06 August 14

Raspberry and Vanilla Cake

Quite often I get asked to bake birthday cakes for guests, which I enjoy doing. I do love a good bit of cake myself and if it’s not a rich dark triple chocolate number, then I do quite like making a tasty raspberry and vanilla cake.

My secret to creating this really delicious cake is a few key ingredients, including good-quality unsalted butter, fresh ripe raspberries and large free-range eggs, all of which contribute to the overall colour and depth of flavour. My final special touch is vanilla seeds freshly scraped from a vanilla pod and these add a touch of sophistication to this tremendous and tasty cake.

My feeling always is that if I’m going to do something, then I had better do it well. It’s quite expensive in terms of making a good cake, but in my opinion, cheap ingredients equal a tasteless product.

For the filling, I


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29 July 14

Peach Melba Cordial

Some fabulous fresh peaches and raspberries arrived by the back door with my daily vegetable delivery today; their smell is something rather special. OK, so I must admit that peaches here in the UK do not have the same flavour and scent as back home (in South Africa), but with the heat today, the fruits have ripened that bit quicker and they smell absolutely amazing.

Seeing the two together, I could not resist trying this classic combination for peaches and raspberries. It reminds me of the popular Peach Melba, where traditionally, poached peaches are served with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. This popular dessert was created by Escoffier in 1892 for the opera singer Nellie Melba. What a combination and what a triumph that after all these years we still use the flavour profile and refer to it, so it’s never gone out of fashion!

I have used the


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22 July 14

Chilled Cucumber, Yoghurt and Horseradish Soup

This recipe reminds me of lazy hot summer days. It’s refreshing and thirst-quenching. It’s also dead simple to make as it requires no cooking whatsoever, just a bit of chopping, chilling and a bit of time (not the herb!), so it can be rustled up quickly. Once made, the soup is then left to marinate in the fridge for several hours before serving. It’s an excellent choice as it requires minimum effort to make, but delivers maximum flavour and appeal. Serve it in chilled cups, glasses or bowls, or alternatively try serving it as a chilled sauce with pan-fried mackerel or poached salmon.

I add a touch of creamed horseradish to this recipe, which I use as a seasoning to accentuate the freshness of the cucumber. If you have fresh horseradish to hand, then use double the amount for a good flavour.

I absolutely adore fresh herbs and they are


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17 July 14

Haddock Fishcakes with Parsley Sauce

These fishcakes are not what you would expect traditional fishcakes to be like. Firstly, they are large fishcakes (one served per portion) that are easy to prepare and make a filling meal that looks spectacular too. Secondly, these fishcakes are ‘naked’ which means they’re gluten-free. So, all good reasons to prepare this delicious recipe for your friends and family.

For this recipe, I use a mixture of smoked and natural (unsmoked) haddock, as I personally quite like the flavour of smoked haddock but find it a little too overpowering on its own in a recipe like this. However, you don’t have to use smoked fish if you are not so keen on it. Other alternatives and combinations that would work just as well are fresh salmon mixed with smoked salmon, fresh mackerel mixed with smoked mackerel, or simply cod or even sea trout.

To make these fishcakes, firstly a small


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