Recipes

These are simple, sweet little lemon puddings that I love to flavour with sweet lemon-scented geranium. Leave out the geranium if you wish, or replace it with mint, lemon balm or lemon verbena. If you want to make these even more citrusy, finely grate the rind of one of the lemons and mix it with the lemon juice, to add into the boiled cream and caster sugar mixture. These possets are delicious served with the lemon shortbread biscuits, see the recipe here.
 
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Put the flour in a bowl with the caster sugar and the finely grated lemon zest. Mix, then rub in the cubes of butter and squeeze the mixture in your hands to bring it together to form a dough. Alternatively, you could bring these ingredients together very briefly in a food processor.

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Place a saucepan of water with a good pinch of salt on a high heat and bring to the boil.

Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the hard ends at the base of the stalks, discard, then cut the stalks into slices at an angle, about 4cm (2in) long.

Once the water is boiling, add the dried spaghetti, stir and cook for 7 minutes, then add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes longer, then drain, reserving 50ml (2fl oz) of the cooking liquid in the pot with the pasta and asparagus.

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First, place a saucepan of water on a high heat and add a good pinch of salt. Bring up to the boil then pop in the new potatoes, cover and boil for about 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender. While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, the lemon juice, the chopped marjoram or tarragon, whichever you're using, and some salt and pepper to season. When the potatoes are cooked, cut them into quarters while hot, place in a bowl and drizzle with some of the lemon and olive oil dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set aside but do not chill.

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Place the dark, milk or white chocolate, whichever you're using, in a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a saucepan of water on a low heat. Bring the water to a simmer, then take it off the heat and let the chocolate melt in the bowl, stirring it from time to time.
 
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First, if you're using dried haricot beans, cook them. Drain off the soaking water then place the haricot beans in a pot, cover them with fresh cold water, bring up to the boil and cook until soft - about 45-60 minutes. When they're cooked, they should be completely tender with no bite. Drain the beans, but save 200ml (7fl oz) of the cooking liquid.
 
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Place the apple wedges, the hot-smoked mackerel chunks, the watercress, the chopped walnuts, the extra-virgin olive oil and the lemon juice in a bowl and gently toss everything together.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.

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The hot-smoked salmon can be served hot or it can also be allowed to cool and used in everything from omelettes to pasta sauces. Once smoked, the fish will keep in the fridge for five to six days.

First, prepare the fish for smoking. Put the pieces of salmon, skin side down, on a plate or tray and sprinkle with two tablespoons of the light brown sugar (keep the remaining one tablespoon for smoking the salmon) and the salt. Allow the fillets to sit somewhere cool in the kitchen for 30 minutes.

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The hot-smoked salmon can be served hot or it can also be allowed to cool and used in everything from omelettes to pasta sauces. Once smoked, the fish will keep in the fridge for five to six days.

First, prepare the fish for smoking. Put the trout fillets, skin-side down, on a plate or tray, and sprinkle them with the salt. Allow them to sit somewhere cool for one hour. The salting process draws out excess moisture and inhibits the growth of bacteria, as well as adding flavour.

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Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4. Mix the softened butter and the finely chopped garlic together, then use a little of the mixture to grease a shallow baking dish or tin. Use the rest to butter the stale slices of white bread, then cut them in half diagonally.

Arrange the buttered bread slices in the baking dish, making sure they overlap. Tuck the cherry tomatoes in and around the slices of bread. Sprinkle over the chopped basil or marjoram, whichever you're using.

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