PERFECT ROAST POTATOES Needs must and all that, so I have always been an open anti-perfectionist, but in truth (and I’m sorry to repeat what I’ve said before) it is impossible to cook roast potatoes without needing them to be perfect, which to me means sweet and soft inside and a golden-brown carapace of crunch without.
Salted Chocolate Tart: I have always avoided making chocolate tarts, not out of laziness (I love a bit of pastry-making, in the right mood), but because I have never really felt that the pastry served the chocolate, or was worth the effort here. This is my simple solution: make a base out of chocolate biscuits. And the filling is just as easy to make, too.
Chilli Jam: Although I call this chilli jam, I don't mean by this that it's the sort of thing you'd spread on your toast at breakfast (though smeared inside a bacon sandwich, it could be a real help one hungover morning) but rather a chilli jelly - chelly? - that glows a fiery, flecked red and is fabulous with cold meats or a cheese plate. And just a small pot of it makes a gorgeous present.
Christmas Rocky Road: It’s not that I felt my usual Rocky Road Crunch Bars needed any improvement (though fiddling with recipes is one of life’s pleasures) but I thought they would benefit from some seasonal adjustment. So, out go the Rich Tea biscuits and in come amaretti and – in the seasonal spirit – I’ve crammed in some Brazil nuts and glacé cherries (as red as Rudolph’s nose), along with snowy mini marshmallows.