Jam Oaties

These jam oaties are soft biscuits with a dollop of raspberry jam in the centre – very yummy.

Jam Oaties

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12–15 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 85 g (3 oz) light muscovado/soft light brown sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • 85 g (3 oz) plain/all-purpose flour, sifted (⅔ cup)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 115 g (4 oz) porridge oats/quick cooking rolled oats (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • about 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • You will also need two baking sheets, lightly greased.
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and beat until combined.
  • Then fold in the flour and soda .
  • Finally, fold in the oats.
  • Place dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to the baking sheets, spacing them well apart. The mixture should produce 12–14 biscuits.
  • Now flour the tip of your thumb and make a small depression in the centre of each biscuit, taking care not to press down too far.
  • Spoon a heaped ½ teaspoon of jam into each indentation .
  • Bake for 12–15 minutes until just firm, swapping the trays over halfway through baking.
  • Remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 5 minutes to firm up. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Chocolate Marble Cake

This recipe makes a really light and airy cake. Perfect on its own or served with whipped cream.

Chocolate Marble Cake

8 servings
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz) milk (½ cup)
  • 1 x 100g bar plain/dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids
  • 60 ml (2½ fl oz) crème fraîche (¼ cup) (sour cream can be used as a substitute)
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 170 g (6 oz) butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 170 g (6 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), lightly beaten
  • 225 g (8 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour, sifted (1¾ cups)
  • salt
  • icing/powdered sugar to dust

Equipment

  • You will also need a bundt pan with a base measurement of 20 cm (8 inches), greased and dusted with flour, or a 20 cm (8 inch) springform cake pan, sides greased and dusted with flour, base lined with baking parchment.
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
  • Break up the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl with half the milk. Sit the bowl over a pan of just simmering water to melt the chocolate, about 5 minutes. Make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir the chocolate and milk until combined and then put to one side to cool.
  • Now in a small bowl, lightly whisk together the remaining milk, crème fraîche (or sour cream), and brandy. Put to one side.
  • Next, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Now gradually add the eggs until the mixture is smooth. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the mixture.
  • Using a large metal spoon fold in half the flour with a pinch of salt and then add half the milk mixture. Repeat using the remaining flour and milk mixture.
  • Spoon slightly less than half the cake mixture into a separate bowl and quickly mix in the melted chocolate.
  • Then combine both batches of the cake, marbling lightly so that both mixtures are still apparent.
  • Carefully spoon into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes, until a fine skewer comes out clean when poked through the centre of the cake.
  • Leave in the pan until the cake is fairly cool and then turn out on to a wire rack.
  • Dust the top with icing/powdered sugar to serve.
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Homemade Traditional Mixed Peel

Perfect for use in festive baking, fruit cakes, fruit buns, and more.

Mixed peel is very difficult to find in North America. I like to use it when baking fruit cakes and fruit buns, and especially when it comes to traditional English festive recipes.

The traditional fruits to use are lemons and oranges and this is a very simple recipe. One advantage is that you can freeze it in small batches so it will be there just when you need it.

Homemade Traditional Mixed Peel

  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes
  • Standing time: 2–3 days
  • Ingredients
  • 5 average sized citrus fruits, traditionally lemons and oranges
  • 280 g (10 oz) granulated sugar (1½ cups)
  • Method
  • Wash the fruit, scrubbing the peel, and then cut each fruit in half.
  • Squeeze the juice from the fruit which can then be refrigerated and used in other recipes.
  • Now cut each piece of fruit in half again so you are working with a quarter piece.
  • With a sharp knife, scrape out all the remaining fruit segments, leaving as much of the pith as possible.
  • Then cut the peel into approximately 0.75 cm (¼ inch) wide pieces and put in a large pan.
  • Add water to the pan so it just covers the peel and then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Drain as much of the liquid as possible by using a colander and then tip the peel back into the pan.
  • Repeat the process by just covering the peel with fresh water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Now, drain off the liquid again, but this time reserve 120 ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup).
  • Put the peel in a bowl and leave on one side.
  • Now pour the reserved liquid into the pan and add 120 ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) water.
  • Take two thirds of the sugar, 190 g (6½ oz) (1 cup), and add it to the pan.
  • Gently bring the liquid to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Once the sugar syrup has come to a boil, pour it over the peel. Cover the bowl and leave to stand overnight.
  • Next day, transfer the peel, the liquid, and remaining sugar to a pan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and drain well.
  • Spread the peel out on two large baking trays/sheets covered with baking paper/parchment. Leave to dry. This can take 24–48 hours. Occasionally move the peel about with a fork to keep the pieces separate.
  • It can now be stored in the fridge for up to one month or divided into small batches and put in snap lock freezer bags and frozen.
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Old Fashioned Rock Cakes

Rock Cakes

Scrumptious, light and crumbly little rock cakes that are made with mixed fruits and spices.

Old Fashioned Rock Cakes

12 cakes
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 18 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 325 g (12 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (2⅔ cups)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 170 g (6 oz) light brown sugar ( cup)
  • ¼ nutmeg, grated
  • ½ tsp mixed spice, or pumpkin pie spice
  • 170 g (6 oz) butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) currants (⅓ cup)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) sultanas (⅓ cup)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) raisins (⅓ cup)
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/ extra large (N.A.), beaten
  • 1 –2 tbsp milk

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)

  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  • Mix in the sugar, breaking up any lumps that cling together.
  • Next mix in the spices.
  • Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Now stir through the dried fruits.

  • Sprinkle the egg over the mixture and start to bind in, adding a little milk, as necessary, until a stiff dough has formed.
  • Make 12 mounds of the dough on the baking sheets but do not smooth them out, the surface needs to look irregular.

  • Bake in the oven for 18 minutes until they become golden brown.

  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Store in an airtight container.
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Quick Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

A dessert of sheer indulgence. Extend summer a little longer while being able to find strawberries. Here a rich chocolate mousse that is so quick to prepare is topped with an up-to-date method of presenting strawberries. The result – a decadent dessert to enjoy.

Quick Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Chilling time: 30 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 225 g (8 oz) plain/dark chocolate (70% solids)
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (¾ cup)
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (¾ cup)
  • 90 ml (3 fl oz) light olive oil (⅓ cup)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 225 g (8 oz) strawberries
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • a few basil leaves
  • salt
  • You will also need 4 glass pots.
  • Method
  • Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a bowl.
  • Pour the cream and milk into a small pan and bring to just boiling. Immediately remove from the heat.
  • Now slowly pour over the chocolate. Stir together to melt the chocolate.
  • Gradually add the olive oil and then briskly whisk into the chocolate until well blended.
  • Add a pinch of salt.
  • Pour an equal amount into each pot so it fills up to three-quarters full.
  • Chill for 30 minutes to set the mousse.
  • Meanwhile, wash and pat dry the strawberries. Then hull and cut into quarters. Place in a bowl.
  • Drizzle over a little olive oil.
  • Reserve 4 whole basil leaves and tear the remainder into small pieces. Add to the strawberries with a pinch of salt and mix in.
  • Then spoon on top of the chocolate mousse.
  • Decorate each pot with a whole basil leaf.
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Egg and Bacon Flan

A simple flan that is quick to make and ideal to serve with a green salad.

Egg and Bacon Flan

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Chilling time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry case
  • 140 g (5 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (CA)/all-purpose flour (US) (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • pinch of salt
  • 40 g (1½ oz) unsalted, chilled butter, diced (3 tbsp)
  • 28 g (1 oz) lard, diced (2 tbsp)
  • For the filling
  • 2 rashers, back bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) single/table cream (⅔ cup)
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper

Equipment

  • You will also need a 15 cm (6 inch) flan tin.
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
  • For the pastry case
  • Sift the flour and salt into a food processor.
  • Add butter and lard and whizz until the fats are blended in and the mixture resembles dried breadcrumbs.
  • Sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of very cold water and whiz again, until the pastry starts coming together.
  • Tip out onto the work surface and gently knead to bind and become smooth.
  • Wrap in clingfilm/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Then roll out and use to line the flan tin.
  • Neaten the edge by rolling the rolling pin over the top. Discard any trimmings.
  • For the filling
  • Snip the bacon into pieces and spread over the pastry base.
  • Beat the eggs and cream together.
  • Then add plenty of seasoning.
  • Pour over the bacon.
  • Bake for 35–40 minutes, until the filling has just set.

Serve

  • Can be served warm or cold.
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Summer Fruit Brûlée

This is a lovely summer brûlée with a fruity mix of berries and currants. The fruit is topped with a whipped creamy filling and then a crunchy caramelised topping.

Summer Fruit Brûlée

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Chilling and cooling time: about 5 hours
  • Cooking time: about 15 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 700 g (1 lb 8 oz) soft fruits, a mix of blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, and redcurrants or other suitable soft fruit
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 285 g (10 oz) Greek yogurt
  • 285 ml carton whipping/heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 170 g (6 oz) demerara sugar (⅔ cup)

Equipment

  • You will also need a shallow rectangular heatproof dish with a base measurement of 25.5 x 16 cm (10 x 6½ inches) and 5 cm (2 inches) deep.
  • Method
  • You need to start preparing this dish early in the day as it needs to cool and chill between each stage.
  • First wash the fruit, remove any stalks from the blackcurrants and run the tines of a fork down the stalks of the redcurrants to separate the stalks from the currants.
  • Put the fruit in a pan and sprinkle over the sugar.
  • Now put the pan over a gentle heat for 3–5 minutes, until the sugar has just melted and the juices begin to run. Don’t stir the fruit but just move it around because you want to avoid breaking it down.
  • Summer Fruit Brûlée
  • Now tip the fruit into the shallow dish and leave it to become quite cold.
  • Summer Fruit Brûlée
  • Then spoon the yogurt into a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it is thick and then fold it into the yogurt.
  • Cover the fruit with the cream mixture, making sure it goes right to the edge of the dish and completely covers the fruit. Level the surface.
  • Summer Fruit Brûlée
  • Cover with cling-film/plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
  • 2 hours before you want to serve the brûlée, spread the surface thickly and evenly with the demerara sugar.
  • The easiest way to caramelise the sugar is to use a chef’s blowtorch but if you prefer to use the grill/broiler then you need to turn it on to a high setting and allow 15 minutes for it to get really hot.
  • Next, spray the sugar very lightly with water (a small plastic spray bottle is perfect for this), which will help the sugar melt and speed up the caramelisation process.
  • If using a blowtorch, aim the tip of the flame above one section of the sugar and once the sugar has melted and is bubbling move onto the next section. It will take about 10 minutes to completely melt all the sugar and turn it a dark golden brown colour.
  • Summer Fruit Brûlée
  • If not using a blowtorch, place the dish under the grill/broiler as close to the heat source as possible. Again heat the sugar until it has melted and turned a dark golden brown colour.
  • Now leave to cool and then chill again until ready to serve, when the caramelised sugar will form a crusty surface.
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Creamy Lemon Tart with Redcurrants

This is a very creamy lemon tart which balances the tartness of the redcurrants. These are scattered over the top of the tart just before serving.

Creamy Lemon Tart with Redcurrants

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Chilling time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Cooling time: about 2 hours
  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 200 g (7 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1½ cups)
  • 2 tsp caster/superfine sugar
  • 100 g (3½ oz) cold butter, cut into cubes (⅓ cup + 2 tbsp, or 1 stick less 1 tbsp)
  • pinch of salt
  • For the filling
  • 2 lemons
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), yolk only
  • 85 g (3 oz) unsalted butter cut into cubes (³⁄₈ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • To serve
  • redcurrants
  • icing/powdered sugar for dusting
  • Equipment
  • You will also need a 20 cm (8 inch) loose-based tart tin.
  • Method
  • For the pastry
  • Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  • Rub in the butter, at the same time lifting the flour well out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible.
  • When the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs, add the sugar.
  • Then sprinkle over 2½ tablespoons of cold water and, using a palette knife, bring the mixture together until it begins to form clumps. Add a little more water (no more than ½ tablespoon) if the mixture seems dry. Using your hands, bring together into a ball by kneading lightly.
  • Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes to relax the pastry.
  • (Alternatively, use a food processor.)
  • Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 5 cm (2 inches) larger than the size of the tart tin.
  • Carefully transfer to the tin without stretching the pastry and gently press down into the sides. Then trim the pastry by running the rolling-pin over the top to cut the pastry level with the rim. Prick the pastry base all over and return to the fridge for a further 20 minutes to firm up.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas mark 6).
  • Line the pastry with baking paper and add baking beans, making sure they spread to the edge. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5–10 minutes until golden.
  • Put to one side to cool a little before filling.
  • For the filling
  • Meanwhile, make the filling.
  • Zest one lemon and put to one side.
  • Now strain the juice of both lemons into a large bowl.
  • Add the sugar, whole eggs, and egg yolk and whisk until just combined.
  • Place the bowl over a pan of just simmering water and add the cubes of butter, one at a time, whisking until each one has melted.
  • Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken.
  • Now stir in the cream and lemon zest.
  • Remove the bowl from the pan.
  • Carefully remove the pastry case from its tin and place on a baking sheet.
  • Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for a further 12–15 minutes until the filling is just set.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Just before serving, decorate the top with redcurranrs (you can leave them on their stalks) and dust icing/powered sugar over the tart using a small sieve.
  • Serve at room temperature.
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Strawberry Cream Pots

Strawberry Cream Pots

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Chilling time: 4 hours
  • Ingredients
  • 285 g (10 oz) strawberries (punnet or about 2 cups)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) single/table cream (⅔ cup)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 140 g (5 oz) crème fraîche
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • You will also need 4 ramekin dishes with a capacity of 150 ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) or 4 small pretty dessert dishes.
  • Method
  • 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.
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Red Berry Jelly

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

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Setting time: 6 hours or overnight
  • Ingredients
  • 250 g (9 oz) strawberries (about 2 cups)
  • 170 g (6 oz) raspberries (1½ cups)
  • 115 g (4 oz) redcurrants (¾ cup)
  • 140 g (5 oz) caster/superfine sugar (⅔ cup)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 sheets fine leaf gelatine OR
  • sachets of powdered gelatine
  • You will also need a 1 litre (4 cup) jelly mould or six individual glass dessert dishes.
  • Method
  • 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.
  • Note
  • Can be served with single/table cream or dollops of whipped whipping cream/whipping or heavy cream and extra fresh raspberries.
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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.

Oat and Sultana Cookies

Lots of goodies in this soft cookie. These large cookies are smothered with sultanas and have a hint of lemon in the oaty mixture too.

Oat and Sultana Cookies

12 cookies
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12–15 minutes
  • Standing time: 5 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 85 g (3 oz) light muscovado/soft light brown sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
  • 140 g (5 oz) rolled oats (1⅓ cups)
  • 55 g (2 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (½ cup)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 85 g (3 oz) sultanas (⅓ cup)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg until combined.
  • Now, using a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, flour, baking powder, lemon zest, sultanas, and maple syrup.
  • Dust a work surface with a little flour and then make 12 even-sized balls from the mixture.
  • Place them on one large or two smaller baking sheets, spacing them well apart.
  • Bake for 12–15 minutes until golden in colour.
  • Leave to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Mustard Roasted Potatoes with Cherry Tomatoes

When you are looking for a potato dish that is just a little bit different, this is a super recipe with lots of flavour. 

Baby potatoes are tossed in wholegrain mustard and olive oil and then roasted. Cherry tomatoes are added near the end of roasting – just until they start to burst their skins.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes with Cherry Tomatoes

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 1 kg (2 lb 2 oz)baby potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 300 g (11 oz) cherry tomatoes
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
  • Put the potatoes in a medium-sized roasting pan. Add the oil, mustard, and seasoning and mix together until the potatoes are coated.
  • Roast the potatoes for 45 minutes or until they are tender.
  • Then add the cherry tomatoes and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until their skins begin to burst.
  • Serve.
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