The finest Italian ragu sauce

If you have ever had a disappointing ragu – too acidic, bland, no sense of indulgence….- then look no further. This ragu, a recipe I have been using for almost four decades, is seriously good and has the most impressive depth of flavour.

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Chocolate and spiced orange Panettone

This is my chocolate and orange version of panettone, which gives a wonderful chocolate hit that complements the buttery and light-as-air crumb that melts in your mouth effortlessly. Not to mention the heady flavours of vanilla and orange…. Continue reading “Chocolate and spiced orange Panettone”

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”

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”

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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Blackberry and apple friands

Mini almond sponge cakes, with the rich flavour of browned butter and the wonderful bedfellows brought by the blackberry and the apple, these friands are a seriously delicious treat. There is something even more special using blackberries picked from the hedgerows and apples straight from the tree! Continue reading “Blackberry and apple friands”

Chocolate and cherry pastries

 

Kirsch-soaked Morello cherries and dark chocolate encased in a crisp, buttery croissant pastry – what is not to love? Continue reading “Chocolate and cherry pastries”

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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Chocolate & orange bi-coloured viennoiserie

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Bi-coloured croissants and the like have been doing the rounds for a few years and has been on my “to make” list for some time, especially as they can look striking. In essence, you have a croissant dough with a second, coloured dough running through 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”

Spiced lime & poppy seed bundt drizzle cake

This very easy cake has bags of flavour. In my view, a bundt cake, as indeed any cake, should not be at all apathetic – no matter how ornate it looks: it absolutely needs to have the “wow” factor in the flavour, too. Continue reading “Spiced lime & poppy seed bundt drizzle cake”

Sfogliatella pastries with a honey, orange & pistachio filling

This is my first attempt at these rather challenging Italian pastries – pastries I had never heard of until I tried one very recently and was immediately smitten. It goes without saying that I had to have a go at making these. Continue reading “Sfogliatella pastries with a honey, orange & pistachio filling”

English breakfast muffins

Updated Feb 2017: new photos of the muffins

Perfect sliced, toasted and buttered, English muffins (well, “muffins” to those of us brought up in the UK!) are very simple to make and require very little attention. And as with most home-made breads, they taste so much better than any you can buy – and for a fraction of the cost. Continue reading “English breakfast muffins”

Tiramisu macarons

I adore coffee: it is up there with chocolate for me as one of my top flavours. And tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts: so why not make a macaron version of this? Continue reading “Tiramisu macarons”

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”

Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!

A dacquoise is a wonderful dessert in its own right. I made this one for my partner’s birthday cake as a more dessert-type feel was wanted. Continue reading “Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!”

Easy bitter orange pains au chocolat

England and France unite in this English breakfast variation on pains au chocolat, with the addition of a bitter orange kick from a little marmalade inside the pastries, as well as being used to glaze them. Continue reading “Easy bitter orange pains au chocolat”

Chocolate & cherry brioches

This is my chocolate and cherry version of a brioche: very rich, with a buttery interior that is actually very light to eat and practically melts in the mouth. Continue reading “Chocolate & cherry brioches”

Easy sourdough crumpets

I am of the belief that a hot crumpet, slathered with butter, perhaps with some excellent quality jam, is one of life’s greatest foodie pleasures. Continue reading “Easy sourdough crumpets”

Salted caramel pretzel rocky road

A rocky road is a very guilty pleasure of mine – one of many, admittedly! It is very rich (and rightly so) but moreish. It is also one of the easiest things to make and can be varied in so many ways. Continue reading “Salted caramel pretzel rocky road”

Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries

This is a variation on the Kouign-Amann (roughly pronounced “queen ah-marn”) I posted ages ago. This time I went for apple and cinnamon flavour which works so well with the caramelised sugar, giving a kind of tarte tatin – but a touch more indulgent! Continue reading “Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries”

My take on Bourbon biscuits – with mocha ganache & caramelised sugar

A bourbon biscuit is one of my favourite biscuits, but I had never made them before. Until now! Continue reading “My take on Bourbon biscuits – with mocha ganache & caramelised sugar”

Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers

Preserves are terrific partners for good bakes, and these sweet, spiced and crunchy cucumbers are very easy and quick to make. Essentially these sliced cucumbers are bathing happily in a sweetened and spiced vinegar. Continue reading “Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers”

Lemon & vanilla Victoria sandwich

A classic for a reason, a Victoria sandwich cake is a simple yet satisfying treat at any time. And it is a great example of simplicity at its very best. Continue reading “Lemon & vanilla Victoria sandwich”

Croissants

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”