You will also need 4 ramekin dishes with a capacity of 150 ml(5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) or 4 small pretty dessert dishes.
First wash the strawberries and then hull and pat dry.
In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture has thickened.
Now pour the cream into a small pan and bring to the boil.
Using an electric whisk, slowly pour the cream over the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
Return the mixture to a clean pan and let it cook over a low heat, beating with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened and will coat the back of the spoon. (The heat needs to be low because the custard must not be allowed to boil or it will curdle.) Then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, purée half the strawberries in a food processor or blender, and then pour into a bowl.
Reserve four whole strawberries for decoration from the other half. Dice the remainder.
Add the diced strawberries to the purée and then add the cooled custard and gently stir together.
Fold in the crème fraîche and a couple of drops of lemon juice until well incorporated.
Spoon equally into the four dishes and chill for at least four hours.
Garnish the top with a reserved strawberry before serving.
There is nothing like homemade jelly. The intensity of flavour of the berries come bursting through and makes for a perfect dessert on a hot summer’s day.
Red Berry Jelly
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Setting time: 6 hours or overnight
250g(9 oz) strawberries (about 2 cups)
170g(6 oz) raspberries (1½ cups)
115g(4 oz) redcurrants (¾ cup)
140g(5 oz) caster/superfine sugar (⅔ cup)
5sheets fine leaf gelatine OR
1½sachets of powdered gelatine
You will also need a 1 litre (4 cup) jelly mould or six individual glass dessert dishes.
Wash and pat dry the fruit. If the strawberries are large, cut them in half. Remove the stalks from the redcurrants by gently running the tines of a fork down the stalks.
Put the fruit in a medium sized pan along with the sugar, lemon juice, and 540 ml (18 fl oz) (2¼ cups) cold water. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is beginning to bubble. Now put a lid on the pan and let the fruit continue to cook gently until it has become very soft, about 5 minutes.
If using leaf gelatine prepare it now. Place the leaves in a bowl of cold water, snapping them in half to fit if necessary. Leave for 5 minutes to become very soft.
Now strain the fruit mixture through a large, fine sieve into a bowl. Press the fruit through the sieve, using a wooden spoon, to extract as much juice from the fruit as possible.
If using powdered gelatine, stir the contents of 1½ sachets in ⅓ cup of cold water then add ⅓ cup of the hot fruit juice and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Either lift the softened gelatine leaves from the water, squeezing out the water, and add to the fruit juice. Or stir in the dissolved powdered gelatine. Stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved into the fruit juice, about 2 minutes. Keep stirring until you are sure the gelatine has dissolved, otherwise, when the fruit juice sets, there will be little grains of solid gelatine in it.
Pour the jelly into the jelly mould or individual glass dishes and leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight to set.
To turn out the jelly mould, dip it halfway in a large bowl of hand hot water for about 5 seconds. Then place a flat serving plate on top and turn out the jelly. Shake for a couple of seconds until you hear the jelly loosening, then lift the mould away.
Can be served with single/table cream or dollops of whipped whipping cream/whipping or heavy cream and extra fresh raspberries.
This is a really light trifle. Not what you normally think of as a trifle although it uses the same ingredients. It’s very refreshing for a summer dessert and looks good too.
This very light summer trifle has a selection of seasonal fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants, tossed in a fruit purée and surrounded with little boozy sponge fingers coated in a vanilla custard.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
120ml(4 fl oz) milk (½ cup)
½vanilla pod split lengthways, OR
40g(1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp + 1 tsp)
10lady fingers or sponge fingers
1tbspsweet white wine or sherry
500g(1 lb 2 oz) summer fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants
a splash of white wine (about 1 tablespoon)
150ml(5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
28g(1 oz) unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, or walnuts (¼ cup)
Chill four dessert plates in the fridge.
Put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in the sugar to make a paste.
Next, pour the milk into a small pan.
If using the vanilla pod, add it to the milk and slowly heat on the lowest setting for 10 minutes, without boiling. Then remove the vanilla pod.
If using vanilla extract, omit heating the milk for 10 minutes first but add it to the cold milk now.
Bring the milk up to the boil.
Now slowly stir the milk and vanilla into the egg and sugar until the mixture is smooth.
Return the custard to the pan and stir, over a low heat, until it begins to thicken. You want it to thicken enough to be able to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover the custard with cling film/plastic wrap to prevent it forming a skin and then leave it to cool.
Meanwhile, cut each sponge finger in half to give two small fingers and lay them in a shallow bowl. Drizzle over the wine or sherry.
Next, wash and pat dry the fruits. Remove the currants from their stalks and hull and halve the strawberries.
Set aside half the berries and currants, picking out the best ones.
Put the remainder in a food processor or blender and add the wine and sugar.
Purée until smooth and then, using the back of a spoon, push through a plastic sieve to remove the pulp. Once the purée is pressed through, wipe the underside of the sieve with a clean spoon to get all the sauce.
Roughly chop the pistachio nuts or walnuts.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
Stir one spoonful into the cooled custard to loosen it a little and then fold in the remaining cream.
Now to assemble, carefully toss the reserved fruit with half the purée and spoon into the centre of each cooled plate.
Arrange the sponge fingers evenly around the edge of the plates.
Pour the custard over half of each the sponge finger then sprinkle the nuts on top of the custard.
Pour the remaining purée over the fruit and serve.
Pork fillets cooked in wine and flavoured with oregano, then covered with mozzarella cheese and a dollop of thick passata sauce.
Neapolitan Pork Fillets
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Marinading time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 20 minutes
450g(1 lb) pork fillet/tenderloin
3fresh oregano sprigs
2garlic cloves, crushed
salt and freshly milled black pepper
150ml(5 fl oz) red wine (⅔ cup)
28g(1 oz) butter (⅛ cup, or ¼ stick)
300ml(10 fl oz) passata (1¼ cups)
115g(4 oz) mozzarella cheese, cut into four thick slices
½red pepper, sliced thinly
½yellow pepper, sliced thinly
½orange pepper, sliced thinly
pasta, fettuccini works well
Prepare as much as possible before beginning to cook this recipe. There are a number of steps required towards the end of cooking and having everything ready will just make them easier to work through.
First, the pork needs to marinade for one hour.
Cut the fillet/tenderloin into four equal pieces. Flatten a little by placing each piece between cling film/plastic wrap and bashing with a rolling pin.
Place them side by side in a shallow dish.
Season and add the sprigs of oregano and crushed garlic.
Then pour over the wine, cover the dish, and marinade.
Meanwhile prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Pour the passata into a small pan and stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season and put to one side.
Have a pan ready to cook the pasta.
Next, put the peppers in a bowl, pour over 2 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat. Put to one side.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6.
Once the pork has marinaded, spread the flour over a plate.
Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve the marinade.
Coat both sides of the fillets in the flour.
Now heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the butter over a moderate heat in a large frying pan/skillet. The butter will begin to foam and, when this almost stops, add the pork. Sear on both sides for 2–3 minutes.
Transfer the pork to a warm plate.
Strain the reserved marinade and add to the pan/skillet.
Let it bubble for 30 seconds.
Remove the pan/skillet from the heat and stir in the stock and seasoning.
Then bring the sauce to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a low setting and return the pork to the pan/skillet, cover the pan, and cook them for a further 10 minutes.
Now bring the passata mixture to the boil over a moderate heat and let it bubble, uncovered, to reduce to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes.
Bring a kettle of water to the boil for the pasta and then cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet.
Heat a large pan in which to sauté the peppers. Tip them into the pan and sauté, turning frequently, until soft.
Once the pork is cooked through, transfer the fillets to an ovenproof dish which will snuggly hold them in a single layer.
Add 1 tablespoon water to the frying pan/skillet, stir, and then reduce the liquid to 3–4 tablespoons. This will only take a couple of minutes.
Spoon over the pork.
Cover each fillet with a slice of mozzarella and then add a large spoonful of the passata sauce in the middle of the slice. (Keep any remaining sauce warm.)
Sprinkle over the oregano.
Pop in the oven until the cheese just starts to melt, about 4–5 minutes.
To serve, spoon any remaining passata on four serving plates and then top with the pasta.
Arrange the pork on the pasta and spoon over any remaining sauce from the ovenproof dish.
These squares of strawberry ice cream are on a chocolate base and topped with sliced strawberries, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Frozen ahead of time, they make an impressive dessert and take no time at all to add the toppings just before serving.
Frozen Strawberry Sundaes
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Freezing time: 4 hours
Standing time: 10 minutes
For the base
115g(4 oz) Oreo chocolate baking crumbs (1 cup)*
40g(1½ oz) butter, melted (3 tbsp)
*This is a North American recipe where the chocolate baking crumbs are bought ready in a box.
Use the recipe below to make the base in England:
115g(4 oz) plain digestive biscuits crushed to make fine crumbs
55g(2 oz) butter, melted
Stir the cocoa powder into the melted butter then add to the biscuit crumbs and sugar. Stir to combine.
For the filling
280g(10 oz) vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (8 scoops)
170g(6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 1¼ cups)
For the topping
85g(3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about ⅔ cup)
55g(2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
You will also need a 17 cm (6½ inches) square metal baking tin at least 5 cm (2 inches) deep for this recipe.
Once the base and filling have been left to freeze it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.
This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; just use a 24 cm (9½ in) square tin.
First line the container with two pieces of cling film/plastic wrap so they are laid across one another and large enough to overhang the edges of the container on all sides. Press well into the corners of the container.
For the base
In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate crumbs and sugar. Stir in the butter to coat the crumbs.
Now spread evenly in the container, using a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup, pressing well into the corners.
Freeze while making the filling.
For the filling
Remove the ice cream or frozen yogurt from the freezer to soften a little while preparing the strawberries.
Slice the strawberries and put in a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Purée the strawberries until smooth.
Scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl. It should be soft but not completely thawed. Then pour over the strawberry purée. Stir until well blended.
Spoon evenly over the chocolate base and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
For the topping
Start preparing the toasted almonds and chocolate sauce about one hour before serving so they have time to cool.
Tip the almonds into a small frying pan/skillet and toast over a medium to low heat until golden, tossing frequently. They will take about 5–10 minutes but keep an eye on them as they burn quickly. (They produce a nutty smell when ready.) Put to one side.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and add half to a glass bowl.
Melt the chocolate by sitting the bowl over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.)
Remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining chocolate pieces.
Stir until the chocolate has melted and there is a smooth sauce. Leave to cool.
Top each square just before serving.
Holding the edges of the baking parchment, remove the frozen sundae to a cutting board. Now using a serrated knife, cut into six even pieces. Leave for 10 minutes to soften a little.
Slice the remaining strawberries and decorate the top of the squares.
Then drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.
Once the base and filling has frozen, it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.
This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; but use a 24 cm (9½ in) square container.
This version of the classic sponge is filled and topped with coffee butter icing. In the U.K. this is known as coffee cake but in North America, coffee cake can be any cake meant to accompany a cup of coffee, which is why I called this one a coffee topped sponge.
Cannelloni shells are filled with minced/ground beef flavoured with chopped onions and a little Bolognese sauce. They are cooked in a Bolognese sauce and topped with white sauce which is sprinkled with parmesan cheese. I have two recipes for cannelloni – one from North America and this one from England. The English recipe is a lighter recipe without the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and with a plain white sauce.
Hands on time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
450g(1 lb) minced/ground beef
1large jar Bolognese sauce
28g(1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
28g(1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
300ml(10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
salt and ground black pepper
55g(2 oz) Parmesan cheese (½ cup)
You will also need a 23 cm x 33 cm (9 x 12 inch) ovenproof dish lightly oiled
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 4–5 minutes until softened but not browned.
Then add the beef and brown over a medium heat for about 3–4 minutes. You want it to just start turning colour.
Now stir through 5 tablespoons of the sauce and then leave to cool for a few minutes.
Spoon a layer of sauce over the bottom of the ovenproof dish.
Next, fill the cannelloni shells with the meat and lay them on top of the sauce in a single layer.
Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.
Next, to make the white sauce, melt the butter in a small pan, then tip in the flour and mix to a smooth paste.
Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously, until there is a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer, while stirring, until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
Season and add a little grated nutmeg.
Pour the sauce over the cannelloni and then sprinkle over the cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes until the top begins to brown and the sauce is bubbling.
This strawberry tart recipe makes a super delicious summer tart. The sweet pastry is filled with a creamy crème pâtissière and decorated with small, whole strawberries which are then glazed. Just slice and enjoy.
Preparation time: 1 hour
Chilling time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cooking time: 28 minutes
For the pastry
170g(6 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1⅓ cups)
115g(4 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (½ cup, or 1 stick)
180ml(6 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream or heavy cream (¾ cup)
For the topping
450g(16 oz) strawberries (ideally the same size) (about 3 cups)
3tbspstrawberry jam, sieved
You will also need a 23 cm (9 inch) round springform tin/pan.
Whiz flour and butter in a food processor until crumbly, or rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips.
Add the sugar and whiz to mix.
Now separate the egg and reserve the white for later.
Add the yolk and 1 tablespoon of very cold water and either pulse or stir with a palette knife to bring the pastry together. (It will be a stickier than shortcrust pastry.)
Shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm/plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
Now make the crème pâtissière.
Mix together the sugar, yolks, and cornflour/cornstarch in a medium bowl until it forms a smooth paste.
Heat the milk and vanilla extract until just boiling. Then gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture.
Return the mixture to the pan and stir continuously, letting it gently bubble until the mixture has thickened.
Now spoon into a large bowl, cover, and leave to cool and then chill.
Once the pastry has rested, roll out quite thinly. This is made easier by rolling the pastry between two large pieces of clingfilm/plastic wrap, lightly dusting the bottom piece and the pastry with flour before rolling out.
Once rolled out, peel off the top piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap and carefully flip over and line the tin/pan, allowing the pastry to come about 3 cm (1¼ inches) up the sides. Trim to neaten. This pastry is quite forgiving and if it tears while lining the tin, it can be easily patched without spoiling the result.
Prick the base all over with the tines of a fork then chill for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Line the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, covering the top with parchment paper if it is browning too quickly.
Remove from the oven and use enough reserved egg white to brush the inside of the pastry. Return to the oven for 2–3 more minutes to seal the pastry.
Leave to cool in the tin/pan and then remove and transfer to a serving plate.
No more than 2 hours before serving, whip the cream until stiff.
Next whip the custard to loosen it a little and then whisk in 1 tablespoon of the whipped cream.
Now fold in the remaining cream.
Spoon into the pastry case. Level the surface and chill for 30 minutes until set.
Meanwhile, wash, pat dry, and hull the strawberries.
Arrange on top of the crème pâtissière. (If not serving straight away, chill until needed.)
Just before serving, brush the strawberries with the jam to glaze. (If the jam is really thick, loosen it with a little hot water.)