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alehouse rolls

Bread rolls with porridge base made of toasted oats and ale or stout. Definitely one of the all-time top 10 breads. The ale and the porridge base make them moist and they stay fresh for a good few days.

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angel food cake

Angel food cake, light as air and fat-free. It’s like eating cloud. Really sweet cloud. But surprisingly, it can be sliced and layered, filled with cream and fruit and curd without fear of collapsing. What it is basically is a butterless, fatless, egg yolk-less sponge. Airy-fairy.

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apple and cheddar scones

Scones made with grated raw apple and cheddar cheese. So this is a quick, rewarding, minimum effort recipe for apple cheese scones. They spread, rather than rise skywards, which seems to be the effect of cheese content in pastry.

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apple and onion loaf

Apple and onion bread, it should really be called a bird feed loaf because the amount of seeds in it is staggering. At first I was going to reduce it – a full baking tray of toasted seeds going into one little loaf! But then I thought – trust Dan. His recipes do not fail.

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apple strudel

Cheat's apple strudel with apple chunks and raisins wrapped in sweet tea bread dough. This is a cheat’s recipe. There’s no stretching and stretching and stretching and reading love letters through the dough involved.

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apricot and fig stuffing

Apricot and fig pork stuffing for turkey, duck or game. I like pairing meat with fruit, dried fruit especially, and this stuffing will complement poultry extremely well. If you set out on a challenge of de-boned bird roast this Christmas, it’s a wonderful filling to spread inside the meat, roll and tie it up, roast and serve for the ‘wow’ factor.

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apricot buns

The dough for these sweet apricot buns is very versatile. Try spreading it out, focaccia-style, in a baking tray and topping with fruit and crumble. Try putting lots of dried fruit on top, folding in half or rolling and baking into a strudel.

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apricot upside-down cake

Apricot upside-down butter cake. Just when I thought I've seen it all when it comes to cake batters, here comes this little number and what a lovely one it is. The texture is gorgeous, it's not hard to make and it keeps if you let it.

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asparagus in butter

Fresh green asparagus cooked gently with butter, served with some shavings of parmesan. Cook them simply. Don’t overcook; they need to have a bite. They love butter, not too high heat, a squeeze of lemon and some parmesan.

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asparagus risotto

Asparagus risotto with Parmesan crackers. Making a good risotto is tricky: the proportion of liquid to rice; when to add on the add-ons; how to score the precise result between tough grains and a slop bucket; whether to use a wooden spoon or a whisk in the absence of the magical girariso and how much butter it REALLY needs.

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asparagus salad

Raw asparagus salad with lemon and olive oil dressing. This is a simple salad and of course you can choose not to bother with the peeling, but it makes for a good contrast of textures. The dressing marinates the asparagus a bit and the Parmesan complements them nicely. As fresh green shoots as you can get – and it’s spring by the mouthful!

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aubergine parmigiana

Aubergine parmigiana in homemade tomato sauce, with mozarella, Parmesan and basil - the classic. It's a delicious standalone dish but also a good side to a steak.

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bacon apple and cheese muffins

Savoury breakfast muffins with bacon, apple and cheese. I adopted this recipe from Nigel Slater who uses ham in his muffins. Say what you will, bacon always wins over ham at breakfast time and these things are meant for breakfast.

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bagels

Bagels with poppy and sesame seeds - as good as in New York or Montreal. Anyone who knows a thing or two about bread, dough and things yeasty will work out that if you stick a bit of yeast dough into boiling water...

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baguettes

Baguettes made with white French type 55 flour, cold fermented overnight. The best thing for me about holidays in France is going to a boulangerie to get fresh baguettes, coming back proudly brandishing the crusty sticks, pretending I’m a proper French person.

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baked buttermilk oatmeal

Baked oatmeal breakfast casserole with buttermilk and your favourite jam. Breakfast is so controversial these days that I don’t know if I dare post this recipe under the ‘breakfast’ tag.

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baked fennel

Fennel baked with tomatoes and plums - it shows you can do almost anything with fennel. Possibly not boil it, it might be a bit unappetising. But fennel raw is delishhh. Fennel braised is lovely. Grilled. Roasted. Fennel with gorgonzola on pasta – divine.

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baked figs with blue cheese

Baked figs can be a starter, a dessert or a full lunch or brunch dish, with a bit of nice bread. Trim them and cut a cross in each to about halfway down the fruit. Put them on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil, balsamic and honey. Bake for about 10 minutes...

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baked mackerel with olives and capers

Oven baked mackerel fillets stuffed with capers and olives. This turned out to be such a fantastic thing that I might give up on my sticky pan-fried fillets and do this whenever I cook mackerel, it’s so good.

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baked orzo with mushrooms and pancetta

Orzo pasta baked in the oven with porcini mushrooms and pancetta. Those Italians! Not enough for them to make pasta in the shape of radiators, ears, bow ties, wagon wheels – they also make pasta that masquerades as rice.

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baked sardines

These are baked sardine fillets, with garlic, lemon and basil. I’m a bit fussy about sardines – even though I like the taste, like miniature mackerels, with crispy grilled skin – but the bones! The bones! Now the other day my fishmonger had some filleted fresh sardines...

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banana and bacon

Banana fried with bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup, a great breakfast on its own or on a toasted slice of sourdough. Let’s be honest: this is not a major culinary discovery. It’s not a new umami, raw fish, salted caramel or cooking things in Coca-Cola.

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banana blondie

White chocolate banana blondie with chunks of brazil nut toffee. Banana blondie recipe from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet recipe book.

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banana bran muffins

Banana bran muffins with raisins and cinnamon - perfect for breakfast. Most pastries can be frozen when baked and just cool and they will be good as fresh after an hour on the kitchen top. The only problem is they can never, ever win with the competition from a bacon butty…

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banana cake

Banana cake with raisins and honey glaze. Not sure why some call it banana ‘bread’ – it’s cake all right, sweet and raisiny, and just to make double certain no one will cut a slice of it for a ham and cheese sarnie, I’ve glazed it with sticky honey and cream topping.

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banana muffins

Banana muffins with dried mango and pineapple chunks. This is a good cake mix – the best, the banana cake. I honestly can’t recall where the recipe comes from.

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beef burgers

Homemade beef burgers in Hokkaido milk buns. Burgers crown the list and I think the secret really is in that slice of gherkin that a burger should be topped with. Joking aside - good minced beef has lots of flavour and sometimes, but sometimes, it can beat an average steak for me.

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beef fillet stuffed with porcini

Beef fillet roulade with porcini mushroom stuffing. The execution could not be easier: if you get a nice middle cut of fillet - but frankly any part will go - all you do is open it up like a book with a sharp knife, spread with the stuffing and roll it up again.

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beet cured salmon

Beet, horseradish and dill cured salmon, it takes only three days and the taste is unparallelled. Beetroot doesn't do much for the taste but the colour is to die for. Next - pork belly!

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beetroot bread

Red bread - made with raw grated beetroot, with a few raisins, sunflower and caraway seeds. Admittedly, this loaf hasn’t come out quite as red as I was hoping. The raw grated beetroot does adds a lovely flavour and moistness.

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beetroot salad

Salad of cooked and raw beetroot with honey dressing. In the next of my series of how-to-make-hated-vegetables-palatable (see cabbage), let’s tackle beetroot. It never ceases to amaze me that it’s sold ready cooked.

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black bread

Black bread with treacle, fennel seeds for flavour and cocoa and coffee for colour. Quite a bit like Marmite, you either hate or love this bread. Treacle gives it a sweetish, burnt taste and the seeds – especially fennel – come through distinctly.

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blanket de veau

I thought I’d make blanquette de veau with some diced English rose veal from my butcher’s. How haute cuisine and poncey that sounds, eh? Two things have transpired this morning however: one – when I opened my veal vacuumed pack...

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blood orange cake

Blood orange and olive oil cake with zest and chunks of orange in the mix. If you’d like to ice it, beat juice of half a blood orange into 80g icing sugar until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake and spread with a palette knife.

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blood orange muffins

Blood orange muffins with poppy seeds and orange syrup drizzle. These muffins could well be made with ordinary oranges but for the pleasure of handling that lovely fruit, use blood. BLOOD. Not blush. Recipe courtesy Good Food Magazine.

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blue cheese and oat biscuits

Biscuits made with blue cheese and toasted oats. Unlike most cheese biscuits, these actually look HEALTHY. It might be because of the oats visible when you slice the pastry block – or the greenish tinge courtesy of blue cheese.

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blue cheese steak

Rib-eye steak with green vegetables and blue cheese sauce. Simplicity itself and one of the best dinners you can have. If you’re really shopping for food on the night you eat it then the key thing – bring meat to room temperature – is a bit of a challenge.

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blueberry buckle

Blueberry buckle cake with wholemeal flour and quinoa and oats topping. That of course refers to the way the topping buckles on top of the fruit in a wavy manner. Very descriptive. I think I’ll adopt it now, especially that the blueberry kind is the most common buckle and that is my firm favourite.

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blueberry focaccia

Sweet focaccia-style tea bread topped with blueberries and crumble. Ordinarily, thinking focaccia will bring to mind an image of flat, thin bread decorated sparsely with whatever, preferably savoury, preferably olives.

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blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins. The best. The easiest. By all means use frozen berries in the bleak mid-winter. Better that than paying extortionate price of bluebs imported from Darkest Peru. And frozen ones are very well-behaved: they stir nicely into the mix, don’t go mushy like raspberries and retain their shapes.

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borodinsky bread

Borodinsky rye sourdough loaf - dense, intensely sour, strong on coriander and dark in colour. It takes forever to rise and doesn’t do much oven spring.

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breakfast couscous

Couscous with raisins, yoghurt and honey, an excellent breakfast idea. Honey and yoghurt are a must though – in fact, another brilliant breakfast is just plain yoghurt with honey drizzled over.

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bream in a salt crust

Sea bream baked in a herby salt crust. WARNING: there will be mess. You might end up with the kitchen covered in salt chipping merrily off the crust while trying to chisel in. You may well be serving scraps of fish gone cold.

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breton butter biscuits

Breton butter biscuits, rich with extra egg yolks, made with beurre de baratte. Almost a shame to bake with it – but since I propose that the biscuits below are the best in the world, it’s only fitting that they should be made with the best butter.

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bridge rolls

Bridge, or finger rolls as they are sometimes called. Every now and then we get a craving for something fluffy and soft, rich and almost brioche-like. Something to go with a really rich velvety carrot or tomato soup, or with delicate pate.

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brined christmas turkey

Christmas turkey - wonderfully moist, brined for 36 hours, worth every minute of the effort. Some other points worth bearing in mind: don’t cover it. It will steam instead of roasting. But by all means pour some liquid into the tray so it cooks in slightly moist environment.

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broccoli and stilton soup

Broccoli and Stilton soup, the easiest and tastiest - and no blender needed. Blended soup is my pet hate, worse than mushy peas or smoothies (though mind: purée - justified; milkshake - okay).

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broccoli cheese

Broccoli cheese spiced up with anchovies and Cayenne pepper, an excellent alternative to cauliflower cheese.

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