Creamy Lemon Tart with Redcurrants

This is a very creamy lemon tart which balances the tartness of the redcurrants. These are scattered over the top of the tart just before serving.

Creamy Lemon Tart with Redcurrants

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Chilling time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Cooling time: about 2 hours
  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 200 g (7 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1½ cups)
  • 2 tsp caster/superfine sugar
  • 100 g (3½ oz) cold butter, cut into cubes (⅓ cup + 2 tbsp, or 1 stick less 1 tbsp)
  • pinch of salt
  • For the filling
  • 2 lemons
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), yolk only
  • 85 g (3 oz) unsalted butter cut into cubes (³⁄₈ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • To serve
  • redcurrants
  • icing/powdered sugar for dusting
  • Equipment
  • You will also need a 20 cm (8 inch) loose-based tart tin.
  • Method
  • For the pastry
  • Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  • Rub in the butter, at the same time lifting the flour well out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible.
  • When the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs, add the sugar.
  • Then sprinkle over 2½ tablespoons of cold water and, using a palette knife, bring the mixture together until it begins to form clumps. Add a little more water (no more than ½ tablespoon) if the mixture seems dry. Using your hands, bring together into a ball by kneading lightly.
  • Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes to relax the pastry.
  • (Alternatively, use a food processor.)
  • Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 5 cm (2 inches) larger than the size of the tart tin.
  • Carefully transfer to the tin without stretching the pastry and gently press down into the sides. Then trim the pastry by running the rolling-pin over the top to cut the pastry level with the rim. Prick the pastry base all over and return to the fridge for a further 20 minutes to firm up.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas mark 6).
  • Line the pastry with baking paper and add baking beans, making sure they spread to the edge. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5–10 minutes until golden.
  • Put to one side to cool a little before filling.
  • For the filling
  • Meanwhile, make the filling.
  • Zest one lemon and put to one side.
  • Now strain the juice of both lemons into a large bowl.
  • Add the sugar, whole eggs, and egg yolk and whisk until just combined.
  • Place the bowl over a pan of just simmering water and add the cubes of butter, one at a time, whisking until each one has melted.
  • Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken.
  • Now stir in the cream and lemon zest.
  • Remove the bowl from the pan.
  • Carefully remove the pastry case from its tin and place on a baking sheet.
  • Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for a further 12–15 minutes until the filling is just set.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Just before serving, decorate the top with redcurranrs (you can leave them on their stalks) and dust icing/powered sugar over the tart using a small sieve.
  • Serve at room temperature.
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Strawberry Cream Pots

Strawberry Cream Pots

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Chilling time: 4 hours
  • Ingredients
  • 285 g (10 oz) strawberries (punnet or about 2 cups)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) single/table cream (⅔ cup)
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 140 g (5 oz) crème fraîche
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • You will also need 4 ramekin dishes with a capacity of 150 ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) or 4 small pretty dessert dishes.
  • Method
  • First wash the strawberries and then hull and pat dry.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture has thickened.
  • Now pour the cream into a small pan and bring to the boil.
  • Using an electric whisk, slowly pour the cream over the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
  • Return the mixture to a clean pan and let it cook over a low heat, beating with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened and will coat the back of the spoon. (The heat needs to be low because the custard must not be allowed to boil or it will curdle.) Then leave to cool.
  • Meanwhile, purée half the strawberries in a food processor or blender, and then pour into a bowl.
  • Reserve four whole strawberries for decoration from the other half. Dice the remainder.
  • Add the diced strawberries to the purée and then add the cooled custard and gently stir together.
  • Fold in the crème fraîche and a couple of drops of lemon juice until well incorporated.
  • Spoon equally into the four dishes and chill for at least four hours.
  • Garnish the top with a reserved strawberry before serving.
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Red Berry Jelly

There is nothing like homemade jelly. The intensity of flavour of the berries come bursting through and makes for a perfect dessert on a hot summer’s day.

Red Berry Jelly

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Setting time: 6 hours or overnight
  • Ingredients
  • 250 g (9 oz) strawberries (about 2 cups)
  • 170 g (6 oz) raspberries (1½ cups)
  • 115 g (4 oz) redcurrants (¾ cup)
  • 140 g (5 oz) caster/superfine sugar (⅔ cup)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 sheets fine leaf gelatine OR
  • sachets of powdered gelatine
  • You will also need a 1 litre (4 cup) jelly mould or six individual glass dessert dishes.
  • Method
  • Wash and pat dry the fruit. If the strawberries are large, cut them in half. Remove the stalks from the redcurrants by gently running the tines of a fork down the stalks.
  • Put the fruit in a medium sized pan along with the sugar, lemon juice, and 540 ml (18 fl oz) (2¼ cups) cold water. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is beginning to bubble. Now put a lid on the pan and let the fruit continue to cook gently until it has become very soft, about 5 minutes.
  • If using leaf gelatine prepare it now. Place the leaves in a bowl of cold water, snapping them in half to fit if necessary. Leave for 5 minutes to become very soft.
  • Now strain the fruit mixture through a large, fine sieve into a bowl. Press the fruit through the sieve, using a wooden spoon, to extract as much juice from the fruit as possible.
  • If using powdered gelatine, stir the contents of 1½ sachets in ⅓ cup of cold water then add ⅓ cup of the hot fruit juice and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  • Either lift the softened gelatine leaves from the water, squeezing out the water, and add to the fruit juice. Or stir in the dissolved powdered gelatine. Stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved into the fruit juice, about 2 minutes. Keep stirring until you are sure the gelatine has dissolved, otherwise, when the fruit juice sets, there will be little grains of solid gelatine in it.
  • Pour the jelly into the jelly mould or individual glass dishes and leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight to set.
  • To turn out the jelly mould, dip it halfway in a large bowl of hand hot water for about 5 seconds. Then place a flat serving plate on top and turn out the jelly. Shake for a couple of seconds until you hear the jelly loosening, then lift the mould away.
  • Note
  • Can be served with single/table cream or dollops of whipped whipping cream/whipping or heavy cream and extra fresh raspberries.
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There is nothing like homemade jelly. The intensity of flavour of the berries come bursting through and makes for a perfect dessert on a hot summer’s day.

Oat and Sultana Cookies

Lots of goodies in this soft cookie. These large cookies are smothered with sultanas and have a hint of lemon in the oaty mixture too.

Oat and Sultana Cookies

12 cookies
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 12–15 minutes
  • Standing time: 5 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 115 g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 85 g (3 oz) light muscovado/soft light brown sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 1 egg, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.)
  • 140 g (5 oz) rolled oats (1⅓ cups)
  • 55 g (2 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (½ cup)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 85 g (3 oz) sultanas (⅓ cup)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg until combined.
  • Now, using a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, flour, baking powder, lemon zest, sultanas, and maple syrup.
  • Dust a work surface with a little flour and then make 12 even-sized balls from the mixture.
  • Place them on one large or two smaller baking sheets, spacing them well apart.
  • Bake for 12–15 minutes until golden in colour.
  • Leave to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Mustard Roasted Potatoes with Cherry Tomatoes

When you are looking for a potato dish that is just a little bit different, this is a super recipe with lots of flavour. 

Baby potatoes are tossed in wholegrain mustard and olive oil and then roasted. Cherry tomatoes are added near the end of roasting – just until they start to burst their skins.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes with Cherry Tomatoes

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 1 kg (2 lb 2 oz)baby potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 300 g (11 oz) cherry tomatoes
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
  • Put the potatoes in a medium-sized roasting pan. Add the oil, mustard, and seasoning and mix together until the potatoes are coated.
  • Roast the potatoes for 45 minutes or until they are tender.
  • Then add the cherry tomatoes and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until their skins begin to burst.
  • Serve.
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Hash Browns

These tasty little hash browns are tossed with paprika and parsley and then cooked in butter.

Hash Browns

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 700 g (1 lb 8oz potatoes, about 4 or 5 medium), peeled and cubed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
  • Add the cubed potatoes to a pan of boiling, salted water, bring back to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes to blanch. Drain and dry on a piece of kitchen paper.
  • Tip the potato cubes into a bowl. Add the paprika and chopped parsley. Season. Toss together until the cubes are coated with the paprika.
  • Now melt the butter in a shallow roasting tin or 1.2 litre (2 pint ) (5 cup) baking dish, about 2 minutes.
  • Carefully tip in the potato cubes and stir to coat with the butter.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, golden brown and crunchy round the edges.
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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

Coffee Topped Sponge

Coffee Topped Victoria Sponge

This version of the classic sponge is filled and topped with coffee butter icing. In the U.K. this is known as coffee cake but in North America, coffee cake can be any cake meant to accompany a cup of coffee, which is why I called this one a coffee topped sponge.

Coffee Topped Sponge

8 servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30–35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For cake
  • 170 g (6 oz) self-raising flour/self rising flour, sifted (1 cup + 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 170 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened (¾ cup, or 1½ sticks)
  • 170 g (6 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 3 large eggs (U.K.)/extra large eggs (N.A.)
  • For the coffee buttercream
  • 115 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 225 g (8 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar, sifted (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp coffee essence/extract

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 x 18 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, base-lined and greased


  • Method
  • For cake
  • Preheat the oven to 170C° (325°F) (gas 3)
  • First, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl to introduce as much air as possible. Put to one side.
  • Using a free standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until they are creamy and pale yellow in colour.
  • Next beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour. (Adding the flour prevents any curdling)
  • Finally, carefully fold in the rest of the flour until just combined. You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops.
  • Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 30–35 minutes until firm to the touch. The sponge should spring back when gently tapped with the tip of a finger.
  • Leave in the tins for 1–2 minutes then carefully remove, peel off the linings, and cool on wire racks.
  • Using an all-in-one method in a free-standing mixer
  • The ingredients can be mixed at the same time using a free standing mixer.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixing bowl and then add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1–2 minutes until the mixture is light and creamy.
  • For coffee buttercream
  • Beat the butter until creamy and then gradually beat in the icing/powdered sugar until smooth. (A free standing mixer does this in no time.)
  • Beat in the coffee essence/extract until it is well mixed in.

  • To assemble
  • Once the sponges are cold, carefully invert one onto a plate and evenly spread with half the buttercream.
  • Then place the other sponge on top and gently press down.
  • Evenly spread the top with the remaining buttercream.
  • To make a pattern, make straight lines through the buttercream using a fork. Just pull steadily through the surface of the buttercream. Then diagonally pull the fork through at intervals.

Note

  • The first method of mixing the cake is the classic method and the all-in-one method is the modern version. It’s purely a matter of personal preference which you use.
  • For more tips on cake baking, click on my ‘Tips’ section.
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Updated: June 20, 2020

English-style Cannelloni

Cannelloni shells are filled with minced/ground beef flavoured with chopped onions and a little Bolognese sauce. They are cooked in a Bolognese sauce and topped with white sauce which is sprinkled with parmesan cheese. I have two recipes for cannelloni – one from North America and this one from England. The English recipe is a lighter recipe without the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and with a plain white sauce.

English-style Cannelloni

4 servings
  • Hands on time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 450 g (1 lb) minced/ground beef
  • 1 large jar Bolognese sauce
  • 12 cannelloni shells
  • 28 g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 28 g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 55 g (2 oz) Parmesan cheese (½ cup)

Equipment

  • You will also need a 23 cm x 33 cm (9 x 12 inch) ovenproof dish lightly oiled
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 4–5 minutes until softened but not browned.
  • Then add the beef and brown over a medium heat for about 3–4 minutes. You want it to just start turning colour.
  • Now stir through 5 tablespoons of the sauce and then leave to cool for a few minutes.
  • Spoon a layer of sauce over the bottom of the ovenproof dish.
  • Next, fill the cannelloni shells with the meat and lay them on top of the sauce in a single layer.
  • Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.
  • Next, to make the white sauce, melt the butter in a small pan, then tip in the flour and mix to a smooth paste.
  • Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously, until there is a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer, while stirring, until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
  • Season and add a little grated nutmeg.
  • Pour the sauce over the cannelloni and then sprinkle over the cheese.
  • Bake for 40 minutes until the top begins to brown and the sauce is bubbling.
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