Recipes, Tips & More

English Stamp 2.jpg

... Pavlova is a firm favourite in New Zealand and Australia (and is originally from this area) as is the perfect sweet compliment after a filling Barbie!

And when we made these in our May holiday classes one of the cooks said that her Grandfather knew Anna Pavlova the Russian ballerina who this pudding was named after!

Its also incredibly easy to make, great fun to make (all children want to do the meringue test...more on that later), its gluten free, relatively cheap, you can make it the day before and you can add anything onto the Meringue nest - whatever cream, fruit or chocolate/nuts you like!

Hello and Welcome to Summer

A time of BBQ's, Fresh Fruits & Wimbledon! SO how ideal to make a Pavlova - a small or big one and if once like me you didn't cook the Pavlova on greaseproof paper and so it broke up...make it into Eton Mess!

Makes 20 mini Pavlovas -

4 medium egg whites (or 3 large) - (make sure they have been kept out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before whipping them up)

175g of caster sugar

125g pot of crème fraiche

125g pot of whipped double cream

Icing Sugar (1-2 tbsp sieved)

Mint leaves (to decorate)

Possible Toppings:

Mango & Passion Fruit:- 1 tbsp of mango pulp & Ripe Passion Fruit Blueberries & Strawberries 
Raspberries & Milk & White Chocolate Chips
Pistachio & Fresh Mango
Fresh figs & Blackberries
Blueberries & Fresh Mango

1. Firstly, make the meringues by separating the egg white and yolk * and whisk the whites until you can put the bowl upside down over your head! Re the Meringue test - see below!

This is the best way to ensure you have enough air in your egg whites - but of course it carries a risk! When you have whisked your egg whites for around 5 minutes and the mixture doesn't look "wet" carefully turn the bowl upside down and the mixture will not fall out! You are then ready to go to the next step! (we did this at both our May classes and the cooks always remember it and no it didn't fall onto their heads!)

2. Gradually add in the sugar one spoonful at a time whisking thoroughly until the mixture is glossy.

3. Using a tablespoon put a blob of mixture on a baking sheet - making a slight smaller round indentation in the middle and repeat until all the mixture is used up. Leave a 1cm gap between each one. You can use a piping bag rather than a tablespoon - pipe the mixture directly on the baking sheet. Or to make a large Pavlova tip all the mixture out and arrange in a circle or oval and make an indentation so you create sides to your Pavlova.

4. Put the mini Pavlovas into the oven at 130 degrees (110 degrees fan) and after 45 minutes turn off the oven but leave the meringues inside with the oven door ajar (this is key to making them crispy on the outside and marshmellowy on the inside!) for a further 45 minutes. For the maxi Pavlova increase the timings to 1 hour each.

5. In the meantime mix together the crème fraiche and whipped cream and add onto each meringue. If you want this to be sweeter add in 1 tbsp of the sieved icing sugar.

5. Top with a few pieces of fruit/nuts/coulis of your choice

6. Dust with the rest of the icing sugar and a mint leaf

*As we discovered in the May classes - its best to use 3 bowls when separating the eggs - one for the yolks - one for all the egg whites and one for each time you separate the white and yolk so that if one time you spoil the egg white by breaking the yoke you don't loose all the egg whites! 

...is one of the fun-est (is that a word!), communal, tasty and healthy snacks you can make!

You can put anything you like in them as long as its chopped up long and thinly - so you can add prawns, ham, duck, chicken, pork marinated in anything you like with with any vegetables you like; baby gem lettuce, carrots, peppers, cucumber, courgettes, mange tout....and you can add strips of cooled scrambled egg.

In Vietnam rice paper rolls are made in groups - get all your ingredients together and bowls of warm water ready and make together your own rice paper roll. A perfect bank holiday activity and treat! Its gluten free too!

Hello and Welcome to Spring

A time of picnics and outdoor eating and aren't these just perfect for both! If you wish to transport these rolls keep them in the fridge in an airtight container before going and then keep in a cool bag. They are best wrapped in clingfilm as it doesn't stick to the rolls.


Makes 9 rolls

1 carrot (peeled)

1/4 cucumber

1 layer of rice noodles

1/5 shredded lettuce

Pieces of mint (stalks taken off)

Coriander – few sprigs

Rice paper – 9 pieces

King prawns – 250g packet (3 prawns per roll)

2 Cooked chicken breasts – cut in small pieces (chicken cook in salt, pepper and lemon juice)

You can add anything into rice paper rolls (apart from any soggy food like tomatoes). To spice them up a bit eat them with a sweet chilli dipping sauce, or soy sauce or a satay sauce consisting of; 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce, 1 tbsp peanut butter, juice 1/2 lemon and 2-3 tbsp water.


1. Soak the rice noodles in boiled water for 10 mins (until soft) – then put in cold water to stop them cooking

2. Grate the carrot

3. Cut the cucumber into very thin strips

4. Shred (or tear in strips) the lettuce

5. Prepare the herbs – take off the mint stalks

6. Put a sheet of rice paper in a bowl of luke-warm water - just gently move in a circular motion until soft (one paper at a time) – then transfer to a plate

7. Lay the rice paper roll on a plate and fill with the ingredients by putting in the middle in a line the meat/fish option such as 3 prawns or some pieces of chicken. When its wrapped up you will see this part first.

8. Do not overfill - add the vegetables, herbs & rice noodles on top of the meat/fish.

9. Bring the two ends of the rice paper over the filling, then roll up the sides to create a tight parcel

8. Enjoy as they are or with any of the sauce options!

Other tasty filling combinations:

Barbecued pork with cucumber, basil and mint

Barbecued chicken with Chinese cabbage, bean sprouts, mint and coriander

Roast beef with cucumber and mint

Shredded chicken with mint and basil

Prawn, carrot, pea sprouts and mint

Roast duck, cucumber & thin pieces of orange


...Have been with us for centuries - with symbolic crosses having been used on cakes since the 6th century in Greece. Baking HCB's at home became a tradition after Elizabeth I decreed they could only be sold for profit on a few days each year. Make it a family tradition in your home...


These are not as complicated as they seem! You are just making an enriched dough and the two proves allows you to catch up on an episode from Bridgeton or Succession! They are delicious and so much fun to make with the children who love "icing" on the crosses. You could even add some food dye to the crosses so they are different colours!

You can experiment with the flavours too - add some ground green cardamom seeds to the dough or add 100g of dried cherries & 50g chopped dark chocolate in place of 150g of the mixed fruit.



175g currants/sultanas (or any dried fruit you have, like dried cranberries or cherries or mixed peel if you like)

300ml milk (full fat if possible)

75g unsalted butter

500g strong white bread flour

75g light brown sugar

1 tbsp mixed spice

1 tsp fine salt

1/2tsp grated nutmeg (only if you have it)

zest of an orange (or lemon if you prefer)

2 heaped tsp of easy bake yeast

2 eggs

vegetable oil


80g plain flour

1 tsp brown sugar

80ml cold water

Syrup Glaze

2 tbsp golden syrup OR apricot jam or any syrup sugar

2 tbsp light brown sugar

Delicious eaten straight from the oven, warmed in a microwave or toasted and smothered with butter and cherry jam. 

  1. Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and pour over just enough boiled water to cover. Leave to plump up.

  2. Gently warm the milk and butter until the butter has just melted and remove from heat.

  3. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, mixed spice, nutmeg, orange zest and salt. Make a well and add the yeast and pour in the warm milk/butter from step 2 (must not be hot just warm).

  4. Drain the dried fruit and mix in with the beaten egg to form a enriched dough.

  5. Knead quickly for 20-30 seconds on a lightly floured surface and set aside for 5-10 minutes (covered) then repeat the process twice until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  6. Put the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until its doubled in size.

  7. Divide the dough into 12 even portions - take a portion put it in your hands and roll into a dough ball for a few minutes to make a smooth bun. Slightly press down at the top and put on the tin. Repeat for the other 11 buns.

  8. Once all the buns are on the tin - touching each other at the sides - cover with a t-towel and leave to rise again for 45 minutes.

  9. Beat the remaining egg and brush over all the buns

  10. For the crosses mix the flour and sugar with 80ml of water to make a thick paste.

  11. If you have a piping bag put the white paste into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each of the HCB's

  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes rotating the tray half way through until the buns are a rich brown colour.

  13. Gently heat the ingredients for the glaze and gently pour over the Hot Cross Buns and eat!