Eggless Pasta Dough

This traditional pasta dough often used in southern Italy and Sardinia with no eggs gives a lighter, more chewy pasta which tends to be cooked with sauces to full absorb flavours. This can be used for a variety of traditionally shaped pastas – I use this for Orecchiette Cavatelli Pici Trofie Follow the links above…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Suet Pastry

Suet pastry brings back memories of school dinners and is a classic pastry for traditional British pies and puddings, both sweet and savoury.  I just love Jam Roly Poly with fresh custard… Using similar proportions to shortcrust, suet pastry is softer and more absorbent, with a tendency to rise in a pseudo-sponge type fashion.  This…

Apple Tarte Tatin

The one and only Tarte Tatin.  In this recipe I’ve used a full puff pastry, but rough puff should be perfectly fine.  This classic is all about showing off the fruit.  It doesn’t need anything else – just apple and caramel.  The choice of apple is critical here – you need something with a good…

Lemon Macarons

A terrific zesty macaroon with a creamy lemon buttercream and surprise lemon curd centre. This recipe uses a French Meringue technique rather than creating an Italian meringue, which is much simpler. Use the spare egg yolks to make your own lemon curd – it’s really easy! Makes 15-20 Ingredients 150g Icing Sugar 75g Ground Almonds…

Sweet Thai Chilli Macarons – Flora’s Revenge!

And so another series of Great British Bake Off has finished, the nation has finally finished mopping up those tears after Nadiya’s closing speech. A worthy winner from 3 impressive finalists, but part of me wishes Flora had made it through the semis. Also, her desire to plaster everything in sight with macarons was her…

Jam Roly Poly

I don’t know why, but yesterday I had this sudden desire for Jam Roly Poly.  I haven’t had it for years, and my only strong memories are back from my school days when vegetables were grey and steamed puddings as tough as old car tyres.  All a bit of a mystery but I guess it…

Easy Plum Jam

It’s that time of year again, the plums are ripe and falling from the tree and I’ve managed to get in just before the wasps get them all.  The primary use for my plums are to make another batch of Plum Liquour, but with the surplus I fancy some plum Jam (in fact I really…

Alex’s Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is so easy to make, and much nicer than anything you can buy in the shops.  Alex and I made this batch as surprise filler for mummy’s Lemon Drizzle birthday cake. We’ve used a bain marie here to prevent the mix from curdling and turning into a pan of lemon scrambled eggs –…

Leek and Stilton Soup

A classic combination and a great way to use up new season leeks and a block of old cheese.  The relative slow cooking and inclusion of the leek greens means this soup does lose it’s bright colour, but the flavour is great. A really rich soup which can be spoilt if you add too much…

Special Mushroom, Celeriac and Walnut Lasagne

For my vegetarian Christmas celebration, I opted for one of my favourites – lasagne, this time made with rich layers of mushroom, herby celeriac and creamy cheese sauce, along with the obligatory home made pasta sheets.  Of course you could use shop bought pasta, but making your own is really simple. It’s a 3 pan,…

Italian Slow Roast Shoulder of Pork

Shoulder of Pork is another ‘cheap’ cut of meat which lends itself to slow cooking.  Treated properly, this can make the most amazing roast dinner, requiring very little effort once it’s gone in the oven.  The fatty layers mean the meat does’t need basting as it cooks, and doesn’t need covering.  The Italian spin from…

Boulangere Potatoes

Traditionally cooked by the local baker under the bread, Boulangere potatoes are a great ‘no fuss’ potato dish for entertaining.  Prep in advance, throw them in the oven and forget about them. A perfect accompaniment to roast meat In the past I’ve had problems with this type of dish cooking through.  The secret really is…

Turkey Giblet Gravy

So your bird is in the oven, roasting away, and you’re left with a vacuum sealed bag of poultry body parts – what are you going to do with these?  Make a great stock for your gravy, of course.  First of all you have to establish whether or not you want to include the liver….

How to Roast a Turkey

So you’ve bought your turkey – hopefully a free range, hand raised bird from your local farm shop like mine which you know will have the best of flavours.  If so, you’ve probably just collected it a day or so before it’s needed.  If you’ve gone to the supermarket, your turkey is probably frozen.  Make…

Summer Berry Bakewell Tart

Bakewell tart, or Bakewell Pudding is a British classic.  I’ve been wanting to cook one for ages, and planned to bake one whilst off on a week’s holiday at home with Alex – quality Dad/Daughter time. I did intend to base this on a home made Blackcurrant jam.  I’ve a freezer full of blackcurrants and…