Sunday 13 July 2014

Tuna and Chive Cakes Recipe

Today's supper is for something lighter... a cheap supper dish whose main ingredient is mashed potato and tinned tuna.

Of course, if you have a fish dish accompanied by potatoes you can mash the potatoes and then flake the fish to use the recipe below as the basis of a leftovers dish.

The version I am presenting here is slightly more chefy than many other fish cakes you will see, but that just enhances the flavour and prevents them from being bland and boring. Indeed, I used this recipe to persuade my wife to make more roasted and poached fish, as she knew that the leftovers would be converted into this recipe!!

I hope you enjoy these as much as she does.

Tuna and Chive Cakes

Serves: 4–6
Tuna and Chive Cakes Recipe: Simple to make yet flavoursome crispy tuna and chive cakes that can be used as a base for using up any leftover fish or potatoes. A few chefy twists make this a delicious supper dish that you can prepare from leftovers.


500g (1 lb) potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender
4 x 225g (8 oz) tins of tuna in brine, drained
1 onion, grated
finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp chives, finely copped
125g (1 cup) plain flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 1/2 tbsp breadcrumbs
oil for shallow frying


When the potatoes are tender, drain and then mash until smooth. In a bowl, combine the mashed potatoes with the tuna, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, sour cream and chives.

Shape the resultant mixture into patties.

Add the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs to separate bowls.

Dip the fishcakes first into the flour (shake off any excess) then dip into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, ensuring that they are evenly coated.

Heat oil in a frying pan, add the fishcakes and cook in batches until golden brown and heated through.

Serve hot with a fresh salad and rice.

If you enjoyed this recipe, and would like more ideas for how to use up your leftovers, why not visit the Celtnet Leftovers recipes and cookery suggestions pages?

Thursday 10 July 2014

Baked Egg Custard Recipe

A custard is essentially a blend of eggs and liquid, where the mixture is then either baked, simmered or microwave until the mixture thickens. The classic custard is made with eggs and milk or cream, but any liquid can be used and in the past this was made from a blend of nut milks and eggs.

The ancient Romans were the first to write down the recipe for a custard and they enjoyed egg custards, flavoured with fish sauce as both an accompaniment and a dessert.

Egg custards are so fundamental in cooking (many pies, all quiches and a number of desserts depend on them) that I am giving  a recipe for a basic (but tasty nonetheless) dessert custard here today.

Add a topping of caramelized sugar and you have a brûlée. If you top with fruit purée, then you have a cheat's cheesecake. The bas is just so versatile...

Baked Egg Custard

Serves: 4–6
Baked Egg Custard: A classic yet simple to prepare dessert dish that can also be used as the base for a brûlée, cheat's cheesecake or a trifle. This modern version is almost identical to the Ancient Roman original (excepting the fish sauce!!)


1 egg, lightly beaten
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
500ml (2 cups) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


Brush a deep 1l (4 cup) ovenproof dish with melted butter or oil.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla extract for 2 minutes. Strain this custard mix into the prepared baking dish then sprinkle over the nutmeg.

Place the dish in a shallow roasting tin then pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides.

Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180°C (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set and a skewer inserted into the centre emerges cleanly.

When ready, remove the ovenproof dish from the roasting tin and serve immediately.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Sweet and Sour Eggplant Recipe

Today's recipe is a classic sweet and sour vegetarian eggplant (aubergine) stir-fry made from parboiled vegetables that are finished by stir-frying with sugar, red wine vinegar and chilli flakes.

This is a healthy and very easy to prepare dish, just make sure you use home-made vegetable stock to cut down on the salt!!

The use of garden mint lends this dish a very North African twist.

Sweet and Sour Eggplant

Serves: 4
Sweet and Sour Eggplant: A vegetarian dish that is an interesting blend of Asian and North African. Eggplants (aubergines) parboiled with garlic, onion and tomatoes that are finished in a sweet and sour sauce with chilii flakes and which is served dressed with garden mint. Easy to make, tasty and healthy too!!


2 large aubergines (eggplants)
6 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, cut into eight wedges
4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
3 tbsp mint, chopped
150ml (2/3 cup) vegetable stock
4 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp hot chilli flakes
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
fresh sprigs of mint, to garnish


Using a sharp knife, cut the aubergines (eggplants) into cubes. Place these in a colander, sprinkle with salt and set aside to stand for 30 minutes. After this time, rinse the aubergine pieces thoroughly under cold, running, water then set aside to drain well. Once drained, pat dry with kitchen paper.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and use to fry the aubergine pieces, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Now stir in the garlic and onion and cook for 3 minutes more.

Stir in the tomatoes, mint and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for about 18 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the brown sugar, red wine vinegar and chilli flakes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper then cook for 2 minutes more to allow the flavours to meld.

Turn into a dish, garnish with fresh mint sprigs and serve.

For hundreds more classic and modern vegetarian recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Vegetarian recipes and vegetarian cookery pages?

Sunday 8 June 2014

Warm Date and Mascarpone Tart Recipe

Today's recipe is for a delicious, yet simple to make dessert of a date and mascarpone cheese custard baked in a filo (phyllo) pastry shell.

Though it sounds decadent (and it does taste heavenly) this is actually a quite a healthy low-fat option for a dessert (if you choose low fat Mascarpone, that is!!).

It's great for a lazy Sunday morning as it's a snap to make, yet is sure to delight even the most fussy eater.

Warm Date and Mascarpone Tart

Serves: 6–8
Warm Date and Mascarpone Tart: Classic dessert tart of a date and mascarpone cheese egg custard baked in a phyllo pastry shell. Simple to make, this classic dessert tart is guaranteed to please the whole family.


4 sheets of filo (phyllo) pastry
40g (1/4 cup, scant) butter, melted and cooled
30g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
10 fresh dates, pitted and sliced
2 eggs
2 tsp custard powder
125g (1/2 cup) Mascarpone cheese
50g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
120ml (1/2 cup) single cream
2 tbsp flaked almonds, to garnish


Brush a shallow, fluted, oblong flan tin (about 10 x 35m [4 x 14 in]) with melted butter or oil.

Brush a sheet of filo pastry sparingly with melted butter and sprinkle with ground almonds. Fold the pastry sheet in half lengthways and carefully line a then flan tin lengthways with the pastry. Repeat this process with the remaining pastry, butter and nuts.

Spread the dates evenly over the pastry base. In the meantime, combine the eggs, custard powder, Mascarpone cheese, sugar and cream in a medium bowl. Whisk the mixture until smooth then pour the mixture over the dates.

Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for 25 minutes, or until the custard is golden brown and set.

Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm, accompanied by whipped cream.

For thousands more classic dessert recipes, why not visit the Celtnet dessert recipes and dessert cookery pages?

Saturday 7 June 2014

Marmalade Breakfast Muffins Recipe

This recipe grew partially out of necessity and partially because I hate waste. Recently I bought a tin of marmalade, to try it out. But it was far too sweet and not bitter enough for my personal tastes. So, rather than throw it away, I decided to have a go at baking with it instead.

The obvious thing to try was a muffin, and I decided to adapt a Christmas muffin recipe I had lying around for use with marmalade instead. To make up for the lack of bitterness I added lemon and grapefruit zest, prepared the batter and into the oven they went.

About 18 minutes later the muffins were ready. I had two for breakfast with my morning coffee... My wife tried one, and, as always when a cake recipe works she whisked the remainder off to school with her!!! So I am going to have to whip-up another half batch this afternoon if I'm to sample the fruits of my labours once again!!

I like a little maize meal in my muffins, but this recipe works just as well if you substitute the plain flour and maize (corn) meal mix for 250g (2 cups) plain flour.

Marmalade Breakfast Muffins

Serves: 12
Marmalade Breakfast Muffins: A classic breakfast corn and wheat flour muffin flavoured with marmalade and citrus zest. Delicious and ready in less than 30 minutes from when you first begin to prepare them.


125g (1/2 cup) marmalade
180g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
60g (1/2 cup) maize (corn) meal
3 tsp baking powder
140g (3/4 cup) golden caster sugar
finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
finely-grated zest of 1 orange (or 1/2 grapefruit)
90ml (6 tbsp) sunflower oil
2 eggs, beaten
200ml (4/5 cup) milk (or 100ml milk and 100ml yoghurt)
2 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)


Mix together the flour, maize meal, sugar, baking powder, citrus zests and mixed spice in a large mixing bowl.

Pour the oil into a mixing jug then add the eggs and beat lightly with a fork. Pour in the milk, whisk briefly then add to the dry ingredients.

Place the marmalade in a microwave-safe jug and heat gently in your microwave until just melted.

Stir everything until just combined then fold in the marmalade (do not over-work the batter or the muffins will be tough). Spoon the batter into 12 muffin tin wells that have been lined with paper cases.

Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until nicely risen and golden brown on top.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, with coffee.

For hundreds more muffin recipes, why not visit the Celtnet muffin and quickbread recipes pages?

Friday 6 June 2014

Beef Salad with Watercress and Basil Sauce Recipe

Here is a rather wonderful beef salad recipe. If you want to do something different with your steaks, apart from the usual steak sandwich, then this is a great recipe.

This also makes a wonderful filling for a baguette or ciabatta bread if you are looking for a slightly more substantial meal.

However, it's the basil and mustard sauce that really lifts this dish and makes it something special. The sauce is so good that I make it and store in in the refrigerator like a pesto.

Beef Salad with Watercress and Basil Sauce

Serves: 4
Beef Salad with Watercress and Basil Sauce: Here is a classic salad of fried beef steak tossed with watercress leaves that's served topped with a basil and mustard sauce (rather like a pest). This works as a salad but also makes a great sandwich filling.


2 lean sirloin (or rump) steaks
2 tsp sunflower oil
250g (9 1/2 oz) watercress
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

For the Basil Sauce:

25g (1 oz) fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon or English mustard
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


Begin with the sauce. Combine the basil, garlic, lemon juice and mustard in a food processor. Pulse to form a rough paste then, with the motor still running, add the olive oil in a steady trickle until the mixture is thick. Turn the resultant mixture into a small bowl, season to taste with salt and black pepper then set in the refrigerator until needed.

Season the steaks then brush with the oil. Cook on a pre-heated griddle pan until done to your liking (medium-rare is probably best though). Transfer to the meat to a warm plate and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

Arrange the watercress in a serving dish. Slice the meat diagonally (reserve any meat juices to add to the sauce). Add the beef strips to the salad and toss to combine.

Drizzle over the sauce and serve immediately.

For hundreds more ideas of what to do with beef and beef-based recipes, why not visit the Celtnet beef information and beef recipes pages?

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Curried Cauliflower and Spinach

Here is a classic and very versatile recipe for cauliflower and spinach in a lightly-curried sauce base.

This can be served as a starter, be used as a base for a soup or it can be served as an accompaniment or as a vegetarian main course in and of itself.

Curried Cauliflower and Spinach

Serves: 4
Curried Cauliflower and Spinach: A dish of cauliflower and spinach in a lightly-curried vegetable stock base. A versatile dish that can be served as a starter, an accompaniment or even as a vegetarian main course.


1 medium-sized cauliflower, broken into small florets
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 green chilli, sliced
450g (1 lb) spinach, washed
6 tbsp vegetable stock
1 tbsp coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
sprigs of coriander (cilantro), to garnish


Heat the oil in a deep flame-proof casserole dish. Add the mustard seeds and fry, stirring frequently, until the seeds begin to pop.

At this point stir in the spices, garlic, onion and chilli. Continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Now add the cauliflower florets along with the spinach, vegetable stock, coriander leaves and seasonings. Cover and cook over gentle heat for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Uncover the dish and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the pan juices have thickened.

Garnish with coriander sprigs and serve immediately, either as an accompaniment or as a vegetarian dish accompanied by rice.

For hundreds more curry and curry-based recipes from around the world, why not visit the Celtnet curry and curry-based recipes pages?

Friday 23 May 2014

Classic Pork Kebabs Recipe

Living in South Africa now, as I do, braai (South African barbecue) is a national institution. Being a Celt, I like pork, but my wife is not really fond of the meat, finding it too fatty.

So far, only Chinese-style red-cooked pork has really met with her satisfaction. So this simple barbecue recipe was my attempt at making my wife more fond of pork... and it really worked!!!

Classic Pork Kebabs

Serves: 8
Classic Pork Kebabs: Traditional pork, bell pepper and red onion kebabs, marinated in an Asian-style sauce before being cooked over hot coals on a barbecue (grill).


300g (2/3 lb) pork fillet, cubed
2 green bell peppers, cut into squares
2 red bell peppers, cut into squares
2 red onions, halved and cut into wedges

For the Marinade:

1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tsp Chinese five-spice
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard


Cut the pork into 24 cubes about 3cm in size. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients, add the pork and toss to coat. Set aside to marinade in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning occasionally to ensure that the pork is evenly coated.

If using bamboo skewers, soak them in a bowl of water for 1 hour before use.

Drain the pork (reserve the marinade). Thread the pork onto the skewers (three pieces on each), alternating with bell pepper pieces or red onion wedges.

Brush the kebabs with any leftover marinade then place on a barbecue over hot coals. Cook for about 25 minutes, turning frequently and brushing with leftover marinade as you do so.

Ensure that the pork is thoroughly cooked through before serving. Accompany with rice and a green salad.

For even more barbecue/grilling/braai recipes, please visit the Celtnet Barbecue and Grilling recipes pages.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Potato and Sausage Pan-fry Recipe

Today's recipe is a chefy twist on a traditional supper favourite — sausages and potatoes cooked together. This is a quick and hearty dish, packed full of flavour. But the addition of vegetables makes it a little healthier than the original on which its based.

Wine is substituted for the original beer and the use of fresh herbs leads the sauce a freshness that really lifts the flavour. This, I guarantee, will become a family supper favourite.

Potato and Sausage Pan-fry

Serves: 4
Potato and Sausage Pan-fry: A supper dish of sausages and potatoes cooked together in a pan that's finished with a wine-based sauce and fresh herbs


675g (1 1/2 lbs) waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp butter
8 large herby sausages
4 smoked bacon rashers (slices)
1 onion, quartered
1 courgette (zucchini), sliced
150ml (2/3 cup) dry white wine
300ml (1 1/4 cups) vegetable stock
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp mixed fresh herbs, chopped
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
fresh herbs, chopped, to garnish


Bring a pan of water to  a boil, add the potato cubes and cook for 10 minutes, until tender. Drain thoroughly then set aside.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the herby sausages and cook for 5 minutes, turning them frequently to ensure that they cook evenly all over.

Now add the bacon rashers along with the onion, courgette (zucchini) slices and potatoes to the pan. Continue cooking the mixture for 10 minutes more, stirring frequently and turning the sausages from time to time.

Pour in the white wine along with the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Scatter over the mixed herbs and stir in to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper then continue cooking the mixture over gentle heat for 10 minutes more.

Adjust the seasonings to taste then divide the mixture between warmed serving plates. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Crustless Chocolate Tart Recipe

This is one for all the chocaholics out there. A crustless chocolate tart served as a dessert with rich, cream-based mocha (chocolate and coffee) sauce.

A recipe for when you're feeling indulgent or when you just need a hit of chocolate to lift your spirits.

Crustless Chocolate Tart

Serves: 6
Crustless Chocolate Tart: Deesert chocolate tart, baked without a crust, served with an indulgent mocha sauce.


500ml (2 cups) milk
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 tsp lemon zest, sliced into thin strips
1 tsp orange zest, sliced into thin strips
30g (2 tbsp + 1 tsp) butter
60g (1/2 cup) plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Mocha Sauce:

250g (9 1/4 oz) chocolate, chopped
125g (1/2 cup) butter
160ml (2/3 cup) cream
65g (1/3 cup) soft brown sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder


Combine the milk, cinnamon, zests and butter in a pan and bring to a boil. Take off the heat, cover and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes. After this time strain the milk into a bowl (discard the cinnamon and zests).

Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the cocoa, baking powder and sugar. Combine the milk, egg yolks and vanilla extract in a jug. Gradually beat the milk into the flour mix until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and set on the heat.

Continue heating, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches boiling point. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes more then take off the heat and set aside to cool.

Add the egg whites to a clean and dry bowl and using an electric whisk beat until stiff peaks form. Using a metal spoon fold the egg whites into the cocoa mixture then pour into a greased 23cm (9 in) diameter pie plate. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180º (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for 30 minutes, or until set.

In the meantime, prepare the mocha sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a small pan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has dissolved.

Cut the tart into wedges and serve warm with the mocha sauce and cream.

For hundreds more chocolate-based dishes, why not visit the Celtnet chocolate and chocolate-based recipes page, where you will find recipes from cakes through main courses, to desserts and sauces all using chocolate as one of their main ingredients.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Microwave Coffee House Gâteau Recipe

For those of you who think that you can't really bake with a microwave, here is a traditional coffee-shop cake that's been adapted to be cooked in a microwave.

Yes, that's right, a Genoese-style sponge cake prepared with just a microwave!!

Microwave Coffee House Gâteau

Serves: 6–8
Microwave Coffee House Gâteau: A classic Genoese-style sponge cake with a rich buttercream and walnut frosting that's designed to be cooked quickly in a microwave.


4 eggs
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
100g (1 cup, scant) plain flour
50g (1/4 cup) butter
pinch of salt

For the Filling and Topping:

40g (1/3 cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
150ml (3/5 cup) milk
215g (1 cup, heaped) light brown sugar
350g (1 3/4 cups) butter
65g (1/2 cup) walnuts, finely chopped
thin chocolate wafers, to decorate


Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl, add the sugar and whisk with the eggs until the mixture is pale and creamy and has trebled in volume.

Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in your microwave at FULL power for about 60 seconds, or until just melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour and salt then sprinkle over the egg mixture. Whilst folding gently with a metal spoon add the melted butter in a slow, steady, stream. Continue folding the mixture together until evenly combined, but take care not to over-mix.

Line a 20cm (8 in) diameter soufflé dish (or silicone cake mould) with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and sit a circle of greaseproof (waxed) paper in the base. Turn your batter into this mould then transfer to your microwave. Cook on FULL power for between 3.5 and 4 minutes, depending on your microwave's power,.

Allow the cake to stand for 8 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing and decorating.

For the filling and topping, blend the cornflour (cornstarch) with 8 tbsp of the milk to form a smooth slurry. Mix together the remaining milk in a microwave-proof jug and stir in the coffee and sugar.

Place in your microwave and cook on FULL power for 80 seconds. Add the cornflour and milk blend, whisking to combine, then return to the microwave and cook for 2 minutes at a time, stirring at the end of every 2 minutes, until the mixture is thick. Remove from the microwave and set aside to cool completely.

Cream the butter, then gradually work in the cold coffee mixture, beating well until smooth.

Take 1/3 of this mixture and fold in just under half the walnuts. Slice the cake horizontally into three equal-sized layers and use the coffee-walnut mixture to sandwich the layers together.

Use half the remaining coffee mixture to spread over the top and sides of the cake. Press the remaining walnuts into the sides of the cake, then decorate the sides with the chocolate wafers.

Place the remaining coffee mixture in a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle and pipe swirls on top of the cake.

Slice into wedges and serve.

For hundreds more classic recipes to be cooked in the microwave (all kinds of surprising recipes!) why not visit the Celtnet Microwave Recipes and Microwave cooking pages?

Saturday 10 May 2014

Raspberry Cheesecake in a Glass Recipe

Here is a great dessert for a dinner party, individual raspberry cheesecakes served in a glass. They can be made the day before, and are great if you are in a hurry or pressed for time.

As these cheesecakes are based on pre-made ingredients and do not require baking they are also quick and simple to make, but look fantastic when you serve them.

Perfect for the harried host or hostess.

Raspberry Cheesecake in a Glass

Serves: 6
Raspberry Cheesecake in a Glass: Classic individual servings of amaretti biscuits topped with raspberries, mascarpone cheese and cream cheese and finished with raspberries that are simple to make, can be prepared the day before and are great for a dinner party.


250g (9 oz) fresh raspberries
300g (2/3 lb) full-fat cream cheese
250g (9 oz) mascarpone cheese
175ml (3/4 cup) double cream
100g (4 oz) icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
3 tbsp Pimm's
juice of 1 orange
20 Amaretti biscuits


In a bowl, mix half the raspberries with a splash of water then stir in icing sugar to taste. Purée by passing through a sieve then set aside.

Whisk together the cream cheese with the mascarpone cheese, double cream, icing sugar, vanilla, Pimm's and orange juice until just smooth (do not over-beat or it will begin to stiffen).

Coarsely crush the biscuits. Reserve 2 tbsp then divide the remainder between 6 dessert glasses. Spoon over the purée then top with most of the remaining whole strawberries (reserve a few for garnish).

Divide the cream cheese mix between the glasses then scatter over the reserved biscuits and garnish with the reserved raspberries.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving. These can actually be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator and are great for parties and barbecues.

Allow to warm to room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Marinated Pork with Pepper Recipe

Today I have a classic modern pork recipe for you. I recently cooked this for my wife, who is not really a big fan of pork... and it was an instant hit.

This makes a great dinner dish and also works very well for Valentine's day or any romantic occasion. Even better, it can be made in about an hour and is not difficult to prepare.

Marinated Pork with Pepper

Serves: 4
Marinated Pork with Pepper: Dish of marinated pork cooked in a vegetable stock base with bell peppers... Shown served in a bowl on a bed of rice.


2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp English mustard
500g (1 lb) pork fillet
25g (1 oz) butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
150ml (3/5 cup) vegetable stock
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and sliced (or 1/2 green bell pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper)
75g (3 oz) mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced


Mix together the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, honey and mustard in a bowl. Add the pork and toss to coat and cover in a sauce. Cover the bowl and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Melt the butter in a large, lidded, frying pan. Add the onion and the pork (drain and reserve the marinade) and cook for about 10 minutes, or until browned.

Add the stock and the reserved marinade then cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through.

Stir in the bell pepper and mushrooms and continue cooking for 3 minutes more, or until the sauce has reduced sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon.

Serve hot on a bed of basmati rice.

Monday 5 May 2014

Lemon Pudding Recipe

After a bit of a hiatus due to a family crisis, I'm back cooking and writing recipes.

Things have been a little stressful of late, and when that happens my cooking tends to return to the classics. Simple but comforting dishes like this tasty steamed lemon pudding.

Lemon Pudding

Serves: 4–6
Classic recipe for a simple steamed pudding made from a simple butter, sugar, egg, flour and milk batter flavoured with vanilla extract and lemon zest


90g (3 oz) butter
65g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp finely-grated lemon zest
120g (1 cup) self-raising flour
60ml (1/4 cup) milk


Using an electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly to combine after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and the orange zest and beat until combined.

Turn the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Using a metal spoon, fold in the sifted flour alternatively with the milk. Stir the ingredients until just combined and almost smooth.

Brush a 1l pudding basin with melted butter. Line the base with paper then grease the paper. Spoon in the batter and top either with a lid or with a pleated sheet of greaseproof paper. Cove with a double layer of kitchen foil and tie securely with twine.

Set the pudding basin either in a steamer basket or on a trivet in a large pan. Either steam or cook in boiling water for about 60 minutes. During this time, ensure that the pan does not boil dry.

At the end of the cooking time, unwrap the pudding and turn out onto a serving plate. Serve warm with custard, cream or vanilla ice cream.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Coconut Cream Almond Joy Easter Egg Recipe

Happy Easter!! To all my readers. As it's Easter, here is a simple to make Easter egg recipe for you.

Bee on the lookout, as tomorrow I will have a recipe for a classic chocolate Easter cake.

Coconut Cream Almond Joy Easter Eggs

Serves: 15
Coconut Cream Almond Joy Easter Eggs: A classic and simple to make Easter egg, with a white centre of butter, cream cheese, icing sugar and coconut studded with almonds and coated in chocolate. Great for kids to make with you at home.


115g (1/4 lb) butter, softened
225g (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
900g (2 lbs) icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
400g (15 oz) flaked coconut
600g (22oz) dark chocolate chips
30 almonds


Dice the butter and mix in a bowl with the cream cheese. Place in your microwave and cook on full power for about 30 seconds, or until softened.

Cream the ingredients together then add the icing sugar, about 100g (1 cup) at a time beating thoroughly to combine after each addition. Now ad the salt and vanilla extract, mixing thoroughly to combine.

Add the coconut and mix until blended. Place the resultant mixture in the freezer and chill for 20 minutes.

After this time, remove from the freezer, divide into 15 pieces and shape these into eggs.. Sit each egg on a baking tray covered with kitchen foil. Now press two almonds into the top of each egg.

Return to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes more.

In the meantime, melt the chocolate chips either in a bain-marie (double boiler) or in a microwave. Taking each chilled egg in turn, dip its base in the melted chocolate, then transfer to a small, flat, dish.

Take a large spoon and pour over some melted chocolate onto the top of each egg. Spread it over with a round-blade knife, then transfer to a foil-lined baking tray.

When all the eggs are done, return to the freezer and chill for a few minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened. Sit each egg in an individual paper case.

Store in the refrigerator, covered with aluminium foil.

For hundreds more classic Easter recipes from around the globe, why not visit the Celtnet Easter Recipes and Information pages?

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Whole Orange and Chocolate Cake Recipe

I've been submitting savoury, main course and snack recipes for a while now — so it's time to add a recipe for a cake, particularly as it's almost Easter.

This cake is unusual, as it's base is a whole orange that's cooked until tender before being added to the cake batter.

Whole Orange and Chocolate Cake

Serves: 12
Whole Orange and Chocolate Cake: A rich chocolate dessert cake, excellent for Easter, made with a whole parboiled orange as the flavouring. Guaranteed to be loved by anyone who likes cakes, and certainly anyone who likes chocolate!


175g (6 oz) butter, softened
1 small orange (about 200g [8 oz])
100g (4 oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
2 tbsp cocoa powder
100g (4 oz) ground almonds
175g (6 oz) light muscovado sugar
4 eggs, separated


Place the orange in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, partly covered, for 60 minutes, or until completely tender. Drain the orange then set aside to cool.

Halve the orange and remove all the pips. Chop finely (do not peel) then place in a food processor and pulse to a smooth purée.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, spices and cocoa powder in a bowl then stir in the ground almonds.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and the puréed orange then fold in the flour mix.

Add the egg whites to a clean and dry bowl and whisk until stiff. Fold these into the cake batter, adding them in tow batches.

Pour the batter into a 23cm diameter cake tin that's been buttered and lined. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for about 40 minutes, or until firm and slightly golden on top.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday 14 April 2014

Satay Pork Recipe

Today's recipe is for a classic Indonesian-style dish of pork strips in a sweet chilli marinade that are cooked on a barbecue (grill) and served with a peanut and coconut milk sate sauce.

This recipe can serve two as a main meal or four as a starter. It also makes an excellent addition to any barbecue.

Satay Pork

Serves: 2
Satay Pork: Classic Indonesian-influenced dish of pork strips in a sweet chilli marinade cooked on a barbecue (grill) and served with a peanut-based satay sauce


450g (1 lb) thin pork loin steaks
6 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
2cm (4/5 in) length fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
1 garlic clove, crushed

For the Satay Sauce:

1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chilli-infused oil
175g crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
150ml (3/5 cup) coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped


Slice the pork into 2cm wide strips. In a bowl, combine the dark soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, ginger and garlic. Add the pork and toss to coat then cover the dish and set aside to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, place wooden skewers to soak in a large bowl of water for 2 hours.

For the satay sauce, fry the garlic and chilli in oil for about 90 seconds. Gradually add the peanut butter, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat then immediately take off the heat before stirring in the coriander leaves.

When marinated, thread the pork onto the soaked skewers (discard any left-over marinade). Place either on a barbecue over hot coals or under a hot grill (broiler) and cook for between 8 and 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Serve hot, accompanied by the satay sauce and lime wedges.

As well as pork, this dish can also be made with lamb, goat meat, chicken or even beef.

For hundreds more barbecue (grilling) recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Barbecue and Grilling recipes pages.

Monday 7 April 2014

Sticky Lime and Coconut Drizzle Loaf Recipe

I love limes, I really do... so I am always on the lookout for a new recipe that uses this tart and citrusy fruit.

The marriage of the acidity of citrus with the sweetness of coconut milk is an ideal one (and a combination found throughout the tropics). This makes an unusual cake, that is nonetheless very tasty and goes well as an accompaniment to tea or coffee.

Sticky Lime and Coconut Drizzle Loaf

Serves: 10
Sticky Lime and Coconut Drizzle Loaf: A classic tea or coffee time loaf cake flavoured with lime zest and coconut milk that's finished with a sweetened coconut milk, lime zest and lime juice drizzle


100g (4 oz) butter, softened
175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
175g (6 oz) golden caster sugar
2 eggs
400ml (14 oz) tin of coconut milk
finely-grated zest of 2 limes

For the Icing:

400ml (14 oz) tin of coconut milk
200g (8 oz) golden caster sugar
finely-grated zest of 1 lime
juice of 3 limes


Beat the butter, flour, baking powder, golden caster sugar, eggs, coconut milk and lime zest in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Turn this batter into a 900g (2 lb) loaf tin lined with baking parchment.

Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.

To make the icing, combine the coconut milk and 150g (6 oz) of the sugar in a pan. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, or until syrupy. Stir in the lime juice then take off the heat and set aside. In a bowl, mix the remaining sugar with the lime zest to a paste and set this aside too.

With the cooked cake still in the loaf tin pour over the icing a little at a time. Each time wait for the cake to absorb the icing before you pour any more over. Set aside to cool then carefully remove from the tin. Sprinkle over the lime sugar then slice and serve.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Country-style Blackberry Pie Recipe

OK, so it's only early spring... but at this time I like to clear out my freezer to remove some of the autumnal glut that wasn't eaten over winter. During the clear-out I came across a very large bag of blackberries.

As well as a blackberry suet pudding (my personal favourite) I also prepared a rustic-style pie that works well both as a dessert or as a tea-time treat. This is a very rich pie with an even richer pastry, given the twist of adding a little custard powder to the mix, which both helps colour the pastry and also gives it a subtle custard flavour.

Country-style Blackberry Pie

Serves: 6–8
Country-style Blackberry Pie: Rustic blackberry pie (also for blueberries, tayberries, bilberries or blackcurrants) with the twist that the pastry is coloured and flavoured with custard powder.


For the Pastry (Dough):

250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp custard powder
250g (1 1/4 cups) chilled butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
60ml (1/4 cup) water
1 tbsp raw cane sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze

For the Filling:

4 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
900g (2 lbs) fresh blackberries, washed and drained
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp finely-grated orange zest


For the filling, blend the cornflour with 8 tbsp water to form a smooth slurry. Pour into a pan and mix with the sugar, orange zest and 1/4 of the blackberries. Bring to a boil and cook gently for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

For the pastry, combine the flour, icing sugar, custard powder and butter in a food processor. Pulse for about 15 seconds, or until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg and water and process for 15 seconds until the mixture comes together as a dough (add more water as needed).

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead for about 2 minutes, or until smooth. Cove with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and set aside to chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, or until smooth.

After this time, take 2/3 of the pastry and roll out on a well-floured work surface until large enough to cover the base and sides of a 23cm diameter pie plate. Spread the cornflour mixture evenly over the base then top with the remaining whole blackberries.

Roll out the remaining pastry until large enough to cover the top of the pie. Brush the edges with egg and press along the edges to seal. Trim the edges neatly with a sharp knife and brush the top with the beaten egg. Using a fork, crimp the edges tightly to seal then pierce with the tines of the fork.

Sprinkle sugar over the top then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for 35 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Allow the pie to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve hot, sliced into wedges and accompanied by cream or ice-cream.

This pie can also just as easily be made with blueberries, tayberries, bilberries, blackcurrants or even raspberrires/

Saturday 29 March 2014

Bacon, Tomato and Walnut Pasta Recipe

Today's recipe is for a quick, easy to prepare and healthy pasta dish, made a little richer by the inclusion of smoked bacon. This makes an excellent lunch or light supper, but can also be served as a starter.

Bacon, Tomato and Walnut Pasta

Serves: 4
Bacon, Tomato and Walnut Pasta: A light lunch or supper dish of pasta dressed with tomatoes, smoked bacon and garlic cooked in butter and served with fresh basil.


350g (12 oz) penne pasta (or pasta spirals)
8 plum tomatoes, halved
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
50g (2 oz) butter
110g (4 oz) smoked bacon bits
50g (2 oz) walnuts, coarsely chopped
50g (2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. add the pasta and cook for between 10 and 12 minutes, or as directed on the packet. Drain in a colander.

In the meantime, place the tomato halves on a grill pan with the cut side uppermost. Brush with 2 tbsp olive oil then sprinkle over the sugar and season with salt and black pepper. Place under a hot grill (broiler) and cook for about 6 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to char. Remover from under the grill and set aside to keep warm until the pasta is cooked.

Heat half the butter in a frying pan and add the bacon pieces. Cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes, until they begin to crisp then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining butter to the pan and tip in the walnuts, breadcrumbs and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the breadcrumbs turn a golden brown. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the basil and bacon pieces then season to taste with salt (if needed) and black pepper.

Pour the remaining oil over the pasta and stir in the bacon, tomato halves and the walnut mixture.

Serve immediately.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Tsoureki (Sweet Greek Easter Bread) Recipe

Tsoureki is a sweet, Greek, Easter bread that, traditionally, was baked to end the Lenten fast. It is often eaten for breakfast, accompanied by cheese. The traditional way of preparing is by plaiting and inserting red-dyed eggs at either end before baking, though it can also be shaped into an Easter crown.

Tsoureki (Sweet Greek Easter Bread)

Serves: 12
Tsoureki (Sweet Greek Easter Bread): A classic rich ans sweet bread from Greece that is traditionally used to break the lenten feast. Shown decorated with whole eggs for Easter,


500ml (2 cups) milk
2 x 7.5g (1/4 oz) sachets of active, dried, yeast
950 to 1050g (8 to 9 cups) white bread flour
350g (1 3/4 cups) sugar
125g (1 cup) ground almonds
1 tsp salt
finely-grated zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp ground mahlepi (mahlab cherry pits)
1 tsp ground mastic (optional)
50g (1/4 cup) butter, melted
5 eggs, well beaten
fresh eggs, dyed red with food colouring (optional)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk
65g slivered almonds


Warm the milk to blood heat then pour into a bowl and stir in the yeast along with 100g (1 cup, scant) of the flour and 50g (1/4 cup) of the sugar. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) or a damp cloth and set aside to prove for 60 minutes.

Sift 850g (7 cups) of the remaining flour into a bowl and mix in the ground almonds, salt, remaining sugar, orange zest, mahlepi and mastic. Form a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, along with the melted butter and eggs. Working from the outside inwards, bring the flour into the wet ingredients, stirring the mixture with your fingertips until a dough begins to form.

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and begin kneading and adding more flour, as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your hands (about 12 minutes). Shape the resultant dough into a ball, place in an olied bowl (turn to coat) then cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) or a damp cloth and set aside in a warm, draft-free, spot to rise until doubled in volume (about 80 minutes).

After this time knock back (punch down) the dough then divide into six equal-sized pieces. Take three of the pieces and roll into ropes about 5cm (2 in) in diameter and 30cm (12 in) long. Lay the three elongated pieces next to each other and pinch together at one end. Braid the strips at the other end then pinch the ends together to seal. Transfer to a parchmntn paper lined baking tray and, of desired, nestle a red-dyed egg at either end of the braid. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces to make a second loaf.

Cover loosely, then set aside to raise in a warm place for about 80 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Beat the egg yolk with 2 tbsp milk and use this mixture to glaze the tops of the loaves. Scatter over the slivered almonds, then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (360ºF), setting the loaves on a low shelf.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown (but check after about 20 minutes to ensure the loaves are not colouring too quickly --- if they are drape kitchen foil over the top and continue baking) and the loaves hound hollow when tapped on the base.

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool before slicing and serving.

For hundreds more Easter recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Easter recipes and history of Easter pages? If you would like to learn more about Greek cuisine, visit the Celtnet Greek recipes and cookery pages.

Monday 24 March 2014

Strawberry Sponge Puddings Recipe

Here is a modern twist on the classic British sponge pudding dessert. Instead of being steamed (as is usual) these puddings are baked, meaning that you can prepare them in less than 30 minutes, from scratch!

Strawberry Sponge Puddings

Serves: 4
Strawberry Sponge Puddings: Today's recipe is for individual sponge desserts, each baked on a bed of strawberry jam, so that the jam flows down the sides of the sponges when they are inverted to be served.


100g (1/2 cup) butter, diced and softened
250g (1 cup) strawberry jam (jelly)
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
2 egg, beaten
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g (1 cup, less 1 tbsp) self-raising flour, sifted
pouring consistency custard, to serve


Grease four 125ml (1/2 cup) pudding basins with butter, then divide the jam between them.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly to combine after each addition. Now stir in the milk and vanilla extract.

Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time, folding into the egg mixture. Once all the flour has been incorporated, spoon the batter into the prepared pudding basins and level the surfaces with the back of a spoon.

Sit the pudding basins on a baking tray and transfer to the centre of an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF), and bake for about 18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each pudding emerges cleanly.

Turn the puddings out onto warmed plate and serve accompanied by custard.

For a chocolate version, substitute 6 tbsp cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp baking powder for 6 tbsp of the flour and use cherry or plum jam instead of the strawberry jam.

If you liked this recipe for a baked sponge dessert, you can find recipes for hundreds more desserts at the Celtnet Dessert recipe and dishes pages.

Friday 21 March 2014

Beef and Bean Casserole Recipe

Though spring may officially have arrived, the cold and damp of winter still lingers. To cheer you up, in anticipation of spring, proper's, arrival today's recipe is for a hearty and warming casserole dish.

Beef and Bean Casserole

Serves: 4–6
Beef and Bean Casserole: A hearty and warming one-pot dish of beef and mixed fresh beans cooked slowly in a red wine, stock and tomato base.


25g (1 oz) butter
2 tbsp olive oil
350g (120z) shallots, peeled
900g (2 lbs) braising steak, cut into 3cm (1 in) cubes
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp mixed dried herbs
225ml (1 cup, scant) red wine
300ml (1 1/4 cups) beef stock
350g (12 oz) runner beans, tripped and cut diagonally into thick pieces
225g (8 oz) French (green) beans
450g (1 lb) large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped


Combine the butter and oil in a large, lidded, flameproof casserole. When the mix is hot add the shallots and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots are lightly browned all over (about 6 minutes).

Remove the shallots from the casserole with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the beef in batches, frying until lightly browned and then removing with a slotted spoon. Set the beef aside as you fry the next batch.

When all the meat has been fried, return to the casserole then scatter over the plain flour and the dried herbs. Pour over the wine and stock and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring all the while.

Take the casserole off the heat and stir in the shallots (along with any of their juices). Now add the runner beans, French beans and tomatoes (along with any juice). Mix well to combine then place the casserole back on the heat and bring to a boil.

Cover with a sheet of greaseproof (waxed) paper and the lid, then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF) and cook for about 200 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked through.

Remove the lid and the paper covering from the casserole. Serve immediately accompanied by crusty bread and/or mashed potatoes.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Potato and Tomato Calzone Recipe

A calzone is effectively an Italian pasty made from a pizza dough with a filling. The filling can include just about anything you fancy, but this version is vegetarian.

However, you can use meat (particularly leftovers) and fish in this dish along with the other filling ingredients if you desire. The addition of a few sautéed wild mushrooms in the vegetarian version also help lift the taste if you would like a richer version.

Potato and Tomato Calzone

Serves: 4
Potato and Tomato Calzone: a pasty made with pizza dough that has a vegetarian potato, tomato and cheese filling.


For the Dough:

450g (1 lb) white bread flour
1 tsp active, dried, yeast
300ml (1 1/4 cups) vegetable stock
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp caraway seeds
milk, to glaze

For the Filling:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
225g (8 oz) waxy potatoes, diced
1 onion, halved and sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, crushed
40g (1 1/2 oz) sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, shredded
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
50g (2 oz) mozzarella cheese, grated


For the dough, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, scatter over the yeast and stir in with a fork. Form a well in the centre of the mixture then stir in the vegetable stock, honey and caraway seeds. Bring the flour from the edge of the bowl to the centre, mixing to form a dough.

Turn this dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead well for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball then set in a lightly-oiled mixing bowl. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Whilst the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a frying pan then mix in the potatoes, onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and celery. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly, then mix in the tomato purée and basil. Continue cooking for 1 minute more.

Once the dough has risen, knock it back then divide into four pieces. Roll these out on a floured work surface so that each one forms an 18cm (7 in) diameter circle. Allow the filling mixture to cool slightly, then divide equally between the dough circles (set the dough on one half of each circle only).

Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the filling, then brush the edges of the dough with milk and fold one half of the dough over the other half to form semi-circles. Press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal, then transfer each calzone to a non-stick baking tray. Brush the tops with milk, then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 220ºC (425ºF).

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and well risen. Serve hot.

For hundreds more Italian recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Recipes from Italy pages. Alternatively, see the Celtnet pizza recipes pages for pizza and pizza crust recipes of all types.

Monday 17 March 2014

Guinness Brownies and Shamrock Shakes for St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's day to all my readers!! As today is the Irish (or should that be Welsh?) saint's feast day, I have two special recipes for you, both themed for St Paddy's day.

The first is a rich chocolate brownie made from that most Irish of drinks, Guinness, but decorated with green sugar crystals. The second is a green milkshake in both an adult and kid-friendly version.

Guinness Brownies

Serves: 16
Guinness Brownies: Rich chocolate and guinness brownies topped with a guinness and chocolate frosting and decorated with green sugar crystals for St Patrick's Day


For the Cake:

4 eggs
150g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
225g (8 oz) dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids), chopped
115g (4 oz) white chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp unsalted butter
90g (3/4 cup) plain flour
90g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
300ml (1 1/4 cups) Guinness (or other Irish stout)

For the Icing:

120g dark chocolate
2 tbsp Guinness
60g butter
120g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp cream
green sugar crystals, to decorate


Beat together the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy.

Combine the dark chocolate, white chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Melt gently over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth.

Take off the heat, allow to cool slightly then beat in the egg and sugar mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl, then beat into the chocolate mixture.

Finally whisk in the Guinness.

Turn the resultant batter into a greased and lined 20cm (8 in) square baking pan. Level the surface, then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 190ºC (375ºF). Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cake is firm and a skewer inserted into the centre emerges cleanly.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

Once the cakes have cooled, prepare the icing (frosting). Heat together the chocolate and Guinness in a bain-marie (double boiler) set over just barely simmering water. Beat in the butter until melted and add the cream. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before beating in the icing sugar (you should end up with a just spreadable icing, if too stiff add a little more cream). Spread this liberally over the top of the brownies.

Allow the icing to harden slightly before dusting with the green sugar crystals, then allow to harden completely before slicing into squares and serving.

Shamrock Shake

Serves: 1
Shamrock Shake: Green ice cream milk shake made with mint syrup for children or with creme de menthe for adults. Especially for St Patrick's day


2 scoops vanilla ice cream, or pistachio ice cream
250ml (1 cup) semi-skimmed milk
3 tbsp menthe vert (green mint syrup) or green crème de menthe if making an adult version
a few drops of green food colouring (if needed)
sprig of mint, to garnish


Combine all the ingredients (except the mint sprig) in a blender. Process on high for 20 seconds, then pour into a chilled highball or large margarita glass.

Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve.

If desired, the shakes can be garnished with chocolate sauce before serving.

For more information about St Patrick and his feast day, and many more St Patrick's day recipes, why not visit the Celtnet St Patrick's day information and recipes pages?

For many more traditional Irish recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Ireland history and Irish recipes pages?

Saturday 15 March 2014

Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes Recipe

With St Patrick's Day only a couple of days away, today I'm presenting a classic green cake to serve on St Paddy's day.

These mini cheesecakes are great for kids and make a wonderful tea-time treat at any time of year.

Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes

Serves: 20
Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes: Classic mini green cheesecakes with green frosting on a mint cookie base: ideal for St Patrick's day.


20 chocolate and mint cookies (the kind with a green mint layer in the centre)
500g (16 oz) cream cheese
250g (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
2 tbsp plain flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp mint extract
1/4 tsp chocolate extract
250ml sour cream

For the Topping:

3 drops green food colouring
250ml sour cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


Line the wells of muffin tins with paper cupcake cases and sit a mint cookie in the base of each.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, cocoa powder and plain flour in a bowl, then beat thoroughly to combine. Add the eggs, one at a tome, beating thoroughly to combine after each addition.

Stir in the sour cream and extracts then divide the mixture between the cupcake liners. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160ºC (325ºF) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling mixture no longer wobbles when shaken (it will still appear soft).

Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes.

As the cakes are cooling, prepare the topping. Mix together all the topping ingredients then spoon a portion onto each cake (whilst the cakes are still warm). Allow to cool completely in the tins, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill slightly before serving.

If making for St Patrick's day, garnish with green sprinkles, green sugar crystals and/or candy shamrocks.

For a history of St Patrick and St Patrick's Day, and even more St Patrick's day recipes, why not visit the Celtnet St Patrick's day history and recipes page?

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Today's recipe is for a classic and simple to prepare oriental-style sweet and sour dish.

Chicken is undoubtedly one of the perfect meats to marry with a sweet and sour sauce and the use of bell pepper and carrot in this dish also makes it very pretty.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Serves: 4-6
Sweet and Sour Chicken: Classic simple to make stir-fry of chicken and vegetables in a light sweet and sour sauce. This makes a great, tasty and easy to prepare family supper dish.


500g lean chicken, cubed
5 tbsp groundnut oil
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped roughly
1 onion, chopped roughly
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp spring onion leaves, sliced into thin rounds

For the Marinade:

2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
pinch of ground white pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of sesame oil

For the Sauce:

8 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
6 tbsp tomato ketchup


Lightly whisk the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken, toss to coat and set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Heat the vinegar in a saucepan, stir in the sugar until dissolved then whisk in the light soy sauce and tomato ketchup. Take off the heat and set aside.

Place your wok over high heat. When hot add 3 tbsp of the oil and use to stir-fry the chicken (and its marinade) until it begins to turn a golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Wipe your wok clean, add the remaining oil and when hot use to cook the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the vegetables and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Now return the chicken to the wok and cook for about 60 seconds, or until thoroughly heated through and cooked.

Pour over the sauce mixture along with the sesame oil. Stir in the spring onions and serve immediately accompanied by plain white rice.

Monday 10 March 2014

Smoked Trout Risotto Recipe

Sometimes you want something that is hearty and filling, but which is also just a little lighter than other meals. For this situation I think risotto is perfect.

This makes a really tasty risotto and the combination of smoked trout and chervil is ideal. This can serve four as a main course or six to eight people as a starter.

There is also something deeply soothing in making a risotto... maybe because it takes care and a little attention to make it. Not that it's hard, you just have to keep your attention on the dish as you prepare it... an excellent way of getting rid of the day's stresses and worries.

Also as it takes little more than half an hour to prepare this is a quick and easy supper dish.

Smoked Trout Risotto

Serves: 4
Smoked Trout Risotto: An easy to prepare but tasty rice and fish dish that works well as a starter or as a light supper or midday meal. Risotto is perfect as a dish any time, and a great antidote to a stressful day.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
400g (2 1/2 cups) risotto rice (arborio is good)
150ml (2/3 cup) dry white wine
1.2l (5 cups) hot fish stock
3 tbsp crème fraîche (or sour cream)
3 tbsp freshly-grated grano padano cheese
350g (120z) smoked trout, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp fresh chervil, chopped
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
grated grano padano cheese, grated
fresh chervil sprigs, to garnish


Heat the oil in a large, heavy, pan. Add the onion and fry gently over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent (do not allow the onion to colour).

Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat each grain in the oil. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until the rice grains are translucent.

Now pour the white wine into the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until all the wine has been absorbed by the rice.

With the pan over medium heat, add the hot fish stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid has been absorbed. At this point add another ladleful of the hot stock.

Continue adding stock and cooking until absorbed until all the stock has been added to the pan. During this cooking stage adjust the heat as needed to maintain the risotto just bubbling merrily (do not allow to boil).

As the rice cooks the risotto will thicken. Typically all the stock will have been added in about 20 minutes and the rice will be tender. The risotto should thicken to a velvety texture.

When the last of the stock has been absorbed take the pan off the heat and stir in the crème fraîche (or sour cream) along with the 3 tbsp grated cheese. Now stir in 3/4 of the trout and all the chopped chervil.

Season to taste with salt and plenty of freshly-ground black pepper. Stir well to combine, cover the pot and set aside to stand for 2 minutes.

Divide the risotto between four warmed serving plates. Top with the remaining smoked trout then garnish with fresh chervil sprigs and a sprinkling of grated grano padano cheese (offer more cheese separately).

Serve immediately.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Stir-fried Chicken with Thai Basil Recipe

I know that I have been offline for a while now, and I've missed a couple of milestone dates in terms of recipes, but I have been dealing with a bunch of personal things. Those are slowly getting sorted, so from today I will be slowly adding more recipes to this blog.

Here is a Thai inspired dish that gives you a healthy stir-fry dish in less than 10 minutes, but which still retains the traditional Thai combination of sour, sweet, salty and umami flavours in combination with the heat of chilli and black pepper. The use of aniseed-flavoured Thai basil in this dish really gives it an unusual flavour dimension.

Stir-fried Chicken with Thai Basil

Serves: 6
Stir-fried Chicken with Thai Basil: A classic Thai-inspired stir-fry dish of chicken and red bell pepper in a chilli, fish sauce and lime juice base finished with Thai basil. Very quick to make, this is a great week-night family dish.


2 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breast fillets
2 red bell peppers
1 small bunch of Thai basil
1 red finger chilli, sliced into rings
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
pinch of brown sugar


Slice the chicken into strips. Halve and core the bell peppers, then slice each piece into strips.

Heat the oil in a wok or skillet, add the chicken, bell pepper strips and chilli and stir-fry over high heat for about 3 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through.

Add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and toss the ingredients to coat in the sauce then season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Roughly tear up the Thai basil leaves, add to the chicken mixture and briefly toss to combine.

Serve immediately, accompanied by rice or noodles.

For traditional Thai recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Thailand and Thai recipes pages?

Friday 14 February 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

Happy Valentine's to all my readers.

Today's recipe is for a classic Valentine's day cupcake — a red velvet cupcake, where the basic cake batter is coloured red. All topped off with a cream cheese frosting and candy hearts.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Serves: 24
Red Velvet Cupcakes: Classic red batter cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting and a candy heart for Valentine's day/


For the Cupcakes:

300g (2 1/2 cups plain flour)
300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
360ml (1 1/2 cups) vegetable oil
240ml (1 cup) buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tbsp red food colouring
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

45g (1 lb) cream cheese, softened
200g (1 cup) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
700g (4 cups) icing sugar, sifted
candy hearts, to decorate
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder into a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, red food colouring, white vinegar and vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and mix until well combined.

Divide the resultant batter between paper-lined muffin tins, filling the wells no more than 2/3 full. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 170ºC (350ºF) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are golden brown and springy to the touch (a skewer inserted into the centre should emerge cleanly).

Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add the vsugar, mixing with an electric whisk on high until smooth and fluffy.

Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped nozzle and pipe rosette swirls on the top of each cupcake. Decorate with a candy heart and serve.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Raspberry Scones with Rosewater Glaze Recipe

As part of my continuing series of, I am adding an interesting twist on the traditional scone, adapted especially for Valentine's day.

Here, the traditional scone mix is cut into heart shapes, split, stuffed with raspberry jam, and re-sealed before baking and then finishing with a rosewater-based glaze.

Fantastic as a snack, or to be served with a Valentine day tea.

Raspberry Scones with Rosewater Glaze

Serves: 12
Raspberry Scones with Rosewater Glaze: Valentine's dat treat of heart-shaped scones stuffed with raspberry jam and served topped with a rosewater glaze.


For the Scones:

250g (2 cups) plain flour
65g (1/3 cup) sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and diced
250ml (1 cup) whipping cream
80ml (1/3 cup) seedless raspberry jam

For the Glaze:

90g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
1/4 tsp rosewater
3 tbsp cream


Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mix with your fingertips until the ingredients resemble fine crumbs.

Gradually work in the cream, adding just enough so that the ingredients come together as a dough. Turn the resultant dough (it will be rather 'claggy') onto a floured cutting board and pat down to about 12mm (1/2 in) thick.

Using a 7.5cm (3 in) heart-shaped pastry (cookie) cutter, stamp out as many pieces of dough as you can (gather the scraps, press put 12mm thick and stamp out more scone hearts).

Using a floured, serrated, knife cut each scone horizontally to create a pocket for the jam (do not cut all the way through). Fill each cut scone with a generous teaspoon of raspberry jam, then moisten the cut edges and close to seal.

Transfer the filled scones to a lightly-greased baking tray. Set in an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (400ºF) and bake for about 18 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown in colour.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool until warm.

For the glaze: Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the rosewater and cream. Work the ingredients together into a smooth, just pourable, glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the scones and serve still warm.

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