Tuesday, 21 February 2012


As it's Pancake Day today it seemed only right to kick off my Junior Cooks Classes with the pre-Lent delights.  There were certainly no complaints from my young students and everyone got stuck in making both sweet and savoury varieties.


100g Self Raising Flour
35g Sugar
1 Egg
1 Banana Mashed
50ml Milk

Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add the egg and mashed banana and mix into the flour with a fork.  Next beat in the milk to make a fairly thick batter.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and drop a dessert spoon of the mixture on.  Cook until bubbles appear on top of the pancakes and the undersides are golden.  Turn them over and cook the other side - about 3-4 minutes in all.

Melt 75g Butter along with 75g Soft Brown 
Sugar in a pan.  when the sugar has dissolved 
pour in 100ml Double Cream.  Heat until it
starts to bubble.  

Serve the warm sauce with the pancakes, a few extra slices of banana and ice cream if you really want to push the boat out.


450g Mashed Potato
4 Spring Onions Chopped
100g Sweet Corn
75g Ham
100g Plain Flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 Egg
100ml Natural Yoghurt
A little oil for frying

Stir the flour and bicarb in to the mashed potato then add the chopped spring onion, ham and sweet corn and combine well.

Separate the egg and add the yolk and yoghurt to the potato, season well and stir everything together. In another bowl whisk the egg white till light and fluffy then fold it in using a metal spoon.

Once all the white is incorporated heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan and cook a spoon of pancake mix until   golden on both sides.

Just in case you want traditional bog standard pancakes with lemon and sugar, you need: 100g Plain Flour, 250ml Milk 1 Egg


Sunday, 19 February 2012


There is something very comforting about this soup and I always feel a bit righteous when I make it.  It feels really healthy and cleansing so I eat loads without guilt even if it has no health benefits what so ever.

I have used Matzo Crackers which most supermarkets have but you could use cream crackers instead if you like.  My electric mini chopper was perfect for crushing them and gave me a roughly fine crumb.  Egg noodles is usually what I have in so that's what I added but vermicelli noodles work really well too. 

2 Chicken Quarters Skin Removed
4 1/2 Pints Veg Stock
1 1/2 Onions Roughly Chopped
2 Sticks Celery Roughly Chopped
2 Carrots Roughly Chopped
2 Tomatoes Peeled and Roughly Chopped
2 Sprigs Flat Parsley
55g Medium Egg Noodles
Parsley to Garnish


Matzo Balls
55g Butter
1/2 Onion Grated
1 Egg
1 Egg Yolk
1 tbsp Finely Chopped Parsley
1 tbsp Water
115g Matzo Crackers Crushed

Get your matzo balls ready first.  Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan and soften the onion.  In a free standing mixer beat the remaining butter till it's fluffy then beat in the egg and egg yolk.  Add the parsley and cooled onion, season and mix well.  Next add the water and crushed crackers.  Combine everything and leave it to rest while you prepare the soup.
Put the chicken into a large pan and pour over the stock.  Bring it to the boil removing any scum with a slotted spoon.  Simmer for 15 minutes then add the onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes and parsley.  season and simmer for 1 hour till the chicken is cooked through and tender.  While this is cooking you can shape your matzo mixture into balls.

Remove the chicken from the pan and strain the soup into a clean pan. Remove the meat from the bone and cut into bite size pieces. Add the chicken, noodles and matzo balls to the pan, cover and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes.  Serve immediately with a little chopped parsley.

I couldn't bare to discard the lovely flavoursome veg from this recipe so I cooked it with a tin of tomatoes and a little veg stock then liquidised it to make a tomato soup - waste not want not

Thursday, 16 February 2012


So this is the last installment of my scottish inspired menu.  I'm finishing with two sweet treats to go with coffee or for your guests to take home, shortbread and tablet.

Short bread I think is quintessentially scottish with it's buttery crispness. I've added some different flavours to these more because I can't stop myself rather than it needs it.


170g Plain Flour
30g Semolina
50g Sugar
125g Butter

Caster Sugar for dusting

Combine the flour, semolina and sugar.  The semolina helps make you shortbread short.  Next rub in your butter.  Due to the quantity of butter it get very sticky so it will be easier to do this in a freestanding mixer.

It should now be coming together so remove it from the bowl and form it into a dough by hand.

Roll the dough out to the thickness you want your biscuits, they will not change during the bake, and cut out your shapes.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment and sprinkle with caster sugar.  Prick the tops with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes at 170C

When they are baked to a light golden colour remove them from the oven and immediately sprinkle with caster sugar again.

Womersley Foods are producers of the most delicious vinegars, jellies and dressings made from home grown fruit and herbs inYorkshire since 1979.  I am totally in love with their products and actively seek out recipes I can add them to.

My round shortbread has 1 tbsp of Orange & Mace Dressing from Womersley along with 30g of Dark Chocolate Chips added to it.

The shortbread fingers have 1 tsp of Lavender Extract and 1 tbsp of Lavender Honey added to them.

You can add any of your favourite flavours, 1 tsp of Caraway seeds and Chocolate also work well or     1 tsp Almond Essence with a few chopped Glace Cherries always goes down well.

Tablet is a scottish version of fudge, crumblier than fudge but just as sugary and sweet.  My mother always made it for bonfire night and called it Helensburgh Candy.

2lbs Sugar
1/4lb Butter
1 Cup Milk
400g Tin Condensed Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Melt the sugar, butter and milk slowly in a heavy based pan.  If you melt it too quickly you will have a grainy texture. When it begins to boil add the condensed milk.  slowly bring it back to the boil stirring all the time.  Continue stirring while it boils till it starts to colour and the temperature reaches 240F.  It you don't have a sugar thermometer it takes about 15-20 minutes and you can test it by dropping a small amount into iced water.  If it sets immediately it's ready.

Remove the pan from the heat add the vanilla and beat till it cools.  You can do this in a freestanding mixer to save your arms.  Once it becomes thick and your mixer starts to struggle pour it into a 23cm x 17cm baking tray lined with parchment.  Be careful not to over beat as this will make it too crumbly.

Leave it to cool completely then cut into bite sized cubes. I know it sounds like a bit of a faff but it's not really and so worth it.


Ok, I'm coming to the end of my scottish inspired menu with dessert.  Sorry, but it had to be done, mainly because they're absolutely delicious.  Deep fried Mars Bars! I know what you're thinking but don't knock it till you've tried it. 

 I have used mini sized bars and wrapped them in spring roll pastry - available from chinese supermarkets in the frozen section.  Use a large sized sheet folded in half then wrap the chocolate as you would a spring roll.  I believe this to be better than using batter, the pastry becomes beautifully crisp without letting the oil reach the chocolate and the chocolate gets hot enough to become warm and oozy - what a great word, oozy, Mmm oozy.

Anyway, I highly recommend you give it a go - oozy! sorry!

This also works really well with Bounty Bars and Snickers