Posts Tagged: Easy

May 09

Oldie but goodie recipes from yesteryear


The resurgence of home-baking has led me on a trip down memory lane – scouring old cookbooks, newspaper clippings, my parents’ and grandparents’ collections looking for inspiration and some edible memories from my childhood.


There was plenty to work through – from the fantastic to the slightly strange (the Eighties are responsible for some seriously weird kitchen inventions – crisp-topped cheesey bakes, anyone?). Whatever they are, most carry fond memories.

When I was asked to rustle up some cakes for a charity sale the first thing that came to mind were the classic chocolate cornflake cakes – quick, easy and delicious.


A week or so later I was invited to a bring-your-own picnic. I suspected an upmarket version of these sticky treats would do the trick and these childhood favourites became a nostalgic, grown-up treat. 


Grown-up chocolate cornflake cakes


Ingredients (makes about 30)


  • 160g cornflakes
  • 8tbs golden syrup
  • 200g very good dark chocolate
  • 110g butter




Melt the syrup, butter and chocolate over a low heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and mix in the cornflakes, gently but thoroughly until they are all coated. Place spoonfuls of the mixture either into fairy-cake cases or just onto a plate or baking sheet and allow to cool – they will set as they do so.


If you like (and you want to go for a bit of kitsch-cool) decorate with hundreds and thousands or edible glitter – or both!


Mar 09

A special treat to help take the load off on Mother’s Day



A mum’s life is a busy life, so for Mother’s Day I’m suggesting turning the tables and giving her an evening off. The idea is print off this delicious but simple recipe, which is easily within the
preparation skills of even the most culinary challenged, and leave it somewhere around the house as a suggestion for those usually on the receiving end of your cooking efforts.

With any luck you’ll get to put your feet up, relax and have a yummy dinner placed in front of you. A Mother’s Day gift in itself…

Pancetta wrapped salmon with balsamic lentils

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 salmon fillets (approx 200g each)
  • 20 slices of pancetta
  • 2 tbs
    creme fraiche
  • 1 tbs
    horseradish, to taste
  • 200g puy lentils
  • ½ litre chicken stock
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • About
    20 capers
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil


Mix creme fraiche and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper, cover and leave in fridge till needed.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Lie five slices of the pancetta on a chopping board in strips just overlapping each other and place the salmon on top, then wrap the pancetta up and round it to cover the salmon.

Pop lentils in a pan with chicken stock. Put them on a low heat, simmering, for about 15-20 minutes. Try them as they get past the 15 minute mark. When they’re cooked, add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, capers and chopped shallot and stir.

About half way through the lentil-cooking process, put fish in the oven. It will take about ten minutes, and it’s better to under-cook than overcook. Alternatively you could do it in a frying pan – about 3-4 minutes on each side.

To serve, place a large spoonful of lentils in the middle of the plate. Place fish on top of lentils, and spoon some horseradish sauce over the top.

Feb 09

Getting pouring, wiggling and flipping on pancake day


With Shrove Tuesday on the horizon, thoughts inevitably turn to pancakes – making them, filling them and devouring them. It seems a shame to restrict pancakes to once a year, though. Personally I could eat them week in, week out.


The French have the right idea. They eat savoury as well as sweet versions- Like the buckwheat galettes of Brittany, for example, which come filled with ham, melted cheese and a soft-yolked fried egg.


Admittedly, pancakes are equally good doused liberally with a squeeze of citrus juice and a sprinkling of crunchy Demerara.


One of the best I ever ate, though, was in Thailand. It wasn’t strictly a pancake, more a stretched and flattened roti, fried in coconut oil, stuffed with bananas and, in typical South-East Asian style, covered in condensed milk.


Banana and pancake is as good a combination as banana and chocolate, so adding a great dollop of chocolate spread to them seems a logical next step.

And there is something distinctly bonding about making them at home.


Maybe it’s because the first one always seems to come out a bit duff or because of the entertainment factor added by some clever dick lobbing one onto the floor in the midst of showing off their flipping.


Or maybe it’s the waiting; the anticipation of watching someone else flavouring and tucking into their own as yours is ladled into the pan.


This year I’ll be doing something new, taking advantage of one of my favourite seasonal ingredients – rhubarb. Once my efforts are poured, wiggled and flipped I’ll be anointing them with some, cooked-down and sweetened with sugar, a few slivers of stem ginger added, plus a large spoonful of thick cream flecked with vanilla.


And just in case you’re planning some of your own…


  • 120g/4oz plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 210ml/7fl oz milk
  • 90ml/3fl oz water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil



Put the flour and the salt in a bowl and mix. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs.

In a separate bowl mix together the milk and the water. Beat the eggs into the flour with a wooden spoon and gradually beat in the milk and water mixture to get a smooth liquid the consistency of cream.

Stir in the oil and allow to stand for 30 minutes before using.


Hot hint: Before starting to cook your pancakes make sure the frying pan is very hot, then add a small knob of butter. Pour in enough batter to cover surface of pan and fry for about three minutes, turning – or if you’re brave, flipping! – half way. To get lacey-edged pancakes with crisp edges, add less batter so there’s a gap between the pancake and the edge of the pan.

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