Raspberry Trifle

Raspberry Trifle

 

Frozen raspberries are used in this light, creamy trifle. Raspberry filled sponges are soaked in sherry and then topped with raspberries and covered in a creamy custard before decorating with dollops of whipped cream and crushed biscuits.

 

Raspberry Trifle
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Standing time: 30 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: At least 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (½ cup)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
  • 8 trifle sponges or 1 packet lady fingers
  • 4 tbsp raspberry conserve/raspberry jam
  • 50ml (2 fl oz) sherry or framboise (¼ cup)
  • 340g (12 oz) frozen raspberries (1½ cups), thawed
  • 360ml (12 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream (1½ cups)
  • 3 ratafias or amaretti biscuits

  • Equipment
  • A large flat bottomed glass dish or 8 individual glass dessert dishes


  1. Method
  2. Pour the milk into a pan.

  3. Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl and take 2 tablespoons of milk from the pan.Whisk until blended and pale in colour. Set aside.

  4. Stir the vanilla into the milk in the pan and bring to the boil. Slowly pour the milk onto the egg mixture, stirring constantly. When smooth, pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring until it starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.

  5. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with cling film to prevent it from forming a skin. Leave for 30 minutes to cool.

  6. Meanwhile slice the trifle sponges in half or open up the lady fingers and spread one half with the raspberry conserve or jam. Sandwich back together. Arrange in a single layer over the bottom of the glass dish or individual dishes. Drizzle the sherry over the sponges, then scatter the raspberries on top.

  7. Whisk 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) of the cream until thick. Using a balloon whisk, whisk the custard to loosen it a little, then whisk in the cream until well blended. Pour on top of the raspberries.

  8. Whisk the remaining cream until soft peaks form. Using a large spoon, dollop the cream on top of the trifle in the large glass dish or spoon one dollop on top of the trifle in the individual glass dishes. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

  9. Crush the biscuits into small pieces. Just before serving, sprinkle them over the cream.

  10. Note
  11. If a smaller number or servings are needed, just reduce the quantity of ingredients appropriately and use individual glass dishes.

Updated: April 24, 2017

San Francisco Pork Chops

San Francisco Pork Chops

 

Such a simple recipe but so delicious. Boneless pork chops are cooked in a teriyaki sauce and then served over egg noodles. I picked this recipe up many years ago but have no idea why it is called San Francisco Pork Chops. All I do know that it is a great way to serve them.

 

San Francisco Pork Chops
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • For the sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 90ml (3 fl oz) sherry (⅓ cup)
  • 90ml (3 fl oz) soy sauce (⅓ cup)
  • 40g (1½ oz) brown sugar (3 tbsp)

  • To serve
  • Serve over egg noodles
  • And accompany with a green salad or carrot batons and broccoli florets.


  1. Method
  2. First make the sauce. Mix the cornflour/cornstarch and water together in a bowl. Add the olive oil, sherry, soy sauce and sugar. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and then set to one side.

  3. Trim any fat from the chops. Heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet. Add the chops and brown on both sides over a medium heat, about four minutes. Remove the chops and set to one side.

  4. Turn the heat down to low and add a little more oil if necessary. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to burn it.

  5. Return the chops to the pan and then pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce to the boil and then lower the heat, cover the pan and let it gently simmer for 30 minutes. Turn the chops halfway through cooking.

 

Chocolate Dipped Fingers

Chocolate Dipped Fingers

 

These butter biscuits just melt in the mouth and the chocolate dipped ends will appeal to those chocolate lovers in the family.

 

Chocolate Dipped Fingers
Prepares: 30 biscuits
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 18 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 225g (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 55g (2 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar (½ cup)
  • few drops vanilla essence/extract
  • 225g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour, sifted (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
  • 85g (3 oz) plain chocolate/semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces (12 segments)

  • Equipment
  • A piping bag fitted with a 12.5mm (½ inch) star-shaped nozzle
  • 2 baking sheets/cookie sheets


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

  3. Measure the butter in a large bowl and sift in the sugar. Beat vigorously until soft and fluffy.

  4. Stir in the vanilla essence/extract.

  5. Gradually add the flour to make a soft dough.

  6. Spoon into the piping bag and pipe 6.5cm (2½ inch) lengths onto the baking sheets, cutting the dough off at the nozzle with a small knife.

  7. Bake for 18 minutes. Using a palette knife, carefully transfer on to wire racks to cool.

  8. Place a basin over a pan of just simmering water and add half the chocolate. Once melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and is of a smooth consistency (this makes for a lovely shiny chocolate coating).

  9. Place a sheet of baking paper beneath the wire racks to catch any chocolate drips. Then dip both ends of the biscuits in the melted chocolate, gently scraping off any excess on the side of the bowl. Return to the wire racks until the chocolate is set.

Updated April 20, 2017

Teriyaki Steak

Teriyaki Steak

 

Slices of steak are marinated in a teriyaki sauce and then sautéed with mushrooms and tomatoes. Serving on a bed of flavoured brown rice for a very tasty dish.

 

Teriyaki Steak
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Marinading time: 1–2 hours
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 575g (1lb 4 oz) sirloin or rump steak, fat removed
  • 4 tbsp medium-dry sherry
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 225g (8 oz) button mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
  • 1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch

  • For the rice
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 200g (7 oz) brown rice (1 cup)
  • 475 ml (15 fl oz) chicken stock (2 cups)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

  • To garnish
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • parsley


  1. Method
  2. Pour the sherry and soy sauce into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.

  3. Cut the steak into 1.25cm (½ inch) slices and add to the bowl. Turn the steak to coat, then cover the bowl, refrigerate, and leave to marinade for at least an hour.

  4. Remove the bowl from the fridge just before preparing the rice to enable the steak to come to room temperature.

  5. For the rice
  6. Put the onion, rice, stock and cumin seeds into a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 35–40 minutes until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.

  7. When it is cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes while cooking the steak and vegetables.

  8. For the steak
  9. First, cut the tomatoes in half and then each half into thirds.

  10. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade.

  11. Blend the cornflour/cornstarch into the marinade and set to one side.

  12. Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the steak and stir fry for 2–3 minutes, turning frequently, until lightly browned.

  13. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for a further minute.

  14. Add the tomatoes and stir in the reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 1 minute.

  15. To serve
  16. Divide the rice between four plates, spooning it around the edge of each plate to form a circle. Now divide the steak and vegetables into four portions placing each in the centre of the rice and spoon over any sauce remaining in the pan.

  17. Serve immediately, garnished with a little parsley.

 

St George’s Day Buns

St George's Day Buns

 

It’s disappointing that St George’s Day (23rd April) doesn’t get as much attention as St Patrick’s Day or even St Andrew’s Day. However, we personally try to make up for it by eating our own creation – St George’s Day Buns.

These buns are based on a traditional recipe for Dorset Wiggs, buns that originated in the English county of Dorset and mentioned in the diary of Samuel Pepys in 1664. We decided to use Dorset Wiggs because the earliest dedication to St George in England is a church in Fordington, Dorset, which was even mentioned in the will of Alfred the Great who died as long ago as 899.

The buns are topped with the cross of St George. He became the patron saint of England in a process that began in 1348 and it shows how important he was, that when it was made illegal in 1552, during the Reformation, to fly any saint’s banner, the cross of St George was the only banner that was allowed.

 

St George's Day Buns
Prepares: 12 buns
 
  • Ingredients

  • For the Dorset Wiggs
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) strong white/all purpose flour (3½ cups)
  • 300ml (10½ fl oz) warm milk (1¼ cups)
  • 60g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 15g (1½ tbsp) instant yeast
  • 60g (2 oz) caster sugar/fine white sugar (¼ cup)
  • 10g (1½ tsp) salt
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (I use ½ tsp mixed spice, as I’m not keen on caraway seeds)

  • For the white icing
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) icing sugar, sifted (4 cups)
  • About 6 tbsp water

  • For the red icing
  • 230g (8 oz) icing sugar, sifted (2 cups)
  • About 2 tbsp water
  • Dr Oetker Gel Food Colour, Bright Red/Wilton’s red (no-taste) icing colour
  • (Here in Canada, I use this no-taste brand as some colourings are quite bitter and this one has fewer additives.)


  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 rest of the ingredients for the Dorset Wiggs.

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

  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. While waiting, prepare a large baking tray – line 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. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a smooth ball. (To do this, flatten the dough with your hand flat, then moving your hand in a circular motion, gradually lift the palm while leaving the finger tips on the work surface, forming a cage around the dough. Do this quite quickly.)

  17. Place the dough balls on the baking tray, laid out four by three, an inch or more apart. This will give them room to grow without touching each other. Cover with a tea towel, or place inside a clean plastic bag, and leave to prove for about an hour. You can tell when they're ready when they've doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.

  18. Before the end of the hour, preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7

  19. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until nicely browned.

  20. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

  21. For the icing
  22. Boil some water and pour 6 tablespoons into a mixing bowl. Sift the flour into the bowl gradually, stirring briskly after each addition. Adjust the amounts to achieve a fairly stiff consistency. Take a dessert spoon and drop a spoonful onto each bun, using the back of the spoon to smooth the icing over the top surface. Allow to set for a few hours.

  23. For the crosses
  24. Mix the icing sugar and water as above and then add a few drops of red colouring, a little at a time until the colour is the desired red. Make the crosses using a piping bag with a nozzle with a flat opening (I used a Wilton No. 47). Just make sure the even edge is uppermost.



  25. Tip
  26. It's not easy to accurately divide the dough into 12 equal portions. I weigh the bowl with the risen dough in it, turn out the dough and then weigh the bowl again. The difference is the weight of the dough. Divide that by 12 and then weigh each portion as you cut it, adding or subtracting bits of dough until they're approximately right.

  27. * 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: April 17, 2017

Tea Break Cookies

Tea Break Cookies

 

These are the most delectable cookies ever. An oatmeal cookie with sultanas and finely chopped pecans, decorated with chocolate swirls. A firm family favourite.

 

Tea Break Cookies
Prepares: About 20 cookies
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick), plus extra to grease
  • 115g (4 oz) light muscovado sugar/soft, light brown sugar (½ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) golden syrup* (¼ cup)
  • 130g (4½ oz) plain flour/cake and pastry (1 cup)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • 100g (3½ oz) jumbo porridge oats/large rolled oats (1¼ cups)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 85g/3 oz sultanas (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 85g/3 oz pecan halves, roughly chopped (⅔ cup)

  • * Golden syrup isn’t readily available in North America. There are some supermarkets that sell it in Canada. Otherwise, I manage to get it in the small British stores that are around. The closest alternative would be runny honey. It is not quite as stiff as golden syrup, but close, and it does have some flavour too.

  • To decorate
  • 40g (1½ oz) plain/semi-sweet chocolate (6 pieces)

  • Equipment
  • 2 large baking trays/cookie sheets, lightly greased


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F) (gas 3)

  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

  4. Separately, stir in the golden syrup and egg until combined.

  5. Fold in the flour, cinnamon and oats.

  6. Finally, gently fold through the sultanas and nuts.

  7. Put tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking trays. spacing them well apart, and bake for 12–15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of just simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Once melted, set to one side to cool a little, about 10 minutes.

  9. Once the cookies have become cold, drizzle over the chocolate. This can be done either by using a spoon or by piping (use a piping bag with a small, plain nozzle). Leave the chocolate to set before storing in an airtight container.

Updated: April 6, 2017

Beef Goulash

Beef Goulash

 

Beef Goulash
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 55 minutes

  • Ingredient
  • 675g (1½ lb) stewing steak, cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) cubes
  • 3 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée/tomato paste
  • nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 55g (2 oz) flour (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) beef stock (2½ cups)
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned and quartered
  • bouquet garni*
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) beer (⅔ cup)

  • *In Canada these little bags of bouquet garni aren’t available so I make my own. A simple bouquet garni consists of a sprig each of parsley and thyme, a bay leaf, 2 cloves and a few peppercorns tied together in muslin to form a sack.

  • Equipment
  • A deep sided large sauté pan.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)

  3. Tip the 3 tablespoons flour into a small storage bag and season. Shake bag to mix. Add the meat to the bag and shake again to coat the meat with the flour. Set aside.

  4. Heat the oil in the pan over a medium–low heat and gently cook the onions and pepper for 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally.

  5. Increase the heat a little and add the meat and cook until lightly brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.

  6. Reduce the heat to low and stir through the paprika and cook for a further minute.

  7. Stir in the tomato purée/paste, seasoning, flour and a little grated nutmeg and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  8. Gradually add the stock, stirring until everything is well blended. Increase the heat to medium and cook the sauce until it is a smooth and thick.

  9. Remove from the heat and stir through the tomatoes and bouquet garni.

  10. Cover, and cook the goulash in the oven for 1¾ hours. Remove, stir in the beer and return for a further 10 minutes.

 

Sponge Drops

Sponge Drops

 

These classic little sponges with a buttercream and raspberry jam filling are so light. Just perfect with your favourite afternoon drink.

 

Sponge Drops
Prepares: 10
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sponges
  • 115g (4 oz) butter at room temperature (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 115g (4 oz) self-raising flour/self-rising flour, sifted (1 cup)

  • For the filling
  • 85g (3 oz) butter at room temperature (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 170g (6 oz) icing/powdered sugar, sifted (1½ cups)
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ¾ tbsp hot water
  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam

  • Equipment
  • 2 large baking sheets lined with baking parchment


  1. Method
  2. For the sponges
  3. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) (gas 7)

  4. Using a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until they are creamy and pale yellow in colour.

  5. Next beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour.

  6. Finally carefully fold in the rest of the flour until just combined.

  7. (If using an all-in-one method in a free-standing mixer
  8. The ingredients can be mixed at the same time using a free-standing mixer. To make sure you get a good rise, add half teaspoon baking powder. Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixing bowl. then add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1 minute.)

  9. Place mixture in rounded teaspoons onto the baking sheets spacing well apart as they will spread. There should be enough for 20.

  10. Pop in the oven for just 5 minutes until they spring back to the touch when lightly pressed with the fingertips. Remove and, using a palette knife, transfer to cooling racks to cool.

  11. For the buttercream filling
  12. While the sponges are cooking, make the buttercream filling.

  13. Using a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter until really soft then gradually add the sugar until the mixture is smooth.

  14. Beat in the vanilla essence and hot water. The mixture will be soft and creamy.

  15. As soon as the sponges are cold, spread the mixture over half the sponges.

  16. To finish
  17. Top the buttercream with two teaspoons of jam. Evenly spread the jam so it leaves a small border of buttercream round the edge.

  18. Cover with the remaining sponges.

 

Cheese Soufflé

Cheese Soufflé

 

A classic cheese soufflé – a mixture of fluffy whisked eggs folded into a Cheddar cheese sauce then baked. Perfect for a light lunch.

 

Cheese Soufflé
Prepares: 3 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes or 20 minutes for individual soufflés

  • Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), separated
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (⅛ cup, or ¼ stick)
  • 1½ tbsp flour
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) milk (⅔ cup)
  • salt and pepper
  • 85g (3 oz) Cheddar cheese (or other strong cheese) grated (¾ cup)

  • Equipment
  • A 15cm (6 inch soufflé dish) or 3 × 10cm (4 inch) individual soufflé dishes


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

  3. Grease the soufflé dish or dishes. Prepare a collar with baking parchment to go round the outside of the dish or dishes to support the mixture as it rises in the oven.

  4. Over a medium heat, melt the butter in a large pan.* Reduce the heat and blend in the flour to make a roux. Let it cook over a low heat for 2–3 minutes. Warm the milk, then gradually stir into the roux until well blended (warming the milk first makes this easier). Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and beat in the cheese, then add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition. Season.

  5. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then very gently fold into the mixture until they are thoroughly incorporated.

  6. Pour into the soufflé dish or divide between the individual dishes and bake in the oven for 30 minutes for the large soufflé or for 20 minutes for the individual ones. Do not open the oven door while they are cooking.

  7. Tip
  8. *Using a large pan will make it easier to fold in the egg whites.

  9. Note
  10. When making a soufflé, the ratio between the ingredients is very important, so keep to the amounts above. Increasing the number of eggs to make a larger soufflé would affect its ability to be light and well risen.

Updated: April 2, 2017