Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Tasty Breadcrumbs

Baked fish and tomatoes with tasty breadcrumbs

 

A simple fish dish, cooked on a bed of rice with buttery garlic and onion sautéed breadcrumbs.

 

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Tasty Breadcrumbs
Prepares: 4 servings (picture shows 2)
 
  • Preparation time: 35–45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes (oven)

  • Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 4 x 140g (5 oz) white fish fillets, skinned (e.g. haddock)
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • ground black pepper
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) white wine (¼ cup)
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (about 2 slices of bread)
  • 7g (¼ oz) fresh parsley, finely chopped (should yield about ¼ cup)
  • ½ lemon

  • To serve
  • seasonal vegetables

  • You will also need an ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4

  3. Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) of 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.

  4. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Then leave for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.

  5. Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.

  6. Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. (It will not be fully cooked at this point.) Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and pour over the wine. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.

  7. Now melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet, add the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.

  8. 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 golden brown.

  9. Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.

Updated: September 18, 2018

Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad

 

A truly amazing Caesar salad. Golden chicken strips, crispy bacon pieces, home-made chunky croutons, romaine lettuce and parmesan flakes, all tossed in a home-made dressing.

 

Chicken Caesar Salad
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 55 minutes
  • Marinading time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
  • 3 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 170g (6 oz) dry-cured, smoked streaky bacon/side bacon (about 6 rashers)
  • 1 small romaine lettuce
  • 55g (2 oz) parmesan flakes (½ cup)

  • For the chunky croutons
  • 3 slices Italian bread
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

  • For the dressing
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1½ tbsp fromage frais
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • You will also need a large glass serving bowl.


  1. Method
  2. Chicken Caesar Salad
  3. Cut the chicken into strips and put in a glass or ceramic shallow dish.

  4. Combine the lemon juice, oil, garlic, and herbs with 2 tablespoons of water and pour over the chicken. Cover and leave to marinade for 1 hour, turning halfway through.
  5. Chicken Caesar Salad
  6. Meanwhile prepare the croutons. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) (gas 2)

  7. Remove the crusts from the bread and tear into large chunks. Put in a bowl.

  8. Now sprinkle over the olive oil, add the pepper and toss together.

  9. Spread over a baking tray/sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

  10. Once the chicken has marinated begin cooking the bacon. Cut each rasher into three, heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet and cook the bacon until it is crispy. Remove from the pan/skillet and drain on kitchen paper.
  11. Chicken Caesar Salad
  12. While the bacon is cooking, drain the chicken and pat dry. Once the bacon has been removed from the pan/skillet, pour off most of the fat and then add the chicken to the pan/skillet. Cook over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, turning frequently, until golden and cooked through. Put to one side with the bacon.
  13. Chicken Caesar Salad
  14. Now prepare the lettuce. Pull the leaves apart and plunge into iced cold water for 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  15. Chicken Caesar Salad
  16. Meanwhile prepare the dressing. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, and garlic until well combined. Then stir in the fromage frais and season.
  17. Chicken Caesar Salad
  18. Chicken Caesar Salad
  19. Tear the lettuce leaves into bite size pieces and add to the serving bowl. Now add the chicken, bacon, half the parmesan flakes and pour over the dressing. Toss everything together. Add the croutons and toss again.Chicken Caesar Salad
  20. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and serve immediately.

 

Garlic Bread by the Slice

Garlic Bread

 

Very quick to prepare, garlic bread by the slice is very handy when a whole garlic baguette isn’t needed.

 

Garlic Bread by the Slice
Prepares: 2 slices
 
  • Preparation time: About 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 slices French bread*
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped


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

  3. Combine the garlic and parsley with the butter. Now spread each slice of bread on one side with the garlic butter. Arrange on a baking tray and cover with foil.

  4. Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking.

  5. *To store the French bread
  6. Take one loaf of French bread and remove the crusts from both ends. Slice the loaf into thick slices, about 1.25cm (½ inch). Separate the number of slices usually required for a meal by a piece of baking parchment. (This makes it easier to remove just a few slices at a time from the freezer to thaw.) Wrap the bread in foil and freeze.

  7. When needed just thaw the required number of slices and follow the recipe above.

  8. We enjoy lovely home-baked bread and if you would like to bake your own French bread, you could follow Paul’s recipe for Crusty French Bread.

Updated: September 16, 2018

Buttercrisp Baby Potatoes

Buttercrisp Baby Potatoes

 

When you want a different way of cooking baby potatoes, give this recipe a try.

 

Buttercrisp Baby Potatoes
Prepares: 3 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (l lb) new/baby potatoes
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick), OR
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse salt, for sprinkling

  • You will need a large lidded sauté pan.


  1. Method
  2. Scrub or scrape the potatoes. Cut larger ones in half, as you do want the size to be small.

  3. Heat the butter or oil in the pan and, when hot, add the potatoes and shake the pan so they are well coated with the butter or oil.

  4. Cover with the lid and let them cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally to turn the potatoes. When cooked they will be crisp and golden brown on the outside and tender inside. Sprinkle with coarse salt and serve at once.

 

Steak Béarnaise

Steak Béarnaise

 

I love cooking steak in the summer and it is always good to have a selection of different sauces to choose from so the meal can be a little different each time.

This traditional French Béarnaise Sauce is so lovely and creamy and a perfect match with a simply cooked good steak.

 

Steak Béarnaise
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the steaks
  • 14g (½ oz) butter (1 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 x 170g (6 oz) steaks (rib eye, sirloin or other good quality steak)

  • For the Béarnaise Sauce
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, cut into small pieces (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

  • Serving suggestion
  • fries and peas


  1. Method
  2. For the steaks
  3. Season the steaks.

  4. Now heat a large frying pan/skillet and add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted and is foaming, add the steaks. Fry them, over a medium heat, for 2 minutes each side for medium rare, 3 minutes for medium, 5–6 minutes for well done. Or BBQ them.

  5. Transfer to a warm plate, cover and let them rest for five minutes.

  6. For the Béarnaise Sauce
  7. While the steaks are cooking, put the vinegar and shallot in a small pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer to reduce to about 1 tablespoon. This will only take a minute or two. Strain and leave to cool a little.

  8. Now in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with some seasoning and then add the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of warm water.

  9. While the steaks are resting, place the bowl with the egg mixture over a pan of just simmering water. Add the butter, a knob at a time, stirring until each knob has melted before adding the next. Continue stirring until the sauce is shiny and thick. Once it has thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped tarragon.

  10. To serve
  11. Spoon the sauce alongside the steaks.

Updated: September 12, 2018

Drunken Peaches

Drunken Peaches

 

Quick to prepare and just perfect for a late summer dessert. Peaches and red berries are simply marinated in a peach schnapps syrup.

 

Drunken Peaches
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 3 minutes
  • Chilling time: 24 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) Archers/peach schnapps (½ cup)
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 3 medium peaches
  • 200g (7 oz) raspberries (1¾ cups) or strawberries, halved (1 cup)

  • You will also need 4 x glass serving dishes.


  1. Method
  2. Pour the schnapps into a small pan.

  3. Juice the orange and add to the pan along with the redcurrant jelly.

  4. Now heat gently to melt the jelly, stirring occasionally. Then bring to a bubble for 2–3 minutes until the liquid becomes syrupy. Pour into a large glass serving bowl and leave to cool.

  5. Meanwhile, put the peaches in a large bowl and completely cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds. Drain off the water, then replace it with cold water. The skins can then be easily removed.

  6. Halve the peaches, ease out the stones and clean up the hole left with a teaspoon.

  7. Next thinly slice the peach halves and add to the cooled syrup along with the raspberries or strawberries. Gently toss to coat with the syrup. Now cover the bowl and chill for 24 hours, stirring the fruit occasionally.

  8. Note
  9. The syrup may thicken during chilling. If it has becomes too thick by the time you are ready to serve, just add 1–2 tablespoons of orange juice to thin it down a bit.

Updated: September 12, 2018

Gratin of Sole with Broccoli

Gratin of Sole with Broccoli

 

A tasty way of serving fish that is quick to prepare and just right for a summer supper. A thick fillet of sole is grilled/broiled smothered in tiny broccoli florets and a cheesy sauce until the sauce is bubbling and golden.

 

Gratin of Sole with Broccoli
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 170g (6 oz) broccoli florets (a medium head of broccoli)
  • 40g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp, or ⅜ stick)
  • 40g (1½ oz) flour (¼ cup)
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
  • 115g (4 oz) cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • 4 large sole fillets, each weighing about 170g (6 oz)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • butter for greasing
  • 28g (1 oz) Parmesan, grated (¼ cup)
  • cayenne pepper

  • Serving suggestion
  • Baby new potatoes

  • You will also need a vegetable steamer and a large baking tray/sheet.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the grill/broiler to high.

  3. Cut the broccoli florets from the head of the broccoli and then trim and discard the stems. Separate into 1cm (½ inch) chunks and then steam for about 2 minutes until just tender. Remove the steamer from the pan and set to one side.

  4. Now melt the butter in a small pan and then add the flour and stir until smooth. Let this cook gently over a low heat for 1–2 minutes, until it starts to bubble.

  5. Meanwhile, heat the milk in the microwave for 1 minute, which will make it easier to blend into the roux. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the milk, stirring continuously until there is a smooth sauce. Return to the heat, bring the sauce to the boil and stir until it has thickened.

  6. Now remove from the heat and vigorously stir in the cheese until it has melted and blended into the sauce. (Just use the heat of the sauce to melt the cheese. Don’t put the pan over heat on the stove as this will make the cheese go oily.) Set to one side.

  7. Season the fish and then sprinkle over the lemon juice.

  8. Grease the baking tray/sheet and place under the grill/broiler for 1 minute to heat up.

  9. Now lay the fish on the tray/sheet in a single layer. They will sizzle as they touch the hot baking tray/sheet.

  10. With the grill/broiler rack 7.5cm (3 inches) from the heat, cook the fish for just 3 minutes and then remove.

  11. Carefully spoon the broccoli into the cheese sauce to evenly distribute the florets. Now spoon this over the fish and then sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top.

  12. Put the fish back under the grill/broiler and cook for a further 4 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and beginning to turn golden.

  13. Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper over each piece of fish and serve immediately.

Updated September 11, 2018

A Special Peach and Blueberry Tart

Peach and Blueberry Tart

 

This is a very easy open tart to prepare. It has a light and crispy pastry base that is filled with fresh peach slices and blueberries. What makes this extra special is the topping of crème fraîche mixed with peach schnapps liberally spooned over the tart to serve.

 

A Special Peach and Blueberry Tart
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25–30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the tart
  • 3 medium ripe peaches
  • 28g (1 oz) chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts), roasted (¼ cup)
  • 14g (½ oz) plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 50g (1¾ oz) light muscovado/soft light brown sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 1 pack frozen rolled puff pastry (you will need 250g), thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 85g (3 oz) blueberries (½ cup)

  • For the topping
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) crème fraîche (⅔ cup)
  • 2 tbsp peach schnapps

  • You will also need a shallow, rimmed baking sheet to fit a pastry circle measuring 22½ cm (9 inch).


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).

  3. If you can’t buy chopped nuts that are already roasted, then roast regular chopped nuts as follows. Heat a small frying pan/skillet and tip in the nuts. Cook over a low heat, tossing frequently, until they just begin to turn colour and smell nutty. They can burn very easily so watch them. Then put to one side to cool.

  4. Put the peaches in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 30 seconds. Drain off the water, replace with cold water and then peel away the skins.

  5. Cut each peach into half and remove the stones. Now divide each half into three and put to one side.

  6. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are finely ground (more like ground almonds). Now add the flour and 20g (¾ oz) (4 tsp) of the sugar and stir to mix in.

  7. Next unroll the pastry on a floured surface. Depending on the size of the pastry you may need to roll it a little to achieve a square that is 25cm (10 inch). Then trim the edges to make a 22½ cm (9 inch) circle. Lift this on to the baking sheet.

  8. Sprinkle the nut mixture in the centre of the circle spreading it to within an inch of the edge of the pastry.

  9. Arrange the peaches in concentric circles on top of the nut mixture.

  10. Next brush the border of the pastry with some of the egg. Then fold in the edges of the pastry, pleating them as you go, so that the folded-in edges just touch the peaches.

  11. Now scatter the blueberries on top of the peaches.

  12. Brush the pastry rim with egg and then sprinkle the whole tart with the remaining sugar.

  13. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.

  14. Meanwhile, stir the peach schnapps into the crème fraîche and spoon into a serving jug or bowl.

  15. When the tart has cooked, remove to a serving plate and serve with the peachy crème fraîche.

 

Summer Fruited Jelly

Summer Fruited Jelly

 

This is a really special jelly recipe where real redcurrant jelly is crammed with blackberries, raspberries, and redcurrants and then smothered with more fresh fruit in a raspberry coulis. Just pour a little cream on top and you have very sophisticated jelly.

 

Summer Fruited Jelly
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation times: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Setting time: at least 6 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 2½ sheets fine leaf gelatine OR
  • 1 sachet powdered gelatine
  • 450g (1 lb) redcurrants (3 cups)
  • 225g (8 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 140g (5 oz) blackberries (1 cup)
  • 300g (10½ oz) raspberries (2½ cups)

  • To serve
  • Double/whipping or heavy cream.

  • You will also need 4 × 175ml (6 fl oz) (¾ cup) mini pudding moulds. Alternatively, you can make them in one large jelly mould as shown in the photograph.


  1. Method
  2. First soften the gelatine.

  3. If using leaf gelatine, place the leaves in a bowl of cold water, snapping them in half to fit if necessary, and leave for 5 minutes to become very soft.

  4. If using powdered gelatine, stir the contents of 1 sachet into ¼ cup of cold water then add ¼ cup of boiling water and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

  5. Now mix 300g (10½ oz) (2 cups) of the redcurrants, 200g (7 oz) (1 cup) of the sugar, and 90ml (3 fl oz) (⅓ cup) water in a medium-sized pan. Slowly bring the water to the boil and then simmer briskly, uncovered, for 3 minutes to cook the redcurrants. Strain the mixture into a jug through a plastic sieve, pushing the juices through with the back of a spoon.

  6. If using leaf gelatine, squeeze out the excess liquid and then stir it into the hot redcurrant juice.

  7. If using the powdered gelatine, stir the dissolved gelatine into the hot redcurrant juice.

  8. Now continue stirring until the gelatine has completely dissolved and then leave until the mixture is just warm.

  9. Meanwhile mix the remaining redcurrants with the blackberries and 200g (7 oz) (1½ cups) of the raspberries. Fill the moulds almost to the top with the fruit. You will have some fruit left over which will be used for garnishing.

  10. Fill each mould to the top with the jelly and then leave to cool completely. Cover with cling film/wrap and refrigerate to set for at least 6 hours.

  11. Meanwhile you can purée the remaining raspberries in a food processor or blender along with the remaining sugar and 3 tablespoons of water.

  12. Strain the coulis through a sieve into a bowl to remove the pips and then add the left-over fruit and stir to coat.

  13. When the jellies are set, remove them from their moulds by dipping the bottom of each one in boiling water for 5–10 seconds. Turn them out immediately onto four serving plates. Spoon the coulis and the fruit around the jellies and serve with cream.

 

Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken Saltimbocca

 

Prosciutto, slices of Gruyère, and fresh sage leaves are enveloped in chicken breasts, then cooked in Marsala wine. A really quick dish to prepare that is irresistible.

 

Chicken Saltimbocca
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 85g (3 oz) Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) Marsala (½ cup)

  • To serve
  • Mashed potato or polenta go well with this dish to help soak up the delicious sauce.


  1. Method
  2. Using a rolling pin, first flatten each piece of chicken between two sheets of cling film/wrap. Then pat dry and season.

  3. Now lay a slice of prosciutto on each chicken breast, cover with the Gruyère and scatter over the sage leaves. Fold in half lengthways and coat in the flour.

  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet and cook the chicken over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

  5. Now add the Marsala, cover the pan and gently simmer for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

  6. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm in the oven.

  7. Increase the heat and reduce the liquid by half.

  8. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

 

Cannelloni Al Forno

Cannelloni

 

A great recipe for a family meal.

 

Cannelloni Al Forno
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes (plus 25 minutes, if making the béchamel sauce from scratch)
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes (plus 10 minutes, if making the béchamel sauce from scratch)

  • Ingredients
  • Cannelloni ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (minced)
  • 340g (12 oz) minced/ground beef
  • 400g can (½ × 28 oz can) chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 360ml (12 fl oz) passata (1½ cups)
  • 16 cannelloni shells
  • béchamel sauce, made with 300ml (10 fl oz) milk*
  • 115g (4 oz) mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded (1 cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) Parmesan, grated/ shredded (½ cup)

  • *In the UK you can buy packets of powered béchamel sauce to which you just add milk and heat. However, I can’t find this in Canada and so have to make the sauce from scratch, which is very easy. You will find the recipe below.

  • You will also need an ovenproof dish large enough to take 16 filled cannelloni shells in a single layer.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), (gas 4).

  3. If making the béchamel sauce from scratch, make it now (see below).

  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet then gently fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Now add the meat and brown over a medium heat for 5 minutes, breaking up any clumps as it browns.

  5. Next stir in the tomatoes along with the seasonings. Gently simmer for 10 minutes.

  6. sauce simmering
  7. If making the béchamel sauce from a packet, make it now, following the directions on the packet.

  8. Pour half the passata into the ovenproof dish.

  9. Fill the cannelloni shells with the meat mixture, placing them in the dish as you go.

  10. Pasta filled with meat sauce
  11. Now pour over the remaining passata and then top with the béchamel sauce.

  12. Passata added
  13. Adding béchamel sauce
  14. Topped with béchamel










  15. Sprinkle over the mozzarella and then the Parmesan covering the sauce completely.

  16. Topped with cheese
  17. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

  18. Tip
  19. In UK the packets of grated mozzarella have no additional additives. In Canada the shredded mozzarella does. To avoid the additives, shred block mozzarella, popping it in the freezer for 30 minutes first to firm up. It will make shredding easier.

Béchamel Sauce
 
  • Ingredients
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups), warmed
  • 1 shallot, skinned and sliced OR a small piece of onion skinned
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 stick celery, washed and thickly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Method
  2. Pour the milk into a small pan. Add the vegetables, bay leaf, and peppercorns then bring slowly to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the milk, discarding the vegetables and flavourings.

  3. Melt the butter in a clean pan and then, over a low heat, blend in the flour. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and then slowly add the milk, stirring continuously, until the mixture is smooth. Now return the pan to the heat and cook the sauce until it thickens, stirring continuously. Season to taste.

 

English Sherry Trifle

English Sherry Trifle

 

There are many different recipes for a trifle but a sherry-soaked sponge first brings to mind the traditional English trifle. The delicious flavour of raspberries make this the fruit of choice with a silky, smooth custard topped with dollops of whipped cream and then decorated with more raspberries and toasted flaked almonds.  Just a heavenly dessert.

 

English Sherry Trifle
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Standing and chilling time: about 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • Plain sponge cake, for example a Madeira cake
  • 3 tbsp raspberry conserve
  • 350g (12 oz) raspberries (2¾ cups)
  • 6 tbsp medium or sweet sherry
  • 480ml (16 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¾ cups)
  • 14g (½ oz) toasted flaked almonds
  • icing/powdered sugar for dusting

  • For the custard
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g (3 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup less 1 tbsp)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) milk (2½ cups)

  • You will also need a large, flat-based glass serving bowl for this dish. Alternatively, if you need fewer than 6 servings, you can make these trifles in individual dishes (as seen in the photograph), reducing the quantities of ingredients in proportion as needed.


  1. Method
  2. First make the custard. Whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour/cornstarch, vanilla, sugar, and three tablespoons of the milk.

  3. Heat the remaining milk in a small pan and, as it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and whisk into the egg mixture. Now pour this back into the pan and, over a gentle heat, stir until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  4. Pour into a jug and cover the surface of the custard with cling film/wrap to prevent it forming a skin, then leave to cool.

  5. Now to make the trifle. You will need enough of the cake to cover the base of the serving dish and be about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep. Slice the cake in half horizontally and then spread one half with the raspberry conserve. Now sandwich back together and lay in the base of the serving bowl, cutting it to fit as necessary.

  6. Scatter ⅔ of the raspberries over the sponge, reserving the rest for decoration.

  7. Now spoon the sherry over the sponge and raspberries, top with the custard, smoothing the surface, and then chill for at least one hour.

  8. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape and dollop spoonfuls over the custard but this time don’t smooth the top.

  9. Decorate with the reserved raspberries and toasted almonds then, just before serving, dust the top with icing/powdered sugar.