My Culinary Love Story
Recipes to accompany Audiobook


by Pauline Parry

Dear Reader:

I hope you are enjoying My Culinary Love Story!

Here are recipes from each chapter, each one an important part of the events of my life at that time. My friend, Janette Carpenter, created watercolors of each one and I had 20 of them duplicated at a fine art print shop and made available for sale. I love having them on my kitchen walls! I’ve indicated here which ones are for sale and have a link to that sales page on my website.

Happy reading and cooking!


Table of Contents

Chapter One


This recipe is my adaptation of what I learned from Bill, the chef at Blostin’s. As this was a French bistro in a very English village, of course its dishes were given a bit of a British slant.


  • 6 lamb shanks (each approximately three quarters of a pound)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups of chopped yellow onions
  • 1 ½ cups of carrots, sliced
  • 10 minced garlic gloves
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juices
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons lemon peel zest
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Wrap string around each shank about three times and tie a knot to keep the meat secure to the bone. Sprinkle shanks with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium high heat. Working in batches, add shanks to the pot and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer shanks to a bowl.

Add onions, carrots and garlic to the pot and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Return shanks to the pot, pressing down to submerge. Bring liquids to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pot and simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

Uncover the pot and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer shanks to a platter and remove the string. Bring the juices in a saucepan to a boil and simmer until thickened for about 15 minutes. Spoon over the shanks and serve on a bed of mashed rutabaga and roasted carrots.

Rutabaga Mash

  • 2 to 3 pounds of rutabaga
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • ½ cup of salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper

Peel rutabaga and cut into one-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan, cover with room temperature water. Add one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 – 30 minutes or until tender.  Drain and let the rutabaga dry in a colander.

Mash the rutabaga with butter, one teaspoon of salt and white pepper.

Roasted Carrots

  • 18 whole carrots (washed leaving part of the stems)
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Place carrots on a sheet pan and pour over the olive oil mixture until all carrots are lightly coated. Roast for approximately 20 minutes until tender.


Blostin’s was known for this buttery French baguette infused with fresh garlic and garnished with fresh chopped parsley.


  • 1 16-ounce loaf of French baguette
  • ½ cup salted butter, melted
  • 3 large garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly chopped garlic

Cut the loaf in half, horizontally. Cut the bread into six slices. Mix the garlic in the melted butter. Dip each slice of bread in the melted butter. Transfer bread to a baking sheet. Place under the broiler until sizzling and the crust is browned around the edges.

Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


This dessert is just the right kind of sinfulness, perfect for a first date.


  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium mixing bowl using an electric mixer whip together egg yolks and granulated sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes.  Warm ¾ cup of the heavy cream in a two-quart saucepan on the stove top over low heat (do not let it boil).  While whisking the egg mixture slowly pour in warm cream mixture to temper egg yolks.  Then pour combined egg yolk and cream mixture back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens just slightly and reaches 160 degrees F, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add in chocolate and vanilla. Stir well until chocolate is melted. Whip remaining heavy cream until very stiff peaks form.  Fold whipped cream into cooled chocolate mixture until well combined.

Place in champagne coupe glasses and chill.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place cream and chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Once cooled pour a thin layer over the chocolate mousse in the glass. Sprinkle with flakes of sea salt and chill.

Chapter Two


Purchase watercolor here:

The fruits of my labor in the Mendips were on the table that night at the bistro! Escargot shells covered with a garlicky white wine shallot parsley butter served with a French baguette to soak up all the heavenly sauce.


  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 24 large extra escargots shells
  • 24 extra-large canned escargots

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using an electric mixer on medium, beat butter in a medium bowl until smooth. With motor off, add wine, salt and pepper, then beat on medium until incorporated.   Reduce speed to low and add garlic, shallot and parsley, mix until just incorporated. Transfer butter to a disposable pastry bag, snip off the end of bag.

Place shells in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and pipe about 2 teaspoons of butter mixture into each shell. Tuck a snail inside each shell then pipe in more butter mixture to fill shell and mound over the top.

Bake snails for about 10 to 15 minutes until sizzling. Serve immediately on a plate with crusty French baguette and a small fork to scoop out the snails.  Enjoy dipping the bread in the extra garlic butter sauce!


This classic French dish is one of my favorites — braised chicken in red wine sauce with pancetta, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, and pearl onions. I served it often for neighbors at my annual New Year’s Eve parties when I was married.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 four-pound chicken cut into eight sections
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup carrots sliced in diagonal, half inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup of brandy
  • ½ bottle (375 ml) good red wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of pearl onions
  • 1 ½ cups cremini mushrooms, stems removed, thickly sliced or cut in half

Preheat the oven at 250 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the pancetta and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the pancetta to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken pieces on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about five minutes in the same pan as pancetta, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to a plate with the bacon.

Add the carrots, onions, two teaspoons salt and one teaspoon of pepper to the saucepan and cook for approximately 10 minutes until onions are lightly browned.  Add garlic and cook for a further minute.  Add the brandy and put the pancetta, chicken and any juices collected on the plate to the saucepan.  Add the wine, chicken stock and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and continue cooking for about 30 to 40 minutes on low heat.

Mash one tablespoon of butter with the flour together and stir into the stew, add the small pearl onions. In a medium sauté pan, add the remaining one tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot with a sprig of fresh thyme.


This dessert is a beautiful way to end a special evening. Fresh strawberry sauce and whipped cream topped with sugar crusted biscuits and mint sprig garnish is the key.

Sweet Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoon unsalted cold butter
  • 6 ounces heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon crystal sugar

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add sugar and combine. Work in the butter with your hands until the texture is that of coarse crumbs. Stir in heavy cream to form a soft dough. Transfer dough to a floured board. Knead a few times. Press dough with hands to half inch thick.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With a three-inch cutter make 8 circles and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with crystal sugar. Bake in the oven until biscuits are a light golden color, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy
  • 6 ounces of whipped cream
  • 8 mint sprigs

Combine strawberries, sugar, water, zest and cook over medium heat until berries are soft, and the liquid is thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in brandy and cook for a minute.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

In individual parfait glasses, start with one layer of strawberry sauce, then a layer of cream followed by another layer of strawberry sauce. When you get to the top, add the sugar-crusted biscuit. Garnish with mint sprig.

Chapter Three


A perfect starter with flaky smoked trout lightly combined with chopped dill, aioli, finely chopped red onion and celery served with toasted toast points


  • 8 ounces of smoked trout, skinned, bones removed and flaked
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup aioli (a sauce made of garlic, salt and olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Mix onion, celery, trout, aioli, dill and lemon juice in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper. Serve with toast points.


The pickling process for baby beetroot, shallots and cage free eggs can be a fun kitchen project. The results are very satisfying and beautiful. Enjoy these alone or accompanied by a cheese platter. They also are fabulous in salads.

Pickled Beetroot

  • 1 ½ pounds small beets
  • 1 cup malt vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary

Scrub beetroot, leaves, root and about one inch of stem.  Place in a saucepan and cover with room temperature water. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water. Trim off beets roots and rub off skins and discard. Place beets in a large bowl.

Combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in salt and rosemary sprigs. Place beets in a clean jar. Pour vinegar mixture over beets and seal jar tight.

Pickled Shallots

  • 18 small shallots
  • 1 cup of malt vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 rosemary sprigs

Place vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.  Add shallots and rosemary sprigs and return liquid to a boil.  Remove shallots and place in a clean glass jar.  Pour vinegar mixture over shallots and seal jar tight once cooled.

Pickled Eggs

  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup of malt vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 rosemary sprigs

Place eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool and peel.

Place eggs in a clean glass jar. Combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, cook for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, stir in salt and rosemary sprigs.  Pour vinegar mixture over eggs and seal jar tight.  


Not that he needed a reason, but my dad always used family celebrations as the reason to make Bigos, a traditional Polish stew. Also known as Hunter’s Stew, it combines kielbasa sausage, pork stew meat cooked with sauerkraut, tomatoes, carrots, spices, bacon, and green cabbage in a soul satisfying dish.


  • 4 ounces of chopped smoked bacon
  • 1 pound kielbasa sausage sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 pound of cubed pork stew meat
  • Flour to dredge the pork
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of diced onions
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 pound jar of sauerkraut rinsed and well drained
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups of chicken broth

In a large saucepan over medium heat place the bacon and kielbasa, cook, and stir until the bacon has rendered its fat and sausage is lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon remove the meat and transfer to a container. Coat the cubes of pork lightly with the flour and fry them in the bacon drippings over medium high heat until golden in color. Transfer to a container with sausage and bacon. Add the garlic, onions, carrots, cabbage, and sauerkraut. Cook and stir until the carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. Do not let the vegetables brown. Remove to a plate.

Deglaze the pan by pouring the red wine and stirring to loosen all the bits of food and flour that are struck to the bottom. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Cook for a minute.  Add chicken stock, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Heat through just until boiling. Add the sausage, bacon, and pork. Cover the saucepan with lid and simmer for about 2 hours until the meat is very tender. Transfer to a plate with the vegetables.

Chapter Four


First dates call for a little decadence, such as this creamy lobster soup served with fresh poached chunks of lobster.


  • 4 cups poached lobster tails with shells for the stock (you can usually get pre-cooked lobster from any good fish monger)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup each chopped celery, carrots, onions
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups of lobster stock from cooking lobster
  • 4 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ chopped brown onion
  • ½ cup of finely chopped celery
  • White pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped chives

If lobster is not pre-cooked, place water in a large saucepan with celery, carrots, and onions. Bring to a boil and add lobster tails. Poach at a simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove lobster from water. Remove the shells and place them back into the water to create the stock. Continue cooking until reduced by two cups.

Chop lobster and strain the stock of shell and vegetables.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour, salt and pepper and finely chopped celery. Blend well. Very slowly mix in milk and lobster stock. Add three cups of chopped lobster and chopped onion. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

Divide the cup of lobster meat between four bowls and pour lobster soup in a bowl and garnish with a pinch of chopped chives.


This is very close to the creamy chicken liver pate Dennis and I shared on our first date. I love it topped with a port wine gelee served with crostini.


  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 pound chicken livers, trimmed and halved
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 cup tawny port
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Heat three tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Increase the heat to medium high and add three more tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Add the chicken livers and cook, until the exteriors are no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Add salt pepper and thyme. Cook until the livers are lightly browned and firm but still slightly pink inside, about 1 minute. Add the contents of the skillet to the food processor with the onions.

Pour the port wine to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to about 2 tablespoons. Pour into the food processor with the liver and onions. Process until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, cool to room temperature and whisk in the remaining three tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Add lemon juice to the strained liver puree. Pour into a dish of choice covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours.

Port Gelee

  • 1 cup port wine
  • ½ teaspoon granulated gelatin

Sprinkle gelatin over a quarter cup of cold water and allow it to bloom (fully hydrate). About 10 minutes. Over low heat, bring port wine to just a simmer, remove from heat. Mix bloomed gelatin into a warm port, cool to room temperature. After port gelee is cooled pour over chilled liver pate and return to the refrigerator until set, about three hours.

Chapter Five


There is nothing better than Steak au Poivre for going right to a man’s heart! A seared beef tenderloin steak with a green peppercorn, cognac, cream sauce served with Dauphinoise Potatoes and accompanied by a mixed green salad with Dijon vinaigrette is the perfect Cupid’s arrow.


  • 4 eight-ounce tenderloin steaks, one inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup cognac plus one teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes prior to cooking. Spread the crushed black peppercorns on a plate. Salt the steak on both sides. Place the steaks on a plate with crushed black pepper pressing each side to coat the steak.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the steaks in the pan. For a medium rare, cook for four minutes on each side. Once done remove the steaks to a plate and tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.

Remove from the heat, add one third of a cup of cognac and carefully ignite the alcohol with a lighter or long match. Gently shake the pan until the flame dies. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream together with the green peppercorns. Bring mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 minutes. Add the teaspoon of cognac and season to taste with salt. 

Place steaks on the dinner plate and divide the sauce over each steak.

Dauphinoise Potatoes

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced about 1/8”
  • 3 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed with side of knife but not chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Breadcrumb Gratin

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F and butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Place the cream in a saucepan with the garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and salt and warm over medium heat just until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pot, maybe 3 minutes. Do not bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and discard garlic and thyme.

Ladle a small amount of the seasoned cream in the bottom of the baking dish.  Add a layer of potatoes, overlapping them slightly and spreading them evenly. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Ladle another layer of cream over top and repeat with the remaining ingredients, alternating layers of potatoes, salt and pepper and seasoned cream. When finished, pour any excess cream over the top, shaking the casserole dish around to distribute the cream evenly.

Cover the casserole with foil and bake for one hour. Place breadcrumbs, parsley and olive oil into a bowl and combine well.  

Take out the dish from over and remove foil and on top sprinkle breadcrumb mixture. Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until the topping is golden. Remove from the oven, cut into squares, and spoon out each square on a plate.

Mixed Green Salad, Bibb, Avocado, Stilton with Dijon Vinaigrette

A mixed green salad of butter lettuce, baby gems and baby arugula perfectly stands up to a hearty steak dish. Tossed in a creamy Dijon dressing with clusters of stilton cheese and avocado it’s practically a meal in itself.

Mixed Green Salad

  • Small head of butter lettuce
  • Handful of baby arugula
  • 1 head of baby gem lettuce
  • ½ large avocado cut into chunks
  • 2 ounces of stilton cheese broken into clusters

Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon minced shallot
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk the champagne vinaigrette with the shallot and Dijon mustard. In a thin, steady stream, whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly dress mixed green salad and serve in bowl for guests to serve themselves.

For an herb vinaigrette

  • Add ¼ teaspoon chopped thyme and chopped tarragon.

For a lemon vinaigrette

  • Substitute 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice for the vinegar and add ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest.


An elegant dessert that has every bit of the wow factor — crisp golden choux puff pastry, whipped heavy cream and a rich chocolate sauce to finish it all off.


  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 5 fluid ounces sparkling mineral water
  • 1 level tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ ounces of plain flour – sifted on parchment paper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Melt the butter with the sparkling water and sugar in a heavy based saucepan on a med to high heat. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and immediately put in the flour. Beat flour thoroughly with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth ball. Turn the ball into a bowl and cool for approximately 15 minutes. 

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

Gradually whisk in the eggs a little at a time until the mixture is shiny.  Place parchment on a sheet pan. Place eight spoonfuls of the mixture on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden brown and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Halve the puffs and fill with whipped cream. Put the two halves together and topped with melted chocolate.

For Filling

  • 1 cup of heavy cream whipped with
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar


  • 7 ounces dark chocolate melted with 3 ounces of unsalted butter

Chapter Six


What’s better than steamed mussels poached in Beaujolais wine with garlic, shallots, and fennel? When they come with crispy French fries, of course!


  • 1 large finely chopped shallot
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped fennel
  • ½ cup Beaujolais wine
  • ½ cup of chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut in ½ inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 ½ pounds of mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper

Place shallot, onion, fennel, wine, chicken broth, butter, and vinegar in a large heavy pot. Add mussels, cover, and bring to a boil, cook, gently shaking the pot once or twice until mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that don’t open. Using a slotted spoon, divide mussels between four bowls and pour broth over the mussels. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and ground black pepper.

French Fries (Pommes Frites)

  • 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled, rinsed, and dried
  • Kosher salt

Pour oil into a deep fryer with a basket to reach halfway up the side. Heat oil to 325 degrees. Cut potatoes into sticks approximately 3 inches long. Divide the potatoes into one cup portions. Fry each portion in the heated oil for approximately 4 to 5 minutes until golden but not brown. Remove the basket of fries to a plate with paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve in a ramekin in the center of each bowl of mussels.      


Elegant yet familiar, this creamy smoked salmon cheesecake mousse is my go-to for any cocktail party menu. The addition of parmesan crust and fresh dill takes it to the next level of yum.


  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fine dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 28 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • ½ pound smoked salmon, chopped
  • ½ cup grated gruyere cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8-inch springform pan. Mix 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese with the breadcrumbs and chopped dill.  Sprinkle this mixture into the pan, turn and tap pan to coat inside of pan.  Wrap a large piece of foil underneath and up the sides of the pan.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, eggs and cream until well blended.  Fold in onions, salmon, gruyere cheese and 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to tase. Pour into prepared pan.

Place the wrapped springform pan inside a large roasting pan. Place the pans in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the outside pan to come 2 inches up the side of the springform pan.

Bake until firm to the touch, about 1 hour 40 minutes. Carefully remove both pans from the oven and turn off the heat. Lift springform pan out of the water and return it to the oven. Let stand in the cooling oven for 1 hour.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Remove from pan and serve with crackers and crostini.


This classic French dessert is a fluffy meringue floating in a pool of creamy custard finished with threads of caramel. A few steps, but all easy for an intermediate cook. The final result is very impressive and worth the effort!

For Meringue

  • 1 tablespoon soften butter
  • ¼ cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups of egg white (about 12 eggs)
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat the egg whites on a moderate speed until you have a good foam.  Beat in the salt and cream of tartar and then gradually increase speed to fast until soft peaks have formed. Beat in the sugar a large spoonful at a time and continue until stiff shiny peaks are formed. Beat in the vanilla. Form 6 scoops of meringue on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Bake in oven at 250 degrees on the lower middle shelf for about 40 minutes. The meringue will rise about 3 to 4 inches. As the meringue cools it will sink down to about its original height. Cover in an airtight container. It will last for 3 or 4 days in refrigerator.

To serve, place a few spoonfuls of custard in a shallow bowl. Place one piece of the meringue in the center of the custard. Just before serving, reheat the rest of the caramel until you can lift the caramel syrup with a fork and dribble think strands over meringue.

For Crème Anglaise

  • 6 large eggs yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups very hot milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk the egg yolks in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the sugar by the spoonful – if it goes in all at once the yolks can turn grainy. Continue beating 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Stir in the hot milk in a slow yet thin stream. Stir it, rather than beat so the sauce doesn’t foam.  Set the saucepan over a moderately low heat stirring with a wooden spoon. Don’t overheat as eggs will scramble. The sauce is done when it coats the wooden spoon with a light creamy layer thick enough to hold when you draw your finger across it. Beat in the vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.

For Caramel

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Blend the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat and swirl the pan by its handle to be sure that the sugar has dissolved completely, and the liquid is perfectly clear. Cover the pan tightly and boil the syrup for several minutes over a moderately high heat.  After a minute or so, uncover the pan and continue boiling swirling the pan slowly by its handle. In several seconds, the syrup will begin to color. Watch it at this stage very carefully. Continue swirling a few seconds more until it is a light caramel brown, then remove from heat. Stir in the butter and cream. It will foam up a bit but just continue stirring. Set the bottom of the pan in a cold-water bath to stop the cooking and cool it.

Chapter Seven


This is one of those go-to dishes for every busy Mum in England. It’s delicious with chunky lamb cooked with onions, sweet peas, carrots in a velvety lamb gravy topped with creamy golden mashed potatoes.


  • 1 ½ pounds of ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen English peas
  • 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes
  • 4 ounces of unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cut potatoes into ½ inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to the boil.  Once boiling, uncover, decrease heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to the saucepan.  Mash the potatoes with softened butter, salt and pepper to taste and mash until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the olive oil into a 12-inch skillet and set over medium high heat.  Once the oil shimmers, add the onions and carrots and sauté just until they begin to take color, approximate three to four minutes. Add the garlic and combine.  Add the lamb, sprinkle with the flour, and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute.  Add the tomato paste, chicken broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the peas to the mixture and spread in a 9” by 9” glass baking dish.  Top with the mashed potatoes. Place on the middle shelf and back for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.  Remove to a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before serving.


I love serving quiche in individual tart pans rather than having one large pie. It brings this lovely dish to the next level, as do the crispy pancetta, oven roasted brussels sprouts and leeks in this version. Serve with a tossed green salad and you have the makings of a perfect breakfast, lunch or even dinner.


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cut unsalted butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons ice water

In a food processor, pulse the 2 ½ cups of flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the ice water and pulse until the pastry is moistened. Turn the pastry out onto the floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until smooth. Pat the pastry into 4 disks wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On the floured surface, roll 1 disk of the pastry into a 6-inch round. Ease the pastry into a 4-inch fluted tart pan with a removeable bottom without stretching. Trim the excess and use it to patch any holes. Refrigerate the tart shell for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining pastry.

To blind bake them, line the tart shells with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes, just until dry. Remove the foil and dried beans and back the crusts for about 15 minutes longer, until they are dry and golden.  Transfer the tart pans to baking sheet trays.


  • 1 pound thickly sliced pancetta
  • 3 large leeks, white and tender green parts only and thinly sliced
  • 8 Brussels sprouts, tough outer leaves removed and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream

In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain the pancetta leaving the fat in the pan. Add the leeks, thyme, and Brussels sprouts to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the leeks are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir back in bacon and cheese.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolks and heavy cream. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide the custard evenly between the tart shells and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through for even baking, until puffed and lightly browned. Transfer the quiches to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove from the rings and serve warm.

Chapter Eight


This is my take on Thornbury Castle’s famous salad. Sauteed shrimp served with garlic, parsley and artichokes on a carpaccio of avocado is a beautiful combination of flavors.


  • 6 medium artichokes
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 3 large, chopped garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 3 large avocadoes

Trim artichokes to the base removing any tough outer leaves. Cut away the heart of the choke. Cut each choke head in 8 and place in bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and cover with water. Set aside for 15 minutes. Then drain the artichoke pieces.

Heat half the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the artichokes, parsley and garlic, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring from time to time, about 15 minutes until the artichokes are lightly browned and tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from skillet and cool.

Add the remaining olive oil and butter to the skillet and add the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper then add the white wine and cook until the shrimp turns pink and lightly browned on outside.

Peel avocado and remove the stone. To plate, thinly slice the avocado and place around the perimeter of the plate. Placed the cooked artichokes in center and place cooled shrimp over the artichoke mixture. Swirl a little olive oil over the avocado and finish with salt and cracked black pepper to taste.


Yet another of the Thornbury’s signature dishes. Our first time there, we ordered this and the Artichoke Salad to start and enjoyed them both with the restaurant’s famous Kir Royale.

Salmon and pastry

  • 1 tablespoon of room temperature butter
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, defrost in fridge 2 before rolling
  • 1 side of 8-10 pounds skinless salmon
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 egg

For salmon and pastry. Combine butter, mustard and dill in bowl and set aside. Roll out two puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface. Season salmon side with salt and pepper. Place the salmon on one sheet of pastry and top with Dijon and herb mixture and then add spinach mixture. Make an egg wash with two teaspoons of water and a fork beaten egg. Place the other rolled puff pastry on top of the spinach and seal all the edges with the end of a teaspoon.  Egg wash top of pastry. Then with a spoon imprint a design on pastry like fish scales then cut out a small circle of pastry for the eye and a strip of pastry for the mouth.

Bake in oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until pastry is golden.

Spinach filling

  • 1 pounds stemmed spinach
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • 2 finely chopped large cloves of garlic
  • Splash of white wine
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs

Preheat oven 425 degrees F with the rack centered in the oven. Wash and stem the spinach, then bring a pot of water to a boil and place an ice water bath in large bowl on counter and a strainer in sink.  Salt the boiling water. Cook spinach 1 to 2 minutes, then strain. Add to the ice bath to shock it. Drain and wring out excess liquid in clean towel. Chop spinach.

Heat a skillet over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Add wine, let it absorb. Add spinach, lemon juice, crème fraiche, parmigiano and breadcrumbs. Remove from head to cool.


This seems like such a simple dessert for a place like Thornbury Castle, but it’s the perfect ending to a rich meal. I love the almond crumb topped with fresh blueberries with a swirl of honey with fresh mint garnish.

Pastry Shell (Pate Sucre)

  • 11/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cold, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons ice water, as needed

In a bowl, blend the flour, sugar and salt and place in a processor. Add cold butter pieces and process the mixture on pulse mode until it resembles coarse meal.

Add the egg yolks. Add one tablespoon of ice water at a time until the mixture forms a dough. Take the dough out of the bowl and flatten into a smooth disc. Wrap with plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Take the dough from the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to fit a 10-inch tart pan. Lay the dough in the tart pan and press it firmly against the sides and bottom without stretching it. Trim off any excess dough. Cover and chill the dough in the pan for at least 30 minutes before filling and baking.

Add almond base and spread evenly over the base of the tart shell. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes at 325 degrees F. Remove from the oven and place large blueberries to cover the almond base. Dust with powdered sugar and swirl with honey.

Almond Base

  • ½ cup roasted sliced almonds
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor to a fine meal.


  • 12 ounces of fresh large blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey


We finished our memorable meal with a bowl of this soup at 2 a.m. Not conventional, but then, neither was Kenneth Bell, the owner of Thornbury at the time, and an enthusiast of this classic soup with its caramelized onions cooked with red wine, beef broth, herbs and topped with French baguette slices with gruyere cheese.


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 4 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts of beef broth
  • 1 baguette sliced
  • 1 cup of grated gruyere cheese

Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes.  Add the wine, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour does not burn and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw taste of the flour.

Add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for ten minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle baguette slices with cheese and broil until bubbly and golden brown.

Ladle soup in bowls and top with cheesy baguette slices.

Chapter Nine


It’s all about the presentation of this poached monkfish with root vegetables and Brussels sprouts topped with frizzled leeks.


  • 3 pounds of monkfish
  • 1 leek, green part discarded, julienned
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 6 carrots peeled and cut into ¾-inch slices
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into ¾-inch slices
  • 1 small swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 10 brussels sprouts with outer leaves removed
  • 1 small bunch of chives
  • 2 ounces of butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Par boil leek for barely one minute on medium to high heat. Strain in a sieve and placed on paper towels to dry. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan on a medium to high heat and add the leeks and cook until frizzled approximately 1 minute. Remove and place on paper towel.

Fill a saucepan with three cups of salted water, bring to a boil and add carrots, parsnips, swede, and brussels sprouts. Reduce heat to simmer and cook vegetables for approximately 15 minutes. Remove vegetables, keeping approximately 2 cups of the vegetable water. Add chopped chives and butter to water. Cut brussels sprouts into quarters. Dry monkfish and season with salt and white pepper. In the remaining vegetable water add monkfish and cook on medium to low heat for about 10 minutes until fish is cooked.

To serve, place vegetables in the center of a large, low bowl. Top with poached fish. Pour a half cup of the vegetable chive broth into the bowl and finish the dish with frizzled leeks.


This dish arrived one evening in the middle of an awkward conversation.  Even though I was unsure of my next words to Dennis, this elegant dish of very thin slices of beef tenderloin that are seared and served with a web of lemon mustard caper aioli required no words.


  • 1 pound of beef tenderloin
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Heat skillet over high heat. Season the tenderloin well with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to the skillet and sear the tenderloin evenly to a nice brown in color on all sides yet still rare in the middle for about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about two hours or until needed.

Paper thin slice the beef and cover a plate with one layer of the beef. Place the aioli in a piping bag and pipe aioli around the beef creating a web. Place caperberries in the middle of the plate for garnish.

Mustard Caper Aioli

  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 caper berries

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients, except olive oil and pulse to blend. Slowly blend, drizzling in the olive oil until the mixture is the consistency of mayonnaise. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.


This is very similar to the dish I had at Thornbury the night that Mr. Bell asked me to work there. It’s a skinless salmon filet nestled in a parchment paper wrap with za’atar spices, lemon, butter, new potatoes, fava beans, basil and served with a basil yogurt sauce.


  • 4 six-ounce skinless salmon filets
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon of za’atar spices
  • 16 small new potatoes, washed and halved
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen fava beans
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 pieces 14 x 16 inches parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, juice of lemon, basil, pinch of salt and pepper, za’atar spices and white wine. Mix well. Place the small new potatoes, cut in half, on parchment paper together with fava beans.  Place salmon filet on top, pour olive oil mixture over fish.  Pick both sides of parchment paper to the center and seal all the way around. Place on a sheet pan. Transfer to the oven and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Basil Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
  • White pepper and salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a bowl.  Mix well with a spatula.

Serve on the side with salmon.


This was one the most popular desserts at the castle. It’s a rich creamy baked vanilla bean custard topped with a crunchy toasted sugar crust.


  • 1 quart of heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar (sugar that has been infused with a vanilla bean), divided into two
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 quarts of hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium high heat and stir until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.

In a medium bowl, whisk together half a cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it starts to lighten in color.  Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into six eight-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large sheet pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the crème brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 – 45 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the sheet pan and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to three days. Remove the crème brulee from the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining half cup of sugar equally between the six dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, or place under a broiler melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the crème brulee to sit for at least five minutes before serving.

Chapter Ten


This is reminiscent of one of the dishes Dennis and I enjoyed at one of the many bistros we ate while dating. The spices and the lemon garlic artichoke rice made it memorable enough for me to continue making.


  • 1 ½ pounds of cod filets (about 4 pieces)
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced finely
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Lemon Juice Mixture
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix lemon juice mixture altogether in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix all-purpose flour mixture together in a bowl and set aside. Pat fish filets dry. Dip fish in lemon juice mixture then dip in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour. then place in hot skillet. Reserve the lemon juice until later.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and sear on each side to give color but do not fully cook. Remove from heat and place fish on sheet pan. With the remaining lemon juice add the minced garlic. Drizzle all over the fish filets.

Bake in heated oven until it begins to flake easily with a fork, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Fish Spice Coating

  • 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Lemon Garlic Artichoke Rice

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white parts only
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 cups of canned quartered artichoke hearts
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 1 cup of jasmine rice

Melt butter in saucepan on medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, artichokes, salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes until leeks are soft. Add wine, cook stirring for about 5 minutes until liquid is reduced by half. 

Add broth, lemon zest and rice, stir to combine. Reduce heat to low. Cover, simmer for about 12 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand, covered for approximately 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.


Pork chops are yet another meal I found as an important pathway to a man’s heart. I love this version served with a dry white wine sauce sprinkled with coarse black peppercorns.


  • 4 one-inch-thick pork chops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 sliced yellow onion
  • 8 rosemary sprigs – four for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc
  • ¾ cup of chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of cold water

Heat a cast iron grill skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle pork chops lightly with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Grill the chops on skillet each side to grill marks are nice and brown about 5 minutes.

Remove from grill skillet and place on a half sheet pan. Place chopped onions, rosemary sprigs, chopped thyme, wine and chicken broth. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until tender and meat inside is a light pink.

Strain all the liquids into a skillet over a medium-high heat. Bring juices to a boil and reduce slightly to concentrate the flavors. In a small cup which the cornstarch with one tablespoon of water until smooth. Stir in the juices and continue cooking until slightly thickened. Whisk in one tablespoon of butter and stir until melted.  

Spoon the sauce over the pork chop and garnish with a sprinkle of coarse black peppercorns and rosemary sprig.


When I first had this, sun dried tomatoes were somewhat new, at least they were to me. The combination of the creamy warm brie topped with sundried tomato pesto nestled in a golden puff pastry blanket is always one of my favorites.


  • 1 six-inch whole triple crème brie wheel
  • 2 ounces of sundried tomatoes from the jar
  • 2 ounces powdered parmesan cheese
  • 2 fluid ounces of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 store bought package of puff pastry using one sheet
  • Egg wash (one egg and 1 tablespoon milk whisked together)
  • Toasted bread chunks, baguette, or crostini

Place dried tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water to cover and leave to soak for approximately one hour.  Drain water and remove tomato skins.

Place all ingredients into a food processor, except cheese, pastry and egg wash and blend until all ingredients are smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut one side of the rind off the brie. Spread sundried tomato pesto over the cut surface of the brie. Place puff pastry over the brie and wrap sealing at the bottom

With the remaining sheet of pastry, cut small pastry hearts or leaves and place around the top edge of brie. Brush top and side with egg wash.  Place in a preheated oven at 300 degrees.

Cook for approximately 45 minutes until the pastry is golden and the cheese has melted inside.

Cut a circle with a knife in the pastry, remove cooked pastry and stir sundried tomato pesto and melted cheese. Serve with toasted bread chunks or crostini.


Everyone should have a cheese souffle in their repertoire. It’s the perfect dish for an elegant night at home, or a Sunday night movie date. This warm fluffy cheese souffle made with parmigiano and gruyere cheese and garnished with micro greens is perfection.


  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs, separated, plus three large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 6 ounces shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 1-½ quart souffle dish and coat it with two tablespoons of the parmigiano.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour to make a paste. Gradually whisk in the cream and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking, until very thick, three minutes. Transfer the base to a large bowl. Let it cool. Stir in egg yolks, sherry, gruyere, sour cream, salt, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, cayenne and the remaining ¼ cup of parmigiano.

Put the seven egg whites in a large stainless-steel bowl. Add the cream of tartar. Using an electric mixer, beat the whites until firm peaks form. Fold one third of the whites into the souffle base to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish. Run your thumb around the inside rim of the dish to wipe away any crumbs. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the souffle is golden brown and puffed.  Serve right away and garnish with micro green.


During our two years of exploring restaurants together, I learned that Dennis simply can’t resist scallops if they are on the menu. This dish is based on the one we enjoyed at Le Gavroche in London before he left for six months in America.

Sweet Pea Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups of fresh sweet peas, blanched plus peas for garnish
  • ¾ cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place peas, chicken broth cream, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.  When ready to serve. Place in small saucepan, heat mixture over very low heat until warm, about 2 minutes.

For the Scallops

  • 12 large dry scallops
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • kosher salt to taste

Season scallops generously on both sides with kosher salt, then place on a paper towel lined plate and let site for 15 minutes. Gently pat scallops dry, then season again lightly on one side with kosher salt. 

Heat skillet, large enough to fit all scallops so they are not touching, over high heat. When skillet is hot, add canola oil. Carefully place scallops in pan and cook for approximately 1 minute each side. Add butter to pan and flip scallops and cook for another minute on one side. Transfer scallops to a plate squeeze with fresh lemon juice.

For the Gnocchi

  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut in to six
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Flat chopped parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and mash with a fork or potato masher.

Combine 1 cup mashed potatoes, flour, and egg in a large bowl.  Knead until dough forms a ball. Shape small portions of the dough into long snakes, cut snakes into 1-inch pieces. 

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi has risen to the top. Drain gnocchi onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Heat a medium skillet on a medium low heat and add olive oil to the skillet. Add each piece of gnocchi individually to the pan and sear until golden in color. Remove from the pan to paper-lined plate.

To assemble

Place warm sweet pea sauce around base of plate, place scallops in center and surround with crispy gnocchi.  Sprinkle plate with some whole peas and chopped flat parsley.

Chapter Eleven


This luxurious dish was popular at the castle. It’s a preparation of scallops and shrimp in a creamy sauce under a crust of breadcrumbs and gruyere cheese.


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups of seafood stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup large shallots, peeled and diced
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems discarded and sliced
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 ½ cups of fresh breadcrumbs, approximately six crustless slices
  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • 5 ounces grated gruyere cheese
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1 pound of poached shrimp cut in small pieces

Set saucepan over medium heat and melt four tablespoons of butter. When it foams, add flour, and cook for approximately four minutes whisking constantly. Add the stock and whish again, until it is smooth and thick. Add the cream, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to the boil, lower heat and simmer for approximately ten minutes stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Put three tablespoons butter in a large saute pan set over medium heat. When melted and foams, add the shallots and cook until they are clear and tender. Add sliced mushroom caps and cook for eight to ten minutes until they have released their liquid and just starting to brown. Add brandy and cook for one to two minutes until the alcohol has mostly evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste and combine. Add mushroom to the cream sauce and set aside.

Combine the breadcrumbs, parsley and gruyere in large bowl, stir to combine, then moisten the mixture with the olive oil, stirring again to combine.

One tablespoon of butter to grease six scallop shell dishes. Divide the scallops and shrimp between the dishes and top with equal amounts of cream and mushroom sauce.  Top each dish with a handful of breadcrumb mixture. Place dishes on a sheet tray.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and bubbling and scallops and shrimp are cooked through. Served with half a grilled lemon to squeeze over dish.


This is one of those pleasing dishes that is in almost every restaurant’s repertoire. Thin medallions of chicken breast are cooked with garlic, white wine and capers. At the castle, we served them with new season Hasselback potatoes and a bundle of haricot vert beans.


  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half and slightly pound
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • ¼ cup of brined capers, rinsed

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in all-purpose flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat melt butter and olive oil.  When butter and olive oil begin to sizzle, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes each side. Add chicken broth, lemon juice and capers and simmer for a couple of minutes until cooked.

Transfer chicken to dinner plates, liberally add sauce over the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley.

Hasselback Potatoes

  • 6 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together the butter, olive oil, chives and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Place a potato between the handles of two wooden spoons. Slice potato into thin slices, leaving ¼ inch at the bottom unsliced. The spoon handles will prevent you from slicing the potato all the way through. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

Put the potatoes on a baking sheet tray and brush on the butter mixture, making sure to get in between all the slices. Bake until tender and crisp, 55 to 60 minutes.

Haricot Vert Bean Bundles

  • 6 long chives
  • 36 haricot vert beans
  • 2 ounces of melted butter
  • Kosher Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Place the chives in a small bowl, cover with boiling water to soften, then drain. Trim the tops only of the beans. Divide beans in 6 bundles and tie together in middle with chive. Place the bundles in a steamer over a saucepan half filled with simmering water. Cover the steamer and steam the beans over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until just tender.

Drizzle bean bundles with the melted butter and sprinkled with salt and freshly ground pepper.


This elegant dessert served at the castle begins with creamy whipped cream with sweet white wine, lemon zest and juice served in a glass topped with lemon slice, nutmeg dust and fresh mint served with a chocolate macaron.


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup sweet white wine
  • 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 lemon slices and fresh mint sprig for garnish

Whip the cream and sugar in a chilled bowl, until the cream begins to thicken. Gradually whip in the white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Continue to whip until light and fluffy but not grainy.

Serve in chilled six ounces glass garnish with a dash of nutmeg, sprig of mint and lemon slice.

Chocolate Macaron

  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • ¾ powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Trace circles for the size of macarons needed, approximately 1 1/2 inches. Sift the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa through a fine mesh sieve. Sift a second time to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and light. Set aside.

In a mixer whisk the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the granulated sugar, about one tablespoon at a time. Once sugar is added, continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add the sifted almond flour, cocoa powder mixture to the stiff egg whites and begin to fold them in by mixing with a spatula from the bottom of the bowl lifting it up to drop onto the top of the mixture.

Transfer the macaron batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large round piping tip. Pipe the batter into one and half inch circles on the parchment or silicone mat spacing them a couple of inches apart. 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake for approximately 16 – 18 minutes. Let them cool completely before removing shells from the parchment paper or silicone mats.

Ganache filling

  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Meanwhile, make the ganache by combining the chocolate chips and cream and melt in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Place in the refrigerator and cool completely. Once cooled, place in a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe onto the bottom side of half the macaron shells. Match up with top shells to finish.

Chapter Twelve


Eggs on eggs … two delicious tastes together! The eggs, blended with crème fraiche and dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, white pepper get the final touch of decadence with caviar. Best served on round toast points.


  • 7 seven-minute boiled eggs, peeled
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • white pepper
  • 1 ounce caviar

Cut eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl and placing the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add crème fraiche, vinegar, mustard, and white pepper and mix well. In a piping bag with a medium nozzle, pipe the yolk mixture in the egg whites. Top with a quarter teaspoon of caviar. Place egg on round toast point.


This cheesecake is worth every calorie! It’s a creamy New York style cheesecake served on a graham cracker crust and topped with a fresh strawberry sauce.


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar, plus 1½ cups
  • 2 ½ pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 1 lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon brandy

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the bottom of a nine-inch springform pan. In a mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 1½ tablespoons sugar and mix well. Press evenly onto the bottom of the springform pan and bake until golden, about eight minutes. Set aside and cool. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer combine cream cheese, 1½ cups of sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract and beat until light and creamy. Add eggs and yolks one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and brandy and mix until smooth. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Wrap the pan in foil and place in a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the pan.  Bake for about 1½ hours.

Transfer cake to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Refrigerate cake overnight before serving. Serve with strawberry sauce.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy

Combine strawberries, sugar, water, zest and cook until berries are soft, and the liquid is thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in brandy and cook for a minute. Remove from the heat and let cool. Spoon on top of the cheesecake and serve.


Just one of the many incredible dishes Dennis and I enjoyed in San Franciso, this ravioli can be a starter or a main course. The large ravioli is filled with a creamy ricotta mixture laced with a tomato beurre blanc and finished with a crispy basil leaf.


  • 1 pound fresh ricotta, drain if wet
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (from about ½ a lemon)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg, plus one large egg lightly beaten with two tablespoons water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper for taste

In a large bowl combine the ricotta, nutmeg, lemon zest, Parmigiano-Reggiano and one egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir well and set aside.

Ravioli Dough

  • 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mound the flour and create a well in the center. Place the eggs, egg yolks and olive oil in the well. Using a fork, whisk the eggs and oil together and slowly start dragging the four into the egg mixture. Knead by hand until all the ingredients are well combined and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Set up a pasta machine and turn it to the largest opening. Cut off pieces of dough about the size of an egg. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll dough into sheets about 1/8 inch thick. Lay one pasta sheet on a lightly floured surface. Cut two circles of the desired size of ravioli. Brush one circle with lightly beaten egg mixture. Place a tablespoon of ricotta filling and top with the other dough circle and seal the edges with thumb or fork. Repeat with the remaining pasta and filling.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and stir a few times to submerge and separate them. Cook uncovered at a gentle boil until the pasta is just tender to the bite, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the ravioli thoroughly and serve with beurre blanc sauce topped with crispy basil leaf.

Tomato Beurre Blanc Sauce

  • ¼ cup packed soft dried tomatoes (not packed in olive oil)
  • 1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup minced shallot
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Soak tomatoes in warm water until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry, then mince. Stir together tomatoes, butter, and salt. Make a log shape and wrap with plastic wrap until firm and then divide in twelve pieces.

Cook shallot in one piece of tomato butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderate low heat stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced to about one third cup, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in remaining cold tomato butter, one piece at a time, adding each piece before the previous one has completely melted and lifting pan from heat occasionally to cool mixture (sauce should not get hot enough to separate). Whisk in water and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Place ravioli in a bowl, pour sauce over ravioli and garnish with a crispy basil leaf.


Cooking at the time of our first trip to California was all about the sauces and this one really brings out the best in the first. The pan-fried filets of John Dory are served with a lemony butter sauce with wilted garlic baby spinach.


  • 12 four ounces skinless John Dory filets (two per person)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 6 thick slices of lemon dipped with chopped parsley on one side
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

Place sifted all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper on a plate.  Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium high heat.  Dredge fish in flour, shake off excess flour. Add four filets to the skillet and cook until golden and filets are opaque in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining filets.  Place in a low temperature oven to keep warm.

Wilted Baby Spinach

  • 1 pound of baby spinach with stems removed
  • 6 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces of unsalted butter

In a large skillet over medium low heat melt butter and add garlic to soften, about 1 minute. Add spinach and toss in butter and garlic mixture until completely wilted.

Divide wilted spinach between warm dinner plates, add two small John Dory filets on top, pour some lemon butter sauce over the fish and garnish with parsley dipped lemon slice.

Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce

  • 1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Cook shallot sin one piece of butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderate low heat stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine and boil until the liquid is reduced to about one third cup, about 10minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in remaining cold butter, one piece at a time, adding each piece before the previous one has completely melted and lifting pan from heat occasionally to cool mixture (sauce should not get hot enough to separate). Whisk in water and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.


One of the recipes in our marathon San Francisco experience, I’ll never forget this roasted loin of venison served with a robust red wine sauce with sweet potato herb mash.


  • 2 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ pounds venison loin
  • 4 small shallots, peeled and cut into thin wedges
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup dry, robust red wine
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. in a small bowl, mix the malt powder, poppy seeds, thyme and black pepper. Transfer the seasoning mixture to a large platter and roll the venison in the spices, patting the meat with your hands to help the seasonings to adhere. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

In a large ovenproof skillet, over medium heat, melt four tablespoons of butter. Once hot and bubbling, add the venison loins and lower the heat slightly. Cook, rotating the meat one-quarter of the way about every 3 minutes.  Add the shallots and thyme to the pan, stirring briefly. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 125 degrees, about 10 minutes.

Remove the venison from the skillet to a plate and let it rest. Meanwhile, place the skillet back over medium high heat and add the red wine.  Bring to boil, then let cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring mixture back to a boil for about 1 minute. Add the remaining two tablespoons butter and cook, stirring until the butter is melted and the sauce thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, about 2 minutes. Stir in any juices that have accumulated on the venison platter.

Transfer the venison to a platter. Pour the sauce through a fine sieve and save in a small bowl. Slice the venison in one-inch medallions.

Sweet Potato Herb Mash

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 4 ounces of unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the sweet potatoes to boiling water and cook for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife. Drain the sweet potatoes. Mash the potatoes until lump free. Add the herbs, salt, and pepper, melted butter and cream. Mix until the potatoes have absorbed all the liquids.

Place a spoonful of sweet potato on each plate. Place the sliced venison medallions on top of mash and ladle sauce over meat, garnish with fresh thyme sprig.

Chapter Thirteen


Is there any better way to have a margarita than in Malibu looking out over the ocean with the man you love? That was my first experience with this this drink and it (and tequila) quickly became my favorite! This margarita is made with Reposado tequila shaken with orange liqueur, agave nectar and freshly squeezed lime juice served in glass with salt rim with fresh lime wheel. It’s best enjoyed with friends which is why I’m giving you my recipe for a pitcher as well as a single drink!


  • 1 ½ ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or triple sec)
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • To sweeten, agave syrup to taste
  • Lime wedge to rim glass
  • Coarse salt for glass rim
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Run a lime wedge around the rim of your serving glass. Place coarse salted on plate and dip your glass into salt until covered all around the glass. Add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and few ice cubes to cocktail shaker. Shake until well combined. Give it a taste and add agave nectar if you would like it to be sweeter. 

Fill glass with ice and pour in margarita mix, garnish with a lime slice.


  • 2 cups of reposado tequila
  • 2 cups of orange liqueur
  • 1 ½ cups freshly squeezed lime juice
  • To sweeten, agave syrup to taste
  • Lime wedges to rim glasses
  • Coarse salt for glass rim
  • Limes wheels for garnish


If the truth be told, I LOVE a simple no-fuss thick juicy fatty hamburger. Why fatty? For one, the taste and texture are fabulous with champagne and two, the fat gives the burger a beautiful char on the outside.


  • 2 pounds of 80% lean and 20% fat ground chuck
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 sesame seed hamburger buns
  • Romaine lettuce Leaves
  • Beefsteak tomato slices
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Cheddar Cheese slices
  • Avocado slices
  • Ketchup and Dijon mustard

Preheat the grill to 400 degrees. In a large bowl add the beef and sprinkle kosher salted and fresh ground pepper. Use your hands to mix the seasoning until well combined. Divide the meat mixture into fourths. Take one quarter of the meat mixture and use your hands to press it into shape of a hamburger patty that is about 1-inch thick. Make an indentation in the middle of the patty to prevent bulging in the center of the hamburger as it cooks. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture, making 4 hamburgers.

Place the burgers on the grill – either charcoal or gas – and cook 3 – 4 minutes on the first side. Flip the burgers over and cook an additional 3 – 4 minutes, until the burgers have reached the desired doneness. I usually cook for 4 minutes on each side for medium well burgers which is 160 degrees if using a meat thermometer.

If adding cheese, lay a slice on each burger about a half a minute to let them slightly melt. Serve burgers on hamburger buns with Dijon mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado.


Burgers were a revelation to me when I had my first one at Paradise Cove in Malibu. But the true star of the day were onion rings. The Ranch Dip was quite a surprise addition and so very American. I can’t eat onion rings any other way now.


  • 2 large white onions, peeled
  • 6 cups ice water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup beer, lager or pilsner
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • Canola oil for frying

Peel and cut onions crosswise into ½ inch slices. Separate into rings and place in a large bowl with ice water while you prepare the batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, salt, white pepper, and baking powder. Whisk in beer and 2 tablespoons of ice water until just combined

In a large pot over medium high heat, bring 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees.  In a separate bowl, add the remaining 1 cup of flour. Remove the rings from the ice water bath and pat dry. Coat the rings first in the flour then in the batter, allowing any excess to drip off. 

Working in batches, transfer battered rings to hot oil to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined rack to drain. Sprinkle with salt.


  • ½ cup good quality mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh minced dill
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk until smooth. Stir in parsley, dill, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Blend well and adjust seasonings to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. If consistency is too thick, thin out dressing with a splash of additional buttermilk.


Fish tacos put California beach food on the map. They are delicious with a marinated grilled flaky cod served in a corn tortilla with avocado. I add purple corn slaw with sour cream and a squeeze of fresh lime juice in true San Diego style!


  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one fresh lime
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ pounds cod or other flaky white fish
  • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 8 lime wedges for serving
  • Sour cream for serving

In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, paprika, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Add cod, tossing until evenly coasted. Let marinate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make slaw. In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro and honey. Stir in cabbage, corn and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat vegetable oil.  Remove cod from marinade and season both sides of each filet with salt and pepper. Add fish flesh side down. Cook until opaque and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Let it rest for 5 minutes and lightly flake with a fork.

Serve fish over grilled corn tortilla with corn slaw and avocado. Squeeze lime juice over everything and finish with a dollop of sour cream.

Corn Slaw

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 jalapeno, finely minced

Chapter Fourteen


This is such a wonderful dish for winter as it’s time in the oven warms the house and smells heavenly.


  • 1 7-pound of leg of lamb
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup dry red wine or beef broth

Pat lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with tip of a sharp small knife. Pound garlic to a paste with sea salt and stir together with rosemary and pepper. Put lamb in a lightly oiled roasting pan, then rub paste all over lamb. Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Roast lamb in middle of oven until and instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into the thickest part of meat registers 130 degrees, about 1-½ to 1-¾ hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (temperature will rise to approximately 140 degrees).

Add red wine to pan and deglaze by boiling over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, one minute. Season pan juices with salt and pepper. Carve lamb slices and serve with red wine sauce and sprig of rosemary.

Roasted Carrots

  • 12 carrots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut carrots into thick one-inch chunks.

Toss them in bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and transfer to sheet pan in one layer and roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes until brown and tender.

Roasted Potatoes

  • 2 pounds yellow skinned potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes and dice in two-inch cubes. If time allows soak potatoes in cold water for up to an hour (this removes starch and makes for a fluffier potato). Drain and dry potatoes.  Toss potatoes in olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper.

Bake on a baking sheet for 45 minutes until brown and tender.


Simple and rustic, this galette becomes something truly special with the addition of a crumble and heavy pouring cream.


  • 2 pounds granny smith apples peeled, cored and cut into cubes
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling

In a large saucepan combine apples, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon and add half a cup of water. Cook over a medium heat until the apples have softened and water has been absorbed. Take off heat to cool.

Take the dough from fridge and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. 

Remove the plastic wrap and, on a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into four pieces. Roll out each piece of dough to about six inches. Divide the apple mixture into four and place each pile of mixture in the center of rolled pastry. Fold over the sides leaving an opening in the middle. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and then sprinkle coarse sugar over the pastry and on top of the exposed apples. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place galette on a lightly oiled sheet tray. Cook for about 20 minutes until pastry is golden in color. Serve warm with heavy pouring  cream.

Pastry Shell (Pate Sucre)

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large egg yolk
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed

In a bowl blend together the flour, sugar and salt. Place in food processor.  Add cold butter pieces and process the mixture on pulse mode until it resembles coarse meal. 

Add the egg yolks on pulse mode. Add one tablespoon of ice water at a time until the mixture forms a dough. Take the dough out of bowl and flatten into a smooth disc. Wrap with plastic and chill in fridge for at least two hours.


I couldn’t get enough of these when I first had them at my sister’s wedding. Creamy sliced russet potatoes tossed with herbs, sour cream and garlic is yummy and even more so when wrapped in a golden puff pastry packet.


  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry
  • 2 pounds potatoes thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll puff pastry on a flour board. Peel and thin slice potatoes using a mandolin. Toss with sour cream, salt, pepper, rosemary, chives and garlic. Divide puff pastry into two pieces. Place one piece at the bottom of a sheet pan. Place potato mixture on top of puff pastry then place the other puff pastry sheet on top of potatoes. Cut a diamond shape pattern with a knife on top. 

Beat the egg yolk and milk together to make an egg wash. Brush over the top of the pastry and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes, rotating the pan a few times to ensure even browning.

Cool and cut into rectangular slices. Wrap half the slice with parchment or if preferred place on a plate and eat with a fork. 

Chapter Fifteen


This is an elegant recipe that celebrates a beautiful ingredient — smoked Scottish center cut salmon served with crispy capers, red onion and fresh dill lightly dressing with extra virgin dressing.

For the Salmon

  • 8 ounces of center cut Scottish smoked salmon
  • 1 tablespoon loosely chopped fresh dill or more to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper for garnish
  • 2 ounces of crème fraiche
  • Grissini breadsticks
  • Half lemon covered with cheesecloth net

Line a salad plate with salmon in a single layer.  Spoon the dressing over the salmon evenly.  Top with crispy capers and finish with fresh dill and cracked black pepper with blobs of crème fraiche.  Serve alongside breadstick and half lemon covered with cheesecloth net.

For the Crispy Capers

  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a bowl toss the drained capers in the all-purpose flour until evenly coated.  Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat with olive oil.  When skillet is hot, add the capers to the skillet and cook until golden brown and crisp, about three minutes.  Transfer capers to a paper towel lined plate and let cool.

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 small red onion halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half moons

In a bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined.


This soup is an elegant first course, or if you want to serve it with a salad and loaf of crunchy bread, perfect for a snowy day.


  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green parts removed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 pound yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound white onions, peeled and diced
  • Kosher salt for tasting
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives

Chop leeks into small pieces. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, celery, onions, and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately in soup bowls and sprinkle with chives.


One of my favorites with its elegant presentation, this pork tenderloin is butterflied and stuffed with an herb mushroom mixture and served with a sherry au jus sauce.


  • 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound of mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake and oyster
  • 1 small head of garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme plus 2 sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 1 sprig
  • 1 center cut boneless pork loin (3 – 4 pounds)
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kitchen twine
  • Kitchen foil to cover pork after cooked
  • 6 sprigs thyme for garnish

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook undisturbed until they start browning, about 2 minutes. Stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Push the mushrooms to one side of skillet. Add another 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic to the other side of the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 30 seconds.  Stir the garlic into the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper, let cool.

Combine the parsley, chopped thyme and rosemary, three tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. 

Butterfly the pork by positioning your knife about one-third of the way up the length of the pork loin, with your knife parallel to the cutting board.  Begin cutting into the pork, pulling the meat away with your other hand so that it opens up into a flat, evenly thick piece. Season the pork with salt and pepper, spread the herb oil over the top and top with mushrooms. Reroll the pork into a log and tie in 1-inch intervals using kitchen twine. Season with salt and pepper.

Set a rack in a large roast pan. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork, fat side down and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, turning, until browned all over, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pork seam side down to the rack in the pan. Roast on the lower rack in oven until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat (not the filling) registers 135 degrees, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.  Remove the pork to a cutting board, tent with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, skim off any excess fat from the juices in the roasting pan and add the sherry. Place the pan across two burners over medium high heat. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs and cook scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon and stirring, until the liquid is reduced by about half, 1 minute. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve. Pour into a small saucepan, add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and season with salt.  Remove the twine from the pork cut in 1-inch-thick slices. Transfer to plate and serve with sauce with fresh thyme garnish.


Butterscotch pudding is quite overlooked as a fancy dessert. But it easily goes to the next level with a layer of salted caramel, topped with a whipped cream rosette and served with rolled wafers.

Butterscotch Custard

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add brown sugar and keep stirring until the brown sugar and butter are completely melted. Stir in cornstarch. Add heavy cream and whole milk. Bring to a slow rolling boil and let thicken. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture coats the back of the spoon.

While the milk mixture is cooking, place egg yolks in small bowl.  Temper egg yolks by spooning a small amount of hot moil into the bowl. Use a whisk and keep stirring. Pour the mixture back into the pot. Bring back to a boil for 1 minute. Add pure vanilla extract. Place custard into 6 small glasses and let it cool in refrigerator.

Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup sweet butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (plus more for the top of caramel)
  • 1 cup whipped cream for rosette on top

In a medium saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. The sugar will begin to form clumps and will turn a amber color. Keep stirring. Watch carefully as the sugar can easily burn. Once the sugar is completely melted use a whisk to stir the sugar and butter. Drizzle the heavy cream into mixture and stir. Let it boil for a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in sea salt. Let it cool slightly and then pour over top of custard. Sprinkle some sea salt then add a rosette of whipped cream.


Fruitcake is a traditionally wedding cake for the royal family in England, making it a popular choice for many Brits. It’s a bit of an undertaking to age the cake so get ready to start it three months before you want to serve it. Made with glace cherries, candied peel golden and black raisins, ground almons covered with marzipan and royal icing decorated with marzipan holly and berries, it’s a call for celebration.


  • 1 ½ pounds of golden and black raisins
  • 10 ounces brewed strong cold black tea
  • 8 ounces of unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 8 ounces of brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup, dark treacle or molasses
  • 3 ounces of brandy
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ounces of ground almonds
  • 4 ounces of glace cherries, chopped
  • 4 ounces candied peel, chopped

The day before baking, place black and golden raisins in a large bowl, add the tea and stir well. Cover and leave overnight. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

Place the butter and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl. Whisk until light, smooth and creamy. Beat 1 egg into the creamed butter, then beat in ¼ cup of flour. Repeat until all the eggs and flour are used up. Add the treacle, brandy, nutmeg and lemon juice to the cake mixture, and stir gently using a spatula. Stir in baking powder.

Drain the dried fruits and place them in a bowl along with the ground almonds, glace cherries and candied peel. Stir well, then add to the cake mixture, stirring gently until all the fruits are incorporated into the mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan, level the cake mixture, and then put a slight dip in the mixture so when cooked it has a flat top rather than a raised round top.

To age the cake, soak cheesecloth in brandy and wrap the cake.  Then wrap cake in plastic wrap and store in a cool, dark place. Resoak the cheesecloth once a week, every week for up to three months.

A week before you are ready to serve the cake, wrap it in marzipan. Let that dry for two days then cover with royal icing.  Decorate with festive ribbon, silver bells or marzipan holly and berries.

Chapter Sixteen


It takes a long time for trends to come to Bath, England, but on our honeymoon there the new style of make-your-own pizza had arrived. The hotel concierge suggested it and we loved the concept, new to us at the time! This is one that we chose — crispy pizza dough topped with mozzarella, tomato, olives, basil and red onions finished with a swirl of olive oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt served with arugula dusted with parmesan.


  • 1 0.25 ounces package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 ½ cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place a pizza stone on rack in oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and oil, beat until smooth. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased baker’s peel. Place mozzarella cheese topped with sliced tomatoes, chopped olives, basil, thinly cut onion rings and basil leaves on the crust. 

Place pizza on the stone in oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes until dough is crisp around edges and at the bottom. Remove from oven. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Serve with arugula lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil, dusted with parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.

Toppings – Enough for a 12-inch pizza

  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Torn basil leaves
  • Halved black olives
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Thinly sliced vine ripened tomatoes

Arugula salad

  • Arugula
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Finely grated parmesan
  • Coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste


The first meal I made for Dennis as a newly married woman was this showstopper! In the United States you can get goose from a butcher, although you might have to pre-order it.


  • 1 approximately 8 pounds goose
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and chopped
  • 1 head of garlic cloves
  • ½ cup madeira wine
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cups of chicken broth for gravy
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Remove the neck, giblets and wing tips to use for making gravy. Prick the goose skin all over with a needle. The technique is to stick the skin from an angle so you are not piecing the meat of the goose, just the skin. Doing this will allow the fat somewhere to go and allow the skin to get crispy.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Rub the goose all over with two halves of lemon. Then place inside the goose. Sprinkle with salt liberally inside and out. Slice the top off a head of garlic and place inside the goose. Place the goose breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan and place in oven and cooked for about 1 hour, 15 minutes until golden and crispy.

Meanwhile start cooking the gravy. Chop and brown giblets, wings and neck in medium saucepan. Sprinkle with salt. Add the chopped onion and stir to combine. When the onion gets a little brown sprinkle flour in the pan cooking until combined over medium heat, stirring often until it smells nutty, about 5 – 10 minutes. Turn the heat up high and add the madeira. Let it boil for a minute then add chicken stock and stir to combine. Add dried thyme and turn down heat to a bare simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.

Remove goose from oven the temperature should be approximately 170 degrees and let it rest. Remove the garlic cloves from the husk and add to gravy. Strain the gravy through a fine mesh sieve. Place goose on wooden board and carve serve with strained gravy, butter poached brussels sprouts, green beans and potatoes roasted in goose fat.


I made this dessert for a special dinner of roast goose with my family after Dennis and I were married. The soft center crispy meringue is topped with whipped cream and fresh sliced pears, mandarin and raspberry with mint garnish. It’s refreshing after a roast dinner.


  • 6 large egg whites room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a mixer, beat six egg whites on high for about one minute until soft peaks form. Gradually beath in 1½ cups of sugar and beat for about 10 minutes until stiff peaks form.  It will be smooth and glossy.

Using a spatula, quickly fold in ½ tablespoon lemon juice and ½ tablespoon vanilla extract, then fold in two teaspoon cornstarch and mix until well blended.

Pipe meringue into three-inch wide nests onto the parchment paper. Indent the center with a spoon to allow room for cream.  Bake at 225 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes then turn off the oven. Without opening the door, let the meringue stay in oven another 30 minutes. The outside will be crisp to the tap and inside will still be marshmallow soft.

Transfer the parchment to a cookie rack to cool to room temperature. Once cool, you can top them with whipped cream and fruit and garnish with fresh mint.


  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar

Whip together in a mixing bowl for about two to three minutes or until spreadable.


  • 4 cups thin sliced pears, tangerines and raspberries

Fresh mint garnish

Chapter Seventeen


Critic’s choice! This was the meal the very first food and travel writer I have ever met had at the castle. He loved it and his stay there and gave us a good write up. I guarantee you’ll have a good write up from whomever you make this dish for too!


  • 4 duck legs
  • 5 ounces coarse sea salt
  • 2 ounces cracked black pepper
  • 1 head of garlic separated into cloves
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves, crumbled
  • 4 teaspoons brandy
  • 25 ounces duck fat

Rub the duck legs with the salt, plenty of black pepper, 2 crushed garlic cloves, half the thyme and bay leaves. Pack tightly into a dish, skin side down, then add the brandy. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Scrape the marinade off the duck legs.  Heat the duck fat in a heavy, ovenproof dish, then add the duck, the remaining garlic cloves and thyme. The duck legs should be completely submerged in the melted fat. Cook covered in the oven for three hours.  Remove from oven and allow to cool uncovered.

While that cooks, prepare the lentils. Sear the shaved pancetta until lightly browned. Add carrots and onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in a tablespoon of chopped parsley.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the duck on a sheet pan and cook for approximately 30 minutes until skin is crispy brown. Serve with pancetta lentils. Drizzle with red currant sauce.

For Pancetta Lentils

  • 5 ounces shaved pancetta
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 10 ounces cooked green lentils
  • 4 quarts of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

For Red Currant Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon red currant jelly
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup good red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 knob of butter

To make the red wine sauce place red wine, red currant jelly and balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and reduce on medium to low heat until it starts to get sticky and dark. Add the chicken stock and reduce by three quarters. Take off heat and whisk in the knob of butter.


This is also based on a dish that the food and travel writer enjoyed at Thornsbury. I’ve made it now for guests many times and always it gets rave reviews!

For the Phyllo Layers

  • 1 package store bought phyllo sheets
  • ½ cup of unsalted melted butter

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Place one sheet of phyllo pastry on a clean dry surface. Brush melted butter over the sheet. Place another sheet of phyllo on top and again brush melted butter. Repeat this until you have 4 sheets of pastry together. Cut rectangular shapes that are 2-by-4 inches. You will need a total of 12 rectangles. Place on a sheet tray and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

For Assembly

Place one sheet of cooked phyllo as the foundation. Add crabmeat salad to cover. Place another phyllo sheet on top of crabmeat mixture. Add more crabmeat salad. Then another phyllo sheet. Repeat until you have 3 sheets of phyllo and 2 layers of crabmeat.

Garnish with watercress and chive.  If desired, drizzle with a lemon butter sauce for extra richness.

For the Crab Salad

  • 1 pound of Dungeness crab meat
  • 4 teaspoons finely sliced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/3 cup prepared mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Watercress and chive for garnish

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the flaky crabmeat, chives and tarragon together. In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and mustard. Add the dressing to the crabmeat mixture and stir until just coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chapter Eighteen


An elegant beginning that was part of a beautiful ending for me as Dennis and I prepared to leave England. The fresh salmon and smoked salmon filet go beautifully with a soft-boiled quail egg.


  • 1 pound skinless fresh salmon filet
  • ½ pound fresh smoked salmon
  • 6 lightly boiled quail eggs
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced fresh dill
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf of sliced bread of choice, toasted for serving

Cut the fresh and smoked salmon into a quarter-inch dice. Place the salmon in a mixing bowl and add the fresh lime juice, shallots, olive oil, dill, capers, two mustards, salt and pepper. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours for the salmon to marinate.

In a small saucepan, add an inch of water, bring water to the boil and add quail eggs cooking for two minutes thirty seconds. Remove and cool in cold water. Once cold then peel.

When ready to serve, toast the bread and cut into triangles. Divide tartare between six plates, cut each egg in half and place on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley


If you are a steak lover, there is nothing better than filet mignon, except when it is topped with a wild mushroom compound butter with black truffles!


  • 4 filet mignon steaks, 5-6 ounces each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Season the steaks generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Season more than you think as much of it comes off during the cooking process.

Heat cast iron skillet on stove top over high heat. Melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the steaks and cook each side for about three minutes on each side or until browned.

Remove from heat and add the garlic slices and thyme and cook in oven until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees for medium rare.

Meanwhile, remove the porcini butter compound from the refrigerator and slice into ½ inch pats. Remove steaks from the oven, spoon cooked juices over the steak and serve with a pat of porcini butter over the filets and had remaining black truffle slices over the top.

Porcini Mushroom Truffle Butter

  • 10 whole porcini mushrooms
  • ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ ounce whole black truffle

Place 10 whole porcini mushroom in small bowl. Cover with enough boiling water just to top mushrooms. Cover and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms have reconstituted and are soft. Drain mushrooms squeeze out excess water. Thinly slice mushrooms and set aside. Finely grind dried porcini mushrooms in coffee grinder.

Place butter in food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add 2 tablespoons of porcini powder, half of the sliced mushrooms, half the black truffle and salt to butter. Blend until well mixed and butter is smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll into a log shape. Place reserved porcini slices on top of butter and wrap tightly. Twist ends of plastic closed. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until cold enough to slice.


A sweet ending for us all. A light buttery crepe served with caramelized fresh peaches with a dollop of mascarpone whipped cream with fresh mint garnish.


  • ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce of melted butter plus 1 ounce for pan
  • 3 large eggs (lightly whisked)
  • 11/3 cups whole milk

Whisk the flour and salt in a blender. Blend in eggs, milk and melted butter on high speed for about one minute. Scrape down the sides and blend for about thirty seconds. If the batter is lumpy, strain through a sieve. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for at least an hour.

Heat an eight-inch pan or skillet over medium high heat. Brush with melted butter. Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop out the batter and pour it into the skillet. Pick up the pan and swirl it so the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. Cook for approximately one minutes, loosen the edges of the crepe with a spatula.  Using a spatula, turn the crepe over. Cook the other side until lightly golden. Slide it onto a plate. cover with wax paper. Repeat with the remaining batter.


Fold crepe in a triangle. Top with whipped cream and poached peaches. Swirl coulis over crepes and garnish with mint sprig.


  • 1 large fresh peach (peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar

Combine the chopped peach, amaretto, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring for 10 minutes until peaches are mushy. Remove from heat and cool. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor and puree.


  • 1 Peach (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto
  • 2 ounces mascarpone
  • 2 ounces of whipped cream
  • Sprigs of mint for garnish

Lightly poach peaches in melted butter and brown sugar over medium low heat in a skillet. Lightly whip cream to soft peaks then add mascarpone until blended with amaretto.