Summer Trifle

This is a really light trifle. Not what you normally think of as a trifle although it uses the same ingredients. It’s very refreshing for a summer dessert and looks good too.

Summer Trifle

This very light summer trifle has a selection of seasonal fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants, tossed in a fruit purée and surrounded with little boozy sponge fingers coated in a vanilla custard.

Summer Trifle

8 servings
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz) milk (½ cup)
  • ½ vanilla pod split lengthways, OR
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp + 1 tsp)
  • 10 lady fingers or sponge fingers
  • 1 tbsp sweet white wine or sherry
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) summer fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants
  • a splash of white wine (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tsp caster/white sugar
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 28 g (1 oz) unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, or walnuts (¼ cup)


  • Method
  • Chill four dessert plates in the fridge.

  • Put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in the sugar to make a paste.
  • Next, pour the milk into a small pan.
  • If using the vanilla pod, add it to the milk and slowly heat on the lowest setting for 10 minutes, without boiling. Then remove the vanilla pod.
  • If using vanilla extract, omit heating the milk for 10 minutes first but add it to the cold milk now.
  • Bring the milk up to the boil.
  • Now slowly stir the milk and vanilla into the egg and sugar until the mixture is smooth.
  • Return the custard to the pan and stir, over a low heat, until it begins to thicken. You want it to thicken enough to be able to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover the custard with cling film/plastic wrap to prevent it forming a skin and then leave it to cool.
  • Meanwhile, cut each sponge finger in half to give two small fingers and lay them in a shallow bowl. Drizzle over the wine or sherry.
  • Next, wash and pat dry the fruits. Remove the currants from their stalks and hull and halve the strawberries.
  • Set aside half the berries and currants, picking out the best ones.
  • Put the remainder in a food processor or blender and add the wine and sugar.
  • Purée until smooth and then, using the back of a spoon, push through a plastic sieve to remove the pulp. Once the purée is pressed through, wipe the underside of the sieve with a clean spoon to get all the sauce.
  • Roughly chop the pistachio nuts or walnuts.

  • Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
  • Stir one spoonful into the cooled custard to loosen it a little and then fold in the remaining cream.
  • Now to assemble, carefully toss the reserved fruit with half the purée and spoon into the centre of each cooled plate.
  • Arrange the sponge fingers evenly around the edge of the plates.
  • Pour the custard over half of each the sponge finger then sprinkle the nuts on top of the custard.
  • Pour the remaining purée over the fruit and serve.
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Updated: July 20, 2020

Neapolitan Pork Fillets

Neapolitan Pork Fillets

Pork fillets cooked in wine and flavoured with oregano, then covered with mozzarella cheese and a dollop of thick passata sauce.

Neapolitan Pork Fillets

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Marinading time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 450 g (1 lb) pork fillet/tenderloin
  • 3 fresh oregano sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) red wine (⅔ cup)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 28 g (1 oz) butter (⅛ cup, or ¼ stick)
  • 4 tbsp chicken stock
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) passata (1¼ cups)
  • 115 g (4 oz) mozzarella cheese, cut into four thick slices
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ red pepper, sliced thinly
  • ½ yellow pepper, sliced thinly
  • ½ orange pepper, sliced thinly

To serve

  • pasta, fettuccini works well
  • Method
  • Prepare as much as possible before beginning to cook this recipe. There are a number of steps required towards the end of cooking and having everything ready will just make them easier to work through.
  • First, the pork needs to marinade for one hour.
  • Cut the fillet/tenderloin into four equal pieces. Flatten a little by placing each piece between cling film/plastic wrap and bashing with a rolling pin.
  • Place them side by side in a shallow dish.
  • Season and add the sprigs of oregano and crushed garlic.
  • Then pour over the wine, cover the dish, and marinade.
  • Meanwhile prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pour the passata into a small pan and stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season and put to one side.
  • Have a pan ready to cook the pasta.
  • Next, put the peppers in a bowl, pour over 2 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat. Put to one side.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6.
  • Once the pork has marinaded, spread the flour over a plate.
  • Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve the marinade.
  • Coat both sides of the fillets in the flour.
  • Now heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the butter over a moderate heat in a large frying pan/skillet. The butter will begin to foam and, when this almost stops, add the pork. Sear on both sides for 2–3 minutes.
  • Transfer the pork to a warm plate.
  • Strain the reserved marinade and add to the pan/skillet.
  • Let it bubble for 30 seconds.
  • Remove the pan/skillet from the heat and stir in the stock and seasoning.
  • Then bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a low setting and return the pork to the pan/skillet, cover the pan, and cook them for a further 10 minutes.
  • Now bring the passata mixture to the boil over a moderate heat and let it bubble, uncovered, to reduce to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes.
  • Bring a kettle of water to the boil for the pasta and then cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet.
  • Heat a large pan in which to sauté the peppers. Tip them into the pan and sauté, turning frequently, until soft.
  • Once the pork is cooked through, transfer the fillets to an ovenproof dish which will snuggly hold them in a single layer.
  • Add 1 tablespoon water to the frying pan/skillet, stir, and then reduce the liquid to 3–4 tablespoons. This will only take a couple of minutes.
  • Spoon over the pork.
  • Cover each fillet with a slice of mozzarella and then add a large spoonful of the passata sauce in the middle of the slice. (Keep any remaining sauce warm.)
  • Sprinkle over the oregano.
  • Pop in the oven until the cheese just starts to melt, about 4–5 minutes.
  • To serve, spoon any remaining passata on four serving plates and then top with the pasta.
  • Arrange the pork on the pasta and spoon over any remaining sauce from the ovenproof dish.
  • Now add the peppers.
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Updated: July 14, 2020

Creamy Summer Berry Jelly Salad

Creamy Summer Berry Jelly Salad

A delicious summer dessert where fresh raspberries and blueberries are nestled in a raspberry jelly which has a fluffy, creamy cheese topping and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.

Creamy Summer Berry Jelly Salad

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: the time to set the jelly, plus 1 hour
  • Ingredients
  • 1 pkt raspberry jelly/jello
  • 1 lemon
  • 55 g (2 oz) raspberries (½ cup)
  • 55 g (2 oz) blueberries (⅓ cup)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • 115 g (4 oz) cream cheese (½ cup)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) icing/powdered sugar (⅜ cup)
  • 28 g (1 oz) slivered almonds, finely chopped (¼ cup)

Equipment

  • You will also need a 20 × 20 × 5 cm (8 × 8 × 2 inch) dish


  • Method
  • Zest the lemon until ½ teaspoon has been produced and set aside.
  • Then juice the lemon.
  • Make up the jelly/jello in a bowl according to the packet.
  • Refrigerate until the jelly has completely set.
  • Refrigerate until partially set (the consistency of unbeaten egg whites).
  • Stir the berries into the jelly/jello and then pour the berry mixture into the dish and refrigerate until the jelly has completely set.

  • Meanwhile, remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it come to room temperature (about 1 hour).

  • Once the jelly/jello has set, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.

  • Now in a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and add to the cream with sifted  icing/powdered sugar. Beat well until combined. The mixture will become fluffy and thicken.
  • Stir in the reserved lemon zest.
  • Carefully spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly over the jelly and gently level with a palette knife making sure the mixture reaches the edges.
  • Refrigerate for a further 1 hour.
    Creamy Summer Berry Jelly Salad
  • Heat a small frying pan/skillet and tip in the nuts.
  • Over a gentle heat stir the nuts to toast them. This will only take a few minutes. They are ready when they have turned a light golden colour and they begin to smell nutty.
  • Remove from the pan and set to one side to cool.
  • To serve, sprinkle the nuts over the cream cheese mixture and cut into 6 portions. The first portion is always tricky to remove from the pan but then it becomes much easier.

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Updated: July 7, 2020

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes

Frozen Strawberry Sundae

These squares of strawberry ice cream are on a chocolate base and topped with sliced strawberries, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Frozen ahead of time, they make an impressive dessert and take no time at all to add the toppings just before serving.

Frozen Strawberry Sundaes

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Freezing time: 4 hours
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the base
  • 115 g (4 oz) Oreo chocolate baking crumbs (1 cup)*
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 40 g (1½ oz) butter, melted (3 tbsp)
  • *This is a North American recipe where the chocolate baking crumbs are bought ready in a box.
  • Use the recipe below to make the base in England:
  • 115 g (4 oz) plain digestive biscuits crushed to make fine crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Stir the cocoa powder into the melted butter then add to the biscuit crumbs and sugar. Stir to combine.

  • For the filling
  • 280 g (10 oz) vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (8 scoops)
  • 170 g (6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 1¼ cups)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • For the topping
  • 85 g (3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about ⅔ cup)
  • 55 g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp slivered/flaked almonds

Equipment

  • You will also need a 17 cm (6½ inches) square metal baking tin at least 5 cm (2 inches) deep for this recipe.

Note

  • Once the base and filling have been left to freeze it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.
  • This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; just use a 24 cm (9½ in) square tin.


  • Method
  • First line the container with two pieces of cling film/plastic wrap so they are laid across one another and large enough to overhang the edges of the container on all sides. Press well into the corners of the container.

  • For the base
  • In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate crumbs and sugar. Stir in the butter to coat the crumbs.
  • Now spread evenly in the container, using a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup, pressing well into the corners.
  • Freeze while making the filling.
  • For the filling
  • Remove the ice cream or frozen yogurt from the freezer to soften a little while preparing the strawberries.

  • Slice the strawberries and put in a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

  • Purée the strawberries until smooth.
  • Scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl. It should be soft but not completely thawed. Then pour over the strawberry purée. Stir until well blended.
  • Spoon evenly over the chocolate base and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
  • For the topping
  • Start preparing the toasted almonds and chocolate sauce about one hour before serving so they have time to cool.

  • Tip the almonds into a small frying pan/skillet and toast over a medium to low heat until golden, tossing frequently. They will take about 5–10 minutes but keep an eye on them as they burn quickly. (They produce a nutty smell when ready.) Put to one side.

  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and add half to a glass bowl.
  • Melt the chocolate by sitting the bowl over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.)
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining chocolate pieces.
  • Stir until the chocolate has melted and there is a smooth sauce. Leave to cool.
  • To finish
  • Top each square just before serving.

  • Holding the edges of the baking parchment, remove the frozen sundae to a cutting board. Now using a serrated knife, cut into six even pieces. Leave for 10 minutes to soften a little.

  • Slice the remaining strawberries and decorate the top of the squares.

  • Then drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

  • Note
  • Once the base and filling has frozen, it can be cut into portions and then the portions returned to the freezer until needed. The topping is added just before serving and is better not frozen.

  • This is a great recipe to make and keep in the freezer. The quantities can be doubled to be able to freeze more portions; but use a 24 cm (9½ in) square container.
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Updated: July 4, 2020