Spiced cider-poached pears

Ingredients 1L cider 5 hard pears – comice or Williams 100g sugar 5 cloves 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely sliced 5 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed 1 cinnamon stick 1 orange, zest and juice 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out Method Heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Put the cider in a saucepan…

‘Strawberry Surprise’ biscuits

Made up on the hoof at a Sunny’s Kitchen community lunch, the surprise of the title was whether these were going to be edible…They were intended to be shortbread, but I messed the recipe up and had to doctor it as I went along. They turned out well enough for the recipe to be requested…

Chocolate ginger breadcrumb trifle

In the UK, we throw away 24 million slices of bread per day. And yet supermarkets still sell pre-made breadcrumbs! What is happening? Whizz your leftover loaf into breadcrumbs and freeze them so they’re always on hand for coating fish or chicken; sprinkling over mac n’ cheese for crunch; adding to veggie burgers and crab cakes; making…

Chocolate ginger breadcrumb biscuits

Our sliced bread tapers off into tiny end slices, all crust and not worth bothering with. Rather than waste them, we put these ends into a bag in the freezer, and when we have enough they get whizzed into breadcrumbs in the food processor and frozen. Handy as it is to have breadcrumbs available all…

Ratatouille

This is better made the day before eating to allow all the flavours to deepen and combine. Photos courtesy of the P5s at West Barns Primary School, who enjoyed making this as part of their Plenty Project week. Serves 4 Ingredients 2 aubergines, chopped into 2cm pieces 4 courgettes, chopped into 2cm pieces 4 peppers,…

How to persuade fussy eaters to eat healthily

Some people are born with the genetic inclination to like certain foods, healthy or sugary. This might give a small advantage or disadvantage in learning to enjoy eating healthily, but the way we teach ourselves to eat (and it is teaching and learning) counts for much more. Apart from anything, having a child who is…

Brandy Mincemeat

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…Quite simply, it doesn’t matter how many taste test competitions magazines run (spoiler: Lidl or Aldi always win), there is no mince pie like a homemade mince pie. Commercial pastry is too sweet, and even just spooning supermarket mincemeat into homemade pastry makes all the difference. I’ve never…

Chai, date and honey loaf cake

This is entirely because my much loved pot of chai spice mix suggests adding it to cakes. Tremendous idea. This low-sugar loaf cake is light as air; quick and simple to make; wonderful with a cup of tea and its grown-up flavour still passed the toddler test. Freezes well, cuts into 10-12 slices Ingredients 3 tablespoons honey 200g unsalted butter…

Learn to Cook: apple crumble

Serves 6 Ingredients 800g apples (about 5) of any variety about 60g brown sugar: demerara, soft brown or golden caster are all fine (use less sugar if your apples are already sweet) juice of 1/2 lemon For the crumble: 350g plain flour 100g brown sugar 250g cold butter To finish: 1 tablespoon brown sugar 2 tablespoons…

Haemul pajeon – Korean seafood pancake

This rainy-day Korean snack is a favourite dinner of ours – we call it ‘humpty pigeon’, after my husband mis-read the meals blackboard. Healthy comfort food, it’s an omelette pancake based on spring onions and seafood: ‘pa’ means spring onion, ‘jeon’ pancake, and ‘haemul’ seafood. It’s usually made with shrimp or prawns among the seafood,…

Sushi rolls: perfect sushi rice and my sushi su

Perfect sushi rice For four or fewer rolls, weigh out 150g of rice per sheet of nori. For more than four rolls, weigh out 120g of rice per sheet. Wash the rice thoroughly in a sieve to remove much of the starch on the outside of the grains. Drain. Use equal rice to water, and bring…