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Alastair Little's summer pudding

Dessert: Summer Pudding by Alastair Little

Serves 8
Preparation time 1-2 hours
Cooking time less than 10 mins
  • 1 slightly stale, good quality sliced white loaf (thick sliced is better)
  • 225g8/oz redcurrants with stalks picked off
  • 225g8/oz blackcurrants with stalks picked off
  • 225g8/oz whitecurrants with stalks picked off (these may be difficult to find, substitute red and black if so)
  • 225g/8oz raspberries
  • 225g/8oz blackberries
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar

How to make summer pudding:
Remove the crusts from the bread and leave to stale a little further whilst the fruit is being prepared.

Put the red, black and white currants in a pan with the sugar and bring to a bare simmer over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the raspberries and blackberries. Allow to cool completely.

Line a pudding bowl with the slices of bread, trimming them to fit and reserving some for the lid.

Stand this bowl in a tray with a rim and fill the well between the bread slices with the liquid-soaked fruit.

Cut the reserved slices of bread into triangles and use to form a lid to cover the pudding. Trim any protruding bread from the sides, cover with a circle of greaseproof paper and put a plate on the top which should just fit inside the rim of the pudding bowl.

Place tins to the total weight of 1.5kg/3lb on the plate and transfer the whole assemblage to the refrigerator. Keep for up to three days, occasionally spooning back any juices that have overflowed into the tray (there may be quite a lot, this is why you need a tray with a rim).

To serve, remove the weights, greaseproof paper and plate, then carefully run a flexible palate knife down the sides and under the pudding to loosen it from the bowl.

Put your serving plate on top of the bowl and gripping firmly, invert. Tap the base of the bowl with a wooden spoon for luck and remove the bowl. Spoon any accumulated juices from the tray over the top and serve with crème fraîche.


For people nervous about getting the pudding out of the bowl, a heretical but successful answer is to line the pudding basin with cling film before assembling the pudding.

Please note the insistence on stale white sliced bread, on making the pudding three days in advance and never including strawberries. Ignore these strictures to your peril says Alastair.

Martha Stewart's Easiest Indian Stew

From: Main Course by Martha Stewart

A thick vegetarian stew made from pantry staples, such as rice, spices, and canned chickpeas, is enlivened with a bit of yogurt and lime. Curry powder, an Indian blend of spices, is a timesaving source of layered flavour; ground ginger brings a quick dash of citrusy warmth.

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Serves 4
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups homemade or best-quality store-bought tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Cook rice according to package instructions; cover, and keep warm.

While the rice is cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add curry powder and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomato sauce, chickpeas, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve stew with rice and yogurt, garnished with lime wedges and a pinch of curry.

Helpful Hint:

Sautee-ing the ground spices in oil for a minute releases their aroma. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, have a mild, nutty flavour.

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Jamie Oliver Christmas Turkey

Christmas Turkey
From: Main Course by Jamie Oliver
Serves 8-10
  • 5kg turkey, preferably free-range or organic
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clementine, halved
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped

For the stuffing:
  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • a few sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 300g good-quality pork mince
  • a large handful of breadcrumbs
How to make Christmas Turkey:

If you’re worried about cooking the perfect Christmas turkey because you’re afraid you’ll get it wrong, don’t be. This recipe is nice and simple and will help you achieve brilliant results for your Christmas meal.

Take your turkey out of the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to cook it so it comes up to room temperature before roasting. Give it a good rinse then pat it dry with some kitchen paper, making sure you soak up any water in the cavity. Drizzle the meat with a good lug of olive oil, add a few good sprinkles of salt and pepper and then rub this seasoning all over the bird, making sure you get in to all the nooks and crannies.

Preheat your oven to full whack then get started on your stuffing. Pour a lug or two of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat and fry off your chopped onion for about 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper, the ground nutmeg and your chopped sage leaves, then continue to fry and stir for another minute or two.

Spoon the onion mixture into a large bowl and let it cool completely. Once cooled, add your pork mince and breadcrumbs and use your hands to really scrunch everything together. Once it’s mixed really well, bring the stuffing together into a ball, then cover and chill until you’re ready to stuff your turkey.

Pull the skin at the neck-end back so you can see a cavity and push about half of your stuffing inside your turkey. Not too much: you don’t want to pack it so tightly it slows down the cooking. Once done, pull and fold the skin over the opening and tuck it under the bird so it looks nice.

Turn the turkey around and drop a few small pieces of stuffing into the larger cavity along with your clementine halves and a few sprigs of rosemary. Place your roughly chopped veg in the bottom of a roasting pan and lay your turkey on top. Cover the turkey with tin foil then put it in the hot oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 180°c/350°f/gas 4. Cook for about 35 to 40 minutes per kilo. The 5kg bird in this recipe will take about 3 to 3½ hours.

Check on your turkey every 20 minutes or so and keep it from drying out by basting it with the lovely juices from the bottom of the pan. After 2½ hours, remove the foil so the skin gets golden and crispy.

When the time is up, take your turkey out of the oven and stick a small sharp knife into the fattest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear and the meat pulls apart easily, it’s ready. If not, pop the turkey back in the oven to cook for a bit longer then check again. Once ready, cover the turkey with tin foil and a few clean tea towels for 30 minutes and let it rest while you get your veg and gravy ready.

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Gordon Ramsay - Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Massala
From: Main Courses by Gordon Ramsay

Serves 4
  • Groundnut oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 2 fresh green chillies
  • 1" piece of ginger, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (approx 150g each), cubed
  • 10 dried curry leaves
  • 4-6 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

 For the steamed rice:
  • 400g basmati rice, rinsed
  • 600ml cold water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 star anise
How to make chicken tikka masala:

Heat two tablespoons of groundnut oil in a pan. Slice the onion and fry in the oil. Meanwhile, deseed and chop the chilli, chop the ginger and add to the hot pan, crush in the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften.

Add the chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and sugar and cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes to the pan and allow them to cook for a further few minutes.

Transfer the sauce to a food processor and blend until smooth.

Add a tablespoon of fresh groundnut oil into the pan and fry the chicken pieces until lightly coloured. Pour in the blended sauce and add the curry leaves. Simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Place the rice in a saucepan, add the cold water and season with salt and pepper. Lightly crush the cardamom pods with your fingers and add to the pan with the star anise. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to steam for a further 5 minutes. Remove the cardamom and star anise. Fluff up the rice with a fork and set aside.

Stir in the yoghurt to the chicken curry along with half the chopped coriander. Serve with the steamed rice and garnish with the remaining coriander.

More Gordon Ramsay recipes.

Heston Blumenthal: Baked Beans

Vegetarian Recipes: Baked Beans by Heston Blumenthal

Serves 4
Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time over 2 hours

Buy the best-quality pulses you can, and just have a glance through the packet to make sure there are as few cracks in the beans as possible. Once made, these beans will keep for a few weeks.

For the tomato fondue

  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 125ml/4fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • bouquet garni consisting of thyme, celery leaf, parsley and bay leaf tied with a strip of leek
  • 650g/1lb 6oz best-quality tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped, the juices strained and reserved
  • a few drops of Tabasco
  • a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 25ml/1fl oz best-quality sherry vinegar
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 10 strands of saffron (optional)

For the beans

  • 200g/7oz dried haricot beans 
  • 1 onion, halved and studded with 2 cloves 
  • 3 carrots, halved lengthways 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • bouquet garni (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf) 
  • 1 stick of celery 
  • 1 leek, cut crossways into 3 pieces
  •  75g/3oz unsalted butter 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper 

How to make Baked Beans:

1. For the fondue, sweat the onion in the olive oil with the spices for 10 minutes on a very low heat. Add the garlic and bouquet garni and continue to sweat for another 5 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato juices, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and vinegar, then add the lemon zest and cook on a very low heat for 3-4 hours, adding the saffron, if using, 45 minutes into the cooking time. When cooked, the fondue should be dark red and almost jam-like. Don't worry if any oil has split out of the mix, it can just be poured off. In fact this oil will be delicious and can be used in many dishes.

3. Preheat the oven to 110C/225F/Gas ½. Purée the tomato fondue in a blender with a little of the oil from the fondue. There should be enough purée to cover the beans by 1-2cm.

4. Put the beans into an ovenproof dish. Cover with the tomato purée and add all the other ingredients. Season generously.

5. Cover the dish, using kitchen foil if you have no lid, and place it in the oven. After 3 hours, turn off the oven and leave the beans to cool down. Serve.

Gordon Ramsay - Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

From: Main Course by Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay made this tasty looking rack of lamb on the first episode of the first season of The F Word. Like many of Gordon’s recipes, the primary herb ingredients are rosemary, thyme and garlic. This is sure to be a scrumptious meal for fans of Chef Ramsay’s cooking.

Ingredients for the Lamb:

  • 2 large racks of Lamb cut in half with 3 bones per serving
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Ingredients for the Crust:

  • 4 slices of stale bread made into crumbs.
  • 7 Tbs. grated parmesan (roughly 1/2 a cup)
  • Sprig parsley
  • Sprig thyme
  • Sprig coriander
  • Sprig rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons English mustard (dijon)
  • a splash of olive oil

Preparing the Lamb:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It should actually be 392 degrees, but don’t worry about getting that technical unless you have a digital oven.
Place lamb on cutting board fat side up. Lightly score the fat layer with a sharp knife. Next, generously sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Mop up the excess seasoning with the rack of lamb, ensuring it’s thoroughly coated.
Heat some olive oil in an oven safe pan. Seal the lamb by holding each side in the oil long enough to develop color (careful not to burn your hands). Gordon Ramsay says, “it’s simple mathematics, no color, equals no taste”. Quite simple indeed! Make sure you brown that lamb.
Transfer the pan with the lamb into the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes. Prepare the crust while the lamb is cooking.

Preparing the Crust:

Place all of the ingredients for the crust except the mustard into a blender and pulse several times until it looks nice and green. Make sure you don’t over do it with the olive oil, just a splash.

Pour the mixture into a deep dish (bowl or plate) and set aside.

Putting it All Together:

Remove the lamb from the oven and brush generously with mustard. Dip the lamb into the crust mixture coating it completely. Dip several times to ensure an even coating. Allow meat to rest for a bit.

Place it back into the oven for 3-4 minutes when you’re ready to serve.

Gordon serves the lamb with potatoes boulangère and courgettes provençal, but you can serve with anything you find fitting.

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Jamie Oliver - Carrots

From: Snacks and Sides by Jamie Oliver
Can  also be seen here

Carrots are brilliant – full of vitamins and extremely good for you. In the last year or so we’ve been lucky enough to have seen lots of different varieties of carrots available in the shops – long, round, peculiar-shaped, and even some purple ones. My favourite ways of cooking carrots all serve 4 people – for each recipe you will need 500g/1lb 2oz of carrots, either left whole if they are baby ones, or sliced into small erratic pieces – nothing too perfect.

carrots boiled with orange, garlic and herbs

Boil the carrots in salted boiling water with a tablespoon of sugar, a knob of butter and a little handful of fragrant herbs, tied up. Parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay – use just one or a mixture. Cut an orange into eighths and add them to the water, along with a few whole garlic cloves in their skins. If you really want to be a little tiger, add a pinch of cumin as well (seeds or ground) – it subtly cuts through with the most wonderful flavour. As soon as the carrots are cooked, drain them, discard the herbs and all but one of the orange pieces, squeeze the garlic out of its skin, chop the remaining orange piece finely and toss with the carrots, some seasoning and a little more butter. The flavour will be incredible.

Another idea is to fry the chopped-up orange in a good tablespoon of sugar, so it almost jammifies, and serve this on top of the carrots. These two flavours together are one of the coolest things.

roasted carrots with orange, garlic and thyme

Or – just as easy – as soon as you drain the carrots you can throw them into a baking tray with the chopped-up orange and the garlic cloves and roast them at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 10 minutes – this will give you a slightly meatier flavour.

mashed carrots

Or simply mash the carrots up with the orange and garlic, so you have some coarse and some smooth. Lovely.

Martha Stewart - Baked Ziti with Crunchy Italian Salad and Garlic Bread

From: Main Courses by Martha Stewart

Serves 4

 for Baked Ziti
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper 
  • 8 ounces ziti rigate (ridged) or other short pasta 
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) best-quality tomato sauce (about 3 1/2 cups)
for Garlic Bread 

  • 1/2 loaf Italian bread (5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

for Crunchy Italian Salad
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head Belgian endive, stem end trimmed, thinly sliced 
  • 2 bunches arugula (3 1/2 ounces total), thick stems removed 

How to make Baked Ziti with Crunchy Italian Salad and Garlic Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain and reserve. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and half the mozzarella; season with salt and pepper.
  3. In the bottom of a shallow 2-quart casserole dish, spread half the tomato sauce. Top with ziti, then ricotta mixture and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and remaining mozzarella. Place casserole on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until top is browned and sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare garlic bread: Make deep, even cuts into the bread, about 1/2 inch apart, without cutting through the bottom. In a small bowl, combine butter and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Brush garlic butter between cuts in bread. Wrap bread loosely in aluminum foil, and bake with ziti during last 10 minutes of baking.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper. Add endive and arugula, and toss to coat. Serve baked ziti with salad and garlic bread.

Jamie Oliver - White Fish, Roasted

Delicious roasted white fish wrapped in smoked bacon with lemon mayonnaise and asparagus

from: Fish Recipes by Jamie Oliver, originally posted here.

Serves 4
  • 4 x 200g white fish fillets, cut 2.5cm thick, skinned and pinboned
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and very finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons 
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • 16 rashers of thinly sliced, smoked streaky bacon or pancetta 
  • olive oil 
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise  
  • 2 large bunches of asparagus, trimmed

How to Make the White Fish:

This combination is a complete win-win. Any robust white fish like haddock or monkfish will work brilliantly, as would whiting and coley, as they are all wonderful carriers of flavours and can handle the stronger tastes of crispy smoked bacon and rosemary. I love this recipe because it treats the fish almost like a piece of meat, with crispy and soft, flaky textures together.

Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Season your beautiful fish fillets with the rosemary, finely grated lemon zest (no bitter white pith, please) and pepper – you don’t need to use salt because we’re going to wrap the fish in the lovely salty smoked bacon. Lay your rashers of bacon or pancetta on a board and one by one run the flat of a knife along them to thin them and widen them out. Lay 4 rashers together, slightly overlapping, put a fish fillet on top and wrap the rashers around it.

Lightly heat a large ovenproof frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and lay your fish, prettiest side facing up, in the pan. Fry for a minute, then place the pan in your preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until the bacon is crisp and golden.

While the fish is cooking, you can make your simple lemon mayonnaise. I do this by mixing homemade mayonnaise with a nice amount of lemon juice and pepper. Or, if you’d rather sit down for five minutes with a glass of wine, use some ready-made mayo instead! You want to add enough lemon juice to make the flavour slightly too zingy. This is because, when you eat it with the asparagus and the fish, it will lessen slightly in intensity. And don’t worry if the mayo looks a little thinner than usual when you’ve added the lemon juice – think of it as more delicate.

 The asparagus is a great accompaniment because, like the fish, it also loves bacon. You can either boil or steam it; either way it’s light and a nice contrast to the meatiness of the fish. When cooked, toss it in the juices that come out of the fish. Simply serve the fish next to a nice pile of asparagus, drizzled with the lemon-spiked mayonnaise. And if you’re feeling very hungry, serve with some steaming-hot new potatoes.


Gordon Ramsay's F Word - Yum Yum plantain and chicken curry with jasmine rice recipe

Gordon Ramsay's F Word Winning Recipes:
Yum Yum plantain and chicken curry with jasmine rice recipe

Serves 4


For the Thai curry paste:

  • 35g galangal, sliced
  • 55g dry roasted chillies, deseeded
  • 35g lemongrass, chopped
  • 60g garlic, crushed
  • 200g Thai red shallot, chopped
  • 2 coriander stems, washed with leaves on
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
For the curry base:
  • 3 tbsp Thai curry paste

For the rest of the curry:
  • 350g fresh coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • White sugar, to taste
  • 300g free range chicken breast fillet, sliced into thin bitesize pieces
  • 220g green plantain, peeled and thick sliced
  • 150g raw papaya, peeled and sliced
  • Light soy sauce, to taste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Thai makrood lime, diced
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 fresh green chilli, deseeded and sliced

For the Thai jasmine rice:
  • 400g Thai jasmine rice
  • 450ml water
For the garnish:
  • A handful picked Thai sweet basil leaves
  • 1 red chilli, sliced

Method: How to make Yum Yum main plantain and chicken curry with jasmine rice (Gang Gruoi Gai)

1. Place all the curry paste ingredients into a blender and pulse for 5 minutes until a paste is formed.

2. Heat oil in a wok and add 3 tablespoons of the curry paste and cook it for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce sugar and the chicken. Add the sliced green plantain along with the raw papaya. Season with light soy sauce and salt before adding the lime and chillies. Mix well and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the meat and the lime are soft and the sauce has thickened. Ensure that the sauce is not too thick, if required; add a few tablespoons of water.

3. Prepare the rice by washing with cold water until the water runs clear then drain. Add 450ml water to a large pan or rice cooker and bring to the boil, add the washed jasmine rice and simmer for 15 minutes until the rice is tender. Once cooked, take off the heat, the rice will hold its heat with the lid on whilst the curry cooks.

4. Adjust the seasoning of the curry before serving with the jasmine rice. Garnish with Thai sweet basil leaves and sliced red chilli on top.