Now I haven’t made one of these beautiful custard filled choux pastry pyramids for……….. well a long time, but I’m rather proud to have been asked to make one for two wonderful people and dear friends, John and Bev for their Wedding Anniversary Celebration Party, the Croquembouche is a fantastic impressive party piece, don’t be daunted, follow this recipe for the perfect crowd pleaser 


For the Choux buns 

60g strong plain flour

1 teaspoon caster sugar

50g butter cut into small pieces

2 large eggs beaten lightly with a fork 

For the filling 

250g of mascarpone

350ml fresh custard (if you don’t want to make it! Buy ready made) 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Orange, finely grated zest and juice 

For the caramel 

110g granulated sugar


Preheat the oven to 200c 
First Sift the flour onto a square of greaseproof and add the sugar, mix well 

Put 150ml of cold water in a pan together with the pieces of butter
place the saucepan over a moderate heat and stir with a wooden spoon. 

As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture comes up to the boil, take off the heat immediately!!! 

Then tip the flour in with one hand, while you beat the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon 

Beat together until you have a smooth ball of paste. Then beat in the beaten eggs a little at a time, mixing each addition in thoroughly before adding the next,  until you have a smooth, glossy paste.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a plain nozzle, now pipe the choux pastry on the baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between them. Lightly splash water onto the baking sheet, this will create steam and help with the rise 

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Now increase the heat to 220°C) and bake for a further 15 minutes until the choux buns are crisp and golden then cool them on a wire rack.
Making the Orange mascarpone cream 

whisk together the mascarpone, Orange zest and a squeeze of the juice, add the fresh custard then beat in the vanilla extract. 

Fill a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle and fill each one with the mascarpone cream.
Now make the caramel 

 Melt the sugar in a saucepan over a very gentle heat. shake and tilt the pan from side to side to dissolve the sugar but don’t stir. When all the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat until the sugar reaches a golden caramel colour, remove the pan from the heat. This will stop the caramel from cooking more. 
Carefully Dip the buns in the caramel (take extreme care with the caramel as it will be extremely hot) and arrange them on a plate in a pyramid shape. The caramel will help them stick together. If the caramel does starts to set place it back over a gentle heat until melted 
Drizzle any remaining caramel over the pyramid and down the sides. If you want to be really flash!! Melt some chocolate and drizzle this over your croquembouche too!! Don’t worry about the chocolate setting! Your croquembouche won’t last that long!!!! 

Happy cooking 

thegreenroom Taste of the Solway Fish Pie 

This is one of the dishes that I’ve been testing for the menu for thegreenroom restaurant at Rosehill Theatre, the recipe is totally luxurious, using the absolute best quality seafood available to me along the solway coast, and I think you’re going to love it! 




A good splash of rapeseed oil

2 cooked lobster ( about 600g to 800g) 

1.5 kg floury potatoes

4 egg yolks

8 cooked langoustines, peeled

10 large scallops

1 crab,just the white meat  (freeze the brown meat for another recipe)


1 onion, Peeled and finely chopped

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp celery seeds

2 star anise

1 tbsp tomato puree

100ml of brandy

750ml of full fat milk

100g parmesan


squeeze of lemon juice

A splash of green tabasco

1 handful of fresh breadcrumbs

3tbsp grated parmesan


1. For the pie: 

heat a splash of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the cooked lobster for 5 minutes then remove from the pan. 

2. Cut the lobsters lengthways in half, remove the tail meat and chop into good size pieces. Cut off the heads from the shells and set aside for serving. Keep the remaining shells for making the sauce. 

3. For the sauce: 

heat another splash of oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion, fennel seeds, celery seeds and star anise for 5 minutes until the onion is softened and the spices are aromatic. Add the reserved lobster shells along with the tomato purée and cook for 5 minutes, stir well. 

4.Now Add the brandy to the pan, Flambé and Cook until the flames have died down, then add the milk and 250ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. 

5. Now Pass the stock through a fine sieve, pushing the liquid through to extract all of the flavour. Add the parmesan to the stock, stirring until melted, then set aside to cool. 

6. Preheat the oven to 180C

7. peel the potatoes and cook in a pan of boiling salted water for about 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander and allow the potatoes to steam in the residual heat for a few minutes to rid them of excess moisture. Mash until smooth and season really well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, beat in the egg yolks until well combined. Spoon the mash into a piping bag fitting with a large nozzle. 

8. To assemble the fish pie,

 spoon half of the sauce into the bottom of an ovenproof pie dish. Arrange the lobster meat, langoustine meat, scallops and crab meat over the sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then squeeze over some lemon juice and add a good splash of green Tabasco sauce. Ladle over the remaining sauce. Allow to cool slightly, this will help you to pipe the mash better 

9. Pipe the mash over the filling. Mix together the breadcrumbs and parmesan and sprinkle over the mash.

10. place into the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown Decorate the top with the reserved lobster heads.

Simply serve with sautéed leeks and garden peas, for an absolutely amazing, utterly indulgent, Fish Pie

Happy cooking 



This a recipe we’ve been working on for the restaurant bar menu, something a bit different to the usual pulled pork, which seems to have been done to death, if you don’t want to make your own BBQ sauce, you can buy it, but this is so easy that you may as well make your own

I’m actually using a piece of brisket which as already lightly smoked, but i want to add that really deep smokey flavour to this dish by adding the homemade BBQ sauce, it really will lift this dish completely

It’s also well worth the effort of leaving the beef brisket over night to let those spices get into the meat,

This recipe will easily feed 8-10 people

Shopping list

For the BBQ sauce

  1. 250ml red wine  vinegar
  2. 75g of soft dark brown sugar
  3. 75ml of Jack Daniels
  4. 75ml of coke
  5. 250ml of  tomato ketchup
  6. A good splash of Worcestershire sauce
  7. 200ml  beef gravy or beef stock




  1. put the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns in a hot pan and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes, taking care not to burn them. Allow the spices to cool

  2. add the spices to a pestle and mortar or food processor and crush or blitz to a powder.Now Add the sugar, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and mix together.

  3. With a sharp knife Score the inside of the beef with a sharp knife and rub the spice mix all over the beef, inside and out.

  4. Carefully Roll the brisket up and tie securely in several places with  string. Wrap with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

  5. preheat the oven to 160c and  Place the brisket on a wire rack inside a roasting tray and pour the beef stock around the outside. Cover the whole tray with foil,  Place in the oven to cook slowly for 5-6  hours, occasionally checking that the beef stock hasn’t evaporated. Add some water if required

  6. After the 5-6 hours the beef should be soft and tender. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the foil for 30 minutes. Save any of those fantastic cooking juices.


  7. put a large pan over a high heat and add the vinegar. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and slowly reduce the volume of liquid by half. Add the sugar, Jack Daniels, coke, ketchup, any  juices from the beef and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer very slowly for 25 minutes.

  8. remove the brisket from the rack and gently pull the meat apart using two forks. Add the shredded brisket to the simmering sauce, leave to gently heat through for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and put the pan to one side.

    i’d serve this wonderful smokey beef brisket in soft brioche rolls with homemade chunky chips and red cabbage slaw, i promise you will not be disappointed

    Happy cooking


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