Water Melon Cake

Water Melon Cake

Prep:           40 mins.

Cooking:      Zero.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         Lots

Rating:         3:  Fiddly

 

Find:

  • One large water melon; whole
  • Fondant icing
  • Icing sugar
  • Sharp shallow-bladed knife – filleting knife or similar

Method:

  • Cut top & bottom from large water melon.
  • Cut side away in a circular fashion to leave a cake shape.
  • Dry with kitchen roll, dust with icing sugar and apply fondant icing to sides and top.
  • Apply fruit for decoration. Copious amounts of fruit.
  • Cut slices…..and see the faces of those who had no idea!

Caramelised fresh oranges:

Caramelised fresh oranges:

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         Depends on how many oranges you can eat.  1 each?

Rating:         3:  Moderate – Segmenting the oranges can be fiddly, but a skill that can be quite quickly learnt……..

Find:

  • 6-8 large oranges
  • 250g/9oz white/golden caster sugar
  • 200ml/7fl oz hot water

Method:

  • Pare the zest from two oranges and cut into very fine shreds (or do it the easy way if you have a zester).
  • Heat a small pan of water until boiling, drop the orange zest into the water and simmer for two minutes. Drain through a sieve into a small bowl. You want to retain the blanched zest, not the water.
  • Peel all the oranges by cutting the skin, white pith and inner skin away, to reveal the flesh of the orange.
  • Using a very sharp knife, cut the first segment out of the orange, sliding the knife down between the skin and its flesh on either side then easing it out. Carry on working your way around the orange, cutting out the segments. (You may prefer to use a small knife for this, or a large 10” chef’s knife – your choice).
  • Put the segments and juice into a shallow serving bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining oranges until all are segmented.
  • Heat a wide, heavy-based pan over a moderate heat. Add the sugar and leave for a few minutes, keeping a careful eye over it, until the sugar begins to melt. Don’t stir. Restrain yourself and do no more than tip and tilt the pan to get the sugar to melt evenly.
  • Once the sugar is liquid, let it bubble gently, then more strongly, until it begins to brown (this may take as little as 2-3 minutes), still tilting and swirling the pan occasionally.
  • Once the sugar has caramelised to a hazelnut brown, pour the measured hot water into the pan. Do this at arm’s length, wearing an oven glove (hard hat, overalls & goggles…..oh yes, and wellies!). But seriously, take care with hot sugar syrup. Be very careful, as the caramel will ‘hit and spiss’ when you first add the water.
  • Swirl and stir the caramel syrup and turn the heat to low. Drop in the blanched shreds of orange zest and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the zest is translucent. You may need to add a bit more water if the caramel thickens too much.
  • Pour the hot syrup and shreds over the orange segments and leave to cool.

Fruit-filled meringue roulade:

Fruit-filled meringue roulade:

PICTURE 30

Oooh lovely!  One of my all-time favourites!

This Super-Scrummy and totally impressive pud resembles a Pavlova, but it’s all rolled up!  You can use any fruit that you like but it lends itself to soft fruits like strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, blackberries (especially the free ones that you can get out of the hedgerow – see Tricks’n’Tips).

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      1 hour.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         4-6  (It’s supposed to be 8, but that would be super-mean!)

Rating:         3:  Moderate – The difficult-ish bit is rolling it up.

Find:

  • 5 large egg whites (to separate eggs, see Tricks’n’Tips)
  • 1 pint pot of double cream
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2tsp cornflour, ready sieved
  • A little white/red wine vinegar
  • Icing sugar, to facilitate rolling and for decoration
  • 250g raspberries and / or other soft-ish fruits

Method

  • Pre-heat your oven to 160°C, gas mark 3 at least ten minutes before you need to use it, because it is very important to have it to temperature before the meringue goes in.
  • Line a low-sided oven tin (the sort you need for doing a Swiss roll….hey, that’s a point, why is a Swiss roll called a Swiss roll? Must look into it!) with baking or silicone paper, leaving a 5cm (2”) hanging over the edge to get hold of after it’s cooked.
  • Put the egg whites and just a tiny splash of vinegar into a mixing bowl. Use a balloon whisk and lots of energy, or an electric whisk to do the hard work for you.
  • Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then carefully and slowly whisk in the caster sugar, a little at a time, until the meringue mixture is quite stiff and glossy. Now you can whisk in the cornflour.
  • Plop the resulting white stuff into the lined tin with a spatula (or, if you have one, a palette knife…. Ok, if you don’t know what a palette knife is, you probably haven’t got one….just carry on with the spatula) and spread it evenly to the edges, as flat as you can, but don’t overwork it as you need to keep the air in the mixture. When it’s flat, just make a few peaks for decoration.
  • Pop it in the oven and cook for somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes (use your eyes!), then take it out, stand it on something that will allow air above and below the tin (a ventilated heat mat or a cooling rack of some sort – the top of a gas cooker will do fine) and allow it to cool.
  • Turn the meringue out (so that the moist, paper-clad underside is facing upwards) onto another sheet of baking paper (or greaseproof) that has been sprinkled with sieved icing sugar.
  • Carefully peel off the baking paper from the underside. You’ll soon discover the best way of peeling it off without tearing the meringue.
  • Whip up the double cream to soft peaks and spread evenly over the meringue, leaving about 2cm (2”) on the long side away from you.
  • Artistically chuck the fruit evenly over the cream then carefully roll it up using the paper to persuade it to roll – it will be DISASTROUS if you try to roll it with your fingers.
  • Pop it on a serving platter with a twee doily below it. The join should be underneath.  Scatter the rest of the fruit (with equal flair and panache) all around the platter.
  • Slice it with a knife that has been in a jug of boiling water, to aid cutting this fragile delight. Then savour every delicious mouthful!

Lime & Ginger Posset with a warm blueberry topping:

Photo:  Chris Wiles Photgraphy

Lime & Ginger Posset with a warm blueberry topping:

Another incredible dessert.   Again, not too difficult to make, certainly very impressive to see and absolutely gorgeous to consume.

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         4-6

Rating:         3:  Moderate – but so much worth doing – and a bit more!

NOTE:  This is rich pud, so don’t make the servings too large.  If they want more, they can just have another one!

Find:

  • 1 pt double cream
  • 5 oz caster sugar
  • 2-3 balls of stem ginger – grated
  • Zest and juice of 4 limes (you need 4 fl oz of juice)
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Drizzle of juice from stem ginger jar
  • A non-stick saucepan & wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Hand balloon whisk
  • Lemon juicer (I know that they are limes – but you still use a lemon juicer….. even for oranges!)
  • Grate the zest of the limes into a bowl.
  • Juice the limes using a normal juicer – see Tricks’n’Tips – and pour the juice into a mug or a bowl ready for use. No pips please; we’re British.
  • Mix the cream, lime zest, stem ginger & sugar in the non-stick saucepan. SLOWLY heat over a low to medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously to avoid the cream ‘catching’ on the side of the pan – we don’t want any brown bits floating around in this beautifully pastel-coloured pud.
  • Gently boil for 3 mins. Take off heat and pour into a warmed mixing bowl that has been carefully placed on a dampened cloth or piece of kitchen roll to stop it skating about on the kitchen surface.  You are not whisking in the pan as it is a non-stick pan and it’s a metal whisk….. you want the pan to stay non-stick!
  • Whisk in the lime juice, slowly pouring the juice in as the cream is whisked.
  • When all the lime juice is in, pick up the bowl and give the whisking some effort – remember that what you are doing is introducing air to make the pud light and airy.
  • Serve in glasses or ramekins. Set overnight in fridge (minimum 3-5 hrs).
  • Just before serving, put blueberries & ginger juice in a pan & simmer for a couple of mins until berries have softened.
  • Spoon over the cold posset and serve.

YUM & YO!

Lemon Posset:

Lemon Posset:

An incredible dessert.   Not too difficult to make, impressive to see, gorgeous to consume.

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      20 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         4-6

Rating:         3:  Moderate – but so much worth doing

Find:

  • 1 pt double cream
  • 5 oz caster sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • A few fresh raspberries/redcurrants/other soft fruits
  • A fancy desert biscuit roll/stick
  • A non-stick saucepan & wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Hand balloon whisk
  • Lemon juicer

METHOD:

  • Juice the lemons using a normal juicer – see Tricks’n’Tips – and pour the juice into a mug or a bowl ready for use. No pips please; we’re British, but you can include the lemon flesh.
  • Mix the cream & sugar in the non-stick saucepan. SLOWLY heat over a low to medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously to avoid the cream ‘catching’ on the side of the pan – we don’t want any brown bits floating around in this beautifully pastel-coloured pud.
  • Gently boil for 3 mins. Time it.  Take off heat and either keep it in the saucepan or pour into a warmed mixing bowl that has been carefully placed on a dampened cloth or piece of kitchen roll to stop it skating about on the kitchen surface.
  • Whisk in lemon juice, slowly pouring the juice in as the cream is whisked.
  • When all the lemon juice is in, if you are using a balloon whisk, pick up the bowl and give the whisking some effort – remember that what you are doing is introducing air to make the pud light and airy. If you are using an electric whisk, turn up the speed.
  • Serve in glasses or ramekins. Set overnight in fridge (3-5 hrs).
  • Serve with raspberries/soft fruit and a desert biscuit of some kind, or pour a very thin layer of raspberry coulis over the surface – or all of them. Don’t make the layer too thick as it will detract from the lemon flavour.

Tarte Tatin:

Tarte Tatin:

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      probably about 40 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         6-8

Rating:         4:  Tricky (but worth it)

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down French apple tart, attributed to a couple of daft old sisters in rural France who we’re told got it wrong.  Whether that’s true or not who cares, it tastes great.

Find:

  • 8 eating apples (not cooking apples)
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1 pack of puff pastry (around 300grams or more – you can freeze what’s left over for next time.) Ready rolled is most convenient.
  • A vanilla pod or Ground Cinnamon – not both. You can have it flavoured with one or the other.
  • A large round, deep-sided tart tin (borrow one from that lively little miss you’ve spotted around the corner…)
  • A metal oven (baking) tray
  • Crème Fraiche to serve with it.

Method:

  • You’ll need super-clean mitts fer this – wash ‘em again now.
  • The butter should be a room temperature; leave it out to soften.
  • Peel and core the apples: Peel the skin away, cut into 4 vertically, then each one again.  Only remove the pippy area, not much more at all.  Cut each one again (I know that they are getting thin – we need them thin.) to give 16 slices per apple.  We need about 100 slices for this.

Waddaya mean you’ve changed your mind?  It’s too late to back out now; just do it and stop moaning. 

I know you’d rather be down the pub, but you said you’d do it and do it you will…… nag, nag, nag…..

  • Ok, now for the messy bit. Slice the butter into thin slices and spread them around the tin, all over the base and up the sides.  Use your fingers and just mould them into place.  Don’t lick your fingers.  Wipe them with kitchen roll.
  • If you are using the vanilla pod: Take the vanilla pod, slit it down the centre with the tip of a sharp knife and, turning the knife sideways on to the pod, scrape all of the seeds out in one motion.  Spread these seeds all over the butter, evenly.  Don’t throw the pod away – see Tricks’n’Tips….
  • If you are using cinnamon: Sprinkle ground cinnamon over the butter layer. You won’t know how much, and I can’t really tell you – it is experience that will let you know.  You are just about to gain experience.
  • Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the butter and vanilla seeds/ground cinnamon. Now lay the apple slices, one overlapping the other in the form of a circular wedge, all the way around the edge, then the middle, then all over to make it level.  You’ll need to pack ’em in tightly.
  • Put the tart tin on the baking tray and put into a pre-heated oven, gas mk 3, for 20 minutes. This will start to cook the apples.
  • Meanwhile, roll the pastry out to the size of the tart tin (you will, of course, know the size already…..) – see Tricks’n’Tips for rolling out pastry.
  • Take out the tart tin and lay the pastry on top, trimming the edge with a knife. Press the pastry onto the apples.  Brush (or spread with a clean finger) milk onto the surface of the pastry.  When it comes out, that will be the bottom so it doesn’t need anything fancy.
  • Put the tin and baking tray back in, turn up to gas mk 6/200C and go have a beer for 15 minutes.
  • Take the tart tin out, press the pastry down with the fingers so that the pastry gets as saturated as possible with the free liquid and then leave to rest for 20-30 minutes before turning it out onto a plate.
  • Cut to portions and serve with Crème Fraiche.

Almost free autumn meringue pile:

Almost free autumn meringue pile:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:          As many as….

Rating:         2:  Easy

Find:-

  • Ready-made meringue nests
  • Apples – fallers from local trees will do nicely
  • Blackberries picked from local bramble bushes will do nicely (See Tricks’n’Tips for important gen on picking above the Diesel line….)
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Butter
  • Tub of crème Fraiche

Method:

  • You can use as much or as little apple and blackberry as you like in this recipe – there is no exact quantity.
  • Peel, core and slice the apples.
  • Put into the saucepan with the butter, sugar and cinnamon.
  • Heat gently, stirring as necessary. The apple will start to cook together with the cinnamon, butter and sugar to give a lovely soft, sweet aroma.
  • When the apples have softened but before they have disintegrated to mush, pour in a load of washed blackberries that have just been picked from the hedgerow, from above Diesel’s dog-leg-line (see Tricks’n’Tips for the meaning of that technical term – it is important to know about it). Make sure that they don’t have any stalks still attached.
  • Stir in the blackberries with the apple and cook for about three minutes.
  • Break up a meringue nest into the bottom of each pudding bowl, pop a big dollop of crème Fraiche on top and then pour the warm mixture on top of that.

Wonderful.  It’s easy, cheap and uses the locally available free fruit. 

What more could you want…. to shoot your own wild meringue nests?

(Shoot me a brace of nice haggis at the same time, please!)

‘Marquise’ of Chocolate:

‘Marquise’ of Chocolate:

Prep:           40 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         6

Rating:         4:  Tricky

Lesley Waters did a nice Marquise on t’telly.   There is a recipe on BBC Food.  Have a look.

It’s a bit like this one – but hers is gonna be far more poshified than mine.

For about 6 servings, find:-

Chocolate Mousse:

Chocolate Mousse:

This is a lovely, rich and dark chocolate mousse that will knock their cocks off.  Sorry – socks off.

Prep:       30 – 40 mins.

Cooking: Sets in the fridge in hours

Course:   Dessert

Serves:    6

Rating:    2:  Easy, if you are ok with separating egg whites & yolks.

Find:-

  • 180g dark chocolate
  • A knob of butter
  • 4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites (see Tricks’n’Tips)
  • A splash or two of Cointreau (go on – make it 3)
  • Whipped cream and a few chards of chocolate
  • Lots of bowls
  • Saucepan
  • Something in which to serve the mousse – cocktail glasses, ramekins (see Equipment), perhaps?

Method:

  • Break the chocolate into a glass bowl over a pan of just simmering water, to melt, but not cook the chocolate.
  • Add the knob of butter. Stir to aid the melting.
  • Whisk the egg whites (hand or electric whisk) until they reach the ‘soft peaks’ stage (see Tricks’n’Tips) and put them aside for a moment.
  • Beat the egg yolks in a different bowl, stir in the Cointreau and add to the melted chocolate.
  • Stir in well with a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the now gooey chocolate mixture into the beaten egg whites and ‘fold’ together – in other words, mix it all together, but try not to knock the air out of the mixture.
  • Spoon the resulting ‘stuff’ into four cocktail glasses or ramekins and pop ‘em into the fridge. They need to thoroughly chill through.
  • Whip a bit of cream and plop that on top, then put a few chards of broken chocolate on top, or grate some chocolate from a bar that you’ve had in the freezer, to keep it super-hard.

Cor,  That was REALLY a lot of work, eh?  Don’t it taste nice though.

Cheaty Lazy Pud:

Cheaty Lazy Pud:

Easiest recipe in the book.    (Muddimer ‘Taste to Effort ratio’ of 1000:1)

Prep:       60 secs.

Cooking: None.

Course:   Dessert

Serves:     As many as…..

Rating:    0:  Untrained chimps could do this (whilst asleep)

Find:-

  • Pot of Greek yogurt (full fat/low fat/0% fat – take yer pick)
  • Meringue lumps in a tub from t’supermarket
  • Plastic squeeeezy bottle of maple syrup

Method:

  • Take the top off the yogurt and spoon/pour into bowls
  • Break a couple of meringue lumps on top.
  • Flip the lid back on the maple surple, invert and squeeze.
  • Eat

Cor,  That was a lot of work, eh?  Don’t it taste nice though.