BFBS Radio2

Here we start a regular monthly visit to the radio station. If you have any cookery querries please email them to me at I will either use them in my visits or reply to you direct.

Happy Cooking!!!

In Season


As the days get longer and the weather gets milder, the first fruits of the season, such as rhubarb, will be finding their way to market. Also the fresh and versatile parsley makes a seasonal appearance on the shelves. Try these and other new flavours in March.

Early rhubarb


'April is the cruellest month' according to TS Eliot, but after a winter that seemed to last forever, the arrival of spring seems anything but mean-spirited now that the brighter colours and flavours are breaking through

Spring lamb

The Big Chefs Simple Simnel Cake

  • 110g butter or margarine
  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 150g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp ground mixed spice (optional)
  • 350g mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
  • 55g chopped mixed peel
  • ½ lemon, grated rind only
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 egg, beaten for glazing

For the almond paste: (Marzipan) or buy ready made

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ tsp almond essence

To make the almond paste: place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl. Add enough beaten egg to give a fairly soft consistency. Add the almond essence and knead for a minute until the paste is smooth and pliable. Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle 18cm/7in in diameter and reserve the remainder for topping of the cake.

Preheat oven to 140C/275F/ Gas 1. To make the cake: cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and spice (if using) a little at a time. Finally, add the dried fruit, peel and grated lemon rind and mix into the mixture well.

Put half the mixture in a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for the cake to rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool.

When you are ready to decorate the cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3. Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Divide the remainder of the almond paste into two; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.

Place the circle of paste on the jam and set the balls round the edge. Brush the entire top with a little beaten egg. Return the cake to the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or long enough for the almond paste to brown.

Spring Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 onions - finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 strip orange zest, about 3 inches x ½ inch
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and brown the lamb shanks in batches over medium heat. Remove the lamb and set aside.

In the same pan, sauté the onion over medium heat until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, turn up the heat, and boil for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, including the lamb shanks, and bring to a boil. Cover and bake for 2 hours, or until the lamb is tender, turning several times.

Discard the bay leaf and orange zest. Remove the shanks with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Cook the remaining sauce over high heat for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Pour the sauce over the shanks and serve sprinkled with parsley.

Ignorance is Bliss

Just the simplest thing to make, but tastes out of this world!!

Time to prepare - 5 minutes + chilling
Serves 4

  • 1 pint Whipping Cream
  • A good splash of Baileys, Amerula, Tia Maria, or favourite liqueur
  • 1 Crunchie - smashed with a rolling pin whilst still in packet

Whisk together the cream and liqueur until almost firm then add Crunchie pieces and whisk for 15 seconds. Leave to chill in fridge for 1 hour minimum.

Peters Perfect Pancake Mix

Serves 8


  • 125g plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 300 ml milk
  • light-flavoured oil for frying


Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
Break in the egg and beat with a wooden spoon.
Gradually whisk in the milk.
Meanwhile heat the oil in the frying pan, making sure the bottom is covered evenly, but that there is not an excess.
Pour in enough batter just to coat the bottom of the pan.
Cook until lightly browned. Flip with a fish slice and cook the other side.
When all pancakes are made, drizzle over grand marnier and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Suggestions for fillings:
Asparagus and Ham
Chicken Sweet corn and red Pepper
Turkey and mushroom
Four cheeses and Cherry Tomatoes
Wild Mushroom
Roasted Garlic, tomato and Pesto
Chocolate and Hazelnut
Strawberry and Cream
Calvados and Bananas
Bananas and Rum

Roasted Love Apple Soup

Tomatoes were originally called love apples and are therefore particularly appropriate for Valentine's day. If you are able to find plum cherry tomatoes they have even better flavour.

Serves 2


  • 675g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 450ml light vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To serve:

  • Heart shaped croutons
  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Soya cream - optional

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Place the tomatoes and cloves of garlic in a roasting dish in a single layer.
Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes until the garlic is tender when pierced with a knife, and the tomatoes are colouring and splitting.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until transluscent.
Squeeze the garlic out of the skins and add to the onions, together with the roasted tomatoes and all the juices from the roasting pan.
Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Cool, then blend until the soup is very smooth (make sure all the tomato skins are well blended).
Return the soup to a clean pan, season to taste and gently reheat.
Serve in warmed soup bowls topped with heart shaped croutons, a sprinkling of chopped chives and a swirl of cream or yoghurt, if liked.

Beef Stroganov

Beef Stroganov or by the Russian name Byefstroganov. A very classy dish, very good for special occasions. Very easy to prepare.


  • 1½lb (675 g) fillet of beef
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 12 medium mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ pint (290 ml)chicken or beef stock
  • ¼ pint (150 ml)soured cream
  • ½ tablespoon of sunflower oil or butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper and chopped fresh parsley

Slice the beef into thin long strips (about 2in long).
Heat the oil, add the meat and brown all over.
Remove from pan but keep hot.
In the same pan fry the onion and chopped mushrooms until they start to brown.
Return the meat to the pan and add the stock and some of the soured cream.
Check for seasoning.
Cover with lid and let it simmer for approx. 20 minutes.
Just before serving add the rest of the cream and chopped parsley.
It is delicious with rice.

Lovers Chocolate Dessert

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. Valentine's Day is a day for lovers and lovers have better things to do than cook! Chocolate is an ideal food for lovers as not only does it help replenish your strength but it is also a natural aphrodisiac.

I prefer French chocolate. The French have the reputation for being the best lovers in the world and you can taste this quality in their chocolate. It is truly orgasmic.

We'll begin with our chocolate fudge filling and topping.


  • 75g unrefined, granulated sugar
  • 40g organic butter
  • 75g dark, smooth, French chocolate
  • 100ml evaporated milk, I know it's common but you can throw rest of can away.
  • 2 drops of vanilla essence.

Pour sugar and evaporated milk into a heavy saucepan and, over a low heat, continually entice them together. The sugar will gradually be seduced into the milk. At this point leave them alone for 6 minutes to gently mummer together.

Break the chocolate into tiny pieces using your fingertips. Introduce gradually into pan, enticing, until the chocolate is seduced.

Introduce butter and entice. Continue to entice as you sprinkle vanilla essence into pan.

At this stage it is too liquid to be of use and it must be chilled into a malleable, spreadable consistence. In a normal fridge this will take about two hours.

Now for the actual cake part.


  • 175g self-raising flour, sifted to add extra air, we want light in our cake.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, to ensure raising ability.
  • 175g organic butter, should be soft and oozing onto plate.
  • 175g unrefined caster sugar.
  • 3 large, free-range organic eggs.
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, I prefer Fairtrade organic then I can eat my cake guilt-free.

Forewarn your oven to gas mark 3 (170 C).

Waltz a bit of butter around two sponge tins. I find seven-inch diameter sufficient for our love cake. I also layer a piece of baking parchment onto the base of the tin to ensure ease of exit.

Simply introduce all the ingredients into your food processor. Then mingle until waved into a uniform dark brown. At this stage the mixture should be moist. If it lacks moisture one, or two, teaspoonfuls of tepid water should be added and mingled.

Divide equally between your awaiting tins. Place in centre of oven for about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow cooling slightly before, gently, encircling inner rim with palette knife. Tip onto cooling rack. Carefully peel back paper bases. Allow to relax.

To assemble your cake. Caress chocolate fudge onto one half of cake. Bake a handful of fresh, Scottish raspberries and scatter onto surface. Place second cake-half firmly on top. Caress rest of chocolate fudge on top. Topping should dribble down sides sluttishly. Decorate with a pair of raspberries in centre.

Feed generous slice to your Valentine. If your tastes are very rich, add cream.

Then it is time for a cuddle on the couch!!!!