Shortly after graduating from the esteemed Tante Marie Culinary Academy, Carolyn Robb found herself cooking for none other than King Charles. Following a nerve wracking interview and test run, Carolyn secured a job working as a chef at Kensington Palace where she worked between 1987 and 2000.
As a result, having spent 13 years cooking for the royals, it’s safe to say that the royal chef knows a thing or two about creating meals that are fit for a King. So, as people across the world prepare to watch the monarch’s historic coronation, Carolyn shares four recipes that will go down a treat…
Lemon and thyme cake
“Made with yoghurt and olive oil, this light cake makes an eye-catching centrepiece. The aroma of fresh thyme brings back indelible memories of the gardens at Highgrove.”
For the cake
- Vegetable oil, for greasing
- 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 180ml light olive oil
- 2 free-range eggs
- 200g plain Greek yoghurt
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp baking powder
For the syrup
- 60ml fresh lemon juice
- 6 fresh lemon thyme or common thyme sprigs
- 125g granulated sugar
For the decoration
- 225g mixed strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or other seasonal berries
- 6 fresh lemon thyme or common thyme sprigs
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Oil a 23cm ring cake tin, covering the interior surface, then dust evenly with flour.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs, yoghurt, caster sugar and lemon zest until blended. Sift together the flour and baking powder into the bowl. Using a large metal spoon, stir in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake the cake for about 30-35 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, make the syrup. In a pan over a low heat, warm the lemon juice just until hot. Remove from the heat, add the thyme and leave to infuse for 20 minutes until cool. Remove the thyme, then stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, while the cake is still hot, invert it onto a serving plate. Spoon the syrup over the warm cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Leave to stand until the syrup sets and the cake has cooled.
- To decorate, fill the centre with the fruit, scatter the thyme sprigs on the top and dust lightly with icing sugar.
Garden herb pesto palmiers
Makes about 30
“Light, crisp and summery, these savoury pastries are so moreish. I use homemade pesto, as the flavour and colour are worlds better than shop-bought pestos, especially if you use home-grown herbs.”
For the pesto
- 30g pine nuts
- 90g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 small garlic clove
- 75g fresh basil leaves
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, about 320g, thawed according to package directions if frozen
- Flour, for dusting
- 30g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or silicone mats.
- To make the pesto, in a food processor, combine the pine nuts, Parmesan and garlic then pulse until finely chopped. Add the basil, oil and a few twists of pepper then process until a spreadable mixture forms.
- Lay the pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a rectangle measuring about 25 x 40cm. Spread enough of the pesto onto the pastry to create a thin, even layer, extending it to the edges.
- Sprinkle over 90g of the Parmesan. Fold one of the long sides over to the centre of the sheet and then fold the opposite side over to meet in the centre. Spread more pesto on the folded pastry, again extending it to the edges, and sprinkle on the remaining 30g of Parmesan.
- Fold the long sides over to meet in the centre again then fold the pastry strip in half so it is 20cm long. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Using a sharp, thin knife, carefully slice the filled pastry crossways into slices about 6mm wide. Lay the slices flat on the prepared trays, spacing them about 2.5cm apart.
- Bake the palmiers, turning them over after about 10 minutes to crisp the second side, for about 15 minutes, until golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the trays on wire racks.
- They are best when eaten while still warm from the oven.
Rhubarb and white chocolate tartlets
“In this recipe, crisp, golden filo pastry shells are filled with a gorgeous vanilla mousse and topped with tart rhubarb – a heavenly marriage of crunchy, creamy and tangy.”
- 4 rhubarb stalks
- 3 tbsp water
- 50g caster sugar
- 4 large sheets filo pastry
- Flour for dusting
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
For the mousse
- 300g white chocolate, chopped
- 250g plain Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the decoration
- 12 raspberries
- 12 small white edible flowers
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/gas mark 4. Put 12 7.5cm fluted round tartlet moulds onto a baking tray.
- To prepare the rhubarb, trim off both ends of each stalk and peel. Cut the stalks on the diagonal into 21⁄2cm lengths.
- Transfer the pieces to a baking dish just big enough to hold them in a single layer.Add the water then sprinkle on the sugar. Cover the dish with foil.
- Bake the rhubarb for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover and leave to cool.
- To make the tartlets, lay a filo sheet on a lightly floured work surface, keeping the other sheets covered with cling film. Lightly brush the entire sheet with some of the butter.
- Lay a second sheet on top, then lightly brush the top sheet with butter. Cut the layered sheets into six 13cm squares. Line 6 of the tartlet moulds with a filo square, pressing the filo down firmly onto the base.
- Trim the edges so the pastry does not extend above the rim. Repeat with the remaining 2 filo sheets to line the remaining 6 tartlet moulds.
- Bake the tartlet shells for 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack, then remove them from the moulds. 9. To make the mousse, put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Using a balloon whisk, gradually whisk the yoghurt into the chocolate. Continue adding the yoghurt until it becomes smooth.Whisk in the vanilla.
- Spoon the mousse into the tartlet shells. Drain the rhubarb and arrange the pieces on top of each tartlet, finishing with a raspberry and a flower. Serve.
Asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto with chive cream cheese
Makes 12 “bunches”
“English asparagus wrapped in dry-cured Cumbrianham was served at Harry and Meghan’s wedding. In this recipe, prosciutto – a stand-in for the Cumbrian ham – wraps neatly around the asparagus spears, and the concealed chive cream cheese is a delicious surprise.”
- 36 small asparagus spears
- 90g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
- Pinch of paprika
- 6 slices prosciutto
- Fresh chives and chive flowers, to garnish
- Snap off the woody bottom of each asparagus spear. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom 5cm or so off each stalk.
- Have ready a large bowl of ice-cold water. Fill a pan with salted water, bring to the boil and add the asparagus. Cook for 1-2 minutes until just tender, depending on the size of the spears. Drain and immediately refresh the ice water. Then drain again and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, chives and paprika.
- Cut each slice of prosciutto in half crossways, then fold each half lengthways to a width of about 4cm.
- Spread 11⁄2 teaspoons of the cream cheese onto the folded ham, then gather together 3 asparagus spears and wrap the ham, cheese side in, around them, securing them in a small “bunch”.
- Repeat with the remaining asparagus, prosciutto and cheese mixture to create 12 bunches in all.
- Arrange on a platter and garnish with chives and flowers. Serve immediately.
Tea at the Palace by Carolyn Robb, (£14.99, White Lion Publishing) is available now and can be purchased from retailers including Amazon and WHSmith.
Boost energy levels and sleep quality with The Imperfect Nutritionist’s dishes
‘I tried some of the weirdest Coronation foods and overcame my strange phobia’
Mouthwatering meals using store cupboard ingredients from lentils to tinned fruit
Make your own Easter treats at home – simple hot cross buns to bundt cake
You can find this story in My Bookmarks.Or by navigating to the user icon in the top right.