Eggs Benedict

Week 20, Session 2

I’m not a massive fan of Eggs Benedict as I always find hollandaise too rich and a little vinegary. However, as usual, Leith’s has come through again. It was rich but in a moorish rather than sickly way and I made the perfect amount for 2 poached eggs on muffins topped with ham.

I will definitely make this again but might try adding some herbs to the hollandaise and using smoked salmon instead of ham or some sautéed mushrooms or spinach or asparagus. Really, many choices!


Makes enough for 1 (as per the picture above so 2 if you’re not greedy)

  • For the reduction:
  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • 50ml water
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 mace blade
  • For the sauce:
  • 150g unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Few drops of lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  1. For the reduction, put the wine vinegar, water, peppercorns, bay leaf and mace in a small saucepan and simmer. Reduce the liquid by two-thirds, then strain to remove the peppercorns, bay and mace.
  2. To make the sauce, cut the butter into 1cm cubes. Put the egg yolks, a cube of butter and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and cream the butter into the egg yolks.
  3. Add ½–1 tsp of the reduction and stir to combine.
  4. Half-fill a roasting tin with water and set over a medium heat, to create a warm bain marie.
    Heat until the water is hand-hot (it should be comfortable to dip your fingers into). If the water is too hot, the sauce will curdle.
  5. Stand the bowl containing the egg yolk, butter and reduction mixture in the bain marie, off the area where there’s heat underneath, and stir until the egg yolks visibly start to thicken.
  6. Beat the remaining butter in, a cube at a time, making sure that the sauce has re-thickened before adding the next cube of butter. If the sauce becomes very thick and appears greasy, add a little more reduction or cool water. Remove the bowl from the heat and turn off the heat if it is getting too warm.
  7. Once all the butter has been added, remove the bowl of sauce from the roasting tin. Adjust the seasoning by adding more reduction, lemon juice, salt and ground white pepper. The sauce can be kept for about 30 minutes before serving, by standing the bowl in a warm bain marie, off the heat.
  8. Toast the muffins and poach the eggs. Assemble.

American pancakes

Week 20, session 1

This week is brunch. I love breakfast items and can eat breakfast at any time of the day. Therefore, pretty happy about brunch week!

Session 1 was blueberry American style pancakes. I’ve made these before, loads, but clearly never properly because these were light and fluffy and cakey and perfect!

I halved the recipe because I didn’t want to waste any and can’t trust myself to not eat them all and it worked really well!

You could easily add other soft fruits, chocolate chips, mashed banana (although you might have to add this before any more of the milk is added) and maybe go full American and serve them with crispy bacon and maple syrup. You could also serve them savoury, not add the 3 tsps sugar and instead serve them with smoked salmon, crème fraiche and macerated cucumber with some dill. Definitely going to do that although will need fewer then 3 pancakes!

I only added blueberries to 1 pancake as an experiment but it was the best one so I’ve detailed the recipe for blueberries throughout.


Makes about 6- 8 pancakes.

  • 225g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 30g melted butter (cooled)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3tsp caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 handfuls of blueberries plus extra to serve
  • Maple syrup
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients together.
  • Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg, cooled melted butter and 2/3 of the milk.
  • Beat until smooth. Add more milk to get a consistency similar to double cream.
  • Stir through the blueberries.
  • Heat a non stick pan and melt a little butter in it.
  • Pour the mixture into the size of pancake you want.
  • Cook on a medium heat making sure that the butter doesn’t burn until bubbles form on the top.
  • Flip it over and cook until golden ok the other side.
  • Wipe the pan and repeat until you have used up all if the mixture.
  • Serve with a few more blueberries and some maple syrup.

Herb crusted rack of lamb with tomato salsa

Week 19, session 2

This took a look of work to prep the lamb and the amount of fat, meat, sinew and skin you need to remove to make this edible seems wasteful bit it’s really worth it. The meat was soft and juicy and easy to eat. Yum!

Prepared lamb

The herb crust is made by mixing together 50g butter, 2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 large handfuls of mixed herbs (I used parsley, mint and thyme) and salt. Then you just put this on the prepared lamb and let it set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

With herb crust

The salsa was made from a large, peeled, de-seeded plum tomato, half banana shallot (both finely diced), basil (finely shredded), olive oil and sherry vinegar, s&p.

The lamb took just 15 minutes at 200 degrees celsius to cook. I tested this by checking that the meat has some resistance when I pressed the sides. I rested it for 10 minutes too. I served this with some fine green beans.


Sirloin steak with chimichurri sauce

Week 19, session 1

This week is red meat week. The first session was how to cook a perfect steak. I think this is about practice because whilst I did get a medium rare steak, I think this was luck more than anything else. Until I cook some more steaks and can tell the difference when pressing the meat to see how cooked it is, it will always be pot luck.

The chimichurri sauce was made with parsley, coriander, shallot, minced garlic, dried chilli, olive oil and sherry vinegar. It was delicious!

I served the steak with a side salad. Boring but healthy 😉


Vanilla panna cotta with almond crumble

Week 17, session 2

I love Panna cotta so was excited about making this and excited because it was the last sweet recipe I’d be cooking for a while!

Due to my jelly only just setting I used more gelatine in this recipe but it was set a bit too much but was still smooth and creamy and tasty. This recipe used leaf gelatine so couldn’t use my learnings from the last session exactly but I’ve now learnt how this works too.

This is definitely the prettiest thing I’ve made and am so pleased with how they turned out. I used raspberries and basil to serve with the Panna cotta and crumble – good choice! I got good reviews from Gina and Andy so I’m happy!


  • 200 ml double cream
  • 1/4 vanilla pod
  • 1 pared strip lemon zest
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 2 sheets gelatine
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 25g Demerara sugar
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 50g butter
  • Brush 4 dariole moulds with oil and leave turned upside down on kitchen paper to remove the excess.
  • Heat the cream over a medium heat with the lemon zest and vanilla seeds and pod. Remove from the heat and add the sugar and dissolve. Leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
  • Soak the gelatine in water for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the vanilla pod and lemon from the cream and return to a medium heat. Squeeze out the water from the gelatine and add to the cream, stir to dissolve.
  • Strain the mixture then add the milk.
  • Pour into the moulds and refrigerate overnight.
  • Heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  • Rub together the flour, almonds and butter into a crumb.
  • Add sugar until it forms a crumbly dough.
  • Spread across a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until golden, stirring halfway though.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Serve the crumble with the Panna cotta and some fruit if choice.
  • To remove the Panna cottas from the moulds, place into warms water for a few seconds then turn onto a plate and give them a sharp sideways jolt.

Orange jelly

Week 17, session 1

This week is gelatine week. I’d not done much with gelatine before so was a bit anxious about whether it would set or not as I’ve watched a lot of MasterChef when it doesn’t. I stuck carefully to the measurements though and it did set but only just. Will add a little more gelatine next time.

This recipe used powdered gelatine. I had to get this online but I think bigger supermarkets than my local ones would have it.

It also uses fresh orange juice which could come from a carton but I squeezed oranges for this as I wanted it to have that distinctive fresh flavour.


Hazelnut praline parfait

Week 16, session 2

This session used skills I’ve learnt in other sessions which is good. I used my sugar syrup session to make caramel and my meringue session to make, well, meringue.

This was so delicious. I’d not had parfait before which is much lighter than ice cream but still creamy and I love praline. Haagen-Dazs Pralines and Cream has some competition!

I enjoyed making this and will definitely do it again when I have friends round for dinner. It’s easy, can be made in advance and looks and tastes impressive!


  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 16ml water
  • 335g double cream
  • 4 egg whites
  • 113g caster sugar
  • Heat the sugar and water slowly until the sugar has melted.
  • Continue to heat until the mixture has a dark brown, caramel colour.
  • Put the hazelnuts on a slightly oiled tray and pour over the caramel. Leave to cool.
  • Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then slowly incorporate the sugar.
  • Whisk the cream to soft peaks.
  • Fold the cream into the meringue.
  • Put the cooled praline into a plastic bag and bash it with a rolling pin. Piece size is personal preference.
  • Fold in the majority of the praline and spoon mixture into plastic containers.
  • Freeze overnight and once frozen, slice and serve topped with some of the reserved praline.

Crème anglaise & ice cream

Week 16, session 1

I’ve been remiss over the last 2 weeks with blogging but that is because I’ve been in a Leith’s induced sugar coma. Over 2 weeks I baked and ate 6 cakes (I didn’t eat it all, I promise) and for the past 2 weeks I’ve been making (and eating) desserts.

Last week it was crème anglaise which I turned into an ice cream by freezing it and then whizzing it up in the food processor to break down the ice crystals. This method was ok but it wasn’t as smooth as I would like so think that an ice cream maker might be better (not that I’ve ever used one).

The crème anglaise was easy to make and I can see how it would be easy to scale it up and incorporate other flavours. The Hackney Gelato Co. make a chocolate cornflake one which I’m going to have a go at, after I’ve lost 10lbs.


  • 150ml whole milk
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 small egg yolks
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add to the milk along with the pod.
  • Heat the milk until steaming (not bubbling). Remove the pod.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together and and a little of the vanilla infused milk and mix. Continue to add the milk until it is all combined.
  • Put the mixture back on a medium heat in a clean sauce pan and stir continuously until thickened.
  • When it costs the back of a metal spoon it is ready.
  • Close cover and leave to cool.
  • Once cooled it can be frozen the whizzed up and served.

Carrot cake

Week 15, session 3

The final cake!!!

I love carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It is one of my absolute faves so was looking forward to this (although really was at my cake limit by this point).

This cake was light, not too sweet and, whilst I was disappointed that there wasn’t frosting in the middle, this actually made the cake not at all sickly.

I think if I make this again I’ll make the icing less runny (invest is some better cream cheese and gold through at the end) and I’ll use orange zest on top rather than the walnuts as I find walnuts a little bitter. Other than that, a good recipe!


Gingerbread cake

Week 15, session 2

This is an example of the melted method. Black treacle, golden syrup, butter, and soft brown sugar were melted together in a saucepan which was, once cooled, added to the eggs and dry ingredients.

It’s easy to do this method and smells incredible whilst doing it and the result was a spicy, light and fluffy sponge. A winner!

Some of this cake was eaten at my Dad’s birthday in the garden party but there was some left over which I heated for a few seconds in the microwave and served with vanilla ice cream – really good!