Cooking and Barbeque

Great Foods and Recipes around the World

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1. All kind of Soup recipes

Hot & sour soup

2 cloves of garlic
1-2 fresh red chillies
sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
250 g shitake mushrooms, cleaned
225 g bamboo shoots, drained
groundnut oil, or vegetable oil
low-salt soy sauce
rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon runny honey
1.5 litres hot organic vegetable stock
150 g firm tofu
2 spring onions
½ bunch of chives
1 large free-range egg

Peel the garlic and deseed the chillies, then roughly chop and place into a pestle and mortar. Bash with a pinch of salt to a rough paste. Peel, finely chop and add the ginger, then bash until broken down and combined.
Finely slice the mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Heat a lug of oil in a large wok or heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and fry for 4 minutes, or until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli paste and bamboo shoots and fry for a further minute.
Meanwhile, mix together 3 tablespoons of soy, 4 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, the honey and a good pinch of white pepper. Stir the mixture into the pan and cook for a minute, then pour in the hot stock and bring gently to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Meanwhile, chop the tofu into 1cm cubes, finely slice the spring onions and chives and whisk the egg well.
Once reduced, remove the soup from the heat. Using a chopstick, stir the soup in a clockwise direction until you get a little whirlpool, then slowly add the beaten egg, stirring continuously to form thin ribbons. Stir in the tofu and return to the heat for 1 minute to warm through. Season to taste with soy and vinegar, then serve immediately with the spring onions and chives scattered on top.

Zucchini ,potato & cheddar soup

500g potatoes, unpeeled and roughly chopped
2 vegetable stock cubes
1kg Zucchini, roughly chopped
bunch spring onion, sliced - save 1 for serving, if eating straight away
100g extra-mature cheddar or vegetarian alternative, grated, plus a little extra to serve
good grating fresh nutmeg, plus extra to serve

Put the potatoes in a large pan with just enough water to cover them and crumble in the stock cubes. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook for 5 mins. Add the courgettes, put the lid back on and cook for 5 mins more. Throw in the spring onions, cover and cook for a final 5 mins.
Take off the heat, then stir in the cheese and season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whizz to a thick soup, adding more hot water until you get the consistency you like. Serve scattered with extra grated cheddar, spring onions and nutmeg or pepper. Or cool and freeze in freezer bags or containers with good lids for up to 3 months.

Zucchini , pea & pesto soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
500g Zucchini, quartered lengthways and chopped
200g frozen peas
400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1l hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp basil pesto, or vegetarian alternative

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Cook the garlic for a few seconds, then add the Zucchini and cook for 3 mins until they start to soften. Stir in the peas and cannellini beans, pour on the hot stock and cook for a further 3 mins.
Stir the pesto through the soup with some seasoning, then ladle into bowls and serve with crusty brown bread, if you like. Or pop in a flask to take to work.

Chicken, sweetcorn & noodle soup

2 large carrots, chopped

2 large leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
2 corn on the cobs, corn kernels cut off
200g vermicelli noodles
small bunch parsley, finely chopped

For the stock
2 onions, quartered

1 leek, cut into chunks
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
parsley stalks
4 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 tbsp vegetable bouillon or 1 vegetable stock cube
1.3kg chicken

Put all the stock ingredients and the chicken in a very large saucepan, then cover everything with about 3 litres cold water. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 1 hr-1½ hrs, until the chicken is cooked through. Skim off any froth every 20 mins or so. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Strain the stock through a sieve, skimming off as much fat as you can.
Rinse out the pan and put the stock back in, then simmer on a high heat until reduced a little – you need about 2 litres in total. Add the carrots and leeks, then simmer for 10 mins.
Meanwhile, shred the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Add to the pan with the sweetcorn. Add the vermicelli noodles, unless you want to freeze the soup, and simmer for about 7 mins more, until the corn and pasta is cooked. Ladle into bowls, sprinkled with the parsley. To freeze, allow the soup to cool completely before freezing (see tip), and when you’re ready to eat, allow the soup to defrost before bringing it back to a gentle simmer in a pan. Add the noodles and simmer until cooked.

Mexican chicken & tomato soup

1½ kg ripe tomatoes, halved vertically
2 onions, cut into wedges
1 medium chicken, jointed into pieces
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for shallow frying
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tbsp coriander seed, crushed
400g can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
zest and juice 1 lime
4 tbsp chipotle paste
3 corn tortillas, cut into triangles
 large handful coriander, chopped
2 avocados, stoned, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
200ml soured cream (optional)

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the tomatoes, cut-side up, in a large roasting tin with the onions and top with the chicken pieces. Season generously and drizzle over 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 45 mins until the chicken is crisp and tender, and the tomatoes start to caramelise. When the chicken is ready, remove from the oven to a plate and cover with foil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato and onions to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Reserve the cooking juices from the roasting tin.

Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan and fry the garlic, chillies and coriander seeds for a few mins until just brown. Pull the meat from the chicken bones, tear into chunks and mix with the beans, lime zest and chipotle paste. Add this chicken mix to the pan but reserve one-third of it. Pour the soup into the pan and add enough of the cooking juices until you get a nice consistency. Heat a few inches of oil in a small saucepan, then carefully shallow-fry the tortilla pieces in batches until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
To serve, gently reheat the soup, season to taste and stir through the coriander. Top with the reserved chicken mix, avocados and lime juice. Serve with the tortilla chips and soured cream, if you like.


Poached chicken & vegetable soup

1.6 kg whole higher-welfare chicken
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 heart celery, sliced, yellow leaves reserved
12 new potatoes, peeled
a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 large handfuls peas
1 leek, washed and shredded
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

A filling, delicious dish that's super healthy too.
Wash your chicken in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place the chicken, carrots, celery, potatoes and thyme into a large, deep pan and pour in 3 litres of water or enough to cover the chicken.
Simmer on a medium heat for 1½ hours or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the pan and strain the broth. Save the veg for later. Put the broth back on a high heat and allow to reduce for 15 minutes until there's about 2 litres left.
Meanwhile, tear the cooked chicken into long chunks. Once the broth has reduced, throw the vegetables back in the pan with the peas, leeks and chicken. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, then remove the sprigs of thyme.
Serve in warm bowls sprinkled with chopped parsley and the celery leaves.
Tip: The chicken is the star ingredient so use the best you can get your hands on.


Roasted sweet garlic, bread & almond soup

3 large bulbs fresh garlic, broken up and skins left on
1 medium white onion, peeled and finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
285 ml single cream
1 litre organic chicken or vegetable stock
1 large loaf ciabatta bread
2 tablespoons sherry or white wine vinegar
150 g whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted in the oven
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 oranges, peeled and segmented
1 handful fresh coriander, leaves picked
1 handful fresh mint, leaves picked

Roast the garlic cloves in a preheated oven at 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 for around half an hour until soft to the touch. Meanwhile, take a large pot and slowly fry the white onion in 4 tablespoons of olive oil for about 10 minutes until really soft and translucent. Add the cream and the stock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, awaiting your garlic. Remove the garlic from the oven and allow to cool slightly before squeezing out all the sweet, golden paste. Whisk this into the soup. Discard the garlic skins.
Remove the crusts from your ciabatta, rip up the bread into small pieces and throw into the soup. Add the sherry vinegar, then allow the soup to simmer for 5 more minutes. Whiz it until smooth in your food processor with your toasted almonds. Season nicely to taste and serve in big bowls sprinkled with some orange segments, torn up coriander and mint, and drizzled with a good lug of extra virgin olive oil.
Try this: You can eat this cold in the summer – it's obviously going to be thick, which I think is a nice thing, but you can thin it with a little milk or stock if you want to.
And this: You may want to big up the sherry vinegar to give it that twang you get with a Spanish gazpacho soup.
Or this: There's a similar recipe from Spain where sliced white grapes are added to the soup – this contrasts really well with the garlic, so give it a go. A handful will do. Nice when eaten both hot and cold.

Leek & potato soup

2 carrots
2 sticks celery
2 medium onions
400 g leeks
2 cloves garlic
400 g potatoes
olive oil
2 organic chicken or vegetable stock cubes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

What a classic soup! Usually eaten hot, it's also surprisingly delicious eaten fridge-cold on a summer's day with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dollop of natural yoghurt.
Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Cut the ends off the leeks, quarter them lengthways, wash them under running water and cut them into 1cm slices. Peel and slice the garlic.
Place a large pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1cm dice. Put the stock cubes into a jug or pan and pour in 1.8 litres of boiling water from the kettle. Stir until the stock cubes are dissolved, then add to the vegetables. Add your potatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on
Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve like this or pulse until smooth using a hand blender or liquidizer. Divide between your serving bowls.

English onion soup with sage & Cheddar

1 good knob butter
olive oil
1 good handful fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for serving
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5 red onions, peeled and sliced
3 large white onions, peeled and sliced
3 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
300 g leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 litres organic beef, vegetable or chicken stock, hot
8 slices good-quality stale bread, 2cm thick
200 g Cheddar cheese, freshly grated
Worcestershire sauce

There's something so incredibly humble about onion soup. It's absolutely one of my favourites but unfortunately I only ever get to make it in the restaurant or for myself as the missus thinks she's allergic to onions. (She's not, because I whiz them up into loads of dishes without her knowing!) If you have the opportunity, get hold of as many different types of onion for this soup as you can – you need about 1kg in total. Sweat them gently and you'll be amazed at all the flavours going on.
Put the butter, 2 lugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes – your onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavour, so don't be tempted to speed this bit up.
When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavour.
Preheat the oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it's perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking tray. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to fit it like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.
Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking tray into the preheated oven or under the grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the tray and carry it to the table. Enjoy.

Bread & tomato soup (Pappa al pomodoro)

500 g ripe cherry tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 large bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil, the best you can find
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes
500 g stale good-quality bread

This Tuscan soup is delicious – it's a soup everyone should try. Just thinking of it makes me salivate! It's a family-friendly soup – babies and grandparents (both without teeth!) can eat it with gusto. I've added roasted cherry tomatoes to my recipe but it also works really well just with tinned. The great thing is that it only takes 20 minutes to cook, so go for it! PS Use a stale white cottage-style loaf – not cheap sliced white factory bread.
Prick the cherry tomatoes and toss them with one sliced clove of garlic and a quarter of the basil leaves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put them in a roasting tray and cook in the oven at 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 for about 20 minutes. The reason for doing this is so that their flavour becomes intense and concentrated.
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot and add the remaining garlic and the basil stalks. Stir around and gently fry for a minute until softened. Add your tinned tomatoes, then fill the tin with water and add that. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Tear the bread up into thumb-sized pieces and add them to the pan. Mix well and season to taste. Tear in the basil leaves and let the soup sit on a low heat for 10 minutes. By this time your roasted tomatoes will be done, with juice bursting out of their skins, so remove them from the tray, remembering to scrape all the lovely sticky bits from the bottom. Pour them into the soup with all the juices, basil and oil from the tray.
Give the soup a good stir – you're looking to achieve a thick, silky, porridgey texture, so feel free to adjust it with a little water. Then remove it from the heat and add 6 or 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Divide between your bowls and serve with a little extra basil torn over the top if you like. The most important thing with this soup is that you have a wonderfully intense sweet tomato basil flavour.

2. All kind of Stew and Casserole recipes

chicken stew with dumplings


1 leftover chicken carcass, plus up to 300g leftover cooked chicken
4 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
olive oil
2 onions
3 large carrots
2 potatoes, or 250g of celeriac
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
200 g of button mushrooms
1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour
250 g self-raising flour
125 g cold unsalted butter


For this recipe, you will need 1 leftover chicken carcass, plus up to 300g leftover cooked chicken

A simple delicious chicken stew done one of my favourite ways – with leftover chicken and dumplings, enjoy.

Strip all the meat you can find off the chicken carcass, and put aside. Place the carcass and any bones in a large pan and use a rolling pin to smash them all up. Cover with 1 litre of water, bring to the boil, then simmer for at least 30 minutes, skimming away any scum from the surface.

Meanwhile, finely slice the bacon and place in a large casserole pan on a medium heat with a lug of oil, while you peel and chop the onions, carrots, and potatoes or celeriac into 2cm dice. Add to the pan along with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Halve and stir in the mushrooms, along with the leftover chicken and plain flour. Pour the stock through a sieve straight into the pan (topping up with a little water, if needed) and let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until thick and delicious, while you start your dumplings.

Place the self-raising flour and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Coarsely grate in the butter and rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 100ml of cold water and bring into a ball of dough. Divide into 12 pieces and roll into balls.

When the time's up, loosen the stew with a good splash of water if needed, season to perfection, then transfer it to an ovenproof pan and place the balls on top. Pop the lid on and bake at 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for 30 minutes, or until hot through and the dumplings are fluffy and cooked. Serve with some seasonal greens.

Irish stew

3 middle necks of lamb (about 1.8kg/4lb), filleted and boned - you need to end up with about 950g/2lb 2oz pure meat
650g floury potatoes
650g waxy potatoes
1kg carrots
2 onions
½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
chopped fresh chives and parsley, to garnish

For the stock
bones from the lamb
1 large carrot, quartered
1 onion, quartered
½ celery stick, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 large sprigs of thyme
a generous sprig of parsley
6 black peppercorns, lightly crushed

Make the stock. Put the lamb bones in a large heavy-based saucepan with the carrot, onion, celery, herbs, peppercorns and 1 tsp salt. Pour in 3 litres/5 1⁄4 pints water. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
Strain the stock through a fine sieve to remove bones and vegetables, then return to the pan. Boil until reduced to about 1.3 litres/21⁄4 pints. (You can make the stock the day before – keep it in a covered container in the fridge, or freeze it for up to 3 months.)

Make the stew. Cut the lamb into large chunks. Peel the potatoes (keeping both types separate) and cut into pieces of similar size to the meat. Put the two different types in separate bowls of water to keep them white. Peel the carrots and cut into slightly smaller pieces. Slice the onions into thick rings.
Put the lamb in a large, clean saucepan. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, skimming off all the impurities from the surface. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the floury potatoes, carrots and onions. Season generously and simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the waxy potatoes and thyme. Simmer until the lamb is tender (15-20 minutes). Take off the heat, cover (don’t stir) and leave for 15 minutes. (You can make this up to 2 days ahead and keep in the fridge). Garnish and serve.

Beef & vegetable casserole

2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then very chunkily sliced
5 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
850g stewing beef (featherblade or brisket works nicely), cut into nice large chunks

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Put the kettle on. Put the celery, onion, carrots, bay and 1 thyme sprig in a casserole with 1 tbsp oil and the butter. Soften for 10 mins, then stir in the flour until it doesn’t look dusty anymore, followed by the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock cubes.

Gradually stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in the beef and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and put in the oven for 2hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30mins – 1hr more until the meat is really tender and the sauce is thickened.

Chorizo, pork belly & chickpea casserole

1 tbsp olive oil
700g skinless, boneless pork belly, cut into large bite-sized chunks
100g cooking chorizo, sliced into thin rounds
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seed
small pinch dried chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves, fresh are best
sprig of thyme
large pinch golden caster sugar
1 tbsp tomato purée
50ml sherry vinegar or good quality red wine vinegar
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
fresh chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat the oil in a casserole dish with a lid and spend a good 10 mins browning the pork on all sides. If your casserole dish isn’t wide enough to fit the pork in a single layer then brown it in batches. Scoop the pork out and set aside then add the chorizo and sizzle for a minute. Add the vegetables, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, garlic and herbs and cook for about 5 mins until the vegetables are soft and just starting to colour. Sprinkle over the sugar and stir in the tomato purée then splash in the vinegar and bubble for a moment. Tip in the tomatoes and a can of water. Stir the pork and juices into the sauce, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.

Cover the dish with a lid and place in the oven for 1 hr 45 mins, checking occasionally and if the sauce becomes too thick add a splash more water. Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the chickpeas and return to the oven for 15 mins. Remove again and leave to cool slightly so it’s not scorching hot then stir through the parsley. Taste for seasoning and serve with crusty bread or boiled potatoes.

Beef & ale stew

3 fresh or dried bay leaves
500 g quality diced stewing beef
500 ml ale, Guinness or stout
2 sticks celery
2 medium onions
2 carrots
olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat it to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Trim the ends off your celery and roughly chop the sticks. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel the carrots, slice lengthways and roughly chop.

Put a casserole pan on a medium heat. Put all the vegetables and the bay leaves into the pan with 2 lugs of olive oil and fry for 10 minutes. Add your meat and flour. Pour in the booze and tinned tomatoes. Give it a good stir, then season with a teaspoon of sea salt (less if using table salt) and a few grinds of pepper.

Bring to the boil, put the lid on and either simmer slowly on your hob or cook in an oven for 3 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering or cooking. When done, your meat should be tender and delicious. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving, and taste it to see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper. You can eat your stew as it is, or you can add some lovely dumplings to it.

Dark, sticky stew

800 g quality stewing lamb, roughly diced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small handful fresh rosemary, leaves picked
2 heaped tablespoons flour
extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
8 field mushrooms, torn in half
1 handful baby carrots, scrubbed
1 parsnip, peeled and grated
1 dessertspoon Marmite
2 heaped tablespoons pearl barley
285 ml rich ale (Guinness, Caffrey's, John Smith's)
565 ml organic stock
6 sticks fresh rosemary, leaves removed
18 higher-welfare chipolata sausages

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put your lamb into a bowl and season well with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Finely chop your rosemary leaves and add to the bowl with the flour. Mix around so that the meat is completely covered. Fry the lamb in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a hot casserole-type pan – do this in batches so the pieces get a nice bit of colour, then remove from the pan and put to one side.

Turn the heat down, then fry your onion, mushrooms and carrots for about 5 minutes until softened and slightly coloured. Add the lamb back to the pan along with the parsnip, Marmite, pearl barley, ale and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes while you skewer 3 chipolatas on to each of the skewers or rosemary sticks. Just before the stew goes in the oven, add the chipolatas to the pan. Then place a lid on or make a cartouche, wet it and tuck this over the pan. Cook for around an hour, or until the lamb falls apart. I love to eat it just as it is, almost like a thick soup, with some crusty bread.

Try this: To really get the flavours going, the Italians have something called gremolata: finely chop some flat-leaf parsley, a clove of garlic and the zest from 1 or 2 lemons (or try oranges, which are also fantastic). Mix this up, sprinkle over the top of your stew and stir in – it will really give it an amazing kick.

Or this: You can play around with different root veg, or even use different cuts of meat – beef works really well in this stew. Just be aware that you may have to adjust the cooking time. It's ready when the meat is tender and falls apart.

Hunter's chicken stew (Pollo alla cacciatora)

2 kg higher-welfare chicken, jointed, or use the equivalent amount of chicken pieces
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, peeled (1 crushed, 2 sliced)
½ bottle Chianti
flour, for dusting
extra virgin olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
1 handful green or black olives, stoned
2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dust the chicken pieces with flour and shake off any excess. Heat an ovenproof pan, add a splash of olive oil, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over and put to one side.

Place the pan back on the heat and add the sliced garlic. Fry gently until golden brown, then add the anchovies, olives, tomatoes (broken up with a wooden spoon) and the chicken pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid or a double thickness layer of foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.

Skim off any oil that's collected on top of the sauce, then stir, taste and add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and serve with a salad, or some cannellini beans, and plenty of Chianti.

Incredible Sicilian aubergine stew (Caponata)

olive oil
2 large aubergines, cut into large chunks
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed, soaked and drained
1 handful green olives, stones removed
2-3 tablespoons best-quality herb vinegar
5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted, optional

This is a fantastic dish from southern Italy that's eaten as a warm vegetable side dish or a cold antipasto. Sicilians are proud that it's made with produce from their island. All the different methods of making it are more or less the same – the things that make it stand out and be special are the quality of the aubergines, tomatoes and vinegar. Always try to get hold of nice firm aubergines with very few seeds – have a look down in your local market to see if you can find different colours. You could even ask your veg boy to cut one open so you can check it out. Don't be tempted to cut the aubergine chunks too small or they will take on so much oil that they will become heavy. If this happens you don't get to admire the lovely creamy flavour and texture. I've eaten caponata that's been swimming in olive oil, but I much prefer mine to be less oily.

Get yourself a large pan, pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil, and place on the heat. Add your aubergine chunks and oregano, season with a little salt and toss around so the aubergine is evenly coated by the oil. Cook on a high heat for around 4 or 5 minutes, giving the pan a shake every now and then. (Depending on the size of your pan you may need to cook the aubergine in batches.)

When the aubergines are nice and golden on each side, add the onion, garlic and parsley stalks and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Feel free to add a little more oil to the pan if you feel it's getting too dry.

Throw in the drained capers and the olives and drizzle over the herb vinegar. When all the vinegar has evaporated, add the tomatoes and simmer for around 15 minutes or until tender. Taste before serving and season if you need to with salt, pepper and a little more vinegar. Drizzle with some good olive oil and serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley leaves and the almonds if you like.

beef stew

olive oil
1 knob butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 handful fresh sage leaves
800 g quality stewing steak or beef skirt, cut into 5cm pieces
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
flour, to dust
2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and halved
½ butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly diced
1 handful Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved, optional
500 g small potatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée
½ bottle red wine
285 ml organic beef or vegetable stock
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 handful rosemary, leaves picked
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/300ºF/gas 2. Put a little oil and your knob of butter into an appropriately sized pot or casserole pan. Add your onion and all the sage leaves and fry for 3 or 4 minutes. Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour, then add it to the pan with all the vegetables, the tomato purée, wine and stock, and gently stir together.

Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and just a little salt. Bring to the boil, place a lid on top, then cook in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. Sometimes this takes 3 hours, sometimes 4 – it depends on what cut of meat you're using and how fresh it is. The only way to test is to mash up a piece of meat and if it falls apart easily it's ready. Once it's cooked, you can turn the oven down to about 110°C/225°F/gas ¼ and just hold it there until you're ready to eat.

The best way to serve this is by ladling big spoonfuls into bowls, accompanied by a glass of French red wine and some really fresh, warmed bread. Mix the lemon zest, chopped rosemary and garlic together and sprinkle over the stew before eating. Just the smallest amount will make a world of difference – as soon as it hits the hot stew it will release an amazing fragrance.


Melt-in-your-mouth shin stew

olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 sticks celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
a few sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 small handful dried porcini
1 stick cinnamon
1 kg quality shin of beef, bone removed, trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon flour
2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes
⅔ bottle Chianti

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. In a heavy-bottomed ovenproof saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil and gently fry the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, herbs, porcini and cinnamon for 5 minutes until softened slightly. Meanwhile, toss the pieces of beef in a little seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Add the meat to the pan and stir everything together, then add the tomatoes, wine and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently bring to the boil, cover with a double-thickness piece of tinfoil and a lid and place in your preheated oven for 3 hours or until the beef is meltingly tender and can be broken up with a spoon. Taste and check the seasoning, remove the cinnamon stick and rosemary sprigs and serve.


3 kg oxtail

House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 can beef broth
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic, large ones cut in 1/2
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 onion, cut into 6 wedges
6 small new red potatoes, cut in 1/2
4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 pot hot buttered rice

Sprinkle the oxtails liberally with House Seasoning on both sides.

Coat the bottom of a heavy oven-proof Dutch oven with the olive oil. Once heated, add the oxtails and sear on all sides. Remove and set aside. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic cloves. Stir. Add basil, oregano, bay leaves, hot sauce, tomato sauce, and the reserved oxtails. Stir to combine all ingredients together. Cover tightly and cook for 2 to 3 hours.

Add the sweet onion wedges, red potatoes, garlic and carrots to the pot. Cover and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, roughly 15 minutes.Serve oxtails with the vegetables over hot buttered rice.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  

Mince & beans with vetkoek

For the vetkoek:
1½ cups warm water
1 sachet (10ml) instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
5 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons oil
Oil for frying

For the mince:
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
400g beef mince
1 tin baked beans in tomato sauce
1½ cups water
1 Knorrox Beef Stock Cube
2 tablespoons KNORR Rich Beef & Tomato Soup

To make the vetkoek: Stir the sugar into the water and add the yeast  Sieve the cake flour and salt into a bowl
Add the oil to the yeast mixture. Mix the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon
Work into a soft dough adding more flour if needed. Turn the dough onto a surface and knead for 10 minutes until elastic and not sticky. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
Turn dough onto a surface, knock back, flatten and cut into 6cm square pieces. Deep fry until golden brown
To make the mince: In a pan, fry the onion and green pepper in oil until soft.

Add the mince and fry until it is well brownedAdd baked beans, water and Knorrox Beef Stock Cube, stir well, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Just before done mix the KNORR Rich Beef & Tomato Soup with 4 tablespoons of water to make a smooth paste then add it to the pot and allow to simmer for 2 minutes stirring continuously until thickened. Serve with hot vetkoek

All kind of Cupcake and Muffins recipes

Chocolate Cup Cakes

These cup cakes are light and moist. 

125 g butter or margarine
120 g sugar

2 eggs

300 ml flour (200 g)

40 ml cocoa

10 ml baking powder

5 ml vanilla essence

125 – 150 ml milk


Cream butter or margarine and sugar.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add the flour, cocoa, baking
powder and vanilla essence.  Add milk and mix well.  (It should be a soft dropping consistency.)

Put into well greased patty pans or paper cups and bake at 200 C for 12 – 15 minutes.

Decorate with chocolate butter icing or alternatively cut off tops, put jam and cream on top, halve
the cut off tops and replace to look like a butterfly. 
Dust with icing sugar.
Makes 12

Brie, Zucchini & red pepper muffins

knob of butter
2 small or 1 large Zucchini, cut into small cubes
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves or 1 tsp dried
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100ml milk
5 tbsp sunflower oil
2 red peppers, skinned (see tip, below) and cut into bite-sized pieces
85g cheddar, grated
100g brie or Camembert (check packaging for a vegetarian-friendly brand)

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Line 10 holes of a muffin tin with paper cases. Melt the butter in a pan and gently cook the Zucchini for about 5 mins until softened.

Mix the flour, baking powder, oregano and some seasoning in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, milk and oil, stirring all the time to draw the flour into the centre. Beat for 1 min or so to make a smooth batter.

Add the Zucchini, peppers, two-thirds of the cheddar and all the Brie or Camembert to the batter, stirring well. Divide between the muffin cases and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar. Bake for 25-30 mins until the muffins feel firm to the touch and are golden and crusty on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Fruitburst muffins

225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
50g butter, melted
175ml skimmed milk
100ml clear honey
140g fresh blueberries
85g dried cranberries
140g seedless raisins
140g dried apricots, chopped
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/ fan 180C and very lightly butter a 12-hole muffin tin. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then stir in the melted butter, milk and honey. Add to the flour with the remaining ingredients. Combine quickly without overworking (it’s fine if there are some lumps left – you want it gloopy rather than fluid). Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and pale golden on top.

Leave in the tin for a few minutes before turning out. When cool, they’ll keep in an airtight tin for two days. (Can be frozen for up to 1 month.)

Pistachio cupcakes

100g pistachios
140g golden caster sugar
140g butter, very soft
2 eggs
140g self-raising flour
5 tbsp milk
edible glitter, to decorate 

For the icing
250g icing sugar, sifted
mint green food colouring

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases. Put 85g pistachios into a food processor with about half the sugar, then whizz until very finely chopped. Tip into a large mixing bowl with the remaining sugar, butter, eggs, flour and milk and beat until smooth. Divide between cases, then bake on a low shelf for 22-25 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, mix just enough water into the icing sugar to get a very thick but still runny icing – just add 1 tbsp of water at a time. Stir in enough food colouring to give a pretty, pale green colour. If any cakes poke above the top of the cases, trim with a small knife, or scoop out with a teaspoon – being very careful not to release any of the case from the sides of the cake. Put a generous spoonful of icing on each cake and let it gently spread to cover. Chop the remaining pistachios and scatter these over with a pinch of edible glitter. Set, then serve.

Welsh rarebit muffins

225g self-raising flour
50g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ level tsp bicarbonate of soda
 ¼ tsp salt
½ level tsp mustard powder
100g strong cheese, half grated, half cubed
6 tbsp vegetable oil
150g Greek yogurt
125ml milk
1 egg
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
Mix together the self-raising and plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and mustard powder in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the cheese, oil, yogurt, milk, egg and Worcestershire sauce.
Combine all the ingredients and divide between the muffin cases in the muffin tin.

Place in the oven for 20-25 mins until golden. Remove and cool slightly on a rack.
What you need: Ask the kids to help get everything ready, weighing scales, measuring jug, fork, 2 mixing bowls, 12 paper muffin cases, muffin tin, cheese grater, sharp knife, tablespoon, cooling rack.


Chocolate fudge cupcakes

200g butter
200g plain chocolate, under 70% cocoa solids is fine
200g light, soft brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g self-raising flour
Smarties, sweets and sprinkles, to decorate

For the icing
200g plain chocolate
100ml double cream, not fridge-cold
50g icing sugar

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases. Gently melt the butter, chocolate, sugar and 100ml hot water together in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool a little while you weigh the other ingredients.

Stir the eggs and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the chocolate mixture until smooth. Spoon into cases until just over three-quarters full (you may have a little mixture leftover), then set aside for 5 mins before putting on a low shelf in the oven and baking for 20-22 mins. Leave to cool.

For the icing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Once melted, turn off the heat, stir in the double cream and sift in the icing sugar. When spreadable, top each cake with some and decorate with your favourite sprinkles and sweets.

Apple muffins with pecan topping

350g plain flour
25g butter
50g dark muscovado sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for the topping
50g pecans, chopped
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
284ml tub soured cream
1 egg, beaten
3 eating apples (about 140g/50z each), peeled and cored
2-3 tbsp milk

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases. In a small bowl, use your fingertips to rub 50g of the flour together with the butter to make breadcrumbs. Stir through 1 tbsp sugar and the chopped pecans, then set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the remaining flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt, then stir in the sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Coarsely grate two of the apples, then beat together with the soured cream, egg and 2 tbsp milk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and quickly fold through the wet ingredients, adding an extra tbsp milk if really dry. Don’t over-mix or your muffins will be tough. It doesn’t matter if there are lumps of flour.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases – they should be about two-thirds full – then sprinkle over the pecan topping. Thinly slice the final apple, then poke slices into the tops of the muffins. Bake for 20 mins or until risen, golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Easter muffins

100g butter, softened
100g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour
5 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
100g red glacé cherries, cut into quarters

To decorate
85g seedless raspberries jam
50g red glacé cherries, cut into quarters
2 tbsp toasted desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/fan oven 160C and line a large muffin tray with 9 muffin cases. Tip the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until paler in colour, light and fluffy. Pour in the eggs and beat until the mixture is light and creamy. Use a wooden spoon to beat in the flour, milk, vanilla and coconut until you have a soft dropping consistency. Stir in the cherries.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden. Lift the muffins out of the tray and sit them on a wire rack to cool slightly.

To decorate, tip the jam into a small saucepan and gently warm, stirring, until melted and smooth. Generously brush the tops of the warm cakes with the jam, stick the quartered cherries on top and sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Serve on the day of making.

Gluten-free chocolate & blueberry muffins

200 g unsalted butter
50 g gluten-free plain flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
175 g ground almonds
250 g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large free-range eggs
50 g white chocolate
200 g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat, then leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile, sieve the flour and xanthan gum into a bowl, then stir in the ground almonds and sugar. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract, then fold through.

In another bowl, separate the egg whites (keep the yolks for another day). Whisk the whites well for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they start to froth. Then, using a metal spoon, stir the egg whites into the flour mixture a little at a time – you want to keep it as light and airy as possible so make sure you don't stir too much. Roughly chop and add the white chocolate, along with half the blueberries, then stir briefly to combine.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases, then sprinkle over the remaining blueberries. Place on the middle shelf of the hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire cooling rack, then serve.

Sticky toffee cupcakes with chocolate topping

30 g sultanas
30 g dried apricots
30 g dates
1 teaspoon baking powder
140 g self-raising flour
30 g muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 large free-range egg
30 g butter, melted
140 ml water, hot

For the chocolate topping;
40 g butter
40 g caster sugar
40 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
70 ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. In a food processor, blitz the sultanas, apricots, dates, baking powder and a little of the flour (just enough to stop the fruit sticking to the blades). If you don't have a food processor, you can chop it very finely. Put this mixture into a bowl with the muscovado sugar, the golden syrup, the egg and the melted butter and stir together. Then add the very hot water and the remaining flour and mix well with a whisk. Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake papers (I like to double up the papers to give the mixture a bit more hold) and place on a baking tray. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt all the chocolate topping ingredients in a saucepan and bubble for a while until darkened in colour slightly. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool until it thickens. Then put a blob on top of each cupcake.

All kind of Cake recipes

Cranberry obsession snow cake

10oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
3 1/2 cups self-raising flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
7 large egg whites, at room temperature
Cranberry filling
3 3/4 cups cranberries, divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups cranberry or cherry preserves
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
12 ounces white chocolate (bars or a block, but not chips), divided
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
1/2 cup colourless liqueur such as crème de cacao or kirsch
About 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
To make a pure white cake, use your fingers to rub off the browned surface of each layer before assembling.

Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.

To make the cake: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites in 3 batches, scraping down the inside of bowl as needed. Beat in  the flour mixture in 5 batches, adding 1/4 cup water after each addition (you will begin and end with flour). Make sure the flour is completely blended each time before adding water. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Smooth tops with a spatula. Bake until center of cake feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pans on a rack.

Meanwhile, to make the cranberry filling: Combine 3 cups cranberries, the sugar, preserves, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until cranberries pop and preserves melt. This should take 5 to 10 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 cup cranberries, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl and chill until ready to assemble cake.

To make the buttercream: Fill a saucepan with about 1 in. water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Put egg whites, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer briefly to combine. Place bowl over hot water, making sure bottom of bowl isn't touching water, and heat whites, whisking constantly, until hot to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan and bowl from heat. Put bowl of warm whites on the mixer and whisk on high speed until tripled in volume and side of bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop 4 oz. white chocolate, put in a medium metal mixing bowl, and set in same pan of warm water off the heat to melt slowly, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from pan and let cool to room temperature. Reduce mixer speed to low and whisk butter into whites, about 1/4 cup at a time, until incorporated. Continue to whisk on low speed until smooth and fluffy, about 10 minutes (mixture may look grainy at some point but will come together). With a rubber spatula, gently fold melted chocolate into buttercream until completely combined.

Assemble: Rub tops of both cakes gently with your hands to remove browned outer surface, then carefully invert cakes and rub undersides so that cakes are completely white. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate, top side up. Using a pastry brush, brush top with half the liqueur. Spread about 1 1/2 cups cranberry mixture over layer with a metal spatula, leaving a 1/2-in. empty border around edge. Place second cake layer on top, flattest side down, and brush with remaining liqueur. Spread top and sides of cake with a thin layer of buttercream to seal in crumbs and chill 30 minutes. Cover with remaining buttercream, starting with the sides and covering the top last.

Use the palm of your hand to warm remaining chocolate. Shave smooth side of chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler to make thin curls and scatter curls over cake's top. Sift powdered sugar over cake. Serve with remaining cranberry mixture on the side.


Apricot, cinnamon & olive oil cake


200g dried apricots, roughly chopped
225g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus a little extra for sprinkling
200g light brown muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
100ml good-quality olive oil
100ml full-fat natural yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

140g full-fat cream cheese
85g butter, softened
250g golden icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract


Put the apricots in a bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside for 30 mins. Meanwhile, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4, grease a deep 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tin and line with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and ½ tsp salt. In a jug, mix the eggs, olive oil, yogurt and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix briefly with an electric hand whisk to remove any lumps. Drain the apricots and stir into the cake mix, then pour into your cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hr or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, mix all the ingredients together, using an electric hand whisk, until smooth. Spread generously over the top of the cake and dust with cinnamon before serving.

Sticky sponge cake

4 medium oranges
6 tbsp golden syrup, plus extra to serve, optional
200g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
200g soft brown sugar
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
4 large eggs

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Finely grate the zest from 2 oranges into a large bowl. Cut the peel and pith from all the oranges with a serrated knife, and slice quite thickly.

Drizzle the golden syrup evenly over the base of a greased 23cm round cake tin. There is no need to line the tin and it shouldn’t have a loose bottom otherwise the syrup will bubble through. Arrange the best orange slices on top of the syrup and finely chop any that don’t fit.

Put all the remaining ingredients in the bowl with the zest and chopped orange. Beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Spoon on top of the oranges, spread lightly and make a deep hollow in the centre of the mix with the back of a spoon – this will ensure that the cake rises evenly.

Bake for 45-50 mins until firm when pressed. Allow to settle for 5 mins before turning out. Drizzle with golden syrup if you like, and serve with custard or ice cream.

Ginger treacle sponge

175g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp ginger syrup from a jar of stem ginger
175g soft light brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest 1 lemon
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground ginger

For the candied Clementine
200g caster sugar
1-2 Clementine, unpeeled and thinly sliced

For the topping
6 balls stem ginger, chunkily diced, plus 3 tbsp syrup from the ginger jar
100g golden syrup

Butter a 1 litre pudding basin. Mix the breadcrumbs, golden syrup and ginger syrup and place in the bottom of the basin.
To prepare the steamer, put a small, upturned saucer or trivet into a large saucepan big enough to fit the pudding basin. Put the kettle on. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the beaten eggs, vanilla and lemon zest, then sieve the flour and ginger into the mixture. Fold everything together with a big spoon or spatula. Fill the pudding basin with the sponge mixture.

Cut out large sheets of greaseproof paper and foil, big enough to fit over the basin with a 2in overhang. Sit greaseproof on foil, fold a pleat into the middle, then butter the greaseproof. Put, butter-side down, over the pudding, and tie tightly under the rim with string. Sit the basin in the saucepan, add enough water from the kettle to come halfway up the basin sides, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 1 hr 45 mins.

Meanwhile, candy your Clementine slices by pouring 100ml water from the kettle over the sugar in a small frying pan. Heat until melted, then add the Clementine slices and bubble until they are shiny and sticky with sugar. Lift out with tongs and set aside on baking parchment to dry.
Check the pudding is cooked by inserting a metal skewer – there should be no raw mixture on the skewer, but you may find a little sticky syrup from the bottom.

For the topping, put the syrups in a small pan and bubble to thicken for a few mins, then stir in the ginger chunks and a few Clementine slices. Turn the pudding out onto a serving plate and spoon over some syrupy ginger topping. Serve with crème fraîche and custard.


Chocolate cake

200g good quality dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids
200g butter
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
85g self-raising flour
85g plain flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g light muscovado sugar
200g golden caster sugar
25g cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
75ml buttermilk (5 tbsp)
grated chocolate or curls, to decorate

For the ganache
200g good quality dark chocolate, as above
284ml carton double cream (pouring type)
2 tbsp golden caster sugar

Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.

While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) buttermilk.

Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don’t worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don’t worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.

Chocolate fridge cake with pecan & meringues

200 g digestive biscuits
110 g whole pecans, roughly chopped
110 g pistachio nuts, peeled
10 glace cherries
2 ready-made meringue nests, smashed up
150 g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
200 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

Break the biscuits into small pieces directly into a large bowl. Add the pecans, pistachio nuts, cherries and smashed meringue. Put the rest of the ingredients into a second, heatproof bowl and either put this over a pan of simmering water, or into a microwave until melted.

Mix the contents of both bowls together and get yourself a container that will act as a mould. To help with turning the cake out, line the container with clingfilm, leaving plenty of extra clingfilm at the edges to fold over the top. Now spoon the mixture into the container. Put into the fridge to firm up, then turn out , removing the clingfilm, and cut into chunky slices. This cake can be kept in an airtight container for a few days and actually improves in flavour after a few days.

If you're allergic to nuts then simply leave them out of the recipe.

Lemon crêpe cake

21 ready-made crêpes
6 teaspoons gelatine powder
4x320 g jars lemon curd
grated zest of 1 lemon
crème fraîche, to serve
candied lemon slices
190 g granulated slices
1 lemon, thinly sliced
6 drops lemon essence

For the candied lemon, place the sugar in a pan with 200ml cold water and heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon slices and essence, cover the surface with baking paper, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lemon is almost translucent. Remove from the heat, leave to cool, then remove the lemon slices to a wire rack over a tray and set aside.

Place 200ml boiling water in a large saucepan over a low heat, sprinkle in the gelatine and whisk for 2–3 minutes, until it dissolves. Add the lemon curd and stir for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Line a 24cm spring-form cake tin with clingfilm so it overhangs the sides. Place 1 crêpe in the base of the tin and spread over 2 tablespoons of lemon curd mixture. Continue layering the crêpes and curd until you've used all the crêpes, finishing with a crêpe. Pull the clingfilm over the cake and chill overnight, or until the cake is firm.

Remove the cake from the tin and transfer to a cake stand or large plate. Top with the candied lemon slices and a drizzle of the syrup, then scatter over the lemon zest and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

lemon drizzle cake

For the cake
115 g unsalted butter, softened
115 g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
180 g ground almonds
30 g poppy seeds
zest and juice of 2 lemons
125 g self-raising flour, sifted

For the lemon syrup
100 g caster sugar
90 g lemon juice

For the lemon icing
225 g icing sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Using an electric whisk, beat the butter with the caster sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one by one, beating each in well. Fold in your ground almonds, poppy seeds, the lemon zest and juice and the sifted flour. Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until lightly golden. You can check to see if the cake is cooked by poking a cocktail stick right into the sponge. Remove it after 5 seconds and if it comes out clean the cake is cooked; if slightly sticky it needs a little longer, so put it back in the oven. Allow the cake to cool on a rack.

Make your lemon syrup by heating the sugar and lemon juice in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. While your cake is still warm, make lots of little holes in the top with a cocktail stick and pour your syrup over.

To make your icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the lemon zest and juice, stirring until smooth. When your cake is almost cool, put it on a serving plate and pour the icing carefully over the top. If you pour it on to the middle of the cake, then let gravity disperse the icing down the sides, you get the 'drizzle' effect! Give it a helping hand with a spoon if you want.

Mint choc teacakes

110 g butter, softened
100 g caster sugar
1 free-range egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g flour
30 g cocoa powder
Icing sugar, for dusting
Peppermint meringue filling
275 g caster sugar
4 free-range egg, whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
A few drops of pure peppermint extract
Chocolate topping
100 g 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in half the beaten egg (you only need half) and the vanilla extract, then stir in the flour and cocoa powder until just combined. Divide the mixture in half, shape each into balls, wrap both in clingfilm, then chill for a couple of hours until the dough has firmed up.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4, and grease and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll out 1 batch of dough to 5mm thick. Cut out rounds using a 5cm cutter (re-roll and cut any trimmings), then transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes till cooked through. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
3. To make the peppermint meringue filling, place the sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and 1½ tablespoons of water in a large heatproof bowl. Beat with an electric whisk till fluffed up, about 1 minute. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water set over the lowest heat possible, and continue to beat at high speed for 10–12 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Remove from the heat, add a few drops of peppermint extract and beat for 2 more minutes, until the meringue has thickened even more.
4. Fit a 1cm plain nozzle to a piping bag and fill the bag with the peppermint meringue. Pipe onto the biscuits in an upward spiral, working from the outside in; leave a small border around the edge – aim for a swirl around 3–4cm tall. Place the biscuits on a tray and leave to set in the fridge while you make the chocolate topping.
5. Place the chocolate pieces and oil in a small heatproof bowl and gently melt over a pan of simmering water until completely smooth and glossy. Transfer to a small, deep bowl and leave to cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
6. To finish the teacakes, hold the chilled biscuits by the base and gently dip the meringue into the melted chocolate, swirling so it's completely covered. Or, place the biscuits on a wire rack with greaseproof paper underneath and drizzle over the chocolate until each biscuit is covered. Chill the biscuits for a few hours until the chocolate has completely set, and serve.

All kinds of Pies and Pizza recipes

Cornish pies

For the pastry

250 g butter
300 ml hot water
500 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 large free-range egg, beaten
1 handful medium ground cornmeal or polenta

For the filling

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
olive oil
4 skinless, boneless higher-welfare chicken thighs, cut into 2cm dice
½ small butternut squash, (approximately 250g) peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
6 sprigs fresh sage or thyme, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
300 ml organic chicken stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon plain flour


Marcy Tatarka, an absolutely lovely cook I met in Wyoming, was full of all sorts of local food knowledge. She told me that people in this part of America are really into their pasties! Turns out that in the 1920s and 30s, miners from Cornwall came over to work in Montana and it wasn't long before the locals developed a taste for the good old Cornish pasty. Their recipes haven't evolved radically since, but they do embrace local ingredients like chicken, squash and sage. Pastry isn't exactly health food, but a delicious pasty once in a while won't hurt you. If you like, you can make a slightly 'skinnier' pasty by reducing the butter to 200g and adding 50ml of olive oil. But frankly, if I'm making these I just go for it old-school style.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Bring your butter and water to the boil in a large pan, then take the pan off the heat. Stir the flour and salt into the mixture bit by bit with a spatula, until you've got a dough. Tip it on to a floured surface and use your hands to shape it into a smooth ball. Put the ball of dough into a floured bowl, dust the top with flour, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you make the filling.

Meanwhile, get a large pan and fry your chopped onion in a lug of olive oil for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the diced chicken and fry for 5 minutes until brown, then add the rest of the chopped vegetables and herbs. Fry for another 5 minutes, then add 3 or 4 good gratings of nutmeg. Season well with salt and pepper, then pour in the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the flour and simmer on a medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until most of the stock has cooked away and you're left with nice thick gravy.

Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour, then divide your pastry dough in half and roll each half out until it's slightly thinner than 0.5cm. Use a cereal bowl (about 15cm in diameter) to cut 4 circles out of each half, so you end up with 8 circles. You may need to cut out 2 or 3 circles from each half first, then re-roll the remaining pastry to make the rest. Dust the circles with flour, and spoon your filling into the middle of each one. Brush the edges of the pastry with some of the beaten egg, then fold each circle in half over the filling and crimp the edges with your finger and thumb to seal them. If you want to see how this is done, check out this video on how to assemble a pasty.

Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper, scatter a handful of cornmeal or polenta over the paper, and place your pasties on top. Brush the pasties all over with more of the beaten egg and sprinkle over a little more cornmeal. Bake in the hot oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden, and serve straight away with a fresh green salad. A taste of Cornwall in the Wild West – who'd have thought it!


Mushroom & goat’s cheese pizza pie


220g pack pizza base mix
2 tsp olive oil
250g mixed mushrooms, such as chestnut, Portobello, porcini or shiitake
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
pinch chilli flakes
1 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche
100g goat's cheese
rocket, to serve


Make up the pizze dough following pack instructions. Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large frying pan and fry the mushrooms until golden, about 8 mins. Add garlic, chilli and rosemary and cook for 1 min more. Stir in crème fraîche and 1 tbsp water and remove from heat.

Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Roll out the dough to a 30cm-diameter circle. Spread the mushroom mix across half of the circle, leaving a 2cm border from the edge, and scatter on the goat’s cheese. Fold over and press to seal.

Brush with remaining oil, transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 15-20 mins until risen and golden. Cut in halves and serve with rocket, if you like.

Tricolore pizza with basil oil


175g from a 500g pack bread mix, plus a little extra for dusting
3 tbsp olive oil
large handful basil leaf
1 avocado, halved and thinly sliced
splash lemon juice
125g ball reduced-fat mozzarella
225g mixed tomatoes, sliced and drained on kitchen paper


Heat oven to its highest setting, about 240C/fan 220C/gas 9. Tip the bread mix into a large bowl, pour over 125ml lukewarm water and 1 tbsp olive oil, then mix well to a sticky dough. Knead for a few mins, using some of the extra dry mix to stop it sticking. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 15 mins.

While the dough is rising, put the remaining oil in a small blender with most of the basil, then whizz until the leaves are finely chopped. Toss the avocado in the lemon juice, then tear the mozzarella into rough pieces. 3 Using a little more of the dry bread mix to help you, roll and stretch the dough out to a rough 25 x 30cm rectangle on a large baking sheet. Brush over the basil oil, scatter with the mozzarella and tomato slices, then bake for 10-12 mins until the base is crisp and the cheese melted. To serve, scatter with the avocado slices and remaining basil leaves, then season with freshly ground.


Mushroom & Zucchini rice pie



2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
675g mixed mushrooms (such as chestnut, oyster and shiitake), sliced
2 large Zucchini, chopped
50g risotto rice
3 tbsp white wine
300ml hot vegetable stock
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp vegetarian parmesan -style cheese
2 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tbsp pesto
25g chopped walnuts
½ quantity shortcrust pastry (see 'Goes well with' below) made with a large pinch of saffron strands
1 tbsp milk, to glaze


Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat oil in a large pan and cook shallots and garlic for 2-3 mins until softened. Stir in mushrooms and Zucchini and cook over a high heat for 5-7 mins until golden.

Stir in the rice and cook for 2 mins, then add wine and cook for 3 mins until the liquid has evaporated. Add a ladleful of hot stock and cook, stirring constantly. Continue in this way until all the stock has been used up. Stir in the tarragon, cheese, crème fraîche, pesto and walnuts and plenty of seasoning. Cool.

Fill a 900ml/1½pt pie dish with the rice mixture. Brush the edge of the dish with water. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to cover the filling, trimming the edges and pressing down well to seal. Brush with milk, place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 mins until crisp and golden.

Ricotta & basil pizza


1 onion, finely chopped
2 yellow peppers, roughly chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 x 400g/14oz cans chopped tomatoes
500g bag mixed grain or granary bread mix
plain flour, for dusting
10 cherry tomatoes, halved or whole
250g tub ricotta
a few basil leaves, to serve


Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 6. Soften the onion and peppers in the oil in a large pan for a few mins. Pour in the tomatoes, season, then simmer for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, make up the bread mix according to pack instructions, then bring the dough together and knead a couple of times. Flour a large baking sheet and roll out the dough into a rectangle roughly 25 x 35cm. Bake for 5 mins on a shelf at the top of the oven until firm.

Remove from the oven, spread with the sauce, add the cherry tomatoes, then dollop over spoonfuls of the ricotta. Bake for 10 mins more until the base is golden and crisp. Scatter with basil and serve straight away with a green salad.

Pepper, pesto & sweetcorn pizza pie


500g pack bread mix
100g passata
290g jar roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
100g frozen sweetcorn
125g ball mozzarella, torn into pieces
50g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
handful basil leaves, torn
50g pesto
1 egg, beaten
dressed salad leaves, to serve


Make up the bread mix to pack instructions, reserving a little of the flour for dusting, and leave to prove for 30 mins.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and cut into quarters. Roll each ball of dough to a circle, roughly 20cm wide. Spread a little passata over each base, leaving a border of about 1cm around the edge. Season well.

Top with the peppers, sweetcorn, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and blobs of pesto. Fold each base in half, to make a half-moon shape, then squeeze the edges together, rolling them a little to stick and create a seal. Cover the tray with cling film and leave for 10 mins. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/
gas 7.

Brush the calzones all over with beaten egg, then bake for 25-30 mins or until puffed and golden brown. Serve with dressed salad leaves.

Squash & sausage pot pies

1 tsp olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
175g sausage of your choice, skin removed, sliced
300g butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
400g can chickpeas
200g bag spinach
140g crème fraîche
320g puff pastry sheet
1 egg, beaten

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook for a few mins until soft, then add the sausage of your choice . Stir around the pan for a few more mins until the chorizo leaks some of its oils, then add the squash and 100ml water. Cover with a lid and leave to cook for 10-15 mins until the squash is just cooked through.

Add the chickpeas with any liquid from the can, the spinach and some seasoning. Stir, then cover with a lid and simmer for 1-2 mins until the spinach has wilted. Stir in the crème fraîche and bubble for 3-4 mins, adding a splash of water if the sauce looks too thick.

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Divide the filling between 4 pie dishes. Unroll the pastry and cut out 4 lids, large enough to cover the pies. Brush the edge of each dish with a little beaten egg, then put a pastry lid on top and brush this with egg too. Poke a hole in the top of each pie. Bake on a tray for 25 mins until the lids are puffed and golden.

Pitta pizzas

4 wholewheat pitta breads
4 tsp sun-dried tomato purée
3 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
85g chorizo, diced
50g mature cheddar, grated
few basil leaves, if you like

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put a baking sheet inside to heat up. Spread each pitta with 1 tsp purée. Top with the tomatoes, shallot, chorizo and cheddar.

Place on the hot sheet and bake for 10 mins until the pittas are crisp, the cheese has melted and the chorizo has frazzled edges. Scatter with basil, if you like, and serve with a green salad.


Deep-pan pizza

For the dough:
650 ml lukewarm water
1 x 7 g sachet of dried yeast
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
1 kg strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

For the tomato sauce:
a swig of white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, peeled
a handful of fresh basil leaves
1 x 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the toppings:
olive oil
3 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
4 higher-welfare pork sausages, the best quality you can afford
1 dried red chilli
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
a good pinch of dried oregano
100 g fresh buffalo mozzarella
a handful of fresh basil leaves
2 fresh red chillies, finely sliced
2 large handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
12 slices of higher-welfare pancetta

To make your dough, pour your lukewarm water into a large bowl and use a fork to stir in the yeast, sugar and salt. Add your flour, bit by bit, until it comes together. You want smooth springy dough, so keep adding a bit more flour if necessary. Dust a clean surface with flour, then knead the dough with your hands. When you're happy with the consistency, pop it into a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm room until the dough has almost doubled in size.
Meanwhile, put a lug of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat. Add your sliced onions and thyme leaves and cook for 15 minutes, or until softened and golden. Take the pan off the heat and put aside. Put all the tomato sauce ingredients into a food processor or liquidizer with a good pinch of salt and pepper and blitz to a purée. Have a taste and season carefully, adding a bit more salt and pepper if it needs it.
Slit the sausages open and squeeze the meat into a bowl. Bash up the dried chilli and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar, add these to the meat with the dried oregano and mix well with a fork.
Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Divide the dough in half and oil 2 trays (about 25 x 35cm) with olive oil. Use a rolling pin or clean hands to flatten and stretch the dough out. Roll or push the dough around each tray and really push it into the corners so you get a chubby crust and a base about 1cm thick.
Divide your blitzed tomato sauce between the pizzas and spread around. Scatter over the caramelized onions and dot small pinches of the sausage mixture around the top of each pizza. Tear up the mozzarella and dot the pieces over the sausage, then sprinkle over the fresh basil leaves, sliced fresh chilli, a good pinch of salt and pepper and the grated Parmesan. Finally let your slices of pancetta sort of fall on to the pizzas so they curl and crisp up as they cook. Place in the bottom of the oven for about 20 minutes so the base gets nice and crispy while the top is cooking. Once your pizzas are beautifully cooked, serve right away with a fresh green lemony salad.

Spicy salami, courgette, basil, tomato & mozzarella pizza topping

4 tablespoons tomato sauce
6 thin slices courgette
8 fresh basil leaves
10 thin slices spicy salami
50 g mozzarella
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Recipe for pizza dough and tomato sauce can be found here.
Smear your tomato sauce evenly over the pizza base. Lay over your courgettes and basil, then your salami – you want this to go on last so it goes crispy. Place small pieces of mozzarella in between the gaps, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp and golden.

All kinds of Biscuits and Tart recipes

Quick and Easy Biscuits

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and refrigerated
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (8 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; alternatively grease a baking sheet with butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Toss butter into the dry ingredients until coated with flour. Working quickly and using your fingers or a pastry blender, rub or cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Alternatively, add flour mixture and butter to food processor and pulse 2 to 3 times to form pea-sized pieces; transfer to a large bowl.

Add milk and stir with a fork until it just comes together into a slightly sticky, shaggy dough.
For small biscuits: Using a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop, mound walnut sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. For large biscuits: Using a 1/4-cup measuring scoop, mound balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake biscuits until golden brown, about 15 minutes for small biscuits and 20 minutes for large ones. Let cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes about 20 small biscuits

Raspberry biscuits

1 quantity Basic biscuit dough See 'Goes well with' below
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp raspberry jam
6 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
icing, to decorate

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Make up the Basic biscuit dough, sifting in the cinnamon when you add the flour. Shape into 2 balls, wrap in cling film and chill for 20-30 mins.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, then stamp out 28 biscuits with a 7-8cm wide cutter. Lay these on non-stick baking sheets. Using a 4cm cutter, cut out the ‘noses’ from half the biscuits. Bake for 10-12 mins until pale golden, then lift onto a cooling rack.

Mix the raspberry jam with the sifted icing sugar. When the biscuits are cool, spoon a little of the jam onto each whole biscuit, then carefully sandwich the other biscuits on top. Serve as they are, or pipe icing, made with a little water, to draw funny faces.

Little jam tarts

500g sweet shortcrust pastry
20 tsp jam (we used apricot, blackcurrant and strawberry)

Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface to just under the thickness of £1 coin. Stamp out 20 x 5cm circles using a pastry cutter and line 2 mini muffin tins (or make in 2 batches).

Prick with a fork and spoon 1 tsp jam into each (we used apricot, blackcurrant and strawberry). Stamp out shapes from the leftover pastry to decorate the tarts, if you like.

Bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 12-15 mins, until the pastry is golden

Sweet  biscuits

250g plain white flour
85g golden caster sugar
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
2 tbsp lemon curd
250g white icing sugar
1 tbsp strawberry conserve

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor. Whizz until the mixture forms crumbs, then pulse a little more until it forms a ball.

Spread a large sheet of baking parchment over the work surface and turn the dough onto it. Dust with a little flour, then roll out to about the thickness of two £1 coins. Stamp out 24 rounds using a 5cm round fluted cutter, then cut out the middles with the end of a piping nozzle. Carefully peel the rest of the mixture away from the stamped shapes. Lift onto baking sheets and bake for 10 mins until pale golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Put the lemon curd into a bowl with 2 tbsp boiling water and mix until smooth. Sieve in 175g of the icing sugar; stir together to make a smooth icing. Put the strawberry fruit spread in another bowl and add 2 tsp boiling water, mix, then sieve in the remaining icing sugar. Spoon the lemon icing over the biscuits, then drizzle or pipe over the pinky icing. Leave to set for at least 20 mins. Will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight tin, longer if left un-iced.

Lady bug biscuits

175g plain flour
100g chilled butter, cubed
85g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

To decorate
500g ready-to-roll fondant icing
red food colouring
100g icing sugar
black food colouring
edible pearly ball decorations

You will also need
8cm heart-shaped cutter
6cm heart-shaped cutter

Put the flour, butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk in a food processor. Dribble in 1 tbsp water and blitz until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Tip onto a work surface and knead briefly to bring together, then wrap in cling film and chill for 20 mins.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use your 8cm heart cutter to stamp out heart shapes – you’ll have to re-roll the trimmings to make 20 biscuits. Put the hearts on 2 baking trays and bake for 12 mins, swapping the trays over halfway through, until pale golden and crisp. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Dye your lump of icing with red food colouring and wrap in cling film until ready to roll. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thick icing. Dye the icing with the black food colouring. Pour the icing into a piping bag with a small plain nozzle attached (or use a small sandwich bag and snip off the corner). Roll out the red icing to 3mm thick and use your 6cm cutter to stamp out hearts. Stick onto the biscuits with a little of the black icing.

Use the black icing to give your love bug a head at the pointy end, draw a line down the centre to give it wings, then add spots. Stick 2 pearly balls onto each love bug’s head, then leave to set on a wire rack. You can pack your love bugs into boxes or cellophane bags to give as gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Anzac biscuits

85g porridge oats
85g desiccated coconut
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
100g butter, plus extra butter for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Syrup crunchies

250g pack butter
½ x 397g can condensed milk
175g golden syrup
175g cornflakes, plus a few extra
175g porridge oats
250g plain flour
100g custard powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a few baking trays with baking parchment. Melt the butter, condensed milk and syrup in a large saucepan.

Very roughly crush the cornflakes in a bowl with your hands, then stir in the oats, flour, custard powder and bicarb, and mix really well.


Once everything in the pan has melted, take it off the heat and stir in the dry ingredients. Roughly scoop heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheets. Crumble over a few more cornflakes, then squash to flatten a bit with your hands. Bake for 12-15 mins until golden. Cool on a wire rack.


Hanukkah biscuits

450g strong white flour
1 tsp caraway seed
7g sachet fast-action yeast
100g oil-based margarine, melted
1 egg, beaten

Place the flour, ½ tsp salt, caraway seeds and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted margarine and 200ml warm water. Mix to combine all of the ingredients, adding more water or flour if needed, then knead for 2 mins to form a soft dough. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hr.

Once doubled in size, knead the dough for 1 min, then divide the mixture into 12 balls. Cut each ball in half and roll each piece into a thin sausage shape. Twist the 2 pieces together, then join the ends to form a circle. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again for 30 mins.

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 5. Brush the biscuits with a little beaten egg and bake for 10-15 mins until golden. Remove to cool on a wire rack, then turn the oven down to 110C/90C fan/gas 1⁄4. Once cool, return the biscuits to the oven and bake for a further 10 mins, then turn off the heat completely, leaving the biscuits in the oven to dry out for 2 hrs.

Fancy iced biscuits

For lime & vanilla biscuits
300g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
150g golden caster sugar
zest 3 limes
150g cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

To decorate
400g royal icing sugar
juice 1-2 lemons (about 75ml), or 2-4 limes
gel food colouring - we used orange, pink and yellow

Line a couple of trays with baking parchment and heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Mix together the flour, salt, caster sugar and lime zest (keep the zested limes for the icing). Add the butter and rub together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Beat the egg and vanilla bean paste together with a fork, then mix into the other ingredients. Knead until even. Chill until firm, then roll on a lightly floured surface until about 4-5mm thick. Stamp out 8cm rounds, transfer to baking trays, then chill again for 15 mins before baking for 15-17 mins until golden. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool before decorating.

For the icing, put the royal icing sugar into a bowl, add about 65ml lemon or lime juice and use a metal spoon or electric mixer to beat until it is fairly thick and glossy. If the icing is too thick though, it will be hard to pipe. Take a quarter of the icing, put into a piping bag fitted with a No 2 (very small round) piping nozzle and set aside. To see step-by-step images, please see the tips, below left, for a link to our guide page.

For the flood icing, add another 10ml lemon or lime juice to the remaining icing, a few drops at a time until it is pourable. You can now divide this icing into as many bowls as you like and colour by mixing in a little gel food colouring.
Place the coloured icing into three piping bags, ready for decorating.
To decorate the biscuits, use the thicker icing to draw your outline or design onto the biscuits. Let the icing set for a few minutes.

Pipe enough runnier icing to cover the entire biscuit – don’t worry about it being neat at this point. Use a toothpick to spread the icing evenly inside the hard icing ‘wall’. If the surface of the icing isn’t flat, gently shake the biscuit back and forth until you have a smooth covering.

To add a simple dot decoration, while the icing is still wet, use the runnier icing again to pipe dots again – this will sink on, leaving you with a smooth effect. Pop the biscuits onto a baking tray and place into an oven at its lowest setting for about 30 mins to allow the icing to set hard.



250g plain flour
85g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200ml clear honey
1 lemon, finely grated zest
85g butter
pinch each ground cloves, grated nutmeg and black pepper
1 tsp baking powder

For the icing
100g icing sugar
1 egg white, beaten

Tip the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Heat the honey and butter in a pan over a low heat until the butter melts, then pour into the flour mixture along with the lemon zest. Mix well until the dough is combined and fairly solid. Cover and leave to cool.

Heat oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Using your hands, roll dough into about 30 balls, each 3cm wide, then flatten each one slightly into a disk. Divide the biscuits between two baking trays lined with baking parchment, leaving room for them to expand. Bake for 15 mins, then cool on a wire rack.

To ice the biscuits, mix together the icing sugar, egg white and 1-2 tbsp water to form a smooth, runny icing. Dip the top of each biscuit in the icing and spread with the back of a knife. Leave to dry out in a warm

All kinds of puddings and desserts

Lemon Flan

1 pkt (or slightly less) Marie biscuits
100 ml melted butter

1 can (397 g) sweetened condensed milk
250 ml whipping cream
juice of 3
large lemons (about 150 – 200 ml depending on how tart you like it)

Crush biscuits finely and mix with melted butter.  Press this mixture into the bottom
and sides of a deep 20 x 20 cm pan or a round serving dish.

Whip cream to soft peaks, stir in condensed milk, mixing well.  Stir in lemon juice,
mix well and pour into prepared crust.  Chill for at least 2 hours.

This flan keeps well – just cover and refrigerate.  It freezes well and is delicious
served frozen.


Rice Pudding

100g pudding rice
50g sugar
700ml semi-skimmed milk
pinch grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf, or strip lemon zest

Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Wash the rice and drain well. Butter an 850ml heatproof baking dish, then tip in the rice and sugar and stir through the milk. Sprinkle the nutmeg over and top with the bay leaf or lemon zest. Cook for 2 hrs
or until the pudding wobbles ever so slightly when shaken.

Summer pudding trifles

600g raspberries
50g golden caster sugar
1 Madeira loaf (about 300g/10oz)
227ml tub clotted cream
icing sugar, to serve

Set half the raspberries aside. In a bowl, roughly mash the remaining raspberries with the sugar. Cut the Madeira loaf into 12 slices, then use a round cutter to cut out rounds of the cake to fit 4 serving glasses. Beat the clotted cream until slightly thickened.

Layer up the trifles in glasses starting with a slice of cake, then some cream and some mashed raspberries. After the final slice of cake, spread over some cream and top with whole raspberries. The trifles can be kept in the fridge for a couple of hours. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving.

Glamorous trifle slice

flavorless oil, for greasing
1 shop-bought large Madeira loaf cake
250ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
few sprinkles (optional)

For the cream layer
2 gelatin leaves
200ml double cream
3 tbsp sweet sherry
100g mascarpone
4 tbsp icing sugar

For the custard layer
2 gelatin leaves
3 tbsp custard powder
3 tbsp icing sugar
400ml milk
For the jelly layer
135g pack raspberry jelly
350g frozen raspberries, defrosted

Grease a 900g loaf tin, then line with cling film – as smooth as you can get it. Use 1 long strip of baking parchment to line the base and ends of the tin, leaving some sticking up at each end to help you pull the loaf free later. Criss-cross another piece of parchment to line the base and longer sides.

For the cream layer, soak the gelatine in cold water. Gently warm the cream and sherry in a saucepan. When the gelatine is softened, squeeze out excess water, take the cream off the heat and stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Gently whisk in the mascarpone and icing sugar until smooth, then scrape into the tin and bang a couple of times to level. Chill until set – about 1 hr.

Start each following layer while the previous layer is chilling. For the custard layer, soak the gelatine in cold water. Make up the custard following pack instructions, but using the quantities we’ve given. When the gelatine is soft, squeeze out excess water, remove the custard from the heat and stir in the gelatine until melted. Lay cling film directly on the surface of the custard to stop a skin forming, then cool. Once room temp, scrape into the tin on top of the set cream layer, as above. Chill again until set.

Make up the raspberry jelly following pack instructions but using 300ml water. Whizz with 150g of the raspberries, then sieve. Cool to room temp, then scatter the remaining raspberries over the set custard layer in the tin. Pour over the raspberry jelly and chill until the jelly is almost set.

Trim the brown edges from the Madeira cake, then cut it lengthways into big slices 1.5-2cm thick. Cover the jelly with sponge, like a puzzle, using as few bits as possible. Push slightly into the jelly to stick, then cover in cling film and chill until completely set, ideally overnight.

To serve, turn the tin upside-down onto your serving plate. Ease the loaf from the tin using the overhanging parchment and gently peel off the cling film, then the parchment. Whip the final 250ml cream with the sifted icing sugar until thick enough to hold its shape. Spoon into a food bag, snip off the corner and pipe onto the top. Scatter with sprinkles, if you like.


Almond & apricot trifles

1 Madeira loaf cake, cut into cubes
8 tbsp Disaronno
2 x 410g cans apricots, chopped and juice reserved
500g pot fresh custard
300ml double cream
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

Line the bottom of 4 small glass serving dishes with the cake. Mix ½ the Disaronno with 6 tbsp of reserved juice, then divide this between the bowls. Arrange apricots on top of the sponge, then pour on custard. Cover and chill for at least 10 mins, or up to a day.

Just before serving, add the remaining Disaronno to the cream and whip until it just holds its shape. Spoon over the custard and sprinkle with flaked almonds.


Baked chocolate pudding

455 g good-quality cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
50 ml hot espresso or good strong instant coffee
125 g butter, plus extra for greasing
6 free-range eggs, separated
200 g caster sugar
100 g ground almonds
100 g rice flour
1 small handful chopped hazelnuts, toasted

Melt 125g chocolate with the coffee, then pour into small ice-cube moulds and freeze until hard. Take 6 small 3-inch pastry rings, dariole moulds or cappuccino cups and grease well with some butter. Place in the fridge while you make your sponge mixture.

Melt the remaining chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, then in a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with the sugar until firm. Fold the yolks into the cooled chocolate and butter mixture, then add the almonds and flour. Finish by carefully folding in the egg white mixture. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.

Take your moulds out of the fridge and spoon a little mixture into each one, then push in a cube of the frozen coffee and chocolate mixture. Cover with the rest of the sponge mixture so each ice cube is completely enveloped. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18 to 20 minutes, then remove carefully from the moulds while hot. Serve immediately sprinkled with hazelnuts.


King of puddings

4 free-range eggs
565 ml milk
115 g fine breadcrumbs
225 g sugar, preferably vanilla sugar
4 level tablespoons jam , raspberry is really nice


Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas 2. Separate 3 of the eggs. Put the yolks into a bowl with the remaining whole egg and beat together. Add the milk, breadcrumbs and 85g of the sugar. Put the jam on the bottom of a pie dish and spread it evenly. Pour the custardy egg and milk mixture over the jam. Bake in your preheated oven for 1 hour or until set.

Whisk the remaining 3 egg whites until stiff, then slowly add the remaining sugar until it is all mixed in. Pile it on top of the custard, then bake in the oven for a further 15–20 minutes until the meringue is set and lightly browned.

Winter pudding bombe

1 litre good-quality vanilla ice cream
1 kg panettone
125 ml vin santo
3 heaped tablespoons raspberry jam
25 g shelled pistachios
75 g tinned sour cherries, drained
40 g glacé clementines (or other glacé fruit), thinly sliced
2 clementines, 1 peeled and sliced into rounds
200 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), bashed up

Get your ice cream out of the freezer so it can soften a little while you get things ready. Line a 2 litre pudding bowl with 3 layers of cling film. Use a serrated knife to slice four 2cm thick rounds off of your panettone then cut them in half. You'll have some panettone left over, so keep this for another time. Arrange six of the slices in a single layer around the bowl and push them down if they overlap. Drizzle some Vin Santo around the sponge so it soaks in, then use the back of a spoon to smear the jam over the sponge.

Add 1 tub of ice cream to the bowl and use the spoon to spread it around in a thick layer. Sprinkle in the pistachios, cherries and glacé fruit then layer the clementine slices on top. Add the other tub of ice cream. Spread it out, working quickly so the ice cream doesn't completely melt. Put the rest of the panettone slices on top of the ice cream, drizzle over some more Vin Santo then cover the bowl tightly with cling film. Press a plate down on top to press everything down, then freeze overnight, or longer.

30 minutes before you want to serve, get the bombe out of the freezer and into the fridge so it warms up enough to be sliced easily. Put the bashed-up chocolate in a bowl and get that over a pan of simmering water on a really low heat. Leave the chocolate to melt while you unwrap your amazing winter bombe and carefully turn it onto a beautiful serving dish. Add a few gratings of clementine zest to the chocolate and when it's nicely melted, pour it over the top so it oozes down the sides and looks delicious.

Sticky toffee pudding

225 g fresh dates, stoned
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
85 g unsalted butter, softened
170 g caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
170 g self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon ground mixed spice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Ovaltine
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

For the toffee sauce
115 g unsalted butter
115 g light muscovado sugar
140 ml double cream

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put the dates in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and cover with 200ml/7fl oz of boiling water. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes to soften, then drain. Whiz the dates in a food processor until you have a purée. Meanwhile, cream your butter and sugar until pale using a wooden spoon, and add the eggs, flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and Ovaltine. Mix together well, then fold in the yoghurt and your puréed dates. Pour into a buttered, ovenproof dish and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

While the pudding is cooking, make the toffee sauce by putting the butter, sugar and cream in a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour. To serve, spoon out the pudding at the table and pour over the toffee sauce.

Lovely lemon curdy pud

55 g butter
115 g sugar
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 large free-range eggs, separated
55 g self-raising flour
285 ml milk

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind in a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and flour and beat in, then add the milk and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and mix well.

Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff, then add the rest of the mixture. Mix it all well but don't over-mix it; you don't want the air to come out of the egg whites. Pour into a buttered ovenproof dish, stand the dish in a roasting tin about a third full of water, then bake in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes until the top is set and spongy and it's a nice golden colour.


We really hope you can make it.

Sincerely, John & Jane

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