Chicken & leek pot pies


  • Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
  • Chop the parsnips and potatoes into chunks, then boil for 15 mins until tender.
  • Drain, reserving the water, then mash with a little seasoning.
  • Cut chicken into small chunks, then toss in the cornflour.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, add the leeks, and then fry for 3 mins until starting to soften.
  • Add the chicken and 200ml water from the potatoes, then bring to the boil, stirring.
  • Reduce the heat, then gently simmer for 10 mins, until the chicken is just tender.
  • Remove from the heat, then stir in the lemon zest, parsley, crème fraîche and mustard.
  • Divide the chicken filling between four 300ml pie dishes.
  • Spoon over the mash and spread roughly with a fork to seal in the filling.
  • Bake for 25 mins until the topping is crisp and golden.
  • You can make one big pie if you prefer. Use a 1.2-litre pie dish and increase the cooking time in the oven by about 10 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Soup


  • Preheat the oven to 180c.
  • Line a baking tray with foil.
  • Place tomato and onion on tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Season and roast for 1 and 1/2 hours or until tomatoe and onion are very soft and slightly charred.
  • Meanwhile heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cook the garlic, ginger and chilli, stirring for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the tomato juice, coconut milk and chopped corriander then simmer for 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the sugar, fish sauce, roasted tomato and onion, plus any cooking juices.
  • Simmer for a further two minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Season to taste.
  • Serve with a drizzle of natural yogurt and warm roti bread.

Watermelon Mojito Ice Blocks


*to make sugar syrup*

  • Place 1 cup (220g) caster sugar in a pan with 1 cup (250ml) water over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has disolved.
  • Increase heat to medium and simmer for 5 mins until slightly reduced.
  • Cool - this can be kept in fridge for up to 1 month.


  • Begin this recipe a day ahead.
  • Place sugar syrup and 1/2 cup mint leaves in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 2-3 mins.
  • Remove from heat and stand for 30 mins to infuse.
  • Meanwhile, place the watermelon in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Pass through a sieve pressing down on all the solids to extract all the juice. You should have two cups (500ml) puree.
  • Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Strain infused sugar syrup into a saucepan, discarding the mint leaves and simmer over high heat for 1 minute.
  • Squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine leaves, then add the gelatine to the syrup mix, stirring to disolve.
  • Allow to cool slightly and stir in the rum, lime juice and watermelon puree.
  • Pour mixture into ice block moulds (ice pops), then divide the remaining 1/2 cup mint leaves among the moulds.
  • Freeze overnight or until completely frozen.
  • (Makes 15 ice pops)



  • Put all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 15 - 20 minutes or until very stiff.
  • When you pull the beaters out, the mixture should stand up in stiff peaks. (I find at altitude, I usually have to beat the mixture for 30 minutes or more.)
  • Pile on to baking paper on an oven tray.
  • You can also use aluminium foil on the baking tray.
  • Lightly dust with cornflour so the pav won't stick.
  • Pile it up high and do not spread out, as the pav will spread while cooking.
  • Use a fork to mark ridges up the side.
  • Put in the middle of a cold oven.
  • Turn the oven on to 250 deg F. cook for 2 hours.
  • Turn oven off and leave the pav in the oven, with door closed, overnight or until the oven is cold. This takes at least 6 - 8 hours. (Do not open the oven at any point during the cooking or cooling. Not even a quick peak!! This may cause the pav to fall.)

Easy Vanilla Butter Cake


  • Preheat oven to 140°C.
  • Position a rack on the second lowest shelf of the oven.
  • Brush a round 25cm (base measurement) cake pan with the melted butter to lightly grease. Line base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
  • Place the self-raising flour, plain flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl.
  • Use an electric beater to beat on low speed for 30 seconds or until just combined.
  • Increase the speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and all the butter is incorporated.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Turn onto a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cool.
  • Notes: Have the butter at room temperature, soft enough to beat, but not melted.
  • The undecorated cakes will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Rich Chocolate Cake: Reduce the self-raising flour to 300g (2 cups). Sift 95g (1 cup) cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda, and add with the flours. Increase the milk to 435ml (1 3/4 cups). Omit the vanilla essence.
  • Orange cake: Reduce the milk to 185ml (3/4 cup) and add with 2 tbs finely grated orange rind and 125ml (1/2 cup) orange juice. Omit vanilla essence. Carrot cake: Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon with the flours. Reduce the vanilla essence to 1 tsp. Add 285g (3 cups) coarsely grated carrot and 100g roughly chopped walnuts.
  • Banana cake: Sift 1 tsp bicarbonate soda and add with the flours. Reduce the milk to 125ml (1/2 cup). Add 390g (1 1/2 cups) mashed very ripe banana with the milk. Reduce the vanilla essence to 1 tsp.

Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate-Orange Buttercream

**Best part of this recipe is the Buttercream frosting.

For cake:

  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F.
  • Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides.
  • Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper rounds.
  • Stir chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until smooth. Remove from over water.
  • Cool to barely lukewarm.
  • Sift flour and next 4 ingredients into medium bowl.
  • Whisk milk and yogurt to blend in small bowl.
  • Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, butter, and lavender in large bowl until smooth.
  • Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in melted chocolate until smooth.
  • Mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk mixture in 3 additions each.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  • Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes.
  • Turn cakes out onto racks; remove parchment and cool completely.

For buttercream frosting:

  • Stir 8 ounces chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until smooth.
  • Cool until barely lukewarm but still pourable.
  • Mix cocoa powder and 7 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan.
  • Stir over medium-low heat until smooth and thick but still pourable, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if necessary.
  • Cool. Beat butter, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, and orange peel in large bowl to blend.
  • Add melted chocolate, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth.
  • Beat in cocoa mixture.
  • Gradually add remaining 3 2/3 cups powdered sugar and beat until frosting is smooth.
  • Mix in Grand Marnier.
  • Place 1 cake layer on platter.
  • Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting over top of cake.
  • Top with second cake layer.
  • Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake, swirling decoratively.
  • Mound chocolate curls in center of cake.
  • Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.
  • Let cake stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.
  • *Dried lavender blossoms are available at natural foods stores and at some specialty foods stores and farmers' markets.

Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries and Blueberries


For Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides.
  • Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl.
  • Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend.
  • Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended.
  • Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
  • Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes.
  • Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes.
  • Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.

For frosting:

  • Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth.
  • Beat in vanilla.
  • Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter.
  • Spread 1 cup frosting over top of cake.
  • Arrange 1 basket raspberries and 1/2 basket blueberries atop frosting, pressing lightly to adhere.
  • Top with second cake layer, flat side down.
  • Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
  • Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake. Can be made 1 day ahead.
  • Cover and refrigerate.
  • Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.


  • People who made this cake have made the following amendments: Went with the recommendation of increasing the following ingredients: 4 tbsp cocoa, 3 tbsp red food coloring, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/4 cup veg. oil (in addition to existing butter), 1 1/3 cup buttermilk

Julia Childs Beef Bourguignon


  • Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long).
  • Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water.Drain and dry.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
  • Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
  • Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking.
  • Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides.
  • Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
  • Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  • Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly.
  • Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
  • Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
  • Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  • Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven.
  • Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours.
  • The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  • While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
  • Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
  • Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated.
  • Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
  • Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
  • Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
  • When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
  • Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it.
  • Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
  • Skim fat off sauce in saucepan.
  • Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises.
  • You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
  • If too thin, boil it down rapidly.
  • If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock.
  • Taste carefully for seasoning.
  • Pour sauce over meat and vegetables.
  • Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
  • Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

Beef Stew


  • Pre heat your oven to 160 degrees celcius.
  • Put your onions, carrots and celery into a heavy bottomed sausepan with a couple of glugs of olive oil.
  • Cook over a low heat till onion is transparent and has lost its crunch, but not brown.
  • Put your meat into saucepan and stir, add in stock and tinned tomatoes.
  • Add slow roasted or sun dried tomatoes. These add a really lovely strong tomatoey flavour but are not essential.
  • Throw in your herbs and bring to the boil.
  • Once bubbling away, pop into the oven and cook for a minimum of two hours, preferably three.
  • The meat should be fall apart tender.
  • Serve with mashed spuds.

Barbecued Fillet Steaks With Shallot Butter


  • To make the marinade; mix together wine (reserving 1 teaspoon), oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and oregano in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat.
  • Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until chilled.
  • Place the steaks in a large baking dish, and pour the chilled marinade over them.
  • Cover tightly with aluminium foil, and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 5 hours.
  • To make the butter; in a medium bowl, cream butter and 1 teaspoon of wine with a hand mixer.
  • Mix in the onions, spring onions and white pepper by hand; cover tightly, and refrigerate.
  • Preheat barbecue to high and preheat oven to 110 C.
  • Barbecue the marinated steak till done to your preference, turning once.
  • Place the steak in a clean baking dish.
  • Dollop with the onion/butter mixture, and warm in the preheated oven for a minute, or until butter is melted.
  • Note: Allow 5 hours for the steaks to marinate.