Sunday, 27 October 2013


When it comes to comfort food you really can't go wrong with rice pudding. I love it.  I can eat it baked with the skin on top, made on the hob, hot or cold.  As a child if I was poorly my mother's rice pudding was the only thing that made me better.  Even school rice pudding with the blob of jam that of course you had to stir in so it all went pink.  I just love rice pudding and with the addition of these spiced plums and their magnificent crimson intensity, it really doesn't get better.

This is posh rice pudding, a decadent grown up version that is almost embarrased at how luxurious it has become.

700ml Milk, 50g Sugar, 200g Pudding Rice, 150g Double Cream, Freshly Grated Nutmeg

To make the rice pudding, heat the milk and sugar then add the rice and cook for 30 minutes stiring from time to time to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Once cooked, stir through the double cream and grated nutmeg.

Spiced Plums
500g Plums halved and seeded
50g Sugar
150ml Fresh Orange Juice
Zest of 1 Orange
2 Star Anise
1 Cinnamon Stick

Put all the ingredients into an oven proof dish and bake for 30 minutes at 190C.  When the plums are tender top with the rice pudding and return to the oven for 20 minutes till browned.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


I recently had the good fortune of being asked to use the KenwoodClassic Chef Mixer from Argos. I have been used countless mixers of varying quality and price in my time so I had a lot to compare it to. I have to say it did well. It comes with a balloon whisk, a dough hook which I used for bread and the K beater for a cake, both with excellent results.
The K beater has a really peculiar shape that I can't help but think it has some clever hi-tech benefits to its mixing. It has a clear see through splash guard so no need to wrap a tea towel round the top!
Kenwood have had a reputation for decades as a brand you can rely on. I can remember growing up that the name Kenwood was used as the word for mixer just like Hoover for vacuum cleaner. It's one of those products that your mum had and is still using.

The Kenwood Classic Chef Mixer is available from Argos along with a great variety of other Kenwood products all competitivley priced. Mine was ordered one day and delivered the next morning, couldn't be easier.

I know some people have a thing about putting sweet and savoury together but for me it's not an issue. This is a sweet dough but not excessively so and with the addition of mushrooms and tarragon the whole thing becomes something quite decadent.
I wouldn't usually use a mixer for making bread but this sweat enriched dough is really sticky so starting it off in the mixer made it more manageable before I started kneading.

BREAD 500g White Bread Flour, 15g Yeast, 60g Butter, 40g Sugar, 10g Salt, 2 Eggs, 250ml Warm Milk
If you're using fresh yeast rub it into the flour along with the butter as you would when making pastry. Add the remaining ingredients and mix in your mixer on it's lowest setting till it comes together.
Spray a little oil onto your surface and tip the dough onto it. Dust your hands with a little flour and knead for 8-10 minutes.
If it gets sticky, spray a little more oil on the surface. Don't be tempted to add flour, this will make your dough heavy and you want to keep it soft, the softer your dough, the softer your bread will be.
Dust the bowl with a little flour and return the dough to it, cover with cling film or a shower cap and leave to rise for 1 hour whilst you make your filling.
MUSHROOMS: 1 tbsp Olive Oil, 1 Red Onion finely chopped, 1 Clove Garlic crushed, 300g Mushrooms finely chopped, 2 tsp Dried Tarragon, Salt & Pepper to season, 2 tbsp Double Cream

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions till soft, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Now add the mushrooms, tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Cook till the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Once the dough has risen divide into 20 pieces and form into neat balls. Roll out each ball into a rough rectangle and place a dessert spoon of mushroom into the centre. Bring the two ends into the middle then pull the sides together and seal tightly forming a rectangular roll.

Place each roll onto baking sheets lined with parchment and leave to rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.Once they have risen, brush with a little milk and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180C.

180g Sugar, 20g Butter, 3 eggs, 300g Self Raising Flour, ½ tsp Baking Powder, 2 x 411g Jars Mincemeat, 60g Glace Cherries, Flaked Almonds to decorate

This is a great recipe for your mixer, you simply weigh all the ingredients into the bowl with the beater attachment and the mixer does all the work for you in no time at all.

Pour the batter into a lined 2lb loaf tin sprinkle the top with flaked almonds and bake for 11/2 – 2 hours at 160C fan. You may want to cover it with foil after the first hour to stop it burning. Test the centre with a skewer and once cooked remove from the oven and cool in the tin.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013


I recently visited the Bertinet Bakery in Bath and amongst other things tried this brioche slice. On returning home I had to give it a go myself so this is my version for you to create a petit bit of france in your kitchen.

2 Large Oranges sliced thinly
 145g Sugar
 200ml Water
1 Sliced Brioche Loaf
 100g Butter
 2 Eggs
 75g Plain Flour
 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
 100g Ground Almonds
 1 tsp Almond Extract
 100g Flaked Almonds

Heat the water in a pan with 100g sugar till it has dissolved then add the orange slices and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.  In a bowl mix the butter, eggs, flour, baking powder, almonds, almond extract and 45g sugar till well combined.  Lay the slices of brioche onto a baking sheet and drizzle each slice with 1 tbsp of the orange syrup from the pan. Now spread each slice with the almond paste and cover with flaked almonds.  Top the brioche with a slice of orange and bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C till the almonds become golden.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, 13 October 2013


It should come as no surprise that we have a National Curry Week, curry being up there with roast dinner, fish and chips and the full English as one of the nations favourite dishes.  In my house we don't need the excuse of a special week to sit down to a Jalfrezi or Balti and all the extras that go with it.

It can seem a little daunting sometimes to make your own curries with so many different spices to use.   Using fresh herbs and spices is so important and if you're not using them regularly they can become stale and loose their richness and depth of flavour. To help with this, Sainsbury's have come up with a selection of handy individual Curry Kits with spices ready for you to make your favourite curry dish.  They come with enough spices to make a meal for 4 and list all the ingredients you need along with the method.  They also have suggestions of other dishes you could use the spices for.

I tried the kits for Tikka Masala, Jalfrezi and Bombay Potatoes along with a jar of Mango Chutney and or course no curry is complete without some popadoms.

There are no hard and fast rules when using the kits, I have swapped some ingredients and used some of the packs for completely different recipes from those suggested.


1 Sainsbury's Jalfrezi Curry Kit, 1 x 320g Sainsbury's Fish Pie Mix, 1 tbsp Oil

Mix the 2 sachets of spices together along with the oil.  Stir in the fish and coat it well.  Push the fish onto skewers and place on a baking sheet.  Cook at 200C for 10-15 minutes.  Drizzle over a little fresh lemon juice and serve.


1 Sainsbury's Tikka Masala Kit
8 Boned Chicken Thighs 
1 tsp Salt
2 Garlic Cloves
1 inch piece Ginger grated
1 Large Onion diced
2 tbsp Oil
400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 x 250ml carton Coconut Cream
Toasted Flaked Almonds to garnish

Mix the contents of the marinade sachet with 1/2 tsp salt and half the garlic and ginger.  Add a tbsp of oil and mix in the chicken cut into bite size pieces.  Leave to marinade for 30 minutes then place on a baking sheet and grill for 3 minutes on each side.  Whilst you do this, cook the onions and remaining garlic and ginger with 1 tbsp of oil.

Once the onions become soft add the second sachet and cook for a minute then add the tomatoes, lemon juice and coconut milk.  Simmer for 10 minutes then add the chicken and cook for a further 10 minutes.  Garnish with toasted flaked almonds.


This is a great recipe hot or cold, the mango chutney caramelises on the chicken giving it a golden sticky coating that's hard to resist.

4 Chicken Drumsticks
4 Chicken Thighs
1 x 340g Jar Sainsbury's Mango Chutney
1 tbsp Oil
4 tbsp Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Nigella Seeds

Use a sharp knife to slash deep cuts into the chicken.  Mix the remaining ingredients and use it to coat the chicken.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and cook in the oven at 200C for 25-30 minutes till it is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced.


The brilliant Joanne Wheatley came up with the genius recipe for flat breads that I cannot do without.  It's so simple and quick to make and you can adapt it with different flavours very easily.

300g Self Raising Flour, 1 Sainsbury's Bombay Potatoes Kit, 300g Natural Yoghurt, Oil for cooking

Combine the flour and both sachets of spices.  Add the yoghurt and mix till it forms a soft dough.  Divide the dough into 8 and form into balls.  On a floured surface roll out the dough balls to about 5mm, brush or spray with oil then cook on a hot griddle for roughly 2 minutes on each side.

It really does not get any easier than this, you just throw everything into a food processor and blend till smooth, told you!

25g Desiccated Coconut
150g Natural Yoghurt
100g Fresh Coriander
2 Green Chillies
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Magazine Update 2

I've added a few more pdf recipe cards to my download
page some of which I will add to the blog shortly.