31 Aug 2010


The last of the summer raspberries from my garden were used for this lovely cake-cum-dessert.

Homegrown raspberries don't come creepy crawly free like the ones you buy in the supermarket. My method is to put them onto a large inspection plate and then leave them for a while, I then transfer the picked over raspberries to another plate. You can't be too careful!

This cake can be either made by the all-in-one-method or the traditional creaming method. Either way, the cake will still be wonderful.

Either eat as is, or warm in the microwave and serve with Greek Yogurt or creme fraiche as dessert.

Makes: 15 squares.

You will need: 26x16.5cm oblong tin, lined with baking parchment.

175g softened butter, 175g caster sugar, 3 medium free range eggs, 175g self-raising flour, 125g ground almonds, 2 tablespoons of milk, 150g raspberries, 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, icing sugar for dusting.

1. Heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and then fold in the flour, ground almonds and milk. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.
2. Scatter the raspberries over the surface and press down lightly into the cake mixture. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-50 minutes. Check with a skewer to make sure the middle of the cake is cooked. If not return to the oven covered with foil for another 10 minutes.
3. Leave in the tin to cool.
4. Cut into 15 squares and dust with the icing sugar.

2 Aug 2010


I can eat a bowl of risotto at any time of the year. It's quick, easy, filling and doesn't cost a lot of money. If I can't think what to cook or am pushed for time, these days it seems risotto is top of the list.

We seem to be having some summer weather this year and I am trying not to have the oven on for any longer than possible, because of all the heat it throws out into my kitchen. This year the majority of my cooking has been done either on the hob or outdoors on the barbecue.

Once you have mastered the base recipe for risotto, the possibilities for adding ingredients are endless, almost anything goes. As long as you keep your stock simmering on the hob whilst you are making the risotto and stir, stir, stir, to achieve a creamy rice - you can't go far wrong! Making this recipe was a good excuse to give my new pan a test run and it made the risotto perfectly.

Here is a useful link to the BBC GoodFood website showing how to make risotto.

The adapted recipe is from Jamie Oliver - The Return of the Naked Chef.

Serves: 2

You will need:

25g butter, 1 finely chopped onion, 1 crushed clove garlic, 150g risotto rice, glass white wine, 750ml simmering vegetable stock.
A handful of lemon thyme leaves plus some extra for decoration, 50g grated pecorino cheese, 75g crumbled soft goat's cheese, a few slices of prosciutto

1. Heat the butter in a wide shallow pan and cook the onion and garlic until softened. add the risotto rice and stir until coated.
2. Pour in the wine and bubble until it's all absorbed. Add the lemon thyme leaves. Gradually add the hot vegetable stock, stirring until the rice is tender but still has a little bite. Add the grated pecorino cheese.
3. Lay the prosciutto over the risotto, crumble over the goat's cheese and scatter over lemon thyme leaves.