Week Thirty Six

Things have been rather ‘hit and miss’ in my kitchen the last week or so…I am always trying new recipes for Menu Mistress, and I like to think that normally I have a good eye for ones that work, however recently I have had a few disasters. With hindsight, I can see that I’ve allowed my ‘good eye’ to be a little too indulgent, for example, the name of one of the failed recipes should have warned me that I was taking a risk, but when I heard its name, nostalgia got the better of me – ’Pork Basil Brush’. Yes, that really was its name! For those of you who are too young to remember or didn’t grow up in the UK, Basil Brush was a dapper little red fox, who was a popular children’s television character when I was growing up – I loved him and his ‘Boom Boom’ jokes, and ridiculous laugh! So, when I saw the name of the recipe I couldn’t resist. It appeared in an old cookbook, ‘The Good Food Guide Dinner Party Book’ which I managed to buy second hand after reading about it in one of my favourite books by Simon Hopkinson. Hopkinson recommended this seventies cookbook, as a ‘good read with some classic gems’ (although, I don’t think that he was necessarily eluding to this recipe!). Apparently ‘Pork Basil Brush’ appeared on the menu of a restaurant that actually acquired Basil Brush’s permission to name the dish after him – and had a paw marked certificate to prove it!… What a great nostalgic recipe, and if it had worked, what fun it would have been to share, but unfortunately, although edible and quick, it is definitely not a recipe that I could pass on to you. In the same vein, nor will I be passing on the ‘Cashew Nut Curry’ that I tried or the ‘Tuna Provençale’!…However, despite my recent recipe failures, I still have quite a few recipes up my sleeve, all tried and tasted and deemed good enough for Menu Mistress, so hopefully, you shouldn’t suffer from any frustrating failures in your kitchen!

This week I am, of course, steering away from serving fox(!)….Menu one is a delicious’ Lamb Kofta Curry’, this is in fact from the same Simon Hopkinson book, ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’, from which I got the idea to buy the seventies cookbook with the ‘Pork Basil Brush’! This Kofta Curry is a very delicious, mildly spiced dish with a creamy finish, the flavours have real depth. Admittedly, although a very straightforward recipe, it’s not the quickest meal for midweek, as you have to make the meatballs and fry them before adding them to a sauce, so you might prefer to make this at the weekend – but do try it, as it is very tasty. Menu two is a Lemon Chicken recipe, this is perfect for midweek, the lemon delicately flavours the chicken and is a perfect spring/summer recipe. Finally, Menu Three is a super simple pasta, ‘Penne with Courgettes, Mushrooms and Pine Nuts’, which I have been serving to my family for more years than I care to mention. It’s a ‘home grown’ recipe, one which I developed after being inspired by a pasta I tried in a restaurant – it’s not fancy, but is one of those easy midweek dishes, which is instantly gratifying.

Anyway have a wonderful week – my week is already looking up as I have finally got an appointment for a post lockdown haircut!…

Menu One

Lamb Kofta Curry with Rice (Serves 4)

This Kofta Curry is taken from Simon Hopkinson’s wonderful cookbook, ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories; Second Helpings’. It is an absolutely delicious, mildly spiced dish with a creamy finish, the flavours have real depth; don’t be alarmed by its slightly oily, separated look, as, as Hopkinson himself says, “this is a sure sign of its authenticity”. Admittedly, although a very straightforward recipe, it’s not the quickest meal for midweek, as you have to make the meatballs and fry them before adding them to a sauce, so you might prefer to make this at the weekend – but do try it, as it is very tasty! I like to serve this with white long grain rice, it is also good with some poppadoms and chutneys on the side!

4 onions, finely chopped (to save time I use a food processor for this!)

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

700g minced lamb

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 tablespoon garam masala

½ teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

1 egg, beaten

Flour (gluten free if required)

50g butter

½ stick cinnamon

4 cloves

4 cardamom pods

4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 limes)

12 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

400ml coconut milk

(To serve: rice, poppadoms and chutneys)

  1. Fry the onions and garlic in the oil until golden brown. Place on a plate to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in small frying pan, dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant (a couple of minutes), then grind in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Place the lamb in a bowl, adding the fried onions and mixing in the ground coriander and cumin, the turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder, pepper, salt, mint and egg. Form the mixture into walnut sized balls (koftas), roll in the flour and fry in the butter, in batches, until golden brown all over, remove to a plate.
  4. Add the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom pods to the pan, fry for a minute or so, then stir in the chopped tomatoes and top with the koftas. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and pulpy.
  5. Add the lemon or lime juice, roughly chopped mint leaves and the coconut milk, stir gently.
  6. Bring to a simmer and gently cook for 20-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Taste for salt.
  7. Serve on a bed of rice, with chutneys and poppadoms on the side.

Menu Two

Lemon Chicken & Creamy Garlic Mashed Potato (Serves 4)

This is a lovely light chicken dish, subtly flavoured with lemon. You can either use a jointed chicken or simply chicken thighs for this recipe. This chicken is delicious served on a bed of creamy garlic mashed potato, however you could, of course, serve it with a potato dish of your choice. The recipe, which I have slightly tweaked to make it an easier midweek option, is from the ‘Market Kitchen Cookbook’, a book which was published over 10 years ago, but still has a couple of my family’s favourites.

1 chicken jointed into 8 pieces or 8 chicken thighs

2 tablespoons olive oil

25g butter

1 tablespoon flour (gluten free if required)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons Marsala wine (or sherry)

200ml chicken stock

1 lemon, juiced

1-2 tablespoons double cream

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

Strips of lemon zest (for decoration – optional)

(Creamy Garlic Mashed Potato to serve – recipe below)

  1. Season the chicken generously with salt. Add the oil to a casserole and fry the chicken pieces until they are golden brown. Remove from the casserole and place on a plate while you make the sauce.
  2. Melt the butter in the casserole, then stir in the flour, allow to cook out a little then add the mustard. Pour in the marsala wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate before stirring in the stock, lemon juice and a good grinding of black pepper. Keep stirring until smooth.
  3. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and return the chicken pieces, skin side up, to the casserole (the pan should be wide and shallow enough so that the sauce does not cover the chicken). Cook, uncovered, in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick.
  4. Remove the chicken from the casserole, add the cream and parsley to the sauce, and gently reheat.
  5. Serve the chicken, on a bed of creamy garlic mash (if using), sprinkled with the lemon zest with the sauce on the side. This dish is also good with ‘Fine Green Beans with Almonds’ (recipe here).

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potato (Serves 4)

In this recipe, I have simply added an extra garlic clove to my ‘Favourite’ Mashed Potato recipe, it complements the Lemon Chicken wonderfully.

1kg potatoes (floury, such as Maris Piper)

100ml full-fat milk

100ml double cream

3 garlic cloves, sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized chunks. Steam until completely cooked through.
  2. Put the milk, cream and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
  3. Mash the potatoes, adding the milk mixture a little at a time. Season well with salt and pepper.

Menu Three

Penne with Courgettes, Mushrooms & Pine Nuts (Serves 4)

This is a pasta recipe which I have been serving to my family for more years than I care to mention, it’s a ‘home grown’ recipe, one which I developed after being inspired by a pasta I tried in a restaurant. It’s not fancy, but it is one of those easy midweek dishes, which is instantly gratifying.

400g courgette, cut into batons

400g portobellini mushrooms (or large flat mushrooms), sliced

3 garlic cloves, sliced

4 tablespoons pine nuts

3 tablespoons olive oil

400g penne pasta

Sea salt and black pepper

4 heaped tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated, to serve

  1. In a dry frying pan, toast the pine nuts over a medium/high heat for a few minutes until golden. Remove and keep to one side.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the frying pan and fry the courgette batons over a medium heat until softened, but retaining some ‘bite’ (al dente). Remove and keep to one side.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, add the garlic slices and fry over a medium heat for about 30 seconds before adding the mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms have released their juices and have softened but are still retaining their shape.
  4. Meanwhile cook the penne pasta according to the packet instructions until al dente.
  5. Finally, return the courgettes to the pan along with the pine nuts, stir to combine and reheat before adding the drained penne pasta. Give everything a good mix and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve with a very generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday Treat

Chocolate Meringue Cake

It’s my Birthday today, so I thought I’d celebrate with Chocolate Cake!…

This is one of those cakes that, if you are a lazy cook like me, you look at and think ,‘that looks complicated, it will take far too much energy to cook’ and you dismiss it…But, this cake is in fact quite straight forward to make, admittedly it requires a bit more time in the oven and you have to wait for it to cool properly before you can eat it, but it’s definitely worth the wait! What’s not to like…chocolate and meringue! I found this recipe some years ago in a magazine, it’s a recipe from Donna Hay.

This cake is supposed to look rustic – it will crack and collapse a bit!

240g plain chocolate, roughly chopped (I use Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate)

180g unsalted butter, roughly chopped

2 eggs

4 eggs (extra) separated

90g brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

50g plain flour (use gluten free if required – I use Doves)

½ teaspoon baking powder

40g ground almonds

220g caster sugar

1 teaspoon white vinegar

3 teaspoons cornflour

25g cocoa powder, sifted (plus extra to dust)

  1. Lightly grease and line the base of a 24cm round springform cake tin.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and melt over a low heat. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Place the 2 eggs and the 4 extra egg yolks, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and  use an electric whisk to whisk until pale and thick – 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture, the flour, baking powder and ground almonds and fold gently to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook in a preheated oven, 160’c fan, for 35-40minutes – it will only be partially cooked. Remove and set aside.
  5. Increase the oven temperature to 180’c fan.
  6. Place the 4 egg whites in a bowl and using an electric whisk, whisk until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, followed by the vinegar. Continue to whisk until the meringue is thick and glossy.
  7. Sift the cornflour and cocoa together and add to the meringue, folding through to combine. Spread the meringue over the partially cooked cake .
  8. Return to the oven (180’c fan) for 20 -25 minutes until the meringue is crisp and golden.
  9. Allow the cake to stand in the tin for 15-20 minutes, before gently running a knife around the edge and removing it from the tin.
  10. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to allow the flavours to meld together. Dust with cocoa powder to serve. It is best served at room temperature – allow 30 minutes for it to warm up – it will become deliciously ‘fudgy’.

An Easter Treat!

Chocolate Easter Nests

Happy Easter!…Just in case you need an excuse to eat more chocolate over the holidays, I’ve recreated one of my family’s all-time favourites, Chocolate Crispy Cakes, into a special treat for Easter! How can anyone resist, and they literally take 15 minutes to make – although admittedly you will have to wait for them to set in the fridge before eating…

50g unsalted butter

4 tablespoons golden syrup

100g Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate (or other good quality plain chocolate)

75g cornflakes

About 20-30 Mini Eggs

  1. Gently melt the butter, syrup and chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water (a bain marie).
  2. In another bowl, gently crush the cornflakes into smaller pieces – this makes them easier to mold into a nest shape.
  3. Add the cornflakes to the chocolate mixture, stirring gently so that they are evenly coated.
  4. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases, using the back of the spoon to create a nest shape. Place three or four Mini Eggs into the ‘nest’, and place in the fridge until set.

Week Thirty Five

This week I will not only be celebrating Easter but also my birthday, I was actually born on Easter day. So, naturally, I have an excuse to have two special feasts! Before Covid, because my birthday coincided with the Easter holidays, often we were away on holiday, so over the years, I have been fortunate to celebrate my birthday in some exotic places. Unfortunately, Covid has put a hold on that for the moment. Last year we were under our first lockdown at the time of my birthday, so it was up to the ‘men’ in my life (husband, Nick and son, Felix) to cook for me – it was so memorable that I actually can’t remember what they cooked??! So, this year I think they might need some guidance from Menu Mistress!..

Firstly, this week’s Menu One celebrates Easter Sunday; following the tradition to serve lamb, I’m sharing a favourite recipe for ‘Spring Roast Leg of Lamb with a Redcurrant & Mint Sauce’. The redcurrant sauce is the winning component of this dish, it’s actually an old recipe from Delia Smith which I used to cook a lot and then, as you do, I forgot about for a few years, and when I remembered it again, I wondered why I ever stopped making it! For the actual roast leg of lamb, I like to use a recipe from Diana Henry, which uses a mix of herbs and garlic to marinate the meat, flavouring it to perfection.

Moving on to my birthday celebration, I have chosen ‘Cod with Spring Greens and Creamy Mash’ which is a super easy dish that I know Nick and Felix will be completely capable of cooking! It is the type of dish which would make an easy midweek meal, yet is also special enough to serve for an ‘occasion’ dinner. The cod is served on a bed of spring greens, flavoured with pancetta and garlic, and served with a creamy sauce on a bed of mashed potato – heaven! Admittedly, it is quite an indulgent dish, made with butter and cream, but hey, once in a while, we must live! If you are feeling virtuous you could leave the cream out of the sauce so that it is more of a broth, it will still be delicious, however, you must serve it with the creamy mash!

For my vegetarian birthday treat – I have chosen to share one of my favourite vegetarian pasta dishes – Rigatoni with Sweet Tomatoes, Aubergine and Mozzarella – a Jamie Oliver recipe from one of his older books, ‘Jamie’s Dinners’, it is his take on the classic Italian dish of ‘Pasta alla Norma’. The wonderful combination of aubergines and tomatoes are enriched by the addition of mozzarella cheese – as it melts, the cheese becomes deliciously ‘stringy’!

Of course, to celebrate my birthday properly I’ve been thinking about cocktails, as a birthday treat I’ve opted for a very sophisticated Classic Champagne Cocktail, naturally, I’m sharing this recipe so that you too can raise a glass! And, to enjoy this cocktail (and perhaps a couple of others) I’ve made my perfect ‘cocktail hour playlist’, a great mix of jazz and swing to complement my celebratory mood – it’s just a shame I can’t enjoy it out in a bar or a restaurant….here’s to next year’s birthday celebration!…(Check out ‘Cocktail Music to Cook to…Menu Music Ten’ here)

Menu One

Roast Leg of Lamb with Redcurrant & Mint Sauce

(Serves 6)

I have combined two recipes for this Roast Leg of Lamb dish. The redcurrant sauce is from Delia Smith’s ‘Summer Collection’ cookbook, whilst the lamb is from Diana Henry’s ‘How to Eat a Peach’. The lamb is stuffed with herbs and lemon zest, the flavours are wonderful, particularly in the spring, and I find that Diana Henry’s cooking times result in a perfectly cooked, pink, meat (Delia’s recipe for the lamb leg is a little more dated, the meat is cooked too well done for my taste). The redcurrant & mint in the sauce is a match made in heaven and it perfectly complements the lamb. This leg of lamb is delicious served with ‘Fine Green Beans with Almonds’ and potatoes of your choice – I am rather partial to serving ‘Concetta’s Potatoes’ with this dish (recipes below).

For the Lamb:

1.8 -2kg leg of lamb

10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped

10 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

2 rosemary sprigs, needles chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped plus another 6 cloves peeled and left whole

6 tablespoons olive oil

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. The day before you are going to cook the lamb, put the herbs, 4 chopped garlic cloves, sea salt and black pepper into a mortar and grind to a paste, gradually adding the olive oil and lemon zest. With a sharp knife make incisions all over the lamb and loosen the meat round the protruding bone (at tapered end of the joint) to about one-third of the way into the joint. Cut the remaining 6 cloves of garlic into slivers and tuck these into the incisions you have made. Rub the herb paste all over the lamb, pushing it down inside the incisions and around the bone. Cover loosely with cling film or foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, bringing it to room temperature before cooking – this will take around 2 hours.
  2. When you are ready to cook the lamb, put it in a roasting tin in a preheated oven, 220’c fan, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Then, reduce the oven to 180’c fan, and continue to roast the lamb for another 45 minutes (allow a few minutes longer if the lamb leg is larger).
  4. Remove from the oven and cover well with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, if there are any juices left in the tin, reheat them to serve alongside the meat – this is not supposed to be a ‘gravy’, just a light jus.
  6. Serve the lamb with ‘Redcurrant & Mint Sauce’. This is also good with ‘Fine Green Beans with Almonds’ and ‘Concetta’s Potatoes’ (all recipes below).

For the Redcurrant & Mint Sauce:

3 tablespoons redcurrant jelly

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons mint, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Put the redcurrant jelly and the vinegar in a small saucepan, whisk over a gentle heat until the jelly has melted into the vinegar.
  2. Add the chopped mint, seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

A Staple Side Dish – Fine Green Beans with Almonds (Serves 4)

A great classic combination – and super easy to serve up!

250g fine green beans

10g butter

15g flaked almonds

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Top the green beans, place in a saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes until nearly tender but still with some bite – al dente.
  2. Meanwhile melt the butter in a frying pan, when it foams add the flaked almonds. Cook until the almonds start to lightly brown – stirring continuously to ensure even browning. Remove from the heat.
  3. Drain the beans and stir into the buttery almonds. Season well with salt and pepper.

A Staple Side Dish – Concetta’s Potatoes (Serves 4)

I have named these after our Italian friend (and chef), Concetta, who gave me the recipe many years ago; they are simply sliced baked potatoes with garlic, rosemary and sage.

4 large potatoes – such as Maris Piper (roasting potatoes)

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried sage

Sea salt and black pepper

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Olive oil

  1. Peel and slice the potatoes, and parboil in boiling water for 4 minutes.
  2. Place in a roasting tin, sprinkle over the rosemary, sage and garlic, season with salt and black pepper and drizzle over some olive oil – mix well.
  3. Place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 35-40mins until crispy and well browned.

Menu Two

Cod with Spring Greens and Creamy Mash (Serves 4)

This is the type of dish which would make an easy midweek meal, yet is also special enough to serve for an ‘occasion’ dinner. The cod is served on a bed of spring greens, flavoured with pancetta and garlic, and served with a creamy sauce on a bed of mashed potato – heaven! Admittedly, it is quite an indulgent dish, made with butter and cream, but hey, once in a while, we must live! If you are feeling virtuous, you could leave the cream and butter out of the sauce so that it is more of a broth (depending on my mood, I sometimes cook it this way – it is still very tasty!), however, you must serve it with the creamy mash!

4 skinless cod fillets

100g cubed pancetta

3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

1 clove garlic, chopped

400g spring greens, roughly chopped

150ml chicken stock (hot)

100ml double cream (optional – see note above)

50g butter (optional – see note above)

(To serve: mashed potato – recipe below)

  1. First of all make your mashed potato (recipe below), and keep warm.
  2. For the greens, fry the pancetta in a large saucepan until browned and crisped. Add the thyme leaves and garlic, and stir. Now add the spring greens, then the hot stock, cream and butter (if you making the recipe without the cream/butter, just add a large knob of butter instead to bring the sauce together). Cover with a lid, allow to steam for a few minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times until cooked.
  3. Meanwhile fry the fish until just cooked through (about 3-4 minutes on each side)
  4. To serve, place a dollop of mash potato and some spring greens, with their sauce, on each plate and top with the fillet of fish.

Creamy Mashed Potato (Serves 4)

1kg potatoes (floury, such as Maris Piper)

100ml full-fat milk

100ml double cream

2 cloves garlic, sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into even sized chunks. Steam until completely cooked through.
  2. Put the milk, cream and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
  3. Mash the potatoes (see note above) adding the milk mixture a little at a time. Season well with salt and pepper.

Menu Three

Rigatoni with Sweet Tomatoes, Aubergine & Mozzarella (Serves 4)

This has been one of my family’s favourites for many years, it is a Jamie Oliver recipe from one of his older books, ‘Jamie’s Dinners’, it is his take on the classic Italian dish of ‘Pasta alla Norma’. The wonderful combination of aubergines and tomatoes is enriched by the addition of mozzarella, as the cheese melts it becomes deliciously ‘stringy’! I prefer if without the addition of the dried chilli flakes, but if you like a bit of heat you could add some.

To watch the video of this recipe being cooked click here!

1 large aubergine (or 2 small)

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 onion, chopped

2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

A bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and stalks sliced

4 tablespoons double cream

455g rigatoni or penne

200g mozzarella cheese

½ teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional – see note above)

Grated Parmesan cheese to serve

  1. Remove both ends of the aubergines and slice into 1cm slices then slice these across to form 1 cm cubes.
  2. In a large frying/sauté pan heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil. When it’s hot, add the aubergine cubes and stir them around so that they are lightly coated in the oil. Cook for about 10 minutes over a medium heat until softened.
  3. Add the onion and garlic, cook for a few more minutes. When they have a little colour, add the tinned tomatoes, the balsamic vinegar and the sliced basil stalks (if you want to add some heat you could add the chilli flakes at this point). Simmer gently for 15 minutes, season with salt and pepper, then stir in the cream.
  4. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente.
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the aubergine and tomato sauce. Tear up the mozzarella and fresh basil leaves, and stir them through the pasta and sauce – the mozzarella will start to melt, becoming beautifully stringy (it can be a little messy to serve!). Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.

A Little Treat…

A Classic Champagne Cocktail (Serves 1)

This is probably one of the most sophisticated cocktails…how can you resist?!

Tip: Put your champagne flute in the freezer before using it as it really does keep the champagne nicely chilled!

1 sugar cube

2 dashes of angostura bitters

2 teaspoons cognac

Chilled champagne, to top up

Orange twist, to garnish

  1. Shake the bitters over the sugar cube and put it in the bottom of a chilled champagne flute.
  2.  Add the brandy, then top up with champagne.
  3. Twist the orange peel over the top of the glass to release some of the oils, then drop into the glass to serve.

Tuesday Treat

Lemon Surprises – with Gluten Free Option! (Serves 4)

Many of you will be familiar with ‘Lemon Surprise Pudding’, it’s one of those gratifying recipes which you put in the oven as a batter and it comes out not only as a soft sponge, but miraculously with a pool of lemony sauce underneath! You may already have a recipe for it, but I urge you to try this one, as the sponge really is the lightest that I have come across! The addition of lemon thyme is optional, it slightly lifts the flavours and, of course, makes a lovely decoration!

I like to make this dessert in individual bowls or ramekins, but you can make it in one dish.

45g soft butter

150g caster sugar

2 lemons, finely grated zest & juiced

2 eggs, separated

200ml milk

50g self-raising flour (gluten free if required – I use Doves)

4 sprigs lemon thyme (optional)

Icing sugar, for dusting

Double cream to serve

  1. Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and 100g of the caster sugar with the lemon zest until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks. Gradually add the milk, lemon juice and flour in turns, mixing well between each addition to make a smooth batter.
  2. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk with the remaining 50g caster sugar to soft peaks, add the picked leaves from two sprigs of thyme, then gently fold through the batter.
  3. Divide the batter among four individual bowls/ramekins with the capacity for about 175ml or put in one dish. Place in a roasting tin, lined with a tea towel (this will stop them slipping), and pour in enough boiling water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins or dish.
  4. Carefully transfer to a preheated oven, 160’c fan, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top and springy to touch. Turn the oven off and let the puddings rest in the oven for another 20 minutes, so the custard firms slightly.
  5. Decorate with the remaining thyme sprigs, dust with icing sugar and serve with cream.