Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 12


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Special equipment: Muffin tin with paper muffin cases

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, remembering that a lumpy batter makes the best muffins. Spoon into the prepared muffin cases. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top and then bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chilled Caramelized Oranges with Greek Yoghurt

Serving Size : Serves 6–8.
6 navel oranges or any small thin-skinned variety
500g caster sugar
250ml water
8 cardamom pods, crushed
Greek yoghurt (approx. 500g)
1.Using a small sharp knife, cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of the oranges, and then slice off the skin vertically, turning the orange as you go, being careful to keep as much flesh as possible but removing all pith.
2.Slice each orange into 5mm rounds, trying to reserve as much juice as you can.
3.Just plonk the slices, pouring the juices, into a bowl as you cut them. Or just cut them straight into something like a lasagne dish.
4.To make the caramel, put the sugar, water and cardamom pods into a large saucepan and swirl (not stir) a little to dissolve the sugar. Then slowly bring to the boil without stirring, until the syrup becomes a dark amber colour.
5.Take the saucepan off the heat and tip in the oranges and any juice that's collected in the bowl. Quickly coat the orange slices in the caramel and pour on to a flat plate; act with speed otherwise the caramel will set before you can get it out of the saucepan. If you can pick out the cardamom pods without burning your fingers, great, but there's no need to get too exercised about it: let those eating do a little work as well. Let the oranges cool, and then put them in the fridge to chill for a little while. Put the Greek yoghurt in a bowl on the table for people to eat it with.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Macaroni Cheese

Photograph by Lis Parson
Serving Size : Serves 4


250g macaroni
250g mature Cheddar or red Leicester or a mixture of both
250ml evaporated milk
2 eggs
grating of fresh nutmeg
salt and pepper


1.Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions, drain and then put back into the hot pan.

2.While the pasta is cooking, put the cheese, evaporated milk, eggs and nutmeg in a processor and blitz to mix. Or grate the cheese and mix everything by hand.

3.Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, stir well, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4.Tip into a 25.5cm-diameter dish (wide and shallow is best) and bake in the very hot oven for about 10–15 minutes, or until it is bubbling and blistering on top.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pasta with ham, cream and peas

Photograph by James Merrell
Serving Size : Serves 2–3 children


200g farfalle or other short pasta
100g frozen petits pois
150ml double cream
150g diced ham
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan


1.Cook the pasta according to packet instructions in plenty of salted boiling water, and then after 5 minutes add the peas to the pasta water.

2.When the pasta is cooked, drain with the peas. Put the dry pan back on the heat with the cream, ham and Parmesan and warm it through. Add the pasta and peas back to the pan, tossing everything together well.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

London Cheesecake

Photograph by Petrina Tinslay
Serving Size : Serves 8
For the base:
150g digestive biscuits
75g unsalted butter, melted or very soft
600g cream cheese
150g caster sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
11/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
11/2 tablespoons lemon juice
20cm Springform tin
extra-strength tin foil
For the topping:
145ml tub sour cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.Process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again. Line the bottom of the Springform tin, pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to set, and preheat the oven to 180ÂșC/gas mark 4.
2.Beat the cream cheese gently until it's smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon juice. Put the kettle on.
3.Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting dish. This will protect the cheesecake from the water as it is cooked in its water bath.
4.Pour the cream-cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base, and then pour hot water from the recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up; don't overfill as it will be difficult to lift up the tin. Put it into the oven and cook for 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so: you just need to feel confident that when you pour the sour cream over, it will sit on the surface and not sink in. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and pour over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
5.Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the Springform, unwrap it and stand it on a rack to cool. When it's cooled down completely, put it in the fridge, removing it 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off. Unmould and when you cut into it, plunge a knife in hot water first.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cheddar Cheese Risotto

Photograph by Lis Parsons


1 x 15ml tablespoon butter
1 x 15ml tablespoon oil
2 baby leeks (or fat spring onions), finely sliced
300g risotto rice
125ml white wine
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 litre hot vegetable stock
125g Cheddar, chopped
2 x 15ml tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Serving Size : Serves 2 as a main course; 4 as a starter


1. Melt the butter and oil in a medium-sized pan and cook the sliced baby leeks until they have softened.

2. Add the risotto rice and keep stirring for a minute or so, then turn up the heat and add the wine and mustard, stirring until the wine is absorbed.

3. Start ladling in the hot stock, letting each ladleful become absorbed as you stir, before adding the next one.

4. Stir and ladle until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes, then add the cheese, stirring it into the rice until it melts.

5. Take the pan straight off the heat, still stirring as you do so, and spoon the risotto into warmed dishes, sprinkling with some of the chopped chives.