Lemon Surprise Pudding

This week we’ve had a couple of nights where it feels quite cool – it seems as though the time has come to say goodbye to summer and all those lovely berry desserts.

The coming of fall, although a beautiful but short season here in Ontario, will mean that winter is just around the corner. Now being a summer person, that is not my favourite time of year. It means there is often a very reluctant dog (our yellow labrador) and us to venture out on walks. The bright sunny, even snowy days, are a delight – it’s the ice and wind I could do without!

So – where I was going – it seems that it’s now time to start bringing out the fall recipes with that bit of comfort food about them. The first one we had again for supper last evening – a Lemon Surprise Pudding – which has just been added to the blog. I hope that you will want to try it.

 

Lemon Surprise Pudding

 

This Lemon Surprise Pudding makes a lovely, citrus dessert. The mixture creates a thick, very lemony sauce that is covered with a really light and airy sponge.

 

Lemon Surprise Pudding
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 large lemons
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, softened (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 55g (2 oz) plain/cake and pastry flour (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (⅔ cup)

  • To serve
  • Double/whipping or heavy cream

  • You will also need a 1 litre (1¾ pint) (4 cups) ovenproof dish.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  3. First, zest one of the lemons and then squeeze out the juice from both of them. The juice should yield 150 ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup).

  4. Cream the butter and lemon zest together in a large bowl. Then, a spoonful at a time, add the sugar, beating well between each addition, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

  5. Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a bowl to whip later and adding the yolks to the mixture.

  6. Sieve the flour into a separate bowl. Now add a tablespoon of flour followed by a tablespoon of milk, beating well between each addition, until all the flour and milk have been incorporated.

  7. Slowly add the lemon juice. It may start to curdle but that will not be a problem.

  8. Finally, whip the egg whites until they are just stiff and then lightly fold in.

  9. Generously butter the ovenproof dish and then pour in the mixture.

  10. Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Place the ovenproof dish in a roasting tin/pan and then add the boiling water to the tin/pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ovenproof dish.

  11. Bake for 35 minutes until the top is beginning to brown and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed with the tip of a finger.

  12. Serve immediately along with a jug of cream. You will find there will be a lovely, thick lemon sauce at the bottom of the dish covered with a very light and airy sponge.

Updated: October 2, 2018

Individual Shepherd’s Pie

Individual Shepherd's Pie

 

These tasty little shepherd’s pies are made in a small gratin dish and are quick to prepare. The lamb is mixed with beans and a minted tomato sauce, and then covered with a creamy mash potato and topped with cheese and cherry tomatoes.

 

Individual Shepherd's Pie
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 900g (2 lb) potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized chunks (about 6 medium)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 450g (1 lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) lamb or beef stock (1¼ cups)
  • 415g tin (398ml can) baked beans
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • knob of butter
  • a little milk
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 55g (2 oz) cheddar cheese, grated (½ cup)

  • You will also need 4 individual serving ovenproof dishes for this recipe


  1. Method
  2. Add the potatoes to a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.

  3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet, then add the lamb and brown over a medium heat, about 5 minutes.

  4. Reduce the heat a little and stir through the flour, then add the stock, stirring until it thickens, about 2 minutes.

  5. Next, add the baked beans, tomato purée/paste, Worcestershire sauce and mint. Season. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Divide amongst the four dishes.

  6. Preheat the grill/broiler while finishing the pies.

  7. Drain the potatoes once they are tender, then mash adding a good knob of butter and just enough milk to produce a creamy mash. Spread the mash evenly over the meat mixture.

  8. Place six tomato halves, cut sides up, on top of each pie, pressing them down a little into the mash.Then sprinkle the cheese over top.

  9. Put the dishes on a heavy-based baking sheet, place under the grill/broiler and cook for about 6–8 minutes until the tops are golden and juices are bubbling round the edges.


  10. Individual Shepherd's Pie

Updated: October 2, 2018

Pasta al Forno Siciliana

Pasta al forno Siciliana Pasta al forno Siciliana

 

Layers of ragù, rigatoni, ham, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses make pasta al forno Siciliana a truly flavourful Italian dish.

 

Pasta al Forno Siciliana
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour on hob, 25 minutes in oven

  • Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 900g (2 lb) minced/ground beef
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 240ml (8 fl oz)red wine (1 cup)
  • 540ml (18 fl oz) passata (2¼ cups)
  • 225g (8 oz) frozen peas (1½ cups)
  • 450g (1 lb) rigatoni pasta (7½ cups)
  • 170g (6 oz) sliced ham, cut into strips (about 6 slices)
  • 225g (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

  • To serve
  • A green salad or caesar salad

  • You will also need a deep ovenproof dish measuring 22cm x 30.5cm (8½ ins x 12 ins) and 6.5cm (2½ ins) deep.


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

  3. Now turn up the heat to moderate, add the meat and brown, stirring often to break up any lumps, about 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in the oregano, thyme, wine, and plenty of seasoning. Continue to cook until the wine has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.

  5. Next, stir in the passata, 240ml (8 fl oz) (1 cup) water, and add the bay leaf. Cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time the consistency should be that of a loose ragù. Add a little more water if it is getting too thick.

  6. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F)( gas 5).

  7. minutes before the ragù has finished cooking, start cooking the pasta. Add the pasta to a large pan of boiling salted water and let it cook for 2 minutes less than the recommended time on the packet. Drain.

  8. Add the peas to the ragù and then remove the pan from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.

  9. Now to layer the dish. Spoon a thin layer of the ragù over the base of the ovenproof dish. Add half the pasta and then spoon over half the remaining ragù. Top with all the ham. Now scatter over half the mozzarella plus 2 tbsp of the Parmesan. Add the rest of the pasta then spoon over the rest of the ragù. Finally scatter over the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

  10. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes until piping hot and golden.

  11. Serve with extra Parmesan sprinkled on the top and a salad.

Updated: October 1, 2018

Country Vegetable Soup

Country Vegetable Soup

 

This is a lovely smooth, thick vegetable soup. It’s quick to make and great for a winter’s day accompanied with soda bread.

 

Country Vegetable Soup
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) good beef stock (2½ cups)
  • 1 tsp tomato purée/paste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • To serve
  • Chopped chives or celery leaves to garnish


  1. Method
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the vegetables and toss to coat with the butter. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

  3. Stir in the stock, and then add the tomatoes and tomato purée/paste. Season to taste. Now bring to the boil, cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat, leave to cool slightly and then purée in a blender.

  5. Pour into a clean saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.

  6. Check seasoning and serve garnished with chives or celery leaves.

Updated: October 1, 2018

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

So summery. A very light strawberry shortcake that is filled with sliced berries and whipped cream.

 

Strawberry Shortcake
Prepares: 8 servings (photo shows 4 servings)
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes
  • Standing time: about 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the shortcake
  • 225g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour, plus extra for dusting (1½ cups + 1 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 85g (3 oz) butter, chilled and cut into small cubes (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 40g (1½ oz) caster/white sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 14g (½ oz) melted butter (1 tbsp)

  • For the filling
  • 340g (12 oz) strawberries (1 pint container)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
  • icing/powdered sugar for dusting

  • You will also need a 20cm (8 in) sandwich tin that is 5cm (2 in) deep and brushed with a little melted butter.


  1. Method
  2. For the filling
  3. Wash the strawberries and pat dry. Hull, then slice them lengthways and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and toss to coat. Put to one side for at least 1 hour to draw out the juices.

  4. For the shortcake
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)

  6. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in with fingertips.

  7. In a smaller bowl, add the egg, and whisk with a fork to break up. Next whisk in the sugar and milk to mix. Now pour the mixture liberally over the dry ingredients and, using a table knife, cut through the mixture to begin bringing it together. Then with floured fingers continue bringing the mixture together to make a rough, soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly a few of times to smooth the surface.

  8. Divide the dough in two equal pieces and gently pat each half out to a circle that will fit the buttered tin. With floured fingers, lift one circle of dough and lay it in the tin. Brush the surface of the dough liberally with the melted butter. Now place the second circle of dough on top.

  9. Bake the shortcake for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Using the tip of a palette knife, gently separate the two pieces of shortcake. The melted butter separating the two layers will have allowed them to remain separate.

  10. To assemble
  11. Place the shortcake base on a serving plate. Cut the top into 8 equal slices, which will make cutting the dessert easier to serve.

  12. Whip the cream until soft peaks form.

  13. Now spoon the strawberries and their juice over the base and then cover with the whipped cream. Place the 8 slices on top in exactly the order they were cut so they will fit back together perfectly.

  14. Dust with icing sugar/powdered sugar using a small sieve and serve immediately.

Updated: September 29, 2018

Strawberry Cheesecake

Summer for me has always been about enjoying strawberries. I can remember when the season was very short because you could only buy locally grown ones. Memories of watching Wimbledon Tennis with a bowl of strawberries and cream – a wonderful combination where neither lasted long enough! Well perhaps the strawberry season lasted a little longer.  Now newer varieties are grown in many areas which extend the season and have a longer shelf life too. Meaning they are available in the stores for many months over the summer.

In U.K. stores they are mainly U.K. grown and here in Canada most are imported from the States, but wherever we have lived the best for me are those grown locally. Because they are not picked to travel far they tend to be left to ripen just that little bit longer which means they are sweet and full of flavour with an aroma which is always more intense. The best are those you can find being sold by the roadside outside the main towns.

A strawberry cheesecake recipe is always a must and here is my classic version. I hope you will enjoy it too.

 

Strawberry Cheesecake

 

This is a classic strawberry cheesecake. It has a sweet crumb base and a creamy cheese filling then topped with heaps of sliced strawberries and a gorgeous strawberry sauce.

 

Strawberry Cheesecake
Prepares: 8 servings (images show 4 servings size)
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes
  • Cooling time: about 15 minutes
  • Chilling time: 2 hours

  • Ingredients

  • Strawberry Cheesecake


  • For the base
  • 170g (6 oz) Graham cracker crumbs (1¼ cups) OR
  • 170g (6 oz) plain digestive biscuits (12)*
  • 55g (2 oz) sugar (¼ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, melted (¼ cup)

  • *In North America you can buy packaged baking crumbs ready for using in desserts like cheesecakes. In the U.K. these aren’t readily available, so use plain digestive biscuits and just put them in a large plastic food bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they are broken into very small crumbs.

  • For the filling
  • 2 pkgs (250g each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 140g (5 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup less 2 tsp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • For the topping
  • 675g (1 lb 8 oz) strawberries (a quart container)
  • 115g (4 oz) redcurrant jelly (2 tbsp)

  • You will also need a 23cm (9 inch) springform pan or loose-bottomed pan.


  1. Method
  2. For the base
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas 3)

  4. Mix the crumbs and sugar together in a bowl and pour over the melted butter. Stir to coat the crumb mixture.

  5. Strawberry Cheesecake


  6. Press into the pan, pushing some of the crumbs up the sides to form a rim about 2cm (¾ inch) high and 1.25cm (½ in) wide.

  7. Strawberry Cheesecake


  8. Bake for 10 minutes then remove and leave to cool, about 20 minutes.

  9. For the filling
  10. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) gas 4.

  11. Beat the two packets of cheese together until soft and creamy, using a food mixer or electric hand mixer. Now add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract one at a time, beating well between each addition until smooth. Pour into the cooled crumb crust.

  12. Strawberry Cheesecake


  13. Bake for 35 minutes until the cheesecake is just firm around the edge and just set in the middle. There still needs to be a slight wobble as this will prevent it cracking when cooling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. If you have time, leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. This will allow it to cool down very slowly which again helps prevent cracking. Then refrigerate for 2 hours.

  14. Strawberry Cheesecake


  15. For the topping
  16. Wash, pat dry and hull the strawberries.

  17. Set aside 170g (6 oz) (about ½ pint container) and purée. Then strain through a sieve so you are left with a smooth sauce.

  18. Melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan over a low heat, stirring in the purée until blended together.

  19. Strawberry Cheesecake
  20. Strawberry Cheesecake


  21. Remove from the heat and pour into a small serving jug. Set to one side to cool.

  22. Slice the remaining strawberries.

  23. To serve
  24. No more than one hour before serving, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan and decorate the top with the sliced strawberries.

  25. Strawberry Cheesecake


  26. Serve, cut into wedges and pour the strawberry sauce over the top.

Updated: September 28, 2018

Plum and Apple Crumble

Plum and Apple Crumble

 

Plums and apples go so well together and here they are used in a crumble — just right for this time of year when summer is nearly gone.

Adding cinnamon and lemon to the fruit give it a lot of flavour and, adding rolled oats and demerara sugar to the buttery crumble really do make a difference to the taste.

 

Plum and Apple Crumble
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the filling
  • 4 large ripe plums
  • 340g (12 oz) Bramley or dessert apples (about 2 apples)
  • 40g (1½ oz) light muscovado sugar/soft light brown sugar (3 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ lemon zest only

  • For the crumble
  • 115g (4 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 70g (2½ oz) butter, chilled and cut into cubes (¼ cup or ½ stick, plus 1 tbsp)
  • 40g (1½ oz) rolled oats (¾ cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) demerara sugar (¼ cup)

  • To serve
  • Hot custard or vanilla ice cream make a good accompaniment.

  • You will also need a shallow, ovenproof serving dish.


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

  3. For the filling
  4. Halve the plums, remove the stones and then roughly chop. Place them in a large pan.

  5. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples and add to the plums.

  6. Now add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, and 3 tablespoons of water. Stir, cover the pan and heat gently until the apples are softened, about 5 minutes.

  7. Spoon into the ovenproof dish and set to one side.

  8. For the crumble
  9. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

  10. Now mix in the oats and sugar and then scatter over the fruit.

  11. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the crumble is golden and the fruit is bubbling round the edge.

  12. Serve immediately.

 

Salmon on a Bed of Spinach with Tomatoes and Crispy Potatoes

Salmon on a Bed of Spinach

 

A fish dish that is full of flavour and looks very colourful on the plate.

Salmon brushed with butter and lemon juice is then roasted and served sitting on a bed of buttery spinach with buttery tomatoes alongside. Slices of potato are roasted until crisp to complete the dish.

 

Salmon on a Bed of Spinach with Tomatoes and Crispy Potatoes
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the potatoes
  • 900g (2 lb) potatoes (6 medium)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • For the fish
  • 675g (1 lb 8 oz) salmon fillet, middle cut, skinned and cut into four even-sized pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a little oil
  • 14g (½ oz) butter, melted (1 tbsp)
  • ½ lemon, juice only

  • For the tomatoes
  • 400g can (½ × 28 fl oz can) chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 28g (1 oz) chilled butter, cubed (⅛ cup, or ¼ stick)
  • ½ tsp sugar

  • For the spinach
  • 14g (½ oz) butter (1 tbsp)
  • large bag (plastic container) baby leaf spinach, about 500g (18 oz)
  • a dash of white wine vinegar

  • You will also need a roasting tin/pan for the potatoes and an ovenproof dish large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

  3. For the potatoes
  4. Peel and cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces. Place in a pan and cover with water. Bring the water to the boil and then simmer for 7 minutes. Drain and leave for a few minutes until the potatoes are cool enough to handle.

  5. Now thickly slice and add to a large bowl. Season, add the oil and toss to coat. Tip into the roasting tin/pan and roast for 30 minutes, turning a couple of times.

  6. For the fish
  7. Lightly oil the ovenproof dish, add the fish and brush with the melted butter. Season and then squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 18 minutes.

  8. For the tomatoes
  9. Tip the tomatoes into a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and let the juice bubble for 5 minutes to reduce.

  10. Now gradually stir in the cubes of butter over a low heat and then add the sugar. Season to taste.

  11. For the spinach
  12. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the spinach leaves. Cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes.

  13. Next stir through a dash of white wine vinegar, then tip into a colander and press out the liquid.

  14. To serve
  15. Divide the spinach among four serving plates and place a salmon portion on top. Spoon the tomatoes around one side of the fish and the crispy potatoes on the other.

Updated: September 25, 2018

Fillet of Pork with Apples and Mustard Sauce

Fillet of Pork with Apples and Mustard Sauce

 

This really tender cut of pork is quickly cooked in a creamy mustard sauce and the tartness of the apples are an ideal accompaniment to make this dish full of flavour.

 

Fillet of Pork with Apples and Mustard Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 600g (1 lb 5 oz) pork tenderloin/fillet
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 Cox’s apples/dessert apples
  • 2 tbsp flavourless oil
  • 1½ tsp flour
  • 180ml (6 fl oz) chicken stock (¾ cup)
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp double cream/whipping or heavy cream
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • To serve
  • Serve with buttered, baby potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli/broccolini.

  • You will also need a large frying pan/skillet with a lid for this recipe.


  1. Method
  2. First, warm a plate in the oven.

  3. Then trim any fat from the pork and slice into 2.5cm (1 inch) slices.

  4. Peel and finely chop the onion.

  5. Next, quarter, core, and slice the apples (do not peel).

  6. Now heat the oil in a pan and then fry the pork slices over a medium–high heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. This will probably need to be done in two or more batches. Once the slices are brown, transfer them to the warmed plate and cover with foil.

  7. Add the onions to the pan, reduce the heat and then gently cook for about 5 minutes to soften.

  8. Stir in the flour until it soaks up all the juices in the pan and then gradually add the stock, stirring continuously, until the sauce is smooth.

  9. Next stir in the mustards and the cream. Add the apples, thyme and seasoning. Return the pork to the pan along with any juices. Stir everything together, cover the pan, and then gently cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened.

Updated: September 22, 2018

Coffee Meringues

Coffee Meringues

 

Very simple coffee flavoured meringues that just melt in the mouth. Sandwiched with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder. They are very light.

 

Coffee Meringues
Prepares: 10 meringues
 
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the meringues
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 170g (6 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp coffee essence

  • For the filling
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)

  • For the decoration
  • 1 level tsp cocoa powder

  • You will also need a large piping bag fitted with a medium sized nozzle.


  1. Method
  2. For the meringues
  3. Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1).

  4. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. Sprinkle over the coffee essence and whisk again until blended in. The meringue should form stiff peaks and be glossy.

  5. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Dabbing a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheets first will keep the linings in place.

  6. Spoon the meringue into the piping bag and pipe 20 swirls of meringue onto the paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues are dry. Allow to cool, then remove from the paper.

  7. For the filling
  8. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and use it to sandwich the meringues together in pairs.

  9. To serve
  10. Dust a coating of cocoa powder over the meringues using a small sieve.

  11. Tip
  12. If you like your meringues really crisp and have the time, leave them to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar.

Updated: September 22, 2018

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Tasty Breadcrumbs

Baked fish and tomatoes with tasty breadcrumbs

 

A simple fish dish, cooked on a bed of rice with buttery garlic and onion sautéed breadcrumbs.

 

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Tasty Breadcrumbs
Prepares: 4 servings (picture shows 2)
 
  • Preparation time: 35–45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes (oven)

  • Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 4 x 140g (5 oz) white fish fillets, skinned (e.g. haddock)
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • ground black pepper
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) white wine (¼ cup)
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (about 2 slices of bread)
  • 7g (¼ oz) fresh parsley, finely chopped (should yield about ¼ cup)
  • ½ lemon

  • To serve
  • seasonal vegetables

  • You will also need an ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4

  3. Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) of lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Then leave for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.

  5. Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.

  6. Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. (It will not be fully cooked at this point.) Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and pour over the wine. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.

  7. Now melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet, add the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.

  8. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping is golden brown.

  9. Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.

Updated: September 18, 2018

Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad

 

A truly amazing Caesar salad. Golden chicken strips, crispy bacon pieces, home-made chunky croutons, romaine lettuce and parmesan flakes, all tossed in a home-made dressing.

 

Chicken Caesar Salad
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 55 minutes
  • Marinading time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
  • 3 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 170g (6 oz) dry-cured, smoked streaky bacon/side bacon (about 6 rashers)
  • 1 small romaine lettuce
  • 55g (2 oz) parmesan flakes (½ cup)

  • For the chunky croutons
  • 3 slices Italian bread
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

  • For the dressing
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1½ tbsp fromage frais
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • You will also need a large glass serving bowl.


  1. Method
  2. Chicken Caesar Salad
  3. Cut the chicken into strips and put in a glass or ceramic shallow dish.

  4. Combine the lemon juice, oil, garlic, and herbs with 2 tablespoons of water and pour over the chicken. Cover and leave to marinade for 1 hour, turning halfway through.
  5. Chicken Caesar Salad
  6. Meanwhile prepare the croutons. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) (gas 2)

  7. Remove the crusts from the bread and tear into large chunks. Put in a bowl.

  8. Now sprinkle over the olive oil, add the pepper and toss together.

  9. Spread over a baking tray/sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

  10. Once the chicken has marinated begin cooking the bacon. Cut each rasher into three, heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet and cook the bacon until it is crispy. Remove from the pan/skillet and drain on kitchen paper.
  11. Chicken Caesar Salad
  12. While the bacon is cooking, drain the chicken and pat dry. Once the bacon has been removed from the pan/skillet, pour off most of the fat and then add the chicken to the pan/skillet. Cook over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, turning frequently, until golden and cooked through. Put to one side with the bacon.
  13. Chicken Caesar Salad
  14. Now prepare the lettuce. Pull the leaves apart and plunge into iced cold water for 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  15. Chicken Caesar Salad
  16. Meanwhile prepare the dressing. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, and garlic until well combined. Then stir in the fromage frais and season.
  17. Chicken Caesar Salad
  18. Chicken Caesar Salad
  19. Tear the lettuce leaves into bite size pieces and add to the serving bowl. Now add the chicken, bacon, half the parmesan flakes and pour over the dressing. Toss everything together. Add the croutons and toss again.Chicken Caesar Salad
  20. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and serve immediately.