Cauliflower, egg & potato curry

  • Total time1 hr
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

Even a cauliflower-hater will love the warm coconut and flavours of this vegetarian curry dish

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 plump red chilli, seeds removed if you want, finely chopped
thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
2 large waxy potatoes (such as Desirée), peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tbsp curry paste (Patak’s Cumin & chilli is good)
1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets
400ml can coconut milk
6 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthways
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds (optional)
large handful of roughly chopped fresh coriander
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Heat a large, deep non-stick frying pan, wok or shallow saucepan over a low heat. Add the oil, stir in the onion and fry over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to turn golden.

Stir the chilli, garlic and ginger into the onion mixture and fry for 2 minutes. Raise the heat a little, add the potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the outsides are just softening. Stir in the curry paste, cook for 1 minute, then toss in the cauliflower and stirfry for a further 1 minute to coat.

Pour the coconut milk into the pan and stir thoroughly. Add some salt, raise the heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently, then half cover the pan and reduce to a slow simmer. Cook the curry for 20-25 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the vegetables are tender.

Half bury the eggs yolk-sides up in the sauce, then cover and continue to simmer gently for a further 1-2 minutes to heat through. Serve with a scattering of toasted almonds, if liked, and coriander.

Spelt pancakes with rhubarb

  • Prep:15 mins
  • Cook:50 mins
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

Make some spelt pancakes and finish with a vibrant rhubarb, orange, almonds and crème fraîche topping. Enjoy for dessert or a decadent weekend brunch

400g rhubarb, cut into 2-3cm pieces
60g honey, plus a drizzle
1 orange, zested and juiced
100g unsalted butter
50g flaked almonds
200ml crème fraîche, to serve

For the pancakes
2 eggs
30g olive or sunflower oil
350ml milk
175g spelt flour or buckwheat flour (optional)

Tip the pancake ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside to rest. Put the rhubarb, honey, orange juice and zest in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-12 mins until the rhubarb collapses. Add more honey, to taste, if you prefer, then set aside.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, swirling to coat the entire pan. Pour in enough of the pancake mix to coat the base, swirling the pan to spread the batter. (The batter should make 9 pancakes, in case the first one sticks.) Cook for about 1 min until the underside is golden, then flip over and cook for 30 secs-1 min until cooked through. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Repeat the process, adding more butter to the pan between pancakes.

Set aside a couple of spoonfuls of the rhubarb compote. Divide the rest between the pancakes, spooning a little into the centre of each. Fold over the left and right sides of each pancake so they overlap and enclose the filling, then fold over the side nearest to you, all the way to where the compote starts. Tuck the section holding the compote in and over itself to form neat parcels.

Melt the remaining butter in the frying pan and gently add the pancake parcels. Cook for 1-2 mins until golden, then flip and repeat on the other side. (You may need to do this in batches.) Remove to plates or a serving platter. Toast the almonds in the butter in the pan over a low heat for 2-3 mins, then scatter over the pancakes. Serve with the crème fraîche, a drizzle of honey and the reserved rhubarb.

Cream of cauliflower soup with sautéed wild mushrooms

  • Total time1 hr and 30 mins
  • Takes 1¼-1½ hours
  • Easy
  • Serves 8

Gordon Ramsay’s rich, warming soup is finished off with the luxurious touch of wild mushrooms

1large cauliflower (about 1.3kg/3lb), stalks discarded and florets chopped
1large potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1medium onion, chopped
25g butter
4 tbsp olive oil
1.2l light chicken or vegetable stock
600ml full-fat milk
142ml carton double cream
250g wild mushroom – choose from ceps, girolles (chanterelles), morels (either a mixture or just one type)
1-2 tbsp finely snipped chive


Put the cauliflower, potato and onion in a large saucepan with the butter and half of the oil. Gently heat the contents until they start to sizzle, then cover with a lid and sweat over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be softened but not coloured.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then pour in the milk and return gently to a boil. This way, there will be no scum forming from the milk. Season to taste then simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Pour in half the cream.

Blend everything in a food processor or blender, in batches. For an extra creamy texture, push the purée through a sieve with the back of a ladle. Stir in the rest of the cream. (If preparing ahead cool, cover and chill for up to a day.)


To serve, pick over the mushrooms. Wild mushrooms can be gritty so wash them quickly in a bowl of cold water then drain well and pat dry. Trim the stalks and chop or slice the mushrooms neatly. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and, when very hot, stir fry the mushrooms quickly until nicely browned, seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper as you cook them.

Reheat the soup until piping hot. Check for seasoning and ladle into warmed bowls. Spoon the mushrooms into the centre and sprinkle lightly with the chives. Italy’s elegant, mildly citrussy whites, such as Vernaccia di San Gimignano, or a Chardonnay would suit this rich soup.

Rhubarb & custard cake

  • Prep:20 mins
  • Cook:1 hr
  • Plus rhubarb cooking and cooling
  • Easy
  • Serves 16

This recipe tastes even better with homegrown rhubarb

1quantity Barney’s roasted rhubarb (see recipe, below method)
250g pack butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
150g ready-made custard
250g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g golden caster sugar
icing sugar, for dusting

Make the roasted rhubarb first, carefully draining off the juices before you let it cool. Butter and line a 23cm loose-bottomed or springform cake tin. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Reserve 3 tbsp of the custard in a bowl. Beat the rest of the custard together with the butter, flour, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and sugar until creamy and smooth. Spoon one-third of the mix into the tin, add some of the rhubarb, then dot with one-third more cake mix and spread it out as well as you can. Top with some more rhubarb, then spoon over the remaining cake mix, leaving it in rough mounds and dips rather than being too neat about it. Scatter the rest of the rhubarb over the batter, then dot the remaining custard over. Bake for 40 mins until risen and golden, then cover with foil and bake for 15-20 mins more. It’s ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then dredge with icing sugar when cool.


Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Rinse 400g rhubarb and shake off excess water. Trim the ends, then cut into little-finger-size pieces.

Put in a shallow dish or a baking tray, tip over 50g caster sugar, toss together, then shuffle rhubarb so it’s in a single layer.

Cover with foil, then roast for 15 mins. Remove foil. Give everything a little shake, roast for 5 mins more or until tender and the juices are syrupy.

Ultimate spaghetti carbonara recipe

Prep:15 mins – 20 mins
Cook:15 mins
Serves 4
Discover how to make superb spaghetti carbonara. This cheesy pasta dish is an Italian favourite and with the right technique, you can make it perfect every time

100g pancetta
50g pecorino cheese
50g parmesan
3 large eggs
350g spaghetti
2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
50g unsalted butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil.

Finely chop the 100g pancetta, having first removed any rind. Finely grate 50g pecorino cheese and 50g parmesan and mix them together.

Beat the 3 large eggs in a medium bowl and season with a little freshly grated black pepper. Set everything aside.

Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water, add 350g spaghetti and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente (just cooked).

Squash 2 peeled plump garlic cloves with the blade of a knife, just to bruise it.

While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the pancetta with the garlic. Drop 50g unsalted butter into a large frying pan or wok and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the pancetta and garlic.

Leave to cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta is golden and crisp. The garlic has now imparted its flavour, so take it out with a slotted spoon and discard.

Keep the heat under the pancetta on low. When the pasta is ready, lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta. Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw the pasta water away yet.

Mix most of the cheese in with the eggs, keeping a small handful back for sprinkling over later.

Take the pan of spaghetti and pancetta off the heat. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese. Using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble, and everything is coated.

Add extra pasta cooking water to keep it saucy (several tablespoons should do it). You don’t want it wet, just moist. Season with a little salt, if needed.

Use a long-pronged fork to twist the pasta on to the serving plate or bowl. Serve immediately with a little sprinkling of the remaining cheese and a grating of black pepper. If the dish does get a little dry before serving, splash in some more hot pasta water and the glossy sauciness will be revived.

Banana bread

Prep:15 mins
Cook:50 mins
Cuts into 8-10 slices
A cross between banana bread and a drizzle cake, this easy banana loaf recipe is a quick bake that can be frozen. It’s great for using up overripe bananas, too.

140g butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
140g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
140g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
50g icing sugar
handful dried banana chips, for decoration

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Butter a 2lb loaf tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.

Cream 140g softened butter and 140g caster sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly add 2 beaten large eggs with a little of the 140g flour.

Fold in the remaining flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 mashed bananas.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 mins, or until cooked through. Check the loaf at 5-min intervals from around 30-40 mins in the oven by testing it with a skewer (it should be able to be inserted and removed cleanly), as the time may vary depending on the shape of your loaf tin.

Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then remove to a wire rack.

Mix 50g icing sugar with 2-3 tsp water to make a runny icing.

Drizzle the icing across the top of the cake and decorate with a handful of banana chips.

The best apple crumble

Prep:15 mins
Cook:40 mins
Serves 4
You can’t beat a traditional apple filling topped with crispy, buttery crumble – classic comfort food at its best

For the filling
575g Bramley apple (3 medium apples), peeled, cored and sliced to 1cm thick
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
For the crumble
175g plain flour
110g golden caster sugar
110g cold butter
For the topping (optional)
1 tbsp rolled oats
1 tbsp demerara sugar
double cream, clotted cream or custard, to serve

Heat the oven to 190C/170 fan/gas 5.

Toss 575g peeled, cored and sliced Bramley apples with 2 tbsp golden caster sugar and put in a 23cm round baking dish at least 5cm deep, or a 20cm square dish. Flatten down with your hand to prevent too much crumble falling through.

Put 175g plain flour and 110g golden caster sugar in a bowl with a good pinch of salt.

Slice in 110g cold butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like moist breadcrumbs. Shake the bowl and any big bits will come to the surface – rub them in. Alternatively, pulse in a processor until sandy (don’t over-process).

Pour the crumb mix over the apples to form a pile in the centre, then use a fork to even out.

Gently press the surface with the back of the fork so the crumble holds together and goes crisp, then lightly drag the fork over the top for a decorative finish.

Sprinkle 1 tbsp rolled oats and 1 tbsp demerara sugar over evenly, if you wish.

Set on a baking tray and put in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the apples feel very soft when you insert a small, sharp knife. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Classic pesto

Cook:15 mins
Makes 250ml
Whizz up delicious homemade pesto in under 15 minutes using just five ingredients. This herby Italian-style sauce is great stirred through pasta for a quick meal

50g pine nuts
80g basil
50g parmesan or vegetarian alternative
150ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves

Heat a small frying pan over a low heat. Cook the pine nuts until golden, shaking occasionally. Put into a food processor with the basil, parmesan, olive oil and garlic cloves. Whizz until smooth, then season to taste.

Blender Hollandaise

3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 dash hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco)

½ cup butter

Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, and hot pepper sauce in the container of a blender; cover and blend for about 5 seconds.

Place butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until hot and completely melted.

Turn the blender on; pour melted butter in a slow, steady stream until sauce is thick and smooth, about 15 to 30 seconds.

Salted caramel chocolate torte

Prep:1 hr and 15 mins
Cook:10 mins
Plus cooling and chilling
Serves 8
Indulge guests at your next party with this impressive dessert. A touch of salt really sets off the caramel and dark chocolate

175g digestive biscuits
85g butter, melted
397g can caramel
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra to serve
300g plain chocolate (70% solids), broken into chunks
600ml tub double cream
25g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
salted caramel chocolates, to decorate
single cream, to serve (optional)

Line the base of a deep, round 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with a circle of baking parchment. Line the sides with one long strip that comes just above the sides of the tin – staple or paper clip where the strip overlaps to hold it in place.

Crush the biscuits in a plastic bag or bowl with the end of a rolling pin. Stir into the melted butter, then evenly press into the bottom of the tin. Chill for 10 mins.

Reserve 2 tbsp of the caramel. Stir the sea salt into the remainder and spoon into the centre of the biscuit base. Gently spread so the base is evenly covered but a visible 1-2cm border of biscuit remains around the edge. Chill for 20 mins while you make the chocolate layer.

Gently melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir 1 tbsp of the cream into the reserved caramel, then cover and chill until ready to decorate. Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat but leave the bowl where it is, and gradually stir in the remaining cream until you have a smooth, shiny, thick chocolate sauce. Sift in the icing sugar and stir in with the vanilla extract. Lift off the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 mins.

Ladle or pour the chocolate mixture around the edge of the torte first, so it fills the biscuit border, sealing the caramel in the centre. Then ladle or pour in the rest and gently shake to smooth the surface. Chill for at least 5 hrs or up to 24 hours until firm.

Remove the torte from the tin, then carefully peel off the strip of paper and transfer to a serving plate. Dot the chocolates on top. Spoon the reserved caramel-cream mixture into a small food or freezer bag. Snip off the tiniest tip of the corner to make a very small opening, then squiggle lines of caramel over the top. Chill until ready to serve. Scatter with a pinch or two of sea salt before serving, then thinly slice. Eat with a drizzle of single cream, if you like.

Romantic rose cupcakes

Prep:10 mins
Cook:20 mins
Makes 12 deep cupcakes
These decorative cupcakes make the perfect centrepiece for a wedding or christening, or a lovely gift

150ml pot natural yogurt
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g golden caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground almond
175g unsalted butter, melted
For the white chocolate frosting
100g white chocolate
140g unsalted butter
140g icing sugar

Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. In a jug, mix the yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Put the dry ingredients, plus a pinch of salt, into a large bowl and make a well in the middle.

Add the yogurty mix and melted butter, and quickly fold in with a spatula or metal spoon – don’t overwork it. Spoon into the cases (they will be quite full) and bake for 18-20 mins or until golden, risen and springy to the touch. Cool for a few mins, then lift the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze as soon as possible.

White chocolate frosting: Melt the chocolate in the microwave on High for 1½ mins, stirring halfway. Leave to cool. Beat the butter and icing sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in the chocolate. Cover and chill for up to one month.

Up to 48 hrs before serving (or the day before if it’s really hot), bring the frosting back to room temperature, then spread over the cakes. Put the ribbon around the cakes now if you like, tying or glueing in place. Keep cool, out of direct sunlight.

Dark chocolate pudding with malted cream

Prep:15 mins – 20 mins
Cook:15 mins
Serves 3
This chocolate pudding is the perfect balance of richness and textures. It’s easy, yet impressive and you can even make it ahead before your guests arrive

For the puddings
60g butter, plus extra for the ramekins
2 tbsp cocoa powder
100g 70% dark chocolate
2 eggs
100g caster sugar
½ tsp malt powder (we used Ovaltine)
For the cream
100ml double cream
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp malt powder
To serve
9 Maltesers, crushed into large chunks
3 glacé cherries, cut in half
1 tbsp chopped salted pistachios

Butter three ramekins, dust with cocoa and set aside. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, then whisk in the chocolate mixture with the malt powder and a pinch of salt. Divide the mixture between the ramekins and bake for 14 mins until they are just cooked with a slight wobble in the middle to make a fondant, or 18 mins for a pudding. Remove from the oven, turn out and serve warm now, or leave to cool in their ramekins.

Whisk the cream, sugar and malt powder together to soft peaks. Carefully turn the puddings out onto plates, then pile on the Maltesers, cherries and pistachios, and serve with the malted cream.

Valentine’s Day cocktail

Prep:5 mins
No cook
Serves 2
Combine cranberry juice, vodka, raspberries and prosecco to make this ruby-red cocktail. If romance is in the air, it’s the perfect tipple for Valentine’s Day

150ml cranberry juice
1 tsp grenadine
50ml vodka
handful of ice
1 lime wedge
4 raspberries
chilled prosecco or sparkling wine, to top up

Mix the cranberry juice, grenadine and vodka together in a jug with a handful of ice. Or, do this in a cocktail shaker. Squeeze over the lime wedge and stir with a mixing spoon, or shake briefly if using a cocktail shaker.

Strain the cocktail into two champagne glasses. Drop two raspberries into each glass, then top up with prosecco or sparkling wine to serve.

Kiwi fruit smoothie

Preparation and cooking time
Prep:5 mins
no cook
Serves 2 – 3
This simple kiwi, mango and pineapple fruit smoothie makes an ideal morning treat. It’s an easy way to pack in the vitamins and give yourself a boost

3 peeled kiwi fruit
1 mango, peeled, stoned and chopped
500ml pineapple juice
1 banana, sliced

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth then pour into 2 tall glasses.

Air-fryer doughnuts

Preparation and cooking time
Prep:30 mins
Cook:25 mins
plus overnight proving
More effort
Makes 6-8
Cook doughnuts without the need for too much oil. These have a slightly different texture, but are still fluffy and delicious. Top with glaze or sugar and cinnamon

125ml milk, lukewarm
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
7g sachet dried fast-action yeast
60g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1 egg, beaten
For the glaze
125g icing sugar
3 tbsp milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
flavourless oil, for proving

Combine the milk, melted butter, yeast, 1 tsp of the sugar and the vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Leave for 8-10 mins for the yeast to activate.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar, flour, ½ tsp salt and the cinnamon, if using. Mix the beaten egg into the milk mixture, then fold in the dry ingredients. Knead with a dough hook on a medium speed for 5-8 mins until the dough is smooth and elastic. You can also knead by hand for 10-12 mins, until smooth. It’s a very sticky dough, so be patient with it.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hr 30 mins until the dough has doubled in size. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to around 1.5cm thick. Cut out your doughnuts using a doughnut cutter or two cutters (1 x 7.5cm and 1 x 2.5cm for the middle). Put the doughnuts on a lined baking sheet, along with the doughnut centres, if you like, and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise for 40 mins or overnight in the fridge (the doughnuts will hold their shape better if proved in the fridge).

When ready to cook, place 2-3 doughnuts (and their centres, if keeping) in the air-fryer basket and cook at 180C for 5-6 mins, following manufacturer’s instructions, until golden. (Bear in mind that some air fryers generate more intense heat, so keep checking to make sure the doughnuts don’t burn.) Remove from the basket and leave to cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining doughnuts. You can place a sheet of baking parchment at the bottom of your basket if you’re worried about the doughnuts sticking and to prevent indents from the basket forming on the doughnuts.

Breakfast super-shake

Prep:5 mins
no cook
Serves 1
This smoothie is high in natural fats and sugar – ideal if you need some fuel for intense exercise

100ml full-fat milk
2 tbsp natural yogurt
1 banana
150g frozen fruits of the forest
50g blueberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp goji berries
1 tsp mixed seeds
1 tsp honey (ideally Manuka)

Put the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Air fryer pasta chips

200g pasta, such as farfalle
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
large pinch of dried oregano
1 tsp onion granules

Cook the pasta following the packet instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the olive oil, spices, herbs and season with salt and pepper, and mix together so that the pasta is well coated.

Set your air fryer to 180C and cook the pasta for 15-20 minutes, shaking every 5 minutes, until the pasta is crisp and golden. Serve the pasta chips on their own or with a dip.

Slow cooker clotted cream fudge

  • Prep:15 mins
  • Cook:5 hrs
  • plus chilling
  • Easy
  • Makes 16 squares


  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 200g clotted cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil, for the tin


  • STEP 1
    Put the caster sugar, golden syrup, clotted cream, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt flakes in a Slow cooker. Stir until well-mixed and smooth. Cook on high for 4-5 hrs, stirring every 30 mins, or until it’s a golden caramel colour and looks glossy. If your slow cooker works with the lid off, cook uncovered to speed up cooking. It will take about 5 hrs if using a multi-function cooker with a locked lid that requires you to keep opening and stirring it.
  • STEP 2
    Oil a 20cm baking tin and line with baking parchment. Remove the bowl of the slow cooker carefully and set on a heatproof mat or chopping board. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula vigorously for 10-15 mins to cool the fudge and to break up any large sugar crystals. The fudge will thicken as it cools and start to look matte. Tip into the tin and use a spatula to smooth the surface. Sprinkle with a little more salt and chill until set, about 1 hr. Cut into chunks. Will keep for five days in an airtight container.

Slow cooker vegetable stew with cheddar dumplings

  • Prep:20 mins
  • Cook:6 hrs
  • Easy
  • Serves 6


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g baby carrots , scrubbed, trimmed and halved if large
  • 3 leeks , cut into thick slices
  • 3 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 courgettes , cut into large chunks
  • 2 x 400g cans butter or cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 thyme , rosemary or tarragon sprigs
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 200g broad beans or peas
  • 200g spinach
  • ½ small bunch of parsley , finely chopped, plus extra to serve

For the dumplings

  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 50g vegetarian suet or cold butter, grated
  • 100g mature cheddar
  • ½ small bunch of parsley , finely chopped


  • STEP 1
    Set the Slow cooker to low. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan and fry the carrots for 5 mins until just golden, then tip into the slow cooker.
  • STEP 2
    Heat the remaining oil in the pan and fry the leeks with a pinch of salt for 5 mins until soft. Add the garlic and stir in the flour. Gradually add the stock, stirring, until the flour has dissolved and there are no lumps. Bring to the boil, then tip into the slow cooker. Add the courgettes, beans and herbs, topping up with water to cover the veg, if needed. Cover and cook for 4 hrs.
  • STEP 3
    To make the dumplings, tip the flour into a bowl and stir in the suet or butter until evenly distributed. Add the cheese, parsley, ½ tsp cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt. Mix in 3-4 tbsp cold water with your hands to make a soft, slightly sticky dough (add a little more water if needed). Divide into six and roll into balls.
  • STEP 4
    Add the crème fraîche, mustard, broad beans or peas and spinach to the slow cooker and turn it to high. Arrange the dumplings over the stew, cover and cook for 1-2 hrs more until firm and doubled in size. Scatter with parsley and serve. Will keep for up to three days in the fridge or in the freezer for up to three months.

Slow cooker sticky toffee pudding

  • Prep:30 mins
  • Cook:8 hrs
  • plus 30 mins soaking
  • Easy
  • Serves 8


  • 250g pitted dates, chopped
  • 100g butter, plus extra for the basin
  • 4 tbsp treacle
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g light brown soft sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve


  • STEP 1
    Put the dates in a heatproof bowl, cover with 150ml boiling water, and leave to soak for 30 mins. Butter a 1-litre pudding basin and line the base with baking parchment.
  • STEP 2
    Tip half the butter, half the treacle, the vanilla, 75g of the sugar and the cream into a pan set over a medium heat. Cook for 4-5 mins, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat, bubble for 3 mins, then whisk in a pinch of salt. Pour a third of the sauce into the basin.
  • STEP 3
    Beat the remaining butter, treacle, sugar and the eggs together, then fold in the flour, bicarb, ¼ tsp salt, the dates and their soaking liquid. Spoon into the basin and smooth the surface, leaving a 1cm gap from the top. Cover with a double layer of baking parchment and foil, making a pleat in the middle so the pud can expand. Secure with kitchen string.
  • STEP 4
    Set the slow cooker to low. Sit the basin inside, then add boiling water so it comes halfway up the basin. Cover and cook for 7-8 hrs. Run a knife around the edge of the pudding and turn out onto a plate. Reheat the remaining sauce and pour over. Serve with ice cream.

Slow-cooker chicken korma

  • Prep:15 mins
  • Cook:6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Easy
  • Serves 4-6


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼-½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • 6 tbsp ground almonds
  • toasted flaked almonds , coriander, basmati rice and naan breads, to serve (optional)


  • STEP 1
    Heat the slow cooker to low. Put the garlic, ginger and onions in a small blender with a splash of water and whizz to a paste. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and sear the chicken all over. Remove from the pan and set aside, then add the onion paste. Fry over a medium heat for 10 mins until lightly golden.
  • STEP 2
    Stir in the tomato purée, spices, 1 tsp salt and the sugar, fry for 1 min until aromatic, then put the chicken back into the pan (with any resting juices) and add the stock. Stir and bring to a simmer, then spoon into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 5-6 hrs until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  • STEP 3
    Stir through the cream and the ground almonds and bubble for 10 mins to reduce, if needed. Scatter with flaked almonds and coriander, if using, then serve with rice and naans, if you like.

Slow cooker ratatouille

  • Prep:10 mins
  • Cook:6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Easy
  • Serves 6


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion , sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large aubergines , cut into 1.5cm pieces
  • 3 courgettes , halved and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 mixed peppers , cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes , roughly chopped
  • small bunch of basil , roughly chopped, plus a few extra leaves to serve
  • few thyme sprigs
  • 400g can plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • sourdough , to serve (optional)


  • STEP 1
    Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for 8 mins until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for 1 min. Turn the heat to medium-high, add the aubergines and fry for 5 mins until golden. Stir in the courgettes and peppers and fry for 5 mins more until slightly soft. Add the tomato purée, fresh tomatoes, herbs, canned tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and 1 tsp salt and bring to the boil.
  • STEP 2
    Transfer to the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until everything is soft and the sauce has thickened. Season, scatter over some extra basil, and serve with sourdough, if you like.

Ham, mushroom & rocket

basil pesto
mushroom, sliced
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
ham, chopped
handful rocket


  1. Preheat your pizza oven on setting 4 for 10 minutes.
  2. Roll out your fresh dough and place inside your pizza oven.
  3. Spread your base with the pesto. Top with ham, mushrooms, tomatoes and some seasoning. Bake as above then top with a handful of rocket.
  4. Close the lid and turn your pizza maker up to 5 and cook for around 3-4 minutes.

Eggs Florentine pizza

bacon rashers
baby spinach leaves
tomato pizza sauce
grated pizza cheese
truss grape tomatoes


  1. Preheat your pizza oven on setting 4 for 10 minutes.
  2. Add spinach to pan and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  3. Roll out your fresh dough and place inside your pizza oven.
  4. Top base with tomato puree.
  5. Top with spinach and bacon then crack an egg in the middle of each pizza. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with tomatoes.
  6. Close the lid and turn your pizza maker up to 5 and cook for around 3-4 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbling and egg is cooked as desired.

Mozzarella and Basil Pizza

fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
fresh basil leaves


  1. Preheat your pizza oven on setting 4 for 10 minutes.
  2. Roll out your fresh dough and place inside your pizza oven.
  3. Top base with tomato puree.
  4. Top with mozzarella slices. Close the lid and turn your pizza maker up to 5 and cook for around 3-4 minutes.
  5. Top with basil leaves; cut into wedges.

Acai bowl

Prep:5 mins
Serves 1

2 tsp açaí powder
handful frozen berries
½ a very ripe banana , chopped
handful ice cubes
1 tsp coconut flakes , 5 pineapple chunks, ½ passionfruit, 1 tbsp toasted oats, to top (optional)

Put the açaí powder, frozen berries, banana and ice cubes into a Cooks Professional Nutriblend with 100ml water. Blitz until smooth, then pour into a bowl and add your choice of toppings.

White sourdough

For the starter
250g strong white bread flour , preferably organic or stoneground
For the levain
1 tbsp sourdough starter (see above)
100g strong white bread flour , preferably organic or stoneground
For the bread
levain (see above)
1kg strong white bread flour , preferably organic or stoneground, plus extra for dusting
20g fine sea salt

Day 1:
To begin your starter, mix 50g flour with 50g tepid water in a jar or, better still, a plastic container. Make sure all the flour is incorporated and leave, semi-uncovered, at room temperature for 24 hrs.

Day 2:
Mix 50g flour with 50g tepid water and stir into yesterday’s mixture. Make sure all the flour is incorporated and leave, semi-uncovered, at room temperature for another 24 hrs.

Day 3:
Mix 50g flour with 50g tepid water and stir into yesterday’s mixture. Make sure all the flour is incorporated and leave, semi-uncovered, at room temperature for another 24 hrs.

Day 4:
You should start to see some activity in the mixture now; there should be some bubbles forming and bubbling on top. Mix 50g flour with 50g tepid water and stir into yesterday’s mixture. Make sure all the flour is incorporated and leave, semi-uncovered, at room temperature for another 24 hrs.

Day 5:
The mixture should be very active now and ready for making your levain. If it’s not bubbling, continue to feed it on a daily basis until it does. When it’s ready, it should smell like yogurt.

You now have a starter, which is the base to the bread. You’ll need to look after it, but naming is optional! Keep it in the fridge (it will stay dormant) and 24 hrs before you want to use it, pour half of it off and feed it with 100g flour and 100g water. Leave it at room temperature and it should become active again. The longer the starter has been dormant, the more times it will need to be refreshed – the process of pouring off half the starter and replacing it with new flour and water – to reactivate. If your starter is ready to use, a teaspoonful of the mixture should float in warm water.

For the levain
Mix 1 tbsp of the starter with 100g flour and 100g water (this is the same process as feeding the starter, but you should do this in a new, separate bowl, keeping the original starter as back-up, as this is the mixture you’ll use to bake your bread). Leave the levain for 8 hrs at room temperature until it becomes active. When ready, a teaspoonful of the mixture should float in warm water.

For the bread
Pour 600g tepid water into the levain and stir with a rubber spatula to mix together – don’t worry if there are unmixed bits of levain. Tip in the flour and mix everything together with a rubber spatula to make a rough dough, ensuring all the flour is incorporated evenly and that there are no dry bits up the side of the bowl. Cover and leave somewhere warm for at least 30 mins, or up to 4 hrs.

Sprinkle over the salt and add 50g water to the dough. Pinch and scrunch the salt and water through the dough with your hands. If the dough goes stringy (like old chewing gum), just keep working it until it’s one smooth texture. Leave for another 15 mins.

Wet your hands, grab the dough from one side and stretch it over itself, then repeat with the other side. This stretching technique helps develop the gluten. Pick the dough up and curl it around onto itself, then cover and leave for another 20-30 mins. Repeat this process two more times (three in total), then leave the dough for another 2-3 hrs until it’s risen by about 30% and looks bubbly and soft.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and split in two. Fold each piece onto itself to create a ball, then leave uncovered for 30 mins. The dough balls will spread during this time.

Dust two bread-proving baskets generously with flour. Scrape one of the balls of dough off the work surface, then fold it onto itself to create a tight ball that’s trapped in all the air. Lift the ball into a basket, seam-side up, then transfer to the fridge to chill overnight, or for up to 18 hrs. Repeat with the other dough ball.

Heat the oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 9 and put a lidded casserole dish in the oven to heat. Cut a sheet of baking parchment into a square slightly larger than the base of one of the loaves. Carefully remove the hot casserole dish from the oven and remove the lid. Invert one loaf onto the baking parchment, then, working quickly, score the top at an angle. Use the corners of the parchment to lift the loaf into the casserole dish. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 mins, then carefully uncover and continue to bake for another 10 mins (or longer for a darker finish). Carefully lift the bread out of the dish using a spatula, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool to room temperature before slicing. Repeat with the second loaf.

Sour Dough Pizza

Prep:1 hr
Cook:1 hr
plus 4 days for the sourdough and 4-18 hrs resting
More effort
Makes 6 pizzas

For the base
1 batch white sourdough (see step 1)
strong or plain flour , for dusting
For the topping
2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil , plus extra to serve
1 tsp dried oregano
300g mozzarella , torn into chunks
small bunch of basil , leaves picked (optional)

Make a batch of our white sourdough, following the recipe to the end of step 10. When the dough is ready, tip it onto a lightly floured surface and divide into six equal pieces. Roll into balls and leave to rest on a floured tray, covered with a damp tea towel, in the fridge for at least 4 hrs, and up to 18 hrs – the longer you leave the dough, the more sour it will taste.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Drain some of the juice from the plummed tomatoes and tip the rest into a bowl with the olive oil, oregano and a generous pinch of salt. Combine by either scrunching everything together with your fingers (this will make a chunky sauce) or blitz with a stick blender (this will make a smooth sauce). Chill until needed.

To make the pizzas, heat a grill to high and prepare an ovenproof frying pan. On a floured surface, push and stretch a ball of dough into a circle roughly the same size as the pan. Get the pan very hot, then working quickly and carefully, drape it into the pan, spread over some of the sauce, a handful of mozzarella and some basil, if using.

Cook for 2 mins, until little bubbles appear, then put the pan under the grill for another 2-4 mins until the sides are puffed up and the cheese has melted. Remove, drizzle with a little olive oil and cut into wedges. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Strawberry green goddess smoothie

  • Prep:5 mins
  • Serves 2

160g ripe strawberries, hulled
160g baby spinach
1 small avocado, halved and the flesh scooped out
150ml pot bio yogurt
2 small oranges, juiced, plus ½ tsp finely grated zest


  • STEP 1– Put all the ingredients in a Cooks Professional Nurtiblend and whizz until completely smooth. If it’s a little thick, add a drop of chilled water then blitz again. Pour into glasses and drink straight away.

Strawberry Puree

yield: prep time: 5 MINS total time: 5 MINS

4 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

1. Place the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
2. Puree the strawberries for 1 minutes.
3. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and process for another minute or until the strawberries are smooth.
4. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Strawberry puree can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You can also freeze your strawberry puree in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Crispy Baked Falafel Recipe


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (soaked at least 12 hours)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas in 4 cups of water overnight.
  • When you are ready to cook the falafels, heat oven to 400°F.
  • After soaking, drain the liquid and transfer the chickpeas to a 7-cup food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  • Pulse for 1-2 minutes, until picture resembles the image below. It should be processed into small pieces but not completely pureed.
  • Add the minced garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, baking powder, salt, pepper and egg. Process using the pulse function on the processor until all ingredients are well mixed in.
  • Using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop, form disk-shaped falafels, patting them into shape with your hands and arranging on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Falafels will be delicate, so be careful. Having slightly damp hands helps form them into shape.
  • Carefully brush tops with olive oil.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Blackberry-Lemon Ice Cream Pie

Blackberry-Lemon Ice Cream Pie Recipe | EatingWell

Total:5 hrs 40 mins Servings:8


  • 2 cups coarsely crumbled gingersnap cookies
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup non fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 3 cups blackberries, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest


  • To prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  • Process cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Add oil and process until well combined. Using your fingertips or the back of a spoon, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until just set, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • To make the filling: Whip cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until starting to thicken. Add sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in yogurt.
  • Clean out the bowl of the food processor and puree 2 cups blackberries. Pour the puree through a sieve into the yogurt-cream mixture, pressing on the solids to strain out as much of the puree as possible. Add lemon zest and gently fold the flavorings into the yogurt-cream mixture.
  • Spread the flavored yogurt-cream mixture into the cooled crust. Top with the remaining 1 cup blackberries. Freeze until very firm, at least 5 hours. To serve, let the pie stand at room temperature until softened slightly, about 15 minutes, before slicing.

Cauliflower rice


  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • good handful coriander, chopped
  • cumin seeds, toasted (optional)

Cut the hard core and stalks from the cauliflower and pulse the rest in a Cooks Professional 1000W food processor to make grains the size of rice. Tip into a heatproof bowl, cover with cling film, then pierce and microwave for 7 mins on high – there is no need to add any water. Stir in the coriander. For spicier rice, add some toasted cumin seeds.

Mix & match pancake muffins

sunflower or vegetable oil , for the tin
350g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
50g butter
350ml milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp maple syrup , plus extra to serve
handful of raspberries or blueberries, or a bit of each
½ banana , sliced
icing sugar , for dusting

Oil a 12-hole muffin tin generously, using a pastry brush to make sure you get in all the corners and up the sides. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl.

Melt the butter in a jug in the microwave. Add the milk, then the eggs and maple syrup, whisk together in a Cooks Professional 1200W Stand Mixer, then pour into the dry ingredients and whisk again to a smooth batter. Divide evenly between the holes of your tin.

Top each muffin with a few berries or slices of banana. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden brown. Test if the muffins are cooked by pushing a skewer into the centre of one. If it comes out clean, they’re ready. If not, continue cooking for a few more minutes. Once cooked, cool for 5 mins, then remove from the tin with a cutlery knife. Pile onto a plate, dust with icing sugar and serve while still warm with plenty of extra maple syrup.

Glazed gammon


  • 2½ kg boneless unsmoked gammon joint, tied
  • 1 sprig thyme 2 bay leaves and 1 rosemary sprig tied together
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cloves

For the glaze

  • 1½ tbsp English mustard
  • 70g clear honey
  • 2 tbsp soft dark brown sugar

Put the gammon in a Cooks Professional Cast Iron large deep saucepan. Add the tied herbs, onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns and cloves. Pour over enough cold water to cover the meat, then bring to the boil, cover with a lid, and lower to a gentle simmer for 1 hr 15 mins. Turn off the heat and leave the ham to sit in the liquid for 30 mins.

Remove from the liquid (this makes a delicious soup stock) and leave to cool until cold enough to handle. Peel off the thick layer of skin on the gammon to reveal a layer of fat. Discard the skin and score the fat in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the ham in a Cooks Professional Cast Iron roasting tray lined with foil. Mix together the mustard, honey and sugar in a bowl, then generously brush half over the ham. Roast for 15 mins, then brush with the remaining glaze. Return to the oven for a further 20-30 mins or until sticky and brown. Leave to cool for 15 mins before carving into thick slices.

Candy Apples


  • 8 red apples
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • red or black food colouring
  • red or black food glitter (optional)


  1. Pull any stalks off the twigs and push the sharpest end of each stick (or lolly sticks) into the stalk-end of each apple, making sure it’s firmly wedged in. Put a large piece of baking parchment on a wooden board.
  2. Tip the sugar into a large Cooks professional Cast Iron saucepan and add the lemon juice and 100ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Swirl the pan gently to move the sugar around, but don’t stir. Add the golden syrup and simmer the mixture (be careful it doesn’t boil over) until it reaches ‘hard crack’ stage or 150C on a sugar thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the toffee by dropping a small amount into cold water. It should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle. If it’s soft, continue to boil. When it’s ready, drip in some food colouring and swirl to combine. Add the glitter, if using, and turn off the heat.
  3. Working quickly, dip each apple into the toffee, tipping the pan to cover all the skin. Lift out and allow any excess to drip off before putting on the baking parchment. Repeat with the remaining apples. Gently heat the toffee again if you need to. Best eaten on the same day.

James Bond’s Vesper Martini

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


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

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.

Frozen watermelon margarita

Frozen Watermelon Margarita Recipe -
  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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)


  • 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.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries

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

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.

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


  • 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


  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.

Fettuccine with Butter and Cheese

Makes 4 to 8 servings 

Total Time under 15 minutes 


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 



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. 

Dark Chocolate & Ginger Muffins

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


  • 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


  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.

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!


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)


  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.

Cinnamon Roll Tear & Share

This classic American pastry is surprisingly easy to make, and make the perfect addition to any brunch.


For the dough:

  • 350g self-raising flour
  • tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, yolks only

For the filling:

  • 60g brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 100g icing sugar


  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 5. In a stand mixer bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks, butter and mix until well combined, then pour this into the flour mix (whilst beating) until a dough has formed.
  3. Mix together all filling ingredients, aside from the icing sugar, in a small bowl. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about the size of a piece of paper.
  4. Spread the filling out evenly on top of the dough, then roll up tightly and cut into 8 equal rolls and arrange in an oven dish so that they are tightly packed in together. Bake for 35 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Mix the icing sugar with water until it reaches your desired consistency, and drizzle over the top.

Lead image: viennetta 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


  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.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 8 Round Up

It was the return of the classic pastry week last night in the Bake Off tent. Pastry has felled many a competent baker; who would rise to meet the challenge, and who would be left with a soggy bottom? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Savoury tarte tatin

We loved Henry’s savoury tarte tatin offering!
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

For the first pastry challenge, the bakers were asked to make a tarte tatin. It could have any combination of flavours, however with a classic Bake Off twist it needed to be savoury, and it needed to use full or rough puff pastry. This needed to have good lamination, and be perfectly baked.

Paul’s top tip: What they’ve got to do is to create a savoury filling. They can use cheese, they can use onions, they can use mushrooms, they can use whatever they wish. But if they add too much liquid to the tarte tatin, it will soak down and really give it a soggy bottom.

All of the bakers opted to use rough puff pastry for their bakes. There were a lot of interesting flavour combinations from the bakers for this challenge, with everyone eager to earn their place in the semi-final next week.

Prue’s top tip: A classic tarte tatin is made with apples or pears. You put the pastry on the top of the frying pan and then you turn the whole thing out. The key to a perfect tarte tatin – savoury or sweet – is the caramelisation. You need that pie to look golden and delicious.

At the end of the first challenge, Henry and David had done really well. Poor Rosie and Alice fell victims to the infamous soggy bottom – something that bakers always strive to avoid – and Steph was somewhere in between with a good combination of flavours but too thin pastry.

Technical challenge: Moroccan-style pie

Another tricky technical from Paul.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Paul had picked another tricky technical for the bakers this week. The judges asked for the bakers to make a Moroccan pie using warka or brick pastry. Cue confused looks from most of the bakers – apart from David, who had heard of this one before. Perhaps this would be his chance to seize that elusive first place in the technical challenge!

Paul’s top tip: It’s a bit like making filo mince pies. You put layer on layer on layer, and build it up, then put your filling in it and fold the layers over the top. But it’s made with warka pastry, or brick pastry, and this is the difficult part. 

Most of the bakers were flummoxed by their most recent challenge – apart from David, who seemed confident that he could master the unusual pastry. Steph became upset when her pastry evaporated off the hot plate, but she managed to tame it in order to present her pie. Poor Henry and Rosie both fell victim to their pies falling apart once cooked.

Paul’s top tip: Warka pastry is quite a loose batter; it’s basically made on a hot plate. You have to put it on the brush; if it’s too thin, as they’re brushing it on it will just disintegrate. If it’s too thick, it’ll act like a pancake and go splodge, and they’re not going to be able to push it around. 

Surprisingly Henry came in last, followed by Steph. Alice came third, and somehow Rosie managed to secure second place for herself despite the fact her pie completely fell apart. Who knows? Maybe she sacrificed it to the pastry Gods. David came out on top – finally managing to secure that first place that has evaded him so far in the competition! As David said himself: “Finally got first place. It only took 8 tries.

Showstopper challenge: Vertical pie

Rosie created another artfully decorative bake.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

After the first two challenges, it was all to play for in the show stopper. It was impossible to predict who was in trouble! For the final pastry challenge, the bakers were asked to make a vertical pie. The judges wanted to see a large pie base with decoratively shaped pastry, arranged vertically supporting at least two further pies. Their fillings could be either savoury or sweet.

Paul’s top tip: What we mean by a vertical pie is we want a minimum of three pies stacked on top of each other. Whether it’s short crust or hot water crust, the choice of pastry is critical. The flavours have got to be there as well. Too much liquid in their filling can seep down. We want to be able to put the knife through and cut a wedge out and let it all hold its shape.

There were some ambitious bakes in the pastry pipeline! David sparked debate with his lidless pies, and earned a dubious look from Paul. All of the bakers went for some wonderful designs, varying between sweet and savoury flavour combinations. Rosie started stressing when her pies struggled to stack, declaring that she was the most likely to be sent home.

Prue’s top tip: The pastry needs to be thin enough to be delicious, and firm enough to hold the whole thing together.

Paul and Prue were very underwhelmed with the final challenge, as every single pie turned out to be really dry. Steph rose above them all once again to be crowned star baker, and unfortunately it was time for Henry to leave the Bake Off tent. It was tough to call after looking at all the bakes, however the judges felt that Henry was lagging behind the others in terms of skill.

Next week…

It’s the semi-final next week, so the bakers will have to pull out all the stops to be in with a chance of getting into the coveted final. We can’t wait to see all the delicious bakes they’ll come up with! Did the right person leave the tent this week? What did you think of the judges’ decisions? Let us know on our Facebook page!

BBQ Pulled Pork Burgers

These American style burgers call for tender, slow-cooked pork layered with slaw and BBQ sauce. The ideal comfort food on a rainy day.


For the burgers:

  • 2.5kg pork shoulder, boned and skinned
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • Brioche buns, to serve

For the slaw:

  • 250ml mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 whit cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced

For the BBQ sauce:

  • 200g ketchup
  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 100g dark muscavado sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 15g butter


  1. Begin by heating your oven to 150°C / 130°C / Gas Mark 2, and heat a large non-stick frying pan. Rub the pork with 2 tbsp of olive oil, then sear the pork on all sides until golden brown. Place the joint on a wire rack in a roasting tin.
  2. Mix together the paprika, mustard powder, garlic salt, onion salt and some black pepper. Brush this mixture all over the meat.
  3. Pour a cupful of water into the roasting tin, cover tightly with foil, and cook for around 5 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, make the slaw by whisking together the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, mustard and celery salt in a small bowl. Add the cabbage, carrots, onion and celery. Mix well, cover with cling film, and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  5. To make the BBQ sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Allow it to bubble away gently for 3 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is glossy. Remove from the heat, pour into a jar and leave to cool.
  6. Once the pork has cooked, drain away the juices from the meat, and shred to the pork using two forks.
  7. Assemble your burgers by piling the meat into the buns, then top with the slaw and the bbq sauce. Sandwich together and tuck in!

Image source: OlgaMiltsova via Getty images.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 5 Round Up

The bakers were back in the tent this week to celebrate everything about the 1920s. What delightful treats would we discover? Who would rise to the challenge, and who would sink like a sad soufflé? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Custard tart

David really impressed with his classic tarts.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

To start off 1920s week, the bakers were asked to make four individual highly decorative custard pies. These needed to be open-topped and the custard had to set during baking.

Paul’s top tip: With shortcrust pastry you want it to melt in the mouth and that’s the critical thing. Overwork it, it makes it too rubbery. So the best thing to do with the pastry is just bring it together, chill it down. I want to see a beautifully-formed custard pie, silky smooth, but it must contain a theme of the 1920s.

Rosie had a bit of a disaster when she accidentally knocked one of her tarts to the floor, and her decorations didn’t quite go to plan. On the opposite end of the spectrum, David earned the second Paul Hollywood handshake for his vanilla custard tarts! It was an even playing field at the end of the first challenge, so the bakers got ready for the technical.

Technical challenge: Beignets soufflé with sabayon

Prue’s devilishly difficult technical.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Prue had chosen another fiendishly difficult technical for the bakers. They were asked to make 18 beignets soufflés. Confused? A beignet soufflé is a fried choux ball filled with a strawberry jam. It needed to be crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, uniform in size and shape and served with a sabayon.

Prue’s top tip: The most difficult thing is how you’re going to get it into perfect balls and drop it into the fat. I think the best way to do it is with two spoons. Try to create a quenelle, but get it round rather than quenelle shaped. Inside we expect to see lots of air and some soft, almost stretchy, dough.

Everyone seemed to struggle with this technical. Michael got emotional when he couldn’t get his pastry mixture to work properly, but managed to pull it together to present his beignets soufflés. At the end of the technical, Helena came out on top, and surprisingly David came in last place. It was all hinging on the last challenge as to who would have to leave the Bake Off tent.

Show stopper challenge: Prohibition-era inspired cocktail cake

Henry certainly impressed with his White Russian cake.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

The last challenge of the week for our bakers was to create a prohibition-era cocktail cake. Prohibition was the time when alcohol was banned in America, and was sold only by gangsters like Al Capone.

Paul’s top tip: We’ve given the bakers four hours to produce this Prohibition cake so you’ve got to think backwards. How long is it going to take to decorate the cake? Allow yourself at least an hour, maybe more. Your sponges should be in and out of the oven within the hour and that gives you plenty of time to produce real baking magic.

Paul and Prue wanted a 1920s-themed two-tier cake. The flavour needed to be based on the bakers’ favourite cocktails and the design needed to be a visual spectacle that was typical of the era.

Prue’s top tip: I want three things. I want a wonderful design, a delicious cake, and it will taste of a recognisable cocktail.

Even at the end of the last challenge, it was still hard to say for certain who would be going home this week. The judges decided it was the end of the road for two bakers, and in what we certainly thought was a shock elimination the delightful Helena and Michelle were chosen to go home. Steph was once again crowned star baker for the second week in a row!

Next week…

It’s dessert week next week! We can’t wait to see what tasty creations the remaining bakers will come up with. What did you think of 1920s week? Let us know over on our Facebook page!

Perfect Rice Every Time

Rice is one of those ingredients that is an absolute store cupboard essential. But when it comes to getting it right, well, it can prove a bit hit and miss. Some days you end up with lovely, fluffy rice that tastes amazing. Other days you end up with a stodgy mess, half of it sloppy and slimy, the other half stuck to the bottom of the pan.

There are a hundred tips, tricks and old-wives’ tales out there when it comes to cooking rice, but what is the real way to ensure perfect rice every time? We’ve put a handy guide together below!

White rice

First and foremost, start by measuring out your rice before cooking, using the standard rule of 90g per person (remembering that rice doubles in size once cooked). Choose a pan that will give the rice plenty of room to expand without boiling over.

Image source: AtnoYdur via Getty images.

Rinse your rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. By doing this you’re removing any excess starch, which will help to avoid gloopy rice that looks (and tastes) awful! When you’ve rinsed your rice, tip it into your chosen saucepan and add some salt, followed by the water. The rice to water ratio is where many people struggle, but it’s actually quite simple – you just use double the amount of water as rice. So for 90g of rice, you’ll use 180ml of water.

Once your pan is bubbling away, turn the heat down enough to just keep the water hot, then pop a lid on the pan. Leave to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, then fluff it up with a fork and check that it is cooked. Drain away any excess liquid (there won’t be much) and serve!

Image source: bennyartist via Getty images.

Brown rice

The method for cooking brown rice is basically the same as for white rice, except that it takes a lot longer to cook. 40-50 minutes over a low heat will give you cooked brown rice that still retains its chewy texture and nutty flavour.

Prepare your rice as you would with white rice; measure, rinse, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cover. However, leave it to took for 30 minutes untouched before giving it a stir with a fork, just to make sure it hasn’t started sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Image source: vm2002 via Getty images.

Cauliflower rice

Okay, okay. So whilst cauliflower rice isn’t technically rice, it is a great alternative if you’re looking to reduce carbs or calories. It has a similar texture to white rice, is full of flavour, and can basically be used in every meal that you’d ordinarily have rice with.

Image source: colnihko via Getty images.

Begin by removing the leaves from your cauliflower, then cut the cauliflower into quarters. Remove as much of the centre stem as possible, before cutting each quarter into three pieces. Gradually, add these pieces to a food processor and pulse – adding it all in at once will just turn your cauliflower to mush, so it’s important to add it in stages.

Once you have a mixture that looks similar to couscous, spread evenly over a baking tray and add a small drizzle of olive oil. Roast in a pre-heated oven (around 200°C / 180°C fan) for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Image source: ALLEKO via Getty images.

Fried rice

It’s a takeaway favourite, but it’s hardly the healthiest thing on the menu. So try making your fried rice at home instead, and master that cost-reducing #fakeaway!

The easiest way to make a healthy and delicious fried rice is to use cooked brown rice and incorporate it into a stir fry so that you’re using less oil. Start off by heating some sesame oil in a frying pan or wok before adding you spices, followed by your meat or fish and fry until browned, then add in your vegetables.

Once the veggies have softened, add the cooked brown rice and your stir-fry sauce – the sauce will help to fry the rice without any need for further oil. Keep everything on the heat, stirring frequently, until everything is cooked. Eat immediately!

Image source: szefei via Getty images.

Lead image: JacquesPALUT via Getty images.

Halloumi Burgers

A summery, meat-free treat that is super easy to cook both on and off the barbecue!


  • 250g block of halloumi, cut into 8 slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 brioche buns
  • 4 tbsp hummus
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 4 babygem lettuce leaves
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt


  1. Heat a large frying pan or griddle pan and brush each side of the halloumi slices with the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden.
  2. Split the brioche buns and toast them, being careful not to let them burn. Spread the bottom halves with the hummus, then add the lettuce before laying the halloumi on top. Finish with the tomato, onions and yogurt, then top with the other half of the bun.

Lead image: zi3000 via Getty images.

Chickpea Curry

If you’re looking for a meat-free, homemade dish to try, this chickpea curry will definitely fit the bill. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also 100% vegan!


For the paste

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried chilli
  • 9 garlic cloves
  • 5cm fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garam masala

For the curry

  • 2 x 400g canned chickpeas, drained
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100g creamed coconut
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 100g spinach


  1. Begin by making the paste. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the onion and chilli, and cook over a low heat for around 8 minutes until cooked through.
  2. In a food processor combine the garlic cloves, ginger, remaining oil, ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, tomato puree and the fried onions and chilli. Blend to a smooth paste, adding some water in if needed.
  3. Tip the paste out into a saucepan and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking.
  4. Add in the drained chickpeas and the chopped tomatoes, and simmer for around 5 minutes until reduced.
  5. Add the creamed coconut, along with a little water, and cook for 5 more minutes, then pop in the chopped coriander and spinach and allow to wilt down.
  6. Serve with cooked rice and naan bread.

Lead image: OksanaKiian via Getty images.

Banana & Blueberry Muffins

So versatile, these muffins are ideal for Sunday brunch, a mid-morning snack or for packed lunches. Studded with blueberries and with a delicious banana flavour, these will keep stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days, or can be frozen for up to a month.


  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g porridge oats, plus extra for topping
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 284ml carton of buttermilk
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs, whites only
  • 150g fresh blueberries


  1. Heat oven to 180°c / 160°c Fan / Gas Mark 4, and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper muffin cases. 
  2. Tip the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Hold back 1 tbsp of sugar, then mix the remainder with the flour and 50g oats. Make a well in the centre.
  3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until they are almost smooth, then stir in the buttermilk, oil and egg whites until everything is evenly combined.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the well and stir quickly with a wooden spoon. The mix will look lumpy and may have the odd fleck of flour visible, but don’t be tempted to overmix! Tip the blueberries in and give it another stir. 
  5. Divide the mix between the muffin cases, then sprinkle the tops with the final tbsp of oats and the rest of the sugar.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and dark golden. Allow to cool for five minutes in the tray, before lifting out and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lead image: susanna_d via Getty images.