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Welcome to the food section of this site, we hope to share with you some of the things that we have cooked and made since we have been here and found to be successful. You will notice the very eclectic nature of this section, we use a great many herbs and spices and try to grow as many as we can ourselves but variety is, old cliché, the spice of life.

Where possible, we will indicate the origin of the recipe but we have many written on scraps of paper and do not really know where they came from never mind who the originator was.

If you have a knock your socks off recipe and want to share it here please contact us

Aperitifs (1) Baking (6) Beef Dishes (1) Chicken Dishes (2) Curry (3) Fish Dishes (2 ) Lamb Dishes
Pasta (1) Pickles & Chutneys (5) Pork Dishes Preserves Puddings (1) Sauces (2) Savouries
Soups (4) Starters (2) Sweets (3) Veg ideas (2)

Conversions (cups to ounces etc.)

Search for Kitchen Ware

Aperitifs top of page
  1. Pistachio and Grape



Pistachio and Grape top of page


Grapes preferably seedless 2 per person (sounds mean but trust me)

Cream Cheese (the best you can get)

Pistachio nuts


Allow the grapes and cheese to cool in a refrigerator for 2 hours

During the cooling time take all the husks off the Pistachio nuts and discard the husks

Put the nuts into a plastic bag and hit them with a rolling pin in order to crush the nuts and set aside

When grapes and cheese have cooled cover each grape with cream cheese adding about half an inch or 12mm to the diameter of the grape

When all your grapes are done return to the fridge for 30 minutes

Remove from fridge and roll in the crushed pistachio until completely covered then return to fridge

Remove from fridge 5 to 10 minutes before serving

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Baking top of page
  1. Millionaire’s Shortbread
  2. Scones
  3. Shortbread
  4. Chocolate Chip Cookies
  5. Easy Apple Cake
  6. Jacks’ Jammie Dodgers 




10 oz self raising flour

2 tsps. Baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. Sugar

2 oz butter

½ cup currants

1 egg



Mix together dry ingredients, then rub in butter and add fruit. Combine egg and milk and add to dry mixture, to form soft dough.  Knead on a lightly floured board.  Roll out and cut into ½ inch thick rounds. Bake in the oven at 4500 F/ 2300 C for 10 minutes

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170g/6oz good butter; at room temperature

85g/3oz caster sugar

200g/7oz plain flour

60g/2oz ground rice

Extra caster sugar, for sprinkling 


Blend the butter and sugar together with the fingertips of one hand, then gradually work in the flour and ground rice until you have a pliable soft dough.  Press it gently into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll or press the dough until about ½ inch thick. Cut to desired size, crimp edges and prick with a fork.

In a preheated oven 150C/300F/gas 2, until it is light golden in colour (time will vary depending on size).  As soon as you take it from oven, sprinkle it with caster sugar.  Cool on the tray for a few minutes and then transfer it to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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Christie’s Chocolate chip cookies top of page


8 oz (225G) plain flour

2 tsp (10ml) baking powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt

½ tsp (2.5ml) cinnamon

4oz (125g) chocolate chips

2oz (60g) walnuts

5oz (150mg) muscovite or soft, light brown sugar

4 fl oz (120 ml) vegetable oil ( not olive)

1 tsp (5ml) vanilla

4 tbsp (60ml) water 


Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350F) gas mark 4

Chop up walnuts

Sieve the flour into a large bowl.  Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, walnuts and chocolate chips.  Make a well in the centre and set aside.

Mix sugar and oil in a medium-size bowl.  Add vanilla and water and mix well.

Gradually pour the wet mixture into the well in the centre of the dry mixture

Stir until well-mixed but be careful not to overwork

Spoon onto the biscuit trays (un-greased) and put them in the oven.  After 5 minutes switch and rotate the trays.  Bake for another 4 minutes.

Check cookies.  If they are still soft, cook for another 2 minutes and check again - continue in this way until cookies are golden and a little softer than required - they harden as they cool

Take them out of the oven and leave to cool for two minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.

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Easy Apple Cake 


½ lb (225g) plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

5tbsp sugar

1 egg, beaten, plus ¼ pint (150ml) milk or water

11/2 oz (35g) butter or margarine

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1lb (450g) apples, peeled, cored and coarsely grated 


Mix thoroughly all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Place in a lined cake tin and cook for between 35 and 40 minutes in an oven Gas Mark 5 (190C or 375F) for about 35 minutes, until a skewer or knife stuck into the middle of it comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire tray and allow to cool.

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Jacks’ Jammie Dodgers 


225g unsalted butter, softened

100g castor sugar

200g plain flour - plus extra for dusting

100g ground almonds

½ jar of strawberry or raspberry jam 


Beat together butter and sugar then slowly add flour, followed by ground almonds. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

Remove the dough from the fridge and knead until it is soft enough to shape and roll

Sprinkle a little plain flour over your work surface and roll out the pastry - it should be about 5mm thick

Using a cutter, about 6cm wide, dipped in a little flour to stop it sticking, cut out as many shapes as you can - lightly knead the dough trimmings together and repeat the process - keep going until you have about 24 shapes.

Cut a small shape (Christmas tree, circle) in the middle of half your biscuits.

Carefully place the biscuits on a baking sheet (or two) making sure you keep them slightly apart.

Place in a preheated oven 140C, for fan assisted 120C or gas mark 1.  Cook for 20-30 minutes until just golden

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Onto a full biscuit place a blob of jam and top with a “cut” biscuit, press lightly.

Don’t be mean with your jam - let it ooze out!!!

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Beef Dishes top of page
  1. Questellic Pot au Feu 



Questellic Pot au Feu 


750g boned rib of beef ( or lamb or pork)

3 small sweet turnips

5 small/medium carrots

2 medium onions

3 cloves of garlic

500ml brown stock

1 glass of red wine

3 bay leaves

small bunch of parsley (destalked)

Salt & pepper

Oil for frying 


Trim the beef or other meat and cube to about 1 inch pieces.

Clean all the vegetables and roughly chop to ½ inch pieces

Peel and crush the garlic and add to the vegetables

Add about 1 tbsp of oil to a heavy based pan and when hot add all of the vegetable mixture, bay leaves, parsley and sweat the vegetables, stirring frequently for 5 - 10 minutes.  Add a generous pinch of crushed black pepper, a pinch of salt,  stir and remove from pan into casserole dish.

Return pan to heat and add a little oil, when hot add the meat (in batches, if necessary) and thoroughly brown.

Remove with a slotted spoon and place together with vegetables in casserole dish.

Return pan to heat and add the glass of red wine to deglaze the pan and then add this mixture to the meat and vegetables.

Add 500 ml of warmed brown stock to the casserole dish, then place lid on casserole dish and place in a preheated oven at 160C for 2¼ hours.

Remove from oven and serve with crusty French bread 

NB. Time and temperature are for a fan assisted oven - adjust accordingly

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Chicken Dishes top of page
  1. Poulet au Cidre Breton
  2. Chicken Satay with Peanut Sambal 



Poulet au Cidre Breton


6 chicken breasts (approx 110g each)

2 apples (preferably Golden type)
3 large onions

4 Tablespoons butter (2 oz)
2 cups of brut cider from Brittany
2 Tablespoons of Cognac (optional)

1/2 cup of cream
2 pinches of ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste


Cut onions into fine strips.
Cut apples into small cubes (1cm squared).
Add onions and apples to a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until golden.
In a larger thicker pan melt remaining butter. Add the Cognac and brown chicken breasts (3 minutes).
Add the cooked onions and apples and cover with the cider.
Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Allow to simmer (without cap) until 2/3 of the cider has evaporated, approximately 30-40 minutes.
Remove the chicken breasts and set aside keeping them warm.
Pour the cream into the cider sauce and stir for a few minutes. If necessary, to thicken sauce, add a teaspoon of flour.
Coat the chicken with the sauce.
Immediately serve with rice or potatoes

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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sambal 

Makes 60 cocktail pieces 

5 chicken breasts, skinned 

For the Marinade:

1 medium onion, grated

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground ginger

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

Juice of 1 small lemon

2 tsp soft dark brown sugar

Freshly ground black pepper 

For the peanut sambal

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp oil

½ tsp chili powder

110g /4 oz crunchy peanut butter

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp lemon juice

200ml/7fl oz cold water

Soft dark brown sugar and salt to taste


Cut each chicken breast into 12 cubes.

Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and add the chicken pieces. Refrigerate for at least 1hour.

Make the sambal: cook the onion in the oil in a saucepan over a very low heat.  Add the chili powder and cook for 10 seconds.

Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter, soy sauce, lemon juice and water.

Return to the heat and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.  Season to taste with sugar and salt

Preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Skewer the chicken pieces on long bamboo sticks and grill for about 3 minutes each side.

Serve the peanut sambal as a dip.

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Curry top of page

In most of the curry recipes here, you can substitute Chicken, Lamb or Beef. The exception being the Fish curry where another  type of fish may be substituted but it may be unwise to attempt to substitute with meet.

  1. Garam Masala
  2. Chicken Korma
  3. Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi


Garam Masala

The Garam Masala that we use is the one given below but there are many different mixtures that can and often are used in Indian cooking but we do like this one.


2 tbsp ground coriander seeds - 1 tsp ground cumin seeds - 1 tsp ground fenugreek - 1 tsp ground mustard seed - 2 tsp ground black pepper - 2 tsp poppy seeds

Method: Mix all of the ingredients together well and store in an airtight container for later use

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Chicken Korma


500g Boneless Chicken (cut into small cubes) - 1½ Medium Onions (225g) - 10g Ginger (fresh) - 1 Medium Garlic Clove (fresh) - 3 Cherry Tomatoes - 1/4 Small Green Pepper - 11 tbsp Veg oil - 1/4 tsp Turmeric - 4 tsp (30g) of garam masala - 3 or 4 Green Cardamoms - 2 Bay Leaves  (optional) - 80g Coconut Cream - 4-5 tsp White Sugar - 150 ml Fresh Single Cream - 2 knobs Butter or Ghee - Fresh Coriander.


Make puree first

Cut 1 onion into 1/4's, cut the tomatoes into 1/2's, chop the green pepper, ginger (pealed), garlic clove, and a little coriander. Put in a small sauce pan together with 4 tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp turmeric, salt and cup of warm water (around 200/250 ml) covered with lid.

Gently boil the vegetables until soft (approximately 15/20 minutes) stirring occasionally.

When cooked place in a blender to make into puree.


Heat 7 tbsp of oil in a medium sized sauce pan.

Add cardamom and the bay leaves and slowly fry.

Add rest of the onions (finely sliced) with salt and cook to soften    (stirring).

Add the
garam masala and cook for 2/3 mins (stirring continuously).

Add the ready blended puree and cook for further 3-4 mins (stirring occasionally, covered).

Add the chicken with a little warm water (around 100-125 ml) and on full heat bring to boil and then cook for around 3-4 mins (covered and stirring occasionally).

Back to moderate / low heat, leave to simmer (covered) for 30 mins (stirring occasionally).

Add the coconut, sugar and the cream and bring to boil then leave to simmer for further 10-15 mins (stirring occasionally) or until the required moisture (add more water if you prefer more sauce or cook on higher heat slightly longer with lid semi opened for thicker sauce).

Once cooking is over add the butter or ghee, stir and leave the curry to settle for 10-15 mins before serving and garnish with a little cream on top.

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Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi


500g Cooked Chicken Tikka | 2 Medium Onions (250g) | 2 Medium Garlic Cloves | 8-10g Ginger | 10 Finger Green Chillies (sliced in halves) |  5 cherry tomatoes | 1/2 Small Green Pepper | 11 tbsp Veg/Olive Oil | 1/2 tsp Turmeric | 6 tsp (40g) Garam Masala | 1 tsp (7g) Tikka Paste or powder | 3/4 tsp Chilli Powder | Fresh Coriander


Cut 1
½ onions into 1/4's, cut 3 tomatoes into 1/4's, chop the green pepper, ginger (peeled), 1 garlic clove, 2 green chillies and a little coriander. Put the above in a small sauce pan together with 4 tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp turmeric, salt and cup of warm water (around 200/ 250 ml) covered with lid.

Gently boil the vegetables until soft (approximately 15-20 mins) stirring occasionally.

When cooked place in a blender to make into puree and set aside.

Heat 7 tbsp of oil (moderate heat) in a medium sized sauce pan.

Add 1 crushed garlic clove and slowly fry until golden.

Add the rest of the onion (finely sliced) and the rest of the tomatoes (chopped) with some salt and cook to soften (stirring regularly).

Add the
Garam Masala, Tikka Paste or powder and the chilli powder and cook for 2-3 mins (stirring continuously).

Add the ready blended puree with a little warm water (around 125ml) and on full heat bring to boil then cook for around 5-6 mins (covered and stirring occasionally).

Add the chicken, then leave to simmer for around 20-25 mins (covered, and stirring occasionally).

Once cooking is nearly over add the chopped coriander and the rest of the green chillies (sliced in halves) and cook for further 6-7 mins or until the required moisture (add more water if you prefer more sauce or cook on higher heat slightly longer with lid semi opened for thicker sauce) then leave to settle for 15-20 mins before serving.

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Fish Dishes top of page
  1. Spiced Monkfish
  2. Sea Bass with ginger and spring onion


Spiced monkfish with creamy curry


For the spiced monkfish

150g/5½oz monkfish tail, membrane removed
drizzle of olive oil, pinch dried chilli,  ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp curry powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

For the creamy curry

1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ onion, finely sliced
4 tsp Garam masala
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
125ml/4fl oz hot chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
125ml/4fl oz double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the spiced monkfish, drizzle the monkfish with olive oil. In a bowl, mix together the spices and chopped coriander and sprinkle over the fish. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan; add the spiced monkfish and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until just cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the vegetable curry, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan; add the onion and fry over a gentle heat for five minutes, or until softened. Add the spices and garlic and fry for one minute.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and simmer for one minute.

To serve, spoon the vegetable curry into a serving dish and top with the spiced monkfish.

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Sea Bass with spring onion and ginger


6 x sea bass fillets, about 140g/5oz each, skin on and scaled

about 3 tbsp veg oil

large knob of ginger , peeled and shredded into matchsticks

3 garlic cloves , thinly sliced

3 fat, fresh red chillies deseeded and thinly shredded

bunch spring onion , shredded long-ways

1 tbsp soy sauce


Season the fish with salt and pepper, then slash the skin 3 times. Heat a heavy-based frying pan and add 1 tbsp oil. Once hot, fry the fish, skin-side down, for 5 mins or until the skin is very crisp and golden. The fish will be almost cooked through. Turn over, cook for another 30 secs-1 min, then transfer to a serving plate and keep warm. You'll need to fry the fish in 2 batches.

Heat the remaining oil, then fry the ginger, garlic and chillies for about 2 mins until golden. Take off the heat and toss in the spring onions. Splash the fish with a little soy sauce and spoon over the contents of the pan.

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Lamb Dishes top of page




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Pasta  top of page
  1. Summer pasta


Summer Pasta


1 pound penne or spaghetti

1 pound green and golden courgettes, 5 to 6 inches in length

1 pound sugar snap peas

2 ounces butter

5 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons chopped parsley

2 ounces fresh basil leaves, chopped

4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese

A few courgette blossoms if available



Top and tail the courgette and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices at an angle. String the sugar snap peas if necessary.

Bring 12 pints of water to the boil in a large deep saucepan, add 2 tablespoons salt, add the pasta, and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile shoot the sugar snap peas into 2 pints of boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook uncovered for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp and al dente. Drain.

If you're adept at juggling you can also cook the courgettes while the pasta and sugar snaps are cooking. 

Pop a pasta bowl into the oven to heat or better still put it sitting on top of the pasta saucepan.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan, toss in the courgettes, increase the heat, and continue to toss for 3 or 4 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover, and reduce heat to medium for another few minutes by which time the courgette should be tender but still al dente. Draw off the heat.

By now, if your timing is good, the pasta should be al dente, so drain it quickly.

Add the sugar snap peas, chopped parsley, and torn basil to the courgette. Pour in the steaming hot pasta, sprinkle on the freshly grated Parmesan and toss well.

Turn into the hot pasta bowl. Sprinkle a few zucchini blossoms and basil leaves over the top if available. Rush to the table. Serve on hot plates with extra Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.


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Pickles & Chutneys top of page
  1. Tomato & Onion Chutney
  2. Pickled Beetroot
  3. Pickled Onion
  4. Onion Chutney
  5. Tomato Chutney 

Tomato Onion Chutney


75ml. red wine vinegar
¼ cup Granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp Ginger, peeled, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes

70g. onions, sliced thickly
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tbsp  golden raisins


Combine all ingredients except raisins in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat then simmer 30 minutes.

Add raisins. Simmer an additional 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated and raisins are plump. Cool, cover and keep chilled for service.

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Pickled Beetroot (spiced vinegar)

600ml of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp whole black pepper
1 bay leaf

(add 1/4 tsp chilli/cayenne powder for spicy hot)

You could also add allspice, cinnamon, ginger, mace, mustard seeds etc......................to your own taste

Add spices to vinegar and gently boil for 15 mins.

Cook whole earth n all, peel, cut into slices/dice or if small leave as is, then drop into boiling water (600ml  to 50gm salt) for 10 mins, strain, drop into jars, pour over the hot spiced vinegar, seal and enjoy.

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Pickled Onions or Shallots (Spiced vinegar)

 600ml of cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp whole black pepper
1 bay leaf

(add 1/4 tsp chilli/cayenne powder for spicy hot)

You could also add allspice, cinnamon, ginger, mace, mustard seeds etc...................... to your own taste

Add spices to vinegar and gently boil for 15 mins.
Mix well 50ml salt/600ml cold water; make brine, pop raw shallots/onions in for 24 hrs (spike the onions with a fork if they are large).

Make spiced vinegar (For sweet pickled onions add 1 heaped tsp of sugar) and let go cold, put all together in jars and seal.

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Onion chutney

From: Sally Wise

Long, slow cooking is the secret to developing the flavour of this chutney. It is very good with roast beef, or served as part of a cheese platter.


2 tablespoons olive oil

8 medium to large onions, sliced finely

3 apples – peeled, cored and sliced

1½ cups brown sugar, firmly packed

2 cups cider vinegar

5 cups of dark malt vinegar

1 cup of sultanas

2 red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped

1 heaped tablespoon tamarind paste

1 tablespoon grated green ginger

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon mustard powder


Heat the oil in a large heavy based pot. Add the onions and cook gently till caramelised. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.

Simmer, stirring often for 2 to 3 hours or until a chutney-like consistency is reached. If the chutney begins to dry out before this time, add up to one extra cup of extra vinegar (dark malt).

Spoon into warm sterilised bottles and seal immediately.

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Tomato Chutney 


1 lb fresh tomatoes

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp cumin powder

2 oz butter

½ tsp chilli powder or one chopped green chilli

2 tbsp malt vinegar

1 dessertspoon sugar

1 medium onion 


Melt butter in a large saucepan

Peel, finely chop and fry onion until brown

Remove the skin from the tomatoes.  This is very easy if you allow them to soak in boiling water for a few minutes.

Add to the fried onions and cook for 15 minutes

Mash well together

Add the remaining ingredients

Cook for a further 10 minutes 

This chutney can be stored.  Increase ingredients proportionately for making larger quantities 

Suggestion, try this on fresh beef or lamb burgers

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Pork Dishes top of page




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Preserves top of page




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Puddings top of page
  1. Apple Crumble


Apple Crumble 


3 medium-sized apples

3 oz (65g) brown sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

3 tbsp apple juice or water

1 clove

2oz (50g) whole meal flour

3oz(75g) rolled oats

20z (50g) margarine 


Peel and core the apples.  Cut into small chunks and tip them into greased, medium-sized, ovenproof dish.

Add 1oz (25g) of the sugar, plus the cinnamon, the apple juice and the clove.  Mix well and set aside.

Sift the flour into a medium-sized glass bowl and add the oats and the remaining 2 oz (50g) sugar.  Add the margarine and cut it into small pieces.  Rub the margarine into the flour and oats until the mixture is dry and slightly lumpy.

Sprinkle the topping over the apple and cook in the oven at 190C (375F) Gas Mark 5, for 20 minutes, or until the topping is slightly browned and the apple mixture is bubbling around the sides of the dish

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving

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Sauces top of page
  1. Onion & Rosemary Sauce
  2. Sauce Edouard


Onion & Rosemary Sauce


Rounded tablespoonful of rosemary leaves

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

1oz butter (25g)

1oz plain flour

6 fl oz (175ml) milk

6 fl oz vegetable stock

2 tablespoonfuls crème fraiche

salt & freshly ground black pepper


 In a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onions over a very gentle heat for about 5 minutes – it's important not to let them colour, so keep an eye on them. While that's happening, bruise the rosemary leaves with a pestle and mortar to release their oil, then chop them very, very finely and add them to the onion. Then continue to cook as gently as possible for a further 15 minutes, again, without letting the onions colour too much. Next, using a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the onions and their buttery juices till smooth, then gradually add the milk, a little at a time, still stirring, followed by the stock, bit by bit, whilst vigorously whisking with a balloon whisk.

 Now taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper and let it barely simmer on the lowest possible heat for 5 minutes. Next, remove it from the heat, then liquidise or process half of it, then return it to the saucepan to join the other half. Then re-heat gently, add the crème fraîche and pour it into a warmed serving jug. This recipe makes about 1 pint (570 ml) sauce

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Sauce Edward


1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp (heaped) tomato puree

500ml white stock

Good splash of sherry

Knob of butter

Oil for frying


Put oil in pan, when hot add garlic and stir for 1 min.

Add onion and stir for 1 min - cover and sweat for 2 min

Add tomato puree and stir well

Add white stock and boil uncovered for 20/25 min.

Add sherry and stir well - leave for 2 min. on simmer

Add butter stir well until butter melts.


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Savouries top of page




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Soups top of page
  1. Courgette Soup
  2. Cream of Onion
  3. Beetroot Soup
  4. Pumpkin Soup

Courgette Soup


1 kg courgettes - any size and colour
250g potatoes (suitable for mashing), peeled or scrubbed
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 medium onion, peeled & chopped
30ml olive oil
150g soft cheese (see note below for alternatives)
Handful fresh chives, chopped
Handful fresh summer herbs of your choice, chopped
½ pints water (or mild-flavoured stock)


Wash the courgettes and chop them into chunks. Cut the potatoes into cubes (smaller than 1 inch).

Heat the oil gently in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic.

Gently cook for about 5 minutes, to soften.

Add the potatoes. Stir. Cook gently, covered, for about 15 minutes, until about half-cooked.

Add the courgettes and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.

Add 1½ pints of water - just enough to cover the contents of the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

Remove from the heat and liquidise the soup.

Add the Cheese & herbs.

Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Serve with fresh bread.

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Cream of Onion

This recipe from Bon Appetit January 1998 is more akin to an oniony potato soup than the traditional French onion soup. If you want to make it truly vegetarian substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

2 tablespoons butter
5 cups onion - sliced
2 large garlic clove - halved
5 cups chicken broth
8 ounces potato - cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon fresh thyme - minced
chives – minced

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until very tender and pale golden, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and stir one minute. Add broth and potato and bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potato is very tender, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Stir in cream, sherry, and thyme. Simmer about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be made 2 days ahead. Sprinkle with chives before serving.

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Beetroot Soup


4 medium beetroot (beet) peeled & grated
1 cup red cabbage shredded
1 medium onion chopped
1 apple peeled, cored and sliced
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
200 g low fat yoghurt


Heat oil in a large saucepan

Add onion and cook over a low heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beetroot, apple, cabbage, stock and tomato puree, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add wine. If serving hot, serve at once. If serving cold, allow to cool and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To serve, ladle soup into four bowls and top each with a good dollop of natural yoghurt or
crème fraîche.

Swirl through with a fork and garnish with chives or parsley

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Pumpkin Soup


1 kg roughly chopped pumpkin flesh

1/2 kg marrow or peeled potato (both optional)

2 medium onions finely chopped

200g butter

1 chicken stock cube



Freshly ground pepper



Take the pumpkin, (and marrow or potato if used,) add a little water in a big pan and bring to the boil reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until they have gone soft throughout.

In a frying pan heat the butter and gently fry the finely chopped onions until they go soft and lightly browned.

Combine the two mixtures and mash or liquidise in an electric blender adding the stock cube, parsley, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Place the combined mixture into a clean saucepan adding 1 litre of water on a low heat adding two tablespoons of yoghurt and stir well. Leave to simmer for a further 30 minutes and add more salt or pepper according to personal taste.

Serve hot with a tablespoon of yoghurt placed in the middle of each serving bowl and a sprig of parsley, lay on the yoghurt. Add just a tease of freshly ground pepper over the whole area and serve with fresh bread.

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Starters top of page
  1. Leeks baked with Cheese
  2. Tartiflette


Leeks baked with cheese


2 lbs. of leeks (about 4-8 leeks depending on the size)

1 garlic clove

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter + extra for buttering the gratin dish

4 oz. Gruyère cheese

2 Tablespoons bread crumbs

Salt, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg


Preheat oven to 200C

Trim the leeks, leaving the white and pale green part. Cut each leek into fourths lengthwise. Wash them thoroughly under cold water. Cut into 2-inch lengths.

Put some water into a large saucepan, add some salt and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the leeks and allow them to cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the stove and drain.

Butter a ceramic gratin dish. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut half all around the dish.

Put a layer of leeks on the bottom, top with some cheese and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Continue this layering until all the leeks are used up. Finish with a layer of cheese.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the cheese. Cut the butter into small dice and scatter all over the top of the gratin.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden.

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If you can't get hold of Reblochon, try using Crémier de Chaumes, Epoisses or even a mature Irish Ardrahan. Remove any tough rind. You can leave the bacon out if you want to make a vegetarian version. A plain green salad is a good foil for the richness. Also, this dish could be used as a supper.


50g unsalted butter, softened
175g bacon or pancetta, cut into 1cm
250g cup mushrooms, sliced
1kg waxy potatoes, such as Cara, peeled and sliced to a 3mm thickness
Salt and freshly ground pepper
250g Reblochon cheese, cubed
568ml carton double cream


Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2. With half the butter, grease a shallow baking dish, about 25 x 30cm.

Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the bacon. Sauté for about 5 minutes until crisp and brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the bacon fat. Return the pan to the heat and add the mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Season.

Toss the potato slices with salt and pepper. Arrange half in a layer in the dish. Sprinkle with the bacon and mushrooms. Top with half the cheese, season again (remember the bacon is salty already). Top with the remaining potatoes. Pour enough cream over the top to just cover the potatoes - you may not need it all. Dot with the remaining butter.  

Bake for about 1¼ hours, or until the potatoes are tender. Dot with the remaining cheese, and return to the oven until brown and bubbling (about 15 minutes). Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave for 10-15 minutes before serving

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Sweets top of page
  1. Millionaire’s Shortbread
  2. Tablet
  3. Raspberry Crumble Bars


Millionaire’s Shortbread top of page


Ingredients: for a standard size swiss roll tin.

4 oz. butter

2 oz. Caster Sugar

1 cup self raising flour

Blend all together into soft dough. Place in baking tray and press to spread over the tray. Use a fork to prick the dough. Cook in oven until golden brown. 180C or 350F or gas mark 4 approx 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.



4 oz. butter

2 oz sugar 

2 tbls Golden syrup 

1 small tin condensed milk

4 or 5 oz chocolate approx

Place butter & sugar and syrup in saucepan and allow the sugar to dissolve slowly, (without burning), stir continuously, then add the tin of condensed milk. Bring to the boil and continue roll boil till a soft dropping toffee consistency is reached. (Test a drop in very cold water)

Allow to cool slightly then pour over base. Set aside to set and cool to almost cold ( you need enough warmth to allow time to spread choc easily and evenly) whilst you melt enough chocolate to cover the top. Cover Allow to set then mark off into fingers or squares. When cold cut the squares and serve or store in an airtight container

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Tablet top of page

 Makes about 700g/1½ lbs


500g/1lb 2 oz granulated sugar

170ml/6 fl oz water

60g/2oz butter

45ml/3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk


Put all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer it until it reaches the soft ball stage (see note below), or measures 116C/240F on a sugar thermometer

Remove the pan from the heat and set it on a board.  Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes and then beat it with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes, until it becomes opaque.  Pour it into a buttered 18x28cm / 7x11 in tin.  Mark it into squares before it sets.

Note: To test for soft ball, drop a little of the mixture into a cup of cold water and let it cool for a few minutes.  It should roll into a soft ball between your finger and thumb.

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Raspberry Crumble Bars top of page


4 oz (125g) butter or margarine

4 oz (125g) soft brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

6 oz (175g) whole meal (T80) or white (T55)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

6 oz (175g) oats

8 tbsp raspberry jam, jelly or another jam, jelly 


Cream butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until fluffy.  Add vanilla essence

Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda and oats, add to butter/sugar mixture.  Mix well with fingers until consistency resembles breadcrumbs

Press half of the crumbs into a greased 13”x9” approx. (32cm x 32cm) baking tray

Spread with jam or jelly, and crumble the remaining mixture on top. Press very lightly

Bake at 400F (200C or gas 6) in a pre-heated oven for 20 - 25 minutes.

Allow to cool then cut into bars

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Veg Ideas top of page
  1. Creamed Sugar Snap Peas and New Potatoes

  2. Leeks baked with cheese


Creamed Sugar Snap Peas and New Potatoes


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onions, white parts only
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable broth
3/4 pound new potatoes (red or white skinned), scrubbed well and boiled in salted water until just tender, drain and set aside
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed and cut into 1/2″ wide cylinders
1/3 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/4 cup thinly sliced spring onion tops


In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the olive oil and melt the butter on medium heat. When the butter foams, add the spring onion slices, and cook, stirring, until they turn golden.

Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions turn light tan, then deglaze the pan with the sherry, stirring while the alcohol boils off. Add the stock or broth, bring to a boil and stir in the potatoes and the peas, and the cream.

Stir well, and cook until the peas turn bright green, and the sauce reduces until it coats the potatoes nicely. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in mint and spring onion tops.

Serve immediately.

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