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Rhubarb Marshmallow Meringue Roulade


No matter how full people become, no-one will be able to resist this indulgent dessert.

To enjoy at it’s best make the meringue ahead, then roll up with the filling at the last minute (otherwise the meringue may become a little too squishy).

Serves 6

Takes about 35 minutes to make, plus 25 minutes in the oven

For the meringue

4 large egg whites

175g caster sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted for dusting

For the filling

400g trimmed rhubarb

50g caster sugar

200ml double cream

1/2 tsp rosewater

First of all, line an approx. 2cm x 35cm x 25cm baking tray, completely lined with non-stick baking paper and lightly oiled.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C fan ovens/Gas 3

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Using an electric whisk will make the job far easier. Add half of the caster sugar and continue to whisk for a couple of minutes.

Mix the cornfour into the remaining sugar, and add to the egg whites with the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Whisk until you have a firm, glossy consistency, a bit like shaving foam. This will take a good few minutes. Spoon and spread into the prepared baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, cut the rhubarb into 3-4cm lengths and place in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 tbsp of water. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning a couple of times with a metal spoon, trying not to let all of the pieces become too mushy.

Remove the cooked meringue from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, and then carefully turn out onto a piece of baking paper heavily dusted with icing sugar. Cool completely.

Whip the cream with the rose water until it forms soft peaks.  Fold in the rhubarb and then spread over the meringue, leaving a border of about 2cm. Carefully and loosely roll the meringue lengthways into a fat cylinder shape. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.


The rhubarb can be swapped for any other fruits, such as cooked bramley apple, plums or gooseberries. Strawberries, raspberries or blackberries (about 400g) are also really lovely, especially if you puree half of them before folding into the cream.

White Chocolate and Bailey’s Cheesecake


I’ve had a few requests for this recipe via twitter so here is it. It’s taken from In the Mood for Food, the ‘naughty but nice’ chapter – and it certainly is rich, so much so that you will probably only manage one slice, which is saying something for chocolate fans. It’s perfect to serve as a dessert, midmorning with coffee, for afternoon tea or … well to be honest, you could eat this anytime.

Takes 45 minutes to bake

Makes about 10–12 slices

For the base

250g shortbread biscuits

100g ground almonds

2 teaspoons ground ginger

75g melted butter

For the filling

675g cream cheese (low-fat or full-fat – it’s up to you)

200g caster sugar

3 tablespoons cornflour

2 large eggs, beaten

150ml whipping cream

150ml Bailey’s

125g white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4.

Grease a round 22 to 24cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

To make the base, finely crush the biscuits until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. This is best done in a food processor, but can be done by putting them in a sealed freezer bag and bashing with a rolling pin (a great way to relieve any stress!) Mix in the ground almonds, ginger and melted butter. Press well into the base of the cake tin and refrigerate.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and cornflour (ideally in a food processor or using an electric hand whisk). Add in the eggs, cream and Bailey’s and beat until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Stir in the white chocolate.

Pour into the tin and sit in a roasting tray filled with 1 to 2cm of hot water. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes until the top is lightly golden and the filling is just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before taking out of the tin.

Serve cut into slices as big or small as you can manage.

Baked Fish in a Bag with Tomatoes, Butter Beans and Chorizo

If you like the idea of very little washing up when you finally get the kids to bed so you can enjoy a meal with your partner, you’re going to love this. It’s a complete meal cooked all together in the oven (on a baking tray) in a greaseproof paper bag. The best thing to do is to prepare ahead (perhaps when the kids are eating their tea) and keep it in the fridge to cook later on in the evening.

MAKES 2 adult or 4 kid-sized portions PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes COOKING TIME 20 minutes

400g/14oz/13⁄4 cups tinned chopped tomatoes
240g/81⁄2oz tinned butter beans, drained 90g/31⁄4oz/2∕3 cup pitted black olives
1 bottled or tinned roasted red pepper, sliced
10–12 thin slices of chorizo (about 40g/11⁄2oz), halved
2 large handfuls of baby or young spinach leaves
2 fish fillets, such as cod, pollack, haddock or salmon
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 and put a large baking tray in the oven to heat.

2 Take a piece of greaseproof paper about 60–80cm/24–32in long
and fold in half to make it double thickness, then fold in half again. Tightly fold together to seal two of the edges, creating a pouch, making sure there are no gaps for the food to escape when cooking. Repeat with another piece of greaseproof paper. (Alternatively, you can buy greaseproof paper bags from supermarkets that are all ready to use.)

3 Divide the tomatoes between the parcels, then do the same with the butter beans, olives, red pepper, chorizo and spinach. Season inside
the bags with salt and pepper, then put the cod on top of the spinach. Season the fish and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Seal the open end of the bags by folding the edges over, leaving as much space in the bags as possible for steam to circulate when cooking. (The parcels can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge for a good few hours before cooking.)

4 Put the parcels on the hot baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until the fish is cooked through. When cooked, split open the parcels and serve hot.

Hot and Sour Soup with Prawns

This light and flavoursome soup really has the wow factor – but the wonderful reality is that it’s amazingly easy to make. If you fancy a change from prawns, try using sliced chicken or tofu instead.

MAKES 4 adult portions PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes COOKING TIME 8 minutes

200g/7oz raw, peeled tiger prawns 1⁄2 tsp sea salt
11⁄2 tsp caster sugar
100g/31⁄2oz vermicelli rice noodles 1l/35fl oz/4 cups vegetable stock
2 lemongrass stalks
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1⁄4 tsp chilli paste
100g/31⁄2oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
100g/31⁄2oz baby plum tomatoes, halved 4 spring onions, finely sliced
Juice of 11⁄2 limes
3 fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
A few coriander leaves, for sprinkling

1 Put the prawns in a small bowl and stir in the salt and 1⁄2 tsp of the caster sugar. This will really bring out their flavour. Break the noodles into about 5cm/2in long pieces and soak them in hot water for a couple of minutes to soften, then drain. (You can get all the ingredients ready and prepare the recipe to this point, then put it in the fridge so you can do the last-minute cooking just before serving.)

2 Meanwhile, heat the stock in a wok or large saucepan over a medium heat. Bash the ends of the lemongrass to help release their delicious flavour, then add to the pan with the fish sauce, chilli paste and remaining sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

3 Drain the noodles and add to the wok along with the prawns, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, spring onions, lime juice and kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the prawns are cooked through (they will have turned pink). Have a taste. If the soup could do with being slightly more spicy, add a little more chilli paste; if it’s a little too hot, add some sugar and a squeeze of lime.

4 Serve sprinkled with a few coriander leaves.

Pan-fried Chimichurri Steak

A tangy South American sauce for steak, this makes a delicious Saturday night treat, especially served with chips. A 2cm/3⁄4in thick steak takes about 5 minutes for medium-rare if it was at room temperature before cooking and the pan is really hot. Leftover sauce will keep for a few days in the fridge to serve with grilled, roast or fried chicken or fish. You can also use it as a marinade or toss it into cooked vegetables.

MAKES 2 adult portions PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes COOKING TIME 5 minutes

A drizzle of oil
2 good-quality steaks, whichever cut you prefer, such as rib-eye, rump, sirloin or fillet, left at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves 1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
A pinch of dried chilli flakes

1⁄2 recipe quantity Oven-baked Chips (see below)
Roasted vine tomatoes (optional)

1 To make the chimichurri sauce, put the parsley, oregano and garlic in a small food processor or blender and whizz until finely chopped, then stir in the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper and leave to one side until ready to serve.

2 To cook the steaks, put a griddle or large frying pan over a high heat and leave to become super-hot, then add a trickle of oil. If the steaks are at all wet, pat them dry with kitchen paper, then season generously with salt and pepper. As soon as the oil is smoking hot, put the steaks into
the pan. Cook for about 11⁄2 minutes, then flip over, cooking for a further minute or so, then flip over every minute until the steaks are cooked to your liking. If there is a thick piece of fat around the edge of the steak, use a pair of tongs to hold the steak vertically in the pan to brown the fat.

3 Remove the steaks from the pan and leave in a warm place to rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve the steaks with any resting juices poured over, and spoon some chimichurri sauce on top. Serve with oven-baked chips and roasted vine tomatoes, if you like.

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