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Recipes of the Month
April - Steamed Chocolate Pudding


  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 50 g coco powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 100g good quality chocolate
  • 1 x 750ml pudding basin or 5-6 150ml individual moulds, buttered and floured


Beat the butter and sugar together until the mix is almost white and the sugar has dissolved (best done with an electric mixer). Then add the first egg and beat until it is completely mixed in and fluffy. Repeat with the second egg and then continue with the egg yolk.

Next - fold in the sifted flour until it is completely incorporated, adding milk if necessary. Grate half the chocolate and add to the mix. Spoon into the mould (s) to three quarters full. Cover with greaseproof paper or tin foil, with a fold in the centre to create space for a rising pudding. Steam over boiling water.

Individual puddings take 40 mins and a large one 1.5 hrs. Top up the water as necessary during cooking.

Serve with cream or ice cream and finish off with the remaing grated chocolate.

March - Peppered duck breast, wild mushroom & spinach.


  • 4 female Barbary duck breasts
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • 50ml Cognac
  • 200ml duck stock (you can use chicken stock if you like) reduce to 100ml
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 100g Shitake mushrooms
  • 100g oyster mushrooms
  • 100g fresh spinach (washed thoroughly)


Trim the duck breasts and lightly score the skin with a sharp knife.

Spread the cracked peppercorns over the duck breasts, pressing them into the skin. Season well with salt.

Heat a large pan over a moderate heat, and add the duck breasts, skin side down. Cook for 5 mins, or until the skin is nicely golden and crisp. Turn the breasts over and cook for about 4 minutes.

Remove the duck breasts from the pan and keep them warm while you make the sauce. Pour off the fat, and deglaze the pan with the cognac, stirring well to scape up the caramelized juices.

Add the reduced stock and stirr, then add the cream and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency. Heat the oil and half the butter in a pan and fry the mushrooms. Cook the spinach in the remaining butter. Mix the mushrooms and spinach together.

To serve slice each duck breast diagonally and spoon the spinach and mushroom mixture over and around the duck. Then spoon around the cognac sauce.

February - Cock-a-leekie

One of Scotland's most famous, and oldest dishes, this chicken soup/stew is flavoured by locally grown leeks and sweetened by prunes. It was a traditional way of using an old or tough rooster or layer and would have been cooked slowly on a peat fire overnight.


  • 1 boiling fowl (large chicken)
  • Brown chicken or beef stock
  • 1 bouquet garni - thyme, bay and parsley
  • 1 marrow bone
  • 2 medium onions peeled and roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 Leeks washed and trimmed
  • 16 prunes soaked overnight and pitted
  • Chopped parsley


Put boiling fowl in to a large pan and cover with the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to simmer and skim very thoroughly. Add bouquet garni, marrow bone and onions.

Cut 7 of the 10 leeks into 5cm pieces and add to the pot, keep the remainder to one side. Cover the pot and simmer on a very low heat for about 2 hours or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken from the pan and skin and bone it, cut the meat into julienne strips, strain the stock and discard the vegetables, herbs and bones. Return the stock and chicken to the pan.


Add prunes to the liquid and cook for 30 minutes more, slice the remaining leeks into julienne strips and add to the pan a few mintues before serving. Check the seasoning.

Sprinkle some of the parsley over each bowl and serve.

September Recipe - Lemon Posset

This pudding has to be one of the easiest of all time to prepare and cook!

Looking at the Ingredients it's quite hard to believe that the recipe will work - how will it set?


The three simple ingredients are cooked together, the sugar and the acidity of the lemon juice react with the cream so that once it has cooled an been refrigerated it sets just like a mousse.



  • (Serves 6)
  • 6 wine glasses
  • 900ml double cream
  • 225-250g castor sugar
  • juice of 3 lemons

Bring the cream and sugar to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and mix in well.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly before pouring in the glasses, leaving a 1cm space at the top of each glass.

These can now be refrigerated and allowed to set which will take between 2 - 3 hours.

I like to pour some liquid cream on top of each Posset - it helps to balance the rich acidic lemon flavour.

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