225g (8 oz) fine fresh white breadcrumbs (about 4 slices, or 3 cups)
A green salad
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Beat together the butter, garlic, parsley and seasoning. Set aside.
Cut a slit along the thickest part of each chicken breast, 4cm (1½ inches) long and 2cm (¾ inch) deep. Push one-quarter of the butter mixture into each slit and secure with a cocktail stick.
Put the beaten eggs in a shallow bowl and spread the flour and breadcrumbs over separate plates. Coat each breast in the flour, tapping off any excess, then dip into the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Dip again in the egg and follow with a final coating of breadcrumbs.
Put the chicken on a greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are golden.
Remove the cocktail sticks and serve with a salad.
A firm favourite with children of all ages. These lamb meatballs flavoured with oregano and Parmesan cheese are cooked in a passata based sauce. Usually served with spaghetti but any pasta you choose will work.
2 slices, about 55g (2 oz) white bread, preferably one day old, crusts removed and torn into pieces
120ml (4 fl oz) whole milk (½ cup)
500g (1lb 2 oz) lamb mince/ground lamb
14g (½ oz) flat leaf parsley/Italian parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 egg, beaten
28g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated (¼ cup)
salt and pepper
For the tomato sauce
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small stick celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
14g/½ oz butter (1 tbsp)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 × 700ml bottle passata
2 bay leaves
120ml (4 fl oz) whole milk (½ cup)
salt and pepper
A large sauté pan with lid
a green salad or Caesar salad
Heat the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan and, when hot, add the onion and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally. Remove to a dish to cool.
Put the bread in a shallow dish and cover with the milk.
Next put the carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor and blitz. Put the butter and oil into the sauté pan and, when hot, add the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook over a medium–low heat until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the passata then add the bay leaves and season. Cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the lamb in a large bowl and add the bread, discarding any milk. Put half the parsley on a chopping board, sprinkle over the dried oregano and chop the parsley finely. (This will activate the oregano.) Add the herbs to the mince with the egg, Parmesan cheese, cooled onion and some pepper. Mix together until well combined. Make into 20–24 meatballs and flatten them slightly. Place on a baking tray lined with clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.
When the sauce has cooked for 20 minutes, stir in the milk. and continue to cook gently, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.
Once the meatballs have firmed up, put two tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan and brown the meatballs all over, about 5 minutes. Remove them with a spatula and add to the sauce. Cover and cook for a further 20–30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
Chop the remaining parsley and, just before serving, sprinkle over the meatballs.
1 x 400g tin (½ x 796ml/28 fl oz can) chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
1.8 litres (3 pints) good chicken stock (7½ cups)
85g (3 oz) spaghetti
400g tin (540ml/19 fl oz can) cannellini beans/white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
140g (5 oz) frozen peas (1 cup)
fresh basil to garnish
Peel the vegetables and dice into small pieces, about 0.5cm (¼ inch). Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, uncovered, over a medium–low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then stir in the tomatoes and stock, and bring up to a simmer. Break the spaghetti into small pieces and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Finally, add the beans and peas, and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Serve garnished with basil leaves and accompany with crusty bread or rolls.
For these delicious sundaes, banana slices are coated in maple syrup, mixed with vanilla ice cream and crushed meringue shells, then topped with whipped cream and decorated with chocolate, a cherry and a wafer.
Next weekend is the Victoria Day weekend here in Canada and, as we are having the family over, I shall make a special dessert to celebrate it.
Celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24 goes back to 1845 in Canada, so I thought I would base a cake on the classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich. Apparently, Queen Victoria enjoyed a slice of cake with her afternoon tea and this cake was named after her. All I have added is the maple leaf to symbolize the Canadian connection.
maple leaf template (I printed a shape found on the internet and made sure the size would fit on the top of the cake)
2 x 18cm/7 inch sandwich tins, base lined and greased
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas mark 3)
Using a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until they are creamy and pale yellow in colour.
Next beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour. (Adding the flour prevents any curdling)
Finally, carefully fold in the rest of the flour until just combined. You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops. Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 30–35 minutes until firm to the touch. (When pressing a finger gently on top of the cake in the middle it should spring back and not leave a depression)
Leave in the tins for 2 minutes then carefully remove from the tins and cool on a wire rack.
Using an all-in-one method in a free-standing mixer
The ingredients can be mixed at the same time using a free standing mixer. To make sure you get a good rise, add 1½ teaspoons baking powder.
Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixing bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1 minute.
For the filling
Beat the butter, then gradually beat in the icing sugar/powdered sugar until light and creamy. (A free-standing mixer does this in no time)
Warm the lemon juice and add to the butter icing.
Once the sponge is cool, invert one of the sponges and place on a plate. Reserve two tablespoons of the icing, spread the remaining buttercream over the sponge, and then cover evenly with the jam. Top with the remaining sponge.
For the decoration
Press a piece of kitchen paper over the top of the cake to absorb any excess moisture.
From the template, cut out the maple leaf, leaving the paper around it intact as you will be needing both pieces. Place the maple leaf section in the middle on top of the cake and, keeping this in place, thickly dust the icing sugar/powdered sugar around the edge. Carefully lift off the maple leaf template.
Now, using the other template, cover the icing sugar/powdered sugar. While holding this in place, spread the remaining buttercream over the middle of the cake. Then sprinkle a thick layer of the red sprinkles over the buttercream and gently press down so they stay in place. Very carefully lift off the template.
225g (8 oz) carrots (3 medium), sliced thinly into rounds
2 small courgettes/zucchini, cut into 1.25cm (½ inch) rounds
1½ tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a heavy-based frying pan/skillet for the steaks if not barbecuing
a deep-sided frying pan/skillet with lid for the vegetables
baby or new potatoes and a medley of vegetables (for example, broccoli, mange tout, baby carrots, courgettes/zucchini)
Lay the steaks, in a single layer, in a shallow dish.
In a small bowl add the next 5 ingredients and mix together. Pour over the steaks, cover the dish, and leave to marinade for 30 minutes, turning the steaks halfway through.
Once the steaks have finished marinading, prepare the vegetables.
Wash and cut the broccoli into small florets discarding any stems. Place in a bowl along with the sliced carrots and courgettes/zucchini. Pour over the olive oil and season, then stir through to coat the vegetables.
Put four plates in the oven to warm.
Wash the potatoes, place in a pan, cover with water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15–20 minutes until tender.
The steak can be barbecued or cooked in a heavy-based frying frying pan/skillet. If using a frying pan/skillet, first heat the pan and then brush with olive oil. Remove the steaks from the marinade (reserving the marinade) and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan to one of the warmed plates, cover the plate with foil, and leave the steaks to rest for 5 minutes.
While the steaks are cooking the vegetables can also be cooked. First, heat the deep sided frying pan/skillet, then toss in the vegetables and sauté over a medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Reduce the heat a little, add the lid, and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat again, and cook for a further minute to crisp up the vegetables.
While the steak is resting, stir the reserved marinade into the steak pan and, over a gentle heat, let it bubble to heat through. (If the steak was barbecued, once the vegetables have been cooked and removed from their pan, use this pan to heat through the marinade.)
Serve the steak with the sauce poured over and the vegetables alongside.
a little icing sugar/powdered sugar, sifted, for dusting
For the cream filling
250g mascarpone (straight from the fridge)
200g fromage frais (straight from the fridge)
1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
For the icing
55g (2 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar (½ cup)
A 23 × 32.5 × 1cm (9 × 13 × ½ inch) deep baking tin/pan lined with baking parchment and lightly greased.
For the lemon curd
For this you will need a heatproof bowl that can be sat over a pan of just simmering water. The bowl must not be able to touch the water.
While the water is heating up in the pan, prepare the ingredients. Zest one of the lemons and put this aside for using in the sponge. Zest 1½ of the remaining 2 lemons and place in the bowl. Juice all 3 lemons and add this to the bowl (the 3 lemons should produce 9 tablespoons of juice). Also add the eggs and sugar. Whisk all the ingredients together and then place the bowl over the pan of simmering water.
Add the butter a little at a time to the bowl, whisking between each addition until well blended.
Whisk the curd occasionally to keep the mixture smooth and cook until it has thickened, about 15 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the pan and let the mixture cool. Then cover the curd with clingfilm to prevent it forming a skin and refrigerate so it has a chance to become well chilled.
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Put all the ingredients except the icing sugar/powdered sugar in a large bowl and whisk for 1 minute. Use either an electric hand mixer or a food mixer.
Heat a little water and add 1 tablespoon to the mixture and whisk briefly, just enough to mix in.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth it out to an even layer. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes but do not open the oven door before 8 minutes has elapsed or the sponge could sink. The sponge is cooked when if feels springy in the centre if lightly touched with the forefinger.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave it for 5 minutes to cool in the tin.
Meanwhile, cut a piece of baking parchment 40cm (16 in) long and lay it flat. Heavily dust all over with icing sugar/powdered sugar. Turn the sponge out onto the sugared paper and carefully remove the lining paper. Now dampen a tea towel and lay over the sponge and leave for 3 minutes. This will make it easier to roll the sponge but it needs to still feel slightly warm.
To roll up the sponge, lift the paper from one of the shorter sides and fold it over the edge of the sponge. Carefully roll up the sponge and the paper together as tightly as possible. Gently lift onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the cream filling
Whisk together the mascarpone, fromage frais and sugar until soft and creamy.
Unroll the sponge and evenly spread all-over with two-thirds of the lemon curd and two-thirds of the cream filling. Now gently roll up the sponge again but this time more loosely and carefully lift onto a serving plate.
For the icing and decoration
Using a zester, remove the zest from the lemon to get long, curly strands and put on a small plate. Sprinkle over about half a tablespoon of lemon juice and stir to coat the zest strands.
Now to make the icing, sift the icing sugar/powdered sugar into a small bowl and stir in about one tablespoon of lemon juice, enough to make a thin glaze. Using a spoon, and starting at one end, quickly drizzle the glaze across the roulade back and forth, working down the roulade to the other end.
Tip the zest onto a piece of kitchen paper to absorb any excess lemon juice and then scatter the zest over the top of the roulade.
Stir the remaining lemon curd and cream filling together and spoon into a small serving bowl.
The roulade is then ready to be sliced and served with a spoonful of the lemon cream.
The roulade can be made and refrigerated, lightly covered, a few hours in advance and removed 30–60 minutes before slicing and serving.
Large glass serving dish or 8 individual glass dishes
Bring some water to to the boil.
If using a packet of jelly in the UK, pour 150ml (5 fl oz) of the boiling water into a bowl. Separate the jelly into segments and add to the bowl, stirring until the jelly has melted. Then stir in 150ml (5 fl oz) of cold water.
If using jello in North America, pour 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) of boiling water into a bowl. Add the jello, stirring to dissolve and then stir in 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) of cold water.
Stir in the sugar and then the soured cream. Using a balloon whisk, whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
In a separate bowl whisk the cream until soft peaks form and then fold this into the jelly mixture until it is fully incorporated. Stir in the lemon juice.
The raspberries do not have to be fully thawed but they do need to be separated. Add these to the jelly mixture which will be quite runny.
Pour into the large bowl or divide between the individual glass dishes. Refrigerate to set.
When ready to serve, just dollop a spoonful of crème frâiche on the top.