Ratafia Trifle

A marvellously rich dessert to make for that special occasion, Ratafia Trifle is flavoured with apricots in various forms, and covered with rich Creme Patissiere and whipped cream.

3 tablespoons apricot jam, warmed

1 X 9-inch stale Flan Case made with sponge, baked and cooled

56 Ratafia Biscuits

8 fl. oz. sweet sherry

1 tablespoon apricot brandy

15 oz. canned apricot halves, drained

1| pints Creme Patissiere

15 fl. oz. double cream

2 oz. castor sugar

1 egg white, stiffly beaten

2 oz. slivered almonds

1 X 2-inch piece candied angelica, chopped

Using a flat-bladed knife, spread the jam evenly over the base of the sponge case. Press the sponge into the bottom of a large serving bowl, being careful not to break the sponge. Arrange the ratafia biscuits over the jam, completely covering the surface. Pour over the sherry and apricot brandy, and set aside to soak for 1 hour.

Arrange the apricot halves over the ratafias, to completely cover them. Using a flat-bladed knife, spread the creme patissiere over the top, smoothing it over with the knife.

Place the cream and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a wire whisk or rotary beater, beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. With a metal spoon, fold in the egg white. Spread the cream mixture over the creme patissiere. Sprinkle over the almonds and angelica. Cover the bowl with aluminium foil and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least

30 minutes before serving.

Ratatouille

1 A classic French vegetable casserole, Ratatouille butter

2 fl. oz. olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 medium-sized aubergines , thinly sliced and degorged

1 large green pepper, white pith removed, seeded and chopped

1 large red pepper, white pith removed, seeded and chopped

5 medium-sized courgettes, trimmed and sliced

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

11 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the aubergine slices, green and red peppers and courgette slices to the casserole. Fry for 5 minutes, shaking the casserole frequently. Add the tomatoes with the can juice, the basil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the parsley.

Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the casserole and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but still quite firm.

Remove the casserole from the heat and serve at once, straight from the casserole.

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