Cornish Saffron PopOvers: Spice Heroes – Natasha MacAller


‘Images and recipes from Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller (Murdoch Books). Photography by Manja Wachsmuth. RRP $49.99’

Cornish Saffron Popovers

with Sweet Saffron Butter


‘Inspired by the classic British Yorkshire pudding, ‘popovers’ are baked in a similar fashion and are often made with cheese. Using traditional Cornish saffron bread ingredients, here is a recipe for quick-as-you-can popovers that are great for afternoon tea or an after-dinner bit of something sweet and surprising using this most alluring and expensive spice.’ p.222



For the sweet saffron butter:

1/8 tsp saffron threads, lightly toasted

3 tbsp granulated sugar

100g (3óoz./scant ó cup) softened butter

½ tsp lime zest

½ tsp ground cardamom seeds

large pinch salt

2 tbsp currants plumped with 1 tbsp water or brandy

1/8 tsp saffron strands, lightly toasted

2 tbsp orange juice

zest of ½ orange

125g (4½ oz./1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 tsp sea salt

240ml (1 cup) full-fat (whole), milk warmed to 38°C (100°F)

4 large whole eggs, beaten

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

To make the sweet saffron butter, rub the toasted saffron threads into the sugar until combined. Put into a small bowl with all the remaining ingredients and whisk by hand or with a mixer until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill until needed.


To make the popovers, crumble the toasted saffron and dissolve in the orange juice. Set aside.


Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add the warm milk a little at a time. Whisk until smooth, then add 80ml (1/3 cup) of cold water and the saffron orange juice, whisking until bubbly. Incorporate the beaten eggs, transfer to a jug, cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to a day.


When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/gas mark 9). Brush mini- or standard-sized muffin cups with oil and put them on a baking tray. Place in the oven on the lower shelf until smoking hot.


Rewhisk the chilled batter, then carefully remove the trays from the oven, pour the batter into the hot tins to about three quarters full and return them to the oven. Do not the oven door while they are cooking or they will not rise.


Bake mini popovers for 8–10 minutes, standard-sized ones for about 20 miniutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6) and bake for a further 8–10 minutes until brown, crisp and risen.


Serve the popovers warm with the sweet saffron butter.


Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

Recipes and food prep by Natasha MacAller. Props by Lianne Whorwood @ The Propsdepartment. Food styling by Manja Wachsmuth

My Spaghetti Bolognese: More Please! – Manu Feildel with Clarissa Weerasena


Images and recipes from More Please! By Manu Feildel with Clarissa Weerasena (Murdoch Books) $39.99

My Spaghetti bolognese

This is probably every kid’s favourite meal and it’s no different for my son Jonti –
he just loooves it. It does take a long time to cook but I think that is the secret to its success: the longer you cook it, the better it will taste. I usually make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for an easy weeknight meal.” p.47


my bolognese


Serves 4

90 ml (3 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

250 g (9 oz) minced (ground) beef

250 g (9 oz) minced (ground) pork

150 ml (5 fl oz) white wine

100 g (3½ oz) speck bacon or pancetta, finely diced

1 brown onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely diced

1 celery stalk, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes

400 ml (14 fl oz) Beef stock (see page 198)

150 ml (5 fl oz) milk

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

400 g (14 oz) spaghetti or other pasta

grilled bread, to serve (optional)


Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef and pork and stir with a wooden spatula; at the same time, press down on the meat to break up any lumps. Keep stirring the meat until it is nicely caramelised, about 3–5 minutes, then pour in the white wine. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the wine has almost evaporated.

Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over medium–high heat and pour in the remaining oil. When hot, add the speck or pancetta and fry for 1–2 minutes, then add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Now add the vegetable mixture to the meat and pour in the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid and cook for another hour, or until the liquid has thickened and reduced by one-third.

Stir in the milk, then taste and season if necessary. Simmer for 10–15 minutes (or longer if you have time, as it will only get tastier with long, slow cooking).

Cook the pasta following the packet directions until al dente. Drain and serve with a generous helping of bolognese sauce and some grilled bread, if you like.