Baked Bananas in an Orange Sauce

Baked Bananas in an Orange Sauce

 

For a really quick dessert that is prepared and baked in just 15 minutes. Bananas are sliced and coated with butter, sugar and orange juice and baked with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

 

Baked Bananas in an Orange Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: Less than 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 8 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 6 bananas, thickly sliced
  • 50g/2 oz butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp soft, light brown sugar
  • 1 orange, juice only
  • ground cinnamon

  • Equipment
  • A medium size gratin dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  3. Arrange the banana slices in the gratin dish. Pour over the butter, sprinkle over the sugar, then pour over the orange juice and add a little ground cinnamon.

  4. Bake in the oven for 6–8 minutes until tender and syrupy.

 

 

 

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee

 

A chicken fricassee where pieces of chicken are cooked in a creamy sauce with sliced carrots, chopped onions and sliced mushrooms, served garnished with bacon rolls and parsley.

 

Chicken Fricassee
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely sliced
  • 110g/4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • bouquet garni*
  • salt and pepper
  • 50g/2 oz butter
  • 50g/2 oz flour
  • 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.

  • To serve
  • Seasonal green vegetables


  1. Method
  2. 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.

  3. Remove from the heat, strain off the stock and reserve.

  4. Cut the chicken into cubes and set to one side.

  5. Preheat the grill/broiler to high.

  6. 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.

  7. Reduce the heat, add the chicken and vegetables and heat through, about 2 minutes.

  8. Meanwhile, grill/broil the bacon rolls until crisp on the outside.

  9. 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.

  10. Serve the fricassee garnished with the bacon rolls and chopped parsley.

 

Strawberry Liqueur

 
  • Ingredients
  • strawberries, hulled
  • caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • vodka

  • Equipment
  • A preserving jar or wide necked bottle


  1. Method
  2. Choose enough perfect strawberries to fill the jar or bottle.

  3. Prick each berry a couple of times with a fine skewer or preferably a clean darning needle which is finer. Pop into the jar or bottle as you go.

  4. Add the sugar to cover a third of the berries and top up with the vodka.

  5. Seal and keep in a cool, dark spot for at least a month. The sugar will melt and the fruit will give up its colour to the spirit.

  6. Strain the liqueur and rebottle. It can be used in dessert dishes, for example, fruit trifles, over ice cream or in fruit salads.

 

Framboise Liqueur

Framboise

 

Framboise Liqueur
 
  • Ingredients
  • raspberries
  • caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • vodka

  • Equipment
  • a preserving jar or wide necked bottle


  1. Method
  2. Choose enough perfect raspberries to fill the jar or bottle.

  3. Prick each berry with a fine skewer or preferably a clean darning needle which is finer. Pop into the jar or bottle as you go.

  4. Add the sugar to cover a third of the berries and top up with the vodka.

  5. Seal and keep in a cool, dark spot for at least a month. The sugar will melt and the fruit will give up its colour to the spirit.

  6. Strain the liqueur and rebottle. It can be used in dessert dishes, for example, fruit trifles, over ice cream or in fruit salads.

 

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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!

 

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prepares: 24 cookies
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10–12 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 110g/4 oz butter
  • 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

  • Equipment
  • 2 large baking trays lined with parchment paper


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. Put the butter in a pan over a low heat until just melted. Set aside and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

  4. 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.

  5. Next, sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and stir into the mixture to form a firm dough.

  6. Then cut the milk chocolate into small chunks and mix into the dough until evenly distributed.

  7. 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.

 

Whole Wheat Milk Bread

Whole Wheat Milk Bread

 

Milk bread is ideal for sandwiches or for toasting. It produces a softer, tighter crumb and a softer crust than breads made with water. Made with wholemeal, or wholewheat, flour, this loaf smells and tastes as real bread should!

Bread isn’t difficult if you break the process down into 3 steps. Each step involves a ‘wait period’ during which you can get on with something else. For more information about the technique I use, here’s a link to my page on Breadmaking.

 

Whole Wheat Milk Bread
Prepares: 1 loaf
 
  • Step 1
  • Preparation time: 5–10 minutes
  • Waiting time: 30 minutes
  • Step 2
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Waiting time: About 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Step 3
  • Preparation time: 10–15 minutes
  • Waiting time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 455g (1 lb) wholemeal/whole wheat flour (3 cups + 2½ tbsp)
  • 65g (2 oz) strong white/all purpose flour (½ cup)
  • 360ml (12¾ fl oz) semi-skimmed/2% milk (warm, about 40°C/100°F) (1½ cups)
  • 10g (1 tbsp) instant yeast
  • 10g (1½ tsp) salt
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 56g (2 oz) unsalted butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • olive oil for oiling the bowl and tin


  1. Method

  2. Step 1
  3. Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add most of the milk and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a plastic dough scraper. If some flour is left in the bottom, add the remainder of the milk. It may not need it all. Just make sure that all the flour has been taken up.

  4. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to stand for 20-30 minutes.

  5. In the meantime, prepare for the next step by weighing out the salt, yeast, sugar, and butter.

  6. Step 2
  7. At the end of the 20–30 minutes, melt the butter and add it with the salt, yeast, and sugar to the mixture, making sure that the yeast doesn’t come into contact with a wodge of salt, and mix well.

  8. Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.

  9. Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, and tip the dough out. Take the edge of the dough that’s furthest away from you and fold it towards you to meet the near edge. Push it into the dough with your fingers or the heel of your hand, stretching it gently away from you. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this 8 to 10 times, then rotate the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.

  10. Cover with the tea towel again, leave for 10 minutes, and repeat the fold and stretch.

  11. Cover again and leave for 10 minutes. While waiting, lightly oil another large bowl for the dough to rise in. Then fold and stretch the dough for a third time.

  12. The dough should now be smooth and silky. Tip it out and shape it into a ball. Put it into the lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film.

  13. Leave it to rise until it's at least doubled in size.* At room temperature, this should take a minimum of an hour but it's fine to leave it for 2–3 hours. The longer the better – it improves the flavour.

  14. Depending on the kind of loaf you want, prepare for the shaping while you wait. If you want a classic rectangular shape as shown in the photograph, prepare a loaf tin. (For this amount of dough, I use one which measures 23.5 × 13.3 × 7cm /9¼ × 5¼ × 3 in. Lightly oil the whole of the inside to prevent the loaf sticking.) If making a natural-shaped loaf, say a cob or a boule, line a baking tray with baking parchment.

  15. Step 3
  16. Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times. It should feel smooth. Then flatten it out into a rectangle, with a short side towards you. Lift the dough from the furthest edge and fold it down towards you about half way. Press the edge down with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough round and repeat. Then shape the dough.

  17. For the classic shape
  18. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, short side towards you, with the width about the length of the loaf tin. Roll the dough up away from you making sure that the join ends up at the bottom. Place the dough in the tin, moulding as necessary to make sure it's even along its length.

  19. For a natural shape
  20. Rotate the dough into a ball and shape appropriately. Place on the baking tray.

  21. Cover with the tea towel or cling film and leave to prove for at least another hour. You can tell when it's ready when it's doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.

  22. Before the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F (gas mark 6).

  23. Dust the top of the dough with flour and slash the top lengthways with a sharp knife. Then bake for 35–40 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn out the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.



  24. * Doubled in size means doubled in volume. This means that if the dough is in the shape of a ball, the diameter increases by about 25%.

Updated: March 10, 2017

White Milk Bread

White Milk Bread

 

If your day-to-day bread is used for sandwiches or for toasting, you might want to try this milk bread. It produces a softer, tighter crumb and a softer crust than breads made with water.

Bread isn’t difficult if you break the process down into 3 steps. Each step involves a ‘wait period’ during which you can get on with something else. For more information about the technique I use, here’s a link to my page on Breadmaking.

 

White Milk Bread
Prepares: 1 loaf
 
  • Step 1
  • Preparation time: 5–10 minutes
  • Waiting time: 30 minutes
  • Step 2
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Waiting time: About 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Step 3
  • Preparation time: 10–15 minutes
  • Waiting time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) strong white/all purpose flour (3½ cups)
  • 335ml (11¾ fl oz) semi-skimmed/2% milk (warm, about 40°C/100°F) (1⅓ cups + 1 tbsp)
  • 10g (1 tbsp) instant yeast
  • 10g (1½ tsp) salt
  • 25g (1 oz) caster sugar/fine white sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 32g (1¼ oz) unsalted butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • olive oil for oiling the bowl and tin


  1. Method

  2. Step 1
  3. Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add most of the milk and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a plastic dough scraper. If some flour is left in the bottom, add the remainder of the milk. It may not need it all. Just make sure that all the flour has been taken up.

  4. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to stand for 20–30 minutes.

  5. In the meantime, prepare for the next step by weighing out the salt, yeast, sugar, and butter.

  6. Step 2
  7. At the end of the 20–30 minutes, melt the butter and add it with the salt, yeast, and sugar to the mixture, making sure that the yeast doesn’t come into contact with a wodge of salt, and mix well.

  8. Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.

  9. Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, and tip the dough out. Take the edge of the dough that’s furthest away from you and fold it towards you to meet the near edge. Push it into the dough with your fingers or the heel of your hand, stretching it gently away from you. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this 8 to 10 times, then rotate the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.

  10. Cover with the tea towel again, leave for 10 minutes, and repeat the fold and stretch.

  11. Cover again and leave for 10 minutes. While waiting, lightly oil another large bowl for the dough to rise in. Then fold and stretch the dough for a third time.

  12. The dough should now be smooth and silky. Tip it out and shape it into a ball. Put it into the lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film.

  13. Leave it to rise until it's at least doubled in size.* At room temperature, this should take a minimum of an hour but it's fine to leave it for 2–3 hours. The longer the better – it improves the flavour.

  14. Depending on the kind of loaf you want, prepare for the shaping while you wait. If you want a classic rectangular shape as shown in the photograph, prepare a loaf tin. (For this amount of dough, I use one which measures 23.5 × 13.3 × 7cm /9¼ × 5¼ × 3 in. Lightly oil the whole of the inside to prevent the loaf sticking.) If making a natural-shaped loaf, say a cob or a boule, line a baking tray with baking parchment.

  15. Step 3
  16. Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times. It should feel smooth. Then flatten it out into a rectangle, with a short side towards you. Lift the dough from the furthest edge and fold it down towards you about half way. Press the edge down with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough round and repeat. Then shape the dough.

  17. For the classic shape
  18. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, short side towards you, with the width about the length of the loaf tin. Roll the dough up away from you making sure that the join ends up at the bottom. Place the dough in the tin, moulding as necessary to make sure it's even along its length.

  19. For a natural shape
  20. Rotate the dough into a ball and shape appropriately. Place on the baking tray.

  21. Cover with the tea towel or cling film and leave to prove for at least another hour. You can tell when it's ready when it's doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.

  22. Before the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F (gas mark 6).

  23. Dust the top of the dough with flour and slash the top lengthways with a sharp knife. Then bake for 35–40 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn out the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.



  24. * Doubled in size means doubled in volume. This means that if the dough is in the shape of a ball, the diameter increases by about 25%.

Updated: March 10, 2017

Salmon Fish Cakes

Salmon Fish Cakes

 

These salmon fish cakes are very easy to put together and, as they can be frozen, are always a good standby for a light supper or a special lunch.

 

Salmon Fish Cakes
Prepares: 4 servings for a light supper and 6 for a lunch
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 340g/12 oz potatoes, peeled and cut into equal sizes
  • 25g/1 oz butter
  • 2 x 213g cans red Pacific salmon
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • milk to bind
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g/2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • oil for frying


  1. Method
  2. Put the potatoes in a pan of boiling, salted water and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

  3. Cream the potatoes with the butter. Drain the salmon, removing any bones and skin and then mix into the potatoes with the parsley. Season to taste and bind with a little milk. Shape into 8 cakes for a light supper or 12 for a lunch. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up.

  4. Put the egg in a shallow bowl and spread the breadcrumbs over a plate. Dip the fish cakes in the egg and then coat with the breadcrumbs. (You may need more egg and breadcrumbs if you are making 12)

  5. Heat a little oil in a pan over a gentle heat and cook the cakes for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Turn and cook for a further 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

  6. To freeze
  7. After they have been coated with the egg and breadcrumbs, open freeze them until hard then pack in a container, seal and return to the freezer. To thaw, place on a tray, cover loosely, and leave at room temperature for about 3 hours. Cook as above.

 

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon

 

This macaroni cheese is ideal for a filling snack or for a supper served with a salad. The bacon really adds some additional flavour to the sauce and it has a crunchy, cheesy breadcrumb topping.

 

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 225g/8 oz macaroni
  • 110g/4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
  • 850ml/1½ pints milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 70g/2½ oz butter
  • 70g/2½ oz flour
  • 6 slices smoked streaky bacon/side bacon
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 handfuls fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • pepper

  • Equipment
  • A 2 litre/3½ pint ovenproof dish


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  3. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute less than recommended on the packet of the brand you are using. Drain and set aside.

  4. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a pan and add the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat.

  5. In a separate pan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until there is a smooth paste (a roux).

  6. Remove the bay leaves from the milk, then gradually add the milk to the roux, stirring constantly, until blended and smooth. Simmer to thicken to a double/whipping cream consistency. Remove from the heat.

  7. Grill the bacon until just crispy. Let it cool a little then cut into small pieces.

  8. Stir the pasta, bacon, cheddar and mustard into the sauce and add the pepper.

  9. Spoon into the ovenproof dish. No need to smooth the top.

  10. Toss the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together. Scatter over the top, completely covering the macaroni cheese mixture. Bake for 40 minutes until the top starts to brown.

 

Tarte au Citron

Tarte au Citron

 

A light pastry base is filled with a creamy, citrus filling that makes this tart very refreshing.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tarte au Citron
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Standing time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 225g/8 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • 2 tsp caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 110g/4 oz cold butter
  • a pinch of salt

  • For the filling
  • 3 lemons, juice only (9 tbsp)
  • ½ orange, juice only
  • 225g/8 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 2 eggs, yolks only, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 140ml/5 fl oz/¼ pint double cream/whipping cream

  • To serve
  • icing sugar

  • Equipment
  • A 27cm/10½ inch loose-based tart tin, greased and floured


  1. Method
  2. For the pastry
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour, lifting the flour well out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible.

  4. When the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs, sprinkle over 3 tablespoons of cold water and, using a palette knife, bring together until it has formed clumps. Add a little more water (no more than 1 tablespoon) if the mixture is dry. Using the hands, bring together into a ball by kneading lightly. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes to relax the pastry.

  5. (Alternatively, use a food processor. I just prefer making pastry by hand.)

  6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 5cm/2 inches larger than the size of the tart tin. Carefully transfer to the tin without stretching the pastry. Gently press down into the sides of the tin, then trim by running the rolling-pin over the top to cut the pastry level with the rim. Return to the fridge for a further 20 minutes to firm up.

  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

  8. Prick the pastry base all over, line 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 10–15 minutes until golden. Put to one side to cool a little before filling.

  9. For the filling
  10. Meanwhile, make the filling.

  11. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.

  12. Strain the juice of the lemons and orange into a bowl. Add the sugar, eggs and egg yolks and whisk just enough to blend in the eggs. Whisk gently to avoid the mixture becoming too frothy. Stir in the cream, then strain the mixture into a jug.

  13. Carefully remove the tart shell from the tin and place on baking sheet. Pour the strained mixture into the tart shell. Very carefully slide onto the oven rack and bake for 20–25 minutes until just set. Leave to cool.

  14. Dust icing sugar over the lemon tart using a small sieve and serve immediately at room temperature.

 

Sweet thoughts…

Stopped raining at last, so have just been out with our dog, Shandy, for a walk to enjoy a bit of sun. It has been raining and drizzling for the past 24 hours here, which is very unusual for Ontario. Reminds me of our time in the West Country of England where it sometimes seemed to rain for days and cleaning the mud from our yellow labrador was an ongoing process! Mind you, we did tend to roam over extremely beautiful countryside.

Anyway, have sat down with my mug of tea and just added something to one of my bits of info I have on sugars. I thought you might find it interesting and helpful, so have added it to the Tips section of the blog and called it ‘All About Sugar’.

It’s all about how it is produced, the different sugars and their uses.

Chocolate Fudge Sundae

Chocolate Fudge Sundae

 

Scoops of vanilla ice cream and mounds of whipped cream smothered with a chocolate fudge sauce, then decorated with grated chocolate, make this chocolate fudge sundae a sure winner with all the family.

 

Chocolate Fudge Sundae
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sundaes
  • 300ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • 8 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • grated chocolate for sprinkling

  • For the chocolate fudge sauce
  • 70g/2½ oz butter
  • 85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 85g/3 oz soft dark brown sugar
  • 140ml/5 fl oz single cream/table cream
  • 50g/2 oz cocoa powder, sifted

  • Equipment
  • 4 sundae glasses


  1. Method
  2. For the sundaes
  3. Whip the cream until it just holds soft peaks and put to one side.

  4. For the chocolate fudge sauce
  5. Put the butter, sugars and cream in a pan over a low heat until the butter has just melted, stirring now and again. Add the cocoa powder and stir continuously until the sauce is smooth and glossy. Keep it warm while putting together the rest of the sundaes. If it becomes too thick just add a little boiling water.

  6. (Not all the sauce may be needed but it will keep for up to two weeks. It will thicken as it cools and will eventually become solid, but it can be warmed through again to create a pouring sauce.)

  7. To assemble
  8. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the chocolate fudge sauce around the insides of each sundae glass. Add 2 scoops of ice cream to each glass. Top with cream, dividing it between the glasses Then slowly spoon 2 tablespoons of the chocolate sauce over the top. letting it run through the cream and ice cream. Decorate with a little grated chocolate.