Friday, 28 November 2008

Bread and Butter Pudding

I love classic English dishes and there isn't much more classic than bread and butter pudding. This recipe has a nice crisp golden top with lovely soggy bread under it. Simply divine.


  • 15 slices of white bread, preferably stale, but not necessarily

  • Butter or margarine to butter the bread

  • 4 eggs

  • 175g caster sugar

  • 400ml milk

  • 250ml double cream

  • 150g sultanas

  • Butter to grease the dish you're making the pudding in

  • 30g caster sugar to sprinkle on the top


  1. Butter the slices of bread and cut them into triangular pieces

  2. Mix the eggs, sugar, milk and cream in a jug

  3. Butter the dish that you'll be placing the pudding in

  4. Cover the bottom of the dish with half the bread

  5. Next place about 100g of the sultanas over the bread in the dish

  6. Then place the remaining bread in the dish, followed by the sultanas

  7. Slowly pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread in the dish, making sure to cover every piece of bread in some of the mixture to stop it from burning in the oven

  8. Finally sprinkle the 30g of caster sugar over the top

  9. Bake in an oven at 170 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown

Serves 6-8 people.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Dumpling Soup

These (English) dumplings, which are basically just boiled bread, are a great way to liven up an soup and provide a great piece of substance to the soup. They also work great by just boiling them in salt water and serving them up with other food.


  • 500g self raising flour

  • 250g suet or vegetarian suet

  • 10 tablespoons of water (150ml)

  • 3 sticks of celery, chopped

  • 25g butter

  • 4 carrots, chopped

  • 10 leaves of pak choi, shredded

  • 1 tablespoon coriander

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 2 pints vegetable stock (or 2 pints water + 4 vegetable stock cubes)

  • 2 pints of boiling water


  1. Mix the flour, suet and 150ml of water into a dough and roll into 8 balls

  2. Place the butter and celery in a big soup pan and fry the celery for 5 or 6 minutes

  3. Add the carrots and pak choi and fry for a couple of minutes, stiring well

  4. Add the cumin, coriander, stock and boiling water

  5. Wait for the soup to come back to the boil

  6. Place the dumplings carefully into the soup

  7. After 5 minutes or so, carefully turn each dumpling

  8. Wait another 5 minutes and turn the dumplings again

  9. Finally just wait another 5 minutes and then serve the soup

Serves 5 or 6 people, although that will lead to fights over who has how many dumplings.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Bread Rolls


  • 2 tablespoons (1 packet) of easy bake/fast action yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 40ml olive oil

  • 3 teaspoons sugar

  • 250ml water

  • 520g strong white flour

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or 1 teaspoon of 'bread improver')

  • Milk to brush over the rolls

  • Sesame, sunflower, poppy, pumpkin or other seeds to decorate the tops


  1. Mix everything except the milk and seeds together to form a stiff dough, you can use the dough setting on a bread maker to do this. If you do use a bread maker skip to step 5

  2. Leave the dough somewhere warm to rise for 30 minutes

  3. Take the dough out and kneed it for a couple of minutes until it's shrunk greatly

  4. Leave the dough somewhere warm to rise for 30 minutes

  5. Take the dough and divide it into 12 pieces (I divide it in half, then half again and then thirds)

  6. Roll each piece out and place on a greased baking tray. Look at the picture above for possible shapes

  7. Rub milk on the outside of the rolls and sprinkle seeds on top as desired

  8. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and leave the dough to rise for another 30 minutes

  9. Place the bread rolls in the over for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is the colour you want it to be

Makes 12 rolls which go very well with soup.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Kale Pesto Pasta with Marrow Fried Halloumi


  • 1 block of halloumi, sliced into 1 inch cubes

  • 1 marrow, pealed and sliced into 1 inch cubes

  • 1 teaspoon plain flour

  • 20g butter

  • 1 big bunch of kale (200g or so), washed and shredded/sliced with a knife

  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

  • 50g parmessan cheese, finely grated

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 25g pine nuts or peanuts

  • 400g pasta


  1. Start the kale frying with the garlic and olive oil in a pan with the lid on (this is called sweating)

  2. Start a big pot of water boiling for the pasta

  3. Melt the butter in a frying pan

  4. When the butter has melted add the halloumi and marrow and stir it

  5. Stir the kale

  6. Sprinkle the flour over the halloumi and marrow

  7. Continue to stir the halloumi and marrow every couple of minutes to stop it burning

  8. When the kale looks soft remove it from the heat and add the pasta to the boiling water (starting a timer for 12 minutes)

  9. Put the kale, cheese and pine nuts/peanuts into a blender and blend into a smooth paste (or pesto)

  10. When the 12 minutes are up, drain the pasta and stir in the paste/pesto

  11. The halloumi and marrow should be nicely browned by now, so server immediately with the pasta

Serves about 4 people.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Sundried Tomato Ciabatta

The recipe I originally got this dough from said it was a ciabatta recipe, but the bread it produces is wonderfully soft, so I've always thought of it as more of a foccacia type bread.


  • 500g strong plain flour

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons (1 packet) quick bake/fast action yeast

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 330ml water

  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped


  1. Mix all the ingredients together and either use the dough setting on a bread maker (in which case skip to step 4) or place in a warm place for 30 minutes

  2. Kneed the dough for a few minutes

  3. Place it back in a warm place for 30 minutes

  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees

  5. Grease 4 small ramekins or other oven proof dishes with olive oil

  6. Split the dough into four equal portions and place one in each of the ramekins

  7. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough and place the ramekins on a baking tray

  8. To keep the bread nice and soft it is important for the air in the oven to be humid, so fill the bottom of the baking tray with water

  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden colour

Serves 4, obviously.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008



  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

  • 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced, discarding the bottom and top

  • 2 courgettes, washed and sliced, discarding the ends

  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly, but discarding the top inch and the bottom slice with roots on.

  • 10 cherry tomatoes

  • 100ml water or stock

  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Fry the celery in the oil for 5 minutes until it starts to soften

  2. Add all the other ingredients

  3. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so

  4. Taste and add more salt or pepper as required

Serve as a side-dish or vegetable accompaniment to other meals or even as a meal on it's own with some bread.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Aubergine and Goat's Cheese Rolls


  • 3 large aubergines, sliced length wise

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 200g goat's cheese

  • 50g fresh sage, finely chopped

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 12 to 16 cocktail sticks


  1. Use a brush (or your fingers) to coat the sliced of aubergine with the oil

  2. Grill the aubergine slices under a grill for 5 minutes or so each side, until nicely golden brown

  3. While waiting for the aubergine slices to cool, mix the goat's cheese with the sage and add freshly ground black pepper to taste

  4. Carefully make the rolls by placing a teaspoon of the goat's cheese mixture into the center of an aubergine slice and roll it up, using a cocktail stick to hold it rolled up

  5. Bake in an 180 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes

Serves 4 people. Serve immediately after cooking as they go a bit limp when they cool.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Hommous and Olives


  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained

  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons of tahini or peanut butter

  • Juice of 2 lemons (or 4 tablespoons of lemon juice from a bottle)

  • 2 tablespoons of water

  • Salt to taste (I must use about 1/3 teaspoon)

  • Cayenne pepper to taste (I must use a small tip of a teaspoon)


  1. Blend all the ingredients other than the salt and cayenne pepper together until they become a smooth paste.

  2. Add salt, pepper and possibly more lemon juice to taste, ensuring it's all mixed well between tastings. The saltiness, hotness and sharpness of hommous is the most important part to balance right, which is why these are the last three ingredients you should add.

  3. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle some extra olive oil on the top to stop it drying out and place in the fridge until needed.

Serve chilled with some green olives and warm bread to dip.