Summer is just around the corner, and with it, colourful fruits and berries.  Here is the recipe for a lovely summery dessert.



300g strawberries

250g blackberries

100g redcurrants

500g raspberries

175g caster sugar

7 slices of slightly stale bread from a square loaf (or alternatively, for a sweeter taste, brioche slices)


  1. Wash and gently dry the fruit on kitchen paper and put the strawberries aside.
  2. Put sugar and 3 tbsp water into a large pan. Gently heat until sugar dissolves, stirring regularly.
  3. Bring to a boil for 1 min, then tip in the fruit except strawberries.
  4. Cook for 3 mins over a low heat, stirring 2-3 times. The fruit will be softened, mostly intact and surrounded by dark red juice.
  5. Put a sieve over a bowl and tip in the fruit and juice.
  6. Line the 1.25-litre basin with cling film as this will help you to turn out the pudding, letting the edges overhang by about 15cm.
  7. Cut the crusts off the bread.
  8. Cut 4 pieces of bread in half, a little on an angle, to give 2 lopsided rectangles per piece.
  9. Cut 2 slices into 4 triangles each and leave the final piece whole.
  10. Dip the whole piece of bread into the juice to coat it.
  11. Push this into the bottom of the basin.
  12. Now dip the rectangular pieces one at a time and press around the basin’s sides so that they fit together neatly. Don’t hesitate to trim your pieces slightly so they fit.
  13. Now spoon in the softened fruit, adding the strawberries a few at a time.
  14. Dip the bread triangles in juice and place on top, cutting off the overhang.
  15. Keep any leftover juice for later.
  16. Seal your clingfilm on the top.
  17. Put a small plate on top of the bowl and weight it down (using cans for example).
  18. Keep in the fridge overnight.
  19. Open out cling film and flip over the pudding onto a dessert plate.
  20. Serve with leftover juice and cream if you like.  Enjoy!
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Eton mess is a classic British dessert and a must for any strawberry lover. It is named after Eton college where it is served every 4th of June at the college’s annual cricket game against Harrow school.

As a bonus, it is extremely simple to make and takes very little time or preparation.

One word of advice though: only use fresh strawberries. The frozen or tinned kind just don’t work.

There are many variations of this recipe. Any summer fruit can be used to replace strawberries. Greek yoghurt can be substituted to cream for a lighter version. Vanilla can be also added as an extra twist on flavour.



  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp caster or fine sugar
  • 100g ready-made meringue
  • 450g fresh strawberries
  • 1 tbsp icing or confectioners sugar


  1. Place the whipping cream in a large mixing bowl
  2. Add the sugar and whip with an electric whisk until the cream is light and fluffy. Be careful,  the cream must be softly whipped..
  3. Break the meringue into large bite-size chucks and gently stir into the cream. Don’t hesitate to add meringue crumbs into the cream too.
  4. Place half of the strawberries into another large mixing bowl and press gently with the back of a fork to break up the strawberries slightly and release some of the juice. Be careful not to puree the fruits.
  5. Stir the strawberries gently into the cream.
  6. Halve, then quarter the remaining strawberries.
  7. Place the cream mixture into a bowl or glass
  8. Top with the strawberry pieces
  9. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. Sprinkle with sugar before serving.

Make sure you eat this dessert on the day it is made. The meringues will go soft quickly.



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Although Easter is often about chocolate, here is a treat that isn’t.  Eaten all over the Commonwealth, Hot Cross Buns are a typical Easter treat, without an ounce of chocolate in sight.

Hot Cross Buns Makes 15 buns


300ml milk (+ a little extra)

50g Butter

500g bread flour (+ 75g for cross)

1 tsp salt

75g caster sugar

1tbsp vegetable oil

7g yeast

1 egg beaten

75g sultanas

50g mixed peels (orange and citrus)

1 apple peeled, cored and finely chopped

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tbsp apricot jam for glaze


1 Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter.

2 Leave to cool.

3 Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl.

4 Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg.

5 Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.

6 Tip on to a lightly floured surface and until smooth and elastic.

7 Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl.

8 Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr.

9 Add the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon.

10 Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed.

11 Leave to rise for 1 hr more covered by some well-oiled cling film.

12 Divide the dough into 15 even pieces.

13 Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface.

14 Arrange the buns on baking trays lined with baking paper,

15 Leave enough space for the dough to expand.

16 Cover with a clean tea towel, then set aside for 1 hr.

17 Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

18 Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make a thick paste for the cross.

19 Draw a line along each row of buns, then another to create crosses.

21 Bake for 20 mins until golden brown.

22 Melt the apricot jam. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.




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Irish Stew is a lovely, warming dish made with meat and potatoes. Traditionally, the meat used was mutton. Nowadays, people replace it with lamb or beef. Once eaten only during festivals like St Patrick’s day, it is now eaten more regularly.

There are many many variants of the recipe.  In fact, each family has its own recipe handed down from generations. There is a huge controversy over the addition of vegetables other than potatoes. Personally, I like to add carrots and onions and occasionally other vegetables too.  The following recipe includes carrots and


1 kilo of meat (traditionally lamb is used but beef is a good substitute)

650g of floury potatoes (for baking and mashing)

650g of waxy potatoes (like red skinned ones, that hold their shape after cooking)

1 kilo of carrots

2 onions

Lamb stock (or beef stock if you are using beef)

½ teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves

Chopped frech chives and parsley.


  1.  Cut the meat into large chunks.
  2. Peel the potatoes (keeping both types separate) and cut into pieces of similar size to the meat.
  3. Put the two different types in separate bowls of water.
  4. Peel the carrots and cut into slightly smaller pieces.
  5. Slice the onions into thick rings.
  6. Put the meat in a large saucepan.
  7. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Skim off the surface regularly.
  8. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  9. Add the floury potatoes, carrots and onions.
  10. Season and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add the waxy potatoes and thyme.
  12. Simmer until the meat is tender. This should take about 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes at least. The stew can be made the night before and reheated on the day.
  14. Season and serve.  And enjoy of course!
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Traditionally called “Pancake day”, Shrove Tuesday (from the verb “shrive” meaning “confess”) is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

On that day, it was customary for people to consume richer, fattier food, before the 40 days of restrictions and fasting associated with Lent.

So in honour of Shrove Tuesday, here is a simple recipe for pancakes.

Makes 8 pancakes


125g flour

¼ teaspoon of salt

300ml milk or water

1 egg (beaten)

A little melted butter

Vegetable oil (for the pan)


1 Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the center

2 Add the egg and milk and whisk vigorously to make a smooth batter.

3 Add the melted butter.

3 Heat a little oil in a small frying pan.

4 Spoon in 2 tablespoons of mixture and swirl to cover the base of the pan.

5 Cook for a few seconds, flip over and cook the second side.

6 Repeat to make 8 pancakes in total.


You can double the quantities to make more pancakes.  They taste wonderful with sugar and a little lemon juice.  How do you eat your pancakes?





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