Friday, 30 March 2007


500g Jersey Royal Potatoes, gently rubbed to remove flaky skin
4 x skinless chicken breast
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp clear honey
8 sun blushed tomatoes, halved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp fresh basil leaves

Heat a griddle over a medium heat. Brush the chicken lightly with oil and cook the chicken breasts, turning occasionally, for about 20 minutes and completely cooked through. Leave to cool, when cool enough to handle, tear into bite size pieces.

While the chicken is cooking, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Whisk together the remaining oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Season lightly.

Mix together the potatoes, chicken, tomatoes. Add the dressing, toss gently and serve sprinkled with the basil leaves.

Serves 4


900g-1.3kg lamb leg joint
2 cloves garlic, crushed
800g packs cooked baby beetroot (not in vinegar), halved
30ml/2tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
30ml/2tbsp redcurrant jelly
Salt and pepper
450g shallots, peeled and left whole
15ml/1tbsp plain flour
300ml/½pint lamb stock
Dash Port or sherry
Rosemary to garnish

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4-5, 180-190°C. Place the garlic and 75g beetroot into a food processor and whizz until nearly smooth. Stir in the rosemary and redcurrant jelly. Cover and set aside. Place the lamb joint onto a chopping board. Make several incisions over the surface of the joint. Position a metal rack over a large non-stick roasting tin and add the joint. Season and roast.

During the last 40 minutes add the remaining beetroot with the shallots in the base of the roasting tin, remove the rack and position the joint on top of the vegetables.

20 minutes before the end remove joint and brush the reserved beetroot and garlic mixture and return to the oven. When cooked, transfer to a warm platter with the vegetables and keep warm.

Meanwhile, make the gravy: Spoon off any excess fat. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and sprinkle over the flour. Stir well, add a little stock and stir again, scraping the base of the pan for extra flavour. Add remaining stock, Port or sherry and any meat juices from the platter, season and simmer until reduced to a well-flavoured gravy. Strain if required. Serve with roast potatoes and seasonal veggies.

Cooking times:
Medium: 25 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 25minutes
Well done: 30 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 30 minutes
Serves 4-6


3 tbsp Divine Cocoa Powder
175 g (6 oz) light muscovado sugar
150 g (5 oz) self-raising flour
pinch salt
100 g (4 oz) butter
2 medium eggs, beaten
90 ml (3 fl oz) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Filling and decoration:
2 x 100 g bars Divine Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
100 g bar Divine White Chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tsp Divine Cocoa Powder
90 ml (3 fl oz) double cream

Preheat oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4. Grease and base line two 18 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins.

Combine the sugar, flour, salt and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla together. Add to the bowl and stir well, then spoon into the prepared tins and level the tops. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling, melt the plain chocolate in a bowl placed over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Pour about one third of this chocolate onto a marble surface or smooth chopping board and spread it out to about 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Chill it in the refrigerator for making curls. Cool the remaining chocolate for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the cream until it holds its shape. Swirl in half the remaining plain chocolate, then use this mixture to sandwich the cakes together. Spread the remaining plain chocolate over the top of the cake.

To make chocolate curls, push a long-bladed knife over the surface of the chilled chocolate. (If it flakes, allow the chocolate to sit at room temperature for a few minutes). Lift the curls onto the cake with a fine skewer or cocktail stick. Melt the white chocolate in the same way to make white chocolate curls and place these on top of the cake. Dust with a little cocoa powder, then serve.

Monday, 12 March 2007


150g caster sugar
150g soft margarine
150g self raising flour
3 eggs
1 x 5ml spoon baking powder
3 x 15ml spoon jam
oil for greasing tins

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4. Grease and line 2 sandwich cake tins. Cream the sugar and margarine together using an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add the beaten egg a little at a time to the margarine and sugar.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into bowl or onto a plate or piece of greaseproof paper. Fold the flour and baking powder into the mixture, a spoon full at a time. Divide the mixture equally between the cake tins.

Pop in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch. Remove from the tins immediately and place on a wire rack.

Once completely cooled, spread the jam over the base of one cake. Place the other sponge on top and dust with icing sugar.

For a tasty alternative, try using lemon curd instead of jam.

Friday, 2 March 2007


For the Tartlet
500g Chilled puff pastry
450g Leeks, trimmed and cut into matchstick size pieces
Clove of garlic
25g Butter
1 tbsp Olive oil
225g Scallops, halved horizontally
2 tbsp Fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt & Pepper

For the Saffron Hollandaise
200ml Crème fraiche
4g Sachet saffron strands
15g Butter
1 tsp Cornflour blended with 1 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp White balsamic vinegar

Cut the pastry block into 4 even squares. Roll each out to about 3mm thick and cut into rounds using a 14cm saucer as a template. Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.

Prepare topping. Gently pan sweat the leeks and garlic in the butter and olive oil for 2-3 minutes without colouring. Add the scallops and parsley and cook for a further 2 minutes (no longer as the scallops will toughen) Season generously.

Spoon mix onto your pastry rounds leaving a clear 2cm pastry border.

Bake at 220°C (200°C Fan) for about 15-20 minutes until the pastry has risen and is golden and the leeks have started to caramelize to a golden brown.

Meanwhile prepare the Saffron Hollandaise. Melt the butter in a pan and add saffron. Sweat for 1 minute until the saffron starts to colour the butter. Stir in the remaining ingredients until the sauce starts to simmer. Turn to a low heat and keep warm.

Serve tarts drizzled with the saffron hollandaise and garnished with parsley.

Serves 4