Pate Sucree d’Armand (Sweet Pastry with Almonds)

A great pastry for sweet tarts.  In fact, the almonds are optional – to make a ‘normal’ Pate Sucree, replace with an equivalent weight of plain flour n(which should make the pastry a little more stable.  Alternatively increase the proportion of ground almonds to make a shorter pastry, more akin to pate sablee. Warning! This…

Puff Pastry

Yes, you can but it in the shops, and its very good.  But it’s really not that difficult to make yourself – it just requires a little planning as the end-to-end time is quite long, even though there’s not a huge amount of effort involved. Puff pastry gives a more consistent result than a rough-puff…

James’s Seasoning

I’ve been experimenting with a spice mix I could use for the likes of Southern Fried Chicken for years. The commercial ones are all very well, but tend to be full of the usual additives & flavour enhancers which I’m keen to avoid. The best by far has been Joe’s Stuff, a terrific Cajun spice…

Panch Phoron

Panch Phoron is a Bangladeshi spice mix, literally translated as ‘Five Spice’.  Quite different to the Chinese version of Five Spice, Panch Phoron contains a mix of pungent whole spices which are great at adding depth without heat.  To use, take a generous pinch (or up to 1 tsp) and fry the whole spices in…

Make your own… Filo Pastry

Filo Pastry is readily available, pre-rolled into fine sheets, generally to be found in the freezer section of your local supermarket.  It’s incredible thin, which makes for a crisp pastry shell, and consequently everyone assumes it must be really difficult to make.  After all, if you struggle to make shortcrust pastry without filling it full…

Chana Masala Powder

My preferred spice blend for making Chana Masala, or Chole.  Highly aromatic with a kick.  Shop-bought ground spice blends really are over-rated unless you have a good source and can get through them really quickly. Making your own from whole spices as and when you need it ensures the best flavours are retained Makes about…

Pizza Dough

Making your own pizza is easy, great fun for the kids and if you have your own wood burning Pizza oven or similar, a great casual entertaining dish for those warm summer evenings.  It all starts with the pizza dough you’ll need for the base, which needs to be made in advance. There’s no need…

Marinara Sauce

A lot of confusion seems to surround the understanding of ‘Marinara Sauces’, especially outside of Italy.  One thing’s for sure – it DOESN’T contain any fish or seafood.  One commonly held school of thought is that it was a simple sauce cooked on the boats by Neapolitan mariners.  This can be considered as the mother…

Barbecue Sauce

Recipes don’t get much easier than this.  A really effective BBQ sauce which you can make in minutes, and easy to scale up as required.  Paul Newman – eat your heart out! Serves: 4 Ingredients 3 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup 1 Tbsp Runny Honey 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar 1 Tbsp Worcester Sauce a little Chilli Powder…

How to Make… Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean sauce can be a wonderful rich fullness to an Asian meal, or bring with it an overbearing saltiness which destroys it.  Why not take all of the guesswork out and make your own?  It’s really not that hard, and you know exactly what’s in it.  All you need is a source of tinned…

Whiskey & Ginger Ice Cream

I just love my Ice Cream maker.  It’s so easy to make any flavour of ice cream when you want it, and you know exactly what’s gone into it.  I needed something special for Christmas to complement my Marmalade Christmas Pudding, so came up with this Whiskey & Ginger Ice Cream.  Amazing… You can make…

Make your own… Focaccia

Focaccia is a great Italian leavened flatbread, which is easy to make and tastes terrific.  Often thought to be the same as, or similar to Pizza due to it’s shape and the fact that it’s always topped with something, with Focaccia, the focus is really on the bread itself and not on the topping. You…