As the summer tentatively approaches, I get so excited about food that can be eaten outdoors: whether at a picnic, a BBQ or even just on the patio if there is the merest teasing of sun, I love to eat al fresco. This tart is one of those I often have outside but, of course, it makes a wonderful starter indoors for a less informal meal!
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”
Made in about 15 minutes, this insanely tasty dish – think hoisin sauce coating tender strips of gingery beef – has THE most addictive sauce and it easily tops any dish you can buy from a take-away. Continue reading “Quick Mongolian beef”
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!”
This is such an easy, no-bake treat, using mostly ingredients lying around. A real crowd-pleaser, it is packed with goodies such as chocolate pretzels, salted caramel, Kirsch-soaked cherries and the like: very rich (and rightly so!) but moreish. Continue reading “Salted caramel pretzel rocky road”
This very simple, speedy tangy chicken dish is essentially a hot version of the classic cold dish Coronation Chicken: a dish that never fails to raise a smile and make me happy! Continue reading “Hot Coronation chicken: tangy chicken curry”
This is a recipe I am VERY proud of, creating it for one of the elements of my Ultimate Sharing Feast for episode 6 of Britain’s Best Home Cook: a bread that received raves from Mary Berry, Chris and Dan. Continue reading “Basil & roasted garlic soda bread”
Whether made using traditional Danish pastry dough, a shortcut version or, even simpler, commercial puff pastry (the all-butter variety, not the cheap, nasty version made with oil!), these festive treats are sure to hit the spot. Continue reading “Quick and easy festive Danish pastries”
Sticky, spicy and packed with flavour, these steamed dumplings are fairly easy to make and always go down a storm. They can be made ahead and frozen, to be steamed straight from the freezer. Continue reading “Pork & prawn jiaozi (spiced steamed dumplings)”
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 & easy salads”
This was one of my first novelty cakes, and one I am about to remake larger. The original post, with guidelines on how to make it, is below.
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”
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”
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!”
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”
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!”
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 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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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.
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”
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.
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.
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)”
This is a seriously great snack and is particularly ideal to eat on its own, with drinks or to add to salads in place of croutons. These chickpeas are ridiculously moreish: I can eat a whole batch of these quite happily! Continue reading “Spiced crunchy chickpeas”
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”
These are very quick and easy treats: small sweet pastries that are crisp, buttery and wonderfully sticky: quite fabulous served with coffee or tea! Continue reading “Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries”
Having not made pasties in a long while, I felt it time to make a batch. Continue reading “Beef & ale Cornish pasties”
(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”
Two incredibly simple things to make that go so well together: a really perfect dip to share as a snack, a starter, part of a picnic…….. Continue reading “Easy seeded flatbreads with sun-dried tomato hummus”
These are two very simple and quick dishes that go so well together: a spicy chicken stir-fry with a refreshing, full-flavoured vegetable salad. They are also very low-fat, as well as being gluten-free. Continue reading “Spiced chicken & asparagus with a fresh courgette & carrot salad”
After over two years of blogging my recipes, I have finally got round to doing a full recipe index: something I have been meaning to do for ages! Continue reading “Creating a basic recipe index for a food blog”
This is an insanely simple and almost instant smoked mackerel pâté that is seriously big on flavour – perfect spread liberally on hot toast or eaten with a baguette as part of a light snack. Continue reading “1-minute smoked mackerel pâté”
This is my very simple recipe for gooseberry chutney that is made in about 20 minutes: a perfect partner for cheese or smoked fish.
Piccalilli is one of my favourite preserves and making a batch late summer is something of an annual ritual that I always look forward to. Continue reading “Piccalilli: a prince among preserves!”
These particular crumpets arose from an idea that came to me late one night – as is often the way! Continue reading “Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets”
I am firmly 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 “30-minute sourdough crumpets”
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”
Rather than go for full-on chorizo sausages encased in pastry I added some finely chopped chorizo to the sausagemeat filling that I always use for my sausage rolls. Now I love chorizo, but not in hefty quantities you would have if you just encased chorizo in pastry! Continue reading “Chorizo & fennel sausage rolls in a spiced rough-puff pastry”
When you feed a sourdough starter, you discard some of the starter so that you can top the remaining starter with more water and flour: that way you get a fairly constant volume of starter rather than having litres of it in many containers all over the place! Continue reading “The simplest, quickest sourdough flatbreads in about 20 minutes!”
With baking I am a firm believer that simplicity, done well, can often give the best results. And while I occasionally go for over-the-top-looking creation with cakes, for me it really is flavour that is has to be at the heart of the cake: after all, once a cake has been cut into and has lost some of the visual appeal, you want the flavour to carry on the joy. Continue reading “Raspberry cascade cake”
This is an easy fruit cake to make, taking minutes to mix together once the fruits have been soaked. It has bags of flavour, with a nice level of spice and little bursts of moist fruit inside. This fruit cake is suitable for any time of the year, and makes a wonderful wedding cake. Continue reading “My ultimate rich fruit cake”
This is one of the easiest preserves to make and it tastes wonderful.I always make a large batch towards late summer once the chillies are ready in the greenhouse. It is a great way to use up a glut of ripe tomatoes, but this chilli jam works very well using tinned tomatoes. Continue reading “Chilli Jam”
Returning to my savoury roots, and it seems a while since I have posted a savoury recipe, I decided to make some cheese and onion scones, using roasted onion and smoked Cheddar cheese. Continue reading “Roasted onion & smoked cheese scones (gluten-free)”
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”
I made a savoury version of these deep-fried choux pastry doughnuts a while ago (recipe here) but this time I felt like going down the sweet route. I always have jars of dried cherries, some macerating in Amaretto and some in other liqueurs, and there is always chocolate to be found around the kitchen(!!), so a chocolate-cherry version was called for. Continue reading “Chouxnuts 2: chocolate & cherry flavour”