Char-grilled courgette salad

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”

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Smoked ham and fennel tart: a great “left-overs” dish

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”

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!”

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!)”

Harry Potter Spell Book birthday cake

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”

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”

A sous-vide duck egg brunch!

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!”

Strawberry millefeuille pastries

Shatteringly crisp, buttery pastries, glazed with lemon syrup, filled with an almond and vanilla cream and fresh strawberries: what is not to love?

Continue reading “Strawberry millefeuille pastries”

smoked sea-salted caramel chocolates

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”

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!

Continue reading “Bacon Jam”

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!

Continue reading “Brie scones with bacon jam”

Salted honey tart

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.

Continue reading “Salted honey tart”

Rhubarb and ginger crumble cake

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”

“Britain’s Best Home Cook – episode 4”: our roasts followed by a crab or cauliflower dish

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”

Quail scotch eggs with black pudding

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”

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”

Episode 2 of my time on Britain’s Best Home Cook – the roulade challenge

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”

Chicken, peach and Feta salad

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”

Orange & coconut domes

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”

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”

Lemon and elderflower cake

A simple cake: tangy, refreshing and with the level of indulgence needed to satisfy any cake craving! Continue reading “Lemon and elderflower cake”

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”

Guinness and chocolate cake

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”

Lime & ginger Battenberg 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.

Continue reading “Lime & ginger Battenberg cake”

Passionfruit macarons

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”

Home-made gianduja chocolates – chocolate & hazelnut treats

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”

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.

Continue reading “Lemon and poppy seed cake”

Salted mocha Opera cake

Multiple layers of liqueur-kissed almond sponge cake, salted mocha buttercream and chocolate ganache: very much a cake for when a special treat is needed. And with elements that can all be made in advance, this becomes a matter of gentle assembly rather than frantically using a whole day or so in the kitchen! Continue reading “Salted mocha Opera cake”

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”

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.
Continue reading “Blackberry and apple crumble”

Quick and easy spiced rhubarb & white chocolate ripple ice cream

This is a very simple and speedy (in terms of preparation) white chocolate ice cream, with a spiced rhubarb ripple running through it.

I use stem ginger for that wonderful heat it brings, as well as a little star anise for a spicy aniseed punch. Continue reading “Quick and easy spiced rhubarb & white chocolate ripple ice cream”

Focaccia bicolore

This two-coloured flavoured focaccia is the result of an idea that came to me after making the bicoloured croissants a while ago. The result is a plain focaccia dough mixed with a tomato and red onion focaccia dough. After all, why not have focaccia with different and clearly defined flavours within? Continue reading “Focaccia bicolore”

Neapolitan gateau

This is a cake version of my partner’s favourite ice cream from childhood: a Neapolitan (or Harlequin), an ice cream block with layers of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream.

Continue reading “Neapolitan gateau”

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.

Continue reading “Orange and pistachio madeleines”

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.

Continue reading “Home-made Mascarpone cheese”

Pistachio and lemon macarons

When it comes to macarons, I have a penchant for fruity ones: the sharpness of a punchy filling with the sweetness of the shell hits the spot for me every time.

Continue reading “Pistachio and lemon macarons”

Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!

Great food does not need to be at all complicated or time-consuming. Sometimes the combination of humble ingredients can become something quite majestic.

Continue reading “Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!”

Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)

Whilst a sweet cheesecake can be a thing of great joy, a savoury one is often even more special for me. The flavours of Gorgonzola, pears and walnuts make a great match at any time and here the sweet juicyness of the pears with the sharp kick of balsamic vinegar work well with the rich tangyness of the cheesecake. Continue reading “Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)”