Strawberry Crisp

Strawberry Crisp

 

Sliced strawberries are tossed in sugar and covered with buttery oats and brown sugar … then baked until the top is crisp. Serve it warm with lashings of cream or a scoop or two of ice cream.

 

Strawberry Crisp
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the strawberries
  • 1 quart container, 675g (1½ lb) strawberries, thickly sliced (4 cups)
  • 2 tbsp caster/white sugar

  • For the topping
  • 115g (4 oz) wholemeal/wholewheat flour (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 85g (3 oz) porridge oats/rolled oats (1 cup)
  • 85g (3 oz) light brown sugar (⅓ cup)
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, chilled and cut into small cubes (½ cup, or 1 stick)

  • You will also need a 2 pint ovenproof dish measuring 23 x 15 cm (9 x 6 inches)


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
  3. For the strawberries
  4. Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl and toss with the sugar to coat. Leave on one side while preparing the topping.

  5. For the topping
  6. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Rub in the butter until a crumbly mixture is reached.

  7. For baking
  8. Tip the strawberries into the ovenproof dish, spreading out evenly, and spooning over the juice.

  9. Cover with the crumbly mixture.

  10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the top is crisp and the strawberry juices are bubbling.

  11. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

  12. Tip: This recipe also works well with frozen strawberries.

Updated: June 10, 2018

Strawberry Pavlova

Strawberry Pavlova

 

This gorgeous dessert was allegedly first made in Australia in 1935 for the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova. This version has a twist by adding framboise to the strawberries and introducing crème fraîche to the whipped cream to reduce the richness of the cream.

 

Strawberry Pavlova
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 170g (6 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 450g (1 lb) strawberries (1 quart or large punnet)
  • 3 tbsp framboise (raspberry liqueur)
  • 284ml carton double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 180g (6 fl oz) crème fraîche (¾ cup)


  1. Method
  2. Draw a 20cm (8 inch) circle on a piece of baking parchment. Turn it over and lay on a baking sheet.

  3. Preheat the oven to 130°C (250°F) (gas ½).

  4. Add the egg whites to a grease-free bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form.(You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out!)

  5. Then add the sugar one spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

  6. Now sprinkle over the cornflour/cornstarch, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Whisk briefly, just enough to combine everything. The meringue will soften a little.

  7. Put a dab of meringue in the four corners of the baking sheet and press the baking parchment down. This will prevent it from slipping. Now, using a metal spoon, spoon the meringue evenly within the marked circle. Then, using a palette knife make a slight dip in the centre of the meringue which will hold the strawberries. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The meringue should be firm at the edges and slightly soft in the centre. Leave to cool.

  8. Meanwhile wash the strawberries, gently pat dry and hull. Halve any that are large so they are all fairly equal in size. Place them in a large bowl and add the framboise. Gently toss together until the strawberries are coated and then leave to marinate.

  9. Once the meringue has cooled, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Now add the crème fraîche and fold in until the consistency is thick.

  10. Using a palette knife, remove the meringue from the baking parchment and place on a serving plate. Add three quarters of the strawberries to the cream and crème fraîche mixture, and gently fold together. Spoon into the centre of the pavlova. Now decorate the top with the reserved strawberries and drizzle over any strawberry juice.

  11. Serve immediately.

 

Apple Snow

Apple Snow

 

This Apple Snow dish is based on the traditional version but it does not use raw eggs. The apples are topped with Greek yogurt and sprinkled with roasted oatmeal.

 

Apple Snow
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: 45 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 apples suitable for cooking
  • 250g Greek yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp medium or coarse pinhead oatmeal/steel cut oatmeal

  • You will also need 4 short glass tumblers


  1. Method
  2. Peel, core and chop the apples. Put in a pan with 1 tablespoon water and gently cook for about 15minutes until the fruit is very soft, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and whisk to make the apples fluffy. Leave to cool, about 45 minutes.

  3. Divide the apple between the glasses and smooth the tops.

  4. Stir the yogurt and then spoon on top of the apple. Chill for 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and add the oatmeal. Cook for a few minutes moving the oatmeal around. Once it starts to brown, it is ready. Set aside to cool.

  6. Just before serving, sprinkle the oatmeal over the yogurt.

Updated: June 8, 2018

Eton Mess

Eton Mess

 

Eton Mess – a mix of strawberry halves, soft whipped cream and crushed meringue.

 

Eton Mess
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Standing times: 30 minutes

  • If also making the meringue shells:
  • Extra time needed for preparation: 10 minutes

  • Cooking time: for the meringue shells: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 2 hours cooling in the oven

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (1 lb) strawberries (a quart or large punnet)
  • 1 tbsp caster/white sugar
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 6 small meringue shells*
  • 284ml carton double cream/whipping or heavy cream

  • *This dish is a great way to use up any left over meringue shells. However, if making them especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare them first.

  • For the meringues
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 1 tbsp)

  • You will need 4 glass dessert dishes


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1)

  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until stiff and glossy.

  5. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dab a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheet to keep the lining in place.

  6. Spoon 6 mounds of meringue onto the baking paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the meringue shells lift easily from the paper. Turn off the oven but leave the meringue shells inside for a further 2 hours to dry out completely. You will only need four of them for this recipe.

  7. For the Eton Mess
  8. Wash, hull, and halve or quarter the strawberries so they are all of a similar size. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar. Drizzle with the Grand Marnier, if using. Then mix gently and leave for 30 minutes at room temperature.

  9. Now in a separate bowl, break the meringue shells into bite-sized pieces.

  10. Next whip the cream in a large bowl until it just forms soft peaks. It should still fall from a spoon.

  11. Put 20 strawberry halves and about a quarter of the broken meringue pieces to one side for decoration.

  12. Then gently fold the rest of the meringue into the cream and, just using a few strokes, fold the strawberries and their juice into the cream.

  13. Divide between the glass dishes and top each dish with an equal quantity of the reserved strawberry halves and meringue.

  14. Serve immediately.

Updated: June 8, 2018

Coffee Crème Brûlée

Coffee Crème Brûlée

 

Coffee crème brûlée – a lovely creamy coffee custard topped with caramelized sugar. This recipe gives two methods of creating the caramelized topping, with or without using a chef’s blowtorch.

 

Coffee Crème Brûlée
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30–45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling time: 2 hours
  • Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours on the day of serving


  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • butter, for greasing
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 
40g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 
½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) single cream/half and half cream (1¼ cups)

  • 300ml (10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 
3 tsp instant coffee granules or coffee essence

  • For the topping
  • 4 tbsp golden caster/white sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 100g (3½ oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch

  • You will also need 6 x 150ml (5 fl oz) heatproof ramekins


  1. Method
  2. For the custard
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas 3).

  4. Lightly grease the ramekins with butter and set to one side.

  5. Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, line a deep-sided ovenproof dish or roasting tin/pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (this prevents them from slipping).

  6. Next pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and add the coffee granules stirring until dissolved, or just stir in the coffee essence. Leave to cool a little.

  7. While the cream is cooling, put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl and whisk together.

  8. Then gradually pour the cream into the bowl, while whisking at the same time, until the cream is blended into the egg mixture. Strain the custard into a jug and then divide between the six ramekins.

  9. Carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

  10. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes as the custard still needs to have a slight wobble to it. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the ramekins in the water until the water has cooled.

  11. Now take the ramekins out of the water, cover them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  12. For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  13. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  14. Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  15. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  16. For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  17. First, have a piece of parchment paper ready on the counter top. Next, put the sugar in a stainless steel pan and add just enough water to dampen the sugar. Place over a low heat and stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Then increase the heat to medium–high. Without stirring, leave the sugar to bubble fiercely. When the bubbling lessens and the sugar has turned a pale straw colour it will be ready. Carefully, pour the caramel onto the paper (it will be extremely hot) and leave it to become cold.

  18. Now turn the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to get really hot.

  19. The caramel will have hardened on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules (finer than caster sugar). Sprinkle evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  20. Put the ramekins on a baking tray as close to the heat as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.

  21. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Updated: May 31, 2018

Classic Crème Brûlée

Classic Crème Brûlée

 

These crème brûlées are so creamy they make just the perfect dessert. Egg yolks, sugar and cream flavoured with vanilla make the creamy custard, and it’s topped with brittle caramel.

I have shared two methods for creating the caramelized topping, one using a chef’s blowtorch and the other using the grill/broiler.

 

Classic Crème Brûlée
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25–40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling time: 2 hours
  • Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours on day of serving


  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • butter, for greasing
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 
40g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 
½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) single cream/half and half cream (1¼ cups)
  • 
300ml (10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)

  • For the topping

  • 4 tbsp golden caster/white sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 100g (3½ oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch

  • You will also need 6 × 150ml (5 fl oz) heatproof ramekins


  1. Method
  2. For the custard
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) gas 3.

  4. Lightly grease ramekins with butter and put to one side.

  5. Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, line a deep-sided ovenproof dish or small roasting tin/pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (the paper prevents the ramekins slipping).

  6. Next pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and cool a little.

  7. While the cream is cooling, put the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  8. Then gradually pour the cream into the bowl, while whisking at the same time, until the cream is blended into the egg mixture. Strain the custard into a jug and then divide between the six ramekins.

  9. Carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the ovenproof dish or roasting tin/pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

  10. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes as the custard still needs to have a slight wobble to it. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the ramekins in the water until the water has cooled.

  11. Now take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  12. For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  13. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin. The sugar needs to cover the custard completely.

  14. Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  15. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  16. For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  17. First, have a piece of baking paper ready on the counter top. Next, put the sugar in a stainless steel pan and add just enough water to dampen the sugar. Place over a low heat and stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Then increase the heat to medium–high. Without stirring, leave the sugar to bubble fiercely. When the bubbling lessens and the sugar has turned a pale straw colour, it will be ready. Carefully, pour the caramel onto the paper (it will be extremely hot) and leave it to become cold.

  18. The caramel will harden on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules (finer than caster sugar). Sprinkle evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  19. Preheat the grill/broiler to high.

  20. Put the ramekins on a baking tray as close to the grill as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.

  21. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Updated: May 31, 2018

Banana and Honey Brûlée

Banana and Honey Brûlée

 

A tasty twist on a classic crème brulée. Quick to prepare and just chill until needed.

 

Banana and Honey Brûlée
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 10–25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 minute
  • Refrigeration time: 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 2 small bananas, mashed
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 500g carton Greek yogurt

  • For the topping
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts or almonds, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp golden caster/white sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 75g (2½ oz) caster/white sugar (⅓ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch

  • You will also need 4 × 150ml (5 fl oz) heatproof ramekins


  1. Method
  2. Divide the mashed bananas between the four ramekins and then drizzle over the honey to completely cover the bananas.

  3. Carefully spoon an equal amount of yogurt into each ramekin and smooth the top.

  4. Now sprinkle over the nuts.

  5. For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  6. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the nuts and yogurt in each ramekin. The sugar needs to cover the yogurt completely.

  7. Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  8. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  9. For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  10. First, have a piece of baking paper ready on the counter top. Next, put the sugar in a stainless steel pan and add just enough water to dampen the sugar. Place over a low heat and stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Then increase the heat to medium–high. Without stirring, leave the sugar to bubble fiercely. When the bubbling lessens and the sugar has turned a pale straw colour, it will be ready. Carefully, pour the caramel onto the paper (it will be extremely hot) and leave it to become cold.

  11. Now turn the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to get really hot.

  12. The caramel will have hardened on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules (finer than caster sugar). Sprinkle evenly over the nuts and yogurt in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the yogurt is completely covered.

  13. Put the ramekins on a baking tray as close to the grill as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.

  14. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Updated: May 31, 2018

Spicy Pork Meatballs

Spicy Pork Meatballs

 

Meatballs are always a favourite and these spicy pork meatballs are cooked in a chilli tomato sauce.

 

Spicy Pork Meatballs
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: about 30 minutes
  • Standing time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 50–55 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (1 lb) minced/ground pork
  • 85g (3 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs (1¾ cups)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 pinches crushed dried chillies
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin (or ½ × 796 ml can) chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 1tsp chicken bouillon, or 1 × organic stock cube, mixed in 300ml (10 fl oz) (⅔ cup) boiling water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 200g (7 oz) spaghetti
  • ½ a small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded (or other green leafed vegetable finely shredded*).

  • *Savoy cabbage in Canada can be very pale and so I prefer to use something like kale. The dark green colour works well with the spaghetti, although it does sound an unusual combination.

  • You will also need a large lidded frying pan/skillet.


  1. Method
  2. In a large bowl mix together the pork, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, lemon zest, finely chopped onion, half the garlic and half the sage, a pinch of the crushed chillies, and plenty of seasoning. Once everything is well mixed in, shape into 30 meatballs. Then refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.

  3. Heat half the oil in the frying pan/skillet and add the meatballs. Brown over a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally to brown all sides. This may need to be done in two batches. Remove and set aside.

  4. Now add the remaining oil to the pan, reduce the heat, and add the chopped onions. Cook gently for 5 minutes until they have softened. Then add the remaining garlic and sage and cook for a further minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée/paste, stock, sugar, a pinch of crushed chillies, and season. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for 5–10 minutes until the sauce has reduced a little.

  5. Return the meatballs to the pan, then gently simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.

  6. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted, boiling water, adding the cabbage or other green vegetable for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain.

  7. Serve the spaghetti alongside the meatballs and sauce.

Updated: May 8, 2018

Angie’s Lasagne

Angie's Lasagna

 

This is a lasagne recipe that I stumbled across many years ago and that has always been a great family favourite. The dish has three layers of pasta, a meaty tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese, topped with Parmesan.

 

Angie's Lasagne
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 9 lasagne sheets
  • 450g (1 lb) mince/ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tins or 1 x 796ml can Italian chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 156ml (5½ fl oz) tin tomato paste (⅔ cup)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 450g (1 lb) mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded* (4 cups)
  • 28g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated/shredded (¼ cup)

  • For this recipe you will need a deep sided frying pan/skillet or sauté pan.
  • Also a 32.5 x 22.5 x 5 cm (13 x 9 x 2 inch) ovenproof dish.

  • *In the UK the prepackaged grated mozzarella cheese contains only cheese and anti-caking ingredients. In Canada it has more additives, so I buy the block mozzarella and grate it myself. Just pop it in the freezer for ten minutes before grating to firm it up.

  • To serve
  • A Caesar salad can be served as an accompaniment.


  1. Method
  2. Brown the meat in the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, ⅔ cup water, and seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  5. Many brands of lasagne pasta require no pre-cooking but I have found they benefit from cooking for a short time anyway. A baked lasagne using uncooked pasta isn’t as moist.

  6. So, bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a glug of olive oil. Drop 5 of the lasagne sheets into the water one at a time (crossing each one over the other) and boil for 4 minutes. They need to be cooked in two batches or they will stick together while cooking. Remove the sheets with a pair of tongs and rinse under cold water, then lay the sheets separately on a clean tea-towel. Repeat with the remaining four sheets.

  7. To layer up the lasagne. First, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of the lasagne pan. Then layer 3 lasagne sheets, a third of the remaining meat sauce, and a third of the mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat layering the pasta, meat sauce, and cheese twice more. Finally sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.

  8. Bake, covered with foil, in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.

  9. Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving into portions.

Updated: May 3, 2018

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

 

This lemon meringue pie is a true family favourite and was one of the first pies I ever baked. The filling is very easy to make from scratch. It gives a mixture that is both creamy and full of zingy lemon flavour to complement the sweetness of the meringue on top.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie
Prepares: 4–6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Standing time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 1 hour 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the shortcrust pastry
  • 170g (6 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1 cup + 3 tbsp)
  • pinch of salt
  • 40g (1½ oz) butter, cut into cubes (3 tbsp, or ⅜ stick)
  • 40g (1½ oz) lard, cut into cubes (3 tbsp)
  • about 2 tbsp cold water

  • For the filling
  • 3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) water (⅔ cup)
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 115g (4 oz) granulated/white sugar (½ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)

  • For the meringue
  • 2 egg whites
  • 115g (4 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (½ cup + 2 tbsp)

  • You will also need an 18cm (7 inch) round deep pie plate with rim


  1. Method
  2. For the pastry
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. This can be done by hand or in a food processor.

  4. Sprinkle the water evenly over the surface (if it is not evenly sprinkled it can cause blistering when the pastry is cooked). Start bringing the dough together using a pallet knife and, once it starts clumping, finish off by hand, until the dough is smooth and leaves the bowl clean. Pop in a plastic food bag and refrigerate to rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5) and place a baking tray/sheet in the oven to warm up at the same time.

  6. Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface to a thickness of 6mm (¼ inch) and 2.5cm (1 inch) larger than the pie plate. Now cut a 1.25cm (½ inch) strip from around the edge of the pastry. Dampen the rim of the pie plate with water and then use the strip to cover the rim, pressing it down. Next dampen the strip of pastry. Then line the pie plate with the remaining pastry, gently pressing it down into the pie plate and around the rim to make sure no air is trapped but being careful not to stretch the pastry. Remove any excess pastry from around the edge of the rim and prick the base of the pastry with a fork.

  7. Place the pie plate on the baking tray/sheet in the oven and bake blind for 15 minutes.

  8. Then carefully remove the paper and baking beans, and return the pastry to the oven for a further 5–10 minutes until it is cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.

  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F) (gas 2).

  10. For the filling
  11. While the pastry is cooking, the filling can be prepared. Mix the cornflour with the water in a saucepan. Then stir in the zest and juice of the lemons. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring, until the mixture thickens.

  12. Now reduce the temperature to medium and add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved. Remove from the heat, cool the mixture for a couple of minutes, then beat in the egg yolks. Set aside.

  13. For the meringue
  14. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.

  15. To finish
  16. The pastry case can either be left in the pie plate or carefully removed. Place the pie plate or the pastry case only on the warmed baking tray. Now pour the lemon filling into the pastry case and then pile the meringue on top, making sure it completely covers the filling. Finally pull the meringue up into peaks using the tip of a knife.

  17. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. The meringue will be crisp and lightly browned on the outside but still soft on the inside.

  18. It can be served warm or cold. If it is to be served warm, let it rest for 20 minutes after taking it out of the oven before slicing into portions.

Updated: May 2, 2018

Stuffed Sole

Stuffed Sole

 

Sole fillets are a delicate fish and here they are cooked with a cream cheese, parsley and lemon stuffing, which adds to the flavour of the fish without overpowering it. Cooks in just 20 minutes for a delicious meal.

 

Stuffed Sole
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes (oven)

  • Ingredients
  • 8 sole fillets, about 140g (5 oz each)
  • 55g (2 oz) cream cheese, softened (¼ cup)
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs (1 slice bread with crusts)
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1½ lemons
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • paprika

  • You will also need an ovenproof dish large enough to take 4 fillets in a single layer, lightly greased.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  3. Zest half a lemon and set aside.

  4. Tip the breadcrumbs into a large frying pan/skillet and, over a medium heat, toast them until quite crispy, about 5 minutes. Shake the pan often to turn the crumbs.

  5. Now tip the breadcrumbs into a large bowl and add the cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, black pepper, and the juice of the whole lemon. Mix to combine.

  6. Place four of the fillets in the ovenproof dish in a single layer. Spread the filling over the four fillets then top with the four remaining fillets.

  7. Squeeze the juice of the half lemon over the fish and then sprinkle a little paprika and the lemon zest on top.

  8. Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

  9. Garnish with the remaining parsley.

  10. Serve with asparagus when in season. It is delicious with this dish as it complements the delicacy of the sole. Serve with whole green beans/haricot beans at other times.

  11. Note
  12. This dish can also be microwaved, covered, on high for 8 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

Updated April 28, 2018

Leftover Chicken

Leftover Chicken

 

This is a very tasty way to use up leftover chicken. The chicken is coated in tomato and basil sauce with sautéed courgettes/zucchini and linguini. Just serve with crusty bread for a quick supper.

 

Leftover Chicken
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: about 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 340g (12 oz) cooked chicken (3 cups), sliced
  • 1 jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
  • 2 courgettes/zucchinis, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 225g (8 oz) linguini
  • basil leaves to garnish

  • To serve
  • crusty, white bread


  1. Method
  2. Pour the pasta sauce into a large pan and add the cooked chicken. Gently simmer for 15 minutes to heat through.

  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta along with a little olive oil (this will avoid the pasta sticking together while cooking). Cook for the time as directed on the packet, then drain.

  4. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the sliced courgettes/zucchinis. Toss to coat with the oil and sauté for about 5 minutes over a medium heat, tossing frequently, until they are cooked through and beginning to colour.

  5. Now add the drained pasta to the chicken and stir through. Then add the courgettes/zucchinis and stir to coat with the sauce.

  6. Serve with a chunk of crusty, white bread.