Tipsy Eton Mess

Tipsy Eton Mess

 

Tipsy Eton Mess – a grown-up version of Eton Mess!

.

Tipsy Eton Mess
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Standing times: 30 minutes

  • If also making the meringue shells:
  • Extra time needed for preparation: 10 minutes

  • Cooking time for the meringue shells: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 2 hours cooling in the oven

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (1 lb) strawberries (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tbsp caster/white sugar
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 4 small meringue shells*
  • 284ml (9 fl oz) carton double/whipping or heavy cream (1⅛ cups)

  • *This dish is a great way to use up any left over meringue shells. However, if making them especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare them first.

  • For the meringues
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 1 tbsp)

  • You will need 4 glass dessert dishes


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1)

  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until stiff and glossy.

  5. Now line a baking tray/sheet with baking parchment. Dabbing a little meringue on each corner of the baking tray/sheet first will keep the lining in place.

  6. Spoon 6 mounds of meringue onto the baking paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, until the meringues shells lift easily from the paper. Turn off the oven but leave the meringue shells inside for a further 2 hours to dry out completely. You will only need four of them for this recipe.

  7. For the Tipsy Eton Mess
  8. Wash, pat dry and hull the strawberries. Halve or quarter them so they are all of a similar size. Place them in a large bowl, sprinkle over the sugar and drizzle with the Grand Marnier. Then mix gently and leave for 30 minutes at room temperature.

  9. Now in a separate bowl, break the meringue shells into bite-sized pieces.

  10. Next whip the cream in a large bowl until it forms soft peaks. It should still fall from a spoon.

  11. Put 20 strawberry halves and about a quarter of the broken meringue pieces to one side for decoration.

  12. Then gently fold the rest of the meringue into the cream and, just using a few strokes, fold in the strawberries and their juice.

  13. Divide between the glass dishes and top each dish with an equal quantity of the reserved strawberry halves and meringue.

  14. Serve immediately.

Updated: July 31, 2018

Strawberry Pavlova

Strawberry Pavlova

 

This gorgeous dessert was allegedly first made in Australia in 1935 for the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova. This version has a twist by adding framboise to the strawberries and introducing crème fraîche to the whipped cream to reduce the richness of the cream.

 

Strawberry Pavlova
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 170g (6 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 450g (1 lb) strawberries (about 3 cups)
  • 3 tbsp framboise (raspberry liqueur)
  • 284ml (9 fl oz) carton double/whipping or heavy cream (1⅛ cups)
  • 180ml crème fraîche (⅞ cup)


  1. Method
  2. Draw a 20cm (8 inch) circle on a piece of baking parchment. Turn it over and lay on a baking tray/sheet.

  3. Preheat the oven to 130°C (250°F) (gas ½).

  4. Add the egg whites to a grease-free bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. (You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out!)

  5. Then add the sugar one spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

  6. Next, sprinkle over the cornflour/cornstarch, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Whisk briefly, just enough to combine everything. The meringue will soften a little.

  7. Put a dab of meringue in the four corners of the baking sheet and press the baking parchment down. (This will prevent it from slipping.) Now, using a metal spoon, spoon the meringue evenly within the marked circle. Then, using a palette knife, make a slight dip in the centre of the meringue which will hold the strawberries. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The meringue should be firm at the edges and slightly soft in the centre. Leave to cool.

  8. Meanwhile, wash the strawberries, gently pat dry and hull. Halve any if they are large so they are all fairly equal in size. Place them in a large bowl and add the framboise. Gently toss together until the strawberries are coated and then leave to marinate.

  9. Once the meringue has cooled, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Now, beat the crème fraîche, which will loosen its stiff consistency, and then gently fold into the cream.

  10. Carefully peel the baking parchment from the meringue and place it on a serving plate. Add three quarters of the strawberries to the cream mixture and, just using a few strokes, gently fold through. Spoon into the centre of the pavlova. Now decorate the top with the reserved strawberries and drizzle over any strawberry juice.

  11. Serve immediately.

Updated: July 31, 2018

Strawberry Choux Puffs

Strawberry Choux Puffs

 

These light pastry buns filled with strawberries and cream are a delight. Another perfect way to use fresh strawberries in the summer.

 

Strawberry Choux Puffs
Prepares: 8 puffs
 
  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the choux buns
  • 65g (2¼ oz) butter, cut into cubes (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 70g (2½ oz) plain/cake and pastry flour (½ cup)

  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), lightly beaten

  • For the filling
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping cream or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 14g (½ oz) caster/white sugar (1 tbsp)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 285–340g (10–12 oz) strawberries (1 pint punnet, or about 2 cups)
  • icing/powdered sugar for dusting

  • You will also need a large baking sheet, lined with parchment paper


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

  4. First, sift the flour onto a piece of kitchen paper or parchment paper.

  5. Now measure the butter into a small heavy-based pan and add 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) of cold water. Melt the butter over a medium heat and then bring the mixture quickly to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and tip in the flour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon to combine. Now cook this over a low heat for 3–5 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will form a soft ball. Remove from the heat, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, and leave to cool slightly, about 3 minutes.

  6. Using an electric whisk, gradually add the eggs, whisking well between each addition, until a smooth, shiny paste is reached. (Using an electric whisk will allow air to be incorporated into the mixture as the eggs are added.)

  7. Pipe or spoon eight mounds onto the lined tray, spacing well apart. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5) and cook for a further 15–20 minutes. The buns should be a lovely golden brown.

  8. Remove from the oven and pierce a small slit into each choux bun, using a small sharp knife, to allow the steam to escape. Return them to the oven for 4–5 minutes for the centres to dry out.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Then halve each bun, cutting at an angle, and remove any uncooked pastry. They are now ready to be filled.

  10. For the filling
  11. Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together until soft peaks form.

  12. Wash, hull and thickly slice the strawberries. Pat dry and then gently fold into the cream.

  13. Remove the tops of the choux buns and fill them with the strawberries and cream. Put their tops back and then dust over with the icing/powdered sugar, using a small sieve.

  14. Note
  15. These are best eaten within a few hours. Once filled with the cream mixture, the pastry will tend to soften.

 

Classic Crème Brûlée

Classic Crème Brûlée

 

These crème brûlées are so creamy they make just the perfect dessert. Egg yolks, sugar and cream flavoured with vanilla make the creamy custard, and it’s topped with brittle caramel.

I have shared two methods for creating the caramelized topping, one using a chef’s blowtorch and the other using the grill/broiler.

 

Classic Crème Brûlée
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25–40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling time: 2 hours
  • Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours on day of serving


  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • butter, for greasing
  • 
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 
40g (1½ oz) caster sugar/white sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 
½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) single/half and half cream (1¼ cups)
  • 
300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)

  • For the topping

  • 4–6 tbsp golden caster/white sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 100g (3½ oz) caster sugar/white sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch

  • You will also need 6 x 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) heatproof ramekins


  1. Method
  2. For the custard
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) gas 3.

  4. Lightly grease ramekins with butter and put to one side.

  5. Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, line a deep-sided ovenproof dish or small roasting tin/pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (the paper prevents the ramekins from slipping).

  6. Next pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and cool a little.

  7. While the cream is cooling, put the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  8. Then gradually pour the cream into the bowl, while whisking at the same time, until the cream is blended into the egg mixture. Strain the custard into a jug and then divide between the six ramekins.

  9. Carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the ovenproof dish or roasting tin/pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

  10. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes as the custard still needs to have a slight wobble to it. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the ramekins in the water until the water has cooled.

  11. Now take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  12. For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  13. Sprinkle 2–3 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin. The sugar needs to cover the custard completely.

  14. Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  15. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  16. For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  17. First, have a piece of parchment 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.

  18. Now turn on the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to become really hot.

  19. The caramel will have hardened 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.

  20. Put the ramekins on a baking tray and place under the heat source as close as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.

  21. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Updated: July 29, 2018

Creamy Iced Lemon Pots

Summer has now arrived and we can look forward to a few months of hot sunny weather. This is certainly my time of year and I have just made one of my favourite desserts – creamy iced lemon pots.

I tend to make them for the summer because they are very refreshing and very creamy.

Very easy to make too. Four ingredients – cream, milk, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, and sugar. Basically, it is all mixed together and frozen. I make up a batch which will fill 8 glass ramekin dishes and, because they are frozen, you can just take as many out of the freezer as you need at a time. They are a great little standby when you want something quick for a dessert.

 

Creamy Iced Lemon Pots

 

Perfect for a hot summer’s day. These little pots are so refreshing and so creamy.

Very easy to make. Basically mixing together cream, milk, the zest and juice of two lemons and sugar then freezing.

This recipe makes 8 pots so you can take as many out of the freezer as you need and leave the rest for another day – a super little standby.

 

Creamy Iced Lemon Pots
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Freezing time: 6 hours plus overnight
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the Creamy Iced Lemon Pots
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 2 lemons
  • 340g (12 oz) caster/white sugar (1¾ cups)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (2½ cups)

  • For decoration
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) whipping cream or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • l lemon

  • You will also need a 1.5 litre (2½ pint) plastic container with lid and 8 glass ramekin dishes.


  1. Method
  2. Whisk the cream in a large bowl until it forms soft peaks.

  3. Zest the lemons and add to the cream. Now squeeze out the juice (they should yield 6 tablespoons of juice) and add to the cream along with the sugar and milk. Whisk on the lowest setting until thoroughly mixed and then pour into the plastic container, cover with the lid and freeze for at least six hours until firm.

  4. The mixture will now have begun to freeze, so break it up into chunks, put in a blender and then liquidize until smooth and creamy.

  5. Pour into the ramekin dishes, cover them and freeze overnight.

  6. Before serving, remove the ramekin dishes to thaw for 10 minutes. Meanwhile whip the cream and then put a small spoonful on the top of each lemon pot. Cut four thin slices from the remaining lemon and cut these into two. Twist each piece and place on top of the cream for decoration.

  7. Note
  8. These will keep in the freezer for up to a month. Just remove from the freezer for the 10 minutes while preparing the decoration.

Updated: July 29, 2018

Lemon Angel Pie with Strawberries

Lemon Angel Pie with Strawberries

 

This is a lovely light dessert and another way to enjoy strawberries now they are at the height of their season.

The base is a soft meringue nest which is filled with a lemon cream custard, topped with whipped cream and decorated with delicious strawberries.

 

Lemon Angel Pie with Strawberries
Prepares: 6–8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Chilling time: 2 hours
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the meringue
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only (reserve the yolks for the filling)
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 225g (8 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)

  • For the filling
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g (3½ oz) granulated/white sugar (½ cup)
  • 1 lemon
  • 225ml (8 fl oz) whipping/double cream or heavy cream (1 cup)

  • For the topping
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) whipping/double cream or heavy cream (½ cup)
  • 2 tbsp icing/powdered sugar
  • 280g (10 oz) strawberries, washed and hulled (1 punnet or about 2 cups)

  • You will also need a 23cm (9 inch) round glass dish.


  1. Method
  2. For the meringue
  3. Preheat the oven to 130°C(250°F) (gas ½)

  4. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Sprinkle over the cream of tartar then gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is smooth and glossy.

  5. Very lightly grease the glass dish then spoon in the meringue making a nest about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep with a rim about 5cm (2 inches) deep.

  6. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes and then leave to cool.

  7. For the filling
  8. Zest half the lemon and squeeze the juice from the whole lemon and set to one side.

  9. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a glass bowl sitting over a pan of just simmering water. (Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.) Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool.

  10. Now, whip the cream until soft peaks just start to form (you don’t want it to become stiff). Then fold into the cooled lemon sauce until incorporated. Pour into the meringue nest, level the top, and chill for 2 hours.

  11. For the topping
  12. Whip the cream and sugar together until stiff and spread over the lemon filling.

  13. Decorate with the strawberries. If they are small, leave them whole but if they are large, slice them.

Updated: July 25, 2018

Individual Chocolate and Raspberry Pavlovas

Individual Chocolate and Raspberry Pavlovas

 

These individual pavlovas are a mix of vanilla and chocolate meringue which is then covered in whipped cream, topped with fresh raspberries and dusted with cocoa.

 

Individual Chocolate and Raspberry Pavlovas
Prepares: 4 pavlovas
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 7g (¼ oz) cocoa powder (1 tbsp)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 14g (½ oz) icing/powdered sugar (1½ tbsp)
  • 115g (4 oz) raspberries (1 cup)

  • You will also need a large baking sheet/tray lined with baking parchment.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) (gas 1).

  3. Whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. Then gradually add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition until stiff. Add the vanilla and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy.

  4. Using a metal spoon, spoon a third of the meringue into another bowl and sift over 2 teaspoons of the cocoa powder. Gently fold the cocoa into the meringue.

  5. Spoon the cocoa meringue over the white meringue and then, using the metal spoon, fold together once to create a rippled effect.

  6. Now put a little dab of meringue on the four corners of the baking sheet/tray and top with the baking parchment. (This will help the lining stay in place.) Spoon the meringue into four mounds on the baking parchment and bake for 1 hour and fifteen minutes, until the meringue is crisp on the outside and peels away easily from the parchment. Cool on a wire rack.

  7. Whisk the cream and icing sugar together until soft peaks form and spoon over the meringues. Top with the raspberries and then dust with the reserved cocoa powder using a small sieve.

Updated: July 23, 2018

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake

 

For chocoholics in the family, this is a delectable chocolate cake. The chocolate flavoured sponge is very light and and the chocolate icing is a little fudgy and is used as a filling too. Of course, you have to finish it off with more chocolate, and slivers of chocolate are used decorate the top. The only non-chocolate addition is apricot jam that is used before adding the icing and this makes it more moist.

 

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake
Prepares: About 10 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sponge
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp very hot water
  • 225g (8 oz) self-raising flour/self-rising flour (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 225g (8 oz) butter, softened (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
  • 225g (8 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)

  • For the filling, icing and decoration
  • 140g (5 oz) butter (½ cup + 2 tbsp, or 1¼ sticks)
  • 280g (2½ oz) cocoa powder (½ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 340g (12 oz) icing/powdered sugar (3 cups)
  • 6 tbsp apricot glaze or apricot jam
  • good quality plain/dark chocolate for the decoration

  • You will also need 2 x 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins, base-lined and greased.


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

  4. Blend the cocoa powder with the hot water in a small bowl and leave to cool.

  5. Meanwhile, sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. (Either use a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer.) Add the butter, sugar, and eggs. Then drizzle the cooled cocoa mixture over the top. Beat for 2 minutes until creamy.

  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops. Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 35–40 minutes. The cakes should have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin and will spring back when lightly pressed with a forefinger.

  7. Leave in the tins for 2 minutes then carefully remove, peeling off the lining, and cool on a wire rack.

  8. For the filling, icing and decoration
  9. Place the chocolate for the decoration in the refrigerator to become cold as it will be easier to work with.

  10. Now for the filling and icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl.

  11. Put the butter in a medium-sized pan and melt over a low heat. As soon as it has melted, mix in the cocoa powder and cook over a very low heat for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Add the icing/powdered sugar a couple of spoonfuls at a time, beating well between each addition. You may not need all the sugar. Just add enough to make a coating consistency.

  12. Leave to cool a little while preparing the apricot glaze.

  13. You can buy apricot glaze in a jar in the U.K. which is ready to use, so just warm through about 6 tablespoons. In Canada, not being able to find apricot glaze, I use apricot jam. Add 1 tablespoon of hot water to 6 tablespoons of apricot jam to thin it a little, and gently heat to warm through. The jam will now be of a consistency to pass through a sieve to remove any pieces of fruit.

  14. Invert one of the sponge layers and place on a serving plate. Using a palette knife, carefully coat the top with about a quarter of the glaze, then top with two good tablespoonfuls of the icing. Spread evenly over the jam.

  15. Place the second cake on top and gently press down. Spread the sides and top with the remaining glaze using just enough to coat. Then spread the remaining icing over the whole cake.

  16. Remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and, over a plate, pull a potato peeler along the long smooth edge. This will make tiny slivers of chocolate. You will need about 28g (1 oz). Scatter these on top of the cake to decorate.

Updated July 22, 2018

Ginger Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

Ginger Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

 

The selection of carrots, red pepper, and green beans make this a very colourful dish. The vegetables are quickly sautéed and served with sautéed strips of chicken in a lovely sauce.

 

Ginger Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sauce
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sherry
  • 1½ tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch

  • For the stir fry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned and cut into strips
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 170g (6 oz) frozen French beans/whole green beans (2 cups)

  • To serve
  • rice


  1. Method
  2. First make the sauce by combining all the ingredients together using a whisk. Set aside.

  3. Now heat the oil in a deep sided frying pan/skillet or wok and add the chicken strips and garlic. Stir fry over a medium heat until brown, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the carrots and stir fry for a further 4 minutes, stirring the contents of the pan a few times during cooking.

  5. Next add the pepper and ginger and stir fry for another 3 minutes, again stirring a few times during cooking.

  6. Stir in the green beans, snapping any large ones in half, and also stir in the sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are tender crisp.

  7. Serve over a bed of rice.

 

Quick BBQ Sauce

Quick BBQ Sauce

 

Oh, no! What do you do when you realise you are out of BBQ sauce and there is no time to go to the grocery store. Well here is a good substitute that is very easy to put together.

 

Quick BBQ Sauce
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: less than 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: less than 5 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 140g (5 oz) tomato ketchup (⅝ cup)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar/soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Method
  2. Put the ketchup into a small pan and add the soy sauce, sugar, and tomato purée/paste. Now add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and season.

  3. Stir everything together then bring to the boil and let it bubble for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

 

Chicken and Cauliflower Pasta Bake

Chicken and Cauliflower Pasta Bake

 

Here is a lovely dish to use up that leftover chicken or turkey. Chicken chunks are combined with cauliflower florets, baby spinach and penne in a flavoured cheese sauce which is topped with a crisp, cheesy, breadcrumb topping.

 

Chicken and Cauliflower Pasta Bake
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minute
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 225g (8 oz) penne (3 cups)
  • ½ medium cauliflower
  • 45g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp, or ⅜ stick)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 45g (1½ oz) flour (¼ cup)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300ml (20 fl oz) chicken stock (2½ cups)
  • 225g (8 oz) cheese, grated (shredded) (2 cups)
  • 340g (12 oz) cooked chicken or turkey cut into small chunks (3 cups)
  • 115g (4 oz) baby spinach leaves (4 cups)
  • 2 tbsp sage, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme, stems removed
  • 45g (1½ oz) fresh breadcrumbs (1 cup)

  • You will also need a 3 litre (12 cup) casserole dish, greased.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas5)

  3. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling, salted water for 6 minutes.

  4. Next, break the cauliflower into small florets and once the pasta has cooked for 6 minutes, add the florets to the pan. Bring the water back to the boil then cook for 2 minutes. Drain well.

  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pan. Add the onion and stir to coat with the butter, then cook gently for about 3 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Now stir in the flour and season. Next, gradually whisk in the stock until there is a smooth sauce. Then bring the stock to the boil, reduce the heat and continue to cook until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and add three quarters of the cheese, stirring until it has melted.

  6. In a large bowl combine the pasta mixture, meat, spinach, sage, thyme, and sauce. Pour into the casserole dish.

  7. Now toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining cheese and sprinkle evenly over the top,

  8. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until the sauce is bubbling around the edge and the top is golden.

  9. Leave to stand for 5–10 minutes before serving.

 

Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

 

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.

 

Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: about 40 minutes hob

  • Ingredients
  • For the meatballs
  • 14g (½ oz) butter (1 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 slices, about 55g (2 oz) white bread, preferably one day old
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) whole milk (½ cup)
  • 450g (1 lb) 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 freshly ground black 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 x 700ml bottle passata
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) whole milk (½ cup)

  • To serve
  • Pasta and a green salad or Caesar salad

  • You will also need large sauté pan with lid and a large frying pan/skillet.


  1. Method
  2. 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 plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat and leave to cool.

  3. Now remove the crusts from the bread and tear into pieces. Put the bread in a shallow dish and cover with the milk.

  4. Next for the tomato sauce, 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. Then stir in the passata and add the bay leaves and seasoning. Cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile prepare the meatballs. Put the lamb in a large bowl. Squeeze the milk from the bread and discard adding the bread to the lamb. Put half the parsley on a chopping board, sprinkle over the dried oregano and chop the parsley finely. (This will activate the oregano.) Now add the herbs to the lamb with the egg, Parmesan, cooled onion, and some pepper. Mix together until well combined. Make into 20–24 meatballs, flattening them slightly, and place them on a baking tray lined with clingfilm/cling wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.

  6. When the tomato sauce has cooked for the 20 minutes, stir in the milk and continue to cook gently, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.

  7. 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 slotted spoon and add to the sauce. Cover and cook for a further 20–30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

  8. Chop the remaining parsley and, just before serving, sprinkle over the meatballs.

  9. Serve with pasta and a salad

Updated: July, 8 2018