Friday, 30 March 2012

Victoria sandwich

225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
4 large eggs
2tsp baking powder
4tbsp strawberryjam
a little caster sugar for sprinkling

Pre heat oven to 180c,fan 160c,gas 4.Grease two 20cm sandwich tins then line the base of each tin with baking parchment.Put the butter,sugar,eggs,flour and baking powder into a bowl and beat until smooth.Divide the mixture between the tins and level out.Bake in the oven for 25 mins or until top of cake springs back when lightly pressed.Leave to cool and turn out.When completely cold,sandwich the cakes together with the jam.Sprinkle with the sugar and serve.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Apple and cherry scones

225g self-raising flour,sieved
1tsp baking powder,sieved
75g low fat spread
2tbsp sugar
2 eating apples,peeled,cored and cut into small pieces
150g fresh cherries,halved and de-stoned
100ml milk

Preheat the oven to 210c,fan 190c,gas 7.Add the flour and baking powder to a large bowl and mix.Now add the low fat spread and rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.Now stir through the sugar,apple and cherries,then begin to pour in the milk slowly and using your hands gather it together to form a dough.You may not need all the milk.Now turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.Roll the dough out so it is about 2 1/2 cm thick and cut out rounds using a cutter.Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet and put in the oven to cook until risen and golden,about 15 mins.Remove and cool on a wire rack.Serve with jam and clotted cream.

Cheat's Piri Piri pork stir-fry

2tbsp oil
500g pork fillet,trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 carrots,peeled and cut into batons
4 spring onions,trimmed and sliced
135g pack babycorn,halved lengthways
155g pack mangetout,halved
6tbsp Piri Piri sauce

Heat 1tbsp oil in a wok or frying pan and stir-fry the pork for 4-5 mins until cooked.Drain off the meat juices and reserve.Add 1tbsp oil and the carrots.Stir-fry for 1 min.Add the remaining veg and stir-fry for another 2-3 mins.Stir in the Piri Piri sauce,reserved meat juices and 2tbsp water and heat throgh.Serve with rice or noddles.

Chocolate smartie cake

200g self-raising flour
2tsp baking powder
50g cocoa,plus 2tbsp for the icing
4 large eggs
300g butter,softened
225g light soft brown sugar
4tbsp milk
300g icing sugar
2tsp golden syrup
smarties,to decorate

preheat oven to 180c,160c fan,gas4.Line a 33x23cm shallow tin with baking paper.Sift the flour,baking powder and 50g cocoa into a large bowl.Add the eggs,225g butter,the brown sugar and 2tbsp milk and beat until evenly mixed and creamy.Put into the tin and level the top.Bake for 35-40 mins or until top springs back when lightly pressed.Leave to cool on a wire rack.Sift the icing sugar and 2tbsp cocoa into a bowl.Put the rest of the butter in a small pan with the golden syrup and 2tbsp milk and heat gently until melted-don't boil.Add to the icing sugar and stir until smooth,spread on top of cake and decorate with smarties.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Smoked salmon,double cress & potatoe salad platter

400g small new potatoes
100g green beans
12 quail eggs
2 packs smoked salmon
5 spring onions,trimmed
2 avocados
1 head of chicory,broken into leafs
1 pot mustard cress,trimmed
For the dressing
1tbsp wholegrain mustard
1tsp clear honey
3tbsp cider vingar
8tbsp olive oil

To make the dressing,whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl with some seasoning.Cook potatoes in boiling water until cooked but still with a slight crunch,drain,refresh in iced water to stop them cooking futher,then drain again.Cook the quail's eggs for 3 mins.Drain,place uder cold water,then peel and halve.Flake the salmon into large chunks into a bowl and slice the spring onions.Just before serving,halve,peel and slice the avocados.This is a layered salad rather then a tossed salad,so start by scattering the watercress and chicory over a platter.Scatter different handfuls at a time of all the other ingredients so that they are evenly distributed.Drizzle over the dressing and serve with crustie bread.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Frosted white chocolate Easter cake

250g butter,plus extra for greasing
140g white chocolate,broken into pieces
250ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract
250g self-raising flour
1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs,beaten
For the frosting
300g philadelphia cheese
85g butter,softened
100g icing sugar
mini eggs to decorate

Heat oven to 160c,fan 140c,gas 3.Grease deep 23cm cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.Place the butter,white chocolate,milk and vinilla extract in a small saucepan,then heat gently,stirring,until melted.Combine the flour,bicarb and sugar into a bowl with a pinch of salt,then stir in the melted ingredients and eggs until smooth.Pour into the cake tin.Cook for 1hour until golden and swewer inserted into centre comes out clean.Cool in the tin.To make the frosting,beat together the philadelphia,butter and icing sugar until smooth.Spread over cake,then decorate with the mini eggs.

Roasted lamb studded with rosemary & garlic

leg of lamb
1 garlic bulb
1 bunch rosemary
1tbsp oil
2carrots,cut into chunks
1 onion,cut into wedges
1 glass red wine
1.2l lamb stock

The first job is to stud the lamb with garlic and rosemary.Use a sharp knife,make 20-30 small incisions all over the lamb.Peel 4 garlic cloves,thinly slice them and prod a slice into each incision.Next,pull off small sprigs of rosmary and push in with the garlic.This can be done in the morning and taken out fridge 1 hour before cooking.Heat oven to 190c,fan 170c,gas 5.Heat a large frying pan,add a little oil and brown the lamb all over.Scatter the carrots,onion and leftover garlic and rosmary in a large roasting tin,pour in the wine and stock,then place the browned lamb in the tin.Roast for 1hr 45 min.Turn lamb halfway through.When cooked remove lamb and leave in a warm place to rest for 30 mins.While lamb is resting,make the gravy.Pour all the stock from the tin through a sieve into a sauce pan.The gravy is ready to serve with the lamb.Serve with roast,mash and veg.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Chocolate fudge Easter cakes

140g soft butter
140g golden caster sugar
3 med eggs
100g self-raising flour
25g cocoa,sifted
For the frosting
85g milk chocolate,broken up
85g soft butter
140g icing sugar,sifted
2 x 35g packs white chocolate
maltesers and mini foil-wrapped eggs

Heat the oven to 190c,fan 170c,gas 5 and put 16 gold cases into a fairy-cake tin.Put all ingredients for the cake into a mixing bowl and mix until smooth.Divide between the cases.Bake for 12-15 mins until risen.Cool on a wire rack.For the frosting,microwave the chocolate on high for 1 min.Cream the butter and sugar together,then beat in the melted chocolate.Spread on top of the cakes and decorate with maltesers and chocolate eggs.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hot cross buns

For the dough
450g strong white flour,plus some for dusting
2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
50g caster sugar
150ml warm milk
1 egg,beaten
50s unsalted butter,melted,plus some for greasing
oil,for greasing
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp mixed spice
1/4tsp grated nutmeg
100g currants
To decorate
4tbsp plain flour
2tbsp granulated sugar

Put the flour,yeast,caster sugar and 1tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and dried fruit and mix well.Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk,50ml warm water,the beaten egg and melted butter.Mix everything together to form a dough-start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands.If the dough is to dry,add a little more warm water;if it's too wet,add more flour.Knead in the bowl or floured surface until dough becomes smooth and springy.Transfer to a clean,lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean,damp tea towel.Leave in a warm place to rised and doubled in size.Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface.Knead for a few secs,then divide in to 12 even portions.Shape into smooth rounds and place on a greased baking tray,leaving some room for the buns to rise.Use a small,knife to score a cross on the top of each bun,then cover with a damp tea towel again and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 mins,until doubled in size again.Heat oven to 200c,180c fan,gas 6.When the buns are ready to bake,mix the plain flour with just enough water to give a thick paste.Spoon into a piping bag and pipe a white cross into the crosses you cut earlier.Bake for 12-15mins until golden.While warm melt the granulated sugar with 1tbsp water in a pan,and brush over the buns.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Gluten-free banana and pecan cake

150g pecan nuts
350g gluten-free plain flour
2tsp xanthan gum
2 1/2tsp gluten-free baking powder
225g vitalite dairy spread
225g caster sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
4 very ripe bananas
85g dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4.Line a 33 x 23cm shallow tin with baking paper.Put half the nuts on a baking tray and bake for 5 min until lightly toasted.Chop roughly.Sift the flour,xanthan gum and baking powder.In  a different bowl,beat the spread and sugar until creamy.Beat in the vanilla and eggs,one at a time,adding 1tbsp of the flour mixture with each egg.Mash the bananas with a folk,then fold into the mixture with the rest of the flour,chopped nuts and dark chocolate.Put in cake tin,level the top,scatter with the remaining nuts and bake for 40-45 mins or until the middle of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.Leave to cool.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

One for the kid's for mother's day

Flower cookies

50g caster sugar
150g plain flour
25g cornflour
225g icing sugar
pink icing pen
Daisy swirls

Preheat oven to 180c,160c fan,gas 4.Lightly grease two baking trays.Beat the butter and sugar until evenly mixed.Sift in the flour and cornflour and stir to make a dough.Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 mins.Roll out to 6mm thick.Cut outb8cm rounds and put on the trays.Bake for 12-15 mins.Cool for 10 mins,then put on a wire rack.Mix the icing sugar with 2tbsp warm water,then spread on the biscuits.Leave to set slightly.Ice on flowers and add a daisy swirl.

Cheats cupcakes

Make some cupcakes using a super market cupcake mix.Decorate with strawberry flavor ready made frosting and add your favourite decorations to the top.(most good super markets have a good range).Asda do a floral cupcake box for £1.67 for top.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Quick chicken curry

1 tbsp oil
1 red onion,sliced
1 red chilli,deseeded and finely chopped
3cm root ginger,grated
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
500g diced chicken breasts
390g chopped tined tomatoes
rice and nanns to serve
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
1/2 x 28g pack fresh coriander,chopped

Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for 2 mins.Add the chilli,ginger,ground coriander and cumin,and cook for 3 mins stirring,until fragrant.Add the chicken and fry for 5 mins until brown.Pour over the tomatoes along with 100ml water.Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins,or until chicken is cooked.Cook the rice.To serve,stir in most of the fresh coriander through the curry and divide between 4 bowls along with the cooked rice.Top with  1 tbsp of the yoghurt and remaining coriander.Serve with nann.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


300ml guinness
250g light muscovado sugar
100ml clear honey
2kg skinless,boneless loin of pork
splash white wine
few sprigs flat leaf parsley

To make the glaze,put the guinness,honey and sugar in a pan.Reduce by almost half to form a sweet syrupy glaze,then allow to cool.
Heat oven to 200c,fan 180c,gas 6.Season the pork.Place on a baking tray and roast for 20mins.Then turn the heat down to 160c,fan 140c,gas 3.Remove the pork from the oven and brush all over with most of the glaze (save 2tbsp) cook for a further 40-45mins,brushing and basting the pork as it cooks until it's beauifully caramelised and glazed.Remove the pork from the roasting tray and rest.Pour the remaining glaze into the roasting tray,then add the wine.Place the pan on the heat and bring to the boil,simmer for a few mins until you have a thick gravy.Carve the pork and serve with the gravy.


1kg potatoes,peeled and cut
100g butter
140g slices back bacon,finely sliced
1 small savoy cabbage,finely shredded
150ml double cream

Put potatoes in a pan and boil until tender.Meanwhile,heat quarter of the butter in a saucepan,then fry the back and half the cabbage for 5mins.Turn off the heat and set aside.Drain potatoes and mash until smooth.Heat the cream with remaining butter and,when almost boiling,beat into the potato.Add bacon and cabbage and mix well,season and serve.


100g softened butter,plus some for greasing
175g light brown soft sugar
1 egg
100g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
5 tbsp cocoa,plus some for decorating
150ml guinness

for the cream:

200ml double cream
25g icing sugar

Heat oven to 180c,fan160c,gas 4.Grease and line the bases of 6 cake moulds with baking parchment.Put the butter,sugar,egg,flour,ground almonds,bicarb,cocoa and guinness in a mixing bowl.Beat together until smooth with no lumps.Divide between the tins and bake for 20-25mins.Then remove from the tin and cool.Whip cream with icing sugar until thick.Pipe on top of each cake and dust with the cocoa.Serve,

Monday, 5 March 2012

Cherry bakewell slices

350g frozen morello cherries,thawed
500g shortcrust pastry
6tbsp cherry preserve
175g butter,softened
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 drops almond extract
150g pack ground almonds
75g self-raising flour
50g flaked almonds
icing sugar,to decorate

Preheat oven to 190c,fan 170c,gas 5.Drain the cherries well.Roll out the pastry and use it to line a 33 x 23cm shallow tin,allowing it to come 3cm up the sides.Line the pastry with a piece of foil and weigh it down with rice.Bake for 10mins,then remove the foil and rice and return to the oven for a futher 5mins.Spread the bass with the preserve.Scatter the cherries over the base.Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.Beat in eggs one at a time,then the extract.Fold in the ground almonds and flour.Spread over the pastry base,then sprinkle with the flaked almonds.Bake for 40mins,covering loosely with foil after 25mins to stop it browning too much.Leave to cool.Dust with icing sugar.Cut into slices and serve.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Mussels with parsley and wine

2kg fresh mussels,in their shells
1 tbsp oil
1 onion,finely chopped
2 bay leaves
8 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic,chopped
300ml med white wine
100ml single cream
28g pack fresh flat-leaf parsley
Fresh bread and lemon wedges to serve

Scrub the mussels well in a large bowl of cold water,removing the beards and any barnacles.Discard any broken shells or any that don't close tight when tapped on a hard surface.Heat oil in a large pan over a med heat.Add the onion,bay leaves and thyme,cook for 4 mins.Stir in garlic; cook for a further min.Pour over the wine and simmer for 1 min.Tip in mussels the cover and steam,shaking the pan every now and then,for 3-4 mins or until all the mussels have opened.Discard any that stay shut.Stir in the cream and chopped parsley and serve with the bread and lemon wedges.

Cauliflower & stilton soup

Heat a knob of butter in a saucepan and gently fry a chopped onion until soft.Add a peeled and diced potatoe along with the florets from a med sized cauliflower.Add 500ml veg stock to the pan.Simmer for 25 mins.Puree with a blender,then return to the pan and add a large splash of milk.Season .Heat until simming,serve sprinkled with a little crumbled stilton.

Moroccan meatballs

350g pack 12 beef meatballs
1 tbsp oil
1 onion,fine chopped
2 cloves garlic,crushed
80g ready to eat apricots,sliced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
390g tin chopped tomatoes in tomato sauce
500ml veg stock,hot
250g couscous
1/2 x 28g pack flat-leaf parsley,chopped
25g flaked almonds,toasted

Preheat the oven to 180c,fan 160c,gas 3.Arrange the meatballs on a baking tray and bake for 15 mins.Meanwhile,heat oil in a large saucepan and saute the onions for 5 mins.Stir in the garlic,apricots and cinnamon and cook for a further min.Pour over the tomatoes and 200ml of the stock.Stir well to combine then simmer for 5 mins.Place the couscous in a bowl; pour over the remaining hot stock.Cover with clingflim and leave for 10 mins.Use a folk to fluff up the grains,season with black pepper and stir through half the parsley.To serve,stir the meatballs and remaining parsley into the sauce.Garnish with the flaked almonds and serve with the couscous.

Roasted duck breasts with red wine sauce

400g new potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp oil
3 sprigs rosemary
zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic,crushed
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 x 140g duck breasts,scored
2ooml red wine
1tbsp redcurrant jelly
100g fine green beans

Preheat oven to 200c,fan 180c,gas 6.Toss the potatoes in a roasting tin with 1 tbsp of the oil,the zest and 1/3 of the rosemary.Roast for 20 min.Meanwhile,mix the remaining rosemary and oil together with the garlic and cumin to make a marinade.Heat a frying pan over a high heat.Add the duck,skin side down.Reduce the heat;fry for 6-8 min until crisp.Turn and cook for 5 mins.Brush with the marinade; remove and transfer to the tray in the oven.Roast with the potatoes for 10 mins.Meanwhile,pour the wine into the pan used to cook the duck in,and mix in the jelly.Simmer  for 5 mins.Cook the beans in a pan of boiling water for 3 mins.Drain.Slice the duck and serve drizzled with the red wine sauce,potatoes and veg.