Easy Meals Text Only

In her new book, bestselling TV cook, Rachel Allen shares her ultimate fast and easy family recipes.You can always trust Rachel to help you get a delicious and doable dinner on the table. Whether the cupboards are bare or you just want a fabulous meal without the fuss (or the washing up) you’ll find the answers here. Any situation, any problem, these are recipes you can come back to time and time again for delicious dinner solutions. After all, making home cooking both simple and enjoyable is what Rachel does best.Easy Meals contains 180 family friendly recipes for any night of the week. And even better, as well as being mouth-wateringly delicious they are simple enough for even the most novice of cooks.This book is full of ideas and recipes that you can rely on to help you tackle the most common meal-time problems; when your fridge is empty, when you’re short on time, that use 5 ingredients or less or can be cooked in one pot, even delicious dinners you can serve up without so much as turning on the oven. Finally! A cookbook that truly understands the way your life works. Easy Meals is an essential kitchen companion.Chapter breakdown;Store Cupboard CookingAll in One PotFast and FabulousTake 5 ingredients or lessNo Cook CookingQuick Extras and SidesRecipes include;One-pot lamb biryaniTurkey breast with honey, thyme and creamSpiced Pilau rice with chickenPork, chorizo, haricot beans and red wineThai MusselsChunky chowder with potatoes and baconTaragon chicken and lemon pasta with crème fraicheChickpea and aubergine saladFishcakesChinese braised beef with pak choyChicken with yoghurt and a carrot and apple saladLentil and sausagesCardamom and orange SemifreddoChocolate Bread and butter puddingQuick fruit bruleeLemon posset
Содержание:

Easy Meals Text Only

   EasyMeals

   Rachel Allen

   Over 180 delicious recipes to get

   you through your busy life


   

   TEXT ONLY EBOOK EDITION

   Contents

   Cover

   Title Page

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   Spiced beans and corn salsa toppings for baked potatoes

   Thai chickpea and mushroom curry

    Tarka dahl

    Poached eggs with bacon lentils

    Instant dips

    Huevos rancheros

    Smoked salmon and chive fish cakes

    Spaghetti with anchovies, garlic and chilli

    Fusilli with tuna, capers and cream

    Tinned-tomato pasta

    Tagliatelle with bacon, peas and mint

    Chicken and bacon pilaf

    Bacon and potato gratin

    Baked mushroom risotto

    Tomato and rosemary risotto with meatballs

    Spiced lamb pittas

    Lamb meatballs

    Chocolate, toffee and peanut squares

    Easy lemon cake

    Orange torte

    Orange and almond cake

    Gluten-free chocolate and orange polenta cake

    Chocolate mousse

    Oreo chocolate fudge sundae

    Toffee peanut sundae

    Chocolate marshmallow biscuit cake

    Fruit sundae with strawberry coulis

    Raspberry coconut pudding

    Coconut and cardamom pannacotta

    Vanilla buttercream squares

    Ginger squares with lime frosting

    Fast and Fabulous

    Parsnip soup with porcini oil

    Speedy chicken noodle soup

    Five-minute pea soup

    Chickpea and aubergine salad

    Fattoush

    Spicy prawns with feta and watermelon

    Roasted vegetable couscous

    Zac’s omelette wraps

    Zac’s omelette wraps (cont.)

    Mushroom and Gruyère tart

    Tomato and goat’s cheese tart

    Piadine

    Piadine (cont.)

    Quesadillas

    Fusilli with courgettes and lemon

    Spiced prawns, tomatoes and chickpeas

    Quick prawn korma

    Battered prawn stir-fry

    Thai mussels

    Scallops mornay

    Thai steamed fish

    Chicken stir-fry

    Chicken paillard with creamy cucumber and courgettes

    Chicken skewers with carrot and apple salad

    Pan-fried chicken with mango salsa

    Chicken noodle stir-fry

    Pan-fried duck breasts with redcurrant jelly sauce

    Lamb chops with parsley and mint sauce

    Pork stir-fry

    Pork chops with sage and apple

    Garam masala pork with yoghurt

    Maple black pepper pork chops

    Seared beef salad

    Stir-fried steak with kale

    Spiced apples and pears

    Baked peaches with honey and pecans

    Coconut macaroon meringue

    Banoffee pancakes

    Quick blueberry trifles

    Chocolate mascarpone mousse

    Baked white chocolate vanilla custards

    Quick fruit brûlée

    Five Ingredients or Less

    Sweet potato and Gruyère tortilla

    Penne with smoked trout

    Conchiglie with spinach, blue cheese and pine nuts

    Penne with broad beans and asparagus

    Fusilli with fried onions and olives

    Fish baked with potatoes

    Fish en papillote, three ways

    Fish en papillote

    Mackerel with chorizo

    Fennel baked fish

    Spicy squid salad

    Salmon with capers and dill

    Spanish mussels

    Very fast red prawn curry

    Yoghurt masala fish

    Sesame-crusted chicken

    Chicken livers with onions

    Chicken, parsnip and potato bake

    Tarragon chicken

    Spiced fried chicken

    Rack of lamb

    Sumac lamb chops

    Honey mustard pork chops

    Fried potatoes with cabbage and chorizo

    Flavoured butters for steak

    Apple fool

    Hot buttered plum pudding

    Lemon posset

    Cardamom and orange semifreddo

    Yoghurt, apricot and pistachio pots

    Chocolate zabaglione

    Rhubarb and ginger meringues

    Chocolate mousse cake

    Strawberry and nectarine tart

    Pear and cinnamon tart

    Chocolate and banana tart

    One Pot

    Minestrone

    Carrot, ginger and coconut soup

    Red lentil soup

    Cauliflower soup

    Smoked sausage, bean and root vegetable soup

    Asparagus and goat’s cheese risotto

    Kale and bean stew

    Mediterranean pasta

    Fish stew

    Fish chowder

    Easy paella

    Spring vegetable roast chicken

    Chicken open-pot roast

    Chicken and chorizo with rice

    Chicken and couscous tagine

    Chicken biryani

    Pot-roast duck legs with onions and root vegetables

    Lamb and chickpea tagine

    Leg of lamb with roasted vegetables

    Lamb shanks with potatoes and pearl barley

    Lamb and sweet potato curry

    Slow-roast shoulder of pork

    Spanish pork stew

    Sausage and lentil stew

    Provençal beef stew

    Beef pie

    Beef and red wine hot pot

    Caramel rice pudding

    Cinnamon baked apples

    Spiced plums in red wine

    Pear, almond and chocolate crumble

    Chocolate croissant bread and butter pudding

    No Cook

    Beetroot gazpacho

    White gazpacho

    Fennel and pink grapefruit with feta

    Fennel and mango salad

    Parma ham and nectarine salad

    Pear and blue cheese salad

    Mashed chickpeas on toast

    Artichoke purée on toast

    Chicken with basil mayonnaise on toast

    Mixed root remoulade with ham

    Thai crab toast

    Spiced chicken open sandwich

    Ceviche

    Smoked salmon and avocado on rye toast

    Japanese-style salmon tartare

    Smoked mackerel, apple and fennel salad

    Sardines on toast with basil and rocket

    Oranges with honey, pistachios and mint

    Quick banana ice cream

    Little banoffee pots

    Amaretto tiramisu

    St Clement’s syllabub

    Melon with vodka, orange and mint

    Strawberries with amaretti

    Messes

    Fuss-free Extras and Sides

    Roasted sweet potatoes

    Roasted new potatoes

    Perfect mashed potatoes

    Sautéed potatoes

    New potato salad

    Paprika potato wedges

    Fried kale

    Root vegetable mash

    Red cabbage coleslaw

    Buttered cabbage

    Roasted cauliflower with gremolata

    Green beans with anchovies and toasted almonds

    Sautéed courgettes

    Broccoli and oyster sauce

    Sticky roast carrots in maple syrup

    Two ways with lentils

    Plain boiled rice

    Brown pilaf rice

    Couscous

    Brown scones with treacle and sesame seeds

   Poppy seed scones

   Quick red pepper and pesto focaccia

   Shortbread biscuits

   

   

   

   

   

   It seems like we all lead such hectic lifestyles these days. Even though I love to cook, often I just don’t have the time to make complicated food. I’d love to spend six hours cooking an elaborate meal, but sometimes it just isn’t realistic. I think that’s true for a lot of people. Our lives are so busy now it can be difficult to set aside time to cook. That said, I don’t think it’s always the case that the more time you take over a meal the better it is. Truly great food can often be made in minutes and only using four or five ingredients.

   It’s not just time though; I often want fuss-free food for other reasons. Some days, for instance, I might cook a one-pot dish that bubbles away in the oven as I get on with other things. The other advantage of one-pot cooking is that with everything ready at the same time I don’t have to coordinate various different side dishes. There are other times when I can’t get to the shops so I need to make something using only ingredients that I already have at home. It is always so satisfying to be able to make good food using only things I can find in my cupboards, fridge or freezer, which means being able to use specific ingredients cleverly as well as knowing what things it’s worth stocking up on.

   This book is about times like these, when you want to cook a great meal but don’t want lots of complex steps either in the preparation or in the actual cooking. That’s why you'll find a chapter with recipes that use only five ingredients or fewer. I’ve also included a whole chapter for when you don’t feel like turning on the oven at all. The recipes are unapologetically simple and straightforward – most are very quick from start to finish – yet they never compromise on flavour. A hectic lifestyle doesn’t have to mean reaching for a sugary snack or ordering a takeaway. It’s perfectly possible to cook wholesome food without too much time or fuss. This book shows you how to do just that – make food that is quick and simple yet always delicious.

   

   PS. The oven temperatures in this book are for a conventional oven, but if I am using a fan oven then I usually reduce the temperature by 10 per cent.

   

   We all have times when we need to create a meal using only what we have in the cupboard, fridge or freezer. To prepare for those times when you can’t get to the shops, it’s worth stocking up on basic ingredients with a long shelf-life. Tinned tomatoes and beans as well as dried pulses and pasta are perfect for such occasions. The recipes in this chapter also include meats such as bacon and leftover roast chicken, which I often have in my fridge. My freezer is usually full of things such as minced lamb or beef and, of course, peas. I sometimes keep a few long-life and versatile luxury foods too, such as dried porcini mushrooms or artichoke hearts preserved in oil.

   It’s not just savoury dishes that you can make with what you have on your shelves. Dry ingredients such as nuts, dried fruit and chocolate – both powdered and solid – make the store cupboard a treasure trove for baking and desserts.

   

   This is a rustic take on classic French onion soup. The lentils make it substantial and nutritious as well as bringing their own unique earthy flavour. The croutons are the perfect finishing touch, though you can make the soup without them if you prefer.

   Serves 4 (v, if using vegetable stock)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   1 hour

   4 tbsp olive oil

   6 onions (about 900g/2lb in total), peeled and finely sliced

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   150g (5oz) Puy lentils

   3 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

   1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken or vegetable stock

   For the Gruyère croutons

   4 slices of white bread

   75g–100g (3–3½oz) Gruyère cheese, grated

   * Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan on a medium heat and, when nearly hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, uncovered, for 25–30 minutes, stirring regularly and scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge the caramelised pieces and mix them in, until the onions are a deep golden brown.

   * Add the lentils, rosemary and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

   * Shortly before the soup is ready, preheat the grill to high to make the croutons (if using).

   * Toast the bread on both sides, then cover each slice with a thick layer of grated cheese. Place back under the grill and toast until bubbling and melted.

   * Season the finished soup with salt and pepper to taste and divide between bowls to serve. Place a whole crouton on top of each bowl of soup and add a grinding of black pepper. (If the slices of bread are too large, you may want to cut them into squares before serving.)

   Rachel’s tip

   I always like to cook using extra virgin olive oil as I think it provides a divine depth of flavour. Throughout these recipes I've just called for olive oil but I recommend using extra virgin if you can, especially when used in a dressing.

   

   Artichoke hearts in a tin or jar are one of the more luxurious preserved foods. Combined with semi-sun-dried tomatoes and preserved roasted red peppers, this is a really wonderful dish.

   Serves 4

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   125g (4½oz) preserved artichoke hearts (from a jar or tin), cut into bite-sized pieces

   75g (3oz) preserved roasted red peppers (from a jar or tin), cut into 2cm (¾in) dice

   50g (2oz) semi-sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

   ½ red onion, peeled and finely chopped

   3 tbsp olive oil

   2 tsp red wine vinegar

   2 tsp pesto

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   * Simply mix everything together in a big bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

   

   The intense flavours of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto can transform a tin of tuna into something really special. You can make this 2–3 hours ahead – store in the fridge until ready to serve.

   Serves 4–6

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   4 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes

   2 x 400g tins of haricot beans, drained and rinsed

   4 small spring onions, trimmed and sliced at an angle

   120ml (4½fl oz) olive oil

   2 tbsp red wine vinegar

   2 tbsp pesto

   2 x 185g tins of tuna, drained and broken into chunks

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   * In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients apart from the tuna, then carefully stir in the tuna, keeping it in chunks. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

   

   I generally have a few mushrooms in my fridge – they are quick to cook and this is a great way of serving them. The anchovies dissolve in the butter, imparting a lovely depth of flavour to this dish.

   Serves 4

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   20 minutes

   110g (4oz) butter

   12 tinned anchovies, chopped

   6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

   800g (1¾lb) mushrooms, sliced

   4 tsp chopped thyme leaves

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   4 slices of bread

   25g (1oz) butter

   100ml (3½fl oz) single or regular cream

   * Melt the butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat and, when foaming, add the anchovies and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until the anchovies have disintegrated and the garlic is lightly browned.

   * Add the mushrooms and thyme, season with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to medium–low. Stir well, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 10–15 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and browned.

   * Meanwhile, toast the bread and butter it, then place on plates.

   * Stir the cream into the mushrooms, increasing the heat to allow it to bubble for 1–2 minutes, then taste for seasoning and serve on the buttered toast.

   

   Here’s a slightly different way of serving eggs, and one that’s incredibly easy, too. As the eggs cook gently in the oven, they take on the flavour of the spices and the silkiness of the cream. They’re perfect with toast.

   Serves 4 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   8–12 minutes

   2 tsp ground cumin

   ½ tsp smoked paprika

   Good pinch of cayenne pepper

   4 eggs

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   4 tbsp single or regular cream

   To serve

   4 slices of bread

   25g (1oz) butter

   Four 100ml (3½fl oz) ramekins

   * Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6.

   * In a small bowl, mix together the spices. Break each egg into a separate ramekin and sprinkle half the spice mixture over each egg. Season with salt and pepper, then add a tablespoon of cream to each dish.

   * Place in the oven and cook for 8–12 minutes or until the white is just set and the yolk is still ever so slightly soft.

   * Just before the eggs are ready, toast the bread and butter it, then remove the eggs from the oven and serve with the buttered toast.

   Variation

   Baked eggs with smoked mackerel: Divide 1 fillet of flaked smoked mackerel between the ramekins before adding the eggs, then proceed as above but omitting the spices.

   

   These toppings are a fabulous way of dressing up baked potatoes.They are also great with nachos or tortilla chips.

   Each recipe serves 4 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes each

   COOKING TIME

   15 minutes for the spiced beans topping

   Spiced beans topping

   2 tsp each coriander and cumin seeds

   2 tbsp sunflower oil

   2 onions, peeled and chopped

   4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   Pinch of cayenne pepper

   2 x 400g tins of pinto, kidney or black beans

   1 x 200g tin of chopped tomatoes

   1 tsp caster sugar

   * Toast and grind the coriander and cumin seeds. Place the seeds in a small frying pan on a high heat and cook, tossing frequently, for about 1 minute or until they are browned. Grind them into a powder with a pestle and mortar or place them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them, then set aside.

   * Pour the sunflower oil into a large frying pan on a medium heat. When hot, add the onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir occasionally for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft and lightly browned.

   * Stir in the ground spices and the cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse the beans and then stir them in. Season with salt and pepper and use your spoon to mash a few of the beans. Next, stir in the tomatoes and the sugar, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 3 minutes or until the mixture is heated through. Taste for seasoning.

   * Serve with baked potatoes and some crème fraîche or natural yoghurt, if you like.

   Corn salsa topping

   1 x 200g tin of sweetcorn

   ½ red onion, peeled and finely chopped

   ½ red or green chilli, deseeded and chopped

   Juice of 1 lime

   1 tbsp olive oil

   * Drain and rinse the sweetcorn, then mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.

   * Serve with baked potatoes, and some crème fraîche or natural yoghurt if you like.

   

   Green curry paste is an incredibly useful ingredient to have in your store cupboard – creating in an instant that subtle and complex balance of flavours that Thai food is all about. This delicious vegetable curry is substantial enough to serve on its own or with rice. To make it vegetarian, look for mock fish sauce, which is made from soy beans and often seaweed, or you can use soy sauce instead.

   Serves 4

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   20 minutes

   1 tbsp sunflower oil

   250g (9oz) mushrooms, quartered

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   1–2 tbsp Thai green curry paste

   1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar

   1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

   1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

   150g (5oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2–3cm (¾–1¼in) chunks

   1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla) or soy sauce for a vegetarian alternative

   Juice of ½ lime

   Chopped coriander, to serve (optional)

   * Pour the sunflower oil into a large saucepan on a medium–high heat and, when hot, add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for 8–10 minutes or until the mushrooms are golden.

   * Stir in the curry paste and sugar, then stir in the coconut milk. Season with salt and add the chickpeas and potatoes.

   * Bring to a simmer and cook for 8–10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft, then stir in the fish sauce or soy sauce and lime juice. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of fresh coriander (if using).

   

   Dahl is a traditional and simple Indian dish made from lentils. Red lentils are such a useful ingredient to have in your store cupboard. They are full of nutrients, easy to cook and have a glorious nutty flavour that can be enhanced by different spices.

   Serves 4–6 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   15 minutes

   400g (14oz) red lentils

   8 slices of peeled root ginger 5mm (¼in) thick

   1 bay leaf

   50g (2oz) butter

   10 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

   4 tsp cumin seeds

   1 tsp dried chilli flakes

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   * Place the lentils in a saucepan, along with the ginger, bay leaf and 1.5 litres (2½ pints) water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the surface, until the lentils are soft.

   * While the lentils are cooking, melt the butter in a small frying pan on a medium–high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the garlic, cumin and chilli flakes and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes or until the garlic is lightly browned.

   * Serve the cooked lentils on a bed of boiled rice with the garlic butter poured over the top and seasoned with salt and pepper.

   

   I can usually find lentils lurking somewhere in my store cupboard, and by adding bacon and serving them with poached eggs, they make a really substantial lunch or supper.

   Serves 4

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   25 minutes

   4 eggs

   Splash of vinegar

   4 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)

   For the bacon lentils

   4 tbsp olive oil

   200g (7oz) bacon (in the piece or about 6 rashers), cut into 2cm (¾in) dice

   300g (11oz) Puy lentils

   1 bay leaf

   1 sprig of rosemary

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   * First make the bacon lentils. Pour half the olive oil into a large saucepan on a medium heat and, when hot, add the bacon and fry for 6–8 minutes or until crispy.

   * Add the lentils, bay leaf and rosemary to the pan with 500ml (18fl oz) water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Drain off any excess water and discard the bay leaf and rosemary, then stir in the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

   * Five minutes before the lentils are ready, poach the eggs. Place a saucepan of water on a high heat, add a splash of vinegar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, gently crack in the eggs and cook for 3–4 minutes or until the whites have just set.

   * To serve, divide the lentils between plates, then carefully remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on top of the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle over the chopped parsley (if using).

   

   Store cupboard ingredients are ideal for making dips, allowing you to have everything ready in minutes. Mixing the bean and the red pepper dips by hand is almost as quick as using a processor.

   Each recipe serves 4 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes each

   Bean dip

   1 x 400g tin of white beans, such as haricot or cannellini, drained and rinsed

   1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

   1 tsp chopped rosemary leaves

   75ml (3fl oz) olive oil

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   * Whiz everything together in a food processor for 3–4 minutes or until smooth. Alternatively, mash the beans with a fork or potato masher and mix in the remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

   Red pepper and chickpea dip

   1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

   275g (10oz) preserved all s

   3 tbsp olive oil

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   * Place all the ingredients in a food processor together with 2 tablespoons of water and whiz for 3–4 minutes or until smooth. Alternatively, mash the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher and finely chop the red peppers, then mix with the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

   Sun-dried Tomato dip

   200g (7oz) semi-sun-dried tomatoes

   2 tbsp olive oil

   1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

   25g (1oz) pine nuts

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   * Whiz everything together in a food processor for 3–4 minutes or until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

   

   This is a classic Mexican breakfast dish – eggs surrounded by a sweet-tasting mixture of red peppers and tomato – but you can eat it at any time of day. It’s great as it is or served with tortillas and guacamole or slic ed avocado.

   Serves 2–4 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   25 minutes

   25g (1oz) butter

   2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped

   1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm (½in) dice

   2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

   Good pinch of cayenne pepper

   2 tsp ground cumin

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

   Good pinch of granulated or caster sugar

   4 eggs

   25g (1oz) Cheddar cheese

   * Melt the butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat and, when foaming, add the onions, red pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper and cumin and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until the onions and pepper are soft and lightly browned.

   * Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and cook for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced a little.

   * Use a spoon to make 4 wells in the mixture, then break an egg into each of the 4 spaces. Season with salt and pepper, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 3–4 minutes or until just set.

   * Grate over the cheese, replace the lid on the pan for a few seconds, then serve.

   

   With their crisp outer coating, soft fluffy mash and delicate flakes of smoked salmon, these fish cakes are a supremely comforting food.

   Makes 6 fish cakes

   PREPARATION TIME

   15 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   50 minutes

   500g (1lb 2oz) floury potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed clean

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   225g (8oz) smoked salmon

   3 tbsp olive oil

   1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

   2 tbsp finely chopped chives

   1 tbsp capers, drained and chopped

   Good squeeze of lemon juice

   1 egg, beaten

   75g (3oz) breadcrumbs

   15g (½oz) butter

   * Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F), Gas mark 7 and grease a small baking tray with olive oil.

   * Fill a large saucepan with water, then add the potatoes and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes, then pour all but about 4cm (1½in) of the water out of the pan and cook the potatoes on a very low heat for another 20–30 minutes until a skewer goes in easily. Peel them while they are still hot and mash immediately, either by hand or using the paddle attachment in an electric food mixer, until they are free of lumps.

   * Meanwhile, as the potatoes cook, place the smoked salmon on the baking tray. If it is pre-sliced, simply put the slices one on top of the other. Drizzle the salmon with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then bake in the oven for 6–8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

   * Put the mashed potato, onion, chives, capers, lemon juice, egg and breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl. Roughly tear the smoked salmon into smaller pieces and add to the mix. Use a spoon to stir everything together – the salmon will break up further as you mix. Season with salt and pepper.

   * Shape the mixture in to six patties, each about 8cm (3in) wide and 2cm (¾in) thick. The uncooked fish cakes can be prepared up to this point in advance and either frozen or kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

   * To cook, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted and starts to foam, add the fish cakes and fry for 3–5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Serve with a green salad, lemon wedges and a dollop of tartare sauce or mayonnaise.

   

   This is a great simple pasta dish with strong punchy flavours. Dried chilli flakes can be quite hot, so just add a small pinch if you prefer less of a kick.

   Serves 4

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   10–12 minutes

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   350g (12oz) dried spaghetti or other pasta, such as linguine or tagliatelle

   4 tbsp olive oil

   6–8 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

   10 tinned anchovies, chopped

   1–2 pinches of dried chilli flakes

   2 tbsp chopped parsley

   Good squeeze of lemon juice

   * Fill a large saucepan with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for 10–12 minutes or according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente.

   * As the pasta is cooking, place another saucepan on a medium heat. (The pan should be large enough to hold all of the spaghetti once it is cooked.) Add the olive oil, followed by the garlic, and fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the anchovies and chilli flakes and cook for a further minute.

   * Drain the spaghetti, reserving some of the cooking liquid, then add to the anchovy mixture with a few tablespoons of the liquid. Tip in the chopped parsley, stir to mix, then add the lemon juice. Taste, adding a further squeeze of lemon if you like. Add a grinding of black pepper and serve immediately.

   

   A tin of tuna and some pasta are enough to make a meal, though for added interest I’ve included capers and garlic. You can also stir in a few chopped olives, if you wish.

   Serves 4

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   10–12 minutes

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   350g (12oz) dried fusilli, or other pasta shape such as penne or farfalle

   3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

   3 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed

   100ml (3½fl oz) single or regular cream

   2 x 185g tins of tuna, drained and broken into chunks

   3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced at an angle

   * Fill a large saucepan with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Add the fusilli and cook for 10–12 minutes or according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente.

   * While the fusilli is cooking, mix together the other ingredients in a bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, then stir into the tuna mixture and serve.

   

   This is a classic tomato sauce using tinned tomatoes with zingy additional flavour from garlic, olives and capers. Adding sugar is important as tinned tomatoes don’t have the sweetness of fresh tomatoes in summer.

   Serves 4

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   10–12 minutes

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   300g (11oz) dried pasta, such as spaghetti, fusilli, penne, tagliatelle or linguine

   6 tbsp olive oil

   2 onions, peeled and finely chopped

   4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

   4 tsp chopped capers

   About 10 black olives, pitted and chopped (optional)

   2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

   2 tsp granulated or caster sugar

   50g (2oz) Parmesan cheese, grated

   * Fill a large saucepan with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10–12 minutes or according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente.

   * Meanwhile, place another saucepan on a medium heat. (The pan should be large enough to hold all the pasta once it is cooked.) Add the olive oil, followed by the onions and garlic, then season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6–8 minutes or until the onions are softened and lightly coloured.

   * Stir in the capers and olives (if using), cook for a further minute, then stir in the chopped tomatoes and sugar. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes, then drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sauce. Mix together, then divide between bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

   

   Long thin pastas are perfect for creamy sauces, with each strand evenly coated. Spaghetti works here, too, but for this dish I prefer the texture and slightly chunkier shape of tagliatelle.

   Serves 4

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   10–12 minutes

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   350g (12oz) dried tagliatelle or other pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine

   2 tbsp olive oil

   200g (7oz) streaky bacon (about 8 rashers), rind removed and cut into 2cm (¾in) dice

   300ml (½ pint) single or regular cream

   200g (7oz) frozen peas

   2 tbsp chopped mint

   50g (2oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated

   * Fill a large saucepan with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook for 10–12 minutes or according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente.

   * While the pasta is cooking, pour the olive oil into a large saucepan on a medium–high heat and, when hot, add the bacon. (The pan should be large enough to hold the tagliatelle when it is cooked.) Fry for about 5 minutes or until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and crispy.

   * Stir in the cream and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes, then stir in the peas and keep cooking for a minute or two more or until they are just tender. Remove from the heat, then drain the tagliatelle and add to the sauce, stirring it in along with the chopped mint.

   * Taste for seasoning and serve with the Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

   

   With just a little fried onion and some stock you can transform boiled rice into a really tasty dish. The chicken and bacon makes this a substantial meal. If you have some fresh herbs, stir them in for extra flavour.

   Serves 4–6

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   30–35 minutes

   4 tbsp olive oil

   300g (11oz) streaky bacon (in the piece or about 10 rashers), rind removed and cut into 2cm (¾in) dice

   25g (1oz) butter

   1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

   300g (11oz) basmati rice

   800ml (1 pint 9fl oz) chicken stock

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   200g (7oz) frozen peas

   300g (11oz) cooked chicken (or see ), cut into bite-sized pieces

   * Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan on a medium heat and, when hot, add the bacon and fry for 6–8 minutes or until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside, retaining any oil left in the pan.

   * Melt the butter in the saucepan with the bacon fat, then add the onion and cook for 6–8 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.

   * Next, add the rice and stock, season with salt and pepper, then bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 14 minutes or until the rice is soft and fluffy. Stir in the peas, fried bacon and chicken and cook for a further minute, then taste for seasoning and serve.

   Rachel’s tips

   Butchers and some supermarkets will sell bacon ‘in the piece’. This is often better for cooking with than rashers, because rather than thin pieces you can get nice juicy chunks.

   If you don’t have leftover cooked chicken, then just poach some in the stock – it hardly takes any time. Cut an uncooked skinless chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, then season with salt and pepper and add the chicken to the pan. Bring back up to the boil and poach for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is opaque all the way through. Remove the chicken, then use the stock to cook the rice as above, before stirring in the cooked chicken with the peas and bacon.

   

   A bubbling, golden crispy potato ‘lid’ hides more layers of soft and creamy potato beneath. This comforting dish is so simple to put together that it’s a great example of how just a few ingredients can combine to produce something really special.

   Serves 6–8

   PREPARATION TIME

   15 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   1½ hours

   2 tbsp olive oil

   375g (13oz) bacon (in the piece or about 10 rashers), cut into 1–2cm (½–¾in) dice

   1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

   2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

   1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   1kg (2lb 3oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into 5mm (¼in) thick slices

   300ml (½ pint) single or regular cream

   50g (2oz) Gruyère or Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)

   2 litre (3½ pint) gratin or ovenproof dish

   * Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6.

   * Pour the olive oil into a frying pan on a medium heat and, when hot, add the bacon and fry for about 5 minutes or until crispy. Stir in the onion, garlic and thyme, season with salt and pepper (bearing in mind that the bacon is quite salty) and cook for a further 6–8 minutes or until the onion is soft and a little golden.

   * Meanwhile, arrange half of the potato slices in the gratin or ovenproof dish, season with salt and pepper, then spread over the cooked bacon and onion. Arrange the remaining potatoes over the top and season again with salt and pepper.

   * Pour over the cream. Add the grated cheese (if using) in a layer on top, then cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 30–35 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy on top.

   

   Dried porcini mushrooms are a magical food. Soaked in water they release an intense, almost beefy aroma. The soaking liquid then flavours the rice and enhances the taste of the other mushrooms in the recipe.

   Serves 4–6

   PREPARATION TIME

   15 minutes, plus soaking

   COOKING TIME

   45 minutes

   50g (2oz) dried porcini mushrooms

   400ml (14fl oz) boiling water

   125g (4½oz) butter, softened

   2 onions, peeled and finely chopped

   4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

   800ml (1 pint 9fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   400g (14oz) risotto rice

   200ml (7fl oz) white wine

   500g (1lb 2oz) flat mushrooms, sliced

   8 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

   4 tbsp chopped marjoram or parsley

   Squeeze of lemon juice

   1–2 tbsp mascarpone (optional)

   * Place the porcini mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, pour over the boiling water and leave for 20 minutes until soft.

   * Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4.

   * Melt 25g (1oz) of the butter in a large casserole dish or ovenproof saucepan on a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 6–8 minutes or until soft and turning golden. Meanwhile, pour the stock into a separate pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer on the hob.

   * While the onions are cooking, drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside, then strain the soaking liquid (to remove any sand or grit) and add to the simmering stock. Season this liquid with salt and pepper.

   * Add the chopped porcini mushrooms to the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 1–2 minutes. Next, tip in the rice and gently stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.

   * Pour in the wine, then bring to a simmer, stirring as the mixture heats up, and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the wine has evaporated. Pour in the simmering stock, stirring to combine, then bring to the boil, cover and bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until just al dente.

   * Meanwhile, melt 25g (1oz) of the butter in a frying pan on a medium heat, add the flat mushrooms and fry, stirring occasionally, for 3–5 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.

   * Remove the risotto from the oven and add the grated Parmesan cheese and remaining 75g (3oz) butter, then use a wooden spoon to vigorously beat everything together. Stir in the fried mushrooms, along with the marjoram or parsley, lemon juice and mascarpone (if using). Serve immediately with extra Parmesan on top.

   

   You can serve the risotto on its own, although the meatballs turn a light dish into a hearty meal. The meatballs can be stored in the freezer (before cooking), but defrost them fully before frying.

   Serves 4–6

   PREPARATION TIME

   15 minutes, plus chilling

   COOKING TIME

   25–30 minutes

   450g (1lb) beef or pork mince

   1 tsp chopped thyme

   5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

   1 egg, beaten

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   4–5 tbsp olive oil

   1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

   400g (14oz) risotto rice

   150ml (5fl oz) white wine

   2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

   2 tsp caster sugar

   1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken or vegetable stock

   3 tsp chopped rosemary

   25g (1oz) butter, diced

   150g (5oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve

   * First make the meatballs. Place the mince in a bowl with the thyme, just over half the garlic and the beaten egg, season with salt and pepper and mix well together. To check the seasoning, fry 1 teaspoon of the mixture in a frying pan for 1–2 minutes or until cooked through. Taste to see whether you need to add more salt or pepper to the mixture.

   * Using wet hands, form the mixture into 16–20 tiny little meatballs, each about 2cm (¾in) in diameter, then chill (for up to 24 hours) until you are ready to cook them.

   * Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4.

   * Next, make the risotto. Pour 3 tablespoons of the olive oil into an ovenproof saucepan on a low–medium heat and, when hot, add the onion and garlic and season. Cook for 7–8 minutes or until soft and a little golden.

   * Add the rice, increase the heat to medium and cook for 1–2 minutes or until it starts to crackle. Pour in the wine and allow to bubble until the liquid has evaporated. Tip in the tomatoes and sugar, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 3–4 minutes or until almost soft. Add the stock and half the rosemary, bring back to the boil, cover with a lid and bake for 10–12 minutes.

   * While the risotto is cooking, fry the meatballs. Pour the remaining olive oil into a large frying pan on a medium heat and, when hot, add the meatballs and fry for 10–12 minutes, turning regularly, until evenly browned and cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.

   * Remove the risotto from the oven and beat in the butter and most of the Parmesan cheese with a wooden spoon. Taste for seasoning, then divide between bowls, top with the meatballs and sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan.

   

   This deliciously spicy mince mixture tastes wonderful served with lightly toasted pitta breads and a few spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt. Use beef mince instead of lamb if that’s what you have to hand, it's still delicious.

   Serves 4–6

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   20–25 minutes

   2 tbsp olive oil

   1 onion, peeled and chopped

   1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   1 tsp turmeric

   1 tsp ground cumin

   1 tsp ground coriander

   450g (1lb) lamb mince

   225g (8oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into 5mm (¼in) dice

   75g (3oz) frozen peas

   To serve

   4–6 pitta breads

   About 150ml (5fl oz) natural Greek yoghurt

   * Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan on a high heat and, when hot, add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Fry, stirring frequently, for 6–8 minutes or until the onion is cooked and golden at the edges.

   * Add the spices and mince and cook for 4–5 minutes or until the mince loses its raw colour. Tip in the potatoes and 50ml (2fl oz) water, then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 8–10 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender, then add the peas and cook, uncovered, for a further 2 minutes.

   * Shortly before the spiced mince is ready, toast the pitta breads and pour the Greek yoghurt into a small serving bowl. Season the cooked lamb to taste and serve with the toasted pittas and yoghurt.

   

   These delicately aromatic meatballs are very happy resting on a bed of couscous – a seriously useful store cupboard ingredient that is ready to serve after only a few minutes soaking in stock or hot water. The meatballs can be stored in the freezer before cooking (defrost them well before use).

   Serves 4–6

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes, plus chilling

   COOKING TIME

   10–15 minutes

   6 green cardamom pods

   500g (1lb 2oz) lamb mince

   Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

   1 onion, peeled and grated

   2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

   2 tbsp olive oil

   For the sauce:

   200ml (7fl oz) natural Greek yoghurt

   1 tsp turmeric

   Juice of 1 lemon

   1 cucumber, cut into 2cm (¾in) chunks (optional)

   * Place the cardamom pods on a chopping board, lay the flat side of a large knife over the top and press down to lightly crush. Remove the seeds (discarding the pods) and crush to a powder with a pestle and mortar or place in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.

   * Place the crushed seeds in a bowl with the lamb mince, lemon zest, onion and garlic, then season with salt and pepper and mix together. To check the seasoning, fry 1 teaspoon of the mixture in a frying pan for 1–2 minutes or until cooked through, then taste to see whether you need to add more salt or pepper to the mixture.

   * Using wet hands, form the mixture into 20–24 meatballs, each about 3–4cm (1¼–1½in) in diameter, then leave to chill in the fridge (for up to 24 hours) until you are ready to cook them.

   * Pour the olive oil into a frying pan on a medium heat and, when hot, add the meatballs and fry them for 8–12 minutes, tossing occasionally, until well browned and cooked through.

   * To make the sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled over the meatballs on a bed of couscous.

   

   One of my guilty pleasures is a tin of boiled condensed milk. The sugars in the milk caramelise to make a thick toffee-like sauce. It’s perfect for cooking or eating straight from the tin (with or without a spoon!). It’s also possible to buy ready-boiled condensed milk, which is sold in jars as dulce de leche. If you want to make your own, boil unopened tins of condensed milk for 2 hours – I like to prepare a few tins at a time and then keep them in the cupboard where they’ll store for months.

   Makes about 24 squares (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   20 minutes, plus chilling

   100g (3½oz) caster sugar

   200g (7oz) butter, softened and diced

   300g (11oz) self-raising flour, sifted

   400ml (14fl oz) dulce de leche or boiled condensed milk (see recipe )

   125g (4½oz) salted peanuts, roughly chopped

   200g (7oz) milk chocolate, broken into pieces

   20 x 30cm (8 x 12in) Swiss roll tin

   * Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Line the base of the Swiss roll tin with baking parchment.

   * In a food processor, whiz together the sugar, butter and flour for the shortbread base until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Alternatively, rub together the butter and flour in a bowl with your fingertips and stir in the sugar. Tip into the prepared tin and press down with your hands or a palette knife to level out the mixture.

   * Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown all over, then remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

   * Once it is cool, spread over the dulce de leche to cover the shortbread, then press the roughly chopped peanuts into it, making sure they are evenly distributed.

   * Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt. Remove from the heat and pour over the peanut-studded dulce de leche, allowing it to cool, then leave in the fridge for 1–2 hours to set. Once set, cut the mixture into squares in the tin and serve.

   

   As the title of this recipe suggests, this cake is ridiculously simple to make. It’s just a matter of whizzing all the ingredients together in a food processor before tipping the mixture into a tin and baking in the oven. If you don’t have a food processor, it’s still very easy to make by hand and tastes just as delicious, either way!

   Serves 4–6 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   30–35 minutes

   110g (4oz) butter, softened and diced

   110g (4oz) caster sugar

   Finely grated zest of ½ lemon

   2 eggs

   150g (5oz) plain flour, sifted

   ½ tsp baking powder

   1 tbsp milk

   For the icing

   175g (6oz) icing sugar

   2–3 tbsp lemon juice

   20cm (8in) diameter spring-form/loose-bottomed cake tin

   * Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Line the base of the tin with a disc of baking parchment and grease the sides with butter.

   * Place all the ingredients for the cake in a food processor and whiz for 1 minute or just until the mixture comes together. Alternatively, cream the butter until soft using a hand-held electric beater, then beat in the sugar and lemon zest, whisk in the eggs one at a time and fold in the remaining ingredients. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing over the top with a palette knife or the back of a spoon.

   * Place in the oven and bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

   * To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add just enough lemon juice to make a soft icing with the consistency of thick double cream. (Too thick and it won’t ‘self-spread’, too thin and it will run off the cake and onto the plate beneath.)

   * Place the cake on a serving plate and tip the icing into the middle of the cake, allowing it to spread itself, then cut into slices to serve.

   Rachel’s tip

   If the icing is a bit stiff and won’t spread easily, dip a palette knife in boiling water and use this to gently smooth the icing over the surface of the cake.

   

   My mum’s friend Maxine gave me this amazingly easy recipe. It uses unpeeled oranges, steamed and puréed, making the cake gorgeously moist with a taste that is unsurprisingly reminiscent of marmalade.

   Serves 8–10 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   5 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   1¼ hours

   2 oranges, cut in half and all pips removed

   200g (7oz) ground almonds

   200g (7oz) caster sugar

   6 eggs

   1 tsp baking powder

   23cm (9in) diameter spring-form/loose-bottomed cake tin

   * First steam the orange halves for 30 minutes, in a steamer or in a metal sieve covered with foil and set over a saucepan of simmering water.

   * Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Line the base of the tin with a disc of baking parchment and grease the sides with butter.

   * Once the oranges have finished steaming, remove from the steamer or sieve and discard any remaining pips. Place the steamed oranges in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and whiz for 2 minutes or until smooth.

   * Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 40–45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to stand in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

   

   Fresh from the oven, this rich almond cake is drenched in a sweet citrus syrup, making it fantastically moist and full of flavour. Being so moist means it will keep, covered, for up to a week. The cake is delicious on its own or with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

   Serves 6–8 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   1¼ hours

   200g (7oz) butter, softened and diced

   275g (10oz) caster sugar

   Finely grated zest of 2 oranges

   Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

   5 eggs

   350g (12oz) ground almonds

   For the syrup

   Juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon

   75g (3oz) caster sugar

   23cm (9in) diameter spring-form/loose-bottomed cake tin

   * Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F), Gas mark 3. Line the base of the tin with a disc of baking parchment and grease the sides with butter.

   * Using an electric food mixer or hand-held electric beater, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and lemon and orange zest and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, before stirring in the ground almonds.

   * Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 55–60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10–15 minutes before transferring to a plate or cake stand.

   * While the cake is cooling, make the syrup. Pour the orange and lemon juice into a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has thickened to a syrupy consistency.

   * Make 10–15 skewer incisions in the top of the cooled cake, then gradually pour the boiling syrup over the cake so that it absorbs the syrup evenly and becomes deliciously moist. Cut into slices to serve.

   

   This cake has no flour (hence no gluten), making it light and moist. The polenta gives it a slight crunch. I like to have a slice of this cake with tea – if I can stick to just one slice, that is …

   Serves 6–8 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   20 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   35 minutes

   200g (7oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces, or dark chocolate drops

   100g (3½oz) butter

   5 eggs, separated

   225g (8oz) caster sugar

   75g (3oz) fine polenta

   Finely grated zest of 1 orange

   Icing sugar, for dusting

   25cm (10in) diameter spring-form/loose-bottomed cake tin

   * Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F), Gas mark 3. Line the base of the cake tin with a disc of baking parchment and grease the sides with butter.

   * Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

   * Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add 150g (5oz) of the caster sugar and whisk in the mixer or using a hand-held electric beater for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Tip into the chocolate mixture and carefully fold in.

   * Wash and dry the bowl and the whisk attachments of the mixer or hand-held beater, then whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and continue to whisk meringue mixture for another 5 minutes or until stiff and white.

   * Carefully fold the polenta, orange zest and the whisked egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then spoon into the prepared cake tin. Smooth over the top and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to stand and cool slightly in the tin. Then remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to a serving plate and dusting with icing sugar.

   

   If you want a truly chocolatey and delicious dessert, then nothing beats this classic dish. Some recipes need no improving – they’re classics for a reason!

   Serves 8 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   5 minutes, plus chilling

   125ml (4½fl oz) double or regular cream

   125g (4½oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped, or dark chocolate drops

   1 tbsp brandy (optional)

   2 eggs, separated

   To decorate

   Raspberries (optional)

   Icing sugar (optional)

   4–6 little bowls, glasses or cups

   * Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir just until it melts. Add the brandy (if using) and whisk in the egg yolks.

   * In a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until just forming stiff peaks. Spoon a small amount of whisked egg whites into the chocolate and cream mixture, then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, just until combined.

   * Spoon into the bowls, glasses or cups and chill in the fridge for 1–2 hours or until set. Decorate with raspberries (if using) and a hint of icing sugar.

   

   Ice cream with chocolate sauce is a combination made in heaven and the chunks of Oreo biscuit just add to the divine wickedness of it all! This great chocolate fudge sauce recipe is one I was kindly given by the indefatigable American cook, Charita Jones. It makes quite a lot, but, in a household of chocoholics, that is never a problem! Stored in a jar in the fridge, it will keep for months – simply reheat to serve.

   Serves 1 (v)

   Charita’s chocolate fudge sauce: makes 1 litre (1¾ pints) (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   5 minutes

   For Charita’s chocolate fudge sauce

   350g (12oz) caster sugar

   100g (3½oz) soft light or dark brown sugar

   85g (3oz) cocoa powder

   25g (1oz) plain flour

   Pinch of salt

   1 x 400ml tin of evaporated milk

   50g (2oz) butter

   2 tsp vanilla extract

   For each sundae

   2 Oreo biscuits, broken into chunks

   2 scoops of coffee, vanilla or even banana ice cream

   One sundae glass or bowl per person

   * To make the chocolate fudge sauce, place all the ingredients apart from the vanilla extract in a saucepan with 225ml (8fl oz) water and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Boil for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, using a whisk at first to break up any lumps of flour. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

   * To make each sundae, place half the biscuit pieces in the bottom of the glass or bowl, add a scoop of ice cream, then add most of the remaining biscuit pieces, followed by the remaining scoop of ice cream. Pour over the hot chocolate fudge sauce and crumble over the rest of the biscuit pieces.

   

   Sundaes are a huge favourite of my children’s, but anyone with a sweet tooth is susceptible to an ice cream sundae. It’s great to have a few sauces and ingredients on hand so people can get creative. The toffee sauce used in this recipe takes minutes to make and is so useful to have for pouring over ice cream, meringues or even baked fruit, such as peaches, pears or bananas. Once made, it keeps for months, so I always have a jar of it nestled somewhere in the back of the fridge. Simply reheat to serve.

   Serves 1 (v)

   Toffee sauce: enough for 4 sundaes (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   5 minutes

   For the toffee sauce

   100ml (3½fl oz) golden syrup

   50g (2oz) soft light brown sugar

   50g (2oz) caster sugar

   ½ tsp vanilla extract

   100ml (3½fl oz) double or regular cream

   For each sundae

   2 scoops of chocolate or vanilla ice cream

   2 tbsp salted peanuts

   One sundae glass or bowl per person

   * To make the toffee sauce, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly to help dissolve the sugar. Boil for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, then remove from the heat.

   * To make each sundae, place one scoop of ice cream in the bottom of the glass or bowl, add half the peanuts, then add another scoop of ice cream, followed by the rest of the peanuts, and finally drizzle with the hot toffee sauce.

   

   My children would survive solely on this given half a chance. You can use whatever biscuits or chocolate bars you like, although ginger biscuits add a great spicy crunch.

   Makes about 16 bars (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes, plus chilling

   COOKING TIME

   10 minutes

   450g (1lb) milk chocolate, broken into pieces, or milk chocolate drops

   150g (5oz) ginger nut biscuits, broken into 1cm (½in) chunks

   100g (3½oz) mini marshmallows

   2 x 60g Snickers bars, cut into 1cm (½in) cubes

   2 x 40g Crunchie bars, cut into 1cm (½in) cubes

   20cm (8in) square cake tin

   * Line the base and sides of the tin with baking parchment.

   * Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot water. Bring the water to the boil, then take the pan off the heat and allow the chocolate to melt slowly. Once the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and allow the chocolate to cool to just above room temperature. (If it’s too hot, the marshmallows will melt.)

   * Stir in the remaining ingredients and press into the prepared tin. Place in the fridge to chill for 1–2 hours or until set, then cut into fingers or squares to serve.

   

   Strawberry coulis is such a useful sauce for pouring over ice cream, yoghurt or fromage frais. Use straightaway or store in the fridge, in a covered bowl or jar with a lid, for up to a week. It can also be frozen for up to one month.

   Serves 1 (v)

   Strawberry coulis: enough for 4 sundaes (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   For the strawberry coulis

   150g (5oz) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, or frozen strawberries, defrosted

   2 tsp caster sugar

   Juice of ½ lemon

   For each sundae

   6–8 slices tinned peaches or nectarines

   2–3 strawberries, sliced

   3 scoops of ice cream, such as vanilla or strawberry

   One sundae glass or bowl per sundae

   * To make the strawberry coulis, place everything in a food processor and whiz for 1–2 minutes or until smooth. (If using frozen and defrosted strawberries, you can simply mash these with a fork, if you prefer.) Taste to see if you need to add any more sugar or lemon juice – the blander the strawberries, the more help they’ll need.

   * Push the purée through a fine sieve, discarding any pulp, and use straightaway or keep chilled in the fridge for future use.

   * To make each sundae, place half the peaches or nectarines and strawberry slices in the bottom of the glass or bowl, add a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with half the coulis, then add the remaining fruit, followed by another scoop of ice cream, and drizzle with the rest of the coulis.

   Variation

   Raspberry coulis: Make as above but substitute the strawberries with the same quantity of fresh or frozen (and defrosted) raspberries.

   

   This incredibly easy recipe has become a new family favourite! I adore the combination of ingredients – the moist coconutty sponge sits over a layer of sweet and sticky raspberry jam. It’s lovely on its own, though it’s also excellent with custard.

   Serves 6–8 (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   40–50 minutes

   4 tbsp raspberry jam

   250g (9oz) plain flour

   3 tsp baking powder

   350g (12oz) caster sugar

   100g (3½oz) desiccated coconut

   3 eggs, beaten

   350ml (12fl oz) milk

   1 tsp vanilla extract

   150g (5oz) butter, melted

   2 litre (3½ pint) pie dish

   * Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4.

   * Spread the jam over the base of the pie dish. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk them by hand just long enough to mix them together.

   * Pour the coconut mixture into the pie dish and bake for 40–50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the centre has a light spring when pressed with your finger. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

   

   A classic pannacotta contains only cream, but I’ve added coconut milk and cardamom for a tropical twist. It is delicious served with slices of juicy ripe mango.

   Serves 4–6

   PREPARATION TIME

   10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   5 minutes, plus chilling

   12 green cardamom pods

   150ml (5fl oz) single, double or regular cream

   75g (3oz) caster sugar

   2 leaves of gelatine or 2 tsp powdered gelatine

   1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

   1 mango, peeled and cut into slices, to decorate

   4–6 small cups or glasses

   * Place the cardamom pods on a chopping board, lay the flat side of a large knife over the top and press down to lightly crush. Remove the seeds (discarding the pods) and crush to a powder with a pestle and mortar or place in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.

   * Place the crushed seeds in a saucepan and add the cream and sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and leave to infuse.

   * If using powdered gelatine, place this in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of water and leave in the fridge for 3–4 minutes or until the mixture becomes sponge-like in consistency. If using leaf gelatine, place the leaves in a bowl, adding just enough cold water to cover, and set aside for 5 minutes or until the gelatine has become very soft.

   * Empty the tin of coconut milk into a large bowl, whisking it to get rid of any lumps. Place the cream mixture back on a medium heat just to heat through, then remove from the hob. If using powdered gelatine, mix the spongey mixture in with the coconut milk. If using leaf gelatine, remove from the water, allowing any excess to drip off, then stir into the coconut milk. Mix together thoroughly, then pour the coconut milk and gelatine through a sieve onto the cream mixture and stir to mix.

   * Divide between the cups or glasses and chill in the fridge for about 3 hours or until just set. Serve topped with some mango slices.

   

   The sponge in this tray bake is light and delightfully delicate, though the truth is this recipe is all about the rich and sweet icing. Is there anything more invitingly indulgent than buttercream?

   Makes 16 squares (v)

   PREPARATION TIME

   5–10 minutes

   COOKING TIME

   40 minutes

   200g (7oz) butter, softened and diced

   200g (7oz) caster sugar

   3 eggs

   325g (11½oz) plain flour, sifted

   3 tsp baking powder

   2 tsp vanilla extract

   150ml (5fl oz) milk

   For the vanilla buttercream icing

   150g (5oz) butter, softened and diced

   200g (7oz) icing sugar, sifted

   2 tsp vanilla extract

   2 tbsp milk

   20cm (8in) square cake tin

   * Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Line the base of the tin with baking parchment and grease the sides with butter.

   * Place all the ingredients for the sponge in a food processor and whiz for 1 minute or just until combined. Alternatively, cream the butter until soft using a hand-held electric beater, then beat in the sugar, whisk in the eggs one at a time and fold in the remaining ingredients.

   Конец ознакомительного фрагмента.


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