simple and quick dessert: kind of Eton Mess meets trifle. And there is no fussing about with custard: just lemon curd and cream…… Continue reading “5-minute cheat’s trifle: passionfruit & lemon”

Panzanella: one of the best & quickest salads in the world. With YouTube version

Great food does not need to be at all complicated or time-consuming. Sometimes the right combination of humble ingredients can become something quite majestic; panzanella is a case in point….

Continue reading “Panzanella: one of the best & quickest salads in the world. With YouTube version”

Quick spiced beetroot dip

This vibrantly coloured dish is one of the simplest I know: made in seconds (if using ready-cooked beetroot), it tastes absolutely wonderful and is a great vehicle eaten with flatbreads. Continue reading “Quick spiced beetroot dip”

Sticky ginger & lime cake, and my YouTube debut!

This is an incredibly simple (dare I say “fool-proof”?) ginger cake with a mixture that is made up in seconds: it is very moist, with a nice gingery kick from both ground ginger and stem ginger. A simple lime drizzle finishes off this cake beautifully. Continue reading “Sticky ginger & lime cake, and my YouTube debut!”

How to rescue a curdled buttercream/frosting (with video)

If, like me, you like adding extras to your buttercreams to get great flavour – for example: alcohol, fruit purées and the like – you often need to add a lot to allow your buttercream to pack a real flavour punch….and, of course, the buttercream is then prone to curdling into a horrid mess! Continue reading “How to rescue a curdled buttercream/frosting (with video)”

Deep-fried spiced courgettes

Shatteringly crisp smoky batter with beautifully soft courgettes within, this is a seriously tasty snack. It only needs to be mounded generously on a plate with a gutsy dip such as an aoili or a chilli relish before getting tucked into with ice cold drinks….. Continue reading “Deep-fried spiced courgettes”

Tangy fruit éclairs & tips for a neat glaze finish

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”

Curried cauliflower soup with cumin & onion flatbreads

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 cheesecake with balsamic & honey roasted shallots

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”

Speedy spiced tortilla bites

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 – and a video from me!

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!”

Home-made lemongrass clotted cream

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”

All about scones: sweet and savoury!

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!”

Raspberry curd (and a top buttercream tip!)

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!)”

Instant minted lemonade

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”

Pasta with wild rocket pesto & crispy chorizo

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”

Crab bisque

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”

Beetroot, walnut and goats’ cheese arancini balls

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.

Continue reading “Beetroot, walnut and goats’ cheese arancini balls”

Herby sausage rolls

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”

Bacon Jam

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!

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Brie scones with bacon jam

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!

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National Sandwich Week: a few of my favourite sandwiches

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”

Stilton, pear & piccalilli pork pies

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”

Easy orange shortbread

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”

Pear and Parmesan sourdough bread

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……

Continue reading “Pear and Parmesan sourdough bread”

Roasted cauliflower cheese tart

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”

Lemon and poppy seed cake

This is a cake that revels in its simplicity (you just mix the sponge ingredients together and bake!) and it tastes wonderful. A very easy crowd-pleaser, it is perfect for so many occasions.

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Black treacle and Guinness bread

A simple and full-flavoured bread that is perfect with some salted butter, perhaps with seafood (it goes particularly well with crab) or as part of a Ploughman’s platter.  Continue reading “Black treacle and Guinness bread”

Quick lemon cheesecake fruit tarts

Something of a cheat of a recipe, using handy shortcuts, these gorgeous tarts can be made up very speedily and with total ease, yet they taste as good as any of the high-end tarts you can buy for a small fortune!

Continue reading “Quick lemon cheesecake fruit tarts”

Chocolate orange mini rolls

I couldn’t resist making the Technical Challenge from the first episode on this new series of Bake Off. And this recipe really does give a rich, moist and oh-so-wicked sweet treat. Now, many episodes into this series, it is nice that the bakes remain interesting and often inspiring.

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The easiest chicken liver pâté

I absolutely adore pâtés, whether coarse or smooth, layered or the same all the way through, and a rich chicken liver pâté, with all its flirtations with retro food, is up there as one of my favourite starters.

This is my easy version that is packed full of flavour and always goes down a storm when I make it. Continue reading “The easiest chicken liver pâté”

Chicken, chorizo & sweetcorn plaited tart

Chicken, chorizo and sweetcorn, in a rich sauce and wrapped up in crisp, buttery puff pastry, giving a savoury tart that is wonderful served hot for any meal or cold for a buffet or picnic. Continue reading “Chicken, chorizo & sweetcorn plaited tart”

Crumpets and pikelets: cheese & onion flavour

Savoury crumpets and pikelets are particularly wonderful things to eat when toasted and buttered – whether or not you then want to dress them up further with cream cheese or a poached egg or any manner of adornments. Continue reading “Crumpets and pikelets: cheese & onion flavour”

Blackberry and apple crumble

This is very much a return to basics with the modest crumble, arguably one of the best and easiest comfort foods there is. Whether eaten with ice cream or hot custard, a crumble takes moments to prepare, will bake quite happily without attention and is a joyous way to end any meal.
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Orange and pistachio madeleines

Sweet, buttery and melt-in-the-mouth, madeleines are a treat for any occasion. I have gone for madeleines that are flavoured with ground pistachios and orange zest.

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Salted caramel pistachio brittle

This very easy pistachio caramel is not only a great sweet to eat as it is, it so versatile for adorning all manner of cakes and sweet desserts: you just snap off pieces, put them in place and away you go.

Continue reading “Salted caramel pistachio brittle”

Home-made Mascarpone cheese

Using just two ingredients, Mascarpone cheese is so simple to make and tastes better than commercial Mascarpone. And it only costs about one third of the price compared to buying it.

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Cappuccino chocolates

There is always something intensely satisfying about making chocolates, not least because you can have whatever flavours, fillings and adornments you want – and at a fraction of the cost from those you buy from the artisan chocolate shops. Continue reading “Cappuccino chocolates”

Tomato and basil English muffins

This my savoury twist on classic English breakfast muffins: these are wonderful toasted and liberally buttered: the butter has to be liberal, and low-fat spreads and the like do not do justice to these muffins! Continue reading “Tomato and basil English muffins”

Sourdough baguettes

Shatteringly crisp baguettes, full of flavour and with wonderfully open crumb structure: surely the epitome of baking simplicity! Don’t get me wrong, I love throwing in goodies such as olives, roasted garlic, fresh herbs and the like in with doughs, but the refreshing lack of embellishments here absolutely hit the spot. Continue reading “Sourdough baguettes”

Quick & very easy pear chutney

Made in about 20 minutes, this simple and delicious chutney is a terrific complement for all manner of savoury dishes: quiche, cold meats, cheese…… Continue reading “Quick & very easy pear chutney”

Easy beetroot, goats’ cheese & walnut tart

This is a very simple tart that is great eaten either hot or cold and is, for me, tart that can be enjoyed at any time of the year, although it is one of my “go to” summer bakes. It can be assembled in minutes so that is is merely a matter of baking the tart. Continue reading “Easy beetroot, goats’ cheese & walnut tart”

20-minute sourdough flatbreads

These flatbreads are so easy, so quick and so good with whatever dip or cheese is to hand. You can make a batch within about 20 minutes, including the baking, even going at a fairly sedate pace. Continue reading “20-minute sourdough flatbreads”

Whole ham with chilli, marmalade and rum glaze

I adore glazed hams, not just around Christmas and the New Year, but at any time of the year. Continue reading “Whole ham with chilli, marmalade and rum glaze”

No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake

This is an incredibly simple gingerbread cake with a mixture that is made up in seconds: it is very moist, with jewels of stem ginger throughout and the underlying heat of spice from the ground ginger. The icing has a ginger kick with a nice lime zing to it – two flavours that are made for each other. Continue reading “No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake”

Smoked salted honeycomb

This is my take on honeycomb, playing up to my absolute love of salted caramel by incorporating a little smoked sea salt – an ingredient that is now readily available in supermarkets here in the UK. But made with standard sea salt, and you still have a marvellous sweet treat. Continue reading “Smoked salted honeycomb”

Simple roasted coffee shortbread – with no rolling out

Shortbread is the first thing I ever made as a young boy and I love coming back to it, either making a very traditional shortbread (what can beat that?) or a flavoured variation. Continue reading “Simple roasted coffee shortbread – with no rolling out”

Lemon & honey Valentine shortbreads

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! Continue reading “Lemon & honey Valentine shortbreads”