Carrot Sultana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Topping

Carrot and Sultana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Topping

Carrot Sultana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Topping

15 cupcakes
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the cupcakes
  • 140 g (5 oz) softened butter (⅔ cup)
  • 1 medium orange, finely zested
  • 170 g (6 oz) light muscovado/light brown soft sugar (⅔ cup)
  • 140 g (5 oz) carrot, peeled and coarsely grated (1 large)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 115 g (4 oz) sultanas (1 cup)
  • 200 g (7 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour, sifted (1⅓ cups)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • For the frosting
  • 400 g (14 oz) cream cheese (1¾ cups)
  • 4 tbsp icing/powdered sugar

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 x 12 hole patty tins/bun pans filled with 15 cupcake baking cases. Also a large piping bag fitted with a medium sized nozzle.


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas4).

  • In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whisk the butter, zest, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Next stir in the carrot, eggs, milk, and sultanas. Then mix in the flour, cinnamon, and baking powder.

  • Now equally fill the cases using an ice cream scoop.

  • Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are firm to the touch when lightly pressed with the tip of a finger.

  • Leave to cool in the tins/pans for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until soft. Then sift in the icing/powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.

  • Spoon into the piping bag and, once the cupcakes are cool, use to make a swirl on top of each cupcake.
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Crunchy Plum and Apple Cobbler with Port

The apples in this cobbler bring a softness to the mix of fruit and the addition of the port gives it a fullness of flavour. As well, the sprinkling of demerara sugar over the balls of dough creates a crunch as it bakes in oven.

Plum and Apple Cobbler with Port

Crunchy Plum and Apple Cobbler with Port

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30–35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 400 g (14 oz) Victoria plums/prune plums (about 7)
  • 2 dessert apples
  • 3 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp port
  • 170 g (6 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (1⅓ cups)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter, diced (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 70 g (2½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt

Equipment

  • You will also need a 1½ litre (6 cup) baking dish.


  • Method
  • Heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).

  • Wash, halve, and stone the plums and place in a bowl. Peel the apples, core and thinly slice and add to the bowl.

  • Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and toss to coat. Then add the port and stir to mix. Spoon into the baking dish and put to one side.

  • Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Now rub in the butter to form breadcrumbs. Then stir through the caster/superfine sugar and salt.

  • In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and yogurt. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then pour in the egg and yogurt mixture. Bring the mixtures together to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.

  • Shape into small balls (about 16) and drop over the fruit. Then sprinkle with the remaining demerara sugar.

  • Bake for 30–35 minutes until the cobbler has risen and is golden.

  • Serve with double cream/whipping or heavy cream.
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Pork Schnitzel

Oh so quick and just perfect for a summer’s supper. Breaded pork tenderloin that has been flattened to produce thin steaks are quickly sautéed. Serve with a lemon wedge to squeeze over and a mixed green salad on the side.

Pork Schnitzel

Pork Schnitzel

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 450 g (1 lb) pork tenderloin
  • 3 tbsp plain flour/all-purpose flour
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 170 g (6 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs (3½ cups)
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • To serve
  • A green salad


  • Method
  • Cut the tenderloin into 4 pieces and then cut these in to two horizontally.
  • Place them on a cutting board and cover with cling film/plastic wrap. Then, using a rolling pin, beat them until they are of even thickness of 1.25 cm (½ inch).
  • On a plate mix together the flour, paprika, herbs, seasoning and the zest of the lemon.
  • Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl.
  • Then spread the breadcrumbs over a second plate.
  • Now coat each piece of pork with the flour, dip in the egg, and then coat with the breadcrumbs.
  • They will need to be cooked in two batches, so add half the butter and oil to a large frying pan/skillet. Once the butter has melted and is foaming add half the pork schnitzels. Fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden.
  • Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm while frying the remaining schnitzels.
  • Cut the lemon into wedges and serve with the schnitzels.
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Crispy Crushed Baby Potatoes

Crispy Crushed Baby Potatoes

Crispy Crushed Baby Potatoes

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 900 g (2 lb) small baby potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 28 g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin on
  • 1 lemon, quartered


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  • Bring a pan of salted water to the boil.

  • Add the potatoes, bring back to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or until they are just tender.

  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a roasting tin/pan in the oven.

  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and leave for 2 minutes for the steam to evaporate.

  • Now add to the hot oil along with the butter, garlic, and lemon wedges.

  • Toss to coat thoroughly.

  • Slightly crush the potatoes using a fork or potato masher.

  • Season and then cook in the oven for 35–40 minutes until crispy. Turn halfway through cooking.
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Baked Cod Provençal

When we were grocery shopping this week, our fish counter was displaying some wild cod and it looked so good – really white and chunky. I couldn’t resist buying some and I cooked it making a provençal dish. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
It is not often we see wild fish to buy here in Canada, the main one we do see being wild pacific salmon, but I buy it when I can because there is certainly a difference. Once I found out how farmed fish was produced, with all its potential toxins, it made me realise just how much we have forgone quality for quantity. But that’s another story.
Anyway, we enjoyed our fish supper and hope you will want to try it too.

Baked Cod Provençal

A nutritious fish dish that is full of flavour. The chunky piece of cod is baked with sliced peppers, plum tomatoes and garlic in a tomato, herb and wine sauce.

Baked Cod Provençal

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 28 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 675 g (1 lb 8 oz) cod, skinned (chunky cod, if available)
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x 400g tins Italian plum tomatoes (1 x 28 fl oz can)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 3 sprigs of fresh, leaves only
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 28 g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick) plus extra for greasing

Equipment

  • You will also need a large sauté pan and an ovenproof dish that is large enough to take the fish in a single layer.


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).

  • Heat the oil in the pan and add the peppers. Over a medium heat, sauté for 3–4 minutes, to soften, tossing occasionally.

  • Then drain the tomatoes and reserve the juice. Add the tomatoes to the pan along with the garlic, wine, lemon juice, and oregano. Season. Stir in 3 tablespoons of reserved tomato juice and then simmer for a further 3–4 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, grease the ovenproof dish. Cut the fish into 4 portions and place in the dish. Season.

  • Now pour the vegetables over the fish and dot with the butter.

  • Bake towards the top of the oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Baste half way through cooking.
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Updated: September 22, 2019

Summer Berry Crêpes

I love making crêpes to fill with summer fruits. They are so light and make a really impressive summer dessert.

Crêpes aren’t difficult to make. My tip is to start off with a really hot pan and then turn the heat down a little. The pan only needs to be smeared with melted butter between cooking each one. It should just glisten, not be running with the butter.

I hope you will want to try them and enjoy them too.

Summer Berry Crêpes

Thin, light, crêpes are filled with a selection of delicious summer berries, then topped with velvety, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Summer Berry Crêpes

  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crêpes
  • 115 g (4 oz) plain flour/all-purpose flour (1 cup less 1½ tbsp)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) semi-skimmed/partly skimmed milk (1¼ cups)
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • For the filling
  • 450 g (1 lb) selection of fresh berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, or strawberries
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • 28 g (1 oz) plain/dark chocolate

Equipment

  • You will also need a shallow-rimmed lightweight pan/skillet, 20–23 cm (8–9 inch) in diameter with rounded sides.


  • Method
  • Pop the chocolate in the freezer while preparing the rest of the recipe. It will make it easier to grate into shavings later.

  • Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the eggs and milk into the flour, using a balloon whisk. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the remaining milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
  • Or use an electric mixer. First whisk the eggs and milk together and then mix in the sifted flour and salt until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-mix.
  • Let batter rest for 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, wash the fruit and pat dry.

  • Then whip the cream until thick.

  • Now warm 5 plates in the oven.

  • Get the pan/skillet really hot. Remove from the heat and add the butter. As soon as it has melted, spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter mixture and whisk it in. Pour the remainder into a small bowl and set to one side.
  • Add a little butter to the pan before cooking each crêpe. Just add enough to be able to tilt the pan and cover the base with the melted butter. The base should just glisten not run with butter.
  • Cook the crêpes over a medium-high heat. You will need 45 ml (3 tablespoons) of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first so you can  quickly add the batter to the pan. Using the ladle or cup, hold it so that the base is very close to the bottom of the pan in the centre and then pour it in. Immediately lift and tilt the pan/skillet in all directions so the batter spreads thinly over the base. If there are any holes, just fill them in with batter using a teaspoon.
  • Turn when the the crêpe starts to curl away from the sides of the pan, the mixture begins to bubble and the underside is golden. It should take about a minute. If it seems to be sticking to the base of the pan give it a couple of seconds more. Loosen the edge of the crêpe from the pan, then flip it over with a palette knife and cook until the underside is golden. This will only take about 30 seconds. Slip each cooked crêpe from the pan directly onto a piece of kitchen paper which will absorb any grease and keep it light and dry.

  • Repeat the process with the remaining batter, greasing the pan each time and stacking the crêpes up on a warmed plate as they are cooked. Put a piece of kitchen paper between each one and cover loosely with foil so the top one doesn’t dry out. Keep warm in the oven.

  • Grate the chocolate onto a plate to create a pile of shavings.

  • To serve, spoon the fruit into the middle of each crêpe. Fold two sides of the crêpe over the fruit to create a cone, then spoon a generous dollop of cream on top and, using a small spoon, sprinkle over the chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.
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Updated: September 22, 2019

Vanilla Plum Pots

Vanilla Plum Pots

Vanilla Plum Pots

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Chilling time: 3 hours
  • Cooking time: about 20 minute

  • Ingredients
  • 450 g (1 lb) plums
  • 85 g (3 oz) golden caster/superfine sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved
  • 2 strips of lemon peel
  • 142 ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 150 g Greek yogurt (⅔ cup)
  • 4 rounded tsp dark muscovado/soft dark brown sugar
  • 14 g (½ oz) blanched almonds (12)

Equipment

  • You will need 4 glass dessert dishes for this recipe.


  • Method
  • Wash and stone the plums. If they are small, leave them halved but if they are large, cut into quarters. Put them in a wide, shallow pan with the sugar, one half of the vanilla pod, strips of lemon peel and 1 tablespoon water. Then bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Now reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking until the plums are soft but still keeping their shape, about 10–15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  • Meanwhile, put the cream in a small pan with the remaining half of vanilla pod. Heat until it just begins to simmer and then pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Cover and chill until needed.

  • Next put the almonds in a small frying pan/skillet and, over a gentle heat, toast until they are just beginning to turn colour and smell nutty. Toss them frequently. Leave to cool and then chop.

  • Once the plums are cool, discard the vanilla pod and lemon strips. Test for sweetness. Adding 2 teaspoons of caster/superfine sugar if they are still a little tart. Spoon the plums and juice into the four glass dishes.

  • Now remove the vanilla pod from the chilled cream and add the yogurt. Whisk gently until the mixture has softly thickened and holds its shape. Then spoon the cream mixture over the plums and level the surface.

  • Sprinkle 1 rounded teaspoon of the muscovado/soft dark brown sugar over the cream in each pot.

  • Sprinkle over the chopped almonds.

  • Cover and chill for 3 hours. (The sugar on the top will have melted.)

  • Serve.
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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

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the sauce
  • 240 g (8 fl oz) water (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sherry
  • tbsp vinegar

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


  • To serve
  • rice


  • Method
  • First make the sauce. Mix together the cornflour/cornstarch and water. Then whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients. Set aside.

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

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

  • Next add the pepper and ginger, and sauté for another 3 minutes, again stirring a few times during cooking.

  • 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.

  • Serve over a bed of rice.
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Updated: September 20, 2019

Cinnamon Plum Cobbler

Plum Cobbler

A traditional fruit cobbler where juicy plums are baked, topped with balls of a soft dough, and sprinkled with sugar.

Cinnamon Plum Cobbler

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 900 g (2 lb) plums
  • 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 85 g (3 oz) demerara sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 170 g (6 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1⅓ cups)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter, chilled and diced (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 55 g (2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup)
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) buttermilk* (¾ cup)

Note

  • * 180 ml (6 oz) (¾ cup) full fat/whole milk plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice can be substituted for the buttermilk. Just stir together and leave for 15 minutes to thicken up before using.

Equipment

  • You will also need a 23 cm (9 inch) (2 litre) round ovenproof dish about 5 cm (2 inches) deep.


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)

  • Wash and halve the plums then ease out the stones.

  • Mix the cornflour (cornstarch) in 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) water.
  • Now add to a medium-sized pan along with the demerara sugar and cinnamon. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally.

  • Once the sugar has dissolved, add the plums, cover the pan and simmer gently for 5–10 minutes depending on the ripeness of the plums. You want the plums to soften but still keep their shape.

  • Begin making the topping by sifting the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.

  • Now rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

  • Stir through the sugar.

  • Using a pallet knife, gradually add the buttermilk to the flour mixture to bind it together and make a slightly sticky dough. You may not need all the buttermilk.

  • Next tip the plums into the dish and then dollop balls of dough on top of the plums, leaving space around each one and some of the fruit exposed. The balls of dough will expand when cooking.

  • Bake for 25–30 minutes until the top is golden.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
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Updated: September 18, 2019