Simple to prepare, this tasty pasta dish gets cooked in one pan in just under 30 minutes. Lamb is cooked in a red wine, tomato and thyme sauce with farfalle (bow-tie pasta). Great served with a leafy salad, and crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
Strawberry tartlets always say summer to me. These are very light and have a sweet, crisp pastry base which is filled with a creamy custard filling and topped with glazed strawberries. Mmm…just perfect!
115g (4oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
few drops vanilla extract
For the filling
Bird’s Custard Powder
120ml (4 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (½ cup)
285g (12 oz) small strawberries, washed and hulled (about 2 cups)
120ml (4 fl oz) whipping cream/double or heavy cream (½ cup)
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
You will also need 4 x 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins.
For the sweet pastry
In a medium-sized mixing bowl cream together the egg yolks, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.
Sift the flour and add to the bowl. Now mix to from a firm dough.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Then wrap in a plastic food bag and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Roll out the pastry thinly and then cut rounds 3.8cm (1½ inches) larger than the tartlet tin, re-rolling the pastry until there are 4 rounds. (Rolling it between two large sheets of cling film/wrap that have been dusted with flour will prevent the pastry sticking to the rolling pin.) Line the tartlet tins, pressing the pastry gently down into the edges of the tins. Now roll the rolling pin over the top of each tin to remove the excess pastry. Prick the base, using the tines of a fork, to allow air trapped underneath to escape and chill again while the oven is heating up.
Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Line the pastry with parchment paper and baking beans, then bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for about 5 minutes until lightly golden and crisp. Leave to cool, then remove from the tins.
For the filling
Meanwhile make up the custard according to the directions on the packet using 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) milk. (You want a thick custard). Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with cling film/wrap to prevent it forming a skin. Leave to become cold.
Now whip the cream until stiff. Then whip the cold custard to loosen it and fold in the whipped cream until thoroughly combined. Spoon into the tart cases and level the tops.
Decorate with the strawberries, cutting them, if necessary, into halves or quarters depending on their size.
Add a little boiling water the jelly (about 1 teaspoon). Stir to melt the jelly and then brush over the strawberries to glaze.
3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
170g (6 oz) butter, cut into small cubes (¾ cup, or ½ stick)
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
baby potatoes and green beans
You will also need a large shallow frying pan/skillet with lid
Lay the salmon fillets side by side in the shallow pan/skillet along with the bay leaf and peppercorns. Cut four slices from the lemon and add them to the pan. Cover the salmon with cold water and add the lid. Now bring the water to a boil then remove the pan/skillet from the heat and leave for 5 minutes to finish cooking the salmon.
Meanwhile, squeeze 1 tablespoon juice from the rest of the lemon and add it to a small pan along with the vinegar. Bring to a boil, then let it bubble rapidly over a medium heat until it has reduced by half. It will reduce very quickly so you need to watch it. Put to one side to cool a little while bringing a little water to a gentle simmer in another pan.
Whisk together the egg yolks in a bowl that will fit over the pan of simmering water and then add the cooled vinegar and lemon juice. Place the bowl over the pan and add the butter, one cube at a time, whisking until it has melted. Continue whisking until all the butter has been added and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the bowl immediately from the heat, stir in the herbs and season.
Using a fish slice, drain the salmon fillets and put them on serving plates and then pour the sauce over each fillet.
First measure out the frozen berries and leave to thaw.
For the meringue
Heat the oven to 140°C (235°F) (gas 1).
Zest the lemon and and then squeeze out the juice into a small bowl.
Now put the egg whites and lemon zest into a large bowl and whisk until firm peaks form.
Gradually add the caster/white sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
Sprinkle over 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and reserve the rest for the raspberries. Whisk briefly to mix.
Now carefully fold in the sifted icing sugar using a large metal spoon or spatula.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper dabbing a bit of the meringue from the whisk onto each corner first to keep the paper in place.
Now spoon four rough circles of the meringue onto the parchment paper. Take a metal teaspoon and dip it in some hot (not boiling) water and make a depression in the centre of each meringue. Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Remove and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. If you like a crispier meringue and you have time, then leave in the oven to cool.
For the raspberries
Gently wash the fresh raspberries and put to one side for decoration.
Now add the thawed berries to a blender with the sugar and 2 tablespoons of reserved lemon juice. Add 60ml (2 fl oz) (¼ cup) water. Purée and then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the pips.
Measure 180ml (6 fl oz) (¾ cup) of the purée into a small pan and stir constantly over a medium heat until reduced by a half. This will take 6–7 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and leave to cool. It will become the texture of jam.
Bring the remaining purée to the boil then simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
For the filling
Place the fromage frais into a bowl with the icing/powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat together until combined. Chill until needed.
Spoon the reduced raspberry ‘jam’ into the centre of the meringues and top with the filling. Then decorate with the fresh raspberries and pour the raspberry sauce over top.
Chicken goujons are a great hit with young family members, with or without the mustard sauce. (They can always leave the creamy mustard sauce for the grown-ups!)
The lemon and thyme marinade makes the chicken really juicy and tender before it is covered in breadcrumbs and sautéed. Served with a creamy sauce which has a blend of mustards and a little horseradish for an extra kick.
3 large chicken breasts cut into strips, about 400g (14 oz)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp flour, seasoned
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup fresh fine white breadcrumbs (2 slices bread)
oil for frying (not olive oil)
For the sauce
140ml (5 fl oz) crème fraîche (⅔ cup)
1½ tsp Dijon or English mustard
1½ tsp whole-grain mustard
½ tsp horseradish sauce
Can be served with sautéd potatoes (see recipe below) and fine green beans
For the goujons
Place the chicken strips in a shallow dish. Sprinkle over the thyme and lemon juice then add 5 teaspoons of the olive oil. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
Spread the seasoned flour on a plate.
Lightly beat the egg in a shallow bowl and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
Spread the breadcrumbs over a second plate.
Now drain the chicken and pat dry.
Toss the chicken strips in the seasoned flour, then dip them into the egg and finally roll in the breadcrumbs until well coated.
Place on a plate and chill for 15 minutes.
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan/skillet. You want just enough to prevent the chicken from sticking. Add the chicken and fry over a medium–low heat for 10 minutes, turning frequently, until crisp and golden all over.
Roll them on kitchen paper to absorb any oil before serving.
For the sauce
Stir all the ingredients together until combined and serve separately.
Place potatoes in a pan with cold, salted water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 7 minutes. Now drain and leave for a few minutes until they are cool enough to handle. Dice into 1 inch chunks.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Season potatoes and add to pan. Cook, turning frequently, until browned, crisp and cooked through, about 10–15 minutes.
115g (4 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup)
60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
For the filling
450g (1 lb) strawberries (about 3 cups)
500ml (16 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream or heavy cream (2 cups)
1 tbsp icing sugar/powdered sugar, plus extra to dust
You will also need a heavy gauge aluminium frying pan
Warm 5 plates in the oven.
Stir the milk and water together.
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and break in the eggs. Using an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs into the flour gradually adding the milk and incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from around the edge of the bowl with a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is smooth. It should be the consistency of thin cream. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash, hull, and pat dry the strawberries. Cut any large strawberries into quarters and smaller ones in half so they will all be of a similar size. Set to one side.
Pour the cream into a large bowl and add the icing sugar. Whisk until stiff.
When the batter has stood for its 20 minutes, start cooking the crêpes.
First, melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter mixture and whisk in. Then pour the rest into a small bowl and set aside to use for greasing the pan.
Wipe the pan clean with a piece of kitchen paper and then turn up the heat to get the pan really hot first.
Now turn the heat down to a medium setting and smear the pan with a little butter. It does not need to be running with butter. Smear the pan between cooking each crêpe.
Use about 3 tablespoons of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first as a guide as the batter needs to be tipped into the pan quickly. Pour the batter into the pan close to the surface and in the centre. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip the pan from side to side to swirl the batter, and evenly coat the base of the pan. If there are any holes, just fill them in with a little batter using a teaspoon. It will only take a minute to cook.
Lift the edge with a palette knife to check the underside is golden, then flip the crêpe over, using the palette knife, and cook the the underside. It will cook very quickly. Slide it out of the pan onto a piece of kitchen paper on one of the warmed plates.
Continue until you have 8 crepes, overlapping them on the plate with a sheet of kitchen paper between each one. Return the plate to the oven as you cook them covering the top one with a piece of foil so it won’t dry out.
Now fold the strawberries into the cream.
Fold each crepe in half and lay 2 on a plate. Then divide the strawberries and cream between the 8 crêpes, spooning the mixture inside the fold.
225g (8 oz) frozen French beans/whole beans (1¼ cups)
2 sheets medium egg noodles,140g (5 oz) (1¾ cups)
1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
2 tbsp soy sauce
300ml (10 fl oz) orange juice (1¼ cups, or juice of 3 medium oranges)
2 tbsp runny/liquid honey
3 spring/green onions
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
You will also need a large frying pan/skillet or wok.
Prepare everything first as this dish does not take long to cook.
Slice the pork thinly into medallions. Peel and crush the garlic clove. Peel, wash, and cut the carrots into batons, 5cm (2 inch) lengths and 1.25cm (½ inch) thick. Cut the beans so they are about 5cm (2 inches) in length. Trim and thinly slice the onions.
Now everything is prepared, you are ready to start cooking.
Cook the noodles according to the directions on the packet and then drain.
Meanwhile heat the oil in the pan over a moderate heat, then add the pork and fry on both sides for about 2 minutes until they start to brown.
Add the garlic, ginger, carrots, and beans to the pan and fry for a further 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables are cooking, mix together the cornflour/cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water. Stir in the soy sauce, orange juice and honey.
Once the vegetables have finished cooking, pour the sauce into the pan and stir until it starts to thicken, 1–2 minutes.
Stir through the drained noodles and spring/green onions. Then sprinkle the coriander over the top and serve.
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.
Pour the milk in a small pan and add the vanilla pod or vanilla extract. Slowly heat on the lowest setting for 10 minutes, without boiling.
Meanwhile put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in the sugar to make a paste.
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. Do not let it boil. You want it to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and cool.
Meanwhile, cut each sponge finger in half and lay in a shallow bowl. Drizzle over the wine or sherry.
Now wash and pat dry the fruits. Remove the currants from their stalks, hull and halve the strawberries. Set aside half the berries and currants, picking out the best. 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 the spoon to get all the remaining sauce.
Roughly chop the pistachio nuts or walnuts.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and then fold in the cooled custard.
Now to arrange the plates. Carefully toss the reserved fruit with half the purée and spoon into the centre of each plate.
Divide the sponge fingers between the plates arranging them around the edge.
Pour the custard over half of each the sponge finger then sprinkle the nuts on top.
Pour the remaining purée over the fruit and serve.
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.
170g (6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 1¼ cups)
1 tbsp sugar
For the topping
85g (3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about ⅔ cup)
55g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
2 tbsp slivered almonds
You will also need a 17cm (6½ in) square metal baking tin at least 5cm (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 24cm (9½ in) square tin.
Cut two sheets of baking parchment larger than the baking tin so that they can be laid across one another and overhang the edges of the tin on all sides. Press well into the corners of the tin.
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 tin, 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.
Now slice the strawberries and put into a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl and leave until the strawberries are ready. It should not thaw completely.
Purée the strawberries until smooth, then pour over the top of the ice cream or yogurt. Stir until well blended. Then spoon evenly over the chocolate base in the tin 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 over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.). Remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate to the bowl. 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. Drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.
140g (5 oz) plain/semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
You will also need a piping bag fitted with a 12.5mm (½ inch) star-shaped nozzle
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Measure the butter in a large bowl and sift in the sugar. Beat vigorously until soft and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract.
Now gradually add the sifted flour, mixing to make a soft dough.
Spoon into the piping bag and pipe 6.5cm (2½ inch) lengths onto baking trays/cookie sheets, cutting the dough off at the nozzle with a small knife. The dough should yield about 30 biscuits.
Bake for 18 minutes. Then remove from the oven and leave for 2 minutes. Now, using a palette knife, carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool. They will be very delicate until they have cooled completely.
Next place a basin over a pan of just-simmering water and add half the chocolate. Once melted, remove from the heat and then add the remaining chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and is of a smooth consistency. This makes for a lovely shiny chocolate coating.
Place kitchen paper beneath the wire racks to catch any chocolate drips. Then dip each end of the biscuits in the melted chocolate (you may not need all the chocolate). Return them to the wire racks and leave until the chocolate has set.
Apple crumble – a very classic dish. The first dessert I ever made. Here sultanas are added to the apples to make it a little more interesting and also giving it more flavour. Using oats as well as flour for the crumble topping reduces its sweetness too. A very tasty crumble.
You will also need an ovenproof dish and a baking tray/sheet for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a large bowl along with the sultanas, sugar, and spice. Toss to mix. Now tip into the ovenproof dish and even out the top.
Squeeze the juice from the half-lemon and sprinkle over the fruit. Then put to one side while making the topping.
For the topping
Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the oats. Now rub in the butter. Next mix in the sugar. Spoon over the fruit and lightly press down.
Put the dish on the baking tray/sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (350°F) (gas 5) and bake for a further 30–40 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the juices are bubbling around the edge.