2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
70g/2½ oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
70g/2½ oz icing sugar, sifted
For the raspberries
450g/1 lb raspberries
170g/6 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
For the filling
200ml fromage frais
40g/1½ oz icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
A medium sized baking sheet lined with baking paper
For the meringue
Heat the oven to 120°C/235°F/gas mark ½.
Put the egg whites into a large bowl.
Zest the lemon and add to the bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a separate bowl and measure 2 teaspoons of the juice into the large bowl, reserving the rest for the raspberries.
Whisk the egg and lemon until firm peaks form. Then gradually add the caster sugar/fine white sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Carefully fold in the sifted icing sugar using a large metal spoon or spatula.
Spoon four rough circles onto the baking sheet. Take a metal teaspoon and dip it in some hot (not boiling) water and make a depression in the centre of each one. Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. Once the meringues are cool, carefully remove from the baking paper.
For the raspberries
Reserve 20 raspberries and place the rest in a liquidiser with the sugar and 2 tablespoons of reserved lemon juice. Add 50ml/2 fl oz of water. Purée and then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the pips.
Measure 100ml/7 fl oz 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 and 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 sugar and vanilla extract, and whisk together until combined. Chill until needed.
Spoon the reduced raspberry ‘jam’ into the centre of the meringues and top with the filling. Divide the reserved raspberries between the four nests and place on the filling. Pour the raspberry sauce over the top.
This chicken and mixed cheese bake is made with bite-sized pieces of chicken, strips of bacon and mushrooms, sautéed and then baked in a mixed cheese sauce with a grated Parmesan and breadcrumb topping. A very simple dish that tastes really good.
Cut the bacon into thin strips. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the bacon. Cook over a medium heat until the bacon starts to crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and put in the pan in a single layer. Brown all over adding a little extra olive oil if needed. This may need to be done in 2 batches. Remove from the pan and set aside with the bacon.
Put the mushrooms in the pan and sauté over a low heat for 2 minutes, turning occasionally.
Pour the sauce into the pan and heat through, then return the chicken and bacon to the pan and stir through. Season.
Transfer to a gratin dish. Mix together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and scatter over the chicken mixture.
Bake near the top of the oven for 20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden and the sauce is bubbling.
2 tbsp golden caster sugar/fine white sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
100g/3½ oz caster sugar/fine white sugar if not using a chef’s blowtorch
6 x 150ml/5 fl oz heatproof ramekins
For the custard
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
Lightly grease the ramekins with the butter and set to one side.
Put the egg yolks into a large bowl, add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk with a balloon whisk to combine. Set to one side.
Pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool slightly, about 2 minutes.
Gradually pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking with the balloon whisk until blended. Strain the custard and divide between the six ramekins.
Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, line a deep sided ovenproof dish or roasting tin/pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (this prevents them slipping while in the pan). Carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekin dishes.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes. The custard needs to still wobble slightly. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the water. Take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the topping using a chef’s blowtorch
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.
Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.
Leave to cool, then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
For the topping without using a chef’s blowtorch
First, have a piece of baking 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.
The caramel will harden 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.
Preheat the grill to high.
Put the ramekins on a baking tray as close to the grill as possible. Cook for less than 1 minute, not letting the sugar burn. It just needs to melt the sugar.
Leave to cool then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
4 rashers streaky bacon/side bacon, rinded and rolled
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp double cream/whipping cream
juice of ½ lemon (1½ tablespoons)
chopped fresh parsley to garnish
*In Canada these little bags of bouquet garni aren’t available so I make my own. Traditionally, thyme, parsley stalks and bay leaf are wrapped in a small piece of muslin and tied to make a sack.
Seasonal green vegetables
Place the chicken, onion, carrots, mushrooms, bouquet garni and seasoning in a pan and cover with water. Bring slowly to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, strain off the stock and reserve.
Cut the chicken into cubes and set to one side.
Preheat the grill/broiler to high.
Over a medium heat melt the butter in a separate pan. Reduce the heat and add the flour, stirring to form a paste (a roux). Cook for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Measure off 600ml/20 fl oz/1 pint of the reserved stock and gradually stir it into the roux until smooth. Bring to the boil and continue to stir until the sauce thickens.
Reduce the heat, add the chicken and vegetables and heat through, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, grill/broil the bacon rolls until crisp on the outside.
In a small bowl, blend the egg yolk and cream together. Stir a little of the sauce into the mixture and blend until smooth. Add the mixture to the sauce and stir through, being careful not to let the sauce boil. Then stir in the lemon juice.
Serve the fricassee garnished with the bacon rolls and chopped parsley.
Toss the potatoes in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a little salt. When coated, spread on the baking tray and put in the oven to roast.
Meanwhile, pat dry the salmon with kitchen paper, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of herbes de Provence and season. After the potatoes have been roasting for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and turn leaving a space in the centre of the tray to lay the salmon. Return to the oven.
Then slice the courgettes/zucchinis into ½ inch rounds and put in a bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives (if using), the remaining olive oil, 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence and season. Toss together to coat. After the salmon has been baking for 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, turn the potatoes and spread all the vegetables around the salmon. Return to the oven and continue cooking for a further 10–12 minutes until the tomatoes are just starting to burst but still holding their shape and the salmon is cooked through.
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only (reserve 3 egg whites for the meringue)
85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
For the meringues
3 eggs, whites only
85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
cocoa powder for dusting
deep sided sauté pan with lid
For the poaching liquid
This will become the crème anglaise. Pour the milk and cream into the pan and stir in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer over a low heat. Now make the meringue.
For the meringues
In a large grease-free bowl, using an electric hand whisk on fast speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (or use the whisk attachment on a food mixer). Then gradually whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Have a glass or jug of water to hand. Using two tablespoons, shape eggs from the meringue mixture, dipping the spoons in the water to help shape them and keep them smooth. Place the meringue eggs in the poaching liquid as you go. There should be enough meringue to make 8 eggs. Cover the pan and, over a very low heat, poach the meringue eggs for about 4–5 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Make sure the poaching liquid doesn’t boil or the meringues will puff up and then collapse. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a wire rack covered with paper towel to drain.
For the crème anglaise
Strain the poaching liquid through a sieve into a large jug.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 2–3 minutes. Pour over the warm poaching liquid, whisking continuously. Then pour the mixture into a clean heavy-based pan and cook over a very low heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring continuously, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.
Divide the crème anglaise between each serving bowl and then float two meringue eggs on top of each one. Decorate the eggs with a dusting of cocoa powder.
The first chocolate chip cookies were baked by Ruth Graves Wakefield in Massachusetts in 1930. These ones use milk chocolate chunks and are crisp on the outside but still slightly soft in the middle – they don’t stay around for long!
100g/3½ oz light muscovado sugar/soft light brown sugar
85g/3 oz granulated sugar
1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract
250g/9 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
140g/5 oz milk chocolate
2 large baking trays lined with parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Put the butter in a pan over a low heat until just melted. Set aside and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Pour the butter into a large mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon, beat in the sugars, egg, salt and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth.
Next, sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and stir into the mixture to form a firm dough.
Then cut the milk chocolate into small chunks and mix into the dough until evenly distributed.
Spoon equal amounts of dough, evenly spaced, onto the baking sheets to make 24 cookies. Give them space to spread during baking. Flatten the mounds of dough a little and then bake for 10–12 minutes. The edges should just begin to turn golden but the middles will still be soft. Leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.