BRAMBLE AND BLUEBERRY COMPOTE WITH ALMOND AND LEMON BISCUITS
For the compote:
1lb/450g each blackberries and blueberries
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon 1/2 pint/285ml water
3oz/85g sugar - caster or granulated
1 cinnamon stick
For the almond and lemon biscuits:
4oz/110g caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup - first dip the spoon in very hot water, so that the syrup slips easily off the spoon
6oz/170g plain flour, sieved
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3oz/85g flaked almonds
finely grated rind of 2 lemons
Put the berries into a saucepan with the other ingredients for the compote. Over a gentle to moderate heat stir until the sugar has dissolved completely and there are no gritty specks beneath your wooden spoon. Simmer very gently for a further five minutes, then take the pan off the heat. Allow to cool, then pour the compote into a serving bowl.
To make the biscuits, wash, pat dry and grate the lemons. Beat together the butter and sugar, beat in the golden syrup, then add the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Mix in the flaked almonds and lemon rind. Combine to a dough, then roll out into even, walnut-sized balls. Put these on a greased baking tray and bake at 350F/180C/ Gas Mark 4 for 13 to 15 minutes. Lift off with a palette knife and cool on a wire rack. (Makes 12 to 16 biscuits.)
HONEY-GLAZED BAKED APPLES, STUFFED WITH DATES AND RAISINS MARINATED IN GINGER WINE AND ORANGE
The dates and raisins can be marinated for up to two days in advance.
6oz/170g each of dates, stoned and chopped, and best-quality raisins such as Lexia
4 tablespoons ginger wine
grated rind and juice of 2 oranges
1/2 pint/285ml thick crème fraîche
6 pieces of stem ginger, drained of their syrup and chopped
7 large cooking apples - allow one extra in case of mishap
7 tablespoons thick honey - have a bowl of very hot water at hand to dip the spoon in between each spoonful
Mix together the chopped dates and raisins with the ginger wine and the grated orange rind and juice. Leave for several hours, or overnight.
Combine the crème fraîche and the stem ginger and set to one side.
Put a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray. Wash and dry each apple and remove the core - a potato peeler is useful for this. Feel inside to make sure you have removed all the tough bits of core.
Put the apples on the baking tray, having first scored around the middle of each to prevent splitting during the cooking process.
Divide the marinated fruit (drain off marinade) between each apple, pushing the fruit down well to pack it into the hole left by the core. Spoon honey over each apple, and bake in a low to moderate oven, 325F/165C/Gas Mark 3, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the apples feel soft when you gently press their sides. Serve warm, with the ginger crème fraîche.
Pecan nut pavlova with fresh raspberries
(serves eight to ten)
4 egg whites
150g caster sugar
75g pecan nuts, finely chopped
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vinegar
300ml whipping cream
300g fresh raspberries
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C. Whisk the egg whites and vinegar into soft peaks. Add the sugar and cornflour gradually, continuing to whisk until mixture has become quite stiff.
Line a baking tin with silicone paper or baking parchment, brushing lightly with oil.
Spoon in the meringue and smooth down. Sprinkle the top with the chopped nuts.
Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until top is browned and middle is still a little soft. Allow to cool and remove from the tin.
Whip the cream until stiff and spread on top of the meringue. Cover with the raspberries and serve.
1kg fresh raspberries, washed
1kg caster sugar
Place the raspberries in a preserving pan or a large saucepan and heat gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until fruit is breaking down. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar until it has dissolved.
Add the butter, then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Test the jam by putting a little on a chilled plate and allow to cool before pressing with your finger.
If the surface wrinkles then it is ready. Skim any froth from the top of the jam and allow to stand for 15 minutes, then place in sterilised jars and seal with wax paper while still warm.
Raspberry and hazelnut flan
(serves six to eight)
150g Digestive biscuit crumbs
50g toasted hazelnuts, shells rubbed off, chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g butter, melted
For the filling:
200g fresh raspberries
250ml double cream
250ml sour cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
In a bowl mix the biscuit crumbs, sugar, hazelnuts and cinnamon.
Add the melted butter, mix through thoroughly and press into a flan ring. Place in the fridge and chill for at least one hour.
Whip the double cream until stiff then fold in the sour cream and sugar. Sprinkle half the raspberries into the flan base, cover with the cream mixture and smooth down. Place the rest of the raspberries on top, remove the flan ring and serve.
100g fresh raspberries
50ml red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lemon
100ml olive oil
1 tsp caster sugar
Salt and black pepper
Press the raspberries through a sieve, discarding the pips.
In a bowl or a food processor whisk the raspberry puree, vinegar, sugar and lemon juice together. Keep whisking and add the olive oil gradually. Season with salt and pepper.