Pizza Base and Sauce

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Tomato pizza sauce

  • 1x 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • Dried oregano
  • Sea salt flakes

In a blender or food processor blitz the tinned tomatoes with dried oregano and salt to taste until smooth. Store in a container in the fridge for up to a week. That’s it. Easy.

Pizza Base

The recipe below makes enough for four large pizza bases.

  • 3x 7g sachets dried yeast
  • 30g runny honey
  • 625ml tepid water
  • 1kg Italian 00 flour
  • 30g salt
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Olive oil

Firstly, dissolve the yeast and honey in half the tepid water.

In a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in all of the dissolved yeast mixture. With one hand, make circular movements from the centre moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other half of the tepid water into the centre and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough.

 Now you get to knead, and this is the best part! This develops the gluten and the structure of the dough so it’s an important step, apart from being very satisfying.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface dusted with a little flour, and roll, push and fold the dough over and over for five minutes. If any dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little extra flour.

When the dough feels beautifully elastic, shape it into a ball and lightly dust the top with flour.

Put it gently into a lightly oiled very large bowl, score the top into a cross with a sharp knife, cover with a clean tea towel, and leave to prove in a warm draught free place until it doubles in size. This will take about one hour, depending on conditions.

Now you’re ready to make pizza. Preheat your oven to 220C fan-force, and place your baking sheets in the oven.  Divide your dough into four pieces and simply roll each into a large, plate-sized irregular round shape about 3-4mm thick using a rolling pin (for ease, I often do this on a sheet of parchment paper), brush the edges of the pizza with olive oil, and smear a spoon or two of the tomato sauce on top. Add your toppings, drizzle with a little more olive oil, slide onto the hot baking sheet, and put into the oven for 10 minutes. At this point check your pizza, depending on your topping, it could need 2-3 minutes longer. When ready, take out of the oven, slice, and eat immediately.


Country Terrine with Fresh Herbs

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Serves 10-12

  • 12 or more slices of rindless smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 bunch of spinach, stalks removed
  • 400g trimmed pork shoulder, coarsely minced
  • 300g skinless chicken or turkey, coarsely minced
  • 200g chicken livers, coarsely minced
  • 300g hard pork back fat, coarsely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2tsp quatre - épices
  • 1/2tsp ground black pepper
  • 50ml cognac or brandy
  • Salt: weight all the meat and allow 18g per kilo (I find 18g sufficient)
  • 1/2cup chopped parsley
  • 4 sage leaves, chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Line a terrine with the capacity of about 1.4-1.6 litres with baking parchment, and then use the bacon slices to cover the terrine, laying the slices crossways and allowing the edges to hang over the edges.

Wash the spinach, and blanch for a minute. Drain, and squeeze really dry, and chop roughly, there should be about ½ cup chopped spinach.

In a large bowl, combine this with all the remaining ingredients and mix well. If you have time, let marinate in the fridge for a few hours.

Preheat oven to 160C. Press the mixture into the bacon lined terrine, and fold the overhanging ends of the bacon over the top.

Cover with baking parchment and foil, and bake in a bain-marie for about 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 140C and continue cooking until an internal temperature of 70-72C is reached, or the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer.

Weight the terrine until cool, and refrigerate overnight.

Serve with pickled cherries, or cornichons, and great bread.


Open Ham and Bacon Sandwich with Vegetable Pickle and Ploughman’s Chutney

 

You will need for each sandwich

  • 1 thick slice of sourdough bread
  • 2 rashes of grilled streaky bacon
  • 2 slices of ham
  • Hank’s Ploughman’s Chutney
  • Handful of fresh salad greens
  • Carrot, Apple and Radish Pickle
  • Butter

Carrot, Radish and Apple Pickle

Enough for 2-4 open sandwiches

  • ½ cup brown rice vinegar
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • I large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 apple, peeled and shredded
  • 5 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 2 small hot red chillies, seeded and finely sliced

 In a small saucepan over a medium heat simmer the vinegar and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a bowl, add carrot, apple, radishes and chillies, stir to combine and refrigerate for up to half an hour.

Toast thick slices of sourdough bread, spread with butter, and top with pickle mix, salad greens, bacon rashes, and slices of ham. Spoon over Hank’s ploughman’s chutney, and serve.


Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce

 

Makes approximately 1.5 litres.

  • 2 kilos ripe Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthways
  • 3 bulbs fennel, thickly sliced, reserve its fronds
  • 2 large brown onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 bulbs garlic, cut in half through the middle
  • A handful of fresh bay leaves, thyme and rosemary sprigs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 170C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Lay the onion slices on the baking paper, followed by the fennel and its fronds, tuck the garlic and some of the herb sprigs, and lay the tomatoes on top. Season well with salt and pepper, scatter with the rest of the herb sprigs, and drizzle generously with olive oil. Place in the preheated oven for ½ hour, after this time, turn the oven down to 150C, and roast for another hour or two until caramelised and soft. Remove from oven, discard any twiggy herb branches, and slip the roasted garlic from its skin. Put everything in the food processor and blitz until it becomes a thick purée. Remove, taste for seasoning, and store in the fridge for five days, or in the freezer for up to three months.


Watermelon and Plum Daiquiris

 

The recipe below makes a Daiquiri that is icy, fresh and somewhat like a granita. For a creamier texture use 1/3 watermelon to 2/3 plum.

This amount makes enough for about 12 cocktails, depending on the size of your glass.

You will need:

  • 1k watermelon, rind and seeds removed
  • 1k sweet, ripe plums
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bottle white rum
  • 1 lemon

Firstly, make the sugar syrup. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Cook for a couple of minutes until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and cool. This makes 2.5 cups light sugar syrup.

Cut watermelon into chunks, and in a blender process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl.

In the base of each plum, cut a small cross. Put plums into a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over. Leave for about 30 seconds, pour off water, peel plums and cut flesh away from the stone. Process plums until smooth in your blender, and add to the watermelon puree. You will have approximately 2 litres of fruit puree.

To the fruit purée, add 1 cup of the cooled sugar syrup, taste for sweetness, and add more syrup if needed. If your plums are lovely and sweet, you’ll need less syrup, add more if necessary. I have at times used the full amount of syrup, depending on the sweetness of the plums. At this stage, add a squeeze of lemon juice if you think the mix is too sweet.

Now, it’s time to add the white rum, and only you know how much. Start by pouring in half of the bottle. Yes, that’s right. Then taste, you might like more. At this stage my husband and I don’t agree, he would like more rum. Me, well I have no say.

When the mix is to your preference, put it into a container with a lid and place it into the freezer overnight. Our daiquiris always freeze to a slushy mix, which we are able to spoon out easily into glasses, but if you use less rum, your mix will be firmer. If that’s the case, take it out of the freezer half an hour before serving.


Plum and Buffalo Mozzarella Bruschetta

 

Makes 2-4 depending on the size of your bread

  • 4 just ripe, but juicy plums
  • 1-2 eschalots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 small, hot red chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 2tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 fresh Buffalo mozzarella
  • 2-3tbsp fresh mint or baby basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-4 thick slices toasted sourdough bread

Cut plums into quarters, removing stones and set aside, while over a low heat you melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add eschalots and cook gently for about 3 minutes until soft. Toss in plums, turn them around in the butter, and cook until their skins start to split, and their juice starts to flow.

Turn up heat and quickly add ginger, chilli, and red wine vinegar. Reduce a fraction, season with salt and pepper, and then spoon onto sourdough toast topping with chunks of Buffalo mozzarella and fresh herbs.

Eat quickly.


Brown Sugar Butterfly Cakes

 

Makes 12

  • 100g / 2/3cup plain flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 55g / 1/4cup castor sugar
  • 40g / 1/4cup brown sugar
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled
  • 300ml cream
  • Jam
  • Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Triple-sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

Whisk sugars and eggs in an electric mixer until very pale and tripled in volume. (5-8 minutes). Sift over flour mixture and fold in with a large metal spoon, then fold in the melted butter.

Divide mixture among 12 x 8ml capacity muffin tins lined with paper patty cases, filling to 5mm below rims. Do not overfill.

Bake until risen and pale golden in colour. (15-20 minutes). Cool in tins for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack.

Using a sharp knife, remove the centre, (about 3.5cm in diameter), to about 1cm deep.

Halve each round and set aside.

To fill, whip 300ml cream and fold in a few spoons of jam of your choice. Swirl together lightly.

Pipe into cakes, set ‘wings’ on top, dust with icing sugar, and serve.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller.


Orange, Lime Marmalade and Rosemary Galette

 

Serves 4

  • 200g Hanks Orange and Lime Marmalade
  • ½-1tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 sheet store bought shortcrust pastry, plus 1 egg yolk and 1tbsp milk beaten together for the glaze.

In a small bowl mix the marmalade and 1/2tbsp of the rosemary together.  Taste it, the flavour should be subtle, with a hint of the fresh herb. If lacking in flavour, add more chopped rosemary.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 185C, remove pastry from fridge, unwrap, and place on a piece of baking paper. Cut off the edges to make a rough circle.

Spread the marmalade mix into the middle, leaving a 2.5cm border around the perimeter.

Now, gently bring the sides of the pastry up to make a fluted edge. Make an egg wash with the egg yolk and milk and with a pastry brush, gently brush the exposed pastry with the glaze.

Place the tart, on baking sheet, and put into the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before eating.


Thyme, Fennel Seed and Lavender Grissini

 

For the dough

  • 30g/1oz fresh yeast, or 3 x 7g sachets dried yeast
  • 30g/1oz honey
  • 625ml/ just over 1 pint tepid water
  • 1kg/ just over 2lb Italian 00 flour
  • 30g/1oz salt
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Olive oil

Flavourings for the Grissini, half the dough only

  • 1 large bunch of fresh thyme, leaves only and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp dried lavender (look for culinary purposes only)
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Firstly, dissolve the yeast and honey in half the tepid water.

Then, put the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in all the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of one hand, make circular movements from the centre moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Now pour the other half of the tepid water into the centre and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. Add a little more water if necessary.

Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and start kneading, pushing and folding the dough over and over for about 5 minutes. (This will develop the gluten and structure of the dough.)

Shape the dough into a round ball, lightly flour the top, then score the top into a deep cross and place back into a large bowl that you have lightly oiled. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a draught-free and warm place to prove: about an hour. It should double in size.

Meanwhile, combine the thyme leaves with the fennel seed and lavender, going easy on the lavender if you are unsure about its potency.

When the dough is ready, tip it out of the bowl onto a clean surface scattered with flour and cut it in half. Cover, and put half of it aside for pizza, or for more grissini if you wish.  Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F and line a baking tray with baking paper.

With a sharp knife, cut pieces off the dough the size of a thick pencil, press them into the herb mix, and start rolling them between both your hands until you have a grissini no longer than 30cm/ 12 inches long, the diameter of a pencil, and imbedded with a few herbs. Lay them on the baking sheet, brush well with extra virgin olive oil and generously scatter with sea salt flakes. Put into the oven and bake for about 10-13 minutes. Grissini should feel firm to the touch and lightly golden in colour when ready. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Store in a large well sealed jar for up to two weeks.


Strawberry Vanilla Yoghurt Popsicles

 

Makes 6 popsicles

  • 200g Hanks Strawberry and Vanilla Bean Jam
  • 1 cup Meredith Dairy Mediterranean Style Sheep Milk Yoghurt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1tbsp honey

In a bowl whisk together the yoghurt, milk and honey until smooth.

With a spoon, gently swirl through the jam, not mixing it through completely.

Divide the mixture between 6 popsicle moulds, tapping the moulds gently on the kitchen counter to remove any air bubbles.

Insert popsicles sticks into each mould and place in the freezer for 6 hours.

To unmould, run popsicle moulds under hot running water for a few seconds, and gently take out popsicle.


Cheddar Shortbread

 

I like to use a sharp, crumbly cheddar, but feel free to use whatever you have in the fridge.

  • ½lb/ 225g butter cut into small cubes, room temperature
  • ½lb/ 225g grated cheese
  • ½lb/ 225g self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional

This is such an easy recipe, and takes no time whatsoever to make in a food processor. Just divide the ingredients into 2 even piles, and process until a dough forms, about 1 -2 minutes. Remove from food processor, and repeat with remaining ingredients. Now, on a lightly floured surface, divide each ball of dough in two even sized pieces. Roll each ball into a sausage, about 2.5cm in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours, or freeze. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 170C, line a baking tray with baking paper, and cut each cheese sausage into 1cm thick slices. Place on baking tray, leaving a little room between each golden, pastry coin, and bake for 8 -10 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack before serving.


Deida's Butter Biscuits

 

This recipe was my grandmother’s, and originally in ounces, so I have kept it that way.

  • 4oz castor sugar
  • 5oz self raising flour, sifted
  • 4oz unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sized egg
  • Pistachios, cut in half
  • Himalayan pink salt

Put sugar and flour into a bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it starts to foam and smell nutty. Immediately pour it over the flour and sugar and mix until combined. Now break the egg into the bowl and beat well into the other ingredients. Preheat oven to 170C, line a baking tray with baking paper, and drop little spoonfuls of the dough onto the baking sheet, about 5cm apart as they will spread. Top with half a pistachio nut and a sprinkle of salt, and pop into the oven for 8-10 minutes. When golden, take out, and cool on a rack. These are buttery, crisp, and delicious. Even better, it takes 15 - 20 minutes from start to finish. This dough can also be rolled into little balls, (fun for a child to do) placed on the baking sheet, and then squashed down with a finger.

Cheese on Toast

 

Preheat the oven to 200c, unwrap the cheeses and place on a lightly greased baking tray. Scatter with a few fresh thyme sprigs, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and put in the oven until the cheese starts to bubble and melt and the Jambon crisps lightly. Depending on the age of the cheese, this will take 3-5 minutes.

While this is happening, toast slices of country bread. When toasted, rub with a peeled clove of garlic and place on warm plates. Take the cheese out of the oven, place on the garlicky toast and eat immediately. I like to serve a salad with this which includes some beautiful red radicchio. The slight bitterness is a good foil for the rich cheese.


Honey Madeleines

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Makes 16 – 18

  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 g castor sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • A couple of drops pure vanilla
  • 90 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A little extra soft unsalted butter
  • A little extra flour
  • Pure icing sugar

Over a low heat melt butter with honey. Let cool. Combine eggs, castor sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla in a food processor. Add flour sifted with baking powder, then add cooled butter and honey. Allow this batter to rest for at least 1 hour, if you have time, overnight is best in the refrigerator.

Coat the madeleine tins with the soft butter and dust with flour. Rap tins on edge of sink to knock off excess flour. Put in the freezer until needed.  This is important and a tip no one ever tells you about. The madeleines will cook much better if the both the tins and the batter are cold when putting them in the oven.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 185C. Spoon the cold batter into the cold tins and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and dust with icing sugar. Eat warm with the lavender ice cream.


Plum Jam

 
  • 1.5 kg plums, skin on, cut into chunks, stones reserved
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 700 g castor sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons, to taste
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Put the plums, juice of 1 lemon and lemon rind into a large heavy-based saucepan and simmer over a very low heat for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the sugar, vanilla and some of the stones cracked if you can, which you have tied up in a piece of clean muslin.

Cook, stirring often for another 20 minutes and when starting to thicken and set, test the jam to see if the setting point has been reached.

To do that take out a spoonful of jam and place it on a saucer. Put it in the fridge for a few minutes, then test it by pushing it with your finger. If it wrinkles, the jam is set. If not, cook for another 5 – 10 minutes and try again.

When you have reached setting point, taste the jam for acidity, (I don’t like it to be sickly sweet), and add more lemon juice if you think it needs it.

Immediately fill some jars, I use a mix of jars, which have been sterilised and are dry. Invert them and leave to cool. Once you have opened a jar store it in the refrigerator.


Rhubarb Curd

 
  • 1 bunch rhubarb; about 400g after trimming.
  • 4tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 3tbsp unsalted butter cut into small pieces

Wash rhubarb and cut into 5cm pieces and put into a small saucepan with the water and ¼ cup sugar. Cook with the lid on over a medium heat until the rhubarb falls apart. Purée the rhubarb in a food processor. Set a medium sized saucepan half filled with water over medium heat and put the egg yolks, butter and 1/3 cup sugar into a metal bowl. Place the bowl over the saucepan and whisk until the butter is melted and the egg yolks are starting to thicken. Start adding the rhubarb bit by bit and cook for about 5 – 10 minutes stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice to taste. I like a little bit of sharpness and spoon 2 – 3tbsps into the bottom of little glass pots, then put in the fridge to set before proceeding with the custard for the crème brûlée.

If you choose to put the curd into jars, it will keep for about 4 weeks in the fridge if not eaten within a couple of days!


Pear, Goats Curd and Caramelized Walnut Tartine

 

This recipe really doesn’t need exact quantities and if you don’t feel like making the caramelised walnuts, just toast them briefly in a hot oven to enrich their flavour.

Firstly you will need to toast some slices of good sourdough bread, then top them with as much lovely soft goats curd as you desire, a few slices of crisp pear, drizzle with a little walnut oil and then with some fragrant honey over the top. Scatter over a few caramelised walnuts a little freshly ground pepper and sea salt flakes to season. Enjoy!

Caramelised Walnuts

  • 50gm (1/2) cup walnuts
  • 1.5tbsp icing sugar
  • Sunflower for shallow frying
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or smoked paprika

Cook walnuts in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, and pat dry on kitchen paper. Place walnuts and icing sugar in a bowl and toss well to coat. Heat 1cm oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add walnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and while warm scatter with sea salt flakes and cayenne pepper or smoked paprika.


Sweet Potato, Turmeric, Oat and Coconut Oil Dog Biscuits

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  • 2cups rolled oats
  • A walnut sized piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2cup cooked sweet potato
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3tbsp water

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Place oats and turmeric in a food processor, and process until they become a course flour like consistency.

Add the sweet potato, coconut oil and black pepper, and process until well combined, adding 1-2tbsp water to bring the dough into a ball.

Tip out onto a sheet of baking parchment, flatten into a rectangle, cover with another sheet of baking parchment, and roll out to a thickness of 3-4mm.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into shapes of your choice, place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Check biscuits, turn the oven down to 160C, and bake for another 20 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Break one in half to check that the inside is dry, and that the biscuit is crisp, turn off oven, and leave for an hour with the door closed.

Store in a jar for up to 2 weeks.


Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

 

Using water in this recipe will give you a harder, more traditional dog biscuit; milk a softer, flakier one. Also, I try to use a peanut butter that is salt and sugar free.

Ingredients:

  • 11/4 cups wholemeal flour
  • ¼ cup wheatgerm
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup warm water, or milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter, (Buci preferred smooth)
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • Extra flour for rolling.

Preheat oven to 170C. Combine the flour, wheatgerm, oats and baking powder together in a bowl. Gradually stir in the water or milk, peanut butter and molasses and turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a soft dough forms. Roll out to an approximate 1.5 cm thickness and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Re-roll dough and repeat. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then turn it down to 60C and bake for another 1 – 2 hours. This process allows the biscuits to dry out slowly, becoming crunchy and hard. After an hour, test by breaking one in half. If still moist inside, continue baking and test again after another ½ hour. Let cool and store in a jar in the pantry.

Remember, these are treats and should not replace your dog’s normal diet.


Cheesy Olives

 

This recipe originally came from my mother, who always used whatever Cheddar cheese she had in the fridge. I like to use a sharp, crumbly Cheddar, but recently found a very similar recipe where Parmesan was used instead. Make up your own mind, they are delicious.

You will need,

  • Approximately 48 large pimento stuffed green olives, or anchovy stuffed olives drained thoroughly on kitchen paper 
  • 250g cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • A pinch salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • A pinch cayenne pepper
  • 130g plain flour, sifted

Put all ingredients, except olives, in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until mixed into dough. Shape into a flat disk, cover and place in fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

Pinch off bits of the dough, about 1 tsp, and wrap around each olive. Put into a container, and freeze until ready to cook.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and preheat oven to 200C. Bake olives for about 10 minutes, and then turn down the temperature to 180C and cook for a further 10 minutes.

After taking the olives out of the oven, drain on kitchen paper before serving.


Mince Tarts

 

Pâte Sublime (sweet pastry)

  • This is enough for about 50 5-6cm tarts, and you will need 400g-420g fruit mince.
  • 2 cups (260g) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 10tbsp (140g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6tbsp pouring cream, beaten with one egg yolk.

Place flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and blend for 2-3 seconds. Add butter, and process for 8-10 seconds until blended. Add the beaten egg and cream mix slowly through the feeding tube until the mix forms a damp ball. This will only take a few seconds, don’t over process! Remove from food processor, form into a flat disc, wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for a couple of hours before using. I usually leave it overnight.

Now, when you are ready to start baking, remove the pastry from the fridge, cut it in half, and roll out between baking paper to a thickness of about 1/3cm. (I just rushed to the freezer and measured the thickness, no need to be as pedantic as me).

Cut into circles the same size as the tart tins you are using, pop in a little fruit mince, and top with a pastry star. I am assuming that we all have star shaped cookie cutters, non? Put back in the fridge for 1/2 hour while you pre heat the oven to 170C, and then bake for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry is a pale golden colour. The smell is incredible!

Let cool on a wire rack, and if you can resist eating them straight away, they’ll freeze for up to 3 months.


Dukkah

 

There are many variations of Dukkah, this one’s mine.

  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 2tbsp each, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • Maldon sea salt

Preheat oven to 170C. Put cashews and almonds on a baking tray and place in preheated oven until golden and lightly toasted. Cool, roughly chop, and put into a bowl. Put pepitas and sunflower seeds on the baking tray, place in the oven until lightly toasted. Cool, and add to bowl with cashews and almonds. Put sesame seeds on the baking tray, place in oven, and toast until golden. Cool, and add to bowl. Now, heat a small fry pan over a low heat, add coriander, cumin and fennel seeds and roast until fragrant. Be careful, they burn very easily. Pound with a mortar and pestle until crushed but not reduced to a powder. Place half of the spice mix into the bowl with the nuts and seeds, gently mix, and then add the chilli flakes, and about 1tsp Maldon sea salt. Mix again, and place into an air tight jar, and let sit overnight so the flavours can develop. The next day, if you think it could do with a little more of the spice mix, add some more. If not, store the spice mix in the fridge to add to other dishes. 


Brown Sugar Shortbread

 

I used to make these only at Christmas, but as everyone loves them so much, I now make them whenever they’re requested. Sometimes I substitute walnuts for the pecans, hazel nuts are pretty good too.

  •  250g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/4tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 21/4 cups sifted plain flour
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans, or walnuts, or hazelnuts

In a food processor, blend together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and the nuts, process again until the dough forms a ball. This will only take about 30 seconds. Remove the dough from the food processor, flatten into a disc, and refrigerate, covered in cling film for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 170C and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until 1/2cm thick and cut into shapes. Set shapes 4cm apart on baking sheets. Then ball up the left over dough and roll out again, and cut more shapes (I keep rolling the excess dough until there is no more left). If the dough is a little soft, place in the fridge again for about 30 minutes till firm. Bake them for 15 minutes in the preheated oven until lightly golden, and firm. Cool on baking racks, and then store in jars.


Duck Bone Broth

 

I use 2 carcasses for this broth, and make it in an 8 litre stockpot.

  • 2 carcasses from Peking ducks
  • 500g – 1kg chicken feet, rinsed under cold water
  • 1 brown onion, washed, but not peeled, and cut in half
  • 1 leek, white part only, split lengthways
  • 2 sticks celery, cut into pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut into pieces
  • 1 bulb garlic, cut in half
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • Bunch fresh parsley, stalks included
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar. This can help to extract the minerals from the bones

Place all ingredients in your stockpot, and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and with a large spoon, skim off any scum and grey matter that rises to the surface.

Reduce the heat to low and allow the stock to simmer gently, skimming every now and then, for 4-6 hours.

Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly, and then gently pour or ladle the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl, let it come to room temperature, and put into the fridge overnight to allow the fat to settle on top. When fat has settled, remove it, put it in a plastic bag, and dispose of in the bin. Bring the stock back to the boil again, skim, and pour through a fine sieve before cooling and storing.

Just a couple of things, If you don’t intend to use the stock within a few days freeze it in airtight containers, and, because of the spices used in the cooking of Peking ducks, there is sometimes a little debris which will settle on the bottom. Discard this.