Sticky Ginger Beetroots Muffins

I’m about to do 3 things that I normally avoid – publish a recipe which isn’t mine and with very limited tailoring, publish a recipe which I think is still a bit flawed and indulge myself in a little editorial. I found 6 copies of this recipe online, identical or so very close, so it’s…

Brown Tom

This is a recipe which we roll out every year at this time to deal with our heavenly glut of fresh tomatoes.  Frankly I’m quite surprised that I’ve never typed this one up – it’s one of our favourites, it’s really simple and it’s just an amazing comfort food for those end of summer evenings….

Sweet Gherkin Pickle

I’ve been caught out again.  For some reason my petite cornichons have developed early and gone unnoticed – I now have a number of mammoth gherkins to use up, so a last minute change of plan is called for.  This is a fine pickle or relish which is great with sausages or in sandwiches.  If…

Chocolate & Pecan Shortbread Biscuits

A great combination, using quality chocolate such as Green & Blacks Milk Chocolate.  You can also make this with less flour – around 225g, to get a really rich, buttery shortbread which is very, very short and tastes great, but for everyday eating the extra flour makes  for a more practical eating biscuit, and significantly…

Simnel Muffins

Simnel cake is an Easter tradition, and this muffin variant is great on its own or even served as a dessert. Like many people, some of my guests aren’t that keen on Marzipan so I’ve left that out and made a few ‘plain’ versions.  But don’t let that put you off – without the marzipan…

Vertical Potatoes

So I love Boulangere potatoes but unless they’re properly cooked on a low heat over a long period, often struggle to judge the timings and get them properly and evenly cooked through.  This alternative address potato cooking from a different perspective, literally!  By stacking the slices up on their sides, not only do you get…

My Favourite Meatball & Stuffing Recipe

Originally based on a Jamie Oliver recipe, I used a variation of this for Christmas and have never looked back. Why make your own sausage meat?  Well, I think the answer is obvious – who know’s what’s hidden inside the supermarket rubbish these days.  By using good quality ingredients you can create the best flavoured…

Chilli Jelly -Choose your weapon…

I’ve a freezer full of chillies which I just won’t get through, so what better thing to do that make chilli jelly – perfect for Christmas stocking fillers! But wait – which chillies to use?  I have vast array of varieties and this recipe can be adapted for all.  In due course I’ll make a…

Spicy Pepper Relish

A full flavoured pepper pickle ideal for everyday use on sandwiches, or as a polite condiment.  The fine texture makes this ideal for spreading but prepare the peppers by hand for a more chunky version.  This makes for a warming heat – adjust the quantity of chillies up or down to taste.  The cayenne-type chillies…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…