Quick meals with the AGA City 60


Free cookery demo Saturday 13 September, Lincoln AGA

I will be doing a couple of free cookery demos on Saturday 13 September in Lincoln - please do pop along if you can? Come for either or both... just turn up!

Locatioon -  AGA Lincoln (I will cover cooking methods for all types of oven, so don't worry if you're not an AGA owner).  Address:  Outer Circle Rd, Lincoln LN2 4HU. Telephone 01522 538745. 

11.30am - tapas

1.30pm - sweet treats & nibbles.

Each session will last about an hour, and it will be your job to polish off the dishes! Take home the recipes as well.

Here's what I will be cooking, including the recipes, if you want them in advance:



Mushrooms in Parsley Sauce

100ml/3.5 fl oz virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

Half red chilli pepper or 2 dried cayenne peppers

1kg/2.25lb fresh white mushrooms, cleaned and

halved or quartered, depending on size

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp flour


For the Sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

leaves from a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

100ml/3.5 fl oz white wine

salt and pepper to taste



Mix the garlic, parsley, white wine, salt and pepper for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Pour the olive oil into a casserole, add the garlic and cook gently until tender.  Add the chilli pepper and mushrooms and increase the heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the juice has been drawn out of the mushrooms.  Season and continue to simmer over a moderately high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juice has evaporated.

Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to blend well.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the sauce ingredients, making sure you incorporate them well.

Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.  Simmer for 5 minutes, until you have a fairly thick sauce; add a little water if you want to thin it down.  Serve hot.


Chickpeas with Black Pudding in garlic and parsley

Olive oil

Half large onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

25g/1oz sultanas, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained

10g/0.25oz pine nuts

150g/5.5oz black pudding, fried and coarsely chopped

1 x 400g cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Salt and pepper to taste



Put 2 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat, then sauté the onion until it is just tender.

Add the garlic, parsley, sultanas and pine nuts and mix.

Add the black pudding and chickpeas and heat through, stirring all the time.

Season with salt and pepper

Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.


Lentil and Chorizo Stew


225g/8oz green or brown lentils, soaked overnight

75ml/2.5 fl oz virgin olive oil

1.5 tsp Spanish paprika

1 small green pepper, diced

1 small onion, peeled and diced

1 small ripe tomato, peeled and diced

1 bay leaf

3 cloves garlic

100g/3.5oz chorizo, or other spicy sausage, sliced

100g/3.5oz black pudding, sliced

1 small carrot, peeled and sliced

200g/7oz potatoes, peeled and sliced



Combine all the ingredients, except for the potatoes, in a heavy saucepan.  Cover with cold water and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the potatoes and continue to simmer for a further 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and lentils are tender.

Serve hot in individual earthenware dishes.





225ml water                                                                                      

1tsp vanilla extract

Rind of one lemon                                                                          

3 free range eggs

6 tbsp butter                                                                                     

Veg oil, for frying

Quarter tsp salt                                                                                

Caster sugar, for dusting

125g plain flour

Quarter tsp cinnamon (plus extra for dusting)



Place the water and the lemon rind in a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil.  Add the butter, salt and cook until the butter melts. Add the flour all at once with the cinnamon and vanilla, then remove the pan from the heat and stir rapidly until it forms the consistency of mashed potatoes. Beat in the eggs one by one using a wooden spoon. Mix until smooth. Heat oil (safely) until hot enough to brown a cube of bread in 30 seconds. Place batter in an icing bag with a wide star-shaped nozzle. Squeeze out 5 inch lengths directly into the oil.  Make sure churros are 3-4 inches apart.  You will need to fry in batches; don’t overload the oil. Cook until golden. You may need to turn. Drain on kitchen paper. Serve with sugar and cinnamon dusted over.





4 or 5 rhubarb stalks                                                      

Approx 300 mls double cream

Rose sugar  – 3 or 4 tbsp                                              



Gently poach the chopped rhubarb in a little water. Meanwhile make the mint sugar by blitzing both mint and sugar together until the sugar is evenly green. Add to the stewing rhubarb. When the rhubarb is soft, set aside to cool. Gently whip the cream and then fold in the cooled rhubarb. Spoon into dishes. This pud improves with a little chill in the fridge.



110g/4oz caster sugar

110g/4oz plain flour,  extra to dust

1 tsp baking powder

1 lemon, zest only

55g/2oz flaked almonds 

1 free-range egg



Place all of the ingredients ingredients into a bowl and mix together well with floured hands.  Form into a long cylinder 5cm/2in wide. Place the cylinder onto a baking sheet and place into the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and, when it is cool enough to handle, slice into 1cm/½in rounds.







Judging preserves at Heckington then a perfect North Norfolk wedding

I had a brilliant day judging preserves at the Heckington Show on the last Saturday of July.

Yet again, the turn out of preserve entries was AMAZING and it was a real privilege to try each one but it was so tricky to pick the winners! If you haven't entered, you really should as you are taking part in a brilliant tradition which is fun to enter, and fun to look at as well when you are going round the show.

I had the help of a lovely steward (so lovely I have forgotten her name which is unforgiveable!) and between us we whizzed through the entrants in around two hours. The overall winner was difficult but in the end it went to a really well balanced rhubarb and ginger jam.

Then I had to hot foot it to North Norfolk to see my lovely friend Trish get married! It was a really long, but very happy and sweet day...


Here's Steve in his flowery shirt : )

I ADORED the bride's evening outfit which really suited her free-spirited personality! Such a perfect day - from judging preserves to a totally dreamy wedding...



Swiss Rolls - where have they been since the 70s?

I have NEVER had an urge to make a Swiss Roll. When I was a pipsqueak in the 70s, they came wrapped in clear cellophane and tasted of nothing with a very sweet artificial creamy filling. They were the pudding of choice. I liked them, but then it was the 70s and we all ate them with loads of tinned custard so I was bound to. Also, cook books will have you believe they are difficult but, having seen them on Great Bristish Bake Off, I had a go and I can tell you they are not difficult to make. Fiddly, a little, but difficult, no. Also, I had no idea they have no fat in them which means they are slightly kinder to your waistline.  Here's my attempt, using home-made blackcurrant jam as a tart filling. I am going to fiddle about a bit and will share a recipe once I have made it a little more special...


Apple & blackberry bande aux fruits

I baked this lovely bande aux fruits ('fruit strip') the other day when summer had been put on hold and the wind and rain was lashing the house... From 'Indulge' by the talented Claire Clark - a book well worth buying if you want to advance to a more complicated recipes. (Which I need to do as it's easy just to do a fruit crumble out of your head, and not tax yourself...) I was quite pleased with the result though I could have been a little neater!


100g/3.5oz blackberries

3-4 apples

3-4 tablespoons apricot preserve


For the sweet pastry

110g/3.75oz softened unsalted butter

50g/1.75oz caster sugar

1 medium egg

Half capful of vanilla extract

210f/7.5oz plain flour

Pinch of salt


For the almond cream

125g/4.5oz softened unsalted butter

125g/4.5oz caster sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

Grated zest of half a lemon

Half teaspoon of vanilla extract

40g/1.5oz plain flour

125g/4.5oz ground almonds (or flaked, but blitz)


You will need an oblong tart tin for this recipe, about 25 x 10cm/10 x 4 inches

Make the pastry in a food processor, if you have one, by placing all the ingredients in the machine and pulsing gently until they form a soft, but not sticky, dough.

Flatten the dough with your hand to about 1cm/half an inch thick, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the almond cream.  Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.  Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, mixing well between each addition.  Mix in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.  Sift the flour and ground almonds together on to a piece of baking parchment and add to the creamed mix all in one go.  Fold in the dry ingredients (if using an electric mixer, you can do this with the machine but use a lower speed).

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.  Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle about 30 x 15cm/12 x 6 inches; it should be about 5mm/0.25inch thick.  Use to line the oblong tart tin, pressing it well into the base and up the sides.  Lightly roll the pin over the top of the tin to remove the excess pastry.  Spoon the almond cream into the lined tart tin so it is about two-thirds full and level with a spatula or palette knife.  Set aside in a cool place, but not the fridge, while you prepare the apples.

Peel and core the apples, cut them in half and then slice them thinly, keeping them together in a half shape.  Place the apple halves on to the almond cream, pressing on them lightly so they fan out slightly.  Dot the blackberries around the apples.  Bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the almond cream springs back when pressed gently.  Check to see if the almond cream is cooked by inserting a small knife into the centre of the flan; it should come out clean.

Using a pastry brush, brush the apricot glaze over the tart to seal in moisture and give it a shine.