Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours on day of serving
For the custard
butter, for greasing
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
40g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
½ tsp vanilla extract
300ml (10 fl oz) single/table cream (1¼ cups)
300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
For the topping
4–6 tbsp golden caster/superfine sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
100g (3½ oz) caster sugar/superfine sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch
You will also need 6 x 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) heatproof ramekins
For the custard
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) gas 3.
Lightly grease ramekins with butter and put to one side.
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 from slipping).
Next pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
While the cream is cooling, put the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Then gradually pour in the cream, while whisking at the same time, until the cream and egg mixture is blended together. Strain the custard into a jug and then divide amongst the six ramekins.
Carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the ovenproof dish or roasting tin/pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
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.
Now take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
Sprinkle 2–3 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin. The sugar needs to cover the custard completely.
Now caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.
Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
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.
Now turn on the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to become really hot.
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.
Put the ramekins on a baking tray and place under the heat source, as close as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.
Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
You will also need an ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4.
Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes by putting them in a bowl, covering with boiling water and then leaving for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.
Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan over the base of the ovenproof dish. (It will not be fully cooked at this point.)
Lay the fish over the rice in a single layer. Then pour over the wine and lightly season with thyme and pepper.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.
Next melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley.
Now scatter the crumb mixture over the tomatoes.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping is crisp and golden.
Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.
You will also need 2 x 12 hole patty tins/bun pans filled with 15 cupcake baking cases. Also a large piping bag fitted with a medium sized nozzle.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas4).
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whisk the butter, zest, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Next stir in the carrot, eggs, milk, and sultanas. Then mix in the flour, cinnamon, and baking powder.
Now equally fill the cases using an ice cream scoop.
Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are firm to the touch when lightly pressed with the tip of a finger.
Leave to cool in the tins/pans for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until soft. Then sift in the icing/powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.
Spoon into the piping bag and, once the cupcakes are cool, use to make a swirl on top of each cupcake.
The apples in this cobbler bring a softness to the mix of fruit and the addition of the port gives it a fullness of flavour. As well, the sprinkling of demerara sugar over the balls of dough creates a crunch as it bakes in oven.
You will also need a 1½ litre (6 cup) baking dish.
Heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Wash, halve, and stone the plums and place in a bowl. Peel the apples, core and thinly slice and add to the bowl.
Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and toss to coat. Then add the port and stir to mix. Spoon into the baking dish and put to one side.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Now rub in the butter to form breadcrumbs. Then stir through the caster/superfine sugar and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and yogurt. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then pour in the egg and yogurt mixture. Bring the mixtures together to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.
Shape into small balls (about 16) and drop over the fruit. Then sprinkle with the remaining demerara sugar.
Bake for 30–35 minutes until the cobbler has risen and is golden.
Oh so quick and just perfect for a summer’s supper. Breaded pork tenderloin that has been flattened to produce thin steaks are quickly sautéed. Serve with a lemon wedge to squeeze over and a mixed green salad on the side.
140g (5 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs (3 cups, or about 6 slices of bread with crusts)
2 tbsp oil (not olive oil)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
A green salad
Lay one portion of pork on a board, cover with cling film/wrap and, using a rolling pin, gently bash the pork to flatten to an even thickness about 1.25cm (½ inch). Peel away the cling film/wrap and transfer the pork to a plate. Repeat with the remaining three portions of pork.
Spread the flour on one plate, beat the egg in a shallow bowl, and then spread the breadcrumbs on a second plate.
Pat dry the pieces of pork and then coat each one first in flour, gently shaking off any excess. Then dip in the egg and finally coat with the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet and add the pork steaks. Fry over a medium to low heat for 5 minutes. Turn and fry the other side for a further 5 minutes until golden and the pork is cooked through.
When we were grocery shopping this week, our fish counter was displaying some wild cod and it looked so good – really white and chunky. I couldn’t resist buying some and I cooked it making a provençal dish. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
It is not often we see wild fish to buy here in Canada, the main one we do see being wild pacific salmon, but I buy it when I can because there is certainly a difference. Once I found out how farmed fish was produced, with all its potential toxins, it made me realise just how much we have forgone quality for quantity. But that’s another story.
Anyway, we enjoyed our fish supper and hope you will want to try it too.
A nutritious fish dish that is full of flavour. The chunky piece of cod is baked with sliced peppers, plum tomatoes and garlic in a tomato, herb and wine sauce.
2 x 400g tins Italian plum tomatoes (1 x 28 fl oz can)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano or 3 sprigs of fresh (leaves only)
salt and freshly milled black pepper
28 g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick) plus extra for greasing
You will also need a large sauté pan and an ovenproof dish that is large enough to take the fish in a single layer.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Heat the oil in the pan and add the peppers. Over a medium heat, sauté for 3–4 minutes, to soften, tossing occasionally.
Then drain the tomatoes and reserve the juice. Add the tomatoes to the pan along with the garlic, wine, lemon juice, and oregano. Season. Stir in 3 tablespoons of reserved tomato juice and then simmer for a further 3–4 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease the ovenproof dish. Cut the fish into 4 portions and place in the dish. Season.
Now pour the vegetables over the fish and dot with the butter.
Bake towards the top of the oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Baste half way through cooking.
I love making crêpes to fill with summer fruits. They are so light and make a really impressive summer dessert.
Crêpes aren’t difficult to make. My tip is to start off with a really hot pan and then turn the heat down a little. The pan only needs to be smeared with melted butter between cooking each one. It should just glisten, not be running with the butter.
I hope you will want to try them and enjoy them too.
Thin, light, crêpes are filled with a selection of delicious summer berries, then topped with velvety, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
300ml (10 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk (2%) (1¼ cups) OR
240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) plus 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
For the filling
450g (1 lb) selection of fresh berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, or strawberries
300ml (10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
28g (1 oz) plain/dark chocolate
You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm (8–9inch) in diameter with rounded sides.
Pop the chocolate in the freezer while preparing the rest of the recipe. It will make it easier to grate into shavings later.
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg and milk into the flour, using a balloon whisk. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together then mix in the sifted flour and salt until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-mix.
Let batter rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash the fruit and pat dry.
Then whip the cream until thick.
Now warm 5 plates in the oven.
Get the pan really hot. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Once it has melted, spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter mixture and whisk it in. Pour the remainder into a small bowl and set to one side.
Add a little butter to the pan before cooking each pancake. Just add enough to be able to tilt the pan and cover the base with the melted butter. The base should just glisten not run with butter.
Cook the pancakes over a medium–high heat. You will need 45ml (3 tbsp) of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first and use this to be able to quickly add it to the pan. Using the ladle or cup, hold it so that the base is very close to the bottom of the pan in the centre and then pour it in. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions so the batter spreads thinly over the base. If there are any holes, just fill them in with batter using a teaspoon.
Turn when the the crêpe starts to curl away from the sides of the pan, the mixture begins to bubble and the underside is golden. It should take about a minute. If it seems to be sticking to the base of the pan give it a couple of seconds more. Loosen the edge of the crêpe from the pan, then flip it over with a palette knife and cook until the underside is golden. This will only take about 30 seconds. Slip each cooked crêpe from the pan directly onto a piece of kitchen paper which will absorb any grease and keep it light and dry.
Repeat the process with the remaining batter, greasing the pan each time and stacking the crêpes up on a warmed plate as they are cooked. Put a piece of kitchen paper between each one and cover loosely with foil so the top one doesn’t dry out. Keep warm in the oven.
Grate the chocolate onto a plate to create a pile of shavings.
To serve, spoon the fruit into the middle of each crêpe. Fold two sides of the crêpe over the fruit to create a cone, then spoon a generous dollop of cream on top and, using a small spoon, sprinkle over the chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.
142ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
150g Greek yogurt (⅔ cup)
4 rounded tsp dark muscovado/soft dark brown sugar
14g (½ oz) blanched almonds (12)
You will need 4 glass dessert dishes for this recipe.
Wash and stone the plums. If they are small, leave them halved but if they are large, cut into quarters. Put them in a wide, shallow pan with the sugar, one half of the vanilla pod, strips of lemon peel and 1 tablespoon water. Then bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Now reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking until the plums are soft but still keeping their shape, about 10–15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the cream in a small pan with the remaining half of vanilla pod. Heat until it just begins to simmer and then pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Cover and chill until needed.
Next put the almonds in a small frying pan/skillet and, over a gentle heat, toast until they are just beginning to turn colour and smell nutty. Toss them frequently. Leave to cool and then chop.
Once the plums are cool, discard the vanilla pod and lemon strips. Test for sweetness. Adding 2 teaspoons of caster/superfine sugar if they are still a little tart. Spoon the plums and juice into the four glass dishes.
Now remove the vanilla pod from the chilled cream and add the yogurt. Whisk gently until the mixture has softly thickened and holds its shape. Then spoon the cream mixture over the plums and level the surface.
Sprinkle 1 rounded teaspoon of the muscovado/soft dark brown sugar over the cream in each pot.
Sprinkle over the chopped almonds.
Cover and chill for 3 hours. (The sugar on the top will have melted.)