Rhubarb and Orange Streusel Cake

Soft buttery cake flecked with orange, topped with soft, tart rhubarb and crunchy sweet streusel crumble.  Absolutely delicious, pretty as a picture and can be served as a pudding or a cake.   How much better can things get?

Forced pink rhubarb is a thing of joy particularly When shown off on its bed of golden sponge.  In truth, as long as the rhubarb is young and not stringy,  new season stalks would do just as well though they would like the jewel like bright pink colour of forced rhubarb.  There is something very British about this cake as it brings to mind all the elements of a rhubarb crumble only better.  I love “pudding cakes” – as I call them – they are so versatile, though if you are going to serve this for pudding it’s nicest served warm with lots of sweetened (use the rhubarb syrup that will have been created from macerating the rhubarb) whipped cream.

Continue reading

Potato and Leek Al Forno

Creamy potatoes and leeks topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and baked in the oven   A fantastic accompaniment to chops or as a less rich alternative to pommes dauphinois

i can guess though what a lot of you are going to think as you cast your eye down the list of ingredients.  Ugh! Anchovies! I’m not going to cook that or, if I do, I am going to leave those out!  Fine, leave them out if you are vegetarian, but if you aren’t give it a go   They add a lovely savoury Unami taste to the finished dish and melt into the sauce so well you won’t be able to indentify them as a specific taste or see them   If you are vegetarian I’d add a couple of teaspoons of nutritional yeast flakes or a teaspoon of marigold vegetable bouillon powder instead of the anchovies.


Potatoes, leeks and Anchovies

Continue reading

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

We used to call this dark and luscious chocolate cake Tiffin, others called it Refrigerator Cake.  Ever since Prince William used it as his Groom Cake at his wedding it is now more commonly known as Chocolate Biscuit Cake. Apparently the Princes William and Harry used to have it (and even helped make it) when they were very young.

There are lots of variations to this, the authentic “Royal version” as made by Carolyn Robb so don’t worry if you prefer dried cherries, sultanas or apricots to the figs, or shortbread or rich tea biscuits to the digestives.  You can also use pecans, almonds or macadamia nuts instead of pistachios or if nut allergic just use more biscuit.  Talking of allergies if you are gluten intolerant there are really good gluten free stem ginger cookies that go really well with this – particularly when you use soft dried apricots as the fruit element.  You can also dress this cake up by decorating it with a thin layer of melted dark/milk/white chocolate after the cake has set and then embellish it with maltesers or even chocolate mini eggs! Or do as I have here and crush the mini eggs and lightly roll in.  If you are in the USA and find golden syrup difficult to get you can use corn syrup though this makes the cake slightly softer

Continue reading

Rich Beef and Onion Stew with Fluffy Parsley Dumplings

On a cold day there can be few things better than a rich beef stew with onions and carrots and served with fluffy parsley dumplings.   Warming and comforting and very, very tasty yet all cooked up in the one pot.  How good is that?

The stars of the show are the dumplings  I have to admit that I’ve only taken to making/eating these recently.  I don’t know why but for some reason I remember dumplings as solid things that’s tasted leaden and fatty.  Hah!  These are nothing of the sort and I now realise why every country seems to have its version of dumplings.  From  Italian gnocchi to Chinese dim sum   They are all delicious and a source of national pride and the British have just as much reason to be proud of parsley dumplings  Yum!

Continue reading

Espresso Creme Brûlée

Break through the thin caramel layer and dive into the smooth and silky espresso spiked creme custard underneath.  Simple and elegant this is like the best coffee and best pudding you’ve ever had combined and is the perfect end to a meal.

I used to think that you could never beat the classic vanilla Creme Brûlée but I have to put this on an equal standing and believe me I don’t say that lightly!  I like to serve this in small coffee cups as I think it looks great.  Don’t use really fine porcelain ones as they need to be able to go into the oven without cracking, but if you are worried use ramekins instead.  You can make the creme several days in advance (Stage 11) and finish them off by just before serving which makes this an easy entertaining dessert

Continue reading

Traybake Shortbread and Variations

I love Shortbread as it is but I also love it with different flavourings added such as earl grey, lavender, chocolate or fennel.  These flavourings can act as shortbread’s fairy godmother and dress it up so everyone can see how beautiful it really is.  Just add them in the final mixing.

Rich and buttery shortbread that crumbles into your mouth is brilliant with a cup of tea or coffee. My grandfather used to love it as an accompaniment to a wee dram of whisky whilst as children we had it with a glass of milk.  The basic recipe is a wonderful thing.  Sadly in today’s times it’s often overlooked in favour of more exciting looking biscuits but maybe these variations will make you think again

Traybaked Shortbread








Continue reading

Traybake Meatballs with Kale in Tomato Sauce

I always used to be worried about eating kale   The only times I had eaten it, it had been a bit tough and squeaked on my teeth   I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about   It may be a superfood but it wasn’t very palatable and, according to my parents, it was something that was only given to farm animals.  I stuck to spinach and cabbage. How wrong I was to limit myself!


Now I know how to prepare and use it there is no more squeaking and I use it in so many ways though my favourite way is when it is eaten with pasta, either as part of a sauce or, as it is here, in a meatball.  In fact, these meatballs are a great way to introduce kids to kale as it isn’t obvious. Continue reading

1 2 12