Thursday, June 28, 2012


Possets are my go-to pudding - always delicious and easy on the pennies. Just make sure you don't burn the cream. 


serves 6


750ml cream

225g caster sugar

juice and zest of 1 lemon

75ml elderflower cordial

Pour the cream and the sugar into a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Add the zest, juice and cordial and stir. 

Pour the mixture into ramekins (I used 8cm diameter) and leave to cool. When they have had time to cool down, cover with cling film and chill and set for 1 hour.

Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and a few raspberries. 

Friday, June 22, 2012


A beautiful and uncomplicated
with cured ham
inspired by Clara

serves 4


3 bunches fine asparagus (roughly 8 stems each), snapped at base
2 ripe yellow flesh peaches, sliced
generous handful basil leaves, torn
generous pinch salt
100ml olive oil
200g cured ham (Parma/Serrano)

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the snapped asparagus stems to the water and simmer for 2-3 minutes until they are bright green and still have a bit of crunch. Drain and refresh under cold water. 

Place the asparagus in a large bowl and scatter the peach slices and torn basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Toss and serve with the ham. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I love cooking mac and cheese in disposable tin trays. They look like something you'd pick up from the school canteen, (Mrs Wiggins don't do china), serving up no-frills nursery food in no-frills containers. It puts macaroni cheese in its rightful place as stodgy, cheesy, creamy comfort food. Nowt fancy, like. Just (unbelievably) tasty.

I've gone a little off track with this recipe - leeks, ham and tarragon (ooh er), and tortiglioni in place of macaroni - but a good 'old fashioned' you can't beat.


serves a very greedy 2 - a polite 4 


200g tortiglioni or penne (or any old tube)
100g unsalted butter
1 large leek
250g smoked ham
150g flour
500ml milk (whole or semi)
200g mature cheddar, grated, and extra for the crust
salt, pepper 
handful tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
two tin trays (roughly 20x10cm)

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook til al dente and drain. Refresh under cold water and set aside.

Melt 25g of the butter in a small sauce and throw in the leeks. Cook over a low heat with a lid for 10 minutes so the leeks become soft and buttery. Add the ham and a pinch of salt and pour the mixture into a bowl. Set aside.

Melt the rest of the butter in the leek pan. Add the flour and set over a low heat. Fry the flour and butter for a minute or two so the gluten can develop. Add the milk a little at a time or each time the sauce thickens, and stir constantly. This should take around 5-7 minutes

When the sauce is glossy, and creamy, add the cheese, salt and pepper.

When the cheese has melted, stir in the leek mixture and the tarragon. Taste the sauce and add a little more salt if necessary.

Combine the pasta with the sauce and divide between the two tins. Ideally, you want a generous amount of sauce to pasta.

Grate the extra cheese over each dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes to crisp up.

Best served with a mustardy salad and a dollop of ketchup.

Peas are a good veggie replacement for the ham. Throw them in as you add the tarrgon.

Ding-a-ling. Back to class.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012



Ginger Pig have just plumped up their poultry counter with a collection of gorgeous looking birds. 

I nabbed a couple of pullets (100 day old chooks) for an 8 person dinner party and they were deliciously tender. Roast these young'ns at a lower heat and for a little bit longer than you would the older gals. They will be pulled from the oven juicy and succulent and, once rested, will produce a fine feast for fine friends. 


with Orange, Radish and Chicory Salad

serves 8-10


2 x 0.9kg pullets
1 orange, halved
1 onion, peeled and halved
100g butter
1 large garlic clove
1 generous bunch thyme
1/4 tsp flaked sea salt

for the salad dressing
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
squeeze orange
salt and pepper

for the salad
9 heads pink chicory, quartered
16 breakfast radishes, stalked and halved
handful of dates, chopped (optional)
2 juicy oranges, peeled and sliced

Preheat the oven to 160C. 

Place the chickens on a large roasting tray. Squeeze the orange halves into the tray and put a half into the cavity of each bird. Place the onion with the juice in the tray.

Mix the butter with the garlic and thyme, and season well. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the breast of each chicken. Spread this mixture between the flesh and skin of the breast, pushing right to the back of the bird.

When the oven has reached the correct temperature, slide in the tray with the chickens. Let these cook slowly for 2 and a quarter hours or until the juice runs clear. Baste them with the tray juice half way through cooking. The skin will turn nicely golden and the meat will be tender. Pour the juice from the tray into saucepan with the onion. Loosely cover the birds with foil and leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving. 

Heat up the saucepan with the meat juices and add a glug of white wine. Simmer down, spooning off some of the fat. 

Meanwhile, whisk the dressing together in the bottom of a large bowl. Assemble the salad, making layers of the chicory, the radishes and the dates (if using). Toss the salad just before serving and layer with the sliced oranges. 

Serve the chicken warm with a light drizzle of gravy and a large helping of the orange salad.