250g strawberries, hulled and chopped, plus about 200g/8oz extra to decorate
finely grated zest of half a lemon
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp golden caster sugar, or more to taste
the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush them to fine crumbs with a
rolling pin. Tip into a bowl and stir in the melted butter, mixing
thoroughly so that all the crumbs are soaked. Now tip the mixture into a
loose-bottomed 24cm round cake tin, at least 5cm deep, and press down
with the back of a metal spoon to make an even layer over the bottom of
the tin. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
the gelatine leaves in a dish of cold water, and leave to soak and
soften for 5 minutes. Pour the single cream into a pan and bring just to
the boil, then take off the heat. Take the gelatine leaves out of the
water, give them a good squeeze to get rid of excess water, and stir one
by one into the cream (they will dissolve instantly). Leave to cool for
a few minutes.
the cheese in a bowl with the sugar, lemon zest and juice until smooth
and creamy. Mix in the cream and gelatine mixture and the chopped
another bowl, lightly whip the whipping or double cream so it falls in
soft peaks, then fold it into the strawberry mixture. Whisk the egg
white in a clean bowl until it forms stiff peaks, then fold gently into
the cheese mixture. Pour into the cake tin and smooth down lightly.
Chill for at least 21⁄2 hours until set.
make the sauce, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor or
blender. Taste and add more sugar if needed, then pour into a jug and
keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. (Both cheesecake and
sauce can be made a day ahead.)
serve, run a knife between the cheesecake and the tin to loosen it,
remove it from the tin, then take it off its base and put it on a
serving plate. Halve the extra strawberries lengthways, pile them in the
middle and serve with the jug of sauce.
large handful mixed soft herbs including parsley and chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
150g fresh spaghetti
drizzle olive oil
chervil or parsley sprigs, to serve
Prep:40 minsCook:40 mins
Prepare all the seafood by first opening
the oysters into a sieve over a bowl to
catch the juices (see video technique). Trim and slice
the salmon into 6 equal-size square
chunks. If the scallops are large, cut them
in half lengthways.
Peel and devein the prawns if needed.
Place the strained oyster juice and fish
stock into a shallow saucepan and bring
to a simmer. First add the salmon and
poach for 1 min. Add the prawns and
oysters (if using large ones) and poach for
1 min more. Add the scallops and poach
for 1 min more, then add the oysters (if
small) and simmer everything for a final
min until just cooked.
Carefully tip the fish and poaching
liquid into a sieve over a large saucepan
or bowl, keeping all the salmon chunks
Heat half the butter in the cleaned
shallow pan and add the shallot. Cook
very gently for 5 mins until soft but not
coloured, then pour in the alcohol and
boil until reduced to a few tablespoons.
Pour in the poaching liquid and boil down
until reduced by half, about 20-25 mins.
Stir in the cream and, once more, reduce
by half. Turn down to a gentle simmer
and whisk in the rest of the butter.
Gently add the seafood to the sauce,
taking care not to break up the salmon.
Simmer lightly until heated through, then
add most of the herbs, squeeze over the
lemon juice and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in
plenty of boiling water until just done,
about 3-4 mins, then drain well and add
back to the pan with a drizzle of olive oil
and the rest of the herbs. You are now
ready to plate up.
Use a roasting fork to twirl
a neat bundle of spaghetti. Stand the bundle in the middle
of a warm large pasta bowl. Alternate the salmon and
seafood around the pasta. Spoon the sauce over the
seafood, top the pasta with
the chervil or parsley sprigs
and serve immediately.
Make chocolate curls with the white
chocolate by running a swivel peeler over
the surface. When you have enough to
sprinkle over 4 chocolate pots, set these
aside, then chop the remainder.
Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over
simmering water or in the microwave
on Medium for 1½-2 mins. Leave to cool
slightly. Whisk the egg whites until stiff,
then whisk in the sugar and cardamom.
Fold in the melted chocolate, then gently
fold in the chopped white chocolate.
Divide between 4 small dishes or cups,
about 100ml in size. Sprinkle over the
white chocolate curls and chill until ready
to serve, at least 1 hr.
7-or 8-bone rack of lamb, trimmed of fat, then cut into two racks
few thyme sprigs, left whole, plus extra sprigs to serve
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying and drizzling
zest ½ lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
For the sauce
20g pack flat-leaf parsley
1 fat or 2 regular garlic cloves, crushed
400g can cherry tomatoes
For the crust
50g feta cheese, finely crumbled
zest ½ lemon
pinch dried oregano
½ slice white bread (use day-old if you can), whizzed into crumbs
Prep:20 minsCook:30 minsPlus marinating and resting
Marinate the lamb first. Put the
racks into a non-metallic dish and mix
the thyme, oil, lemon zest, garlic and
half the oregano in a bowl. Rub this all
over the lamb, then leave to marinate
for at least 30 mins or up to 24 hrs. It’s
important that you cook the lamb from
room temperature rather than fridge
cold, so if you’re cooking within 1 hr
or so, leave it out of the fridge.
For the sauce, finely chop the parsley
stalks. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan
or wide casserole, then add 1 tbsp olive
oil. Add the garlic and the stalks, then
soften for 1 min. Add the tomatoes and
remaining oregano, then simmer for
5 mins until saucy, popping the cherry
tomatoes with your wooden spoon to
release all the juices and seeds. Chop
the parsley leaves roughly and add half
to the pan. Heat oven to 230C/fan 210C/
gas 8. Make the crust by mixing the
remaining parsley leaves, feta, zest,
oregano and breadcrumbs in a bowl.
When you’re ready to cook the lamb,
leave most of the tasty marinade on the
meat, season it well with salt and freshly
ground pepper, then press the crust
onto one side of each piece. Sit the
racks in the sauce, with the crust-side
facing upwards. Strew the thyme sprigs
from the marinade over the lamb and
into the sauce, then drizzle everything
with a little extra virgin olive oil. Roast
the lamb in the sauce, uncovered, for
20 mins (for pink and juicy meat) until
the crust is golden and the sauce
thickened. Leave to rest for 10 mins,
loosely covered, so that the crust
doesn’t go soggy, then carve the lamb
between each bone to make cutlets.
Serve the crusted cutlets with spoonfuls
of the intense, roasted-down tomato
sauce, and the Easy buttered onion pilaf
and Lemony greens (recipes below).
Garnish with thyme.
the middles first. Heat the Dulce de Leche in a pan for 1 min until
warmed and runny, then stir
in the chopped dark chocolate and leave to melt. Stir until smooth.
Cover a dinner plate with cling film, oil the cling film well, then tip
the mix onto
it. Cool, then freeze for 2 hrs or until very firm.
the milk chocolate into a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil in another
pan, then pour it over the chocolate. Leave for 2 mins, then add the
vanilla and stir until smooth.
Cool, then chill until set.
the caramel from the cling film, then snip into thumbnail-size pieces;
wet kitchen scissors work best.
Spread cocoa powder over a large baking tray. Take a heaped tsp of the
truffle mix then, with cocoa-dusted hands, poke in a caramel chunk.
Squash the mix around the caramel
to seal, then roll into a ball. Put onto the tray, then shake to coat in
the cocoa. Repeat with the rest of the mix, then freeze, or chill if
making less than
3 days ahead.
the butter, flour and ginger, if using, in a food processor until the
mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar, then add the egg yolk and
2 tsp cold water. Pulse until the dough clumps together, or bring it
together with a knife by hand. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and
press into a smooth round. Chill for 30 mins or until firm.
out the pastry to the thickness of 2 x £1 coins and stamp out 8 x 11cm
circles (or cut around a saucer and trim to fit tins). Line 8 x 10cm
width heart shaped tins
with the pastry. Re-roll trimmings. With a small cutter, stamp out 8
hearts to decorate. Chill tins and hearts for 15 mins or until firm.
Heat oven to 170C/fan 150C/gas 5 and put a baking sheet in.
the syrup, lemon juice and zest together. Divide the breadcrumbs
between tins (they should reach to the top of the pastry), then spoon
the syrup over slowly, adding more once the first lot has started to
soak in. Top with the small pastry hearts. Put tins onto the hot baking
sheet and bake for 25 mins or until pastry is golden and the filling is
orangey-gold and slightly set. Leave to cool for 15 mins, then turn onto
a wire rack. Serve just warm. Will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight
container. Heat in a low oven for 5 mins to warm through.
50g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, broken into squares
150ml double cream
2 tbsp Tia Maria (or use another liqueur such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Kahlua)
cocoa powder, for dusting
Cantuccini or amaretti biscuits, to serve
Prep:20 minsCook:2 minsPlus chilling
Put the chocolate into a bowl. Mix the
cream with the Tia Maria, reserve 2 tbsp,
then tip the rest into a saucepan and bring
just to the boil. Remove from the heat and
tip straight over the chocolate, stirring until
the chocolate melts. Divide between 2 small
glasses and allow to cool slightly. Whip the
remaining cream until slightly thickened,
then spoon over the cooled chocolate mix.
Chill for at least 1 hr to set. While you’re
waiting, cut a heart shape from a piece of
When ready to serve, set the card over
the glass and sift over a dusting of cocoa
powder. Lift off carefully and do the same
with the other glass.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Butter 2 x 150ml dariole moulds, scatter
in the flaked almonds so they stick to the
base and sides and put on a small baking
tray. Beat the butter, sugar, egg, flour,
ground almonds and cocoa powder
together, then divide between the
moulds. Bake for 20-25 mins until
a skewer comes out clean.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt all the
ingredients in a small pan and keep warm.
Carefully turn the cakes out of their
moulds and sit on 2 plates (the same way
up as they baked). Serve with vanilla
ice cream, the hot chocolate sauce,
espressos and a splash more Disaronno.
To make the mayonnaise, whisk
the egg yolks with the mustard and
some salt and pepper together in
a large bowl. Trickle in a few drops of oil,
Continue to whisk in the oil, little by
little at first, then slowly increasing the
amount to a steady stream. Make sure
each addition is well incorporated before you
add any more. Finally, add a few drops of the
truffle oil, if using, then finish with the lemon
juice. Keep in the fridge until needed.
Prepare the lobster and remove the meat from the claws and tail. Trim the frayed bit of meat
from the tails and flake the claw meat
into large chunks, discarding the membrane.
Set aside. Cut the tails into 6 slices each and
Trim the ends off the beans and cut
the beans in half. Tip into a bowl
with the shallots and 3 tbsp of the
olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Mix in the lobster claw meat and squeeze
over a lemon half, then set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick
frying pan. Fry the potato slices over
a medium heat for 5 mins on each
side until crisp and golden. Use a fish slice
to transfer them to a plate lined with
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the same pan
and lower the heat, add the slices of tail
meat to the pan, then heat through in
the oil for a few moments on each side.
Turn off the heat, season lightly with salt and
pepper and squeeze over the lemon. Moments
before you are ready to plate up, toss the salad
leaves with the balsamic vinegar and remaining
olive oil. You are now ready to plate up.
Spoon a quarter of the green bean
salad into the centre of the plate.
Shape using a 10cm ring or cutter,
if you have one, then press down
lightly and remove the ring. Place 1 tsp of mayonnaise on
the four opposite sides of the
outside of the plate and sit a
piece of lobster on top of each
spoonful of mayonnaise.
Put a fried potato slice in
between each pile of lobster so
you have alternate pieces of lobster,
then potato. Toss the leaves in the dressing and
carefully tower a small handful on
top of the green beans and serve
250g dark red plums, halved, stoned and cut into small wedges
50g demerara sugar
50ml red wine
300ml beef stock
Prep:10 minsCook:15 mins - 20 minsPlus resting
For the sauce, fry the shallot in the oil
for 5 mins or until softened but not
coloured. Add the plums and sugar,
stirring for a few mins until the sugar has
dissolved. Add the red wine and stock,
then simmer for about 15 mins, stirring
occasionally, until softened and slightly
thickened. Keep warm or leave at room
temperature for up to a day before
reheating to serve.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/
160C fan/gas 4. Score the skin of the duck
breasts with a sharp knife and season
well with salt and pepper. Heat
a non-stick frying pan and place the
duck breasts in, skin-side down. Fry for
6-7 mins, then turn and add the thyme,
star anise and butter. Allow this to melt,
basting the duck with the juices, then
transfer everything to a small roasting
tin and finish in the oven for 5-6 mins
for pink or 10-12 mins for well done.
When the duck is ready, baste again
with the juices, then rest for 5 mins
while you finish everything else.
To serve, thinly slice each duck breast
on a chopping board. Arrange on each
plate along with a spoon of the Creamed
potatoes, some of the plum sauce and
the Buttered spinach.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6.
Peel the squash and separate the bulbous
seed-bearing section from the slender end.
Chop the slender end into 2cm cubes, toss
in half the oil, season lightly and roast in
the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden
brown on the outside and soft in the
centre, about 30 mins. Cut the bulb in half
and scrape out the seeds with a spoon –
you can keep these to toast in the oven
and sprinkle over salads. Chop the flesh
into 2cm pieces. Warm the vegetable
stock in a small pan, set over a low heat.
Drop in squash and leave to gently poach.
While the squash is roasting, warm a
medium-size frying pan over a gentle
heat. Add the remaining olive oil and half
the butter, followed by the onion. Cover
and cook for 3 mins until the onion turns
translucent. Stir in the celery, garlic, herbs
and a few turns of pepper (no salt at this
stage). Cover again and cook for a further
2 mins. Increase the heat slightly and stir
in the rice. Stir, uncovered, for about 5 mins
– this will help to develop the toasty
aroma of the rice without burning the veg.
Turn up the heat, stir in the wine and let
it bubble away to almost nothing. Reduce
the heat and start adding the stock. Add
one ladle at a time, stirring gently but
constantly during each addition. The idea
is to encourage the rice to absorb the
liquid and soften, but also give up its
starch to thicken the remaining broth.
Don’t stir too aggressively or you will end
up with a pan of mush. When the stock
has been absorbed, it’s time to add the
next ladleful and so on. It will take about
15 mins to reach the final ladle of stock.
By this time the squash in the stock
should have softened. Mash it up with the
remaining stock and stir into the risotto.
Turn off the heat, dot the top of the
risotto with remaining butter and most
of the Parmesan, cover, leave to rest for
2 mins, then stir through and check the
seasoning. Spoon the risotto into shallow
bowls and sprinkle the roasted squash
and leftover Parmesan on top. Serve with
crusty bread and Sautéed spinach (below).
Start with the potatoes. Heat oven to
200C/180C fan/gas 6. Trim the wider side
off the potato and cut into 2 thick slices,
so each side sits flat in the pan. Heat the
oil in an ovenproof frying pan and fry
the bacon for 2 mins until crisp. Push the
bacon aside; then, over a very high heat,
brown the potato slices really well for
about 3 mins on each side.
Add the thyme, splash in the stock
and place in the oven while you cook
Season the pheasant really well. Heat
the oil in a casserole dish and add the
pheasant pieces. Spend about 10 mins
making sure the meat is well coloured on
all sides, using tongs to turn the pieces
Remove the meat from the dish and
add a splash more oil. Sizzle the bacon
for 1 min, then add all the vegetables
and the thyme. Turn up the heat and
brown the vegetables really well. Nestle
the legs amongst the vegetables and
sit the breast on top. Place in the oven,
uncovered, to roast for 25 mins.
Remove the dish from oven, lift out the
breast and leave somewhere warm to
rest. Pour the chicken stock over the legs
and return to the oven for 20 mins to
braise. Meanwhile, gently reheat the
carrot purée in a pan, stirring in a touch
Remove the legs from the dish and set
aside. Use a potato masher to squash
the veg into the sauce to thicken. Season
well and strain the sauce into a bowl.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, and
finely chop the bacon from the potato
pan into small bits – you are now ready
to carve the pheasant and plate up.
Neatly cut each breast away
from the carcass. Slice into 2 and
cut each leg through the joint into
2 pieces. Cut each potato in half
on an angle. Smear a large spoonful of carrot
purée along one side of the plate. Lean the pheasant pieces
against each other and lay a piece
of potato alongside. Scatter the pheasant breast
with the chopped bacon, spoon
over the sauce and serve.
Heat the oil in a pan. Season the steaks,
then fry for 2-3 mins each side for medium
rare, or cook more to your liking. Remove
from the pan, then set aside to rest.
Add the mushrooms and thyme leaves
to the pan, then cook for a couple of mins
until softened and golden. Pour in the
wine and bubble until syrupy, then turn
off the heat and stir in the butter. Season.
Serve the steaks with the mushroom
sauce poured over, along with creamy
mash and some crunchy spring greens.
¼ small celeriac (about 100g), quartered and thinly sliced
1 small potato, thinly sliced
grated parmesan, for sprinkling
seasonal vegetables, to serve
Cook:2 hrs, 30 minsPrep 15 mins + infusing
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Put the duck legs in a
flameproof casserole set over a medium heat. Brown all over,
then remove from the casserole and set aside. Pour off all but
1 tbsp of the fat, leave more fat in the pan if you are doubling or
tripling (save the drained fat for your Christmas roasties). Add the
carrots and onion to the casserole and cook for 5-10 mins or until
starting to caramelise. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 min more.
Return the duck along with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a
simmer, then cover with a lid and put in the oven for 2 hrs.
Meanwhile, prepare the gratin. Put the milk, cream, garlic and
rosemary in a pan set over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer
for 5 mins, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for
30 mins. Grease 2 ramekins (about 8cm diameter, 5cm deep).
Arrange the celeriac and potato slices in the ramekins, seasoning
the layers as you go. Remove the garlic and rosemary from the
milk, pour over the veg, then dot with butter. Cover tightly
with foil and bake with the duck for 1½ hrs.
Once cooked, remove the duck and gratins from the oven.
To freeze the duck, cool, then pack into a freezer container,
pushing the duck under the sauce. If it doesn’t cover it, lay cling
film on top. Use within 2 months. Thaw in the fridge, then reheat
in the casserole and complete from Step 4. Increase oven to
220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put a heavy can on top of each foil-wrapped
gratin and stand for 15-20 mins, or chill like this until needed.
Once pressed, turn the gratins out onto a baking tray, sprinkle
with a little Parmesan and bake for 20 mins until golden.
Meanwhile, remove the duck legs from the casserole, strain the
cooking liquid into a clean pan and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce
the sauce by half until thickened and glossy. Add the duck legs
and heat through. Put a duck leg on each plate with a little sauce
spooned over the top. Serve with the gratins and seasonal veg.