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Asparagus Hollandaise

asparagus8 spears
Salted water 
White wine vinegarSplash
butter250g / 9oz

Peel and trim asparagus. Clarify butter. Separate the eggs – you only need yolks. Boil the asparagus for 2 minutes. Reduce vinegar and onion to a syrup. Clarify butter. Add reduction to yolks. Whisk over boiled water to froth. Slowly add the butter and whisk to a sauce. Serve with asparagus.

French Onion Soup (serves 6)

onions450 g / 1lb
Beef/chicken stock900ml / 2pt
Plain flourPinch
Red wineSplash
Vegetable oilSplash
Olive oil1 teaspoon
Butter112g / 4oz
Brandy/cognac2 tablespoons
French mustard2 tablespoons
baguette4 slices
Olive oilDrizzle

Thinly slice the onions. Crush 2 cloves and then crush the third but keep separate. Heat the vegetable oil and butter in a pan. When hot add the onion and two-thirds of the garlic and mustard. Cook for 6 minutes until dark. Reduce heat and cook slowly for 10-15 minutes. Add the flour and mix well. Stir well, scraping the pan. Add the red wine. Add the stock and mix. When soaked up, cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add brandy before serving. For the croutons – lace the slices of baguette with the remainder of the garlic and the olive oil and bake one side till its crusty. Pop a crouton on top of each bowl of soup.

Coquille St Jacques

Button mushrooms3
Fish stock225ml / ½ pt
butter60g / 2oz
Plain flour60g/ 2oz
Double cream8 fl oz
Gruyere or gouda112g / 4oz
Maris piper2 large

Slice the mushrooms. Juice the lemon. Heat the stock and lemon juice in a pan  with the mushrooms and scallops for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon remove the scallops and mushrooms. Set aside. In a separate pan, melt the butter and stir in flour for 2 minutes to make a roux. Add the scallop stock to make the sauce. Beat to smooth consistency. Separate the eggs. Mix 2 yolks and cream and add to the sauce. Remove from heat and season. Peel and roughly cut potatoes and boil potatoes until soft. Drain and dry gently on stove. Add 2 yolks and mash to smooth consistency. Using a piping bag, pipe the mash  round an ovenproof dish. Place scallops in the middle with the mushrooms and cover with the sauce. Add the gruyere on top and glaze under a hot grill.

Quiche Lorraine

Savoury mini-tartlets12
Back bacon2 rashers
Double creamSplash

Cook the bacon and shred. Chop the chives. Mix cream, egg and chives and season. Add the bacon and egg mix to pastry and bake for 10-15 minutes at 200 deg c / Gas Mark 6 until firm in the middle.

Ratatouille  Tarte Tatin (serves 4)

butter90g / 3oz
Red pepper½
Yellow pepper½
garlic2 cloves
puff pastry300g / 10oz
plain flour (for rolling pastry)60g / 2oz

Roll the puff pastry into 24cm diameter. Rub the butter onto a round ovenproof pan (23cm diameter).

Cook all the vegetables and garlic in a frying pan. Place the puff pastry on top. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 200degC until the pastry is crisp and brown.


Comfort Food

Pea & Ham Soup

Dried split peas50g / 2oz
Ham stock450 ml / 1 pt
potato1 small
Cooked hamPieces
onion1 large
Butter50g / 2oz

Soak peas for 24 hours. Chop onion and peel and chop the potato. Chop the cooked ham. Melt the butter in a pan, Add the onion. Cook until softened. Add the potato and peas. Cover with stock. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes until the peas are soft. Roughly mash.

Braised Red Cabbage (Serves 2)

Red cabbage¼
Sultanas2 oz
Red current jelly2 table spoons
Red wine½ pt
Apple1 small green
butter2 oz

Thinly slice cabbage. Soak sultanas, peel and dice apple. Fry cabbage in butter when soft and add sultanas and apple. Cook for 2 minutes and add wine and red current jelly. Cook slowly for 25-30 minutes in low heat stirring continuously.

Rosemary Baby Potatoes Roasted (serves 4)

baby potatoes 450g / 1lb
rosemary 1 sprig
vegetable oil 1/4pt
salt pinch

Mix the oil, salt and potatoes together and lay on a roasting tray. Add salt. Place in the oven 160degC/Gas mark 4 for 40 minutes or until tender. Add rosemary 5 minutes before the end.

Roast Rib of Beef – Topside or Sirloin or Ribeye

Salt & pepperTo your taste

Season meat and place in a large tray in the oven. The cooking time will depend on the size of the joint.

Yorkshire Pudding

eggs4 large
milk337 ml / ¾ pt
water112 ml / ¼ pt
Plain flourFor paste

Beat eggs slowly in a bowl. Add the milk and water. Slowly add the flour until you make a thick batter. Season. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Fill trays with oil and heat in the oven. When hot, pour oyt excess oil. Fill with batter. Put in oven at 220 deg C / Gas Mark 7 for 10-15 minutes. Then reduce to 200 deg C / Gas Mark 6 for another 5 minutes. Then reduce again to 180 deg C / Gas Mark 5 for another 10 minutes until crisp.

Butterscotch Sauce

brown sugar30g / 1oz
Butter30g / 1oz
Double creamdash

Melt the butter. Add the sugar. Cook the sugar until it caramelises. Add the cream

Sticky Toffee Pudding (serves 4)

Butter2 oz
Caster sugar6 oz
Chopped dates6 oz
Self raising flour6 oz
Baking soda1 table spoon
Water½ pt
Vanilla essenceSplash

Preheat oven to 180ºC/360ºF. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. You can do this by beating it in a bowl with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes, taking care to break up the crystals and smooth the mixture out as much as possible. Or do it using an electric blender if you prefer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in after you’ve added each egg. Fold in the flour. Now, bring the water to the boil and add the dates. Add the baking soda and immediately take the pan off the heat. Let it cool slightly, then add to the mixture.

Pour the mixture into a greased cake-tin (make sure you use one with enough room for the cake to rise!). Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little while you make the sauce. To make the sauce: Mix the four ingredients in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring often to make sure that the mixture doesn’t separate.

Once the mixture looks like a smooth sauce and is nice and warm, it’s ready. Don’t allow it to bubble. Divide the cake into portions and poke holes all over the top with a skewer or chopstick. Pour the sauce over the top of the cake, making sure it gets in the holes. Serve with cream, custard, or ice-cream.