Lockdown Comfort Cooking

For St. Patrick's Day, why not try making a...

Black Velvet Cocktail from Harry Craddock’s, The Savoy Cocktail Book

Makes 6 servings
- 750ml of Guinness
- 1 x bottle of Champagne or sparlking wine

  • Fill six champagne flutes halfway with stout.
  • Place a spoon into the champagne flute, without touching the stout, with the rounded side facing up.
  • Slowly pour the champagne onto the back of the spoon and into the champagne flute. The champagne should float on top of the stout creating a layered drink.

Since Craddock’s book is a compilation of recipes, it can be presumed that many of them were enjoyed long before the book was published in the 1930s. That’s absolutely the case with the Black Velvet Cocktail.

On December 14th, 1861, Prince Consort Albert, passed away having contracted typhoid. Upon hearing the news, the steward of the Brook’s Club in London decided that “even the Champagne should be put into mourning.” So, he added stout to the bubbly beverage in order to darken the color and the Black Velvet was born…at least, that’s how the story goes.

While the Black Velvet may have been created in the 1800’s under morbid pretenses, the first written record of the recipe found was in Craddock’s book. The recipe is super simple…one part stout, one part champagne, poured very carefully into a long tumbler. Although Craddock doesn’t say anything about keeping the layers of stout and champagne separate, he totally implies it. Why be so careful in your pouring if you are going to mix the two ingredients together.

While this recipe is super easy, the dryness of the champagne and brand of stout will impact the outcome of this cocktail.



Irish Soda Bread – Makes 1 Loaf

Get the taste of Ireland with this fresh, no-fuss soda bread.


250g Plain White Flour

250g Plain Wholemeal Flour

100g Porridge Oats

1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1tsp Salt

25g Butter, cut into pieces

500ml Buttermilk


  • STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and dust a baking sheet with flour. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a table knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips (handle it very, very gently). Now shape it into a flat, round loaf measuring 20cm/8in in diameter.

  • STEP 2

Put the loaf on the baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.) Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it isn’t ready after this time, turn it upside down on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes more.

  • STEP 3

Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel (this keeps the crust nice and soft) and leave to cool. To serve, break into quarters, then break or cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges or slices – or simply slice across. Eat very fresh.


Rose Petal Martini 
by Zoltan from Eight Over Eight

50ml The Original Chelsea Flower Gin
25ml cranberry juice
25ml apple juice
10ml lime juice
20ml rose syrup
30ml egg white
5ml rose oil
3 rose or other edible petals for garnish

Put 50ml of Chelsea Flower gin into the shaker and add 25 ml of cranberry juice, 25 ml of apple juice, 10ml of lime juice, 20ml of rose syrup, 30ml of egg white and add ice to the shaker. 

Shake vigorously to foam the egg white.

Pour it into a martini glass and add 5ml of rose oil. Garnish with rose petals and enjoy.

BUY Partridges Chelsea Flower Gin and the other ingredients HERE

Cheddar and Spring Onion Tart by Mark Kempson the Chef at Kings Arms Hotel, Hampton Court

A well made tart is a wonderful thing and has the ability to deliver a great deal of flavour and pleasure. This tart is a perfect treat for the weekend, personally when it is fresh I like to cut a slice and serve with some roasted vine tomatoes and a peppery radish salad. Enjoy!

(makes one 20cm x 3.5cm tart)

Shortcrust pastry
225g Plain Flour (sifted)
112g Cold Diced Unsalted Butter
2 Egg Yolks
1 tsp Salt
4 tbsp Cold Water

250g Red Onion (finely sliced)
100g Strong Mature Cheddar (grated)
12 Spring Onions (finely sliced)
4 Eggs
250 ml Double Cream
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
Salt and Pepper

Note: before you start set you oven to 160°c


The Pastry

Place the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and egg, mix to form the dough. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film and chill while preparing the filling.

The Filling

Place a medium size saucepan on a low heat. Add the oil, red onions and seasoning. Sweat down with a lid on, stir regularly to ensure that the onions do not caramelise or colour. Remove from the heat when soft and tender (10-15 minutes) drain any liquid. Place the sweated onions in a large mixing bowl and allow them to cool. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and gently whisk, add the cream, mix and season. Add the cheddar and spring onions. Pour over the sweated red onions and mix well. Cover with cling film and allow to stand at room temperature whilst you prepare the tart case.

The Tart

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Line the tart case and then chill for 5 minutes. Once chilled trim the excess pastry around the tart and line with baking paper and baking beans, Place in the oven and bake until golden (normally 15 minutes). Remove from the oven then take out the baking beans and baking paper. Place the tart case back in the oven and then pour in the filling. Bake for around 45 minutes, turning after 20 minutes to ensure an even cook. When the tart is nicely golden on top and set remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool for 5 minutes. Now remove the tart from the case to prevent it sweating. Place on a cooling rack for a further 25 minutes.

Once the tart is cooled serve as desire. 


For more information about Kings Arms Hotel, Hampton Court Click HERE

Rayeesa's Onion & Mixed Vegetable Bhajis  
(Makes enough for 15-20 bahjis) 


100g gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 large (2 med) white onion (sliced)
Handful each of Cauliflower, green beans, aubergine (or whatever veg you may have)
1 tsp. ground cumin1 
1/2  tsp. garlic & ginger paste
1- 2 tsp. chilli powder
Small handful of chopped fresh coriander
1-2 fresh green chillies (finely chopped)- optional
Salt to taste
¼ cup of warm water
Vegetable oil for frying ( enough to fry in 1-2" oil). 

Method for the bahjis:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together with the fresh coriander.
2. Add the onions and/ or other vegetables and mix together to coat well.
3. Slowly start adding the water to form a light  coated batter, that starts to glisten. (make sure that the batter is even and not too thick or thin)
4. Add the vegetable oil to a heavy based frying pan and heat allowing the oil to become hot, but not smoking. Caution: take care when frying due to the oil spitting.
5. Add spoonfuls of batter mixture carefully into the oil, a few at a time, trying not to overcrowd the pan as this will affect the cooking.
6. Fry gently, turning over occasionally for 3 minutes or until golden brown in colour.
7. Remove the fried bahjis with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to drain before transferring to serving dish.
8. Either serve straight away or keep warm in a low oven (100°C) until ready to serve.
(These can be batch cooked and removed from the oil slightly earlier before cooling and freezing, to then be reheated in the oven at 180 C for 15 mins.)

Rayeesa is passionate about sharing the flavours of her native Hyderabad and has developed the Spiced by Rayeesa range of frozen curry sauces. In September 2017, Rayeesa put her products in front of the fierce Dragon’s Den investors and received high praise for her sauces. For more information click HERE.