Cool mexican bean wraps

Carrots with thyme, cumin and orange butter

Wash the thyme stalks in hot water for 20 seconds. When cool enough to handle, strip the leaves off the stalk. In a food processor, whizz the thyme leaves, the cumin seeds and orange zest together with the butter. Lay out a 30cm square piece of greaseproof paper on a work surface and scoop the butter on to the middle. Roll one edge up over the butter as if you were trying to fold the paper in half, and with your hands shape the butter into a cylinder shape as best you can. Wrap the butter up in the paper, twist the ends so the package looks like a Christmas cracker and place in the fridge to set.

Steam the carrots for 10 minutes and, once cooked, toss in a warm bowl with some slices of the thyme, cumin and orange butter.

Sweet duck legs cooked with plums and star anise

Place the duck legs in a sandwich bag with the soy sauce, five-spice, star anise, cinnamon stick and olive oil and let them marinate for a minimum of 2 hours. To really get the flavours going, you could keep this in your fridge to marinate for up to 2 days. Then get yourself a pan, casserole or high-sided roasting tray that snugly fits the duck legs. Place the chillies, plums and sugar in the bottom of the tray and then pour the marinade from the bag over the top. Mix it all up using your fingers, and place the duck legs on top.

Place the tray in a preheated oven at 170°C/325°F/gas 3 for 2 to 2½ hours until the meat falls away from the bone. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick, then taste the sauce to see if it needs to be seasoned with a little more soy sauce. It’s now down to you how you would like to serve it. You could have it as a starter with some of the little Chinese pancakes that you can buy, or served simply with rice or noodles and the chunky, jammy plum sauce that the duck has cooked in.

Grilled fillet steak with the creamiest white beans and leeks

Sweat the leeks, thyme and garlic with a splash of olive oil and the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a low heat for 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. Turn up the heat and add the white wine. Let the wine come to the boil, then add the beans and a splash of water, so that the beans are almost covered. Allow to simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes until the beans are lovely and creamy. Add the parsley, crème fraîche and a good glug of the extra virgin olive oil and taste for seasoning.

Heat a griddle pan until white-hot, season your steaks and pat with olive oil. Grill a 4cm/1½ inch thick steak for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. You can keep them on there for longer, turning as you go, until cooked to your liking. Remove from the grill on to a dish and rest for 5 minutes. Squeeze over some lemon juice and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Carve the steaks into thick slices. Divide the creamy beans between your plates and place the steak on top, drizzling over some of the resting juices.

Steamed thai-style sea bass and rice

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. In a food processor or liquidizer, whiz up the coriander stalks, half of the coriander leaves, the ginger, garlic, halved chillies, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice and zest and the coconut milk. This will give you a lovely fragrant Thai-style paste.

Cook your rice in salted, boiling water until it’s just undercooked, then drain it in a colander. Scoop it into a high-sided roasting tray. Pour your Thai paste over the rice and mix it in well, then shake it out flat. Lay the sea bass fillets on top, scatter over the sugar snap peas or mangetouts, then cover the dish tightly with tinfoil and put it in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle over the spring onions, the sliced chilli and the other half of the coriander leaves. Divide between your plates with a wedge of lime.

Creamy rhubarb and vodka cocktail

Place the rhubarb, sugar and orange juice in a small pan and put the lid on. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove the lid and simmer for a few minutes more until you get a thick, compote consistency. Pour the rhubarb into a sieve over a bowl and let the liquid drip through. It’s this liquid you want (the rhubarb left in the sieve is lovely served with some custard).

Put the vodka, Galliano, cream, milk, ice cubes and 2 shots of the rhubarb liquid into a cocktail shaker and shake it about. Strain into two cocktail glasses.

Easy peasy ginger beer

First of all you need to grate your ginger on a coarse cheese grater – you can leave the skin on if you like. Put the ginger with its pulpy juice into a bowl and sprinkle in your muscovado sugar. Remove the rind from 2 of your lemons with a vegetable peeler, add to the bowl, and slightly bash and squash with something heavy like a pestle or a rolling-pin. Just do this for 10 seconds, to mix up all the flavours. Squeeze the juice from all 3 lemons and add most of it to the bowl. Pour in your fizzy water or soda water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then taste. You may feel that the lemons are slightly too sour, therefore add a little more sugar; if it's slightly too sweet, add a little more lemon juice. To be honest, these amounts are always a little variable so just follow your own taste. Pass the ginger beer through a coarse sieve into a large jug and add lots of ice and some sprigs of mint.

Surprise pudding

Boil the beetroots until soft, then drain and allow to cool a little. Rub the skins off then mash in a food processor or with a masher till smooth. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put the beetroot purée, ginger, egg yolks, honey and olive oil in a bowl and add the seeds from 1 vanilla pod. Whisk together, then add the baking powder, polenta, orange zest and juice, salt, allspice, cinnamon and flour. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the beetroot mixture.

Get yourself a 25cm cake tin or cheesecake mould. Rub with butter and dust with a little flour to stop the cake sticking. You could also line it with greaseproof paper to be really sure. Pour in the mixture then bake in the preheated oven for around 35 minutes until spongy. Test whether it's ready by poking a cocktail stick into it – if it's clean when it comes out you know the cake's done. Allow to cool.

Whisk the crème fraîche with the vin santo, sugar and the seeds from the remaining vanilla pod. Taste and adjust to your liking with a bit more sugar and vin santo. Serve the cake in wedges with a big dollop of the vin santo and vanilla cream.