Hazel nut & Raspberry Meringue

We all had a lot of fun making Hazelnut and Raspberry meringues. Everyone had a sly lick of the bowl and ending up with cream on their faces.

This is the recipe if anyone fancies a go at making this delicious sweet

Serves 4 – Preparation 20mins – Cook 25 minutes

v  4 large egg whites

v  250g/9oz castor sugar

v  1 tsp. vanilla extract

v  1 tbsp. raspberry vinegar

v  115g/4oz shelled hazelnuts (leave a few for decoration)

v  300ml/10floz double cream

v  200g/7oz fresh raspberries

1.     Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mk3. Butter 4 individual moulds or a 20cm/8in sandwich tin and line with non- stick baking parchment.

2.     *Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar 1tpsp at a time and continue beating until the mixture is very stiff and stands in shiny peaks.*

3.     Whisk in the vanilla extract and vinegar, then, fold in the hazelnuts. Transfer to the tins and bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until lightly browned and holding its shape. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to serving a dish.

4.     Whip the cream and pile onto the centre of the meringue when it is completely cold. Place the raspberries on top of the cream and the outside edge of the meringue. Finely chop and sprinkle on the remaining hazel nuts.

*Secret Tip*

The trick to making successful meringues is to ensure that the consistency of the egg whites is correct. Dip your fingertips in the whites; when you remove them, the whites should hang down in the hooked shape of a bird’s beak.


The Cookery Group for October cooked Cassoulet from a recipe provided by Jean M. The recipe was very easy to follow. I know Jean will not mind me adding this but it is not a recipe some of the group would cook normally. We were all pleasantly surprised by the taste and aromatic aromas filling the air when the dish was cooking. This dish is definitely a meal for a winters evening after working in the garden or coming home after a long walk.  There is a recipe after the photographs if you wish to try it.



Cassoulet is a hearty dish. Choose really meaty sausages and gammon, take the skin off the chicken and use a small amount of oil to reduce the calorie count.

Serves 6

I/2 tsp oil

6 good quality sausages (at least 85% meat)

4 celery sticks

3 medium carrots

2 medium onions chopped

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 450g)

2 garlic cloves

200g smoked or unsmoked lean gammon trimmed and cut into 2cm cubes

2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes

150ml red wine (or water)

300ml cold water

1tsp caster sugar

1tsp dried chilli flakes

1 bay leaf

Fresh thyme

400g can of cannellini beans in water drained and rinsed

400g can of butter beans in water drained and rinsed

Freshly ground black pepper

Garnish scrubbed orange.

Handful of flat-leaf parsley

Finely grated zest of 1/2 well-scrubbed orange.


Brush a large non-stick frying pan with the oil. Add sausages and cook over a medium heat for 10minutes, turning every now and then until nicely browned on all sides .Meanwhile, trim the celery and peel the carrots and cut them in diagonal slices about 1.5cm thick

Preheat the oven to 18degC/fan 160degC/gas4. Add the onions to pan and cook with the sausages for 6-8minutes, stirring regularly until softened and lightly brown.

Trim the chicken thighs for any visible fat, and then cut them in half. Add the garlic and chicken pieces to the pan with the sausages and onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning the chicken twice until coloured all over. Transfer everything to a large casserole dish

Stir the gammon, celery, carrots, tomatoes, red wine and water, then sprinkle over the caster sugar and chilli flakes. Stir in the bay leaf and thyme and season with lots of ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer on the hob, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 45minutes.

Take the casserole out of the oven and stir in all the beans. Cover with the lid and put dish back in the oven for another 30min.

Just before it is ready, prepare the garnish. Chop the parsley roughly and toss with the orange zest. Serve large portions of the cassoulet in deep plates or wide bowls with a good sprinkling of the zesty parsley garnish on each one




Cooking up Chicken and Ham Tangle Pie.

This session, chicken and ham were the main ingredients, plus sheets of Filo Pastry for the top crust (see Jean for the full recipe). The filling and top were very easy to make.

Some of the group were thinking ahead and baked individual pies for freezing. Why didn’t I think of that!

The pies were baked for 30-35 minutes and everyone’s looked very impressive, if they were anything like mine they would have been very tasty too.

Click on any picture to enlarge.

Cookery Classes Begin

The first two hour cookery class took place on the 26th January 2015. We all met at 3.50pm to be escorted to our classroom at Keiper Academy School in Houghton le Spring.
Our group leader is Jean Mullen who is assisted by Evelyn Cole

A favourite recipe was provided by Jean for our first attempt. We made Beef Lasagne.

After settling into new environment we were ready to try our skills at cooking. Some found the béchamel sauce a bit a tricky, but plenty of help was at hand, and everyone’s lasagne looked great as you can see.

Click on any picture to enlarge.

Emails confirmed that it tasted good too.

We all had a good time and are looking forward to many more classes.

All I can say is; look out Masterchef Seaham Harbour U3A is on its way.


Meet Monthly 4th Monday of the Month

Meeting on 23rd. February
On Monday 23rd February, 17 Members were at Houghton Kepier School for the second cookery lesson of this new Cookery Group. The dish of the day was to be Chicken Jalfrezi, it was prepared amongst much laughter and merriment and the aroma in the kitchen was wonderful.

We were even joined by the school’s head teacher, who also enjoyed herself cooking her tea.

We went round tasting each other curries and they all tasted great, but different considering we had all used the same list of ingredients.

I have always loved curry, there are such variations, from those that will blow your head off, to the ones you could feed to a small child.

I first became hooked on them when I was 15 years old and went to the Moti Mohal restaurant in Oxford for my first Indian meal.

George Fairweather

The recipe was supplied by Evelyn Cole, for those who would like to test it out please see below.

Chicken Jalfrezi


75g vegetable oil
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp ground turmeric
Pinch of salt
750g chicken breasts
500g chopped tomatoes
2 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp melted butter
Juice of 1 lemon
To Serve

Basmati rice – cooked as directed
1 or 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
Handful of chopped coriander leaves
Preparation Method

Finely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the tomatoes up in to ½” chunks. Heat oil over a low/med heat and fry onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes or until softened.
Mix the chilli powder, turmeric and salt together in bowl until well combined. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and then add to the spice mix, coat the chicken evenly. Add the mix to the pan and fry for a further 10-15 minutes until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
Stir in tomatoes, ginger, cumin and ground coriander, reduce heat until the mixture is just simmering. Cover pan with a lid and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a tablespoon of water every so often if the mixture appears too dry.
Cook rice according to packet instructions.
Stir in melted butter and lemon juice to the curry mixture gradually to your taste,
To, serve spoon chicken jalfrezi onto plates. Serve with rice. Garnish with chopped coriander and chillies.