Life’s too short to wait for great-tasting food - so if you’re tight on time and want something delicious for dinner, look no further. John’s showstopping Thai prawn curry is easy to prepare, quick to pop on the hob and ready to eat in half an hour.
Last week we introduced you to our newest member of the This Morning team: Strictly pro Anton Du Beke. Or rather, Anton Du Bake! In episode two of his series, he’s sorting out the nation’s baking fails - starting with a vicar’s wife in the New Forest who admits to being one of Britain’s worst bakers.
Find out if Anton can help her master the perfect scone for an afternoon tea at the church.
250g plain flour
150g strong plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
100g cold butter, cut into cubes
70g golden caster sugar
250g raisins, optional
Flour to dust
Milk, to glaze
Clotted cream and jam, to serve
Preheat the oven to 160C, fan 150C, Gas 3 and line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper
Place the two types of flour into a large bowl with the baking powder and salt. Add the butter and rub in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar, then add the buttermilk and mix in lightly to make a soft dough - if you are using raisins, add them at this point
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and briefly knead to bring together
Roll out to a thickness of about 2cm, then use a 6cm cutter to cut out the scones (if you have excess dough left over you can re-roll it one more time)
Place the scones on the baking sheet and brush the tops with a little milk. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Bake in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until the scones have risen and are golden brown
Allow to cool before serving with jam and clotted cream
Tips for perfect scones
- Never overwork the dough as it will tighten up and will lose the lightness
- Buttermilk adds richness to the flavour
- Give time to let the dough prove
- Don't roll out the dough too thickly
With over 10 years of fitness training, a medley of healthy eating books under her belt, and a new website Own Your Goals, Davina McCall is jumping into our kitchen with a low fat, high flavour dish.
It’s prime picking season for asparagus and Phil Vickery has harvested the cream of the crop to cook the ultimate seasonal dish: asparagus and smoked salmon with pea and tarragon crème fraîche.
Griddled British asparagus and smoked salmon with pea and tarragon crème fraîche
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
For the griddled asparagus:
4 x 230g bundles British asparagus, trimmed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x 100g packs smoked salmon
For the pea and tarragon crème fraîche:
2 x 200ml tubs crème fraîche
4 tbsp tarragon, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp cider vinegar
2-3 tsp caster sugar
250g petit pois frozen peas, cooked and refreshed then drained
Spicy smoked paprika (optional)
To serve: crusty sourdough or French bread
Trim the ends of the asparagus to remove the woody stems.
Place onto a tray and drizzle over the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix well
Heat a large griddle or frying pan over a medium heat and add the asparagus in small batches to take on a nice griddled colour. This will take approximately 3-6 minutes depending on the thickness of the stems. Remove then repeat until all the spears are cooked and put to one side.
Meanwhile mix the crème fraîche, tarragon, cider vinegar, sugar and petit pois, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well
To serve, wrap the smoked salmon around the griddled asparagus spears
Divide the wrapped spears evenly onto 4 plates then spoon over the pea crème fraîche. Dust with a little paprika and serve with crusty bread, a drizzle of olive oil and plenty of black pepper.
Serves: 10 - 12
Prep time: 50 minutes
Chill time: Minimum 1 hour
Bake time: 40 - 50 minutes
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) water
100g (3 ½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
50g (1 ¾ oz) honey
Handful of chopped mint
240g (8 ½ oz) self-raising (-raising) flour
Pinch of salt
300g (10 ½ oz) blitzed pistachios
200g (7oz) butter
350g (12oz) caster (superfine) sugar
50g (1 ¾ oz) honey
2 tbsp fresh mint
250g (9oz) full-fat Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp icing (confectioner’s) sugar
2 tbsp honey
Fresh fruits (Juliet uses green, gold and baby kiwi slices, and slices of orange, strawberries and blueberries)
Flowering mint leaves and edible flowers to decorate (Juliet uses mixed colour zinnias and flowering mint)
Stand mixer, electric whisk or bowl and wooden spoon
Cake leveller or sharp knife
23cm (9in) round cake tin, lined with baking parchment
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time until combined
Add the mint and honey, and fold in the flour, pistachios and salt
Bake at 160℃ (325℉) for 40 - 50 minutes until cooked through
Now make the syrup. Heat the sugar, water and honey until the sugar is dissolved, then take off the heat and add the mint.
Make the yoghurt topping in a bowl. Add the honey and sugar to the yoghurt and stir through.
Trim off the hump from the top of the cake and drizzle over the syrup mixture so it soaks in
Spoon the yoghurt topping onto the cake and using a palette knife, level and make it smooth
Go around the edge of the cake with the palette knife to make it neat and round and so that the toppings sit around the edge of the sponge
Dress with fruit and fresh flowers, trimming the fruit and choosing various sizes of the flowers so they fit neatly together and around the top edge of the cake. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
Makes: 25-30 biscuits
Prep time: 30 minutes
Chill time: approx 2 hours
Bake time: 25 minutes
250g (8 ¾ oz) white caster (superfine) sugar
15g (½ oz) dried lavender
250g (9oz) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
360g (12 ¾ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
Purple food colouring dust
1 egg white
Edible violas in a variety of colours (Juliet uses purples)
To make the lavender sugar, blitz the caster sugar and lavender in a food processor until the lavender has been dispersed into a fine dust
Reserve 4 tablespoons of the lavender sugar and put to one side
Cream together the butter and lavender sugar with the vanilla bean paste until it is pale and fluffy
Add the flour and combine into a soft dough
Split the dough in half and roll each amount into a thick sausage shape with a diameter of around 5cm (2in). Wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for a couple of hours.
Unwrap the chilled dough and cut into 1cm (3/4inch) thick slices
Add purple food colouring dust to the remaining lavender sugar until you have a lilac-coloured sugar
Roll the edge of each slice of dough in the coloured lavender sugar
Place the biscuits on a lined baking tray and bake at 180C (350F) for 15 minutes
Remove the biscuits from the oven, brush the tops with a little egg white and add the violas by pushing them gently into the centre of each warm biscuit. Brush over the top with another layer of egg white to seal the flowers in place.
Continue baking the biscuits for another 5-10 minutes until the edges turn golden brown
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack
2 shakes of celery salt
couple of grinds of black pepper
4-6 drops of Tabasco sauce
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon grated fresh horseradish or 2 tsp horseradish sauce
600ml tomato juice
Fill a jug with lots of ice and season with a pinch of salt, celery salt and pepper
Add the rest of the ingredients except for the vodkas and tomato juice and stir it all
Pour in the vodka, stir again and top with the tomato juice. Float a little extra vodka on top. Cheeky!
John says: Popcorn is good, vanilla Ice cream with chocolate sauce is good, so if you put them all together you get something that is brilliant. You can cheat by buying flavoured popcorn but I like making my own.
Flavoured popcorn with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce
For the popcorn
1 tbsp vegetable oil
120g popcorn kernels
For the popcorn coating
50g soft brown sugar
80g castor sugar
1 tsp bicarb
For the chocolate sauce
50ml single cream
30ml maple syrup
First make the popcorn, simply heat a saucepan with a lid over a high heat, add the oil, when it’s warm, add the popcorn and put the lid on
Leave it until it starts to pop and then shake the pan, don’t open it, it will take about 5 minutes for it all to pop but do keep shaking the pan. Take it off the stove and sprinkle with the salt.
For the popcorn coating: Put all the ingredients except the bicarbonate of soda into a saucepan and bring to the boil, after 3 minutes it will be thick and golden.
Turn off the heat and now you have to work quickly, add the bicarb and stir it, it will puff up like honeycomb
Immediately pour over the hot popcorn and mix it through
For the chocolate sauce
On the stove, warm the cream in a pot with the maple syrup, add the chocolate in chunks, bring to the boil and whip it off.
Serve 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream in a large cup or mug, scatter with the popcorn and pour over hot chocolate sauce