Quick Bites TO SUCCESSFUL COOKING
How to make:
BATTER: Use for both fruits such as
bananas and apples as well as vegetables; courgettes, mushrooms,
peppers and aubergines. Sift 1/2 cup cake flour and 1/4 tsp salt into a
bowl. Whisk 1 large egg, add 125 ml flat beer and 1 tbsp melted butter.
Stir into flour mixture with a wooden spoon, then whisk lightly until
batter is smooth. Cover bowl with a dish towel and leave batter at room
temperature for about 1 hour, or until slightly foamy. Just before
using batter, whisk 1 large egg white until it holds its shape. Fold
into batter, using a metal spoon or spatula.
WHOLE WHEAT BREAD: Place 1 kg wholewheat
flour in a large mixing bowl, add 2 cups digestive bran, stir together.
Sprinkle 3 tsp active dried yeast into 1 cup warm water (1 part
boiling: 3 parts cold) add 1 tsp sugar and allow to stand until the
yeast begins to form a frothy head. Add 30 ml vegetable oil, 30 ml
honey, 1 tsp salt and slowly add yeast mixture and +-750 ml warm water.
Stir, using a wooden spoon, to mix thoroughly. Stop adding water when
the mixture is of a dropping consistency. When thoroughly mixed, spoon
into three 450 ml bread pans. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp sunflower seeds and
2 tbsp sesame seeds before baking. Cover with a tea towel and leave to
rise for approximately 1 hour. When the mixture has puffed and risen
(never the same as white bread dough) immediately place in a 180 C oven
and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes. When golden brown remove
loaves, gently prise away from the sides of the pans and turn out onto
a wire rack to cool.
CRUSTY WHITE BREAD: Mix
10 g active dried yeast with 1 tsp sugar and 100 ml warm water. Leave
until frothy. Mix 750 g cake flour with 2 tsp salt. Stir in the yeast
mixture and 400 ml water to make a very soft dough. Turn out onto a
thoroughly floured board (use the remaining flour). Knead until satiny
smooth, dimpled and soft. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a
clean cloth, set aside to double (rising time varies). Punch down
(knead again) until smooth. Shape into loaves and place in well-oiled
bread or non-stick pans. Cover with a cloth and set aside to rise for
30-40 minutes. Slash across tops of loaves. Mix 30 ml warm water with 1
tsp salt and brush loaves. Place on a rack in centre of oven and bake
at 180 C for 1 hour, until risen and golden brown. Remove from oven.
Cool for a few minutes, carefully ease loaves out of pans and cool
completely on a wire rack. To test a loaf it should sound hollow when
- Blend 4 tbsp butter with a small bunch watercress (blanched in
boiling water and refreshed in cold water, drained thoroughly and
squeezed until dry, then finely chopped), 1 tsp mustard powder, 5 ml
lemon juice, salt and milled pepper to taste. Pack into little pots or
shape into a roll, roll up in foil and chill until firm. Just before
serving, slice and place pats of watercress butter on steaks, lamb
cutlets or large grilled black mushrooms. Garlic & Lemon - 125 g
butter (room temperature), 4-6 plump cloves garlic crushed, 2 tsp
powdered mustard, zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp sea salt and freshly milled
pepper to taste. Process all the ingredients together until creamy and
taste. You may wish to add more garlic and try a hint of dried chilli
flakes to add a little bite.
CHICKEN STOCK: Place
500 g well-washed and trimmed chicken necks and gizzards, 2 peeled
carrots, 4 bay leaves, 3-4 whole cloves, 2 celery stalks, 1 onion and
1,5 litres water in a slow cooker and cook overnight on low. The next
morning, strain and skim off any fat that has formed on the surface.
Refrigerate or freeze the stock until needed. If you don't have a slow
cooker, simmer (liquid barely bubbling) these ingredients in a large,
heavy- based saucepan on top of the stove, over low heat, for 2-3 hours.
CHOCOLATE COFFEE SAUCE: Break
250 g dark table chocolate, add 80 ml strong black coffee, 1/4 tsp
powdered cinnamon and 2 tbsp butter cut into small pieces, gently melt
stirring constantly. Finally add 2-3 tbsp cream. Serve piping hot.
CRÈME FRAICHE: Heat
500 ml heavy cream over low heat to exactly 37 C. Add 2 tbsp butter or
sour cream and mix well. Place in a covered jar and stand at room
temperature for 6-8 hours. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before
serving. The crème fraiche will become thick like sour cream. It can be
kept refrigerated in a tightly covered jar for 2-3 weeks.
CUSTARD SAUCE: Heat
500 ml milk to lukewarm in top of double boiler over simmering water.
Whisk 4 extra-large eggs and 4 tbsp sugar in a bowl until thick. Add
milk and 5 ml vanilla essence. Return to double boiler and stir with a
wooden spoon over low heat until thick enough to coat back of spoon. To
prevent a skin forming on top while the custard is standing, sprinkle
the surface with a little sugar. Gentle reheating will dissolve the
sugar. Serve hot or cold.
EGGS: Whisk 6 eggs together
with 3-4 tbsp full-cream milk. You can add 1 tbsp cream (optional).
Using a small non-stick saucepan (never a large pan), melt 2 tbsp
butter, add eggs, stir constantly using a wooden spoon, sprinkle with
sea salt and freshly milled pepper. Continue stirring for a second or
two and serve on heated plates. Tip: The eggs should still be creamy
when removed from the saucepan do not allow to dry.
chicken. Crumble 3 slices soft white bread and place in a bowl. Heat 60
ml vegetable oil in a pan and sauté 1 diced onion until translucent.
Add 1 washed and diced gizzard (optional) and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add 4 trimmed chicken livers (membranes and any black or green spots
removed) and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the grated peel of 1 lemon, 1
tsp mustard powder, 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 1 tsp dried or 4
sprigs fresh sage, chopped, salt and milled black pepper and stir-fry
for 1 minute. Spoon over crumbs. Mix lightly with a fork. Whisk 1 small
egg with 10 ml milk and add just enough to moisten the mixture. Spoon
loosely into the chicken body cavity (the stuffing swells during
roasting) and truss chicken.
BACON AND SAUSAGE STUFFING:
For turkey. Fry 250 g rindless streaky bacon,
chopped until crisp and crumble into a bowl. Sauté 2 onions, finely
chopped in the same pan and stir in 2 cups soft breadcrumbs. Add bacon.
Mix with 3 granny smith apples, cooked and pureed, grated peel of 2
oranges, 500 g pork sausage meat, 5 ml (1 tsp) sage, thyme or marjoram
leaves, 5 ml (1 tsp) powdered mustard, salt and milled pepper. Stuff
the neck and stomach cavities loosely, to allow for expansion during
GARLIC TOASTS: Separate
and peel 3 whole garlic bulbs. Boil in 500 ml salted water for 15
minutes, then simmer (water barely bubbling) until soft. Drain garlic
and either puree in a blender or food processor or press through a
sieve. Mix garlic puree with 60 ml olive oil and season with salt.
Slice 1 small French loaf (baguette) and toast on one side. Spread
garlic puree on untoasted side. Toast under grill until golden brown.
Float on soups or serve on top of a casserole.
GRAVY: Simply add
125 ml white wine and 30-45 ml hot water to the pan juices. Heat
through, stir thoroughly remove, strain and cool. Skim off any fat.
Spoon gravy over sliced lamb.
GREEN BEANS: Place
trimmed green beans uncovered in boiling water for 5-8 minutes
(depending on thickness), then drain and rinse them in ice-cold eater.
Season and set aside. Reheat beans when ready to serve, add olive oil
and season. Toss to coat well.
VANILLA ICE CREAM: In a saucepan, combine 185 g sugar, 90 ml water
and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar. Bring to the boil and cook until syrup
spins a little golden thread. Whisk 6 extra large egg yolks until
fluffy and gradually add syrup, beating constantly until mixture
thickens and turns a pale cream colour. Scrape pulp from a 5 cm vanilla
bean and add to eggs with 1 litre thick cream. Stir until mixture is
thoroughly blended. Chill and freeze in either a bowl or a refrigerator
MARINADE: 2 small onions, finely
chopped, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 8 cloves garlic,
crushed, 2 tsp grated lemon peel, 250 ml natural yoghurt, 1 tsp milled
black pepper, 125 ml olive oil, 2 tsp paprika, 60 ml olive oil for
brushing. Mix ingredients in a bowl. Marinate lamb or beef for 2 hours,
MAYONNAISE: a rich, delicious sauce served
plain with fish, eggs, meat or salad, and can be varied with
flavourings of lemon, garlic, mustard, fresh herbs or spinach.
Hand-made mayonnaise takes time and a little patience, but a blender,
mixer or food processor will make it in seconds. Blend 2 extra large
egg yolks, 4 tsp pure wine vinegar, pinch salt, milled black pepper to
taste, 1 clove garlic, crushed and 1 tsp mustard powder until thick and
frothy. Slowly add 250 ml vegetable oil or half vegetable and half good
olive oil, drop by drop at the very beginning, but as mayonnaise begins
to thicken, add a steady trickle. When mayonnaise is thick, smooth
and creamy, you can add a little more vinegar or lemon juice to sharpen
the flavour. Use immediately or refrigerate sealed.
MINT SAUCE: For roast lamb. Pick mint fresh from your garden, or
buy the freshest you can find, and pick out any dry or wilted bits- the
mint must be really fresh. Wash the leaves thoroughly and chop them
very finely with a sharp knife. Blend with 125 ml good wine vinegar or
apple cider vinegar and 2 tsp sugar, or to taste, as well as a little
salt and milled pepper.
There are three basic measuring aids; the one is
an accurate, medium sized scale, the second is a set of metricated
measuring cups and the third is a standard set of metricated measuring
spoons. However, failing this you could use a breakfast cup,
tablespoons and teaspoons, but do use the same measures throughout the
recipe. For baking though, it is essential to use accurate measures.
Whisk 4 egg whites with a pinch of salt and 1/4
tsp cream of tartar until stiff. Gradually beat in 250 g castor sugar a
tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until the meringue is stiff and
glossy. Grease and lightly flour baking sheets or line with foil. Drop
teaspoons of the meringue onto the baking sheets. Bake in a very cool
oven 130 C for about 2 hours, then turn off the heat and allow to
remain in the oven for 4-5 hours, until thoroughly dry. Remove and peel
of the foil (if used).
MUSHROOMS: Stir-fry 500 g thickly
sliced black mushrooms in 4 tbsp heated butter with 1 tsp chopped
garlic for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle a scant 1 tsp cornflour, 1 tsp mustard
powder, a little salt and pepper and 1 tsp dried tarragon over. Gently
stir in 60 ml cream, and stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
SAUCE: Melt 2
tbsp butter in a small saucepan and remove from stove. Stir in 1 tbsp
flour using a wooden spoon. Gradually pour in 250 ml milk, stirring
constantly. Return to stove and stir over moderate heat until thickens
and boils. Reduce temperature to low and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add 1
tsp prepared hot mustard, 1 tbsp mustard powder, salt and milled black
pepper to taste 60 ml cream. Prepare in advance and reheat before
OMELET: Break 2-3
extra-large eggs into a mixing bowl and beat with a fork to break them
up. Add 30 ml water, salt and pepper and continue beating for 20-30
seconds, or until lightly blended. Add 1 tbsp butter to hot pan; it
should be foaming immediately. Swirl around to coat the base. Pour in
eggs and quickly swirl the mixture around - this blends some of the
butter into the eggs. While eggs are still creamy add filling. As eggs
cook, pull away to allow uncooked mixture to run into its place, where
it will start cooking immediately. Tilt the pan away from you, start
folding the edge of the omelet towards the centre, then flip the
omelets. By now the omelet should be ready for you to slide it gently
onto a heated plate.
PESTO: This superb sauce hails
from Genoa in Italy. Freshly made at the height of summer, it will be
at its fragrant best. Wash 100 g fresh basil leaves and process
together with 125 ml olive oil, 25 g pine nuts for the best flavour,
sea salt, 2 plump cloves garlic until smooth. Stir in 2 tbsp grated
Pecorino, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Pulse once to just incorporate the
cheeses. Serve on freshly made pasta or piping hot potatoes. It is also
divine with grilled line fish or spooned over freshly sliced tomatoes.
Sift 150 g cake flour and pinch salt into a mixing
bowl. Make a well in the centre, add an extra large egg and egg yolk,
gradually stir in 375 ml milk drawing the flour from the sides as you
do so. Using a whisk, electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat the mixture
until smooth. Fold in 30 ml melted butter or vegetable oil, set aside
for up to 1 hour before making the pancakes. Just cover the base of the
pan with vegetable oil for frying, pouring off the surplus into a jug
to keep for further greasing.
HOT POTATO SALAD: Boil
4-6 large potatoes in their jackets until tender but still firm enough
to cut. Cool and peel. Slice potatoes thickly and layer into a shallow
dish. Whisk 125 ml olive oil, 1 tsp creamed mustard and 60 ml lemon
juice, add salt and milled pepper to taste to make a dressing. Pour a
little dressing over the first layer of potatoes, sprinkle with fresh
marjoram leaves, chopped chives or spring onions tops. Continue
layering potatoes and herbs, end with chopped chives or spring onions.
Add more dressing, if necessary - the potatoes will absorb it very
quickly, the salad should be quite moist.
Peel and cube 4 large potatoes and place in a
saucepan with 250 ml boiling water, (1 tsp) salt and 8-10 peeled whole
garlic cloves. Cover tightly and bring to the boil again. Turn heat
down to very low and cook until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
Mash well, adding 30 ml olive oil gradually until potatoes are of a
OVEN ROASTED POTATOES: Peel
and quarter potatoes. Parboil for 10-15 minutes, drain and remove from
saucepan. Sprinkle with salt, milled black pepper, olive oil, crushed
garlic, and oregano sprigs. Place in a roasting pan directly under meat
and roast with meat, turning once for crisp roast potatoes. Continue
browning for a little longer, after removing the meat, if necessary.
quick simple tapenade perfect to serve with toasted crusty slices of
bread. Process 500 g stoned ripe black olives, 3 anchovy fillets, 2-3
tbsp tuna in oil, drained, 1 tbsp capers and 1 tsp mustard powder
together until you have a fairly smooth mixture, slowly add 2-3 tbsp
olive oil (as you would when making a mayonnaise) taste you may need a
little dash of sea salt.
with roast lamb, beef dishes or eggs. Slice tops and bases off
tomatoes. Place tomatoes in a roasting pan with 125 ml water and
sprinkle them generously with salt, milled black pepper, sugar, olive
oil and crushed garlic. Scatter grated lemon peel and bay leaves over
with fresh or dried lemon thyme, oregano or basil. Bake at 180 C for
8-10 minutes or until just softened. Spoon pan juices over tomatoes and
grill until lightly charred on top.
Sauté 1 large chopped onion, 3 cloves garlic, crushed and celery
stalks, thinly sliced in 30 ml olive oil until soft but not brown. Add
750 g ripe skinned and chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp dried or 6-8 fresh basil
leaves, chopped, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 sprig rosemary, pinch chilli paste, 2
tsp sugar, salt and milled pepper, 60 ml white wine, 125 ml water.
Simmer, covered, over moderate heat for 45 minutes or until vegetables
are soft and liquid has almost evaporated. Pour half into a food
processor, puree and return to saucepan.
CHILLED FRESH TOMATO SAUCE:
(2) Excellent with grilled fish. Mix 3
tomatoes, diced, 30 ml olive oil, 1/2 tsp prepared mustard, 1 tsp
sugar, 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil,
freshly milled coriander seeds to taste, milled pepper and salt. Chill
until ready to serve.
WHITE SAUCE: Perfect for pasta dishes.
Add 1 tsp mustard powder, 3 bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme or oregano or 1
tsp dried, 1 sprig parsley, 2 slices onion and 1 strip lemon peel to 1
litre milk. Heat milk until it is almost boiling. Remove the saucepan
from the stove, strain the milk through a fine sieve and set aside.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small heavy based saucepan until foaming.
Remove from the stove and stir in a generous 2 tbsp cornflour briskly,
using a wooden spoon, until incorporated. Return the saucepan to the
stove and stir constantly over low heat until the butter and flour
thicken to form a paste (roux). Remove from the stove. Pour in the hot
strained milk in a steady stream, beat vigorously using a balloon whisk
to blend thoroughly. Simmer (barely bubbling) over moderate heat,
whisking constantly, until the sauce starts to boil. Allow to boil for
1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula or spoon. Remove
from the stove.
a white sauce and add 1 tsp butter, salt and milled black pepper and
whisk briskly for a second or two, until thick and shiny. Add 1 cup
grated mature cheddar cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese has
SALAD DRESSING: Chop
2 fat cloves garlic coarsely, using a sharp, flat bladed knife.
Continue chopping the garlic until it is fine, gradually incorporating
1/2 tsp sea salt. Alternatively you could crush the garlic in a garlic
press (omit the salt). Add 1 tsp mustard powder, salt and milled black
pepper and 30 ml pure wine vinegar to the garlic and mix well. Add 125
ml cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil in a slow, steady stream,
whisking constantly to incorporate it well. Taste the dressing and add
extra salt and pepper if necessary.
SCONES: Sift 500
g flour, 4 tbsp castor sugar, 4 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt
into a bowl. Rub 125 g butter with fingertips until mixture resembles
fine crumbs. Beat 250 ml milk and 2 large eggs and add slowly to
the dry mixture, folding in with a wooden spoon. (Reserve a little
liquid to brush scones with.) When the dough has a soft, moist
consistency, turn out onto a well floured board and shape and pat
gently into squares or cut out rounds with a scone cutter. Brush the
tops with the reserved liquid. Place on baking sheets or on oiled foil.
Bake in a moderately hot oven 200 C for 10-12 minutes, until golden.
Remove and sprinkle with sugar if liked. (Makes about 24
Dice 1-2 pickled gherkins and mix with 2 tsp
capers, 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, 1 tsp dried or 1 sprig fresh
tarragon, 1-2 tbsp diced onion and a few finely chopped green or black
olives. Fold into mayonnaise.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Remove giblets, clean and
wash turkey inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Smooth 2 tbsp
butter under the breast skin. Melt 3 tbsp butter and brush over entire
turkey. Mix 1 1/2 tsp mustard powder, 1 1/2 tsp flour, salt and pepper
and pat all over turkey. Place turkey breast side up in a shallow ridge
pan. Cut a piece of foil larger than the turkey and fold a crease
lengthways down the centre. Cover turkey with foil to form a tent.
Roast turkey for the calculated time (weigh turkey and allow 25 minutes
for every 500 g and an extra 20 minutes at the end), removing the foil
for the last 30 minutes of roasting to brown the skin. Remove the
turkey from the oven, transfer it to a serving dish and keep it warm
while making the gravy.