4 medium size fresh squid
175g / 6 oz Thai fragrant rice
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
10g / ½ oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt / pepper
½ tbsp sesame oil
½ glass of white wine
Pour boiling water over the porcini mushrooms to
reconstitute them. Chop the onion, garlic and pepper
very fine. Fry these in the oil until lightly coloured.
Add the chopped squid and cook until it turns opaque
then put in the rice. Continue cooking to get the rice
hot then put in the fish stock with 50 ml of the
mushroom stock. Chop the mushrooms, add these and
season with salt and pepper. Simmer gently until all
the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and place
a lid on the saucepan. Leave for 5 - 10 minutes then
fluff up with a fork and stir in the chopped parsley.
Fill the squid ‘sleeves’ with the pilaff
compacting it gently. Secure the end with a cocktail
stick and lay them in a deep tray or casserole. Pour in
the white wine and season with salt. Cover with a lid
or foil and place in the oven at 180 C (gas mark 4) for
20 - 30 minutes until the flesh of the squid has turned
opaque. Allow the squid to rest while you make the
Squid ink and red wine sauce
1 tbsp squid ink
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 ripe tomato
50g / 2 oz butter
A few drops of red wine vinegar
The Original Banoffi Pie Recipe
I have come across some pretty ghastly versions of
Banoffi in my career. My pet hates are biscuit crumb
bases and that horrible cream in aerosols.
As you can imagine I get a bit pedantic about the
correct version - so here it is:
You will need a 10 x 1½ inch (deep) loose bottomed flan
Oven temp: 180 C / gas mark 4
For the pastry:
250g / 9 oz plain flour
25g / 1 oz icing sugar
125g / 4½ oz butter
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
Place the flour and sugar in a bowl, cut the butter
into cubes and then rub it in to the flour / sugar
until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Work in the egg
to form a paste.
Chill for half an hour then roll out to the thickness
of a pound coin and line the flan tin.
Prick the base, line with parchment paper and weigh
down with dry beans.
Cook for fifteen minutes then remove the beans and
Put the pastry case back into the oven and cook until
it is evenly golden.
Remove from the oven and cool.
1 ½ tins of banoffi toffee (see note below on boiling
the tins or click here)
5-6 ripe bananas
425 ml / ¾ pint of double cream
1 teaspoon of instant coffee
1 dessertspoon of caster sugar
A pinch of ground coffee
Carefully spread the toffee over the pastry base.
Peel and split the bananas lengthways and arrange them
on top of the toffee,
(see how they fit the curve of the pastry -
that’s why God made bananas curved).
Whip the cream with the instant coffee (if they are
granules they will dissolve as you whip the cream) and
the sugar until it just holds its shape - take care not
to over whip it.
Spread the cream over the bananas right up to the
pastry edge then sprinkle sparingly with the ground
If you are not serving it immediately cover first with
some baking parchment or greaseproof paper directly
onto the cream and trim the edges then wrap in cling
It does not lend itself to being frozen.
Only one variation is acceptable as far as I am
concerned and this is ‘Apploffi’.
Replace the bananas with a layer of cooked apple puree
made using a mixture of Bramley’s and Cox’s
apples cooked in a little orange juice with some
Muscovado sugar, then cooled. This version cuts the
richness of the toffee and cream nicely.
ABOUT BOILING THE CANS OF CONDENSED
Over the years I have become increasingly
concerned about the danger of boiling cans of condensed
milk. There is no danger of them exploding unless the
water in the saucepan boils dry. If this does happen
the result is terrifying and can scald anyone close to
it. It has happened to me once and that was enough.
Because I now teach and demonstrate a lot I like to
make sure my instructions are safe so I have devised
Find a deep saucepan or casserole that will go in
Put into it as many tins as will fit. (THE TINS MUST BE
UNOPENED). It worth doing several at a time to save on
Cover the tins with water and bring to the boil.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven set to gas
mark 1 / 140 C (less for fan assisted).
Cook for 3 ½ hours.
This way there is no danger of the water boiling dry
and being in a more controlled temperature you get a
more consistent result.
Lift the cans from the water, cool and store.
An unusual bonus comes from storing these tins over a
period. After some months sugar crystals begin to form
in the toffee and you get crunchy banoffi - mmmmm.
Skate with caper berries and peppers
2 x 175g / 6 oz wings of skate
Plain flour for coating
20 caper berries
1 Ramano pepper
Salt and pepper
50g / 2 oz butter
Juice of one lemon
Use a frying pan or pans large enough to take the skate
and heat with a little olive oil. Dust the fish with
the flour, pat off the excess and place in the pan.
Wait until the first side is cooked to a light gold
colour then turn. (Skate being rather fragile it is a
good idea not to handle it too much so try to turn it
only once). The pan can be placed under the grill to
help cook it from both sides. The time the skate takes
to cook will depend on the thickness of the pieces.
Season the skate on one side just before turning and
the other side when turned.
While the fish is cooking heat a separate pan for
cooking the garnish. De-seed and cut the pepper into
rings, and cut the caper berries in half. Fry the
peppers gently in olive oil until almost soft then put
in the butter. When the butter is sizzling put in the
caper berries and the lemon juice. Place the cooked
skate onto warmed plates, add the chopped parsley to
the garnish and spoon it over the fish.
Salmon mousse stuffed with mussels
equipment: 6 plastic ¼ pint pudding basins
For the mousse:
225g / 8 oz fresh salmon fillet
Salt / pepper / nutmeg
2 egg whites
300 ml / ½ pint double cream
For the filling
1 kilo / 2 lb 2 oz live mussels
100 ml / 4 fl oz white wine
1 small onion
25g / 1 oz butter
1 tsp plain flour
1 tbsp double cream
To make the mousse, place the salmon fillet in the food
processor and process until it becomes a paste. Add the
seasoning and the egg whites and process again to a
smooth puree. Finally add the double cream and process
until mixed and firm (do not over process at this stage
as the cream may separate). Remove from the food
processor and refrigerate to become more firm.
Wash the mussels discarding any damaged or open ones.
Place them in a large saucepan and put in the white
wine. Cover with a lid, place the pan over a high heat
and allow the mussels to steam open, shaking the pan
from time to time. When they are all fully open tip the
mussels into a colander with a bowl underneath. Once
the liquid has drained into the bowl, allow it to
settle then pour it carefully into another receptacle
taking care to leave behind any debris at the bottom.
Now remove the mussels from the shells and steep them
in this liquor. Also remove any beards that are still
Chop the onion very finely and fry it gently in the
butter until it is soft. Sprinkle in the flour and let
it sizzle in the butter before adding enough of the
mussel stock to make a light sauce. Add the cream and
then add a little black pepper (it should not need any
salt). Drain the mussels and add them to the sauce.
Put the salmon mousse into a piping bag with a plain ¼
inch nozzle. Line the pudding basins with the mousse
piping in a coil fashion right up to the rim. Fill the
centres with the mussel mixture and then seal the top
with more mousse. Cover and gently steam the mousses
for 15 - 20 minutes until the top is firm. To serve
gently unmould the mousses onto plates, (you may have
to run a knife very carefully around the outside).
Drizzle with a little beurre blanc from the previous
recipe. You can cut these open to show the filling or
leave it as a pleasant surprise for your guests.
Brill or turbot with cous cous and beurre blanc
When buying whole fish such as brill or turbot allow
450g per person allowing for wastage of head, bones and
skin. So to serve four we need a four pound whole fish.
Fillet and skin the fish. Make fish stock from the
For the sauce:
200 ml / 7 fl oz fish stock
100 ml / 3 fl oz dry white wine
1 tsp Dijon mustard
110g / 4 oz unsalted butter
1 tbsp double cream
For the cous cous
175g / 6 oz cous cous
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
175 ml / 6 fl oz boiling water
To make the cous cous, pour the boiling water onto the
cous cous, then add the other ingredients. As the cous
cous absorbs the water just keep fluffing it
occasionally with a fork to separate the grains.
Place the fillets of fish in a shallow dish, season
them and pour over half the white wine. Cover with a
lid or tin foil and cook in the oven (gas mark 5 / 190
C) for about 10 - 15 minutes depending on the thickness
of the fish. While the fish is cooking you can make the
sauce. Put the rest of the wine in a pan with the fish
stock and reduce to half its volume. Whisk in the
mustard and the cream. When the mixture is boiling
again add the butter a bit at a time, shaking and
stirring the pan as it melts and thickens the sauce. To
serve spoon the cous cous onto warmed plates (or for
more elegant presentation place into suitable moulds
and turn out onto the plates). Pour the cooking liquor
from the fish into the sauce and return it to the heat.
Spoon the sauce onto the plates next to the cous cous
and then lay the fillets of fish on the sauce. Garnish
with a spray of parsley, some fronds of dill or finely
Mackerel with pea and sweetcorn fritters and rhubarb
8 mackerel fillets
110g / 4 oz tinned sweetcorn
50g / 2 oz cooked peas
1 small onion
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (parsley / tarragon / basil)
50g / 2 oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Salt and black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
For the rhubarb salsa:
750g / 12 oz young rhubarb
25g / 1 oz caster sugar
½ inch cube of root ginger
½ star anise - crushed
2 strips of orange zest cut into julienne
Cut the rhubarb into 2 inch lengths and place in a deep
casserole. Peel and cut the root ginger into fine dice.
Scatter over the rhubarb with the star anise and orange
zest and then sprinkle over the sugar. Cook in the oven
(gas mark 5 / 190 C) for 15 minutes until the rhubarb
To make the fritters, drain the sweetcorn, chop the
onion and place it in the food processor with three
quarters of the sweetcorn, the peas, egg, flour, baking
powder and seasoning. Process to a batter, transfer to
a bowl and add the rest of the sweetcorn. Heat a non
stick frying pan with a little oil in it and spoon in
one tablespoon of mixture per fritter. (Use rings for a
neater fritter). Allow the mixture to become firm
before turning them over. When they are cooked both
sides, remove from the pan and keep warm.
To complete the dish, season the mackerel fillets and
dust with flour, patting off the excess. Heat a pan
large enough to take all the fish and fry flesh side
down turning the fish when this surface is golden.
Carry on cooking until the other side is cooked (they
should only take 3-4 minutes each side). Place a
fritter on each plate and arrange two fillets per
person on top of the fritter. Spoon the salsa onto one
side of the plate and decorate the other side with some
wilted rocket or greens.