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…

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…

Chocolate & Chilli Liqueur

As an aside, you may think that your Chocolate & Chilli Extract is just going to sit on in the kitchen cupboard gathering dust. Why not create a Chocolate & Chilli Liqueur instead? Follow the recipe as for the extract but also add 70g of white sugar (or more, to taste) I’m planning to use…

Chocolate & Chilli Extract

Some years ago I made my own Vanilla Extract – this has been really successful and a much better option than buying over-priced bottles in the supermarket. I’ve applied a similar process to create a Chocolate & Chilli extract – a classic combination which is quite difficult to replicate in baking as the chilli heat…

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…

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…