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

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 rashers smoked back bacon/side bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 225 g (8 oz) closed-cup chestnut mushrooms (about 2 cups)
  • 450 g (1 lb) Chantenay carrots/baby carrots*
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) good chicken stock (1¼ cups)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) red wine (⅔ cup)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme

To serve

  • Purple sprouting broccoli/broccolini

Equipment

  • You will also need a large wide-based pan with lid.

Note

  • *Chantenay carrots are very sweet, small carrots which I can’t get in Canada and so I substitute them with baby carrots, about 16.
  • Method
  • In a large bowl, toss the chicken in the flour with a little salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in the pan and add the chicken in a single layer with the bacon. Brown over a medium heat for 5 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through. Remove the chicken and bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and put to one side.
  • Reduce the heat and add the onions, mushrooms, and carrots to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, tossing frequently. Then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  • Return the chicken and bacon to the pan. Add the stock, wine, bay leaves, and thyme. Season. Now bring the sauce to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, partially covered with the lid.
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Garlic Chicken and Crispy Potatoes

Garlic Chicken and Crispy Potatoes

This chicken dish just takes 20 minutes to cook – one to choose when time is short. The chicken breasts, chunky potatoes and garlic are sautéed in olive oil and butter until crisp and then covered in a white wine sauce.

Garlic Chicken and Crispy Potatoes

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 900 g (2 lb) potatoes (6 medium)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) good chicken stock (1¼ cups)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) white wine (1¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Equipment

  • You will also need 2 large frying pans/skillets and a medium-sized serving dish.


  • Method
  • Warm the serving dish in the oven.

  • Peel and cut the potatoes into small chunks. Place in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer the potatoes until just tender, about 15 minutes.

  • Pat dry the chicken breasts and season.

  • Now divide the butter and oil between the two pans/skillets.

  • Place one over a medium heat and, once the butter is foaming, add the chicken breasts and brown for 5 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through.

  • Reduce the heat and continue to cook the chicken for about 15 minutes, until it is cooked through, turning once.

  • Meanwhile, drain the potatoes when they are just tender and leave for a couple of minutes to dry out.

  • Heat the oil and butter in the other pan and, once the butter is foaming, add the potatoes with the garlic. Turn to coat. Cook over a medium heat until the potatoes are golden and crisp on the outside, turning occasionally.

  • When the chicken is ready, transfer it to the warm serving dish and keep warm in the oven. Add the potatoes and garlic once they are ready.

  • Pour the chicken stock and wine into the pan the chicken was cooked in, and let it bubble over a high heat until reduced by half. Stir occasionally and scrape all the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan.

  • Pour over the chicken, potatoes, and garlic and serve immediately garnished with the parsley.
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Updated: October 19, 2019

One-Dish Lamb Pasta

One-Dish Lamb Pasta

Simple to prepare, this tasty pasta dish gets cooked in one pan in just under 30 minutes. Lamb is cooked in a red wine, tomato and thyme sauce with farfalle (bow-tie pasta). Great served with a leafy salad, and crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

One-Dish Lamb Pasta

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 27 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 450 g (1 lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
  • 2 × 400 g tin (1 x 28 fl oz can) chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) red wine (⅔ cup)
  • 1 heaped tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock (1¼ cups)
  • 170 g (6 oz) farfalle pasta(3 cups)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • fresh Parmesan to garnish

To serve

  • A leafy salad and crusty bread

Equipment

  • You will also need a large sauté pan with lid and four pasta dishes.


  • Method
  • Heat the oil and then add the onion and lamb to the pan.
  • Brown the meat over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and breaking up any clumps of lamb.
  • Now add the tomatoes, red wine, thyme, tomato purée/paste, seasoning, and stock.
  • Stir everything together then bring the sauce to the boil.
  • Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet. Drain well.
  • Tip the pasta into the meat sauce and add a good dash of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Now give everything a good stir and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Then spoon into the four dishes and top with a little grated Parmesan.
  • Serve with a leafy salad and crusty bread to soak up the tasty sauce.
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Updated: July 10, 2019

Chicken in a White Wine Sauce

Chicken in a White Wine Sauce

Succulent chicken breasts, cooked with bacon and shallots, in a white wine sauce with a hint of tarragon. A simple dish to prepare and full of flavour.

Chicken in a White Wine Sauce

4 servings
  • Preparation time: about 35 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 115 g (4 oz) smoked streaky bacon/smoked side bacon, cut into strips (4 rashers)
  • 12 shallots, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 475 ml (16 fl oz) good chicken stock (2 cups)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) white wine (⅔ cup)
  • 3 tarragon sprigs leaves finely chopped and stalks reserved
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
  • salt and ground black pepper

To serve

  • serve with baby potatoes and seasonal vegetables.


  • Method
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet. Add the chicken and sauté over a medium heat until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

  • Now add the bacon to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes to release the fat. Then reduce the heat and add the shallots. Continue cooking for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until both are golden in colour.

  • Next, sprinkle over the flour and stir to absorb the fat and juices. Cook for 1 minute and then gradually stir in the stock, wine and tarragon stalks.

  • Return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer over a gentle heat for 45 minutes.

  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken, bacon and shallots to a plate and keep warm. Strain the sauce and discard the tarragon stalks. Then return the sauce to the pan/skillet and reduce by half. Now stir in the crème fraîche and chopped tarragon leaves. Season to taste.

  • Return the chicken, bacon and shallots to the pan and stir to coat.
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Updated: March 28, 2018

Pork and Mushrooms in a Mustard Wine Sauce

Pork and Mushrooms in a Mustard Wine Sauce

A very tasty dish that takes just 20 minutes to cook. Pork steaks or tenderloin and sliced mushrooms are sautéed in olive oil and served in a creamy mustard and white wine sauce with thyme.

Pork and Mushrooms in a Mustard Wine Sauce

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 pork loin steaks, or a piece of pork tenderloin cut into 4
  • 225 g (8 oz) mushrooms, rinsed, trimmed and thickly sliced (about 12 button mushrooms)
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) dry white wine (1 cup)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • fresh chives, optional

To serve

  • new or baby potatoes and a green salad, green beans, or spinach

Equipment

  • large frying pan/skillet


  • Method
  • First, warm a plate in the oven.
  • Place the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the butter and once it has melted and begins to foam, add the pork. Brown the pork on both sides, about 5 minutes. Now reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to the warmed plate and and keep warm in the oven.
  • Next toss the mushrooms in the pan to coat and cook until lightly browned, 2–3 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and add to the plate with the pork.
  • Blend the flour into the pan juices. Gradually stir in the wine until the sauce is smooth and then add the thyme leaves. Increase the heat and let it bubble until reduced by about two-thirds.

  • Turn the heat down to low and stir in the crème fraîche and mustard to warm through. Do not let the mixture boil as it will make the mustard taste bitter. Season.

  • Return the pork, mushrooms and any juices, to the pan and stir the sauce.
  • Heat everything through very gently and then serve garnished with snipped chives, if liked.
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Updated: October 4, 2017

Hot Orange Chicken

Hot Orange Chicken

Chicken breasts are marinaded in a garlic, orange and wine sauce with wholegrain mustard and Tabasco to give it a kick. The marinading is well worthwhile as is produces succulent chicken breasts with lots of flavour.

Hot Orange Chicken

4 servings
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Marinading time: 24 hours and overnight
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the marinade
  • 2 oranges, zest and juice
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz) dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin removed
  • 4 boned chicken breasts, skinned


  • Method
  • Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a jug or small bowl and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

  • Prick the chicken with a fork and place in a single layer in a shallow dish so they fit snugly. Pour over the marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight.

  • These can then be either grilled/broiled or barbecued.

  • If using a grill/broiler, turn to a low heat then cook the chicken for 10 minutes on each side, basting each side well with the marinade.

  • Serve with vegetables of your choice.
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