Copy Cook's blog

How to Cut a Lemon Basket

Lemon Basket with Smoked Salmon"Place a very small lemon basket (see diagram below) at the side of the glass on the plate, on which you will send it to table. Then the lemon basket can be picked up easily and additional lemon juice squeezed over as desired without getting your fingers in a filthy mess."
Fanny Cradock

Ok, my delight at lemon baskets has faded. Life's too short to spend time carving lemons into shapes.

Fanny Cradock’s Shrimp Cocktail

Fanny's Shrimp Cocktail"One of the most sordid little offerings is the ubiquitous Prawn Cocktail with a good old ground padding of lettuce cut with a knife and darkening at the edges, a tired prawn drooping disconsolately over the edge of the glass like a debutante at the end of her first ball and its opposite number – a piece of lemon tasting of the knife – clutching the opposite side of the rim like a seasick passenger against a taffrail during a rough Channel crossing.

How to Make Vegetables Deliciously Unhealthy: Fanny’s Assorted Vegetable Fritters

Courgette FritterWorryingly, I’ve become slightly obsessed by Fanny Cradock.

A catering company recently asked me to write about and compare two of the first TV chefs, Marguerite Patten and Fanny Cradock. Both fascinating women in their very different ways, it was enlightening to research their lives.

The formidable Fanny

Halloumi Cheese with Rocket Pesto

Helium cheese with rocket pestoIn an attempt to clear the fridge of random ingredients, I invented this culinary masterpiece.

I bought the rocket pesto at Macknade Fine Foods in Faversham, Kent. More than just a farm shop, they have a fabulous food hall stocked with every kind of delicacy you can think of.

New Potato and Broad Bean Salad

New Potato and Broad Bean SaladMy broad beans were a total disaster this year. I tried a heritage variety called Green Windsor. They didn’t grow very tall and were soon destroyed by blackfly. I gave up spraying and feeding them and in the end I dug them up and put them in the composter.

Fabulous Fleet Food Festival: Roasting a wild boar

Roast Wild BoarOn 24th May, Fleet held its second Food Festival.

The organisers did an excellent job of bringing together stallholders selling locally sourced foods, beers and wines. There were also cookery demonstrations and talks held in two marquees, plus live music to listen to as you wandered around the stalls.

Simple Hungarian Beef Goulash

Simple Hungarian Beef GoulashThere are many variations on traditional Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas), and I’ve adapted this one from a Hairy Bikers recipe. In this dish, I’ve left out the beef stock cube as I think it tastes better without it.

The key flavour is paprika, and I added more than the original recipe suggests.

Garden Herb Pesto

 Herb PestoThe garden is not at its most colourful at this time of year, but at least my herb patch still provides a splash of green.

I wanted a dressing to liven up my chickpea and bean salad, so I made a fresh herb pesto using whatever herbs I could find outside. During the summer, I use fresh basil from the garden in this salad, but at this time of year only the hardy herbs are on offer.

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the holeOr as it turned out in my case, burnt sausages in custard. The photos look better than the reality.

My mistake was to try and use up some of the batter I had left over from the Deep-Fried Aubergines. As I discovered, the flour to liquid ratio for that batter was not the right mix for toad in the hole.


8 sausages
1 tbsp sunflower oil
100g plain flour
½ tsp English mustard powder

How to Make Vegetables Deliciously Unhealthy: Deep-Fried Aubergine

Deep Fried AuberginesTime for another deliciously unhealthy vegetable dish. For once, this doesn’t mean the addition of butter, cream, cheese or bacon. Instead, it just involves a little light batter and some deep-frying.

I was trying to replicate a dish I had in Greece, and although not as delicious as the one I enjoyed in a beachfront taverna, my version wasn’t bad.


1 large aubergine
85g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp salt
200ml ice cold water
Sunflower oil for frying


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