[soliloquy id=”4925″]

One of the main events in the final weekend of Emsworth British Food Fortnight was the fantastic Thought for Food Market. Despite the horrendous rain (and thunder!) as we set up, the crowds turned out to see the best that Emsworth and the local area has to offer.

In the food demo area we were tempting people with new recipes to get creative with peppers, using locally sourced bell and sweet pointy peppers from Tangmere Airfield Nurseries. We made savoury muffins, sweet pepper houmous and pepper focaccia. The recipes will be available shortly, stay tuned for details!

Obviously we couldn’t just stick to savoury recipes and we were delighted to get our hands on some yummy Montezuma’s chocolate to get creative with. Recipes included Chocolate, orange and geranium brownie, Lemon and chocolate mousse and a Chocolate, salt & lime sauce. If you fancy the sound of those and didn’t make it to the demo, it’s not too late as we’ll be making them on our upcoming Chocoholic’s Choice class, book here!



#GBBO Batter week!

posted by Barbara Crick on Tags: , , ,


img_6357Today I’m off to BBC Radio Solent to have a chat about the Great British Bake Off. We’ll be talking all things batter and I’m taking along some Churros with Montezuma’s chocolate dip. I can’t wait to hear what they think of them!

Here’s the recipe if you fancy making your own batch this weekend –

Ingredients, for the batter

250g 00 flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch sea salt

350ml boiling water

50g unsalted butter

Ingredients, for the chocolate sauce

100ml double cream

50g dark chocolate (I used Montezuma’s yummy Dark Chocolate with Geranium – amazing!)

Plus sugar to dust the churros


  1. Weigh out the flour in a large bowl. Add the baking powder and salt, stir through.
  2. Pour the boiling water into a measuring jug and add the butter. Stir to melt the butter.
  3. Pour the liquid into the flour mixture and stir to create a thick batter. Leave to rest while you make the chocolate sauce.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat the double cream. Remove from the heat and break the chocolate into the hot cream. Stir to create a think sauce.
  5. Heat a deep-fat fryer to 180C. Fit a star nozzle into a piping bag. Fill with about half of the batter (don’t over load, as the bag will explode!).
  6. Hold the bag over the fryer and squeeze a length of batter out, allow to drop into the fat (or cut with scissors if it does not break off). Cook for about 3 minutes or until golden.
  7. Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towel to drain off the oil and then transfer to a second bowl, sprinkle over sugar.
  8. Repeat with the remaining batter and serve as soon as possible.

Chop, dice and slice like a pro!

posted by Barbara Crick on Tags: There is no tags


One of the centre pieces in the kitchen here at Emsworth Cookery School is our 20 piece Flint and Flame knife set. This set, plus a few extras, are the knives which everyone cooking here gets the opportunity to test out as they work on their dishes during our classes.

Lots of questions are always asked about how to get the most out of knives so I’ve put together a new class especially for the Emsworth British Food Fortnight covering dicing and slicing, mincing herbs, skinning tomatoes and portioning a chicken.

If you fancy joining us, book your spot here.

Plus, not only will you try the knives here, but you will go home with a 3.5″ paring knife – learn more about that Flint and Flame have to say about this beauty here!

If you have any queries about this class, do email me. Otherwise, click here to book!

PS the knife you go home with is worth more than the cost of the class, plus you’ll know how to use it and have a yummy lunch – it’s a win-win-win!

School cookery

posted by Barbara Crick on Tags: , ,


[soliloquy id=”4777″]Yesterday I was asked what one thing I would change if I was suddenly put in charge of the UK’s food policy. It didn’t take me long to think of an answer – I’d get everyone cooking in schools. It’s a bit of a generalisation, but many parents today can’t cook so in turn their children don’t learn to cook from them and the school syllabus is seriously limited when it comes to this essential lifeskill which has the potential to make real change to our everyday lives.

Cookery should be fun and give people the opportunity to get creative while nourishing themselves, family and friends. There are some dishes which can easily be tweaked to make other meals, so for example, our Duke of Edinburgh Award and University survival classes often start with lasagna. From this the cooks can then see how easy it is to adapt the tomato sauce into spaghetti bolognese or a chilli and the white sauce can be tweaked to macaroni cheese or a herby sauce for fish or chicken.

Working with local schools for the last 5 years I have delivered a wide variety of After school cookery lessons covering simple dishes such as stir-fries and fruit crumbles through to homemade pasta, sushi and Thai curries. These young cooks soon see how easy it is to create delicious dishes from simple ingredients- it might not look perfect at the end but it always tastes fabulous!

There’s only one of me and while I love working with schools, I’ve come to realise that the best way to use my time is to train the staff at schools so they can deliver even better lessons to the children they teach. Many already cook a little with the children, but need inspiration to build on this. I’ve just completed 3 training sessions with the Teaching Assistants at Waterloo School and from September the 10 recipes will be delivered to their children. The 10 recipes cover 5 savoury and 5 sweet dishes including shepherds’ pie, stir-fry with spicy rice, chicken pie, toad-in-the-hole, traybakes and strawberry tiramisu. Do get in touch if I can be of assistance in your school!

So if you have keen cooks at home, here are my top five of the dishes you should be able to cook by the end of Senior school & some recipe ideals-

  1. Spaghetti bolognese – click here for a bolognese to impress.
  2. Eggs cooked at least 5 ways – can they boil, scramble, make an omelette, poach and fry an egg? Poaching can be the one that catches people out – try putting clingfilm loosely over a cup, grease it and then drop an egg in. Seal tightly then drop into boiling water. Keep an eye onto it and remove from the clingfilm once the egg white has set.
  3. Vegetable pasta bake – I’ll never forget one of my 6th formers asking me how to cook pasta – they had no idea you boil it in water – they thought it was cooked in oil! Make a simple sauce from a fried onion, tin of tomatoes and any vegetables you have to hand. Stir through cooked pasta, grate over some cheese and pop under the grill.
  4. Homemade pizza – homemade dough and a few toppings cost a fraction of a takeaway price so master this recipe and you’ll always impress your friends – Jamie Oliver’s version here makes lots – you might want to halve this recipe!
  5. Ice-cream – did you know you can make homemade ice-cream without an ice-cream maker? Whisk 300ml double cream to soft peaks, stir in 150ml condensed milk and your choice of flavourings – try melted chocolate or raspberries!

[soliloquy id=”4791″]Do you ever look around your kitchen and think it’s getting maybe a little too cluttered with appliances you maybe don’t use as often as you thought you would? I’m certainly guilty of having one too many gadgets, but I think I may have found the solution – the new Flint and Flame Master Cook.

This machine is there for you whatever your level of cookery skills, it’s like the extra pair of hands you always dreamed of and combines the functions of several machines into one awesome gadget.

So where to start with it? Well you could make a soup, using it to chop your onion, then add some oil and turn the heat on the sauté the onion, then add your stock and vegetables and simmer until everything is soft. Then turn it to blending mode to create a beautifully smooth soup!

Or you might want to cook a curry and rice- the steamer basket cooks the most amazing rice I’ve ever managed at home. Other attachments can be used to steam whole fish or a spatchcock chicken. Use it to knead bread or mix a cake before baking in the oven. Whizz up some homemade humous or mayonnaise. The list goes on and on!

I’ve been so impressed with this machine and keep coming up with new recipes to try in it – I’m yet to be let down. One of the things I love is that it works so independently, you throw in the ingredients and put the lid on, the machine does the stirring leaving you free to do something else.

If you are interested in coming to try out the machine, do get in touch. We can also organise purchase of the machine and delivery directly to your house.


Pancake day

posted by Barbara Crick on Tags: ,


Pancake ingredients

What’s not to love about Pancake day? Whilst I love the classic lemon and sugar topping, this year I’ve been challenged to try something a little different, so here’s a couple of other options for you to consider….

Pancakes with Fruit Salsa

Try chopping up your favourite fruits and serving stuffed inside a pancake with a honey and Greek yogurt on the side. 

Depending on what you have to hand, you can use fresh, frozen or tinned. I used mango, kiwi, raspberries, peaches, apples and a squeeze of lemon…

Pancakes fruit salsa

Pancakes - fruit salsa


Chocolate spread and hazelnuts

Nutella might be popular with the kids, but do try one of the ‘posh’ chocolate spreads available if you want a touch of luxury. Add a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts to give a little texture too…

Pancakes chocolate and hazelnutPancakes chocolate
Apple and Cinnamon

Nothing difficult here, just peel a cooking apple and steam until soft with a little water, cinnamon and sugar. 

Pancakes - apple
Pancakes apple and cinnamon
Pancakes apple and cinammon


PS here’s a great pancake recipe if you don’t have one you use each year –

100g plain flour

2 eggs

pinch of sea salt

1 tsp sunflower oil

300ml whole milk

Measure out the flour and add the eggs, salt and sunflower oil. Mix in and add about 50ml of the milk to create a thick, smooth batter. Gradually add the remaining milk.

Warm a frying pan and rub a little oil over it. Add a spoonful of the batter and tip the frying pan to cover it. Don’t worry if the first one is a disaster – it always is for me! As the pan warms up the pancakes get better and better. Serve immediately with your choice of toppings. 


Keeping it local

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Earlier this month I was involved in A Thought for Food Market as part of The Emsworth British Food Fortnight. We cooked a huge amount of sweetcorn which had come from Barfoots just up the road in Pagham.

I hadn’t appreciated it was quite so easy to cook sweetcorn on the BBQ, for years I’ve removed the husks and wrapped in foil – what a waste of time! Just chuck it on the BBQ in the husks and let it cook through. Serve with a little chilli or herb butter for a fabulous & simple side dish.




I love fruit curds and this homemade blackberry curd is particularly easy to make. This recipe uses it to make meringue pies, but if you fancy taking a shortcut then just buy a good quality lemon curd.


for the blackberry curd

200g blackberries

1 lemon – zest and juice

100g caster sugar

100g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

3 eggs, gently whisked

1 egg yolk

for the pastry

90g plain flour

10g icing sugar

50g unsalted butter

few drops water

for the meringue

1 egg white

50g caster sugar

1 tbsp water


1. Start with the blackberry curd. For this you need to pop the blackberries in a food processor and whizz up. Push the crushed blackberries through a sieve into a glass bowl.

2. Add the remaining blackberry curd ingredients to the blackberries. Place over a saucepan with a little simmering water in the bottom of it – it should be able to warm the glass bowl, but the water should not touch the glass bowl.

3. Heat until the mixture become thick, regularly whisking. You are looking for the curd to be the thickness of a pancake batter.

4. While the curd is thickening, make the pastry. Weigh the flour and sugar into a large bowl and rub the butter in. If the mixture is not coming together, add water to it a few drops at a time until it comes together. Roll out and use a cookie cutter to make circles and place these into a jam tart tin (you should be able to make 6-8 tarts). Place in the freezer to chill and turn the oven on to 200C/ fan 180C. Once the oven is warm, transfer the pastry in to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

5. For the meringue, put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat until you have a bubbling syrupy mixture. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks and then pour in the syrup, continue to whisk to create glossy peaks.

6. To assemble the meringue pies, add a spoonful of blackberry curd into each pastry case and top with meringue – piping on for a smarter look.

7. To create a golden top, either use a blowtorch, or place under the grill. It only takes a few seconds under the grill so keep an eye on them – my first batch got rather burnt!





posted by Barbara Crick on Tags: , , , ,


web Fattoush


This is the recipe for you if you are looking to take a side dish to a barbecue this summer, or fancy a light lunch full of flavours. This is a Middle Eastern salad using pitta bread and lots of fresh vegetables. You can get creative with the vegetables – just use whatever is in the fridge! The dressing uses sumac which is a spice which you may not have come across – it is a dried, crushed berry used in Middle Eastern cookery – you may have seen it scattered on the top of dishes of hummus. 


For the salad

1 pitta bread, toasted and cut into strips

2 vine ripened tomatoes, cubed

quarter cucumber, cubed

half pepper, cubed

handful black olives

4 radishes, sliced

handful rocket

1 little gem lettuce, torn

handful fresh mint, torn

For the dressing

100ml mild olive oil

2 lemons, juice and zest

1 small garlic clove, grated

1 tbsp sumac

to taste salt and pepper


1. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad, toss together to ensure an even coating. 


If you are preparing the salad in advance, I would hold back on adding the pitta bread and dressing until you are just about to serve.