Chocolate and Raspberry Fondants Recipe

Fondants are every Masterchef contestant’s worst nightmare. I think I’ve seen only one successful attempt in all the years they’ve been tried! If only they’d all had a look at this recipe… the key here is to make sure that they are chilled completely hard before you put them in the oven.

In this video, I used a dariole mould but these are just as lovely baked in anything- I’ve used teacups and ramekins in the past and just haven’t turned them out. They’re still just as lovely with a dollop of ice cream on top.

When English raspberries are in season, there really is nothing better. However when the season’s over, it might be nice to use something different. Pistachios always work well- whole ones in the centre and chopped ones sprinkled over the top to serve. A crème fraiche would work better to accompany that to give an element of sourness that the raspberries usually give.

This recipe serves 2 but it’s easy to multiply!

Ingredients:

50g dark chocolate

50g butter

50g sugar

1 egg

50g self-raising flour

cocoa

vanilla ice cream – to serve

 

Recipe:

1.   Stick the chocolate, butter and 50g sugar in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Stir throughout.

2.   Leave to stand for 2 minutes and then add the egg. Beat well. Add the flour and mix until smooth.

3.   Butter your dishes and coat the insides with cocoa. Tap out the excess.

4.   Half fill moulds and add a couple of raspberries into the centre. Top up with mix until ¾ full.

5.   Chill in fridge for 30-45 mins until hard. Preheat oven to 200c.

6.   Bake for 14 mins EXACTLY.

7.   Upturn using a plate and serve with ice cream.

 

Cheesy Middle Meatballs Recipe

This sauce is the base for so many things I can’t even tell you! If you have the time to let it reduce for hours, then do. Top it up with water if you need to and stick any veg you’ve got lying around in it.  They go so soft and delicious, it’s hard telling exactly what’s in there so it’s perfect for fussy eaters.

The meatballs themselves are deliberately plain to let the sauce do the talking but you could easily spice them up by adding herbs or whatever you fancy. A nice variation is to use pork mince with some chopped sage running through. I’ve said it to serve 4 but with the hungry eaters in our house it usually only makes it to 2 or 3 so adjust as necessary but this amount makes about 14 large meatballs. 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

Olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

3 garlic cloved, crushed

300g mushrooms, quartered

3 tbsp mixed herbs

splodge of tomato puree

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 glass red wine

splashes of Wocestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar

1 chicken stock cube

 

For the meatballs:

1 kg lean minced beef

1 pack mini mozzarella balls

1 egg

3 tbsp breadcrumbs

salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

1.   Sweat off the onion, pepper and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the mushrooms and herbs and cook for a couple more minutes.

2.   Add everything else including the crumbled stock cube and leave to bubble for as long as you can (1-2 hours is best).

3.   For the meatballs, squidge together the mince, breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning. Push a blob flat in your palm and stick a mozzarella ball in the middle. Close the mince around it making sure there are no gaps.

4.   Cook in the sauce for 10-15 minutes and serve with spaghetti or rice!

Easy Apple Turnovers Recipe

Autumn’s not autumn without cinnamon, right? Regardless of how many ‘pumpkin spice’ things you eat, you’d notice if this little spice wasn’t there to welcome you home every October. The marriage of cinnamon and apple is a perfect and harmonious one- add buttery pastry and you’ve died and gone to heaven! I’m a lover of freshly made pastry and a rough puff would be awesome to use for these but sometimes you just don’t have the time! I always keep a ready made all-butter puff block in my freezer for super speedy pies but if you’ve got a couple of apples looking a bit worse for wear then stick ‘em in these little parcels of joy. They’re great for packed lunches or even breakfast- or go all out and reheat and serve with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. YUM.

Makes 6

Ingredients:

1 pack ready-made all-butter puff pastry

500g chopped apples

1 knob of butter

1tsp ground cinnamon

3tbsp brown sugar

cinnamon sugar: ½tsp ground cinnamon for every 1tbsp of white sugar

 

Recipe:

1.   Pop the butter and apples in a pan over a low heat and add the 1tsp of ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Add a splash of water and cook until the apples are just beginning to soften and caramelise. Leave to cool.

2.   Cut your puff pastry into squares and roll out.

3.   On one half spoon in a dollop of the stewed apples.

4.   Run a drop of water around the edge of the pastry and then fold it over in half. Use a fork to crimp the edges and seal.

5.   Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake for 15-20 mins at 180c.

3 Cheese Pasta Bake Recipe

Originally when creating this recipe, I used mascarpone in the sauce too, however having made for a few big dinners in our house and not having any to hand I’ve since decided it’s actually better without! We love cheese at ours and even thought mascarpone is delicious, I think it sort of masked the flavours of the cheddar and Parmesan. So, ignore the scoop of mascarpone in the video and enjoy this utter cheese fest in all its glory. This serves about 8 as it’s so rich, so definitely serve it alongside a fresh green salad to cut through the creaminess! 

Ingredients:

500g any pasta

100g butter

100g plain flour

100ml milk

500g grated cheddar

200g grated Parmesan, plus 100g

2 balls mozzarella

2 cups breadcrumbs

150g frozen peas

1 pack streaky bacon / lardons

 

Recipe:

1.  Pop your pasta in salted water to cook for 10 mins (definitely al dente as it’ll continue cooking in its sauce). Drain and toss in olive oil.

2.  In a large pan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook out for 3 minutes. Slowly add milk and beat to create a smooth white sauce.

3.   Stir in the cheddar until smooth again and then add the 200g Parmesan and the mozzarella. Stir until melted and gooey and great.

4.   Chop up the bacon and cook off until crispy. Add the peas and then stir through the sauce. Add the pasta and tip into a large baking dish.

5.  Stir the 100g Parmesan into the breadcrumbs and scatter over the top. Bake in a 200c oven for 15 minutes until the breadcrumbs are crispy and golden.

Earl Grey Tea Biscuits Recipe

What’s better than dipping a biscuit in your tea? A tea flavoured biscuit, that’s what. DOUBLE Earl Grey. If you can’t get enough of your favourite tea then this is the ideal accompaniment and if you’ve a friend who goes mad for a particular blend this is such a thoughtful gift! When making biscuits for dipping, I always slightly over bake for a crisper edge so they don’t completely disintegrate on entering the mug… Remember though that these will harden while cooling so they will still be soft when they come out of the oven. Golden brown edges are enough for these little dudes. Sprinkle with caster sugar while cooling for friends with a mega sweet tooth… 

Makes 10

Ingredients:

250g salted butter

3 or 4 Earl Grey teabags

50ml milk

140g caster sugar

325g plain flour

1 egg, beaten

1tsp vanilla paste

 

Recipe:

1.   Melt the butter in the microwave and empty 2 or 3 of the tea bags into it. Stir to distribute evenly and then leave to set in fridge. Warm milk gently in microwave and add a teabag to infuse (not opened!) Once both are cooled you can bake!

2.   Rub together the butter and the flour until you have a fine breadcrumb like texture.

3.   Stir in the sugar and vanilla paste and then the egg. Add the milk until the dough comes together. Cling film and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4.   Roll out until a thickness of about 2cm and cut out whatever shapes you fancy- tea bag shapes welcome!

5.   Chill in the fridge to harden up again (to keep their shape) while the oven preheats to 160c (180 fan). Bake for 10-12 minutes until they’re golden brown. Leave to cool and harden on a baking tray

6.   Dip in TEA!