30 Sept 2007


Woman&Home magazine have just brought out the Autumn 2007 Feel Good Food supplement and it's bursting with wonderful recipes, of which this is one.
Most pudding lovers enjoy sticky toffee pudding. The unusual ingredient in this particular recipe is the addition of chopped banana to the cake batter mix.
The bananas may be good for you, but I'm not sure about the rest of the pudding!
Unlike sticky toffee pudding, this has its own topping of golden syrup that has been poured into the base of the ramekins and then the cake batter mix is added.
When you put your spoon into the cooked pudding you come across the chopped banana pieces.
The custard recipe asked for 45g of caster sugar to a liquid measurement of 175ml. I knew this would be tooth achingly sweet and so I reduced the caster sugar to 20g, but this is obviously one of taste. The custard was chilled before serving with the pudding. Oh, and don't forget to serve the pudding with some sliced banana.
I think this pudding will be a favourite now, but will only make it to the table a couple of times a year. The reason - per serving it's nearly 600cals.


Serves: 4 people

50g butter - softened, 35g caster sugar, 75g dark brown sugar, 1 egg, 100g bananas - chopped, 125g self-raising flour - sieved, 150g golden syrup (this is about one good tablespoon of golden syrup per ramekin).

You will need: 4 x ramekin dishes, greased, with a greaseproof paper disc placed at the bottom of each one.

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C /130°F Fan, Gas 2.
2. Mix together the softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the bananas and flour and mix again.
3. Pour the golden syrup into the ramekins, then add the pudding mixture until each ramekin is two-thirds full. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes. If they aren't quite ready cover with foil and cook for a further 5 minutes or so.

For the custard: (slightly adapted)

175ml milk, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 egg yolks and 20g caster sugar.

1. Gently heat the milk in a pan. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla extract and sugar together by hand in a bowl. Once the milk has boiled, pour half onto the yolks and whisk again. Place the pan of milk back onto the hob, on a low heat. Add the egg mixture, stirring continuously.
2. The mixture will thicken as the eggs cook. To test, run your finger down the wooden spoon - if it leaves a clean line it is ready.
3. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then chill in the fridge.

To serve: Turn out the puddings from the ramekins, dust them with icing sugar and serve with the sauce and a few slices of banana.

23 Sept 2007


This isn't any old crumble recipe, this is Rachel Allen's Peach and Strawberry Crumble.
Other than making the crumble, this is more or less, just an assembly job.
The ripe peaches are cut into quarters and the strawberries are quartered and then sprinkled with golden caster sugar.
After cooking, the peaches were still identifiable and the strawberries made a beautiful bright red sauce.
The crumble only took about a minute to make and had the perfect amount of crunch.
For the love of crumble, please don't buy a packet of ready made crumble mix.
If you don't want to get your hands messed up making crumble, for a few pounds you can buy a pastry blender, this makes quick work of rubbing fat into flour.
I was fortunate with the strawberries because I have some September fruiting plants in my garden and I couldn't think of a better way to use my strawberries at this time of the year than to combine them with peaches and a scattering of crumble. The strawberries can be replaced with raspberries or blueberries.


ISBN 0717139999 - Page 81

Serves: 6

300g peaches - stoned and cut into quarters, 200g strawberries - quartered, 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar.

For the crumble:

100g plain flour, 50g demerara or golden granulated sugar, 50g butter- chilled and cubed.

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
2. In a 1-litre capacity pie dish - or 6 large ramekins, place the peaches and strawberries. Add the golden caster sugar.
3. For the crumble topping, place the flour and demerara sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter, but not completely - it should still be course. Scatter the crumble over the fruit and refrigerate until you need to cook it.
4. Cook in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes (or 15-20 minutes for the individual dishes), until golden and bubbly.
5. Serve on its own, with a dollop of lightly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

17 Sept 2007


Mostly for breakfast, I like to eat homemade muesli - I have a favourite recipe taken from Sainsbury's Magazine by Nigel Slater. The main reason I favour this is because it is unsweetened.
However, I decided to make granola for a change and this recipe is taken from the bbcgoodfood website. It both looks and tastes delicious. I found this granola quite sweet but it has a wonderful crunch. To counteract the sweetness a dollop of natural homemade yogurt goes with it perfectly.
Even though I found it a little sweet, it still beats anything you can buy off the supermarket shelf.
A few spoonfuls on vanilla ice cream would be good or a bowl filled with granola to snack on throughout the day would be perfect.

11 Sept 2007


I love eating this, but trust me, it doesn't taste the same if eaten indoors! A wonderful warm sunny day so that you can eat alfresco is a must.
Unfortunately I couldn't get any linguine, and so I had to second-best it and use spaghetti, still ok but not quite the same.
When a recipe asks for pasta, lemon, Parmesan cheese and parsley you really can't go far wrong.
Some green leaves need to be served alongside this, I opted for watercress. A piece of toasted ciabatta is good too.
How to Eat by Nigella Lawson is still one of my favourite cookery books. It's packed with recipes and just a handful of photographs.
The weather forecast is good for this coming weekend, so here is something quick, simple and very tasty.


ISBN 0701165766 - Page 253

Serves 6 (can easily be scaled down)

750g linguine, 2 egg yolks, 150ml double cream, 50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon, 15g butter, fresh flat-leaf parsley.

1. Fill a pot with water and bring to the boil. Add some salt. Tip in the pasta, bring back to the boil and cook for a couple minutes less than it says on the packet of pasta.
2. In a bowl, put the yolks, cream, grated Parmesan cheese, zest of the whole lemon and juice of half of it, a pinch of salt and a good grating of pepper and beat together until just combined.
3. Remove a cup of cooking liquid, drain the pasta and then, off the heat, toss it back in the pan, throw in the butter and stir and swirl about to make sure the butter's melted and pasta covered by it all over.
4. Stir in the egg, cream, cheese and lemon mix and turn the pasta well, adding some of the cooking liquid if it looks a bit dry (2 tablespoons or so should do it).
Sprinkle over some just-chopped parsley and serve straight away.

5 Sept 2007


Anyone for a slice of cake? This fruit cake is light, moist and has a lovely lime icing. The unusual thing about this particular cake is that you simply throw everything into a bowl and mix. By doing this the fruit won't sink to the bottom of the cake. If you decide to make it the 'proper' way, then as I found out, the fruit all sinks to the bottom of the cake.
Lucy Young has put stem ginger into this cake and it is a wonderful match with the limes.
I've made this cake several times and sometimes use Nigella Lawson's Malibu icing instead of the suggested one here. Below I have also given the recipe for this.
Lucy Young wrote this book for the Aga but also gives instructions for conventional cookers. Lucy works for Mary Berry and helps run Mary's Aga workshops.


ISBN 0091896754 - Page 180

Makes 2 cakes.

175g self-raising flower, 100g soft butter, 100g caster sugar, 3 eggs - beaten, 50g raisins, 50g glace cherries - quartered, washed and dried well, 150g sultanas, 4 bulbs stem ginger - finely chopped, finely grated zest of 2 limes.

1. You will need two 450g (1 lb) loaf tins, greased and base lined.
2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3.
3. Measure all the ingredients for the cakes into a large bowl. Mix well until smooth. Divide between the two loaf tins, and level the tops.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes until golden brown or test if cooked by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Leave to cool in the tins.


100g icing sugar - sieved, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 bulb stem ginger - chopped,
finely grated zest of 1 small lime.
Simply mix the icing sugar and lime juice together until smooth. Spread over the top of the cakes. Garnish with ginger down the centre and arrange lime zest over the top.

Recipe taken from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson - Page 23.

MALIBU ICING (slightly adapted)

125g instant royal icing
1 tablespoon Malibu
1 tablespoon water

Simply mix together until smooth and pour over the cake.

2 Sept 2007


I made Beef Wellington for my husbands birthday - he has reached an age where there is a '0' at the end of the number! Something special had to be made, to celebrate his special day.
Choosing the recipe was quite challenging, there are so many versions of Beef Wellington. A recipe from a food writer, rather than one from a chef's book, was the main criteria. I wanted this to be home cooking at its best and not me trying to copy restaurant food.
The meat was cut from the middle of the fillet and was bought from my local QGuild butcher.
I prepared the beef the day before, popped it in the fridge and cooked it the next evening.
A variety of steamed vegetables were served with the Beef Wellington.
The meat cost me a small fortune, but its not everyday you get the chance to serve prime fillet in such a delicious way.

MEAT by Joanna Farrow

ISBN 0600612627 - Page 33

Serves: 6

1.5kg middle piece beef fillet, 50g butter, 2 small onions - finely chopped, 300g chestnut mushrooms - chopped, 2 tablespoons brandy, 500g puff pastry, 200g smooth chicken pate, 1 egg - lightly beaten, salt and pepper.

1. Trim off the excess fat and season the beef. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sear the beef on all sides. Transfer it to a roasting tin, reserving the fat in the pan, roast in a preheated oven 200ºC(400ºF), Gas 6 for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
2. Fry the onions in the pan for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and a little seasoning and fry until the moisture has evaporated. Add the brandy and fry for a further 1 minute. Leave to cool.
3. Thinly roll out the pastry to a large rectangle. Spread the top of the meat with the pate, then press a thick layer of the mushroom mixture over the top. Invert the beef onto the pastry and spread with the remaining mushrooms.
4. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and bring it up over the fillet to enclose the meat completely, trimming off any bulky areas at the corners. Place, join side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet and brush with more egg. Bake for 35 minutes, until deep golden. Leave to stand for 20 minutes before carving.

My son took the photograph despite all the kitchen frenzy - my husband decided to give food photography a miss. It was a day to enjoy freshly cooked hot food - we gave lukewarm food a miss for once.