Archive | Pudding

Recipe| Passion fruit soufflé with warm passion fruit cream


 Lord Windermere’s Fan …

Yes indeed I am a Lord Windermere fan after coming in at 20 to 1 at the Cheltenham Gold Cup and probably the ‘number one fan’ having placed my bet at 33 – 1.



I spent that week cooking for a group of people who had been attending the festival without fail for 26 years. Needless to say I was hoping for for some good tips…disappointingly I found out that even in this long run of being a festival goer my boss for the week had never once backed a winner for the big race.



Watching Lord Windermere win was as exciting and as nerve racking as my menu’s dessert for the evening.14 soufflés that had to be cooked in one unknown oven and in different sized ramekins.  If that wasn’t enough fun they then had to be carried the 2 furlongs ( ok I exaggerate but it wasn’t close) from the kitchen to the dining room, hurdling over the dogs and navigating the beautiful but irregular old flagstone floors and various size doorways.  Once they got to the dinning room they then had to be individually carried to the table by the butler.  I am not sure who the patron saint of soufflés is but they heard my prayers as each stayed their course and a synchronised 14 text book soufflés got past the post and on to the table.




Here was the evenings menu.



Beignets (deep fried cheese choux pastry)

Hot chili lime prawns with iceberg lettuce


Pan seared pigeon breast with toasted almonds, Comté, radish and chicory


Belly of pork with crackling, savoy cabbage and bacon, smashed celeriac, baked cinnamon apple and watercress.


Passion fruit Soufflé with warm passion fruit cream


Welsh Rarebit




I feel I should say something about soufflés as I know that putting it on the menu can look like trouble when planning an evenings dining and entertainment.  What a myth? Well no they do have their technical challenges, but obey the rules and have a few practice runs before cooking for the masses and they certainly should produce squeals of delight from your guests.



This Job in statistics

1.1 kilo of smoked salmon in sandwiches

6 magnums of champagne

12 pints whole milk

0 pints semi skimmed

6 names of gold cup winners inserted into blog


Next stop Paris…

 Passion fruit Soufflé with cream



serves 4


About 4 tbs caster sugar

4 large egg whites

4 passion fruits ( they are ripe and at their best when their skin looks shriveled)

150 ml cold custard

Passion fruit cream

150ml double cream

1 dessert spoon castor sugar

4 ripe passion fruits

Just in case you skip through the recipe I will get the vital advice down first.

– Pre heat the oven perfectly and arrange the shelves so they leave ample room to let the soufflés rise before you start.

– Brush the ramekins in upwards stokes with the butter, psychologically this helps the soufflés rise ( or it actually does I haven’t quite decided).

– Having filled the ramekins with soufflé mix, level off the mixture by scraping the flat side of a knife across the top.

– Once the mixture is leveled run your thumb around the inside of the rim – this helps with the lift.

– DO NOT  BE TEMPTED TO OPEN THE OVEN until you at least 90 % through the cooking time.


1)Pre heat the oven to 180° C (165° C for a fan)

2)Grease the sides of 4 x 150ml ramekins with unsalted butter using upward strokes

3)Pour in the 2 tbs of castor sugar then tip it round the sides to create a covering of sugar then pour into the next buttered ramekin ( you can use any spare castor sugar for another project)


4)In a large bowl mix the juice/seeds of 1 of the passion fruits with the cold custard

5)In another large bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage then add 1 tbs castor sugar and whisk for another minute until glossy.


6)Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the custard then the rest in two stages ( the first third helps slacken the custard which should make folding in the rest easier).  The egg whites are what gives the soufflé its lift so don’t be rough in the folding stages.


7)Gently but deftly fill the raemkins with the mix and level off with a knief.

8)Run your thumb round the inside top of each ramekin and place on a baking tray

9)Bake for 15 mins on the centre shelf


While the soufflés are cooking make the passion fruit cream…

1)Warm the double cream in a pan with 1 dessert spoon of caster sugar ( you don’t want it to boil it just has to be warm)

2)Add the sieved juice ( no seeds wanted) of 4 passion fruits

3)pour into a jug ready for serving at the table


When the souffles  are ready serve immediately letting everyone poke their own hole to pour in the warm passion fruit  cream








Recipe | Chocolate, chestnut and ginger Yule Log


  That Old Chestnut…


Chilled milky blue light rested over the Alpilles mountains as I drove towards my final pre Christmas job down in the south of France.



In the run up to Christmas I am cooking for a couple of energetic families with lots of kids and a delightfully broad palate. This is a private chef’s dream as its  the ideal way to plan menus with the freedom to go to the market and see what looks best for dinner.  As expected there are piles of pumpkins, squashes, mushrooms, stacks of oysters and bundles of cardoons.





Now I don’t have a Scrooge like bone in my body, I love Christmas with all its trimmings. Mince pies, open fires, mistletoe, twinkling lights, the smell of fir trees, starting one meal pretty much having just finished the last, long walks and the toffee sweets from tins of Quality Street (but definitely not the pink or orange ones so maybe I have a little Scrooge in me).




Traditions down here are pretty similar to the UK, midnight mass, decorated trees, Christmas markets, last minute present dash, Council funds blown on Christmas street lighting etc.  Sounds familiar? Yes, until we get to the food.  There are no mad dashes here to get their orders in for large free range bronze turkeys ( that turn out to only just fit in the oven), goose mostly makes it onto the Provencal Christmas table in its engorged liver form and I haven’t even seen a sprout.  There are however heaps of capons to choose from ( castrated male cockerels) a process made worth it as it improves the texture and flavor of the flesh, although I can’t help but feel sorry for the chaps.




The Christmas meal in Provence is surprisingly relatively humble. Served on Christmas Eve before midnight mass “Le Gros Souper” consists of salt cod, snails, soups and vegetables like celery, cauliflower, cabbage and spinach, maybe some anchovy paste and aioli, but no meat. Then its off to mass…




Now just before you get too shocked and think the French have converted to  Puritanism especially as we are talking about food I will add that the meal is traditionally served at a table laid with three table cloths, three sets of candles, 7 different wines and for the grand finale when they come back from mass – 13 desserts.  Yes that’s right 13!

These will include  –

Dried fruits and nuts that represent the four orders of Friar, raisins (the Dominicans), dried figs,  (the Franciscans), hazelnuts (the Augustinians) and almonds (Carmelites).  A fougasse (bread) which must be torn and not cut to avoid bankruptcy in the coming year (good to know), and is to be dipped in sweet wine. Black and white nougat representing good and evil, fresh fruits and dates. Calissons  (marzipan diamond shapes covered in icing), candied fruits, quince cheese, oreillettes ( crispy sugary deep fried bread) and Bûche Noël   -the chocolate Christmas log.

The part of the tradition I really like the idea of is the ‘Le Cacho Fio’. Where the oldest and youngest of the family select the largest log from the wood pile (often fruit or olive wood) and walk three times round the table with it then throw it onto the fire where it is meant to burn to light the New Year ahead.






Chocolate, chestnut and ginger Yule Log 

serves  8 to 10 people

Chocolate Icing

100g milk chocolate

100g dark chocolate

100g unsalted butter

Melt all the above ingredients in a bain-marie, mix together then leave to cool and thicken.   This will take about 30  – 60mins.


200g dark chocolate 70 %

7 eggs

200g caster sugar

6 tsp cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tbs icing sugar to decorate



1.Pre heat oven to 170 c and line a 35 cm by 25 cm tin with low sides ( swiss roll tin or shallow baking dish works) with baking parchment.

2.Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie then leave to cool whilst you..

3.Separate the eggs

4.Whisk the egg whites with 50g of the sugar till they form soft peaks

5.Whisk the yolks with 150g of the sugar, coco powder and spices until thick ( a couple of minutes)

6.Whisk the egg yolk mix and melted chocolate together.

7.Add the egg whites in thirds.  The first third will help slacken off the mix and you don’t have to be too dainty.  When adding the next two thirds be more delicate as you want to keep the air in.

8.Gently pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 mins.

When cooked leave to cool in the tin.


Chestnut Cream

200g vac packed cooked and peeled chestnuts

200ml double cream

4 dessert spoons icing sugar

seeds from 1 vanilla pod

In a food processor blitz the chestnuts until dust like.  While the motor is still running add the vanilla pod seeds, icing sugar then slowly poor in all the cream.


When the sponge is cool carefully flip it out onto a clean tea-towel or a piece of baking paper.       Spread with the chestnut cream then roll using the paper as an aid to keep it tight and together.  Expect charming cracks to appear.


When the icing has thickened drizzle on top then leave till ready to serve

Dust with obligatory snow like icing sugar.



This weeks statistics

Satsumas consumed  – 236

Olive oil used – 3.4 liters

Christmas gifts received  – 1 (oyster from the oyster man so I was pretty chuffed)!

Dogs 0 / Children 8


This weeks transport

Mercedes E class ( quick ‘stocking the Christmas freezer’ job in Surrey), Ryanair  flight to Dublin ( quick night out on the town), BA flight to Marseilles,  Renault Twingo ( rubbish at overtaking, excellent for u turns on narrow French roads).





I am returning to the West country for Christmas where preparations I am assured are almost complete. The venison has been ordered (the non flying variety), the stockings for the chimney have been found and the local Riverford knobbly carrots arrive Monday (despite the nature of his job F.C. cares greatly about food miles). However I did get an email from my father, knowing I like things just so in the food and drink department, wanting to ask in my professional opinion would Santa prefer a Fino or Amontillado this year?

I wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday, may your plates be groaning with festive goodies and of course have a very Merry Christmas.



Philippa x








Recipe | Honey date and cardamom ice cream with pistachio praline


My cold date…


With reassuringly high security to board the plane to Tel Aviv I was relieved and delighted to finally arrive in the pleasantly warm evening air of Israel.




My first adventure out was a food tour of Jerusalem.  Taking the road from Tel Aviv we travelled down the same paths that Nebuchadnezzar, the Emperor Constantine and the Crusaders took to give me my first view of this incredible, deeply complex city.  Practically everything ( due to a law) is built from the tawny colored but sometimes verging on dusky pink Jerusalem stone.  We went straight to the markets to buy dates, tahini and nuts for one of the upcoming evening parties.



The gate of Damascus

I am so glad we had a guide.  The markets are more than just a place to shop, they are a huge part of this country’s soul and social scene and it is here that simple purchases, for instance 1 kilo of almonds, can roll out into long drawn out discussions, tastings and banter.  It wasn’t about haggling but more about selecting the best, which be warned isn’t always what‘s on show.  For me, not speaking Hebrew, it was difficult to understand or guess what was being said between the guide, the hostess and stall holder, but it was truly animated and entertaining.




Mostly everything was impressively fresh, from the fish stalls where I saw the St Peter fish  that appeared in the story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 to the huge stacks of  pomegranates and the walls of herbs.




At one shop they were selling freshly ground tahini, a sesame seed paste that is used a lot in Middle Eastern cookery,  such as in hummus and babaganoush ( a grilled aubergine dip) . With the mill running in the background you could taste the warm paste literally “hot of the press”.  At one restaurant we visited that day ( we ate at 5 different ones which even by my standards is impressive)  they were serving warm grilled breads with thick tahini sauce as a dip.  An interesting alternative to hummus that certainly engages the taste buds.

( To make this whisk 2 tbsp tahini paste and 1 tbsp lemon juice – it will be thick, slacken off with about 1 tbs water to make a dipping sauce. Season with salt and pepper  you can also add 1 tsp finely chopped parsley.)




We visited a Georgian fast food outlet where they make juicy cheesey breads sometimes with fillings of onions or with different pastry like filo.   My favorite was an oval dough, with an egg baked in the cow cheese and butter filling, the idea being that you tear off bits of bread and dip it into the yolk – lip smackingly exciting.



Top left – Haclapuri, bottom left – Magarloli , Right  – Acharuli

Surprisingly a lot of restaurants and food stalls are keen to show their European cultural side as I found out when visiting the cheese stall.  I of course love good cheese but was desperate not to be plied with roquefort, manchego and somerset cheddar.  I practically had to beg him to let me try some Israeli goats cheese, he said

“It no good”

I gave him my best smile and he eventually complied…

Sadly he was right, although I think it would have been fine for cooking with or stuffed in  that bread.



Kubbeh  – stuffed semolina cakes with meat




Typical table setting and Napkin in Israel

This post card recipe is a dessert I made for one evening that is perfect to celebrate the land of milk and honey…


Honey, date and cardamom ice cream with pistachio praline.



A date tree in Jerusalem


Makes 1 litre


500 ml cream

500 ml milk

8 egg yolks

400g pitted chopped dates

10 – 15 cardamom pods cut in half

1 vanilla pod  split length ways and seeds scraped out


Swish a saucepan out with water ( I find this somehow helps to stop the milk from scalding the pan)

Pour in the milk and cream and add the cut cardamom and vanilla

Gently heat for ten minutes but do not boil.

Turn off the heat and allow to infuse for at least 20 minutes


Strain the mix through a sieve into another pan.

Add the chopped dates and gently heat again for 5 minutes – do not let it boil.

Take off the heat and whizz up the mix so the dates are pureed.

Crack the egg yolks into another large bowl

Return the pureed date and milk mix onto the heat and bring to the boil

Quickly pour this onto the egg yolks and immediately whisk.

Let it cool then pour it into a suitable container to cover and freeze.

I didn’t churn mine and the texture was great, it takes about 8 hours to freeze.

 Pistachio Praline

200g caster sugar

1 tbs cold water

140g chopped pistachios



In a heavy based saucepan add the sugar and water

slowly heat until the sugar melts

Keep a good eye on it and watch for it to start to turn dark golden.

Add the nuts, stir then pour out onto a greased tray.

Leave to cool and harden


When you want to serve scoop the ice cream into chilled glasses with a shard of praline, a drizzle of really good honey and some curls of dark chocolate  – you need the bitterness as depending on the dates the ice cream can seem quite sweet.



This week’s transport; the snazzy (but pricey) Heathrow express, El Al airlines and a terrifyingly speedy Israeli taxi.



 Jerusalem at night










Recipe | Summer pudding in Provence


The butcher, the baker, the baker, the baker, the baker, and the baker

The local village  has a population of about 12  ( OK, I under exaggerate)  and yet it has not one but two thriving bakeries.  The interiors are not chic, just simple Formica tops, local event posters decorating the shabby walls and of course trays of delicious freshly-baked bread. This is great proof of consumer power and the importance of supporting local shops.




Many of my clients ask for no bread to be served with meals.  There also seems to be an ever increasing amount of people with gluten and wheat problems – now is not the time to go through all the possible reasons for these intolerances. However I will say this, before you scream and run from the bread bin, ask yourself, are you eating real bread?  Industrialisation has hugely changed the way wheat is farmed, milled and made into bread and some say that these process-heavy production methods (particularly milling and fermentation) may make it disagreeable for our bodies to digest.  In my view, quick-fermenting, bright-white, long-lasting, pre-sliced loaves should not be classed as bread.




….. Jumping off my high horse and mounting “ma bicyclette” early every morning I cycle into the village to buy “les baguettes” and a few croissants.  It always pays to have a special smile for your baker (and butcher) so it was with great delight that whilst snapping a few photos through the door of the bakers at work, they caught my eye and lured me in with macaroons and freshly baked croissants.




Swooning slightly watching the skill of the five bakers while they rolled out the croissants and baked rack upon rack of loaves I was drawn into the romance and charm of this art.  After my tour of the different work stations and having been fed and plied with delicious strong black coffee and pastries  I bid my farewells and returned to the house to start the preparations for lunch.




I hate wasting food. After my visit to the bakery I am even more conscious of not wasting any of yesterdays bread so am continuously thinking of ways to use it.   Here are some of the recent second lives I have given it…




From top left moving clockwise – sausage rolls (bread in the filling), panzanella – toasted bread dressed in vinegar, oil and tomatoes, ,oysters with gruyere and breadcrumbs, Moroccan meatballs – I often add bread  that has been soaked in milk or whey to meatballs to soften the texture, crisped up and herbed bread for pate, stuffed squid with bread and chorizo,

On the blue moon occasions where we have an abundance of croissants left I love making it into summer pudding, adding peaches and apricots to the usual orgy of berries.  A perfect dessert for the warm long lunches in Provence.


Summer Pudding with a french twist

Serves 8

you will need

5 x 1 day old croissants sliced horizontally into 3 or 4 (my other favourite is using day old ciabatta or you can use a farm house white)

800g of fruit  – which could include blackberries, raspberries, strawberries – cut into chunks if very big, red currents, black currents, apricots and peaches cut into chunks the same size as the cut strawberries. Use mostly berries in the mix with maybe just 5 apricots and 3 peaches.

250g castor sugar

400ml red wine –  I once used Chateau Latour 1998 only because the client had some left and told me to!  Otherwise a busty french red would be perfect.  Like wise if using ciabatta maybe its more fun to use an Italian red like Valpolicella.  Always cook with wine you would be happy to drink.

1 vanilla pod

1 cinnamon stick



1)In a saucepan add the wine, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla pod – spilt lengthways and seeds taken out then the seeds and pod added.

2)Heat until the sugar is dissolved – a couple of minutes

3)Add half the fruit, bring to a simmer for 2 or 3 minutes then turn of the heat.

4) Add the rest of the fruit and gently stir. Leave to one side.

5) Line a 3pint bowl with the sliced croissants to form a layer.  

6) Strain the fruit through a sieve, saving all the delicious juice. Then place the fruit in the lined bowl. Pour over some of the juice, keeping the rest for serving. Top the pudding with more sliced croissant pieces, a bit more juice and then cover the bowl with cling film.  Weigh the pudding down with a small plate and a weight on top  – a mortar or a few tins usually work and leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

To serve remove the weight and the cling film, place a plate over the top and flip over, pour over some of the the reserved juice.  Serve with a big jug of double cream.




I must confess the croissant  summer pudding did not have time to be photographed before it was eaten, pictured above and below is its’ Portuguese cousin made last summer. I used red wine from the Douro region and a home-made white loaf.







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