Custard and Creme Anglaise

Subtly different, Creme Anglaise is both richer and more temperamental than a good pouring custard. The differences in preparation are really quite trivial, and for all but the grandest f entertaining, the custard alternative is probably the best bet.  It will give greater volume and much less chance of splitting I also use an alternative…

Spotted Dick

It’s freezing cold and miserable outside, time for another winter classic – Spotted Dick (I can hear you giggling – stop it!) A really easy dessert to prepare requiring minimal effort but quote a long steaming time. Use a dried fruit mix of your choice – stick with the traditional sultana or be a bit…

My Favourite Chilli Con Carne

My all time favourite comfort food recipe, cooked in advance makes an ideal as a mid-week winter warmer I’m amazed that I’ve yet to write this recipe up.  It’s been a mainstay ever since I went to university many years ago and was really my entry into spicy cooking.  I used to head out to…

Jamaican Ginger Cake

I used to love Jamaican Ginger Cake.  I’ve had a few attempts in the past at recreating this iconic recipe and this is by far the closest I’ve got. Absolutely luscious sticky ginger sponge, perfect drizzled with a little orange glaze icing or served warm with custard or ice cream Makes a 2lb Loaf Ingredients 225g Plain…

Victoria Sandwich

Week 9: The Final – Mary’s Victoria Sandwich At last, a technical challenge which aligns with the promise it set out at the very start of the series, to showcase the basics of baking.  And it doesn’t get much more  basic than this weeks instructions:- “Make a Victoria Sandwich using two 20cm tins, filled with…

Mini Lemon and Plum Savarin

Week 8: Patisserie Week – Savarin It’s semi-final week, and I’ve been away, so this post is really quite late (photos to follow – sorry) A ‘high end’ desert, the Savarin is a yeast leavened sponge saturated in alcohol based syrup, usually served with cream and fruit.  Paul’s Savarin was exactly this.  His orange sponge…

Tudor Jumbles

Week 8: Tudor Week – Tudor Jumbles 16th century knot biscuits cooked to a simple, representative recipe.  The contestants cooked 12 Jumbles – 6 delicate Celtic knots and 6 denser knot balls, which should be crisp on the outside and softer in the centre These may have been an example of Elizabethan decadence but these…

Marjolaine

Week 7: Dessert Week – Marjolaine Target Time: 3 hours No, I didn’t know what was either so a visit to the interweb was called for. If you google Marjolaine you’re likely to come across a number of sites devoted to French lingerie.  Be warned, I’m sure this was not the Marjolaine that Mary had in…

Tomato Cobbler

Autumn is finally closing in but I’ve still a large number of tomatoes to use up.  What better on a chilli October evening than a warming end of summer cobbler? Te cheesy basil scone topping soaks up all of the fresh juices, but the tomatoes are still the starts of the show Serve with a…

Herb & Garlic Fougasse

Week 6 – Botanical Week – Herb Fougasse Generally a strong week for all competitors with  a lot of last minute frantic fanning to cool the loaves in the last minutes and a little confusion over how to slash the bread, the biggest decision seemed to whether or not to add steam. Steam makes for…

Tomato & Red Onion Tart

Another great way to use up all of those seasonal tomatoes.  Here I’ve used my 3 favourite varieties – Floridity, Sugar Gloss and Sungold The slow roasting intensifies the flavours and turns this into a real taste of summer For the cheese I’ve used a mix of Cheddar and Parmesan. Make your own Puff Pastry…

Brown Tom

This is a variation of an old family recipe that makes excellent use of all of those ripe tomatoes at this time of the year. A really simple and frugal dish that makes the most of one of my seasonal favourites. Serves 4 Ingredients 100g Pancetta, chopped 1 Red Onion, diced Pinch of Salt 2…

Bakewell Tart

Week 5 – Pastry Week.  Technical Challenge – Bakewell Tart As it happens just like Val, Bakewell Tart (pudding) is something that I make quite often.  I’ve a tried and tested recipe which the whole family loves so I’ve no intention of trying out this week’s challenge.  I know it’s a bit of a cop…

Lacy Pancakes

Week 4 – Batter  Technical Challenge – 12 Heart Shaped Lacy Pancakes In the immortal words of Mel & Sue – “Are you a flipper or a tosser?” I can honestly say that I can’t imagine a more futile challenge!  Why on earth spend the time making lacy pancakes?  They’re tougher than normal pancakes/crepes, they…

Savoury Dampfnudel with Kartoffelsuppe

Week 3 – Bread.  Technical Challenge – Dampfnudel What?  I hear you cry!  Like all of the #GBBO contestants this week, these are a new one on me and given the generally poor results (Paul Hollywood described the 3rd place contender as ‘edible’!), it’s fair to say that I’m approaching these with a degree of…

Viennese Whirls

Week 2 – Biscuits. Technical Challenge – Viennese Whirls Much less controversy this week, other than the reciprocal challenge of week 1 – is a Viennese Whirl actually a biscuit? Surely its a small cake?  The origins of this traditional British biscuit seems to have nothing to do with Austria at all, but apparently came…

Chilli Lime Jaffa Cakes

Week 1 – Cakes.  Technical Challenge – Jaffa Cakes First up, and immediately controversy set in – is a jaffa cake actually a biscuit?  Paul Hollywood certainly upset a few people by dunking one in his tea. Technically these Jaffa Cakes seemed to create a few areas of debate – Which way up should a…

GBBO Homage

  Well it’s that time of year again. September is here, it’s pouring with rain and I’m watching Series 7 of The Great British Bake Off. Not put off by the scandalous accusations of sexism and gender-stereotyping through use of coloured icing as part of the series launch, this year in a homage to GBBO I’ll be…

Tropical Fruit Pavlova

I can’t really take much credit for this one – Alex saw a picture of something very similar in a Tescos magazine and immediately declared that this is what she wanted for her birthday party, instead of a cake.  So yesterday Alex had her very first ‘Pizza and Pavlova Party’ Well, I have to admit these…

Fruit & Ginger Biscuits

A wonderful spicy biscuit just right for the festive season.  Full of festive fruit – I’ve chosen sour cherries and apricots as well as the stem ginger, but you can adjust to taste.  The chocolate is a nice touch, balancing off the treacle, and the sugar roll gives a great crunch.  Adding the oatmeal provides…