STICKY TOFFEE AND DATE PUDDING 

Now I’m well aware that around these parts you can be hung,drawn and quartered for even having the audacity to write down a recipe for this wonderful pudding, But then again I’m not known for “towing the culinary line” my recipe is what it says, Sticky Toffee and Date Pudding” there are no secret addings,no recipe handed down to me from Uncle Zibidah Aloysius St John Fell the 17th Earl of Shackerstone,no meeting dark masked cloak and dagger suppliers with that out of this world ingredient,you or I have never heard of, just to make my pudding “special” 

It’s just a pudding! That’ll make you feel totally content with your lot! 

This awesome recipe I’m sharing with you will serve 4 people well 

SHOPPING LIST 

FOR THE DATE SPONGE 

175g/6oz dates, chopped

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

50g/2oz salted butter

pinch salt

75g/2½oz demerara sugar

75g/2½oz molasses sugar

2 free-range eggs

175g/6oz self-raising flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

butter, for greasing

FOR THE STICKY TOFFEE TOPPING 

250ml/9fl oz double cream

80g/3oz butter

80g/3oz Dark treacle 

FOR THE EXTRA SAUCE (optional) 

300ml/10fl oz whipping cream

50g/2oz molasses sugar

50g/2oz salted butter

double cream or clotted cream

METHODS 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Pour 275ml/10fl oz boiling water into a large mixing bowl and add the dates.

 Stir and set aside until lukewarm. 

Meanwhile, measure out all the other ingredients for the sponge. Add them to the dates and water and mix together until well combined.

Blend the date mixture in a food processor until nearly smooth

 Butter a baking dish on all surfaces and pour in the sponge mixture.

Bake for around 40 minutes, or until just firm to the touch.

Now make both the topping and the extra sauce by heating the ingredients gently in separate pans, whisking regularly, until they briefly boil. Pour the topping over the cooked pudding.

Place the sticky toffee pudding under a moderate grill or into an extremely hot oven until bubbling.

To serve, spoon the pudding into individual bowls and pour around the extra sauce.

Now you can either serve with double cream or if you’re like me, a good dollop of delicious clotted cream 

There is no better pudding to make you feel warm, cozy and content 
Jon 

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FANTASTIC CHOCOLATE AND ORANGE SHORT BREAD BISCUITS 

You can’t beat a good home made shortbread biscuit over a shop bought one, and Chocolate and Orange is a combination that’ll always be a winner 

There’s no secret to this recipe, you’ll find it in most reasonable chefs reportiore, we’re not trying to set the culinary world alight! Just make fantastic tasting delicious moorish biscuits 

SHOPPING LIST 

250g butter
125g icing sugar

1tsp vanilla extract or vanilla essence 

zest of one large orange

2 medium egg yolks

100g dark chocolate chips

250g plain flour

METHOD 

Place the butter and icing sugar in to a bowl, add the vanilla extract, orange zest and egg yolk.

Beat together until light and fluffy.

Add the chocolate chips and the flour. 

Mix together until it forms a crumble like texture.

Now tip the mix onto a work surface. 

Using your hands mould it together to form a long round sausage shape.

Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Cut the log into 1-2cm slices. 

Place on a non-stick tray and bake for approx. 12 minutes.

 They should now be lovely and golden.

Transfer to a cooling rack 

Once cooled you can keep them in an airtight container, (but I doubt they’ll last long enough) 
Jon 

STEAMED MUSSELS AND CLAMS WITH PERNOD AND SPINACH 

I absolutely love mussels and clams, you see mussels on menus a lot, but not clams for some reason, both of which are utterly delicious if cooked correctly 

I’m using a combination of both, you can use one or the other, or like me both 

This recipe will serve 2 people really well 

SHOPPING LIST 

FOR THE MUSSELS 

30g/1oz butter

2 small shallots, finely chopped

1 celery stick, Finely chopped

500g/1lb 2oz mussels, cleaned and de-bearded

500g/1lb 2oz clams (palourde clams if possible)

30ml/1fl oz Pernod 

200ml/7fl oz dry sherry

FOR THE SAUCE 

200g/7oz spinach

10g/¼oz fresh Flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

2 sprigs fresh tarragon

2-3  Good splashes of Tabasco

METHOD 

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the spinach for 30 seconds.

 Drain the spinach, rinse it under cold water, squeeze and pat dry.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the shallots and celery until softened. 

Tip in the mussels and clams and increase the heat then add the pernod and sherry. 

Shake the saucepan once steam appears, place back onto the heat, and continue cooking for a further 1-2 minutes.

Once all the shells are fully open, immediately strain into a colander suspended over a bowl. 

Shake the mussels to extract the juices and set aside.

Pour the juices into a blender along with the reserved spinach and all the other remaining ingredients.

Blend until smooth and return the green sauce to the mussel cooking pot.

Remove and discard any unopened shells from the mussels and clams,and add the rest to the green sauce. Briefly reheat and serve.

I’d just have some fantastic crusty bread or sour dough to go with this delicious dish 

Jon 

SLOW COOKED BREAST OF CUMBRIAN LAMB/MUTTON 

I love lamb breast, you don’t see it so much on menus these days and I think it’s a real shame, the other fantastic thing that you see even less is Mutton, and that’s an even bigger shame 

The breast is packed full of flavour, and cooked correctly is utterly delicious 

I’m using mutton here, you can get it in good quality butchers, but you can use lamb if you prefer 

This recipe will serve 4 people 

SHOPPING LIST 

A 1.6 kg/3lb 8oz mutton breast, boned, rolled and tied, ask your butcher to do this for you 

salt and freshly ground white pepper

2 tbsp dripping or vegetable oil

1.6 kg/3lb 8oz onions, peeled and thinly sliced

2 bay leaf

A good splash of red wine vinegar

2-3 tbsp anchovy essence (or several finely chopped anchovies)

A good handful of chopped fresh parsley

METHOD 

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.

Season the mutton well with salt and freshly ground white pepper. 

Melt the dripping or oil in a large, lidded casserole dish.

Place the mutton breast into the casserole dish, turn down the heat and colour well on all sides, until golden-brown.

 Lift out the meat and remove all fat from the dish with a spoon.

Add half of the onions to make a bed which the mutton will sit, add the mutton back into to the dish. Add the bay leaves and cover with the remaining onions.

Cut a circle of greaseproof paper just slightly bigger than your pot, Dampen it, lightly grease one side, and press it onto the onions (greased side down). 

Put on the lid cook in the oven for about three hours. 

After an hour, remove the dish to see whether the onion mixture isn’t reducing to quickly, if so add a splash of water 

Replace the paper and lid and place the dish into the oven again.

Check again after another hour, if it’s reducing to quickly add another splash of water 

After about three hours of cooking, gently press the mutton with your finger there should be little resistance, and it will be beautifully tender 

Lift out the meat, put it into a small roasting tin and cover with foil.while you finish the onions.

Remove the bay leaf from the onions and drain the onions, reserving the cooking juices. 

Put the onions back into the casserole. Remove any fat that has settled on the surface of the cooking juices with a ladle,Pour the liquid back in with the onions, and gently simmer until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the vinegar and anchovy essence, or chopped anchovies if using 

Season the onions to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now stir in the parsley.

Remove the mutton from under the foil (if any meaty juices have exuded from the resting mutton add them to the onions), Cut and remove the strings and thickly slice the meat.It will take no cutting it’ll be beautiful and tender, Arrange the slices onto a hot serving dish and pile the onions alongside.

Serve with some buttery mashed potato and green beans, absolutely sensational 

Jon x 

SPICY TANDOORI STYLE CHICKEN 

Have you ever bought tandoori chicken and been disappointed and uttered the phrase 

“I could have made that better myself”

Well now you can, follow this simple tasty recipe and you’ll never be disappointed again, I’m serving mine with a minty yogurt dip, great with a nice cold beer watching a film on the TV

Go on! Give it a try 

This recipe will serve 4 people 

SHOPPING LIST 

FOR THE CHICKEN 1.75kg/4lbs chicken drumsticks, skinned

pinch salt

2 lemons, juice only

500g/1lb 2oz plain yoghurt

3-4 tbsp tandoori spice mix (you can get really good quality mixes in the supermarket)

FOR THE YOGURT DIP (optional but I love it) 

3-4 tbsps plain yoghurt

pinch salt

pinch sugar

5 fresh mint sprigs

1 green chilli, deseeded, sliced

METHOD 

Cut deep incisions into the chicken flesh with a sharp knife. 

Place the chicken into a bowl and sprinkle over the salt and the juice of two lemons, massaging into the chicken until well coated.

Whisk the yoghurt and tandoori spice mix in a bowl until well combined.

 Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage into the flesh.

 Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight.

Preheat your grill or oven to high.

Lift the drumsticks from the tandoori mixture and gently shake off any excess. 

Place a wire rack over a roasting tin and lay the drumsticks on it. 

Grill for 25 minutes, turn regularly, until the chicken is cooked through. Add more lemon juice to taste.

For the dip, place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. 

Serve with the chicken drumsticks.

And enjoy your home made tandoori spiced chicken 

You’ll never buy it again! 

Jon 

RICH REDWINE CHICKEN 

This delicious recipe is loosely based on the classic Coq au Vin, but only very loosely!!! So no getting in touch all you perfectionists out there 

It does require you to marinade the chicken, but it’s so so worth the time 

SHOPPING LIST 

FOR THE MARINADE 1 bottle good-quality red wine 

1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

1 small onion, chopped

2 sticks celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

4 garlic cloves, un-peeled, but crushed 

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2 cloves

FOR THE STEW

4 large chicken joints (thigh or leg), or a mixture of both, skinned

1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for shallow frying

100g/3½oz smoked pancetta, rind removed, cut into large chunks 

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp plain flour

25g/1oz butter

20 button onions, peeled

20 button mushrooms

3 tbsp cognac

3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Mashed potatoes to serve along side 

METHOD 

Place the marinade ingredients into a casserole dish and bring to the boil.

 Allow the volume of liquid to reduce by one-third and strain into a clean, non-reactive bowl and set aside to cool. Make sure that the marinade cools completely 

Place the chicken pieces into the marinade, cover and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 5-6 hours or if possible overnight.

Warm the olive oil in the casserole dish and gently fry the pancetta until golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Remove the chicken joints from the marinade, setting the liquid aside.

 Season the chicken joints with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Dredge the joints in the flour, and then fry until golden-brown in a little olive oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the butter to the dish and place the onions and mushrooms into the casserole and fry gently for 10 minutes, or until golden-brown. 

Remove any excess fat with a spoon and return the chicken and bacon to the pot, turn up the heat and pour over the cognac. Set alight, allow the flames to die down 

Now add the reserved, reduced wine. Gently simmer for one hour

Alternatively, cook the casserole in an oven preheated to 170C/325F/Gas 3.)

After an hour the chicken should be perfect

Adjust the seasoning to your taste 

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley 

Serve the red wine chicken with mashed potatoes and with some fantastic crusty bread 

RHUBARB CRUMBLE, YOU CAN’T BEAT IT 

This is one of my favourite warm puddings, it takes me back to when I was about 10-11 years old and making it at home, always served with thick birds custard, I still love it, although now I like to put a good scoop of vanilla ice cream on top 
This recipe will serve 4 people 

SHOPPING LIST 

FOR THE TOPPING 

250g/9oz cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 

400g/14oz plain flour

200g/7oz golden caster sugar

pinch salt

FOR THE FILLING 

700g/1½lb rhubarb, trimmed, chopped into pieces 

2 tbsp golden caster sugar, plus some extra for sprinkling on top 

Good squeeze of lemon juice 

knob of butter

METHOD 

Preheat Your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Put all the ingredients for the crumble mixture in a large bowl.

Rub the butter into the flour, sugar and salt, lifting and dropping the mixture lightly through your fingers. It doesn’t have to be perfectly fine a few lumps are good 

Pile all the rhubarb into a buttered earthenware dish. Sprinkle over with the sugar, pour over the lemon juice and dot a few knobs of butter over the rhubarb 

Cover the rhubarb with the crumble mixture, sprinkle over a little extra golden caster sugar.

 Place into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden on top and the jammy juices are oozing up around the edges of the dish.

Place into bowls and serve 

I like mine with a good vanilla ice cream, I love the hot and cold contrast, but you can have custard, cream or clotted cream