Vanilla Plum Pots

Vanilla Plum Pots

 

Vanilla Plum Pots
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Chilling time: 3 hours
  • Cooking time: about 20 minute

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (16 oz) plums
  • 85g (3 oz) golden caster/superfine sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved
  • 2 strips of lemon peel
  • 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.


  1. Method
  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Sprinkle 1 rounded teaspoon of the muscovado/soft dark brown sugar over the cream in each pot.

  8. Sprinkle over the chopped almonds.

  9. Cover and chill for 3 hours. (The sugar on the top will have melted.)

  10. Serve.

 

Cinnamon Plum Cobbler

Plum Cobbler

 

A traditional fruit cobbler where juicy plums are baked, topped with balls of a soft dough, and sprinkled with sugar.

 

Cinnamon Plum Cobbler
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 900g (2 lb) plums (about 14)
  • 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 85g (3 oz) demerara sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 170g (6 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1⅓ cups)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 55g (2 oz) butter, chilled and diced (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 55g (2 oz) caster/superfine sugar (¼ cup)
  • 180ml (6 fl oz) buttermilk* (¾ cup)

  • * 180ml (6 oz) (¾ cup) full fat/whole milk plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice can be substituted for the buttermilk. Just stir together and leave for 15 minutes to thicken up before using.

  • You will also need a 23cm (9 inch) (2 litre) round ovenproof dish about 5cm (2 inches) deep.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)

  3. Wash and halve the plums then ease out the stones.

  4. Mix the cornflour (cornstarch) in 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) water.

  5. Now add to a medium-sized pan along with the demerara sugar and cinnamon. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally.

  6. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the plums, cover the pan and simmer gently for 5–10 minutes depending on the ripeness of the plums. You want the plums to soften but still keep their shape.

  7. Begin making the topping by sifting the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.

  8. Now rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

  9. Stir through the sugar.

  10. Using a pallet knife, gradually add the buttermilk to the flour mixture to bind it together and make a slightly sticky dough. You may not need all the buttermilk.

  11. Next tip the plums into the dish and then dollop balls of dough on top of the plums, leaving space around each one and some of the fruit exposed. The balls of dough will expand when cooking.

  12. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the top is golden and then let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Updated: September 18, 2019

Banana and Honey Brûlée

Banana and Honey Brûlée

 

A tasty twist on a classic crème brulée. Quick to prepare and just chill until needed.

 

Banana and Honey Brûlée
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 10–25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 minute
  • Refrigeration time: 2 hours

  • Ingredients
  • 2 small bananas, well mashed
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 500g carton Greek yogurt

  • For the topping
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts or almonds, finely chopped
  • 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


  1. Method
  2. Divide the mashed bananas between the four ramekins and smooth the top.

  3. Then drizzle over the honey to completely cover the bananas.

  4. Carefully spoon an equal amount of yogurt into each ramekin and smooth the top.

  5. Now sprinkle over the nuts and gently press down.


  6. For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  7. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the nuts and yogurt in one ramekin. (The sugar needs to cover the yogurt completely.)

  8. Caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  9. Now repeat with the other 3 ramekins.

  10. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  11. For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  12. 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.

  13. Now turn the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to get really hot.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Updated: January 17, 2019

Pork Goulash

Pork Goulash

 

A pork goulash that all the family can enjoy and only takes forty minutes. Strips of pork tenderloin seasoned with paprika and cooked with red peppers, tomatoes and onions.

 

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Pork Goulash
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 450g (1 lb) pork tenderloin/fillet, cut into strips
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped/diced tomatoes or 1 x 28 fl oz can
  • 2 red bell peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped coriander to garnish
  • 4 tbsp Greek yogurt

  • To serve
  • rice

  • You will also need a large sauté pan.


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in the pan and add the onions. Cook over a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes until golden, stirring them frequently.

  3. Add the pork strips and sauté for a further 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

  4. Now stir in the paprika, flour and tomato purée/paste and cook for 1 minute.

  5. Then stir through the tomatoes, peppers, 2 tablespoons water, and season. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Spoon the goulash amongst four warmed plates or bowls, and garnish each one with a little chopped coriander and a tablespoon of yogurt in the centre.

  7. Serve with rice.

Updated: October 26, 2018

Banana Breakfast Muffins

Banana Breakfast Muffins

 

Want something different from toast for breakfast? Try these tasty muffins. They are full of goodness with bananas, milk, yogurt, bran and more. Just halve, spread with butter and enjoy.

 

Banana Breakfast Muffins
Prepares: 12 muffins
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 16 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) milk (½ cup)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) natural yogurt (½ cup)
  • 3 tbsp flavourless oil
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 140g (5 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1 cup)
  • 140g (5 oz) wholemeal/wholewheat flour (1 cup)
  • 70g (2½ oz) light muscovado/soft brown sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 40g (1½ oz) wheat bran (¾ cup)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda/baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

  • You will also need a 12-hole bun tray (12-hole muffin pan).


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

  3. Either lightly grease the bun tray/muffin cups or line with paper cups.

  4. Now peel and mash the bananas (a potato masher makes this easy).

  5. Then whisk the egg in a small bowl. Next whisk in the milk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla extract. Now add the bananas and stir until well incorporated.

  6. Sift the flours into a large bowl and mix together. Now add all the remaining ingredients.

  7. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until everything is combined.

  8. Spoon into the bun tray/muffin cups using an ice cream scoop.

  9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 16 minutes until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

  10. Cool muffins in the bun tray/muffin cups for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack/cooling rack.

  11. Note
  12. They freeze well.

 

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
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Freezing time: 4 hours
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the base
  • 115g (4 oz) Oreo chocolate baking crumbs (1 cup)*
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 40g (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 following for a substitution for the ingredients to make the base in England:

  • 115g (4 oz) plain digestive biscuits crushed to make fine crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 55g (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
  • 280g (10 oz) vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (8 scoops)
  • 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.

  • 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 24cm (9½ in) square tin.


  1. Method
  2. 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.

  3. For the base
  4. 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.


  5. For the filling
  6. Remove the ice cream or frozen yogurt from the freezer to soften a little while preparing the strawberries.

  7. Slice the strawberries and put in a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

  8. Meanwhile, scoop the ice cream or yogurt into a large bowl and leave until the strawberries are ready. It should not thaw completely.

  9. Purée the strawberries until smooth and then pour over the top of the ice cream or yogurt. Stir until well blended.

  10. Spoon evenly over the chocolate base and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.


  11. Frozen Strawberry Sundae


  12. For the topping
  13. Start preparing the toasted almonds and chocolate sauce about one hour before serving so they have time to cool.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.)

  16. 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.


  17. To finish
  18. Top each square just before serving.

  19. 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.

  20. Slice the remaining strawberries and decorate the top of the squares.

  21. Then drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

  22. Note
  23. 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.

  24. 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.

Updated: July 27, 2019 8, 2018

Summer Fruit Glory

Summer Fruit Glory

 

Summer Fruit Glory is a quick summer dessert to prepare that looks very impressive. Layers of mascarpone and strawberry yogurt, summer fruits and amaretti biscuits soaked in Marsala. Delicious!

 

Summer Fruit Glory
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 250g or 275g tub mascarpone
  • ½ x 500g pot strawberry yogurt
  • 12 strawberries, hulled
  • 140g (5 oz) raspberries (1¼ cups)
  • 140g (5 oz) blueberries (¾ cup heaped)
  • 1 tbsp icing/powdered sugar for dusting
  • 225g (8 oz) amaretti biscuits (about 24)
  • 4 tbsp Marsala, medium sherry or brandy

  • You will also need 4 x pretty glasses, sundae glasses or short tumblers.


  1. Method
  2. Whisk the mascarpone and yogurt together until smooth.

  3. 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.

  4. Crush the biscuits.

  5. 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.

  6. Spoon a quarter of the mascarpone mixture over the biscuit crumbs and smooth the surface.

  7. Next, divide half the fruit between each of the glasses and then layer with another quarter of the mascarpone mixture and smooth the surface.

  8. 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.

  9. Finally spoon over the remaining fruit and finally the last quarter of the mascarpone mixture.

  10. You should now have 4 layers of the mascarpone mixture, 2 layers of the amaretti biscuits and 2 layers of fruit.

  11. Halve the reserved strawberries and decorate each glass with the reserved fruit.

  12. Sieve over a dusting of icing/powdered sugar just before serving.

Updated: August 5, 2018

Apple Snow

Apple Snow

 

This Apple Snow dish is based on the traditional version but it does not use raw eggs. The apples are topped with Greek yogurt and sprinkled with roasted oatmeal.

 

Apple Snow
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: 45 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 apples suitable for cooking
  • 250g Greek yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp medium or coarse pinhead oatmeal/steel cut oatmeal

  • You will also need 4 short glass tumblers


  1. Method
  2. 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.

  3. Divide the apple between the glasses and smooth the tops.

  4. Stir the yogurt and then spoon on top of the apple. Chill for 30 minutes.

  5. 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.

  6. Just before serving, sprinkle the oatmeal over the yogurt.

Updated: June 8, 2018

Lamb Meatballs in a Creamy Sauce

Lamb Meatballs in a Creamy Sauce

 

These tasty nutmeg seasoned meatballs are cooked in a creamy, wholegrain mustard sauce and served with tagliatelle.

 

Lamb Meatballs in a Creamy Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 1 hour (oven)

  • Ingredients
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 450g (1 lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
  • 2 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) chicken stock (2½ cups)
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) crème frâiche (1¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch

  • To serve
  • serve with tagliatelle and a green salad

  • You will also need a large frying pan/skillet and a deep sided casserole dish


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

  3. 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.

  4. In a large bowl, mix together the soaked breadcrumbs, onion, lamb, eggs, seasoning, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Serve over tagliatelle, and a salad on the side.

Updated: April 14, 2018

Quick Raspberry Fool

Quick Raspberry Fool

 

All this recipe needs is fresh raspberries, honey and natural yogurt to make a refreshing summer fool.

 

Quick Raspberry Fool
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: less than 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 280–340g/10–12 oz fresh raspberries (2 punnets)
  • 1 tsp runny honey/clear honey
  • 1 x 500g carton natural yogurt


  1. Method
  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Divide between four fancy glass dishes and top with the reserved raspberries.