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 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.
Cut two sheets of baking parchment larger than the baking tin so that they can be laid across one another and overhang the edges of the tin on all sides. Press well into the corners of the tin.
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 tin, 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.
Now slice the strawberries and put into a small bowl. Toss with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes, stirring 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, then pour over the top of the ice cream or yogurt. Stir until well blended. Then spoon evenly over the chocolate base in the tin 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 over a pan of just simmering water. (The bowl should not touch the water.). Remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate to the bowl. 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. Drizzle over the chocolate and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.
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.
Wash and halve plums. Remove the stones and cut the fruit into chunks, placing them in a bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cornflour/cornstarch and toss to coat. Tip into the ovenproof dish and set aside.
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles small crumbs. Mix in 70g (2½ oz) sugar. Stir through the buttermilk or yogurt until combined. A food processor does all of this in no time.
Scatter balls of the dough over the plums, leaving some of the fruit exposed. The balls of dough will expand when cooked.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar and bake for 40 minutes until the juices are bubbling and the top is pale golden in colour.
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.