Thursday, 27 September 2007


225g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
3 eggs, beaten
225g butter
150g ground almonds
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
100g chopped walnuts
200g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 170 °C, 335 °F, Gas Mark 3. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.

Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little.

Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts. Turn into a 24cm square baking tin or, most sensibly, use a foil one.

Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squidgy-bellied squares.

Makes 16 squares

Thursday, 20 September 2007


1x1.6kg (3 1/2lb) Whole line-caught bass, scaled and gutted
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

The Sweet potatoes:
4 - 5 tbsp olive oila pinch or two of dried red chilli flakes
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm (3/4in) cubes

For the dressing:
1 small red onion, peeled and very finely chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp Japanese rice wine
2 pinches caster sugar
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp chopped parsley

Place the olive oil for the sweet potatoes in a large wok and heat. Preheat the oven to 230°C, 450°F, Gas Mark 8.

Add the chilli flakes to the hot oil, then the sweet potatoes, and coat these well with the olive oil and chilli. Season well then turn the heat right down. Cover the lid. (Most large saucepan lids will not fit into a wok, but don't worry too much, it just needs to cover the food. You can use foil if you prefer.) They will probably cook in 20 minutes.

While they are cooking, cut the fins off the bass with a pair of scissors, leaving the head on. With a sharp knife, neatly score the fish one way right down its length, just under the skin.

Place the fish in a large baking tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season well. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the dressing, apart from the parsley, in a bowl, and season well. Add the parsley and mix well.

After about 20 minutes, check the potatoes: they should be soft. If cooked, remove from the stove and season again. Keep warm.

To test the bass is cooked, use two spoons to gently pull the flesh apart. The flakes should fall apart, with a little resistance, but not be over-cooked. If the fish is not cooked, cover with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Spoon the sweet potatoes around the outside of the fish, then spoon over all the dressing. Take the whole tray to the table, and let everyone help themselves. The only addition I'd recommend is crisp green salad, with plenty of cucumber, cress, watercress, and spring onion, lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Serves 4-6

Thursday, 13 September 2007


600g potatoes, roughly chopped
400g undyed smoked haddock fillet
3tbsp olive oil
1tbsp capers, drained and chopped
Grated zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp Mixed Herbs
1 medium egg yolk
Plain flour, for dusting
Lemon wedges, to serve

For the lemon mayo:
150g good-quality mayonnaise
Lemon juice, to taste
Lemon zest, to decorate

Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling, salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain well, mash and set aside, covered.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium-high. Put the haddock in a roasting tin and brush with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill for 8-10 minutes or until just cooked through. Set aside to cool, then discard the skin and bones and flake into chunks.

Gently fold the haddock, capers, lemon zest, herbs and egg yolk into the mash, and season. Shape the mixture into 8 fishcakes and cover and chill for 20 minutes or overnight.

Meanwhile, spoon the mayo into a bowl. Mix in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with lemon zest and cover and chill until needed.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Dust the fishcakes with a little flour and fry for 3-4 minutes each side, until golden. Serve 2 per person with the lemon mayo, lemon wedges and a mixed salad, if you like.

Serves 4

Friday, 7 September 2007


For the Filling:
Three large Bramley apples
1½ oz butter
12 oz ‘full and ripe’ blackberries
5 oz caster sugar
Pinch of cinnamon or cloves
2 oz cold water

For Crumble:
4 oz unsalted butter, diced
8 oz plain flour
4 oz caster sugar
A small quantity of brown sugar
Icing sugar to dust crumble with

Preheat oven to 180 °C, 350 °F, Gas Mark 4.

For the Filling
First, freeze the butter for around 3 hours, then dice into cubes about ¼inch in size. Peel, core and dice the apples into pieces around ½inch cubes, and place into the fridge.

Now add the 2 oz of water to a saucepan, add butter and the heat until melted; then add the apple chunks and gently sauté, add cloves, if using sugar and the pinch of cinnamon, continuing stirring until apples are ‘soft’ but not too ‘splishy,’ add the blackberries to the apples and stir very gently. Remove from heat after about three minutes.

For the Topping
Thoroughly mix the flour and sugar, then place the chilled-diced butter into the mix and allow to come up to room temperature, then using a knife, ‘cut’ the butter into the mixture until very crumbly. The crumble needs to be very fine.

Spoon the fruit into a shallow round or oval oven-proof dish. Sprinkle crumble mixture over the top of fruit until fruit is covered. Dust over with a very little amount of brown sugar.

Place in preheated oven and cook on centre shelf for 15-30 minutes or until the crumble is a light golden brown. Dust off the top with icing sugar.

Serve with fresh dairy cream or creamy custard.