Chocolate fridge cake with pecan and meringues

Break the biscuits into small pieces directly into a large bowl. Add the pecans, pistachio nuts and cherries and mix together. Put the rest of the ingredients into a separate, heatproof bowl and put on a low heat over a pan of simmering water until the butter and chocolate have melted.

Combine the biscuit mix with the chocolate mixture. Line a 30 x 20 cm plastic container with clingfilm, leaving plenty of extra film at the edges to help turn the cake out later. Whack everything into the container, place in the fridge to firm up then turn out and cut into chunky slices.

This cake can be kept in an airtight container for a few days, and it actually improves in flavour!

Southern indian rice and seafood soup

This really is one of my favourite soups. It's not too hot, but as you eat it you can pick out the individual flavours. And there's something about having rice in a soup that makes it really scrumptious.
Get yourself a big pan and heat up your oil, then add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds, garam masala, chilli powder and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes and you'll get the most amazing smells filling the room from all these spices. Then add the chillies, the ginger, the garlic and the onions. Continue cooking slowly until the garlic and onions are soft. Then add the rice and the water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add your fish and the coconut milk with a pinch of salt. Put the lid on the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes, then stir well to break up the pieces of fish. Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, then just before you serve it squeeze in the lime juice and stir in half the coriander. Serve in warmed bowls, sprinkle over some freshly grated coconut, if you have it, and rip over the rest of the coriander.

Feel good chicken broth

Put your chicken, carrot, celery and bacon in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer slowly for an hour and a quarter, skimming the white residue off the top every now and again. Add your rosemary sprigs, shitake mushrooms and sherry (if you are using it) for the last 10 minutes, then remove the chicken from the pan. It should be perfectly cooked, and will be great for salads or sandwiches or for tearing into slivers to put into the soup. Season the soup with salt and ladle it through a sieve into bowls, trying not to disrupt it too much as you want to keep it reasonably clear. Add the chicken slivers and a few mushrooms to each bowl and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. The finished thing should be a kinda clear consommé.