Monthly Archives: January 2016

Mini Baked Alaskas

 

Fabulous little desserts these! People are often a little terrified of Baked Alaska, instantly picturing an oven splattered with dripping ice cream but they’re really easy to make and they make quite an entrance when delivered to the table. You can also have great fun with them, swapping out the idea of everyone enjoying the same flavour ice cream with a ‘lucky-dip’ approach: four different flavours but who knows which one you’re getting! A further joy is passing a blow torch around the table for your fellow diners to finish off cooking their Alaskas with a bit of drama! Lest we get carried away with the presentation aspect of these little bombes, they taste pretty amazing too!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x 7cm or 8cm cookie cutter

1 x flat baking tray

Kitchen blow torch (optional)

Chocolate cake, shop-bought or home-made (see blog recipe for 365 Chocolate Celebration Cake if you want to make your own).

4 individual tubs of ice cream – flavours of your choice – either all the same or all different. I like salted caramel, cookie dough, coffee and caramel chew chew.

4 egg whites

170g golden caster sugar

What to do…

Remove your chosen tubs of ice cream from the freezer and set aside for five minutes.

Using your cookie cutter, cut 4 thick slices from the cake and pop them on a baking tray.

Run a knife around the side of your ice creams and then ease them out onto the cake slices. Put the tray with your cake and ice cream into the freezer for at least an hour or until you are ready to finish off and serve.

Preheat your oven to 200c / 400f / gas 6.

Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and then add the sugar in 4 batches, whisking as you go until you have a stiff, glossy mixture (you can also leave this to sit in the fridge for a few hours if you want to prepare in advance).

Retrieve your Alaskas from the freezer and cover each one with a thick layer of meringue, making it nice and spiky and ensuring that the ice cream is thoroughly covered. Pop in the oven for 4 minutes: the meringue will brown slightly without the ice cream melting…..honest!

Serve your mini baked Alaskas to your anticipative diners and either dive straight in or hand around the blow torch for a more dramatic and torched look! Watch as everyone enjoys the singular wonder that is a Mini Baked Alaska!

Tips…

If you are using the 365 Chocolate Celebration Cake, use half the sponge ingredients and use just one cake tin – there will be loads left over – enough to sandwich together four generous slices with chocolate butter cream – chef’s treats!!

If you didn’t fancy going down the chocolate route for these little bombes, swap out the chocolate cake for Madeira, and choose complementary ice creams, e.g. vanilla, strawberry cheesecake – there’s so much choice now.

Inspired by…

www.bbcgoodfood.com

How easy…

Ridiculously easy for something that looks and tastes so amazing!

Partridge with Wild Mushroom Ravioli

This is a proper winter indulgence: the rich sauce and delicious partridge perfectly contrasted by the lightness of the ravioli, packed with intense flavour. The first time I made this, I used a pasta machine to make my own pasta and whilst it wasn’t hard, it was messy, time-consuming and quite tricky to deal with the ever-lengthening pasta strips and to get them to the necessary thinness (thick pasta is not great). So, on the basis that life’s too short, I’ve replaced that process with the use of ready-made pasta – it’s a lot easier unless you are a perfectionist with either a lot of time on your hands and a love of clearing up or an absolute whizz with the pasta machine! Given that change, this dish is lovely, indulgent and really quite quick to knock up!

Serves 4

What you need…

2 partridges (ask your butcher to separate and de-bone the breasts from the rest of the birds)

2 small carrots, peeled, topped and tailed

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 bay leaf

for the ravioli

1 x cookie cutter, 7-8cms wide

12 fresh lasagne sheets

Knob of butter

100g wild/mixed mushrooms

3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

150ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

for the sauce

1 beef stock pot (I use Knorr)

Splash olive oil

Knob of butter

250g wild/mixed mushrooms

100ml double cream

A few sprigs thyme, to garnish

What to do…

Remove your lasagne sheets from the fridge to come to room temperature.

Separate the partridge breasts from the rest of the birds, leaving the breasts in the fridge for now. Cut from the remaining partridge carcass whatever meat you can get and pop it into your food processor – we’ll get back to that later.

To enhance your sauce, make a quick stock: take a medium saucepan and chuck in the remaining partridge carcass, carrots, onion and bay leaf, season and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 20 minutes. Sieve the ‘stock’ into a jug, retaining just 200ml (chuck the rest) and then, using a small balloon whisk, mix in the stock pot. Your stock is now ready. Set aside.

Using a medium-sized frying pan, melt a knob of butter over a moderate heat and then add the mushrooms and thyme, cooking them whilst stirring, for 2 minutes. Throw the cooked mushrooms and thyme together with the cream into the food processor with the partridge. Season and then blend until smooth. If you are preparing in advance you can stick this in the fridge now until you are ready to finish off.

Layout your pasta sheets and using your cookie cutter, cut two circles from each sheet, producing 24 pasta circles. In the centre of 12 of them, place 1 heaped teaspoon of the mushroom/partridge mixture. Brush around the edges with water and then place another pasta circle on top of each and seal, producing 12 ravioli.

Pop a large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil.

Preheat your oven to 200c / 400f / gas 6.

In your frying pan, add to any left over juices, your splash of olive oil and half the knob of butter. Once hot, add the partridge breasts and cook skin-side down for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a baking tray and pop in the oven for 5 minutes, skin-side up.

Returning to your frying pan, add a tiny bit more butter and once hot, chuck in the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, add the ravioli to the boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes or until they have floated to the top. Remove with your slotted spoon and put three on each plate.

Gradually stir the cream into the mushrooms and stock to create the delicious rich sauce. Transfer to a jug.

Retrieve the partridge breasts from the oven and add to the plates and then pour over the sauce. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Delicious! Serve either just as it is or maybe with some greenery, wilted spinach perhaps. Either way, your partridge with wild mushroom ravioli will be relished: rich, indulgent and absolutely lovely – enjoy!

Inspired by…

James Martin, Saturday Kitchen (I have reduced the amount of butter he is renowned for using!)

How easy…

Really easy if you don’t go down the route of making your own pasta!

 

Cold-Defying Hot Toddy

This recipe was passed on to me many years ago by the mother of a friend who presented me with a steaming mug of her cold-defying hot toddy having witnessed my red, inflamed nostrils and watery eyes as well as having to put up with the infernal coughing and sneezing that goes with a very average but miserable British cold. She swore by this comforting antidote and now so do I. The way its benefits were described to me are as follows: the honey eases your sore throat, the lemon provides a zap of vitamin C and the whisky, well, that helps you sleep (although John says that it means you just don’t care how rough you feel!!!). Ideally, consumed just before bedtime, I also reckon that it sweats out the cold whilst you are blissfully snoozing. All I can tell you is that I wake up the next morning well rested, soothed and the with the pesky cold on its way out of the door (a couple more nights of the same treatment may be required!)

Serves 1 poor mortal

What you need…

1 decent sized mug

60ml whisky (nothing expensive)

1 chunky slice lemon (maybe 1cm wide)

1 dessertspoon runny honey

Boiling water

What to do…

Pour your measure of whisky into the bottom of the mug – the amount is obviously personal. Add your honey, leaving the spoon in the mug. Pop in the lemon. Top up with boiling water and stir to dissolve the honey. Then use the tip of the spoon to ‘stab’ the lemon, extracting as much juice out of it as possible.

Pad upstairs to bed, snuggle under the duvet and then drink your hot toddy as soon as you can – it needs to be as hot as you can stand it. Enjoy its soothing properties and then switch out the bedside light and cuddle up for a good night’s sleep. This is possibly the very best part of having a cold!

Inspired by…

Margaret

How easy…

Well, it’s not hard is it?! And it minimises suffering.

 

 

Teriyaki Tuna with Asian-Inspired Salad

This dish was a total revelation: clearly erring on the healthy side, I was unsure whether it would be enjoyable but something piqued my interest so I gave it a go anyway. Absolutely stunning, like REALLY special. The marinated fish together with the zingy, fresh salad go together perfectly. Our taste buds had an absolute party with the distinct but complementary flavours and we kept delving in for more. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – most of them make up the marinade and salad dressing, which are prepared waaaay in advance. Go for it: healthy and delicious!

Serves 2

What you need…

for the teriyaki tuna and marinade

2 x 200g fresh tuna steaks, about 2cm thick

60ml soy sauce (or Tamari if you would prefer gluten-free)

30ml sake

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon clear honey

1 banana shallot, chopped

Splash rapeseed oil

1 red pepper, seeded and finely sliced

200ml water

for the salad

100g baby spinach

1 red chicory head, leaves torn

Handful of mint leaves, torn

Handful of coriander, chopped

for the salad dressing

1 lime, juice only

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 dessertspoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon palm sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Tamari if you would prefer gluten-free)

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped

What to do…

Put all your salad dressing ingredients into a screw-topped jar, tighten the lid and shake vigorously until mixed thoroughly together.

In a large pretty bowl, chuck in all your salad leaves, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge.

To make the marinade, tip all the ingredients except the fish, red pepper and water into a bowl and whisk them together until the sugar has dissolved. Pop the tuna steaks into a shallow dish and pour over the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for several hours, turning once.

The three steps above can be prepared in the morning and then happily ignored until just before you want to eat.

At that point, take the salad out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and when very hot, add the tuna steaks (leaving the marinade to one side) and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. Remember, tuna is best served nearer the raw state than overcooked, when it is dry and tough. Lift the tuna from the pan and keep warm.

Add the red pepper to the pan and stir-fry quickly. Add the marinade and water and bring to the boil. Continue boiling until it becomes thin but syrupy.

Tip your salad dressing over the salad leaves and toss together. Put the bowl in the middle of the table so that you can help yourselves to as much as you want.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the pepper slices from the pan and use them to garnish your tuna. Serve the remaining sauce separately. Healthy but unbelievably tasty, teriyaki tuna with Asian-inspired salad is a lovely, light but lively supper dish to be enjoyed regularly!

Tip…

You can marinate the tuna overnight if that fits into your plans better: the flavours just gather more.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry, Cook Now, Eat Later

How easy…

Really easy. You just need to remember to allow the marinating time.

Vanilla and Amaretti Cheesecakes with Balsamic-Infused Strawberries

I saw a version of these completely delectable little cheesecakes on Saturday Kitchen and thought that I must give them a go. Wow! The TV didn’t do them justice – the rich, smooth creaminess of the cheesecake is perfectly contrasted by the warm, sweet, lusciousness of the strawberries, their flavour emphasised by balsamic vinegar (most unexpected). They look fabulous, are so easy to make and taste out of this world!

 Serves 4

 What you need…

 4 x chefs’ rings, 5.5cm diametre x 6cm deep (easily available online)

10 Amaretti biscuits

250g cream cheese

125g caster sugar

125g crème fraiche

240ml double cream

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out

for the strawberries

200g strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 teaspoons caster sugar

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

What to do…

In a large bowl, tip in your cream cheese, caster sugar, crème fraiche, double cream and vanilla seeds. Whisk until smooth and thickened up so that the whisks leave a distinct trail.

Place the chefs’ rings on a flat plate, lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into each ring, pushing the mixture down to make sure there are no gaps. Smooth off the top with a palette knife and pop them in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. If you are having friends around for dinner, you can do this bit in the morning and leave the rest until you are about ready to serve.

Just before you are ready to serve, pop your Amaretti biscuits into a plastic zip-lock bag and using a rolling pin, crush them inside the bag to create a dusting.

Remove the cheesecakes from the fridge and set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Place the Amaretti crumbs on a plate and then dip each of the cheesecakes in their chefs’ rings into the crumbs, 2 – 3 times if necessary – to make sure that the end is thoroughly covered. Dip both ends in the Amaretti crumbs.

Then, hold your breath (!) and lightly shake each cheesecake from the chefs’ ring onto its serving plate. Despite your total disbelief, it will gently drop down the ring and then plop out beautifully onto your serving plate – looking gorgeous!

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the strawberries and sugar and cook, stirring continually for about 1 minute. Pour over the balsamic and cook for a further 1 minute.

Spoon some of the strawberries onto the plate alongside the cheesecake. Absolutely delicious – the strawberries contrast the cheesecake perfectly, both elements enhancing the flavour of the other. Serve your vanilla and Amaretti cheesecakes with balsamic-infused strawberries together with a wee glass of Disaronno Italian liqueur or a lovely little dessert wine to complete the indulgence! Yum!

Tip…

Chefs’ rings are almost like slices of metal piping you might expect on a building site! Another description would that of a cookie cutter, double the normal depth.

Inspired by…

Stuart Gillies, with James Martin on Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Really easy, the only nervy bit is when you’re watching the cheesecake slowly drop through the chefs’ rings but be patient, and it will be fine!

Bread and Butter Pudding Brunch

This is a fabulous weekend breakfast – a real treat: something completely different, dead easy to make and minimal washing up! I tried the first version of this over Christmas and it was just dull but so obsessive has this little blogging project become that I woke up Friday morning re-jigging the recipe in my head and the new version is lovely – the light, fluffy, savoury ‘custard’ works brilliantly with the salty Parma Ham, mushrooms and cheese. Give it a go – perfect with the weekend papers and a leisurely day ahead.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking dish, lightly buttered (mine is 26 x 18 x 7cms deep)

6 slices bread

80g butter

6 slices Parma Ham

200g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

3 large eggs

500ml milk

Pinch paprika

Sea salt and black pepper

100g Gruyère, grated

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350 f / gas 4.

Take three slices of the bread and butter them. Cut the Parma Ham in half width-ways and lay two halves on each piece of bread, covering each slice. Butter the other three slices and pop on top of the Parma Ham, butter-sides down, making three sandwiches. Butter the top slice of bread. Cut the sandwiches in quarters, diagonally to create four triangles from each sandwich and wodge into your baking dish with the buttered sides facing upwards.

Push the slices of mushroom in between the bread triangles, sharing them evenly throughout.

In a large jug, chuck in your eggs, milk, paprika and seasoning and, using a balloon whisk, blend together to create the custard.

Pour the custard over the bread, ensuring that all of the bread is doused. Scatter over the Gruyère and pop the pudding in the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the bread is golden and crunchy on the top and the pudding is puffed up and gorgeous-looking! Plonk your bread and butter pudding brunch in the middle of the table and ask everyone to dive in – great start to a weekend day!

Inspired by…

Can’t remember which magazine I ripped out the original recipe from, but it didn’t work anyway! This version comes from that lovely place between being asleep and being properly awake when, if you’re me, you’re now re-writing recipes in your head!!!!

How easy…

Ever so. Stick on some laid-back music, sing along and create.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hake with Mushrooms and Soured Cream

I love hake and try to incorporate it into my fish recipes where possible – it seems to be an under-rated fish – not only is it really tasty and firm enough to hold its shape during cooking but it’s also inexpensive – what’s not to like? This recipe is delicious and also has a really distinctive flavour – it didn’t taste like I expected it to but was a very happy surprise. The whole lot got devoured very quickly anyway! Easy and with hardly any mess, it’s a perfect weekday supper dish for the family.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x large baking dish (mine is 20 x 30 x 7cms deep), lightly buttered

1kg hake fillets, skinned and cut into chunks (5cm x 5cm-ish)

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

Knob butter

Splash rapeseed or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

300g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2 teaspoons soy sauce

250ml soured cream

5 teaspoons sherry

Large handful grated Parmesan cheese

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Mix the flour, salt and paprika in a bowl and dust the fish on both sides. Then place them in your baking dish so that they fit snugly together.

Heat butter and oil and soften the onion and mushrooms. When just beginning to shrink, remove from the heat, mix in the soy sauce and then spread over the fish. Using the same saucepan, mix together the soured cream and sherry and then dribble over the fish.

Sprinkle over the Parmesan and then pop the dish into the oven uncovered to bake for 40 minutes.

Serve your delicious hake with mushrooms and soured cream together with green vegetables (asparagus works well). Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Lynn Bedford Hall, New Creative Cuisine

How easy…

So relaxed, it’s practically horizontal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary-Roasted Root Vegetables

Winter Sunday Roasts in our house are one of the highlights of the weekend. Generally, we have roast chickens served with the lightest, fluffiest Yorkshire Puddings, fabulous gravy and these wonderful roasted root vegetables. As the herbs used in these vegetables mingle with the cooking smells of the chickens, a unique and simple gorgeous aroma permeates the house. It doesn’t matter how horrible the weather is outside, the cooking smells and the knowledge of the meal that is shortly to come brings a lovely warmth inside. Kitchen rules apply: G&Ts on the side and a good bottle of red opened and waiting to accompany this fine meal! The Sunday Roast is prepared by John – which makes it even better – and I only get involved in the preparation of these delicious vegetables. A further joy is the single baking dish that is used to cook them in – minimal washing up! Try them as an alternative to your normal Sunday Roast vegetables – you’ll love them.

 Serves 4

 What you need…

1 large ovenproof dish (mine is 20cm x 30cm x 7cm deep), lightly buttered

½ swede, peeled and cut into wedges

6 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways

4 parsnips, peeled and halved

2 turnips, peeled and quartered

2 red onions, peeled and quartered

2 large red potatoes, washed quartered

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

5 sprigs of rosemary

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200c / 400f/ gas 6.

Chuck all the vegetables into your ovenproof dish.

Scatter over the rosemary and pour over the oil. Mix everything together ensuring that the rosemary and oil are evenly dispersed among the vegetables.

Pop in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Take them out and give them a quick stir before popping them back in for a further 20 minutes. Enjoy the wafting aroma of rosemary!

Serve your rosemary-roasted root vegetables with the rest of your Sunday Roast, indulge in far too much lovely food and retire to the sofa for a little afternoon snooze!

Tips…

Aim to have your chunky vegetables pieces roughly the same size.

Used ready-prepared Cooks’ Ingredients’ frozen, chopped garlic – so much easier than all that peeling and chopping.

For a slight variation, I sometimes add thyme and sage as supplements to the rosemary.

Inspired by…

Delia Smith’s Winter Collection

How easy…

Spectacularly easy and only one pot to wash up. You can also prepare them and then cover the raw vegetables and herbs with cling-film for up to 2 hours before popping them in the oven, which provides the added bonus of allowing the flavours to develop even further.

Plum and Apple Crumble Tart

Serves 8 – 10

I saw Mary Berry do this as part of the James Martin Saturday Kitchen show last month and was very taken with the lusciousness look of her version (with blackberries and apple). A pastry case together with a sweet, crunchy, nutty crumble topping and filled with the soft, sweet fruit – what a lovely combination for a dreary January day! I will just say that my tart tin is a full 5cms smaller than hers, as well as being shallower, but, as is my way, I kept the ingredients quantities roughly similar to her recipe, hence, whilst Mary’s tart was neat and flat, mine was mountainous and rather rustic-looking! That said, it tastes absolutely gorgeous and definitely fulfils the need for a little indulgent, comfort food – another one of those dishes that gets left on the side for a couple of hours after serving, with a handy spoon available just to check that it’s still ok…..

What you need…

1 x 28cm loose-bottomed, fluted tart tin, 3-4 cms deep, lightly buttered

Baking beans

for the pastry

225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

125g cold butter, cut into cubes

30g caster sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 – 2 tablespoons water

for the filling

2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks

150g caster sugar

2 tablespoons water

500g plums, stoned and quartered

for the crumble topping

175g plain flour

100g cold butter, cut into cubes

50g rolled oats

100g demerara sugar

50g chopped almonds

What to do…

For the pastry, whizz the flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg and water and whizz again until the mixture comes together as a smooth dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and roll it out into a circle that’s about 3mm thick and large enough to line the tart tin base and sides. Press the pastry into the base and side of the tin and make a small lip around the top with the excess pastry. Prick the base all over with a fork and then pop in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Line the chilled pastry case with baking/parchment paper and baking beans, then pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the lip of the pastry is light golden-brown. Remove the baking beans and paper and reduce the oven to 150°c / 300°f / gas 2 and bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until the pastry is a light golden brown all over. Set aside to cool.

Increase the oven temperature back up to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

While the pastry is cooking, prepare the filling: place the apples, sugar and water into a medium saucepan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. Cover the pan, and simmer gently for a further 5 minutes. Mix in the plums, pop the lid back on and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whilst the pastry and filling are cooling, make the crumble topping by popping all the ingredients into your processor (great to use it twice in one recipe without the need for washing up!) Whizz until everything is evenly mixed together and crumb-like.

Drain your cooked fruits through a colander, collecting the juice in a bowl for later. Spoon the fruit into the pastry case. Sprinkle over the crumble topping, covering all the filling and bake the tart for 20 – 25 minutes or until the crumble is crisp and golden brown.

Serve your plum and apple crumble the tart warm, with a little of the reserved fruit juice and some double cream or custard. Simply yummy!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry, Absolute Christmas Favourites

How easy….

Very easy – like Delia, Mary Berry is very precise with her instructions. I’m always a bit nervous about pastry but this was dead easy and absolutely lovely!

New York Caesars Salad, My Way

Many years ago I had a marketing job that meant, in the name of work, I ate out a lot. And I mean a lot. There was also the occasional overseas trips undertaken and twice I was lucky enough to visit New York on business. Labeled a ‘jolly’, the trip was as much about food as it was the thrills of Manhattan: huge hotel breakfasts followed by large, leisurely lunches and obscenely over-indulgent dinners punctuated each day. There’s only so much a girl can eat even if the food is amazing so I quickly took to choosing Caesars Salad as my default choice for lunch, being the perfect foil for the inevitable heavy, rich dinners that I knew would follow. I’ve never had a Caesars Salad as good as those I enjoyed in New York and so ended up developing my own version: New York Caesars Salad, My Way! I have no idea how close to the authentic recipe mine is but it’s pretty close to those savoured in Manhattan. It’s light but edgy – salad with attitude I’d say – and really enlivening – give it a go!

Serves 2

What you need…

4 good-sized slices back bacon

300g mixed salad leaves (including iceberg for the crunch), torn

A good handful of freshly grated Parmesan

for the croutons

1 slice bread from a large loaf

50g butter

for the dressing

60ml olive oil

30ml white wine vinegar

3 anchovies

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper to season

What to do…

For the croutons, cut bread roughly into 1cm squares and pop into a bowl with the butter and then into the microwave for 1 minute. Stir to make sure the butter is evenly distributed and pop back in for another 40 seconds. Repeat this last process until the croutons are golden and crispy. In my microwave, I do 3 x 40 seconds.

(N.B. microwave times may vary – I rarely use a microwave so ours is old and pretty inferior so yours may do the job much quicker).

Set the croutons aside to cool.

Dry-fry the bacon until its crispy. Remove from the pan and as soon as it’s cool enough to handle, chop it up into bite-sized pieces (I use scissors for this – it’s quicker than a knife for me). Put the chopped pieces on kitchen paper to absorb the moisture whilst the bacon cools.

In a jam jar, chuck all the dressing ingredients in together, screw on the lid and shake vigorously to mix everything together and break down the anchovies.

When you are ready to serve, tip your salad leaves into a large roomy salad bowl and throw in the bacon. Add half the Parmesan and then the dressing. Toss everything together. Either divide into two bowls or serve to the table in the salad bowl. Whichever way, scatter over more Parmesan and finally, the croutons. Enjoy! It really is a wonderful salad!

Serving suggestion…

I like New York Caesar’s Salad on it’s own as a main course, but it also works well served with steak or as a starter, perhaps with garlic bread.

Tip…

Cooks’ Ingredients frozen, chopped garlic from Waitrose – just tip some in the dressing rather than all that peeling and chopping….

Inspired by…

New York!

How easy…

Ever so!