Remove the crusts from the bread and cut into rough pieces. Place in a bowl and moisten with the milk. Mix with a fork to break up into crumbs.
In a large mixing bowl, mix in the soaked breadcrumbs, onion, lamb, eggs, seasoning and nutmeg until throughly combined.
Shape into 32 meatballs, using wet fingers. Just keep a small bowl of water nearby. (Fingers dipped in flour will just become sticky.) Chill the meatballs for 1 hour to firm up.
Heat half the butter in a frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. When the butter is frothy and hot, add half the meatballs. Shake them in the pan to keep them moving and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove, using a slotted spoon, and transfer them to the casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining meatballs, adding extra butter if needed.
Add the stock to the pan and scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, then stir in the mustard. Pour over the meatballs, cover the dish and cook above the centre of the oven for 45 minutes.
Mix the crème frâiche and cornflour/cornstarch together in a bowl, then stir into the casserole until well blended. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, uncovered, until bubbling. The sauce will become thick.
4 x 175ml (6 fl oz) (1 cup) pudding basins or similar small rounded dishes
A deep sided tin/pan large enough to hold the four basins
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Grease the four pudding basins and put 1 tablespoon of jam in the bottom of each. Set aside.
Grate the zest from half the orange and set aside. Then squeeze the juice from the orange and pour into a small jug.
Beat the zest into the butter using an electric hand mixer. Add the sugar and beat until light and creamy. Then gradually whisk in the egg. Fold in the flour, adding sufficient orange juice to give a soft dropping consistency. This is best done one tablespoon at a time.
Alternatively, use a free-standing mixer. Mix all the ingredients together, except for the orange juice. Then add the orange juice, one tablespoon at a time, until a soft dropping consistency is reached.
Divide the mixture between the four basins and smooth the tops.
Butter four pieces of foil, each large enough to cover the basins, and fold over the sides. Then put the covered basins in the tin/pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the basins. Bake for 45 minutes until the tops of the sponges spring back when lightly pressed.
Carefully lift the basins out of the pan. Run a small palette knife round the edge of the sponges, then turn them out onto four plates or dessert bowls.
12-cup bun or muffin tin lined with 9 or 12 paper baking cases. (The standard size baking cases are smaller in the U.K. and so the mixture will be enough to make 12. Being larger in North America, they will only make 9.)
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)
Sift the flour into a bowl and put to one side.
Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl using a balloon whisk. Again, put to one side.
Now cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a free-standing mixer or hand-held electric mixer.
Next, gradually beat in the eggs and 2 tablespoons of the flour.
Fold in the remaining flour adding the milk to make a soft consistency.
Spoon into the baking cases, filling them two-thirds full.
Bake for 15–18 minutes until the top of the cakes spring back when lightly touched with the tip of the finger.
Leave for one minute and then remove the cakes to a cooling rack to become cold.
For the buttercream filling
Beat the butter until it is really soft.
Slowly add half the icing/powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then beat in the remaining sugar along with the vanilla extract until soft and creamy.
Cut a cone from the centre of each cake using a small pointed knife held at angle. Cut each cone in half to create two wings.
Next, spoon a generous portion of buttercream into each hole and carefully place each pair of ‘wings’ on top with the cut edges facing down into the buttercream.
675g (1½ lb) potatoes, cut into even sized pieces (about 5 medium)
115g (4 oz) cooked ham, diced
340g (12 oz) baby spinach leaves, chopped
28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
28g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
150ml (5 fl oz) milk (⅔ cup)
150ml (5 fl oz) hot chicken stock (⅔ cup)
salt and ground black pepper
150ml (5 fl oz) single/table cream (⅔ cup)
85g (3 oz) Gruyère cheese, grated (¾ cup)
1.5 litre/2½ pint (6 cup) ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Put the chicken, onion, carrot and bay leaf into a pan and cover with water. Bring the water to the boil, then cover the pan and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and discard the water and vegetables.
Blanch the potatoes in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, dice into 1cm (½ inch) cubes.
Dice the chicken and put into a large bowl along with the ham and spinach. Toss to mix, then spread over the base of the ovenproof dish.
Melt the butter over a medium heat. Turn the heat down and quickly stir in the flour and mix to a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk and stock, stirring continuously until there is a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 2–3 minutes, stirring continuously, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat. Add the seasoning, cream and cheese and beat well.
Pour half the sauce over the chicken mixture. Spread the cubed potato over the top, then spoon the rest of the sauce over.
Bake above the centre of the oven for 40 minutes until the potato is tender and has started to brown.
A sweet trifle with frozen mixed berries to create a light dessert that goes down so easily. The sponge is soaked in a fruity, sherry syrup, topped with the summer berries, a rich creamy custard and finished with flavoured whipped cream.
Slice the trifle sponges or lady fingers in half and sandwich back together with the raspberry jam. Cut the sponges into large chunks and put in the bottom of the trifle bowl, or divide between the individual dishes.
Drain the fruit, reserving the juice, and layer over the sponge.
Make up the reserved juice to 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) with boiling water and add the golden syrup and sherry. Stir well to combine and then spoon evenly over the fruit and sponge to moisten.
For the custard
Pour the milk, cream and the vanilla extract into a pan and heat until bubbling around the edges. Put to one side. Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour until smooth. Then gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture. Return the custard to the pan, bring to the boil, then gently simmer for 2–3 minutes, whisking constantly, until the custard has thickened. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Slowly pour the custard in an even layer over the fruit, then chill for 20 minutes, until the custard is cool and just beginning to set.
For the topping
Whip the cream with the golden syrup and sherry until it starts to hold its shape. Then spoon over the custard.
Return to the fridge to chill for 1 hour 30 minutes before serving.
284ml (10 oz) can condensed beef broth (Campbells)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 red pepper
1 small head of broccoli
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
450g (1 lb) sirloin steak, cut into strips
A 22.5cm/10 inch frying pan/skillet
First, blend together the cornflour and water in a bowl. Stir in the beef broth and soy sauce and then set aside.
Deseed the pepper and cut into small chunks. Break the broccoli into small florets, discarding the stem. Peel and thinly slice the carrots.
Place the pan over a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the vegetables and garlic and stir to coat. Stir-fry until tender, about 5–8 minutes. Remove and keep warm.
Add the other 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and when hot add the beef. Stir-fry for 2–4 minutes according to how well-done you like your steak. Turn frequently to brown on all sides. Remove and keep warm.
Add the reserved broth to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until it thickens. Return the vegetables and meat to the pan, stirring through the sauce. Reheat for a couple of minutes until hot.
With seasons changing and days becoming cooler, now is the time I start thinking of heartwarming soups for lunch. I made the Country Vegetable soup this week and thought you may be interested in some of the tips I have picked up on making soups generally. See Tips for Making Soups
I have also added a few suggestions of garnishes that can be used when serving up bowls of soup.
A simple meal of fish and chips, prepared and cooked in an hour. A chunky piece of fresh white fish (haddock or cod), coated in fresh breadcrumbs, and shallow fried for just 10 minutes. Served with home cooked fries and ready to be doused with ketchup and vinegar.
Adjust oven rack to the lowest level and preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
For the chips
Peel potatoes and slice into ½ inch thick rounds and then into ½ inch thick strips. Pat dry and place in a bowl.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Toss until evenly coated.
Spread out on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times until browned and tender.
For the fish
Meanwhile prepare the fish. Spread the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Then spread breadcrumbs on a second plate. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl.
Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper. Taking one fillet at a time, coat it in the flour, gently shaking off any excess. Then dip it in the beaten egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a clean plate and repeat with the remaining fish.
While the chips are cooking in the oven, the fish can be cooked on the hob. Heat the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the fish and gently fry for about 5 minutes until golden and crisp on the underside. Carefully turn and repeat on the other side. The fish may have to be cooked in two batches. Lift the fish from the pan and place on a warmed plate covered with kitchen paper to absorb any oil. Cover the plate with foil and keep warm while cooking the rest of the fish.
Serve immediately, garnished with the lemon wedges.
284ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
8 good scoops vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
*1 lemon should yield 3 tbsp
4 sundae glasses
To make the raspberry sauce, put the sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with 225ml (8 fl oz) (1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thick and syrupy.
Put the raspberries in a blender or food processor and pour the hot syrup over the top. Purée until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
Drizzle two tablespoons of the raspberry sauce round the inside of each sundae glass. (It will run down the insides of the glass and leave a layer on the bottom.)
Add two scoops of ice cream or frozen yogurt to each glass.
Now add a large dollop of whipped cream and then slowly drizzle two tablespoons of raspberry sauce over the top, allowing the sauce to run down through the layers.
A traditional English dessert where bread is buttered, then topped with a sprinkling of dried fruits, and then covered with a vanilla custard before topping with cinnamon and demerara sugar. It is then baked until the top is lovely and crispy.
Butter the bread and cut each slice into quarters.
With the buttered sides uppermost, lay the quarters in the bottom of the ovenproof dish, overlapping them to fit.
Scatter the currants, sultanas and mixed peel on top.
In a separate bowl, whisk together two of the eggs and the yolk only of the third. Whisk in the sugar and then stir in the milk and vanilla extract until combined.
Strain the custard and gently pour over the bread.
Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and demerara sugar, and then leave for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Put the dish into a roasting tin/pan and then fill the roasting tin/pan with boiling water until it comes half-way up the sides of the dish. Bake for 45 minutes until the custard is set and the top is brown and crispy.