A caramel and Calvados sauce

These unlikely partners came together through not unusual means. I was wiping a plate clean of caramel sauce with one hand, and hanging on to a glass of Calvados with the other. As soon as the two met on the palate, 1 knew it was the start of something beautiful. Calvados is the subtle flavour [...]

Hot chocolate, with or without whisky

We all know that hot chocolate is a mix of Ovaltine or Milo and boiled milk and sugar, don’t we? Such is the way we have developed that the beauties of long ago have been cut about and replaced with packets and pacy preparations.

Look again, and go back to the roots of hot chocolate. Give [...]

Raspberry jam, or gooseberry jam, from fresh or frozen berries

Taking frozen berries for jam displays as sensible a use of the brain as I could imagine. The fruit freezes perfectly, provided you are going to cook it, or use it as a sauce, and with the wonderful microwave, you have a brilliant, shiny jam within an hour – even in the depths of winter, [...]

Lemonade from loaded lemon trees

I have a complex about lemons. No matter where I live I am surrounded by lemon trees abundant with fruit, while my feeble, ever optimistic attempts to grow the trees turn into spindly, barren jokes. Every day, summer, winter, spring, I make the long trek to the back of the yard – yes, the tree [...]

Apricot jam

Apricots make the most glorious jam, but only . rarely do they set sufficiently, or last all that long. The microwave fixes that, and eliminates all the agony of stirring and watching and waiting, and getting bored, and seeing all your preparation burnt away.

1 kg (with seeds removed) of cleaned apricots, preferably those from the [...]

Cumquat marmalade, a dream

Pick up a cumquat. Bite into it. That’s it. Now again, with gusto. Bitter? Sour? Both? Think about it for a few minutes. As those original flavours dissipate, what comes through as well. A perfume? An underlying sweetness? What you have done is to work out the sort of flavours you want, and those you [...]

Parmigiano Reggiano

This is the very best of all the Italian cheeses, created under a strict regimen at Parma in the region of Emilia-Ro- magna. This is not the Parmesan that frequents dull plastic packets in supermarkets. This is one of the great cheeses of the world, full of flavour and style, with a marvellous tradition behind [...]

Odds and Ends

On the way through a work like this you come across little odds and ends that, by themselves, might be insufficient to form a recipe, or a tale, but can often lead to little surprises within a dish, on a buffet, or at a barbecue – or these days, as part of a flash antipasto.

Then [...]

Puff pastry and football

There is one sure sign that you have made it as a cook. You not only announce to the world that you are about to make puff pastry, you actually succeed in your attempt. Not that it’s any big deal making the revered mix of butter and flour; all you have to do is bring [...]

Banana cake splashed with passionfruit syrup

One of the first dishes I made successfully when I left home was a banana cake. I had no idea what I was doing, but those were the days when you tossed everything into the whizzer, pressed the button, and presto, there was the batter for a cake.
Nothing had come near to that cake over [...]