This dip is used to scatter on Middle Eastern breads or use with oil and bread as a dip.
30g toasted, crushed hazelnuts
30g toasted sesame seeds
10g cumin and coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
10g fennel seeds,
10g ground cinnamon
5g dried mint or oregano
10g sea salt
Mix all the toasted seeds and nuts together and stir in the other ingredients.
Put in a sealed jar and use within 1 month.
These biscuits can be served with coffee or to accompany other dishes like lemon mousse.
100g blanched almonds
1 large orange
350g caster sugar
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2-3 large free-range eggs
4 sprigs rosemary leaves picked and finely chopped
100g dried cranberries
For the biscotti, preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Tip the almonds onto a baking tray and roast them for a few minutes until fragrant.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel off 1cm wide strips of zest from the oranges. Cut the strips into 5mm pieces. Place in a pan of water and bring to boil for a couple of minutes. Drain and repeat this blanching process 3 times.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar/flour mixture, baking powder and add the eggs, rosemary, blanched almonds, dried cranberries and orange peel. Use your hands to mix into a fairly solid dough – some extra flour may be required.
Split the dough into 2 pieces. Use your hands to roll each piece to a sausage shape about 4cm thick. Place each piece of dough on a lined baking tray and use the palm of your hand to flatten them slightly. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Turn down the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Chop the biscotti on the diagonal into slices about 1cm thick. Separate the slices, place on lined baking trays and bake for another 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool
Choux pastry – 14 small buns
Eclairs, choux buns, profiteroles and cheese puffs are made with choux pastry.
Choux pastry is not rolled like other pastries – it is a dough of flour, fat, eggs and water.
50g butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing
75g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
For cheese puffs, mix 100g grated cheese to the dough, fill with low fat cream cheese.
For profiteroles use 150ml whipped double cream and dust with icing sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7 and grease a baking tray or line with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan with the water then bring to the boil.
- Add the flour quickly into the boiling water and beat the pastry mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and leaves the bottom of the pan. This takes about 5-10 minutes.
- Cool for 2-3 minutes then gradually beat in the eggs to make a smooth, shiny paste.
- Using a dessert spoon, put spoonfuls of the mixture on the baking tray.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/Gas 4 and bake for 15-20 minutes, until puffed up, golden brown and with a crisp bottom.
- When cooked, pierce holes in the top to let out the steam and bake for 2 minutes to dry out.
- Leave them upside down on a cooling rack to dry completely.
The science bit
When the eggs are beaten into the flour dough, they trap air which helps the pastry rise.
Beating the mixture stretches the gluten which helps form the structure.
When the mixture bakes, the liquid from eggs and water in the dough turns to steam and puffs up and raises the mixture leaving the centre hollow.
The egg protein denatures, coagulates and the gluten in the flour sets forming the structure.
Starch in the flour gelatinises as it cooks.
The hole is made in the choux buns to let the steam out and stop the buns from softening.
Coagulated egg also glazes the crust to give a golden colour.
My thanks to Robin, Lewes Community chef for teaching me this recipe – adapted for school use. Instead of fresh curry paste, I’m using Thai green curry paste as it’s easier for students to bring to school.
The dish is a soup and served with rice.
2 tbs Thai green curry paste
400ml coconut milk
200ml vegetable stock made with boiling water and stock cube
200g sweet potato, washed and cut into cubes
1 medium aubergine 150g cut into cubes
100g green beans washed and chopped into 2cm lengths
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
100g spinach washed and chopped
1 dessert spoon sugar (10g)
- Put the curry paste into a large saucepan and heat gently for 1 minute.
- Add half the coconut milk and sugar and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
- Add the vegetable stock, sweet potato and aubergine and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Add the beans and red pepper and the rest of the coconut milk and boil.
- Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute.
- Serve in large bowls and garnish with coriander leaves – or if possible shredded kaffir lime leaves and Thai sweet basil.
- You can serve some sticky rice as an accompaniment.
Thai green curry paste
4 cloves garlic
4 green chillies
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 lemon grass stalk
5 cm peeled ginger
juice of 1 lime
2 tbs fish sauce
Chop the shallot, crush the garlic and ginger and put in food processor which chunks of lemon grass and chopped chilli.
Put the washed, chopped bunch of coriander into the processor and blitz until smooth paste.
Add lime juice and fish sauce and put in tupperware pot to use within next 2 weeks.
Pizza is another invention that came after my 1970 classroom recipes so we never made it with a yeast dough.
Nowadays ready made pizza bases make life easy but here’s a home made recipe.
200g strong, white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt 3g
1 x 7 g sachet dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
150ml warm water.
Passata or tomato paste – about 100g
100g grated cheese or mozzarella
2 tbs olive oil
Ideas for topping – Slices of aubergine, onion, yellow and red pepper, black olives, mixed herbs, mushrooms
- Preheat the oven to 250C/ Gas 9. Prepare large baking trays for the 2 pizzas by lining them with non stick paper.
- Put the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl or food processor and work in the water until the dough forms. Use the blades in the machine to work the dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes by stretching, pulling and pushing the dough to make it smooth and springy. This kneading helps stretch the gluten which forms the structure when baked.
- Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a cloth or clingfilm and leave in a warm place until double in size 20-30 minutes.
- Prepare the ingredients for the topping – you can roast or fry the peppers, sliced onion and aubergine.
- Grate the cheese and slice the mushrooms.
- Divide the dough in half and rub with a little oil and pat and roll out to form a large pizza shape. Repeat for the second dough and place on the 2 baking trays.
- Spoon on a layer of passata or tomato paste to the edges of each pizza then drop on the vegetables, mixed herbs and top with grated cheese. Place some olives on top.
- Bake 7-10 minutes until the pizzas are golden and crispy.
I think Lemon meringue pie is very hard to get right – the pastry, the filling and the meringue can all go wrong! High level skill to try.
175 g plain flour
20 g caster sugar
100 g butter or margarine
egg yolk and enough water to mix
2 lemons – zest and juice
25 g butter
75g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
100 g caster sugar
- Rub the butter into the flour caster sugar until it looks like breadcrumbs. Or use a food processor. Stir in the egg you and add enough water to make a firm dough. Chill for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
- Line a 20 cm diameter flan tin with pastry, fill with paper and baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes.
- Remove beans and paper and bake a further 5 minutes until pastry is crisp. Make sure there are no holes in the pastry for the filling to leach out.
- Turn the oven down to 160°C/Gas 3.
- Mix lemon juice with enough water to make 300ml.
- Blend the cornflour with 2 tbs of the liquid, pour in a saucepan with zest, butter and sugar and cook and stir until thick – about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Whisk egg whites until stiff and add the sugar slowly and carefully.
- Stir the egg yolks into the lemon sauce and spoon into the pastry case.
- Spoon over the meringue – you can lift into peaks with a fork.
- Bake in the oven until the meringue is crisp and slightly golden – about 30-40 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold.
This upside down pudding is made by lining a pudding bowl with bread slices and filling the space with soft fruit and juice.
The pudding is pressed with a plate with a weight on – a can of beans will do – to release the fruit juices then turned upside down to serve.
Ingredients Serves 2
350g frozen mixed berries
Zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar
3 – 4 large slices bread
- Heat the frozen berries in a saucepan with lemon zest, sugar and 3 tablespoons of water.
- Cook for 5 mins or more. Drain through a sieve and keep the juice.
- Line the moulds – a small bowl, teacup or mug with cling film – leave an overlap at the top.
- Remove the bread crusts and cut into strips to line the sides of the mould. Dip the bread in the fruit juice, line the moulds, starting with the bottom pieces, then lay soaked pieces of bread along the sides. Keep some bread for the lid.
- Tip the fruit into the lined moulds. Finish with a layer of bread to make a lid.
- Pour over remaining liquid. Wrap the overhanging cling film over the top.
- Put and plate on top and leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight.
- To serve, unwrap the cling film, put a plate over the pudding, flip over, remove the mould, peel away the cling film and serve upside down!