142ml (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
150g Greek yogurt (⅔ cup)
4 rounded tsp dark muscovado/soft dark brown sugar
14g (½ oz) blanched almonds (12)
You will need 4 glass dessert dishes for this recipe.
Wash and stone the plums. If they are small, leave them halved but if they are large, cut into quarters. Put them in a wide, shallow pan with the sugar, one half of the vanilla pod, strips of lemon peel and 1 tablespoon water. Then bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Now reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking until the plums are soft but still keeping their shape, about 10–15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the cream in a small pan with the remaining half of vanilla pod. Heat until it just begins to simmer and then pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Cover and chill until needed.
Next put the almonds in a small frying pan/skillet and, over a gentle heat, toast until they are just beginning to turn colour and smell nutty. Toss them frequently. Leave to cool and then chop.
Once the plums are cool, discard the vanilla pod and lemon strips. Test for sweetness. Adding 2 teaspoons of caster/superfine sugar if they are still a little tart. Spoon the plums and juice into the four glass dishes.
Now remove the vanilla pod from the chilled cream and add the yogurt. Whisk gently until the mixture has softly thickened and holds its shape. Then spoon the cream mixture over the plums and level the surface.
Sprinkle 1 rounded teaspoon of the muscovado/soft dark brown sugar over the cream in each pot.
Sprinkle over the chopped almonds.
Cover and chill for 3 hours. (The sugar on the top will have melted.)
3 tbsp golden caster/superfine sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
75g (2½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (⅓ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch
You will also need 4 × 150ml (5 fl oz) heatproof ramekins
Divide the mashed bananas between the four ramekins and smooth the top.
Then drizzle over the honey to completely cover the bananas.
Carefully spoon an equal amount of yogurt into each ramekin and smooth the top.
Now sprinkle over the nuts and gently press down.
For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the nuts and yogurt in one ramekin. (The sugar needs to cover the yogurt completely.)
Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.
Now repeat with the other 3 ramekins.
Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
First, have a piece of baking paper ready on the counter top. Next, put the sugar in a stainless steel pan and add just enough water to dampen the sugar. Place over a low heat and stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Then increase the heat to medium–high. Without stirring, leave the sugar to bubble fiercely. When the bubbling lessens and the sugar has turned a pale straw colour it will be ready. Carefully pour the caramel onto the paper (it will be extremely hot) and leave it to become cold.
Now turn the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to get really hot.
The caramel will have hardened on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules (finer than caster sugar). Sprinkle evenly over the nuts and yogurt in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the yogurt is completely covered.
Put the ramekins on a baking tray as close to the heat source as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.
Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
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.
170g (6 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 1¼ cups)
1 tbsp sugar
For the topping
85g (3 oz) strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about ⅔ cup)
55g (2 oz) plain/dark chocolate
2 tbsp slivered/flaked almonds
You will also need a 17cm (6½ in) square metal baking tin at least 5cm (2 inches) deep for this recipe.
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 24cm (9½ in) square tin.
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, 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.
Meanwhile, scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl and leave until the strawberries are ready. It should not thaw completely.
Purée the strawberries until smooth and then pour over the top of the ice cream or yogurt. 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 once the chocolate has melted and add the remaining chocolate pieces. Stir until the chocolate has melted and there is a smooth sauce. Leave to cool.
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.
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 24cm (9½ in) square container.
You will also need 4 x pretty glasses, sundae glasses or short tumblers.
Whisk the mascarpone and yogurt together until smooth.
Reserve 4 strawberries, 8 raspberries and 8 blueberries for decoration, then lightly mix the other fruits together in a small bowl and dust with 2 teaspoons icing/powdered sugar to sweeten.
Crush the biscuits.
Now begin layering the glasses. First, divide half the biscuits between the glasses, spreading them evenly over the base. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Marsala (or whatever you are using) over the biscuit crumbs.
Spoon a quarter of the mascarpone mixture over the biscuit crumbs and smooth the surface.
Next, divide half the fruit between each of the glasses and then layer with another quarter of the mascarpone mixture and smooth the surface.
Now, sprinkle the remaining biscuit pieces over the mascarpone mixture and add 2 more tablespoons of the Marsala (or whatever you are using). Add another quarter of the mascarpone mixture and smooth the tops.
Finally spoon over the remaining fruit and finally the last quarter of the mascarpone mixture.
You should now have 4 layers of the mascarpone mixture, 2 layers of the amaretti biscuits and 2 layers of fruit.
Halve the reserved strawberries and decorate each glass with the reserved fruit.
Sieve over a dusting of icing/powdered sugar just before serving.
1 tbsp medium or coarse pinhead oatmeal/steel cut oatmeal
You will also need 4 short glass tumblers
Peel, core and chop the apples. Put in a pan with 1 tablespoon water and gently cook for about 15minutes until the fruit is very soft, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and whisk to make the apples fluffy. Leave to cool, about 45 minutes.
Divide the apple between the glasses and smooth the tops.
Stir the yogurt and then spoon on top of the apple. Chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and add the oatmeal. Cook for a few minutes moving the oatmeal around. Once it starts to brown, it is ready. Set aside to cool.
Just before serving, sprinkle the oatmeal over the yogurt.
You will also need a large frying pan/skillet and a deep sided casserole dish
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
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 bowl, mix together the soaked breadcrumbs, onion, lamb, eggs, seasoning, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.
Shape into 32 meatballs, using wet fingers. Just keep a small bowl of water nearby. (Fingers dipped in flour will just become sticky.) Place them on a plate, cover, and chill for 1 hour to firm up.
Heat half the butter in the pan/skillet over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add half the meatballs. Shake them in the pan to keep them moving and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to the casserole dish using a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining meatballs, adding extra butter if needed.
Pour the stock into the panskillet. Bring to the boil, scraping off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the mustard. Pour over the meatballs. Cover the dish with foil 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.
Reserve four raspberries and then cook the rest gently in a small pan with the honey until the fruit juices just start to run. This will only take a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Pour the yogurt into a bowl and very carefully fold in the raspberries. The juice will be absorbed into the yogurt to turn it a pale raspberry colour. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Divide between four fancy glass dishes and top with the reserved raspberries.