Pumpkin pie

Prep:40 mins
Cook:1 hr and 30 mins
Plus chilling
More effort
Serves 8

Ingredients
750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunk
350g sweet shortcrust pastry
plain flour, for dusting
140g caster sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
25g butter, melted
175ml milk
1 tbsp icing sugar

Steps
1. Place the pumpkin in a large Cooks professional cast iron pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins or until tender. Drain pumpkin; let cool.
2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 15 mins. Line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is pale golden and biscuity. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
3. Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. Mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine. Pour into the tart shell and cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Continue to bake for 35-40 mins until the filling has just set.
4. Leave to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled.

James Bond’s Vesper Martini

Prep:3 mins
Cook:0 mins
Total:3 mins
Serving:1 serving
Yield:1 cocktail

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc, or dry vermouth
  • Lemon peel, for garnish

Steps
1. Gather the ingredients.
2. In a Cooks Professional coacktail shaker, combine gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc or dry vermouth.
3. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4.Garnish with a large piece of lemon peel. Serve and enjoy.

Lemon Curd

Ingredients
Makes about 1⅓ cups
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits

Step 1 – Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.
Step 2 – Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.
Note*Curd can be chilled up to 1 week.

Grilled Zucchini and Bulgur Salad With Feta and Preserved-Lemon Dressing

Ingredients
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup coarse-grind bulgur
¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
2 lb. zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 Tbsp. preserved lemon paste (such as NY Shuk)
2 tsp. honey
1 garlic clove, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
7 oz. Greek feta, crumbled
½ cup coarsely chopped parsley
½ cup torn mint leaves
Lemon wedges (for serving)

Step 1 – Toast walnuts in a dry Cooks Professional skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Coarsely chop.

Step 2 – Wipe out skillet and toast bulgur, stirring often, until a shade darker and starting to smell like popcorn, about 3 minutes. Add ¼ tsp. salt and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently until liquid is almost completely evaporated, 8–10 minutes. Cover skillet and remove from heat. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Step 3 – Prepare a grill for high heat. (Or, heat a grill pan over high.) Trim ends of zucchini; slice lengthwise into long ¼”-thick planks. Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and arrange zucchini in a single layer on rack (you can also do this in a large bowl if you don’t have a wire rack). Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Toss zucchini, rubbing with your hands, to coat completely with oil.

Step 4 – Grill zucchini, undisturbed, until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. Turnover and grill on other side until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. Return to wire rack (or a colander set in a bowl) to drain; let cool slightly, Transfer to a cutting board and slice on a diagonal into 1″ pieces.

Step 5 – Whisk preserved lemon paste, honey, garlic, and remaining ¼ cup oil in a large bowl to combine; season with pepper (lemon paste and feta should make it salty enough). Add bulgur and feta and toss to combine. Set some of zucchini, parsley, and mint aside for serving, then add remaining zucchini and herbs to salad; toss gently to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Step 6 – Transfer salad to a platter. Top with reserved zucchini and herbs. Scatter walnuts over. Serve salad with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Leg of Lamb

Ingredients

1 shank-end, half-bone-in leg of lamb, 4 or 5 pounds

6 large garlic cloves

1½ teaspoons dried lavender flowers

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1½ tablespoons finely ground sea salt

2 tablespoons mixed peppercorns

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon herbes de Provence

Method

Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 450°F. If the butcher has not already removed the fell (parchmentlike membrane) from the lamb leg, trim it away along with all excess fat. Using the tip of a sharp knife, make 15 or so small incisions in the leg, spacing them evenly.

Step 2 – Place the garlic, lavender, and thyme in a Cooks Professional food processor and pulse until you have a thick paste. Poke a bit of the paste into each of the incisions in the lamb. Place the salt, peppercorns, dried rosemary, and herbes de Provence in a spice grinder and pulse until you have a coarse mix. Rub the mix all over the lamb, covering it evenly. Place the lamb on a rack in a Cooks Professional roasting pan.

Step 3 – Roast the lamb for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F and continue to roast for about 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part away from the bone registers 130°F for rare, 140° to 145°F for medium-rare, or 160°F for well-done. Cooking times will vary depending on the shape of the lamb and the consistent heat of your oven. Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Step 4 – Carve the lamb parallel to the bone in long, thin slices and arrange the slices on a platter. Transfer the warm sauce to a sauceboat and serve immediately.

Frozen watermelon margarita

Frozen Watermelon Margarita Recipe - Food.com
  • Prep:10 mins
  • plus overnight freezing
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

Remember to put the watermelon in the freezer the night before to make these frozen margaritas. They’re ideal for a summer garden party

Ingredients

  • 800g watermelon, cut into cubes (prepared weight)
  • 125ml tequila
  • 75ml triple sec
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced, plus a wedge for the rim
  • 2 tsp honey

For the garnish

  • 4 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes

Method

  • STEP 1– Put the watermelon pieces in a freezeproof container and freeze overnight until solid. The next day, prepare the garnish for the rim of each glass. Combine the sea salt flakes, sugar, chilli flakes and lime zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • STEP 2– When you want to serve, put the frozen watermelon, tequila, triple sec, lime juice and honey in a Cooks Professional 1000w Food Processor or NutriBlend 1000w and blitz until smooth. Run a lime wedge around the rims of four glasses, then dip in the garnish mix. Pour the drink into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Slow-cooker vegetable lasagne

Slow cooker vegetable lasagne | BBC Good Food Middle East
  • Prep:30 mins
  • Cook:2 hrs and 30 mins – 3 hrs
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

Make this low-calorie veggie lasagne as a lighter alternative to the traditional bake. It’s layered with pasta, ratatouille and sliced aubergine, and packs in all of your five-a-day

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large courgettes, diced (400g)
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly sliced
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • 15g fresh basil, chopped plus a few leaves
  • 1 large aubergine, sliced across length or width for maximum surface area
  • 6 wholewheat lasagne sheets (105g)
  • 125g vegetarian buffalo mozzarella, chopped

Method

  • STEP 1-Heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a Cooks Professional Salute Pan and fry 2 sliced onions and 2 chopped large garlic cloves for 5 mins, stirring frequently until softened.
  • STEP 2-Tip in 2 diced large courgettes, 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, both roughly sliced, and 400g chopped tomatoes with 2 tbsp tomato purée, 2 tsp vegetable bouillon and 15g chopped basil.
  • STEP 3-Stir well, cover and cook for 5 mins. Don’t be tempted to add more liquid as plenty of moisture will come from the vegetables once they start cooking.
  • STEP 4-Slice 1 large aubergine. Lay half the slices of aubergine in the base of the slow cooker and top with 3 sheets of lasagne.
  • STEP 5-Add a third of the ratatouille mixture, then the remaining aubergine slices, 3 more lasagne sheets, then the remaining ratatouille mixture.
  • STEP 6-Cover and cook on High for 2½ – 3 hours until the pasta and vegetables are tender. Turn off the machine.
  • STEP 7-Scatter 125g vegetarian buffalo mozzarella over the vegetables then cover and leave for 10 mins to settle and melt the cheese.
  • STEP 8-Scatter with extra basil and serve with a handful of rocket.

Vegan birthday cake

Plant-based diet recipes - BBC Good Food
  • Prep:1 hr
  • Cook:30 mins
  • plus cooling and 1½ -2½ hrs chilling
  • More effort
  • Serves 16-20

Bake a plant-based version of a chocolate fudge cake for a birthday party. Everyone can enjoy it, including guests who have a dairy intolerance or egg allergies

Ingredients

  • 320ml sunflower oil , plus extra for the tins
  • 450ml soy , almond or coconut milk (the pouring variety, not a can)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 500g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 260g plain soy or coconut yogurt
  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 160g cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the vegan buttercream

  • 200g dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 400g vegan spread , at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 800g icing sugar , sifted
  • colourful sprinkles (make sure they are suitable for vegans)

Method

  • STEP 1– Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil three 20cm round cake tins and line the bases and sides with baking parchment (if you don’t have three tins, cook the batter in batches). Whisk the milk and vinegar together in a jug – the milk should curdle slightly. Set aside.
  • STEP 2– Whisk the sugar, oil and vanilla extract together in a bowl, then whisk in the yogurt, making sure to break down any sugar lumps. Pour in the soured milk and mix well.
  • STEP 3– Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ½ tsp salt into a separate bowl and stir well to combine. Gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until you have a smooth batter, but be careful not to over-mix.
  • STEP 4– Divide the batter evenly between the tins and bake for 25-30 mins, until well risen and springy, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out almost clean. A few sticky crumbs are fine, but the mixture should not be wet.
  • STEP 5– Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 20 mins, then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack  to cool completely. They will be delicate so be gentle (a cake lifter is helpful). The sponges will keep, covered, at room temperature for up to two days.
  • STEP 6– For the vegan buttercream, melt the chocolate in the microwave a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool. Beat the spread and vanilla on high speed in a Cooks Professional Stand Mixer or a few minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar gradually, beating on slow to start with, then turning up the speed to max until the mixture is light and creamy. Pour in the cooled chocolate and combine thoroughly. Chill the buttercream for at least 30 mins before using.
  • STEP 7– To assemble the cake, first use a sharp knife to trim the tops off the sponges to make them level. Put one of the sponges on a serving plate, cake stand or 20cm round cake drum (using a cake drum makes it easier to ice the cake neatly and to move it onto a stand or plate later). Spread over a layer of the buttercream, using a palette knife to get an even, neat finish. Top with the second sponge and spread over another layer of buttercream.
  • STEP 8– Top with the last sponge upside-down, so the bottom of the cake becomes the top (this will help to keep the icing neat and relatively crumb-free). Spread the sides of the cake with buttercream. Hold the top sponge steady with a palm if you need to stabilise the cake. Once you have the sides covered as neatly as you can, cover the top with a thin layer of buttercream. Use your palette knife to neaten the top and sides. If you have a side scraper, use it to sweep around the sides and top to sharpen the coating. (This is a crumb coat, trapping any crumbs to give you a neat, firm base.) Put the cake in the fridge to firm up and chill for 1-2 hrs.
  • STEP 9– To finish, cover the sides and top of the cake in the same manner, using most of the remaining buttercream. Press the sprinkles up against the bottom of the cake, about a quarter to a third of the way up. You can dress the top of the cake with a circle of sprinkles, or for a fancier finish, pipe little swirls around the top edge of the cake using any remaining buttercream scraped into a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle, then finish with more sprinkles.
  • STEP 10– Keep the cake in the fridge to stay firm, then remove 1 hr before serving. Will keep, covered, in the fridge, for up to three days.

Giant pan cookie

Ingredients

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 200g chocolate chips
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5. In a Cooks Professional 1000W stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, then beat until well combined.
  2. Sift over the flour, baking powder and salt, then beat again briefly to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or spatula, then spoon the dough into a Cooks Professional Cast iron pan and press down gently to flatten and spread evenly to the edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden. Top with scoops of ice cream, then dig straight in with your spoons!

Baked Apples

Ingredients:
4 apples
25g butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
50g fresh breadcrumbs
40g mixed seeds
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice

Method
1.Core the apples and score the skin around the circumference with a sharp
knife to stop them from splitting.
2.Combine all the remaining ingredients and carefully stuff the apple cores,
scattering any remaining mix over the apples. Place them in the base of the
air fryer.
3.Select the bake function (180°C – 15 minutes), cook for the duration of the
program or they are slightly collapsed

Bean chilli

Ingredients
Spray oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1 pepper, deseeded and diced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ −½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 x 400g can mixed beans (in water), drained and rinsed
1 x 198g can sweetcorn (salt-free), drained, or 160g frozen sweetcorn
1 x 400g can chopped tomato

Method
1.Coat a large, Sautee pan with spray oil and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and stir for 3 minutes.
2.Add the pepper, cumin, chilli powder and smoked paprika, and stir for another 2−3 minutes, until the peppers start to soften.
3.Add the beans, sweetcorn and chopped tomatoes, and mix thoroughly. Allow to simmer for about 15−20 minutes, reducing the heat if needed.
4.Serve immediately, with wholegrain rice or a baked sweet potato.

Asian prawn noodle salad

Ingredients
teaspoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
350g raw king prawns
300g bean sprouts
300g ready-cooked rice noodles
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
1 red pepper, finely sliced
200g sugar snap peas, sliced
Large handful fresh mint, finely chopped
2 limes, juice and zest
1 tablespoon reduced-salt soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½–1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Small piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
25g unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)

Method
1.Heat the oil in a Cooks Professional copper wok over a medium heat and cook the garlic for 1 minute. Add the prawns and cook for 3 minutes, or until the prawns are pink and cooked through. Add the bean sprouts and cook for a further 1 minute then remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
2.Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to packet instructions, drain and leave to cool.
3.Add the carrots, pepper, sugar snap peas and mint to the noodles along with the prawn mixture.
4.In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice and zest, soy sauce, fish sauce, chilli and ginger. Toss through the salad and garnish with peanuts. Serve immediately or chill until ready to eat.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries

Makes 10-12 slices
Crust:
1/3 cup butter (about 3 oz)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup muscovado sugar

Filling
1 lb yogurt cheese (please see note)
1 lb mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp honey
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 lb good quality white chocolate
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

To serve:
1 ½ lbs fresh strawberries
2-3 tbsp granulated sugar/natural cane sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).

To prepare the pan, wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with aluminum foil, shiny side out. Coat the inside with vegetable oil spray. For ease of serving, invert the bottom of the pan, so the lip around the edge faces downward, and lock in place. Select a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the pan and place a paper towel in it. Bring a kettle of water to boil. Set aside.

To prepare the crust, cut the butter into smaller pieces and melt over low heat. Let it cool slightly. In a medium bowl, combine the oats and the sugar. Add the cooled melted butter and mix to combine. Transfer the mixture onto the prepared pan and with your hands spread the mixture to cover the base and sides of the pan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until light golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 Fahrenheit (150 Celsius).

To melt the white chocolate, bring a pot of water, about 1/3 high, to a boil and lower the heat. Chop or shave the white chocolate and transfer to a bowl. Place the bowl over the bain marie and allow the white chocolate to melt, stirring once. When melted, remove from the heat and stir with a rubber spatula. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, make sure the cheeses are at room temperature. Beat together the yogurt and mascarpone cheese and honey on low speed until just until incorporated and smooth in your Cooks Professonal 1200W Stabnd Mixer. Scrape the bowl down to ensure everything is combined. On low speed, beat in eggs and egg yolk one at a time. Don’t over mix. Add the melted white chocolate and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Pour into the baked crust and place in a prepared pan.

To bake the cheesecake, pour the hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the cheesecake is golden brown on top but still loose in the center. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Then, carefully transfer the cheesecake to a cooling rack and remove the foil. Then run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan. Let stand for 30 minutes. Refrigerate the cheesecake on the rack until the center is very cold, at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours.
To prepare the strawberries, wash and dry the strawberries, then core and cut them into quarters. Place half of the strawberries in a blender with half of the sugar and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Add more sugar if necessary. Strain the coulis through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Use the back of a small ladle to push the coulis through. Discard the seeds. Transfer to a bowl.

To serve the cheesecake, remove the side of the spring form pan. To cut the cake, dip a sharp knife into a glass of hot water. Shake off the water, away from the cake, and slice. Wipe the blade clean on a paper towel. Dip the knife again into the hot water and make the second cut. Continue the process as you make each cut. Serve the cheesecake with the fresh strawberries and the coulis.


Notes:
To make the yogurt cheese: Line a strainer over a bowl with cheesecloth and add the yogurt. Allow the whey to drain for about 7-8 hours. Make sure that the yogurt cheese is not too dry.

Running the knife around the edge after baking will prevent the cheesecake from cracking at the top.

While using the mixer makes your life easier, you can beat the filing by hand.

Try not to overbeat or over mix the filling most especially after adding the eggs. It will cause the cake to rise and fall, which can cause the top of the cake to crack. The less volume you produce, the less the cake will rise.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted over the flames/oven
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 1 slice firm bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp balasmic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, as per taste
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Roast the pepper either over the flames or in the oven.
  2. Cut roasted pepper into large pieces. In a small skillet toast cumin over low heat, stirring constantly until very fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. In a Cooks Professional 1000W food processor with knife blade attached, process walnuts until ground.
  4. Add rest of the ingredients including pepper and puree until smooth.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and serve with toasted pita bread wedges or lavash.

Cod Baked with Tomatoes and Feta

Makes 4 servings 

Total Time under 1 hour 

Ingredients 

1 lb (500 g) cod fillets 

3 tbsp (approx 45 mL) all-purpose flour 

2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil 

1 cup (250 mL) crumbled feta cheese (about ¼ lb/125 g) 

1 onion, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

1 sweet green pepper, chopped 

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) tomatoes 

½ cup (125 mL) pitted black olives 

½ tsp (2 mL) dried oregano 

Pinch hot pepper flakes 

Pinch granulated sugar 

2 tbsp (25 mL) minced fresh parsley 

Salt and pepper 

Instructions 

1.Cut cod into serving-size portions; pat dry. Dredge lightly in flour. 

2.In large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; brown cod lightly on both sides. Arrange in 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish; sprinkle with feta. Set aside. 

3.Pour remaining oil into skillet; cook onion, garlic and green pepper, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing with fork; stir in olives, oregano, hot pepper flakes and sugar. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 10 minutes. 

4.Add parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over fish. (Dish can be prepared to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. Add 5 minutes to baking time.) Bake, uncovered, in 375°F (190°C) oven for about 15 minutes or until bubbly. 

Fettuccine with Butter and Cheese

Makes 4 to 8 servings 

Total Time under 15 minutes 

Ingredients 

1½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes 

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving (optional) 

1 pound fresh fettuccine 

Salt 

Instructions 

1.In a large bowl with an Cooks Professional Stand Mixer, beat the butter with the cheese until it forms a smooth cream, about 2 minutes. 

2.Bring at least 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and salt to taste. Stir well. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente, tender yet still firm to the bite. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the butter and cheese and a few tablespoons of the cooking water. 

3.Serve immediately with additional cheese, if desired. 

Healthy slow cooker chicken

Healthy slow cooker chicken

Serves 4 

Total time 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • parsnip, peeled and cut into 1.5cm/5/8in pieces 
  • celery sticks, roughly chopped 
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1.5cm/5/8in pieces 
  • leek, thickly sliced 
  • 400g/14oz potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm/5/8in pieces 
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra to garnish 
  • 1 tbsp finely grated zest from an unwaxed lemon 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Instructions 

1.Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Season the chicken and fry for 6–8 minutes until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a Cooks Professional 6.5L Slow Cooker. 

2.Roughly mash half of the beans with a potato masher, add to the chicken and stir well. 

3.Add the onion, parsnip, celery, carrots, leek and potatoes to the frying pan and stir-fry over a high heat for 6–8 minutes, until lightly coloured all over. Add the ginger, mustard and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute more, then spoon the vegetable mixture, with the remaining beans, over the chicken in the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. 

4.Whisk the tomato purée into the stock and pour into the slow cooker with the tarragon and lemon zest, cover with the lid and cook on high for 3–3½ hours until the chicken is tender. To serve, garnish with chopped tarragon. 

Maple, Mustard, & Orange Chicken

Who can say no to scrumptious sticky chicken smothered in a tasty marinade? Our maple, mustard, and orange chicken is a fantastic midweek meal, or even perfect for a weekend barbecue.

Ingredients

  • 1kg chicken drumsticks

For the marinade

  • 1 large orange, zest only
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp salt

Method

  1. In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients, and use a balloon whisk to mix them all together. In a separate shallow bowl or roasting dish, arrange the chicken drumsticks. Pour over the marinade and allow to marinate overnight in the fridge, or for at least an hour if you didn’t want to prepare the day before.
  2. Preheat your oven to 220℃/200℃ fan/gas mark 7. Place the drumsticks on a wire rack placed over a roasting dish, keeping any excess marinade to one side. Roast the chicken drumsticks for roughly 30 minutes or until cooked through, making sure to turn and baste them with the remaining marinade halfway through cooking.
  3. Serve immediately with a light summer salad, or your favourite side dish of choice.

Lead image: manyakotic via Getty Images.

Dark Chocolate & Ginger Muffins

Dark chocolate and sumptuous ginger combine to create the perfect tea time treat.

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 220ml milk
  • 115g dark brown sugar
  • 85g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
  • 55g cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 pieces stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped, play 2 tbsp syrup from the jar
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 6. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray with the extra butter. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the plain flour, cocoa powder, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the finely chopped stem ginger and the sugar.
  2. Beat together the eggs in a large jug, then beat in the milk, ginger syrup, and melted butter. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients, and pour in the liquid ingredients; mix gently together until combined, but be careful not to overmix.
  3. Spoon the muffin mixture into the prepared muffin tin and cook for 20 minutes of until the muffins are well risen and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with your favourite hot drink for a scrumptious afternoon treat!

Lead image: Ridofranz via Getty Images.

Stir-Fried Eggs with Mushrooms and Zucchini

Serves

Total Time under 1 hour 

Ingredients 

6 large eggs 

2 tsp soy sauce 10 mL 

1 tsp Asian sesame oil 5 mL 

½ tsp salt or to taste 2 mL 

½ tsp freshly ground pepper 2 mL 

2 tbsp vegetable oil 25 mL 

2 tbsp chopped onion 25 mL 

2 tsp chopped garlic 10 mL 

8 oz sliced mushrooms (1 cup/250 mL) 250 g 

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 3 cups) 2 

½ cup red bell pepper strips 125 mL 

3 tbsp chopped green onions 45 mL 

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill 25 mL 

Instructions 

1.In a bowl, whisk together eggs, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. 

 2.Heat a Cooks Professional Copper Wok over high heat. Add vegetable oil and swirl to coat pan. Add onion and garlic and toss well, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. 

 3.Add mushrooms and toss well. Spread into a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for 30 seconds. Toss well. Cook, undisturbed, until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. 

 4.Add zucchini and red pepper and toss well. Cook, tossing often, until mushrooms are tender and zucchini and pepper are tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes more. 

 5.Push vegetables aside. Stir in egg mixture and swirl gently to spread around pan. Cook, undisturbed, for 30 seconds. Gently but quickly stir and scoop to scramble eggs until almost done, about 1 minute. Mix vegetables into eggs as you scramble them, tossing more quickly when they are almost done. When eggs are just cooked, but not dry, remove from heat. Add green onions and dill and toss well. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot or warm. 

Waffles with hot chocolate sauce, fried bananas and ice cream

Waffles with hot chocolate sauce, fried bananas and ice cream

Serves 4 

Total Time 10 to 30 minutes

Ingredients 

For the waffles 

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar 
  • 3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 425ml/15fl oz full-fat milk 
  • 110g/4oz unsalted butter, melted 

For the chocolate sauce 

For the fried bananas 

Instructions 

1.For the waffles, preheat a Cooks Professional Luxury Rotary Waffle Maker to a medium setting and preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Place a large wire rack onto a baking tray and keep it warm. 

2.Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, milk and butter until well combined. 

3.Ladle some of the batter into each well of the waffle maker, close the lid and cook for five minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Repeat the process until the batter is used up. Keep the waffles warm on the baking tray in the oven. 

4.For the hot chocolate sauce, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (ensure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). 

5.In another pan, heat the sugar and 100ml/3½oz water, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. 

6.Stir the sugar syrup into the chocolate until smooth and shiny. 

7.For the fried bananas, heat a frying pan until hot, then melt together the butter and sugar. 

8.Add the bananas and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown all over. 

9.Place the waffles on a plate and top with chocolate sauce and serve the bananas and ice cream on the side. 

Pumpkin Risotto

A punchy dish packed full of flavours, our pumpkin risotto is the perfect midweek meal if you want something delicious in a hurry. Serve with extra sprinklings of parmesan for a hearty meal to fill you and the family up!

Ingredients

  • 300g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 300g arborio risotto rice
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 60ml white wine
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 60g parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ celery stalk
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • 1 small onion, diced

Method

  1. Put the vegetable stock in your Cooks Professional saucepan and simmer over a low heat.
  2. In a clean Cooks Professional saucepan, heat the olive oil. Fry the diced onion, rosemary, and celery until the vegetables soften. Add the rice to the saucepan, making sure to stir it well so that the rice is coated in oil. Add the wine and continue stirring until it evaporates.
  3. Add the prepared pumpkin to the rice and vegetable mixture with a ladle full of stock and cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the stock has been absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and repeat for the next 20 minutes or so, until the rice is cooked.
  4. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the parmesan and butter. Divide the risotto equally between your Cooks Professional bowls and serve with another sprinkling of parmesan. Serve immediately.

Lead image: Mariha-kitchen via Getty Images.

Quick sausage casserole with Savoy cabbage pesto

Serves 4 

Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients 

For the sausage casserole 

For the pesto  

Instrustions  

  1. For the sausage casserole, heat the vegetable oil in a wide, shallow ovenproof pan (or flameproof casserole) over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until crisp and golden-brown, then remove from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.  
  1. Add the sausages to the pan and fry until browned all over, then remove from the pan and set aside to drain with the bacon.  
  1. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery to the pan and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened.  
  1. Add the beans, vinegar and sugar and increase the heat to high. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by half.  
  1. Pour in the wine and the stock and add the bay leaves. Return the bacon and sausages to the casserole. Slice the inner Savoy cabbage leaves (from the pesto ingredients) and stir them into the stew. Stir well and bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by about half, and the casserole has thickened.  
  1. For the pesto, finely chop the remaining Savoy cabbage leaves and put a small handful in a Cooks Professional 1000W Food Processor. Add the parsley, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and half of the olive oil and blend to a rough paste. Add more oil as necessary to loosen the mixture, pulsing the pesto as you add the oil.  
  1. Transfer the pesto to a jug and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  
  1. Blend the bread, lemon zest and the remaining chopped cabbage leaves in the food processor.  
  1. Preheat the grill to a medium setting. When the casserole has cooked, drizzle the pesto all over the surface, then sprinkle over the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle the breadcrumb mixture with a little olive oil. Transfer the casserole to the grill and grill until the crust is toasted and golden-brown. Serve immediately. 

Creamy Pancetta & Mushroom Pasta

Filled with rich aromas to get your mouth watering, our creamy pancetta and mushroom pasta will become a firm favourite weeknight meal. Perfect if you’re short on time midweek and still after a tasty meal!

Ingredients

  • 130g pancetta
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 350g tagliatelle pasta
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 50g parmesan, grated, plus extra to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in your Cooks Professional frying pan. Fry the mushrooms for several minutes until golden and crispy. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for a further minute. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Add the double cream and thyme sprigs, then lower the heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the cream thickens slightly.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, prepare the pasta. Fill your Cooks Professional saucepan with boiling water and a dash of salt, then add the tagliatelle and allow to boil for several minutes until the pasta is cooked. Once cooked, drain the water and add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to make sure it’s well covered in sauce.
  4. Add the parmesan and stir to mix well, then remove from the heat and plate up. Add an extra sprinkling of parmesan to garnish if desired, then serve immediately.

Lead image: Vitaliy Krivchikov via Getty Images.

Raspberry Sorbet

Our simple raspberry sorbet is the perfect sweet treat for those blistering summer days. Treat yourself and your family to this delicious cold dessert when you need to cool down most!

Ingredients

  • 500g raspberries
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 270ml water
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method

  1. In your Cooks Professional saucepan, combine the water and the sugar. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then raise the heat so that the mixture simmers for roughly 5 minutes, or until it has combined into a syrup. Put to one side to cool.
  2. While you’re waiting for the syrup to cool, prepare the raspberries. Add the raspberries and the lemon juice to your Cooks Professional food processor or blender, then blitz until smooth. Strain the raspberry mixture into a bowl, taking care to remove the seeds ready to discard them. Combine the raspberries with the syrup mixture, stirring until well mixed, then pour into a suitable container for freezing.
  3. Freeze the sorbet for roughly an hour and a half, then scrape back into your food processor to mix again to break up any ice crystals. Pour back into the container and freeze again.
  4. Repeat the last step for four hours, freezing the sorbet for an hour before removing it from the freezer to mix again, or until the sorbet is firm but scoopable.

Lead image: Guy45 via Getty Images.

Mango Sorbet

Our refreshing mango sorbet is just the thing you need to cool down on a hot summer’s day. Packed full of fruity flavour, this delicious sorbet is the perfect afternoon treat.

Ingredients

  • 3 large, ripe mangoes
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200ml water
  • Juice of 1 lime

Method

  1. Prepare the mangoes. Use your vegetable peeler to peel the mangoes, then use your Cooks Professional knife to remove as much of the mango flesh as possible from the stone. Add the mango flesh to your Cooks Professional food processor or blender to make the sorbet.
  2. Add the lime juice, sugar, and water to your Cooks Professional appliance and blend for a few minutes until smooth, and the sugar has dissolved. You can check if the mixture is ready by rubbing a little bit of it between your fingers – if it’s still gritty to the touch, blend for a few more minutes until smooth. Pour the prepared sorbet into a suitable container, then freeze for at least 2-3 hours.
  3. Remove the sorbet from the freezer, then scrape it back into your Cooks Professional food processor or blender. If the mixture is quite solid, leave at room temperature for 10 minutes or until softened. Blitz the sorbet mixture again until slushy, then pour back into your container to freeze for a further hour or more.
  4. Repeat the last step again. This time, freeze the sorbet until solid – this should take between 1-2 hours. Serve and enjoy!

Lead image: topotishka via Getty Images.

Mango & Passionfruit Meringue Roulade

A truly decadent dessert, this fruity mango and passionfruit meringue roulade will wow your family and friends.

Ingredients

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 600ml double cream
  • 400g passionfruit curd
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 level tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large mango, peeled, stoned, and diced, or 425g tinned mango, diced
  • 2 passion fruits
  • Icing sugar, to dust

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 150℃/130℃ fan/gas mark 2. Line a 33 x 23cm swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper. In your Cooks Professional stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy and they’ve doubled in bulk. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the mixture is thick and shiny. In a bowl, combine the cornflour, vanilla extract, and vinegar, then whisk into the egg whites.
  2. Once the meringue mixture is ready, carefully spoon it into the prepared tin. Take care when levelling the surface, and try to keep as much of the air whisked into the eggs as possible. Bake meringue in the oven for 30 minutes until the surface is just about firm to the touch.
  3. While the meringue is cooking, prepare the whipped cream. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Set to one side.
  4. Remove the meringue from the oven and cover with more greaseproof paper for about 10 minutes. Dust a third sheet of greaseproof paper with icing sugar. Discard the one used to cover the warm meringue, and turn the meringue out onto the sugarcoated paper. Remove the paper lining the bottom – now top – of the meringue, and discard the now used paper.
  5. Spread the whipped cream over the meringue, and then the passionfruit curd. Scatter the diced mango and passionfruit over the top. Use the greaseproof paper to roll up the roulade from one short end, keeping the join underneath. Sift some icing sugar over the top for decoration, and serve with more double cream if desired.

Lead image: Lesyy via Getty Images.

Chicken Enchiladas

Bring a little Tex-Mex to the family table with these scrumptious chicken enchiladas! 

Ingredients

  • 600g chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 435g can refried beans
  • 700ml passata
  • 200g sweetcorn
  • 200g cheddar cheese
  • 300ml sour cream
  • 10 tortillas
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and diced
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • Small bunch of coriander; stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. In your largest Cooks Professional frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Fry the diced onions, peppers, coriander stalks, chillies, and half of the garlic for around 10 minutes or until all the ingredients are soft. Add 2 tsp of the ground coriander, and 2 tsp of the cumin seeds, frying for another minute. In a separate frying pan, fry the chicken in the remaining olive oil in batches until browned. Once all the chicken is cooked, add it to the frying pan full of vegetables.
  2. Add the 150ml of the passata, sweetcorn, coriander leaves, and refried beans to the frying pan, stirring until well mixed with the chicken and other veg. Mix the rest of the passata, remaining garlic, sugar, and remaining spices in a bowl, then set to one side. Preheat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 6.
  3. Assemble to enchiladas. Lay the tortillas on your Cooks Professional chopping boards, then divide the chicken mixture between them, folding the ends over and rolling them up to seal them. Place them in your Cooks Professional roasting dish – you may need to use more than one dish – then divide the passata mixture evenly between them to top the enchiladas. Blob the soured cream over the enchiladas, and cover well with the grated cheese.
  4. Cook your enchiladas in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven once cooked, then serve with a scattering of more coriander leaves.

Lead image: NoirChocolate via Getty Images.

Lemon Meringue Pie

This classic dessert is the perfect combination of tart lemon and sweet meringue, culminating in a sweet treat that will have you reaching for seconds.

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

For the filling

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 125ml lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice 1 small orange
  • 85g butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 level tbsp cornflour

For the meringue

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 level tsp cornflour

Method

  1. Make the pastry. Mix the plain flour, cold butter, icing sugar, egg yolk and 1 tbsp cold water in your Cooks Professional food processor. Pulse until the mix starts to bind, but be careful not to overwork it. Lightly flour your kitchen surface, then tip the pastry mixture out. Gather it together until smooth, then roll out and line a loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges, pressing the pastry into the flutes. Don’t worry if it cracks; push it back together. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil – the shiny side down – and chill for between half an hour to an hour, or overnight.
  2. Heat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 6. Blind bake your pastry; fill the pastry case with baking beans or rice to weigh it down, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-8 minutes until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Remove the pastry from the oven and set to one side. Lower the oven heat to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4.
  3. While the pastry is baking, prepare the filling. In your Cooks Professional saucepan mix the cornflour, caster sugar, and lemon zest. Strain the lemon juice, and add to the saucepan gradually. In a jug, combine the orange juice with up to 200ml and strain into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened and smooth, making sure to stir constantly.
  4. When the mixture starts to bubble, remove from the heat and add in the smaller amount of butter, beating until it has melted. In a bowl, beat the whole egg and 3 egg yolks together – save the whites for the meringue – and stir into the pan, returning it to medium heat. Continue to stir vigorously for several minutes until the mixture thickens, and plops from the spoon. It will bubble, but won’t curdle. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
  5. Make the meringue. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add half of the sugar a spoonful at a time. Make sure to whisk between each addition, being careful not to overbeat the mixture. Whisk in the cornflour, and then add the remaining sugar a spoonful at a time until smooth and thick.
  6. Reheat the lemon filling quickly, then pour it into the prepared pastry case. Spoon the meringue around the edges of the filling, then spread it so that it touches the pastry. This will help to anchor the meringue and prevent it from sliding. Avoid adding the meringue straight to the middle of the mixture, otherwise it may sink. Once you’ve added meringue to the edges, then you can pile the rest of it in the centre – make sure to spread it so that it touches the surface of the hot filling, then give it a swirl.
  7. Return the now complete pie to the oven for between 18-20 minutes until the meringue topping is crisp and slightly coloured. Remove from the oven, and allow the pie to sit in the tin for half an hour. Remove it from the tin and leave to rest for at least another half hour to an hour before slicing. 

Lead image: AnaMOMarques via Getty Images.

Tomato Bruschetta

This tasty tomato bruschetta makes for a wonderful starter dish; perfect for summer parties with family and friends.

Ingredients

  • 8 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 60-80ml olive oil
  • 30ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 crusty baguette

Method

  1. Mix the diced tomatoes, diced onions, crushed garlic, and chopped basil in a large bowl, being careful not to break up the tomatoes. Once mixed, add the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then mix again. Cover and put in the fridge to chill for an hour at least, allowing the flavours to marinate together.
  2. Slice the baguette diagonally into roughly 12 thick slices. Lightly toast the slices until they’re lightly browned on each side. Remove the tomato mixture from the fridge once ready, and evenly divide it between the 12 toasted slices. Serve immediately. If you wish to serve the mixture at room temperature, remove from the fridge half an hour before serving.

Lead image: Anna_Shepulova via Getty Images.

Guide to Pastry

Pastry is notoriously difficult among both amateur and professional chefs alike. But if you want to become the next star baker on the Great British Bake Off, pastry is one of the many baking talents that you’ll need to master.

There are different types of pastry that are used in a variety of recipes, each one as interesting and tricky to master as the last. If you want to learn more about pastry, read on!

How many types of pastry are there?

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The sheer amount of pastries available is impressive, but there are six main types of pastry. These are shortcrust, flaky, puff, filo, choux, and hot water crust. The main ingredients tend to be the same or similar for each – a mixture of flour, water, and fats such as butter mixed together to form a dough, used as the basis of many sweet and savoury treats.

Once the pastry dough is formed, it tends to be rolled out thinly to use in baking, depending on the type of pastry in use. Pastries like hot water crust use different methods to form the finished product.

Shortcrust pastry

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Shortcrust is the type of pastry used in most recipes, due to its forgiving nature. It requires a fairly simple recipe, and tends to be quite foolproof, making it one of the most common pastries used today. It’s thought that shortcrust pastry was invented in Venice, with the first recipe being recorded in the 18th century.

To create a simple shortcrust dough, simply mix flour, butter, and salt, adding water to bind the mixture together. It can be mixed either by hand or by using a food processor or stand mixer; mixing the flour and fat together at the start inhibits the formation of gluten, leaving you with a ‘short’, or lovely crumbly, tender pastry.

The general rule of thumb is that you’ll need half the amount of fat to the amount of flour, e.g. for 200g flour, you’ll need 100g butter. As with most pastry, try to avoid handling it as much as possible, so as to prevent the butter from melting. You should try and chill it before using it to bake. Remember to add the liquid gradually – the less liquid your pastry has, the more buttery and crumbly it will be.

Flaky pastry

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This particular variety is characterised by the flakes of pastry achieved through lamination. It can be an effort to make but is more forgiving than puff pastry. It has a higher ratio of fat to flour than shortcrust, with the butter being incorporated in stages, a little bit added after each fold. It can sometimes be called rough puff pastry and is a little easier than its more difficult companion.

The flaky layers are created by shard-like pieces of butter in the dough melting in the oven, releasing steam, which makes the layers puff up. The pastry expands when cooked due to the number of layers, leaving you with a beautifully crisp and flaky finish.

To create the ideal flaky pastry, layers of dough and fat are rolled and folded together. As with most pastry, it’s best made in cool conditions, and should be chilled after making and before being used so as to prevent the fat content from leaking out during cooking. The most rustic and one of the simpler doughs, flaky pastry is a favourite to use in both sweet and savoury recipes.

Puff pastry

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Puff pastry is notorious for being one of the most difficult pastries to master. It’s time-consuming to create the perfect puff, but your efforts will be worth it in the end when you bite into a perfectly crisp pastry. It’s thought to have been invented by a French baker, Cladius Gele, in 1645.

A dough of flour, sugar, salt, and water is rolled out into a rectangle, and the butter is layered on top. The dough is then folded around the butter, a process known as lamination, before being rolled out and folded repeatedly to create multiple layers. The dough should be chilled between each lamination so as to prevent the butter from becoming too warm and melting. 

Careful temperature control is needed at all times to prevent it from merging with the dough. It’s important to chill the butter and dough at all times, so that the gluten is allowed to relax between roll-outs. During cooking, the moisture in the fat evaporates, causing lift and creating delicate layers; the melted butter adds a crispness to the pastry. Puff pastry tends to be used for Danish pastries.

Choux pastry

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A French favourite, choux pastry tends to be used for sweet treats such as profiteroles and eclairs. Choux gets its name from the French word for ‘cabbage’, due to resembling the same shape as a cabbage after cooking. This particular pastry is light, airy, and crisp, and unlike the other types of pastry on this list, it needs to be cooked before you can use it. It’s more batter-like in consistency than the other pastry types, which means it can be piped.

Choux pastry starts life as a mixture of milk or water with butter, which is heated together in a saucepan until the butter melts. Flour is then added to form a dough, and eggs are beaten in to enrich it, creating a wonderfully smooth, golden mix that is then piped.

The high percentage of water in the dough causes it to expand into a light, hollow pastry; the air lifts the pastry to treble in size while cooking. A hole is skewered into the choux halfway through cooking to let the steam out, before being placed back in the oven to dry out and become crisp. Once cooked, the choux is removed from the oven, filled with cream, and topped with chocolate. Choux pastry is used extensively in French patisserie cooking.

Filo pastry

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Filo pastry, or phyllo pastry as it is sometimes known, is perhaps the most difficult of pastry types to make. This is because it tends to dry out quickly – even if shop-bought. Due to its tricky nature, it is perhaps better to buy your own from your local shop rather than attempt to make it yourself. It is difficult and time-consuming to make by hand.

Filo is a paper-thin pastry made up of several layers, which are generally wrapped around a filling and brushed with butter to create delicate, flaky pastries, such as baklava. It’s important to keep the filo pastry hydrated, as it can dry out very quickly if made by hand.

This pastry is very fragile and requires careful handling. Make sure to brush it with oil or butter before shaping and cooking. It takes a great deal of skill to make it yourself, so unless you want to challenge your baking skills it might be easier to just buy it ready-made.

Hot water crust pastry

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This traditional English pastry tends to be mainly used to make savoury pies. Hot water crust tends to be less flaky than the other traditional methods, but is crisp, tender, and serviceable. Traditionally, hot water crust pastry is hand-raised, but over the centuries bakers have been known to use tins, dishes, or bowls as a mould.

Hot water crust pastry is created by melting lard – not butter – in hot water, which is then brought to the boil, before flour is stirred in and it’s worked into a pliable ball. The pastry was then ‘hand raised’ from the bottom of the pie tin to the top, generally while still warm as it became harder to work with once the fat had hardened. Once the pastry case had been hand-raised, it was filled and then covered with a crust, decorated, and then put in the oven ready for baking.

It’s generally accepted that hand-raising your pie doesn’t give you a neat, uniform finish, as some sagging tends to occur during cooking. This is considered to be the mark of a good hand-made pie.

The best pastry

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While these are just the main six types of pastry, there are a few variations which are pastries in their own right.  The main six types listed above are the ones you’re most likely to find in your recipe. 

Shortcrust can be sweetened to create a sweet crust, which tends to be used in a lot of desserts. Instead of binding the mixture with water, sugar and egg yolks are used to create a sweeter pastry that is better fitting for desserts.

Have you got a favourite type of pastry that you like to use in cooking? Or is there a type of pastry you’d like to know more about? Let us know over on our Facebook page!

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Peach Cobbler

Our peach cobbler is a tasty, no-fuss dessert that will hit the spot just right. Serve with lashings of vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 2 tins peaches
  • 120g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4. Grease your Cooks Professional cast iron roasting dish with butter, then lay the drained peaches along the base. Sprinkle roughly 2 tbsp of the caster sugar and ground ginger over the peaches, then set the dish to one side.
  2. In your Cooks Professional stand mixer combine the flour, remaining caster sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Mix until combined, then add the cubed butter. Continue mixing until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the egg. Finish mixing until the ingredients come together to form a thick dough.
  3. Spoon the dough mixture in dollops over the prepared peaches. Make sure to create a good covering, but leave some gaps for the dough to spread into. Sprinkle a little bit of caster sugar over the top, then bake in the oven for roughly 40 minutes, or until golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then serve with lashings of vanilla ice cream.

Lead image: Sarsmis via Getty Images.

Ratatouille

Traditionally a French peasant dish, ratatouille is the perfect summer evening meal. Impress your family and friends with the depth of flavour to this hearty feast!

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Seasoning, to taste

For the ratatouille

  • 3 aubergines
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 2 salad tomatoes
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoning, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4.
  2. First, make the tomato sauce. In your Cooks Professional cast iron casserole dish, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and crushed garlic, and add the tinned tomatoes and diced bell pepper. Fry for roughly 5 minutes before adding the balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, and oregano. Stir well to combine, and cook for a further 15 minutes, remembering to stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Use your Cooks Professional ladle to transfer the tomato sauce to your Cooks Professional food processor. Keep the cast iron casserole dish to one side. Blitz until the tomato sauce is creamy, but still a bit chunky. Add a bit of boiling water if necessary to keep the consistency right.
  4. Next, prepare the veg for the ratatouille. Slice the courgettes, aubergines, onions, and tomatoes into even, thin slices.
  5. Spread the prepared tomato sauce evenly on the bottom of your Cooks Professional cast iron casserole dish. On top of the sauce, arrange the slices of vegetables. Alternate between the courgette, aubergine, onion, and tomato until the whole pan is covered. Season with salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of dried oregano and the thyme sprigs. Drizzle a little olive oil over the ratatouille before placing it in the pre-heated oven for cooking.
  6. Cook for 30 minutes; check after 20 minutes to see if the vegetables are tender, and the sauce is gently bubbling around the sides. Once cooked, remove the casserole dish from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve with a side of crusty bread, or serve as a side dish alongside our cajun chicken burgers.

Lead image: zefirchik06 via Getty Images.

Ratatouille

Traditionally a French peasant dish, ratatouille is the perfect summer evening meal. Impress your family and friends with the depth of flavour to this hearty feast!

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Seasoning, to taste

For the ratatouille

  • 3 aubergines
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 2 salad tomatoes
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoning, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4.
  2. First, make the tomato sauce. In your Cooks Professional cast iron casserole dish, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and crushed garlic, and add the tinned tomatoes and diced bell pepper. Fry for roughly 5 minutes before adding the balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, and oregano. Stir well to combine, and cook for a further 15 minutes, remembering to stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Use your Cooks Professional ladle to transfer the tomato sauce to your Cooks Professional food processor. Keep the cast iron casserole dish to one side. Blitz until the tomato sauce is creamy, but still a bit chunky. Add a bit of boiling water if necessary to keep the consistency right.
  4. Next, prepare the veg for the ratatouille. Slice the courgettes, aubergines, onions, and tomatoes into even, thin slices.
  5. Spread the prepared tomato sauce evenly on the bottom of your Cooks Professional cast iron casserole dish. On top of the sauce, arrange the slices of vegetables. Alternate between the courgette, aubergine, onion, and tomato until the whole pan is covered. Season with salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of dried oregano and the thyme sprigs. Drizzle a little olive oil over the ratatouille before placing it in the pre-heated oven for cooking.
  6. Cook for 30 minutes; check after 20 minutes to see if the vegetables are tender, and the sauce is gently bubbling around the sides. Once cooked, remove the casserole dish from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve with a side of crusty bread, or serve as a side dish alongside our cajun chicken burgers.

Lead image: zefirchik06 via Getty Images.

Welsh Cakes

A classic in Wales, these Welsh cakes will be the perfect addition to your cuppa. Traditionally cooked on a griddle, you can make these Welsh cakes just as easily using your Cooks Professional cast iron frying pan.

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 50g sultanas or currants
  • 1 egg, beaten with 3 tbsp milk
  • Pinch salt

Method

  1. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to combine the flour and salt, then rub in the butter. Add the sugar and currants or sultanas and mix well. Add the egg mixture and continue beating together until you have a stiff dough.
  2. Lightly flour a work surface, then roll out the Welsh cake dough until roughly 5mm thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the Welsh cakes ready for cooking. Continue until all the dough is used, and are ready to be cooked.
  3. In your Cooks Professional cast iron frying pan, heat a little butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and the frying pan is well greased, the Welsh cakes are ready to cook. Cook the cakes for roughly 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle caster sugar over the cooked Welsh cakes and serve immediately with your favourite beverage.

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Vegan Parsnip Gnocchi

Forget what you think you know about the humble parsnip, and take it to the next level with this vegan gnocchi recipe.

Ingredients

  • 400g parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 600g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 100g strong ’00’ flour
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Small handful of thyme leaves
  • 30g walnuts, toasted and chopped

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 220°C / 200°C Fan / Gas Mark 7. Take a roasting tin and toss the parsnips and potatoes together in 2 tbsp of olive oil along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast for around 40 minutes until the veg is soft, then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  2. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, then tip everything into a food processor along with the nutmeg, flour and nutritional yeast. Pulse until combined and holding together like a dough.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and cut into four equal sized chunks, then roll each into a sausage shape about 35cm long and 2.5cm wide.
  4. Using the back of a table knife, cut each sausage into small pieces of gnocchi, around 2cm long. Cook in the salted water in batches for 1 minute, or until they bob to the surface. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Now, take a frying pan and heat the remaining oil. Add half of the gnocchi and fry until golden on each side (usually around 3-4 minutes), then transfer to a tray. Cook the remaining gnocchi in the same way.
  6. Return all gnocchi to the frying pan to warm through, then divide into bowls. Grind over some fresh black pepper the scatter over the thyme leaves and toasted walnuts. Top with a little drizzle of olive oil.

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Courgette & Lemon Cake

Our courgette and lemon cake is a delicious lighter alternative to heavier chocolate cakes. Packed full of flavour, it will soon become your favourite teatime treat. 

Ingredients

  • 300g grated courgette
  • 250g soft unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tbsp lemon curd
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line 2 round sandwich tins with butter and greaseproof paper, then set to one side. Zest two of the lemons to use in the cake, and save the third lemon’s zest for the icing. Juice the lemons, then put the juice in your Cooks Professional bowl before setting to one side.
  2. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to combine 200g of the soft butter, caster sugar, courgettes, eggs, the zest of two lemons, and vanilla extract. Mix together until a creamy batter forms. Gradually stir in the mixed flours, baking powder, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice, and a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Divide the batter between the prepared tins, then bake for roughly 25 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Once cooked, removed from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for roughly 15 minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  4. While the cake is baking, prepare the lemon drizzle. In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp lemon juice with 25g icing sugar, then set to one side.
  5. Use a cocktail stick to prick the prepared sponges once they’ve been turned out onto the cooling rack, then spoon over the prepared drizzle and allow the cakes to cool completely.
  6. Make the icing. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to mix the remaining icing sugar, butter, cream cheese, and the remaining lemon juice, as well as the remaining zest you set to one side earlier. Combine until you’ve got a creamy frosting.
  7. Place one cake on a plate, and use half the frosting to cover it. Spread over the lemon curd, and then place the second cake on top. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top of your cake, then serve immediately.

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Sweetcorn & Smoked Haddock Chowder

Chowder is the perfect thing to warm you up on a cool evening. Packed full of sweetcorn and fresh fish, this chowder will soon become your go-to comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 350g potato, roughly chopped into cubes
  • 300g smoked haddock fillets
  • 140g sweetcorn
  • 500ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Knob of butter
  • Parsely, chopped, to serve

Method

  1. Your a large Cooks Professional saucepan, heat the knob of butter until it’s melted. Add the chopped bacon to the bacon and fry until it starts to brown. Add the diced onion and cook until just softened. Pour the milk into the pan, and stir in the potatoes. Allow the chowder to come to the boil, and simmer for roughly 5 minutes.
  2. Add the haddock to the pan, and cook gently for a further 10 minutes. Break the fish into chunks using your wooden spoon, and stir in the sweetcorn. Cook for another few minutes until the fish is thoroughly cooked. Remove from the heat and scatter the chopped parsley over the chowder. Dish up into your Cooks Professional bowls and serve with crusty bread.

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Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

Tempt your taste buds with this fruity cheesecake, packed full of succulent blueberries to really give you that sweet kick.

Ingredients

  • Punnet blueberries
  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 140g butter, melted
  • 3 x 300g cream cheese
  • 200ml sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 6. Line an oven-prof baking dish with greaseproof paper. In your Cooks Professional food processor, blitz the digestive biscuits until they’re a fine crumb. Add the melted butter and continue to blitz together until fully combined. Pour the biscuit crumb into your prepared tin, and press down firmly with the back of a spoon until the base is covered. Bake for roughly 10 minutes, then set to one side to cool.
  2. In your Cooks Professional saucepan, add the blueberries and 25g of the sugar. In a jug, combine the cornflour with roughly 1 tbsp of cold water, then add this to the saucepan. Cook gently over a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Briefly increase the heat for a minute or two, allowing the blueberry mixture to bubble, until it becomes thicker in consistency and looks saucier. Set to one side to cool.
  3. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the remainder of the sugar, whisking again before adding the eggs, soured cream, flour, and vanilla extract, mixing together until well combined.
  4. Assemble the cheesecake. Pour roughly half the cheesecake mixture over the prepared biscuit base. Next, use a spoon to dot blobs of the blueberry sauce over the top, before covering with the remaining cheesecake mixture. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the the top of the cheesecake before drizzling the remaining blueberry sauce mixture over the top. Use the end of a spoon to ripple the blueberry sauce into the cheesecake.
  5. Place your cheesecake in the oven and bake for 10 minutes; lower the heat to 110℃/90℃ fan/gas mark 5 and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn off your oven, and leave the cheesecake in there for roughly a further hour, and another hour on top of that with the oven door slightly ajar. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool at room temperature until completely cool. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible. 

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Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni

Our version of this vegetarian classic is packed full of flavour. Serve with a side of herby salad for a truly tempting weeknight dish.

Ingredients

For the tomato sauce

  • 4 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Small bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped

For the topping

  • 2 x 125g balls mozzarella
  • 2 x 250g tubs mascarpone
  • 85g grated parmesan
  • 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk

For the filling

  • 100g grated parmesan
  • 3 x 250g tubs ricotta
  • 400g dried cannelloni
  • 1kg spinach
  • Pinch grated nutmeg

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 6. Make the tomato sauce; in your Cooks Professional frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the crushed garlic for roughly 1 minute. Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and some seasoning, simmering for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened. Add the chopped basil and then divide the sauce between two or more ovenproof dishes.
  2. To make the topping, add the mascarpone and the milk together in a bowl and beat together until smooth. Season to taste and put to one side.
  3. In a large colander, wilt the spinach by pouring boiling water from the kettle over it. You may need to do this in several batches. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water. Chop the spinach, and in a clean bowl mix it together with 100g of the parmesan and all of the ricotta. Season with pepper, salt, and the nutmeg.
  4. Next, fill the cannelloni tubes. Fill a piping bag or a plastic food bag, with the corner snipped off, with the spinach and ricotta filling, then squeeze the filling into the cannelloni tubes. Gently lay the tubes on top of the prepared tomato sauce, and spoon over the prepared mascarpone topping. Sprinkle over the 85g parmesan and the mozzarella.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the cannelloni is golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a herby salad.

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Peach Crumble

 A twist on a classic. This fruity crumble will soon become the new family favourite!

Ingredients

  • 3 x 410g tinned peaches in juice
  • 140g plain flour
  • 25g cold butter, grated
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Zest & juice 1 lemon

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan /gas mark 6. Drain the peaches, but reserve 4 tbsp of the juice from the tin. Place the peaches in your Cooks Professional roasting dish, scattering over the lemon zest, juice, and 1 tbsp honey, then use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix it all together.
  2. In a clean bowl, combine the grated butter, oats, flour, 1 tbsp honey, and the 4 tbsp of reserved peach juice. Use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together, then use your hands to rub it together until you have a rough crumbly mixture. Scatter the crumbly mixture over the peaches in your roasting dish.
  3. Cook for around 35 minutes or until the crumble is lovely and golden on top. Remove from the oven and set aside for a few minutes to cool, then serve with a generous dash of double cream.

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Manhattan

Invented in the 1880s, this classic American cocktail was originally made for a party being thrown by Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, at the Manhattan Club in New York City.

Ingredients (per cocktail)

  • 50ml bourbon
  • 25ml rosso vermouth
  • 5ml syrup from a jar of maraschino cherries
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry, to garnish
  • A twist of pared lemon, to garnish

Method

  1. Pour all of the ingredients, aside from the garnish, into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Stir with a long-handled spoon then strain into a cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish and serve.

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Turkey Banh Mi

This vibrant Vietnamese sandwich is the perfect hump-day lunch treat!

Ingredients

  • 2 small baguettes
  • 50g chicken liver pate
  • 1/4 cucumber, sliced thinly and diagonally
  • 140g turkey, shredded
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 red chilli, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced
  • Small handful of parsley

For the slaw

  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 75g red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp golden caster sugar

Method

  1. Begin with the slaw. Tip in the carrots and cabbage into a large bowl, then in a smaller bowl combine the ginger, rice, vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour this over the carrots and cabbage, and mix to coat. Set to one side for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Cut the baguettes open and spread the pate over the bottom half. Top with the pickled slaw, cucumber and turkey.
  3. Mix the mayonnaise with the chopped chilli, then dollop over the top. Scatter with parsley and sliced chilli, then clamp the two halves together and tuck in!

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Eat the Seasons – July

We’re all enjoying the long, hot, hazy days of summer – and the fresh produce is too! Let’s see what is in season for July.

Chillies

Native to South and Central America, chilli peppers are the spicy fruit of capsicum pepper plants that are perfect for a range for culinary uses, including this sweet chilli jam, and famous for their fiery kick. The intensity of their heat is measured using the Scoville scale, which ranges from 0 for bell peppers and pimentos, all the way up to 1,463,700 for the mouth burning Trinidad scorpion.

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Courgettes

Brought to the Mediterranean by Christopher Columbus in the 1500s, courgettes (or zucchini) are a great source of protein, vitamin A, copper, riboflavin and many more vitamins and minerals. They have also been shown to aid digestion, reduce the signs of aging, lower blood sugar levels and protect against inflammation. A true wonder veg!

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Mangetout

Literally translated from French as ‘eat it all’, this tasty little vegetable is also known as a sugar snap pea. A nutrient dense food containing many vitamins and minerals, mangetout is also great for skin and hair thanks to its high levels of vitamin A. Try this recipe for a delicious way to get some into your diet.

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Blueberries

A perennial fruit, blueberries are native to North America and were not introduced into Europe until the 1930s. Hailed as one of the modern-day ‘superfoods’, blueberries contain fibre, vitamins C & K, manganese, iron and a whole host of antioxidants. They have even been shown to enhance moods, and are a homeopathic prescription as an antibiotic.

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Peaches

There are over 2000 varieties of peach in world, and the average peach tree lives to about 12 years old. Juicy, plump and delicious, they are a rich provider of vitamins A, C, K and E, and also contain beta-carotene. Originating from the Zheijang Province of China, early cultivation of peach trees dates back as far as 6000BC!

Image source: igorr1 via Getty Images.

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Baklava

This traditional Turkish dish is the perfect sweet treat for those of you who just can’t get enough of nuts. Packed with pistachios, walnuts, and pecans, layered between filo pastry and sweetened with honey syrup, this will fast become your favourite dessert.

Ingredients

  • 500g of filo pastry, or roughly two packs of ready-made filo pastry
  • 200g pistachios, plus extra finely ground pistachios for garnishing
  • 50g walnuts
  • 50g pecans
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 200g butter, with extra for greasing

For the syrup

  • 50g honey
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 200ml water

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4. Grease a square cake tin, roughly 21cm x 21cm, with the extra butter. Use your Cooks Professional food processor to blitz 200g of the pistachios, and all of the walnuts and pecans, but be careful not to blitz them into a paste. Empty the nut mixture into a bowl,  then stir in the honey and a pinch of salt. Set to one side. You can also blitz more pistachios to use as a garnish once the baklava is cooked – set these to one side in a clean bowl.
  2. Melt the butter, either by heating on the hob in a Cooks Professional saucepan, or in the microwave. Cut the first pack of filo pastry in half so that it fits in the square tin. Place one sheet in the tin, then brush with the melted butter. Add another sheet on top of it, then brush this with butter again, and continue layering like this until the whole of the first pack of filo pastry is used up.
  3. Scatter the honey and nut mixture over the top layer of pastry until well covered, using the back of a spoon to press it down. Open the second pack of filo, again cutting it in half so that the layers will fit in the tray. Add a sheet of pastry and brush with the melted butter, then continue the layering process until the final pack of filo pastry has all been used. Once the last sheet has been placed onto the baklava, pour any remaining butter over the top to finish. Using a sharp Cooks Professional knife, cut deep lines into the pastry to create diamond or square shapes. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 150℃/130℃ fan/gas mark 2 and cook for another 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. In a clean Cooks Professional saucepan combine the syrup ingredients, heating gently until the sugar has dissolved. Boil the mixture for between 8-10 minutes or until the syrup has reduced to the consistency of runny honey.
  5. Remove the baklava from the oven and pour the warm syrup over the top so that it runs down the lines you have cut. Allow to completely soak in, and leave the baklava to cool for roughly four hours. Top with the remaining pistachio garnish once cold and serve.

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Crispy Chilli Beef

Try your hand at this fakeaway alternative to your favourite Chinese dish. You won’t be disappointed with the depth of flavour!

Ingredients

  • 350g minute steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and thinly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
  • Thumb size piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced; separate the green and white parts
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Cooked noodles, to serve

Method

  1. In a bowl, combine the cornflour and Chinese five-spice. Toss the steak strips in the spiced cornflour mixture until covered.
  2. In your Cooks Professional wok, heat the vegetable oil until hot. Carefully add the beef strips and fry until crispy and golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the oil and set to one side to drain on kitchen paper. Keep roughly 1 tbsp of the oil before discarding the rest of it.
  3. In the same frying pan with the remaining oil, fry the sliced pepper, half of the chilli, white parts of the spring onion, sliced ginger, and crushed garlic for roughly 3 minutes. Be careful not to let the ginger and garlic burn.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the white wine vinegar, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, and tomato ketchup with the water. Once combined, pour over the veg in the wok. Simmer for around 2 minutes before adding the beef back into the pan, coating well with the sauce.
  5. Remove the crispy beef from the heat. On a plate, arrange the cooked noodles, and spoon the crispy beef on top. Garnish with the remaining chilli and the green parts of the spring onions, and serve immediately.

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Bailey’s Chocolate Trifle

Our Baileys chocolate trifle will be the ideal thing to satisfy your sweet cravings, and to impress your friends and family at the next gathering.

Ingredients

  • 100ml Baileys, plus 2 tbsps for soaking the brownies
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g milk chocolate, chopped or shaved
  • 500ml ready-made vanilla custard
  • 400g chocolate brownies
  • 500ml double cream
  • 25g icing sugar

Method

  1. In your Cooks Professional saucepan, make the chocolate custard. Combine the read-made vanilla custard and the dark chocolate, and stir over a gentle heat until the chocolate has completely melted and incorporated with the custard. Remove from the heat and set to one side to cool, covering the surface with cling film to prevent the custard from forming a skin.
  2. In a trifle bowl, arrange the brownies and drizzle the 2 tbsps of Baileys over them. Once the custard has cooled, spoon this over the brownies base, then cover the trifle and chill.
  3. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to create the final layer of the trifle. Combine the double cream and the 100ml Baileys. Sift over the icing sugar, and use your stand mixer to whisk it all together until soft peaks form. Add the final cream layer to the trifle, and top with the shaved milk chocolate. Chill until ready to serve.

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Sizzled Sea Bass & Tenderstem Broccoli

Tempt your taste buds with this aromatic sea bass dish, which will be sure to impress the family.

Ingredients

  • 2 Sea bass fillets, skin on and scaled
  • Large knob of ginger, peeled and shredded
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 red chillis, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 100g spring onions, cut diagonally
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli

Method

  1. Season the sea bass fillets with salt and pepper, then use your Cooks Professional knife to score the skin 3 times. Heat the olive oil in your Cooks Professional frying pan.
  2. Once the oil is hot, fry the fillets skin-side down for roughly 5 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden. Turn over and cook for between 30 seconds to a minute, then remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the tenderstem broccoli as per the packet instructions in your Cooks Professional saucepan. Remove from the pan and set to one side once cooked. In the same pan that you used to fry the fish, fry the shredded ginger, chilli, and diced garlic for around 2 minutes or until golden.
  4. Remove the ginger, chilli, and garlic from the heat. Toss in the spring onions and mix well. Arrange the fish on a plate, spoon over the soy sauce, and top with the ginger, chilli, garlic and spring onion mixture. Serve alongside the tenderstem broccoli.

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Blood Orange Bundt Cake

This zesty cake made with a light olive oil sponge and a chocolate and blood orange glaze is guaranteed to bring some overdue sunshine into your kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 blood oranges, zested and juiced
  • 150ml light olive oil
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 140g white chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4., then greast a 2.5L bundt tin with some melted butter.
  2. Crack the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer along with the sugar and zest of three of the oranges, then whisk until pale and thick. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then pour in the olive oil and the juice from three of the oranges and mix until well combined.
  3. Sieve the flour into the mixture and whisk again until you have a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared cake tin and place on a baking tray in the centre of your oven for around 35-40 minutes. Bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  4. Whilst your cake is cooling, make the glaze by placing the chocolate in a bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, pour in the juice from the 4th orange and stir to combine. Remove the bowl from the heat and set to one side to cool slightly, until it is thick but still pourable.
  5. Pour over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. the sprinkle the remaining orange zest over the top to decorate.

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Bloody Mary

This classic brunch favourite, made famous by a young, Parisian bartender in the 1920s, packs a spicy kick and is a great ‘hair of the dog’ remedy for a hangover.

Ingredients

  • 200ml tomato juice
  • 50ml vodka
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • Tabasco, to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Celery sticks and lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Pop some ice into a tall glass and pour in the tomato juice, vodka and sherry.
  2. Stir in the celery salt using a long-handled spoon, then season to taste with the Worcestershire sauce, tobasco and lemon juice.
  3. Serve with the celery stalks, lemon wedges and couple of grinds of fresh black pepper.

Lead image: AlexPro9500 via Getty images.

Bloody Mary

This classic brunch favourite, made famous by a young, Parisian bartender in the 1920s, packs a spicy kick and is a great ‘hair of the dog’ remedy for a hangover.

Ingredients

  • 200ml tomato juice
  • 50ml vodka
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • Tabasco, to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Celery sticks and lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Pop some ice into a tall glass and pour in the tomato juice, vodka and sherry.
  2. Stir in the celery salt using a long-handled spoon, then season to taste with the Worcestershire sauce, tobasco and lemon juice.
  3. Serve with the celery stalks, lemon wedges and couple of grinds of fresh black pepper.

Lead image: AlexPro9500 via Getty images.

Melon & Prosciutto Salad

This summer salad is the ideal dish if you’re looking for a lighter salad or dinner.

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 12 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 cantaloupe melon, cut into chunks
  • 1 gem lettuce, shredded
  • Handful mint leaves, shredded

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 ½ tbsp red wine vinegar or sherry

Method

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl with a balloon whisk, then set to one side.
  2. Toss the shredded lettuce, mint, melon, and prosciutto together in a large bowl with a little of the dressing. Serve with some crusty bread.

Lead image: Serezniy via Getty Images.

Melon & Prosciutto Salad

This summer salad is the ideal dish if you’re looking for a lighter salad or dinner.

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 12 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 cantaloupe melon, cut into chunks
  • 1 gem lettuce, shredded
  • Handful mint leaves, shredded

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 ½ tbsp red wine vinegar or sherry

Method

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl with a balloon whisk, then set to one side.
  2. Toss the shredded lettuce, mint, melon, and prosciutto together in a large bowl with a little of the dressing. Serve with some crusty bread.

Lead image: Serezniy via Getty Images.

Raspberry Brûlées

These fruity brûlées are the perfect summer dessert.

Ingredients

  • 100g raspberries
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod

Method

  1. Add the double cream and lemon zest to your Cooks Professional saucepan. Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the cream mixture, adding the pod in too. Gently heat until just before the cream starts to boil – there should be tiny bubbles forming at the edges. Take off the heat, and leave the mixture to infuse for roughly 15 minutes.
  2. Heat your oven to 160℃/140℃ fan/gas mark 3. In a roasting tin, place 4 ramekins. Fill the roasting tin with boiling water, until roughly 2cm of the ramekins are uncovered.
  3. Evenly divide the raspberries between the four ramekins, keeping a few spare.  Using your Cooks Professional standmixer, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and fluffy; this should take roughly 3 minutes. Remove the lemon zest and vanilla pod from the cream mixture, and slowly stir in the egg mixture. Pour the mixture from the saucepan into a jug, and then evenly divide it between the four ramekins, topping with the reserved raspberries.
  4. Cook the brûlées in the oven for roughly 20-25 minutes, until the custard has formed a skin and has a slight wobble when you nudge the roasting tin. Allow the brûlées to cool, and then chill in the fridge for around 4 hours.
  5. Heat the grill on high if you don’t have a blowtorch. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the brûlées, and place them under the grill to caramelise. Alternatively you can use a blowtorch if you have one. Grill the brûlées until the sugar has melted and crisped. Allow to settle for 5 minutes, before serving.

Lead image: Diana Sklarova via Getty Images.

Raspberry Brûlées

These fruity brûlées are the perfect summer dessert.

Ingredients

  • 100g raspberries
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod

Method

  1. Add the double cream and lemon zest to your Cooks Professional saucepan. Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the cream mixture, adding the pod in too. Gently heat until just before the cream starts to boil – there should be tiny bubbles forming at the edges. Take off the heat, and leave the mixture to infuse for roughly 15 minutes.
  2. Heat your oven to 160℃/140℃ fan/gas mark 3. In a roasting tin, place 4 ramekins. Fill the roasting tin with boiling water, until roughly 2cm of the ramekins are uncovered.
  3. Evenly divide the raspberries between the four ramekins, keeping a few spare.  Using your Cooks Professional standmixer, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and fluffy; this should take roughly 3 minutes. Remove the lemon zest and vanilla pod from the cream mixture, and slowly stir in the egg mixture. Pour the mixture from the saucepan into a jug, and then evenly divide it between the four ramekins, topping with the reserved raspberries.
  4. Cook the brûlées in the oven for roughly 20-25 minutes, until the custard has formed a skin and has a slight wobble when you nudge the roasting tin. Allow the brûlées to cool, and then chill in the fridge for around 4 hours.
  5. Heat the grill on high if you don’t have a blowtorch. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the brûlées, and place them under the grill to caramelise. Alternatively you can use a blowtorch if you have one. Grill the brûlées until the sugar has melted and crisped. Allow to settle for 5 minutes, before serving.

Lead image: Diana Sklarova via Getty Images.

Eat the Seasons – June

We’ve finally hit summer, and with it comes a whole new bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables. Take a look below to see what’s in season for June.

Aubergine

Also known as eggplant, aubergines are technically a berry that originated in India where it continues to grow wildly. A great source of fibre, vitamin B1 and copper, aubergines are a fantastic meat substitute thanks to their bulk and texture. Give our recipe for aubergine chilli a go and see for yourself!

Image source: Yuliia Bilousova via Getty Images.

Broad Beans

High in protein and fibre, broad beans have been grown around the world for many centuries, although they are believed to have originated in North Africa and South-West Asia. Broad beans feature in Luxumbourg’s national dish ‘Judd mat Gaardebounen’ which is smoked pork collar, and the Dutch often eat broad beans flavoured with herbs as a side dish.

Image source: daseaford via Getty Images.

Pak Choi

A member of the cabbage family, pak choi goes under many different names including bok choi, white mustard cabbage and horse’s ear. A source of fibre, vitamins A, K, C and B groups, it has a sweet, mustard like flavour that is a fantastic addition to stir frys.

Image source: CreativeFire via Getty Images.

Tomatoes

Another vegetable that is technically a fruit, tomatoes originated in Peru where their Aztec name translated as ‘plump thing with a navel’. An extremely versatile cooking ingredient, there are around 10,000 varieties of tomato worldwide and all are high in vitamin C, biotin, folate and phosphorus.

Image source: p_ponomareva via Getty Images.

Garlic

Part of the lily family, garlic was one of the first herbs to be cultivated and was used as far back as 300BC in medicine, religious rituals and eaten almost exclusively by royalty. One of the healthiest foods on earth and packed full of antioxidants, antiviral and anti-blood coagulation properties, garlic is revered as on the world’s first superfoods.

Image source: Robert Daly via Getty Images.

Lead image: dominiquelandau via Getty images.

Seafood Chowder

A must-have dish for seafood lovers, our hearty seafood chowder is the perfect thing to fill you up on any day of the week.

Ingredients

  • 320g pack fish pie mix (haddock, smoked haddock, salmon)
  • 250g pack cooked mixed shellfish
  • 100g streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 600ml fish stock
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 225g potatoes, peeled and halved
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch mace
  • 300ml milk
  • 4 tbsp
  • Small bunch parsley, chopped
  • Crusty bread, to serve

Method

  1. In a large Cooks Professional saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and onion; fry for a between 8-10 minutes or until the bacon is cooked, and the onions are soft. Stir in the flour and book for another 2 minutes.
  2. Add the fish stock and bring the chowder to a gentle simmer. Add the potatoes and cover. Simmer for a further 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. Stir in the cayenne pepper, mace, and seasoning, then add the milk.
  3. Add the fish pie mix to the saucepan and simmer for roughly 4 minutes. Next add the cream and the shellfish mix; simmer for a further minute. Check the seasoning and add more if necessary, before removing from the heat. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the chowder, and serve in bowls with the crusty bread.

Lead image: Yummy pic via Getty Images.

Coconut & Lime Cheesecake

A truly winning flavour combination, the zest of the limes and the sweetness of the coconut melt together in a perfect cheesecake. Top with drizzled white chocolate for pure decadence!

Ingredients

For the base

  • 250g gingernut biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 600g cream cheese
  • 65g desiccated coconut
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 300ml double cream

For the topping

  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 50g white chocolate, melted (optional)

Method

  1. Grease and line a 20cm round tin with a loose bottom. Alternatively, you can put your cheesecake together in a round ceramic dish which would save removing the cheesecake once assembled.
  2. To assemble the base, add the gingernut biscuits to a plastic food bag, and bash them to crumbs with a rolling pin. Once the biscuits are all nice and crumbly, transfer them to a mixing bowl, and add the melted butter. Mix thoroughly until the crumbs are completely coated, then tip them into the prepared dish or tin. Press down firmly into the base to create an even layer. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour to set until firm.
  3. For the filling, add the cream cheese, icing sugar, lime juice, zest, desiccated coconut, and vanilla extract to your Cooks Professional stand mixer. Beat together until smooth, then tip in the double cream and beat until the mixture is fully combined.
  4. Spoon the cream mixture onto the biscuit base, starting from the edges and working inwards. Ensure that there are no air bubbles, and smooth the top of the cheesecake with a rubber spatula. Leave to set in the fridge overnight.
  5. When you’re ready to assemble the decorations for your cheesecake – once it has set – assemble the ingredients about half an hour before you intend to serve it. Remove from the fridge and sprinkle over the remaining zest and desiccated coconut. If you wanted to add a little bit of decadence, melt a little white chocolate either in the microwave (in blasts of 30 seconds at a time to prevent it burning) or over a bain-marie, then drizzle over your cheesecake before adding the lime zest and coconut. If you used a dish with a removable bottom, make sure to have removed the cheesecake and set it on a plate, removing the lining and base, before you assemble your decorations.

Lead image: ElenaBoronina via Getty Images.

Bacon-Wrapped Monkfish

Add a touch of luxury to your midweek meals with this delicious bacon-wrapped monkfish. 

Ingredients

  • 400g monkfish tail, sliced into 2 fillets
  • 12 rashers rindless smoked streaky bacon
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3-4 tsp vinaigrette
  • 225g bag watercress and salad leaves

Method

  1. On your Cooks Professional chopping board, lay one tail of your monkfish. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and seasoning, then lay the other fillet on top. Try to lay it so that the tapering tip goes in the opposite direction, so each end has one thick and one thin end together.
  2. On a separate chopping board, lay the strips of bacon so that they overlap slightly. Add the monkfish to the centre, then wrap the bacon around the fish until it holds together firmly.
  3. Heat the grill for 5 minutes, then line the grill pan. Lay the monkfish on the grill pan, making sure that the bacon joins are underneath.
  4. Grill the monkfish for between 7-10 minutes, or until the bacon starts to go crispy, then carefully turn the fish over and cook the other side for another 7-10 minutes. While the monkfish is cooking, halve the tomatoes, and grill those alongside the fish. When the monkfish feels firm to the touch, remove from the grill and set to one side to stand for 5 minutes. Save any of the pan juices from the greaseproof paper and drizzle into the vinaigrette. 
  5. Use your Cooks Professional knife to slice the monkfish into medallions, on a slight diagonal. Use the vinaigrette and the juices from the pan to dress the watercress salad, and divide between four plates. Top the salad with the monkfish and season to taste. Serve with the grilled tomato and baby new potatoes.

Lead image: MikeBCornish via Getty Images.

Bacon-Wrapped Monkfish

Add a touch of luxury to your midweek meals with this delicious bacon-wrapped monkfish. 

Ingredients

  • 400g monkfish tail, sliced into 2 fillets
  • 12 rashers rindless smoked streaky bacon
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3-4 tsp vinaigrette
  • 225g bag watercress and salad leaves

Method

  1. On your Cooks Professional chopping board, lay one tail of your monkfish. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and seasoning, then lay the other fillet on top. Try to lay it so that the tapering tip goes in the opposite direction, so each end has one thick and one thin end together.
  2. On a separate chopping board, lay the strips of bacon so that they overlap slightly. Add the monkfish to the centre, then wrap the bacon around the fish until it holds together firmly.
  3. Heat the grill for 5 minutes, then line the grill pan. Lay the monkfish on the grill pan, making sure that the bacon joins are underneath.
  4. Grill the monkfish for between 7-10 minutes, or until the bacon starts to go crispy, then carefully turn the fish over and cook the other side for another 7-10 minutes. While the monkfish is cooking, halve the tomatoes, and grill those alongside the fish. When the monkfish feels firm to the touch, remove from the grill and set to one side to stand for 5 minutes. Save any of the pan juices from the greaseproof paper and drizzle into the vinaigrette. 
  5. Use your Cooks Professional knife to slice the monkfish into medallions, on a slight diagonal. Use the vinaigrette and the juices from the pan to dress the watercress salad, and divide between four plates. Top the salad with the monkfish and season to taste. Serve with the grilled tomato and baby new potatoes.

Lead image: MikeBCornish via Getty Images.

Old Fashioned

Created in 1930s America during the Prohibition period, this classic cocktail is a mixture of whisky, soda and bitters.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Splash of water
  • 60ml whisky
  • Soda water
  • Orange slice, to garnish

Method

  1. Pop the sugar, bitters and water into a small tumbler and mix until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and stir in the whisky, then add a splash of soda water and mix.
  3. Garnish with the orange slice and serve.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Old Fashioned

Created in 1930s America during the Prohibition period, this classic cocktail is a mixture of whisky, soda and bitters.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Splash of water
  • 60ml whisky
  • Soda water
  • Orange slice, to garnish

Method

  1. Pop the sugar, bitters and water into a small tumbler and mix until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and stir in the whisky, then add a splash of soda water and mix.
  3. Garnish with the orange slice and serve.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Eat the Seasons – May

Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes a whole new host of delicious, seasonal ingredients. Let’s take a look at what’s in season for May.

Carrots

One of the UK’s favourite veggies, these orange beauties are super versatile and can be roasted, mashed, pureed into soups and even spiralised to masquerade as spaghetti. Unlike most vegetables, carrots release more of their nutrients (including vitamin A and beta-carotene) when cooked, as they have tough, indigestible cellular walls when raw.

Image source: Photohaiku via Getty Images.

Peas

One of the first vegetables cultivated by humans and present in both Georgia and Egypt as far back as 500BC, peas are an excellent source of vitamin K, C, B1 and B2, as well as protein, iron and potassium. Available to buy (and grow!) in hundreds of different cultivars, ranging from the classic green to a moody purple.

Image source: ksena32 via Getty Images.

Radishes

A great source of vitamin C, riboflavin and calcium and varying in size and colour, radishes are a popular addition to salads all over the world. But they can also be added to stir-frys for a bit of crunch, and can be cut in half and roasted in olive oil to release a sweet, nutty flavour.


Image source: Ralf Geithe via Getty Images.

Oregano

This aromatic herb, which is a member of the mint family, is characterised by its aromatic leaves and purple flowers. First used by the Greeks, with mythology giving credit to Aphrodite for its invention, oregano is high in antioxidants and is also a powerful natural antiseptic thanks to its high levels of carvacrol and rosmarinic acid.

Image source: MadCircles via Getty Images.

Sage

Also another member of the mint family, sage is a fantastic flavour match with many meats including chicken and beef. Regarded in homeopathy as a healing herb, the juice from the pressed leaves can be used as both pain relief and an antiseptic for insect bites.

Image source: ValentynVolkov via Getty Images.

Lead image: Vitalliy via Getty images.

Blueberry Mojito

Perfect for when the sun starts to come through, this delicious twist on a classic mojito is the perfect accompaniment to any al-fresco dinner party.

Ingredients (makes 6 cocktails)

  • 100g blueberries
  • 3 lemons, chopped
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 mint sprigs, leave picked
  • 350ml white rum
  • 600ml sparkling water

Method

  1. Tip the blueberries, lemons and sugar into a jug and muddle.
  2. Bruise the mint leaves slightly, them add them to a jug along with lots of ice.
  3. Pour in the rum and sparkling water, stir well and serve.

Lead image: wmaster890 via Getty Images.

Frozen Margarita

The ultimate refreshing cocktail for a hot, sunny day. Made with tequila and lime juice, this frozen drink can be made in a matter of minutes.

Ingredients (per cocktail)

  • 50ml tequila
  • 25ml triple sec
  • 25ml lime juice
  • 15ml sugar syrup
  • Lime wedge, to garnish

Method

  1. Fill a blender with ice, then pour in all of the ingredients except for the lime wedge. Blitz until smooth.
  2. Tip into a margarita glass, garnish and enjoy!

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Brandy Snaps

This sweet treat is the perfect thing to enjoy over a cuppa with friends and family.

Ingredients

  • 55g butter
  • 55g Demarara sugar
  • 55g golden syrup
  • 50g plain flour
  • ½ level tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ / gas mark 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Oil a thickish handle of a wooden spoon, and then lay it on a cooling rack.
  2. Add the butter, sugar, and syrup to a Cooks Professional frying pan. Heat gently over a low heat until the butter has melted, and the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally, and drag your wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan. When you can no longer hear the gritty granules being scraped along the pan and most of them have disappeared, you’ll know the sugar has dissolved. This should take roughly 15 minutes. Don’t allow the mixture to boil, as it may crystallize.
  3. Leave the mixture to cool slightly; after roughly 2-3 minutes, sieve in the flour and ginger. Pour the lemon juice and stir well, to ensure it’s mixed thoroughly. Drop four teaspoonfuls of the prepared mixture onto each of the prepared baking trays, making neat circles about 10cm or 4 inches apart.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for roughly 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is well spread out, looks lacey, and is a dark golden colour. Once baked you’ll need to work fast to shape the brandy snaps before they cool. It will be easier to bake one tray at a time. Remove each tray from the oven and leave for a minute or so to firm up slightly, then use a fish slice to lift a brandy snap from the baking tray. The mixture will need to be firm enough to remove, but still pliable enough to shape. You can check whether it’s ready by releasing around and under the edges with a small palette knife.
  5. Quickly roll a circle of the warm mixture around the handle of the oiled wooden spoon, and join the brandy snap underneath./ Press lightly together to seal, then slide the brandy snap off the spoon and leave it to firm up on the wire rack, again with the join underneath. If any of the circles harden up too much to work with, return them briefly to the oven for a few seconds to soften them up again. 
  6. Repeat until all the mixture has been used. If the mixture in the pan becomes too firm to drop in neat spoonfuls, roll a teaspoonful of it into a small, smooth ball using your hands, and flatten it slightly on the tray with your fingers. When the finished brandy snaps are cold, you can store them in an airtight container. They will keep for up to a week. For added decadence, prepare some whipped cream with an electric whisk, then add to a piping bag. Pipe the cream into your prepared brandy snaps, and serve with a good cup of tea.

Lead image: Agcreations via Getty Images.

Leah’s White Chocolate & Mango Muffins

These are a firm favourite with Leah’s family, and never last long once they come out of the oven. Give these sweet treats a go and watch them disappear off the plate! 

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup soft brown sugar
  • 200g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mango, chopped
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 90g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ / gas mark 4. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter or oil. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar and white chocolate, then mix well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Fold in the chopped mango gently. Make a well in the centre of the mixture.
  2. Add the combined cream, butter, milk, and egg all at once. Mix with the rubber spatula until the ingredients are just combined. Be careful not to overmix – the batter should look quite lumpy. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin.
  3. Bake for roughly 20 minutes, or until golden. Loosen the muffins with a flat-bladed knife, and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Lead image: iMylu via Getty Images.

Roast Duck & Plum Sauce

This is the perfect dish to impress a loved one, or even if you want to just treat yourself to a decadent Friday night dinner. Serve with your preferred vegetables on the side for a meal worthy of any restaurant!

Ingredients

For the duck

  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 star anise
  • 25g butter

For the plum sauce

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g dark red plums, halved, stoned, and cut into small wedges
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 50ml red wine
  • 300ml beef stock

For the creamed potatoes

  • 450g Maris piper potatoes
  • 50g butter
  • 50ml double cream
  • 50ml milk

For the buttered spinach

  • 250g spinach leaves
  • Knob of butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ fan / gas mark 4. First, prepare the sauce. Add the shallot to a frying pan and fry in the oil for roughly 5 minutes, or until just softened, but not coloured. Add the prepared plums and demerara sugar, stirring for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the stock and red wine, then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is softened and thickened. Keep warm, or leave at room temperature for up to a day before reheating to serve.
  2. Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp Cooks Profesional knife, and season well with salt and pepper. Heat your Cooks Professional frying pan and place the duck breasts in, skin-side down. Fry for around 6-7 minutes, then turn and add the thyme, star anise, and butter. Allow the butter to melt, then baste the duck with the juices for several minutes. Transfer everything to a small roasting tin, and finish in the oven for around 5-6 minutes for pink, or 10-12 minutes for well done.
  3. Prepare the creamed potatoes. Boil in a saucepan of salted water for around 20-25 minutes until cooked. Drain well, then return them to the saucepan and mash, gradually adding the butter, cream, and milk. Season to taste.
  4. Once the duck is ready, baste again with the juices, and then rest for around 5 minutes while you reheat the sauce and prepare the spinach. Wash the spinach leaves in a colander, then add to a pan with a knob of butter and some seasoning. Wilt for roughly one minute, stirring, and then remove from the heat.
  5. On a chopping board, thinly slice each duck breast. Arrange the breast on the plate along with some of the plum sauce, a spoon of the creamed potatoes, and the buttered spinach.

Lead image: Margouillatphotos via Getty Images.

Roast Duck & Plum Sauce

This is the perfect dish to impress a loved one, or even if you want to just treat yourself to a decadent Friday night dinner. Serve with your preferred vegetables on the side for a meal worthy of any restaurant!

Ingredients

For the duck

  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 star anise
  • 25g butter

For the plum sauce

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g dark red plums, halved, stoned, and cut into small wedges
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 50ml red wine
  • 300ml beef stock

For the creamed potatoes

  • 450g Maris piper potatoes
  • 50g butter
  • 50ml double cream
  • 50ml milk

For the buttered spinach

  • 250g spinach leaves
  • Knob of butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ fan / gas mark 4. First, prepare the sauce. Add the shallot to a frying pan and fry in the oil for roughly 5 minutes, or until just softened, but not coloured. Add the prepared plums and demerara sugar, stirring for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the stock and red wine, then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is softened and thickened. Keep warm, or leave at room temperature for up to a day before reheating to serve.
  2. Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp Cooks Profesional knife, and season well with salt and pepper. Heat your Cooks Professional frying pan and place the duck breasts in, skin-side down. Fry for around 6-7 minutes, then turn and add the thyme, star anise, and butter. Allow the butter to melt, then baste the duck with the juices for several minutes. Transfer everything to a small roasting tin, and finish in the oven for around 5-6 minutes for pink, or 10-12 minutes for well done.
  3. Prepare the creamed potatoes. Boil in a saucepan of salted water for around 20-25 minutes until cooked. Drain well, then return them to the saucepan and mash, gradually adding the butter, cream, and milk. Season to taste.
  4. Once the duck is ready, baste again with the juices, and then rest for around 5 minutes while you reheat the sauce and prepare the spinach. Wash the spinach leaves in a colander, then add to a pan with a knob of butter and some seasoning. Wilt for roughly one minute, stirring, and then remove from the heat.
  5. On a chopping board, thinly slice each duck breast. Arrange the breast on the plate along with some of the plum sauce, a spoon of the creamed potatoes, and the buttered spinach.

Lead image: Margouillatphotos via Getty Images.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

A classic, this pineapple upside-down cake will be perfect with your late morning cup of tea. 

Ingredients

For the topping

  • 50g softened butter
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 7 pineapple rings in syrup, drained
  • Glacé cherries

For the cake

  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Syrup from the tinned pineapples

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ fan /gas mark 4. To prepare the topping, beat the butter and sugar together in your Cooks Professional stand mixer until creamy. Spread the butter and sugar mixture over the base of a prepared 20-21cm round cake tin. You can also spread it up the sides of the tin; it will likely spread to about a quarter of the way up the tin. Arrange the pineapple rings on top, and then place the glacé cherries in the centres of the rings.
  2. Using your stand mixer, add the butter, caster sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and roughly 2 tbsp of the syrup from the tinned pineapples. Beat together to a soft consistency. Spoon the mixture until the tin on top of the prepared pineapple, and smooth it out so the mixture is level. Bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave the cake to stand in the tin for around 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Serve with a dash of cream, and enjoy!

Lead image: Bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

A classic, this pineapple upside-down cake will be perfect with your late morning cup of tea. 

Ingredients

For the topping

  • 50g softened butter
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 7 pineapple rings in syrup, drained
  • Glacé cherries

For the cake

  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Syrup from the tinned pineapples

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ fan /gas mark 4. To prepare the topping, beat the butter and sugar together in your Cooks Professional stand mixer until creamy. Spread the butter and sugar mixture over the base of a prepared 20-21cm round cake tin. You can also spread it up the sides of the tin; it will likely spread to about a quarter of the way up the tin. Arrange the pineapple rings on top, and then place the glacé cherries in the centres of the rings.
  2. Using your stand mixer, add the butter, caster sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and roughly 2 tbsp of the syrup from the tinned pineapples. Beat together to a soft consistency. Spoon the mixture until the tin on top of the prepared pineapple, and smooth it out so the mixture is level. Bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave the cake to stand in the tin for around 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Serve with a dash of cream, and enjoy!

Lead image: Bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Best Ever Fish Pie

You can’t beat a homemade fish pie. This best ever fish pie recipe is sure to have you and your family reaching for a delicious second helping!

Ingredients

  • 400g skinless white fish fillet
  • 400g skinless smoked haddock fillet
  • 400g skinless salmon
  • 150g King prawns
  • 600ml full fat milk
  • 1 small onion, cut into quarters
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 100g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 50g cheddar

Method

  1. In a frying pan, poach your fish. Add the white fish, smoked haddock, salmon, and king prawns to the frying pan, along with 500ml of the milk, and poach over a low-medium heat. Stud each quarter of onion with a garlic clove and add these to the milk, as well as the two bay leaves. Adjust the heat to bring the milk just to the boil; you should see a few small bubbles. Reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for around 8 minutes. Lift the fish onto a plate, and strain the milk into a jug and allow it to cool. Flake the fish into large pieces, and add these along with the king prawns to your large Cooks Professional casserole dish. Scatter the chopped parsley over the fish and prawns.
  2. Next, make the bechamel sauce. In a saucepan, melt about half the butter, and stir in the flour. Cook over a moderate heat for roughly 1 minute, continually stirring to prevent the mixture from catching on the bottom of the pan. Pour in a little of the cold poaching milk, and stir until blended. Continue gradually adding milk, stirring continually, and mix until you have a smooth sauce. For some added decadence, add some cheddar cheese to the sauce, stirring until it’s melted and fully incorporated. Remove the sauce from the heat, and season with salt, pepper, and the nutmeg, then pour over the fish.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200℃ / 180℃ fan / gas mark 6. In a clean saucepan boil the prepared potatoes for roughly 20 minutes, or until cooked. Drain, then season and mash with the remaining butter and milk. Use the mash to top the pie; start at the edge of the casserole dish, and work your way in; push the mash right to the edges to seal. Fluff the top of the mash with a fork, and sprinkle over the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. 

Lead image: Mariha-kitchen via Getty Images.

Lemon & Raspberry Puddings

This decadent pudding is sure to wow guests at your dinner parties. Lemon and raspberries are the perfect flavour combination that will have you reaching for more!

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp plain flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g raspberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190℃ / 170℃ fan / gas mark 5. Prepare the ramekins; thoroughly grease 5 ramekins with butter, then set to one side. In a large mixing bowl, use a stand mixer to combine the sugar, flour, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, then gradually whisk in the milk.
  2. In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, and then fold this into the lemon mixture. Be careful not to over whisk; we want to keep all that lovely air you’ve just worked hard to get in the mixture. Gently spoon this into the prepared ramekins, and poke between 4-5 raspberries into each. You may need extra ramekins, depending on how large the ones you’ve chosen are. 
  3. Place the ramekins in a small roasting tin, and pour enough boiling water into the tin to come halfway up the side of the ramekins, creating a bain-marie. Cook for between 15-20 minutes, or until puffed up and pale golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes to allow the bain-marie to cool. Carefully remove the ramekins from the bain-marie – the water may still be hot – and serve the lemon and raspberry puddings with cream and the remaining raspberries.

Lead image: Jupiterimages via Getty Images.

Long Island Ice Tea

Having only been invented 45 years ago, the Long Island ice tea is one of the youngest, widely-known cocktails. Made with vodka, rum, tequila and gin, it’s perfect for sipping on slowly on a hot summers day.

Ingredients (makes a jug of 4 cocktails)

  • 50ml vanilla vodka
  • 50ml dry gin
  • 50ml tequila
  • 50ml rum
  • 50ml triple sec
  • 75ml fresh lime juice
  • 500ml cola
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Method

  1. Pour the vodka, gin, tequila, rum and triple sec into a 1.5L jug then stir in the lime juice.
  2. Half fill the jug with ice, then stir with a long-handled spoon until the outside of the jug feels cold.
  3. Add the cola, then stir again and drop in the limes wedges.
  4. Fill 4 glasses with some more ice and pour in the tea.

Lead image: a_namenko via Getty Images.

Dalgona Coffee

A new coffee recipe has gone viral and taken the internet by storm. Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, everyone is posting about Dalgona coffee. So we’re here to help you become a professional barista at the comfort of your own home, with just four simple ingredients.

Image source: Pavel Sipachev via Getty Images.

So what is Dalgona coffee? It’s a South Korean whipped coffee drink. The name ‘Dalgona’ comes from sugar candy that is very popular in South Korea, because the colour, and texture of the mixture is very similar.

Image source: Im Yeongsik via Getty Images.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Instant coffee (must be instant coffee!)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup of milk (hot or cold depending on how you want your coffee)

Method

  1. Combine the instant coffee, sugar and warm water into a bowl. Using a hand mixer, whisk profusely until the consistency of the mixture is creamy and fluffy (should take 5-10 minutes).
  2. Get your cup of milk, top it up with the thick fluffy mixture. It really is that easy. Enjoy!

Lead image: Jennifer Gauld via Getty Images.

Eat the Seasons – April

With Easter coming up, the best of this year’s spring produce has started appearing in our shops. Take a look below and what’s in season this April!

Asparagus

A member of the lily family, and also related to onions, leeks and garlic, asparagus in a perennial vegetable that grows from crowns. Asparagus is also rich in saponins, a type of phytonutrient credited with reducing the risk of cancer, maintain blood pressure, regulating blood sugar and controlling lipid levels. No wonder Queen Nefertiti proclaimed it to be the food of the Gods!

Image source: DronG via Getty Images.

Rocket

Also known as arugula, rocket is a leafy vegetable that is a part of the mustard family. Rich in vitamins A, C, K and B as well as potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, rocket has a peppery taste that adds a little kick to salads.

Image source: pilipphoto via Getty Images.

Watercress

Another relative of the mustard family, and an often overlooked leafy green, watercress packs a powerful nutrient punch and has one of the highest densities of vitamin K in any food. Thought of as the ‘original superfood’, it is said that in the year 400BC, Hippocrates located his first hospital neat a stream so that he could grow a plentiful supply of watercress to help treat his patients.

Image source: liewy via Getty Images.

Samphire

A succulent plant belonging to the carrot family, samphire originates from the Mediterranean but can be found all over Europe. A great source of vitamins C, A amd B, samphire grows coastally on cliffs and rocky edges, and has a naturally salty flavour that is the perfect accompaniment to fish dishes.

Image source: DronG via Getty Images.

Chives

The tiniest member of the allium family, chives became a popular herb in the 19th century and are super easy to grow at home. Not only are these garlic-onion flavoured herbs delicious, but they are also a great source of fibre, riboflavin, iron, folate and vitamins A, C, K & B6.

Image source: space-monkey-pics via Getty Images.

Lead image: tpzijl via Getty images.

Salted Caramel Fudge

Ingredients

For the fudge

  • 350g demerara sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 125ml milk
  • 150g icing sugar

For the caramel sauce

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50ml double cream
  • Sea salt flakes

Method

  1.  Line a square baking tin, roughly 20cm x 20cm, with greaseproof paper. First, prepare the sauce. Add the sugar to a saucepan with a little splash of water, and cook over a low heat, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil until it has changed to a dark caramel colour. Remove from the heat, and add the double cream and butter. Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon until combined, and add a generous pinch of sea salt, before putting to one side.
  2. Prepare the fudge. In a separate saucepan, heat the butter over a medium heat, and add the milk and sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar has melted. Bing the mixture to a boil and cook for roughly one minute.
  3. Remove from the heat and carefully add the icing sugar; you can add more milk to loosen the mixture if needed.
  4. Pour the fudge into the prepared tin, and add the salted caramel sauce on top. Using a toothpick or a spoon, create swirl patterns through the fudge. Sprinkle more sea salt over the top to finish. Leave to cool, and then chill in the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight. Remove from the baking tin and cut the fudge into squares. Enjoy!

Lead image: pamela_d_mcadams via Getty Images.

Bacon, Cheddar & Poached Egg Bagel

The breakfast of champions. This decadent breakfast bagel is perfect to get your day started on the right track!

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 or 2 rashers of bacon
  • 1 bagel bun
  • Several slices of mature cheddar cheese
  • Dash of vinegar
  • Butter, for spreading

Method

  1. Slice your bagel in half, and toast for two minutes under the grill, or until lightly toasted. Remove from the grill and butter both halves.
  2. Grill the bacon. Use one or two slices, depending on how decadent you want to make your breakfast sandwich. Cook until the bacon is crisp, remembering to turn halfway through cooking. Once cooked, remove from the grill and add to the bottom half of your buttered bagel bun.
  3. Poach the egg. To have a perfectly poached egg, only fill the saucepan with roughly 4 inches of water, and a dash of vinegar. Put this on a medium heat, so that the water is hot and lightly simmering, but not boiling. Crack the egg into a cup or mug, and try to bring it as close to the water as you can before you tip it into the saucepan, preferably in one fluid movement if you can. Don’t swirl the water with a wooden spoon – instead leave the egg to poach in the gently simmering water. Cook for around 2 minutes for a soft egg, 4 minutes for a hard poached egg. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon, and place on top of the bacon.
  4. Top the egg with the sliced cheese – you can use as much or as little of this as you want – and then top the sandwich with the lid of the buttered bagel bun. Serve immediately.

Chef’s tip: It tastes just as great if you use a breakfast muffin instead of a bagel!

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Barbecue Chicken

The perfect sticky chicken to complement your barbecue buffet! Marinade your chicken overnight in our classic BBQ sauce, and simply cook on the barbecue for a tasty treat.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken wings
  • 6 chicken drumsticks

For the marinade

  • 3cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp grated orange zest

Method

  1. In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and whisk together with a balloon whisk. Set to one side. In your Cooks Professional roasting dish, arrange the chicken wings. Slash the skin on the chicken drumsticks three or four times with your sharp Cooks Professional knife, and then place in the roasting dish with the chicken wings.
  2. Pour the marinade over the chicken, and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Turn the chicken occasionally so that the meat really soaks up that great barbecue flavour.
  3. Fire up the barbecue, and place the marinaded chicken over medium-hot coals. Cook for roughly 20 minutes, making sure to brush any extra marinade over the chicken as it cooks. If you notice the chicken colouring too quickly, move it to a cooler side of the barbecue to allow it to cook at a gentler heat.
  4. Ensure the chicken is cooked all the way through. Use a skewer to pierce a drumstick; the juices should run clear. If it runs pink, keep cooking for a while longer.
  5. Alternatively, you can cook in the oven at 200℃/180℃/gas mark 6. Keep the chicken in your Cooks Professional roasting dish, with any leftover marinade, and cook in the oven for around 50 minutes. Turn the chicken occasionally, basting with the marinade. Serve immediately once cooked.

Lead image: Tatiana Volgutova via Getty Images.

Snickerdoodles

A favourite for our American cousins, these snickerdoodles are the perfect sweet treat to have with a cuppa.

Ingredients

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 345g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

For the cinnamon sugar

  • 25g sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / gas mark 4.
  2. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to cream together the butter and the caster sugar for roughly 4-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to get all of the mixture well combined. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract, and mix for a further few minutes.
  3. Add the cream of tartar, baking powder, salt, and flour. Mix until well combined. Wrap the dough and leave it in the fridge for roughly 20-30 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the smaller amount of sugar with the cinnamon to create the cinnamon sugar. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  5. Remove the snickerdoodle dough from the fridge, and roll into small balls until they’re all round and smooth. Drop the snickerdoodle balls into the cinnamon sugar, ensuring they’re well covered.
  6. Place the well-covered snickerdoodle balls on the prepared baking tray. For a flatter biscuit, gently press down in the centre of each ball before placing the tray in the oven. This will help to prevent them from puffing up in the middle.
  7. Cook for roughly 9-11 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the baking tray before putting them on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with your favourite beverage and enjoy!

Lead image: ALLEKO via Getty images.

Loaded Nachos

Being stuck indoors doesn’t have to be all bleak and boring – You now have time for lots of at home activities, like trying a new recipe 😉 Treat yourself to some simple delicious nachos. The perfect movie night snack, all under 10 minutes!

Ingredients

  • Tortilla chips (200g)
  • cheddar cheese (150g)
  • sour cream (50ml)
  • guacamole (50ml)
  • 1 diced avocado
  • 1 chopped onion
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Chopped jalapenos (25g)
  • 1 lime

Method

  1. Place all of the tortilla chips on a baking tray
  2. Put under a hot grill for about 3-5 minutes, just enough to melt all the cheese
  3. To make a simple fresh salsa – mix the tomatoes, avocado, onions. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Squeeze a wedge of lime and mix well.
  4. Serve with salsa, soured cream, guacamole, jalapenos. Enjoy!

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty images.

Mai Tai

A mix of white and dark rum mixed with grenadine give this sweet tasting cocktail its vibrant red glow.

Ingredients (per cocktail)

  • 2 tbsp white rum
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 2 tbsp triple sec
  • 1 tbsp grenadine
  • 1 tbsp almond syrup
  • 1/2 a lime, juice only
  • Maraschino cherry, to garnish

Method

  1. Pour your ingredients into a cocktail shaker along with some ice and shake until the outside of the shaker gets really cold.
  2. Add some more ice into a tumbler, then pour your cocktail over the top and garnish with a cherry.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty images.

Mai Tai

A mix of white and dark rum mixed with grenadine give this sweet tasting cocktail its vibrant red glow.

Ingredients (per cocktail)

  • 2 tbsp white rum
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 2 tbsp triple sec
  • 1 tbsp grenadine
  • 1 tbsp almond syrup
  • 1/2 a lime, juice only
  • Maraschino cherry, to garnish

Method

  1. Pour your ingredients into a cocktail shaker along with some ice and shake until the outside of the shaker gets really cold.
  2. Add some more ice into a tumbler, then pour your cocktail over the top and garnish with a cherry.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty images.

Blueberry & White Chocolate Fudge

This is the perfect sweet treat for you to make from the comfort of your own home. Blueberry and white chocolate is the perfect combination for a truly gourmet fudge!

Ingredients

  • 1 punnet blueberries
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Tin of sweetened condensed milk
  • 600g white chocolate
  • 50g butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt

Method

  1. Add the blueberries, cornstarch, and lemon juice to a saucepan, and cook over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. Mash the blueberries slightly and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture has thickened; this should take roughly 10-12 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat. Using a sieve, strain the blueberry mixture into a bowl. Separate roughly 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture into a separate bowl to use for decoration.
  3. Grease a rectangular baking dish with butter, and then line it with greaseproof paper.
  4. In a separate saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate. Cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously for about 8-10 minutes until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Add the vanilla extract, butter, and kosher salt, then remove from the heat. Add all of the blueberry mixture to the fudge apart from the 3-4 tablespoons you’ve set to one side, and then only stir it once or twice so that it’s incorporated without being too mixed in. We should still have that white chocolate colour to the fudge. 
  6. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the fudge to the prepared tin. Drop small spoonfuls of the remaining blueberry mixture onto the top, using a toothpick to give it a swirled, marble effect.
  7. Place the fudge in the fridge to set; this should take between 2-3 hours. Once set, remove from the fridge and cut into squares. Enjoy!

Lead image: Alison Henley via Getty images.

Chestnut Mushroom, Parmesan, & Sage Butter Gnocchi

This simple dish is packed full of flavour, and is the perfect midweek meal if you’re after something tasty in a hurry.

Ingredients

  • 200g gnocchi
  • 200g chetsnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tsps dried sage
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Knob of butter for frying
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the knob of butter, and allow to melt for a few minutes. Add the crushed garlic and the sage, frying for a few minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms – you may need to add a little more butter if necessary to ensure they become crisp.
  2. While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare the gnocchi. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the gnocchi as per the packet instructions. Drain, and add them to the frying pan with the mushrooms. Cook until the gnocchi is beautifully golden, so as to give it more of a crunch.
  3. Plate up the gnocchi, and sprinkle the grated parmesan to garnish. Serve immediately.

Lead image: zi3000 on Getty images.

Passionfruit & Pineapple Bundt Cake

These classic flavours are sure to wow guests who pop over for a cuppa. Why not treat yourself to a cheeky slice for elevenses? 

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus 1 tbsp
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 small, ripe pineapple, or 300g tinned pineapple
  • Seeds and juice of 2 passionfruits
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

  • 100g icing sugar
  • Seeds and juice of 1 passionfruit
  • 2-3 tsp whole milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. If you opted for fresh pineapple, prepare the pineapple. Top and tail the fruit, and then use a sharp knife to cut the skin away. Slice the flesh into roughly eight wedges, and remove the core from each wedge. Cut the pineapple into smaller chunks, roughly the size of a £1 coin, and then roast them on a baking tray for roughly 20 mins or until they are drier and golden. Leave to one side to cool.
  2. Prepare the bundt tin; rub 1 tbsp of the butter around the inside of a 25cm bundt tin, and sprinkle in 1 tbsp of the flour. Turn the pan on its side and roll it, gently tapping to move the flour around and coat the butter. Tap out any excess.
  3. In a bowl, mix the milk and the passionfruit together, then set to one side for a few minutes; the acidity of the juice will sour the milk a little. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat together the remaining butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the milk and passionfruit mixture, flour, eggs, vanilla extract, and a ¼ tsp of salt. Mix until creamy and smooth, and then fold in the pineapple pieces. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
  4. Bake the bundt cake for roughly 50-55 mins or until risen, golden, and a knife or skewer comes out clean from the deepest part of the cake. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack, letting the cake rest in the tin until barely warm.
  5. Prepare the glaze. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then make a well in the middle. Slowly mix the passionfruit and milk in the well to make a smooth glaze. Turn the cake out onto a plate, and brush the glaze over the top. Leave to cool and set.

Lead image: ehaurylik via Getty Images.

Passionfruit & Pineapple Bundt Cake

These classic flavours are sure to wow guests who pop over for a cuppa. Why not treat yourself to a cheeky slice for elevenses? 

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus 1 tbsp
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 small, ripe pineapple, or 300g tinned pineapple
  • Seeds and juice of 2 passionfruits
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

  • 100g icing sugar
  • Seeds and juice of 1 passionfruit
  • 2-3 tsp whole milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. If you opted for fresh pineapple, prepare the pineapple. Top and tail the fruit, and then use a sharp knife to cut the skin away. Slice the flesh into roughly eight wedges, and remove the core from each wedge. Cut the pineapple into smaller chunks, roughly the size of a £1 coin, and then roast them on a baking tray for roughly 20 mins or until they are drier and golden. Leave to one side to cool.
  2. Prepare the bundt tin; rub 1 tbsp of the butter around the inside of a 25cm bundt tin, and sprinkle in 1 tbsp of the flour. Turn the pan on its side and roll it, gently tapping to move the flour around and coat the butter. Tap out any excess.
  3. In a bowl, mix the milk and the passionfruit together, then set to one side for a few minutes; the acidity of the juice will sour the milk a little. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat together the remaining butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the milk and passionfruit mixture, flour, eggs, vanilla extract, and a ¼ tsp of salt. Mix until creamy and smooth, and then fold in the pineapple pieces. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
  4. Bake the bundt cake for roughly 50-55 mins or until risen, golden, and a knife or skewer comes out clean from the deepest part of the cake. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack, letting the cake rest in the tin until barely warm.
  5. Prepare the glaze. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then make a well in the middle. Slowly mix the passionfruit and milk in the well to make a smooth glaze. Turn the cake out onto a plate, and brush the glaze over the top. Leave to cool and set.

Lead image: ehaurylik via Getty Images.

Chorizo & Mozzarella Gnocchi Bake

A simple and tasty meal to make in a pinch, this chorizo and mozzarella gnocchi bake is comfort food at its best.

Ingredients

  • 120g chorizo, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 125g mozzarella ball, chopped into chunks
  • 600g gnocchi
  • Small bunch of basil, roughly chopped
  • Salad to serve

Method

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the oil a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook for roughly 10 minutes or until soft, then add the chopped chorizo and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add in the chopped tinned tomatoes, and add the sugar. Stir to combine all the ingredients, and then bring to a simmer. Add the gnocchi, and cook for 8 minutes or until soft, stirring often. Turn the grill on full heat.
  2. Add three-quarters of the chopped mozzarella to the gnocchi, as well as the majority of the basil. Transfer the gnocchi into a cast-iron casserole dish, or divide equally between 6 ovenproof ramekins. Add the remaining mozzarella to the top of the gnocchi, and then grill for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and melted. Remove from the heat, scatter the remaining basil over the top, and serve immediately with the salad.

Lead image: tagphoto via Getty images.

Chorizo & Mozzarella Gnocchi Bake

A simple and tasty meal to make in a pinch, this chorizo and mozzarella gnocchi bake is comfort food at its best.

Ingredients

  • 120g chorizo, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 125g mozzarella ball, chopped into chunks
  • 600g gnocchi
  • Small bunch of basil, roughly chopped
  • Salad to serve

Method

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the oil a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook for roughly 10 minutes or until soft, then add the chopped chorizo and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add in the chopped tinned tomatoes, and add the sugar. Stir to combine all the ingredients, and then bring to a simmer. Add the gnocchi, and cook for 8 minutes or until soft, stirring often. Turn the grill on full heat.
  2. Add three-quarters of the chopped mozzarella to the gnocchi, as well as the majority of the basil. Transfer the gnocchi into a cast-iron casserole dish, or divide equally between 6 ovenproof ramekins. Add the remaining mozzarella to the top of the gnocchi, and then grill for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and melted. Remove from the heat, scatter the remaining basil over the top, and serve immediately with the salad.

Lead image: tagphoto via Getty images.

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

Step up your appetiser game and hit all the flavour notes with this delicious recipe. Korean chicken wings are easy to make and really are “finger licking good”!

Ingredients

  • 500g Chicken wings
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g cornflour

For the sauce

  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or water)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste- can use sriracha instead)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. In a large bowl mix the chicken wings with salt, black pepper and cornflour. place the wings on a tray lined with baking sheet and gently brush with oil.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes until wings are golden-brown.
  3. Whilst the chicken wings are cooking – get started on the sauce. In a bowl whisk together all the ingredients.
  4. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir frequently and wait for the sauce to thicken to a ketchup like consistency.
  5. Toss the wings in the sauce and garnish with sesame seeds, and chopped spring onions. Enjoy!

Lead image: fortyforks via Getty images.

Eat the Seasons – March

Spring is here, and with it comes a whole host of delicious, seasonal ingredients to cook with. Take a look below to see what’s in season this March.

Cauliflower

One of the most versatile ingredients out there, cauliflower can be used as a rice substitute, as a healthy, gluten free pizza base, and is also delicious when simply sliced and roasted with some oil and spices. A single floret of cauliflower also contains 10% of your daily vitamin needs, as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals.

Cauliflower grows in organic soil in the garden on the vegetable area. Cauliflower head in natural conditions, close-up
Image source: Luiza Nalimova via Getty images.

Spinach

Popeye’s favourite snack, spinach comes in many varieties but mostly falls into three distinct groups – savoy, semi-savoy and flat leaf. Best when eaten fresh, spinach contains vitamin K, fibre, phosphorus, iron, calcium and magnesium, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Try making this crispy spinach and feta pie to get some more into your diet.

Image source: Lecic via Getty Images

Spring Onions

Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are smaller and milder than regular onions making them ideal for eating raw in salads or for using as an onion replacement when cooking quick dishes. Both the white bulb and green tops are safe (and delicious) to eat, and contain vitamins A, C and K, as well as flavanoids, potassium, calcium and fibre.

Image source: stevanovicigor via Getty Images

Rhubarb

Sweet and tangy, rhubarb is one of those ingredients that we look forward to cooking with every time it’s ready to harvest. The colour of the rhubarb’s stalk is an indicator of its taste, with darker red stalks being much sweeter. Although regarded as a fruit, rhubarb is technically a vegetable and contains vitamins K and C.

Image source: Baloncici via Getty Images

Wild Nettles

Although tricky to harvest due to their stinging hairs, wild nettles can be used in soups, risottos and teas. But why would you ever want to eat a stinging nettle? Well, wild nettles are absolutely full of vitamins and minerals including calcium, chromium, copper, iron and vitamins A, C & B. But don’t worry – they lose their stinging sensation once cooked!

Image source: dulezidar via Getty Images

Lead image: Baloncici via Getty images.

Eat the Seasons – March

Spring is here, and with it comes a whole host of delicious, seasonal ingredients to cook with. Take a look below to see what’s in season this March.

Cauliflower

One of the most versatile ingredients out there, cauliflower can be used as a rice substitute, as a healthy, gluten free pizza base, and is also delicious when simply sliced and roasted with some oil and spices. A single floret of cauliflower also contains 10% of your daily vitamin needs, as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals.

Cauliflower grows in organic soil in the garden on the vegetable area. Cauliflower head in natural conditions, close-up
Image source: Luiza Nalimova via Getty images.

Spinach

Popeye’s favourite snack, spinach comes in many varieties but mostly falls into three distinct groups – savoy, semi-savoy and flat leaf. Best when eaten fresh, spinach contains vitamin K, fibre, phosphorus, iron, calcium and magnesium, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Try making this crispy spinach and feta pie to get some more into your diet.

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Spring Onions

Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are smaller and milder than regular onions making them ideal for eating raw in salads or for using as an onion replacement when cooking quick dishes. Both the white bulb and green tops are safe (and delicious) to eat, and contain vitamins A, C and K, as well as flavanoids, potassium, calcium and fibre.

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Rhubarb

Sweet and tangy, rhubarb is one of those ingredients that we look forward to cooking with every time it’s ready to harvest. The colour of the rhubarb’s stalk is an indicator of its taste, with darker red stalks being much sweeter. Although regarded as a fruit, rhubarb is technically a vegetable and contains vitamins K and C.

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Wild Nettles

Although tricky to harvest due to their stinging hairs, wild nettles can be used in soups, risottos and teas. But why would you ever want to eat a stinging nettle? Well, wild nettles are absolutely full of vitamins and minerals including calcium, chromium, copper, iron and vitamins A, C & B. But don’t worry – they lose their stinging sensation once cooked!

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Lead image: Baloncici via Getty images.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

This classic comfort food is a great way to get the whole family involved in cooking, as it’s not overly complicated, yet still delicious. Try this fun, wholesome recipe for dinner this week!

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 500g minced pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 X 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • salt & Pepper
  • handful basil leaves
  • Spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. For the meatballs – mix all the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large bowl. Then using your hands, gently roll the mixture into small golf-ball-size balls and place on a tray.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the meatballs until brown. Set aside the meat balls onto a plate with paper towels, so we can get rid of all the excess fat.
  3. For the sauce – Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onions and garlic, fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat. As the sauce starts to thicken, season with salt & pepper and a pinch of sugar.
  4. Once the sauce is ready, tip in the meatballs. Making sure they’re covered with the sauce, let it simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Whilst the meatballs are cooking, cook your spaghetti.
  6. When ready, double check the seasoning of the meatballs and sauce, add the basil leaves, and serve with Parmesan. Enjoy!

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Need a quick chocolate fix? Forgot to grab dessert at the store? Want to do a fun activity with the kids? Whatever the reason – we’ve got you covered. Microwave mug cakes are truly underrated, they’re quick, easy and tasty. What’s not to love? Try this simple chocolate mug cake to satisfy your cravings!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 3tbsp milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the milk, egg, and vegetable oil together. Slowly add the dry ingredients and whisk until batter is clump free.
  3. Pour the batter about half way into a mug (make sure it’s microwave safe!).
  4. Add a dollop of chocolate spread into the middle
  5. Microwave mug cake for about 2 minutes. Top with some whipped cream and raspberries. Enjoy!

To change up the flavour of your mug cake, try swapping the chocolate spread for peanut butter or Nutella!

Lead image: VeselovaElena via Getty Images.

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Need a quick chocolate fix? Forgot to grab dessert at the store? Want to do a fun activity with the kids? Whatever the reason – we’ve got you covered. Microwave mug cakes are truly underrated, they’re quick, easy and tasty. What’s not to love? Try this simple chocolate mug cake to satisfy your cravings!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 3tbsp milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the milk, egg, and vegetable oil together. Slowly add the dry ingredients and whisk until batter is clump free.
  3. Pour the batter about half way into a mug (make sure it’s microwave safe!).
  4. Add a dollop of chocolate spread into the middle
  5. Microwave mug cake for about 2 minutes. Top with some whipped cream and raspberries. Enjoy!

To change up the flavour of your mug cake, try swapping the chocolate spread for peanut butter or Nutella!

Lead image: VeselovaElena via Getty Images.

Spicy Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas are the ultimate dish when it comes to Mexican food. Treat your family to this simple, but fun meal. Try topping it with homemade guacamole or salsa to make it extra delicious!

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Chicken Breasts, sliced into strips
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 Bell pepper
  • 1tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2tbsp Chilli Powder (less if you want mild)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 jalapeno
  • coriander, handful

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix the the chicken with cumin, chilli powder, lime juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and salt & pepper. Pop it into the fridge and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat your skillet with a tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Once ready, add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes until it’s golden brown. Transfer chicken to a bowl.
  4. Saute bell peppers, onion and garlic, cook until soft. Add chicken and stir gently.
  5. Chop the jalapeno and coriander, add to garnish. Serve with warm tortillas and enjoy!

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Mojito

A refreshing mix of white rum, mint and lime make this cocktail a classic party favourite.

Ingredients (per cocktail)

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • Small handful of leaves
  • 60ml white rum
  • Soda water, to taste

Method

  1. Muddle the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves in a small jug, making sure to crush the mint leaves to release their flavour.
  2. Grab a high-ball glass and pour in the lime mixture, then half fill with ice and pour over the rum.
  3. Stir with a long-handled spoon, top up with soda water and garnish with mint.

Lead image: klenova via Getty Images.

Espresso Martini

This classic cocktail is the perfect post dinner-party treat. Made with freshly brewed, coffee liqueur, vodka and sugar syrup.

Ingredients (makes 2 cocktails)

For the sugar syrup:

  • 100g golden caster sugar

For the cocktail

  • 100ml vodka
  • 50ml freshly brewed coffee
  • 50ml coffee liqueur
  • Coffee beans, to garnish

Method

  1. Make the sugar syrup placing pouring the caster sugar into a small pan and placing over a medium heat, along with 50ml water. Stir and bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and allow to cool. This can be made in advance. Meanwhile, place two cocktail glasses in the fridge to chill.
  2. Once the sugar syrup is cool, pour 1tbsp into a cocktail shaker along with a handful of ice, the vodka, espresso and coffee liqueur. Shake well until the outside of the shaker feels icy.
  3. Stain into the chilled glasses and garnish with the coffee beans.

Lead image: MaximFesenko via Getty images.

Espresso Martini

This classic cocktail is the perfect post dinner-party treat. Made with freshly brewed, coffee liqueur, vodka and sugar syrup.

Ingredients (makes 2 cocktails)

For the sugar syrup:

  • 100g golden caster sugar

For the cocktail

  • 100ml vodka
  • 50ml freshly brewed coffee
  • 50ml coffee liqueur
  • Coffee beans, to garnish

Method

  1. Make the sugar syrup placing pouring the caster sugar into a small pan and placing over a medium heat, along with 50ml water. Stir and bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and allow to cool. This can be made in advance. Meanwhile, place two cocktail glasses in the fridge to chill.
  2. Once the sugar syrup is cool, pour 1tbsp into a cocktail shaker along with a handful of ice, the vodka, espresso and coffee liqueur. Shake well until the outside of the shaker feels icy.
  3. Stain into the chilled glasses and garnish with the coffee beans.

Lead image: MaximFesenko via Getty images.