*If you haven’t any buttermilk, stir 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into 225ml (8 fl oz) (1 cup) full fat/whole milk and leave for 15 minutes to thicken up.
You will also need a 12-hole muffin tray lined with paper baking cups.
Preheat the oven to 190° (375°F) (gas 5)
Mix together the bran, flour, soda, and baking powder in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, using a ballon whisk, mix the egg and sugar together. Then whisk in the oil, buttermilk, and treacle one at a time. The mixture needs to be thoroughly combined and whisking the ingredients in separately makes this easier.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to mix.
Stir through the raisins until evenly distributed.
Now fill the paper baking cups using an ice cream scoop. Bake for 18–20 minutes until the tops feel firm to the touch and a fingertip will not leave an indentation. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool.
Delicious served warm, cut in half, with a knob of butter.
Another summer favourite. These little parcels are delightful. Raspberries are folded in a creamy blend of mascarpone and cream cheese and then chilled. They are topped with a mixed berry compote and decorated with raspberries.
You will also need 4 x 8cm (3 inch) ramekin dishes.
For the parcels
Line the four ramekin dishes with cling film/food wrap, overlapping the edges, and put to one side.
Beat together the cream cheese and mascarpone in a large bowl until smooth. (A food mixer or hand-held whisk does this easily.)
Now in a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then stir in the vanilla extract. Add to the cheeses and beat well to combine.
Reserve 12 raspberries for decoration and gently fold the rest into the cheese mixture.
Divide the mixture amongst the ramekins, tapping them a few times on the work surface to remove any air pockets. Fold excess film/wrap over the top and place in the freezer to become firm, about 45 minutes.
For the fruit compote
Meanwhile prepare the fruit compote. Place the fruit in a small pan and sprinkle over the sugar. Now cook the fruit over a medium heat until it starts bubbling. Then reduce the heat to a medium–low setting and, using a wooden spoon, break up any larger fruit pieces, mashing the fruit slightly. Gently cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Unfold the cling film/food wrap from the top of the ramekins and invert each one onto a plate. Then peel off the rest of the film/wrap.
Spoon the fruit compote over the parcels and place 3 raspberries on each to decorate.
Place the raspberries in a small pan. They don’t have to be thawed but break up any raspberries frozen in a clump. Sprinkle over the sugar and add the zest of the lemon. Then squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pan.
Bring the juice to the boil over a medium heat and then reduce and gently simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and become syrupy.
Now press the raspberries and juice through a sieve to remove the seeds. This will leave a lovely thick syrup. Then leave to become cold.
While the raspberry purée is cooling, transfer the ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator so it can soften up, about 30 minutes.
If the ice cream comes in a rectangular container, the raspberry ripple can be created in this container. However if it comes in a tub, scoop the ice cream into a 2 litre rectangular container which has a lid. Now break up the ice cream with a spoon.
Pour half the purée over the ice cream and quickly cut in with a palette knife using a few strokes. (Avoid over working or it will turn into a raspberry mess!!) Now pour over the remaining raspberry purée which will just run through any gaps.
Pop on the lid and return to the freezer. It will take about 3 hours to refreeze.
565g (1 lb 4 oz) salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
450g (1 lb) baby potatoes (about 9)
450g (1 lb) cherry tomatoes (about 16)
20 black olives, pitted (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
3½ tsp herbes de Provence
salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will also need a large heavy based baking tray/sheet.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
While the oven is heating up, place the baking tray/sheet in the oven to get hot.
Brush the hot tray/sheet with a little olive oil.
Now toss the potatoes in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a little salt. Then spread on the baking tray/sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush the salmon pieces with a little olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of herbes de Provence. Season.
After the potatoes have been roasting for 15 minutes, turn them, leaving a space in the centre of the tray/sheet to add the salmon pieces, and then return to the oven for 10 minutes.
While the salmon and potatoes are in the oven, slice the courgettes/zucchinis into 1.25cm (½ inch) rounds and put in a bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives (if using), the remaining olive oil, and herbes de Provence. Season. Now toss to coat.
After the salmon has been baking for 10 minutes, remove the tray/sheet from the oven, turn the potatoes again and spread all the vegetables around the salmon. Return to the oven and continue cooking for a further 10–12 minutes until the tomatoes are just starting to burst but still holding their shape and the salmon is cooked through.
This recipe makes 20 individual cakes of a light coffee sponge filled with finely chopped walnuts. They are sandwiched with a creamy coffee filling which is also used to coat the top. Each cake is then decorated with a half walnut. Scrumptious!
200g (7 oz) butter, softened (⅞ cup, or 1¾ sticks)
450g (1 lb) icing/powdered sugar (4 cups), sifted
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp coffee extract
20 walnut halves
You will also need a tin/pan 20 × 30 × 5cm (8 × 12 × 2 inches) base lined. The right-sized roasting tin/pan will work.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Using a food mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Now gradually add the beaten eggs. If the mixture begins to curdle, just add 1 tablespoon flour.
Using a large spoon, fold in the flour and then the coffee extract, milk, and chopped walnuts until combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin/pan and level the surface. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out of the tin/pan to cool completely. Because of its size, the easiest way to do this is to place a wire rack over the top of the tin/pan, turn the rack over, lift off the tin/pan, and peel away the lining from the cake. Then place a second wire rack over the bottom of the cake and set the cake the right way up on the wire rack.
Meanwhile, to make the butter icing. Beat together the butter, icing/powdered sugar, vanilla and coffee extracts, together with 1½ tablespoons of hot water, until smooth.
To make it easier to decorate, cut the cake into two once it has completely cooled. Now slice each half horizontally through the middle and then sandwich back together using half the butter icing. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cakes.
Cut each cake into 10 equal pieces and decorate each piece with a walnut half.
You will also need large baking trays/cookie sheets, ungreased.
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)
In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar for 2–3 minutes until really creamy, Then beat in the eggs and the vanilla.
Sift the flour into a separate bowl and add the soda, salt, and cinnamon. Then gradually stir into the creamed mixture until completely combined.
Next, stir in the oats and then carefully stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Drop by tablespoons onto the baking trays/cookie trays, spacing well apart, and bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave for 1 minute. Then, using a palette knife, place on wire racks to cool.
You may need to bake the cookies in two batches if you don't have enough baking trays/cookie sheets to use all the mixture. Leave the trays/sheets to cool down before spooning on the remaining mixture.
Preparing the apples as a purée and then mixing with meringue make these filled crêpes very light. They are finished off in the oven where they will puff up and look quite impressive. Then a dusting of cinnamon – this a very different type of crêpe.
240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) and 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
For the filling
565g (1¼ lb) dessert apples (4 medium)
120ml (4 fl oz) water (½ cup)
3½ tbsp caster/superfine sugar
20g (¾ oz) butter, softened (1½ tbsp)
3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), whites only
ground cinnamon for dusting
You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm (8–9inch) in diameter with rounded sides for the crêpes and four shallow, ovenproof dishes, each large enough to take two folded and filled 15cm (6 inch) crêpes.
First make up the batter for the crêpes. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg 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 rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together 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, peel, quarter and core the apples and place in a large pan. Add the water, cover the pan, and cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to a pulp.
Now to cook the crêpes. Get the pan really hot and then reduce to a moderate heat – about the temperature needed for frying an egg. Use oil or butter to grease the pan. If using oil, use groundnut or another flavourless oil (not olive oil) and pour a little in a small bowl. If using butter, melt a large knob of butter in the pan and then pour into a small bowl. Add a little oil or butter to the pan and tilt the pan to cover the base. It should just glisten, not run with oil or butter.
Stir the batter, then pour about 45ml (3 tablespoons) of batter in the centre of the pan for each crêpe. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions to spread the batter. You are aiming to make a 15cm (6 inch) crêpe.
Turn when the batter 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 a bit sticky, 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. 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 rest of the batter, greasing the pan each time, until you have 8 crêpes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Now once the apples have been reduced to a pulp, turn up the heat and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until thick. Stir continuously to prevent the apple catching on the bottom of the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and stir to melt the sugar.
Now to make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff.
Add the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is glossy.
Stir a quarter of the meringue into the apple to loosen it a little, then fold in the rest.
Spoon 2–3 tablespoons of the meringue mixture over half of each crêpe. Then fold the other half of the crêpe over the meringue mixture.
Grease the ovenproof dishes with butter and place two crêpes in each dish, a little apart so they are not touching. Bake for 10–12 minutes until puffed up and hot.
Dust with cinnamon and serve immediately before the soufflé has a chance to sink.
A simple light sponge recipe that is the basis of many kinds of sponge cakes, the famous one being the Victoria Sponge Sandwich. This basic sandwich sponge can be filled with a conserve or creamy filling and the top iced, usually with a soft icing, or simply covered with caster or icing sugar/powdered sugar.
115g (4 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
1 tsp baking powder
115g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
½ tsp vanilla extract
You will also need 2 x 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, greased and base-lined.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)
Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer makes this cake very quick to prepare.
First, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl to introduce as much air as possible.
Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix for 1 minute until the mixture is creamy.
Divide evenly between the two pans and level the tops.
Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 20–25 minutes until firm to the touch. The sponge should spring back when gently tapped with a fingertip.
Leave in the tins for 1–2 minutes then carefully remove, peel off the linings and cool on a wire cooling rack.
For a deeper sponge
This is known as a two-egg cake, for a deeper sponge use 3 eggs and increase the rest of the ingredients accordingly, and bake for 30–35 minutes.
This mixture will also make
This quantity of mixture will also be sufficient for 18 cup cakes, a 18cm (7 inch) square cake, a 20cm (8 inch) round cake or a 23cm (9 inch) ring cake.
Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder blended with 1 tablespoon of boiling water.
Add 2 teaspoons of coffee extract or 2 teaspoons of instant coffee blended with 1 teaspoon of boiling water.
Add 1 teaspoon of grated orange, lemon or lime rind.
Always line the base of the tin even if it is non-stick. When greasing, brush butter on evenly. The cake will still stick if it is greased unevenly.
Have everything weighed or measured before beginning to mix.
No self raising flour? Add 1 level teaspoon baking powder to every 115g (4 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour. Sift the flour twice to incorporate as much air as possible and mix the two ingredients together thoroughly.
Butter should be at room temperature for baking. If you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge, it can be microwaved on defrost for 20–30 seconds, until the butter is soft but still holds its shape.
Leave at least 1 inch space all round tins so that the heat can circulate freely.
Give the sponges the baking time suggested in the recipe but use this as a guide. Ovens vary – some are hotter and so cakes will take less time to cook and vice versa. It is better to start checking a few minutes before the allotted time. and if the cake is cooked in less time take it out of the oven. Conversely, if it is not ready at the allotted time allow a couple more minutes and check again. Also, when a cake is ready you can smell it. So your sight and smell are good allies.
To tell when they are ready, gently touch in the centre with the fingertips and, if the mixture feels springy and no imprints remain, the cakes are baked. They should also shrink away from around the sides of the tin.
You will also need a heavy based frying pan/skillet
Warm a plate in the oven.
Trim any excess fat from the steaks. Crush the peppercorns coarsely using a pestle and mortar, or with a flat-ended rolling pin, and spread them out onto a plate. Press both sides of the steaks down onto the crushed peppercorns, shaking off any loose bits as you lift them off.
Heat the pan until it is really hot then add the oil. Place the steaks in the pan and cook them for 3–4 minutes on each side for rare or 8–9 for medium to well done. Transfer to the warmed plate, cover loosely with foil, and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the wine into the pan and let it bubble up and reduce until it makes a thick, syrupy sauce. Add the balsamic vinegar and butter and then stir in any juices that have run off the steaks. Season to taste.
Serve with the sauce poured over the steaks and the mashed potato alongside to soak up the juices.