To mark 10 years of the Observer Food Monthly Awards, a selection of the best recipes from the magazine over the past decade.
Mascarpone rice with blueberries: Nigel Slater
The mention of blueberries in May won't please the more xenophobic cook, but our own season is absurdly short, and they are one of the fruits from which I will not be parted.
arborio or other risotto rice 150g
full cream milk 500ml
caster sugar 3 tbsp
For the blueberry sauce
golden caster sugar 2 tbsp
water 3 tbsp
Put the pudding rice in a medium-sized, heavy-based pan with 500ml of water. Let it boil until the water has almost evaporated. Keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally.
Add the milk, bring back to the boil then lower the heat so that it simmers gently, partially cover with a lid, simmer and leave for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly and keeping a close watch on the liquid level.
Meanwhile, to make the blueberry sauce, tip the blueberries into a pan, add the sugar, water and a good squeeze of lemon juice, then simmer until the berries burst. Continue until the liquid turns slightly syrupy, about 5 or 6 minutes. Set aside.
When the rice is plump and creamy, stir in the sugar and let it dissolve, then fold in the mascarpone.
Spoon into four dishes and pour over the blueberry sauce.
Lemon sorbet with fruit salad: Angela Hartnett
caster sugar 250g
clear honey 1 tsp
lemon juice 200ml
lemon zest of 1
In a pan add the sugar, water and honey and slowly simmer to allow the sugar to dissolve. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then add the lemon juice and zest. Check the sweetness and, if needed, add another spoonful of honey.
Freeze in a container and, as it starts to set, mix with a fork and continue to do this every couple of hours until frozen (this prevents large ice crystals forming). Serve over a summer fruit salad - I like using peaches, strawberries and basil.
Tarta de Santiago: Claudia Roden
blanched almonds 250g
eggs 6, separated
caster sugar 250g
orange grated zest of 1
lemon grated zest of 1
almond extract 4 drops
butter to grease the cake tin
flour to dust the cake tin
icing sugar for dusting the cake
You will also need
a springform cake tin around 28cm in diameter (preferably non-stick)
Grind the almonds finely in a food processor. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a pale cream with an electric mixer, then beat in the orange and lemon zests and almond extract. Add the ground almonds and mix very well.
With the cleaned mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the egg and almond mixture - the mixture is so thick that you need to turn it over quite a bit into the egg whites. Grease a springform cake tin with butter and dust it with flour, then pour in the cake mixture. Put the cake into an oven preheated to 180C/gas mark 4 for 40 minutes or until it feels firm. Let it cool before turning out.
Dust the top with icing sugar. If you like, cut the shape of a Santiago cross out of paper and place it in the middle of the cake before dusting with icing sugar. Then remove the paper shape.
From The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden (Penguin, £25). To order for £18 with free UK p&p go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop
Istanbul orange and vanilla baklava: Silvena Rowe
For the syrup
caster sugar 350g
orange juice 1 tbsp
orange flower water 2 tbsp
For the baklava
large oranges 2
vanilla pod seeds of 1
orange marmalade 1 tbsp
filo pastry 400g packet
butter, melted 150g
pistachios 100g, roughly chopped
You will also need
25 x 12cm baking tray
To make the syrup, place the sugar, orange juice and water in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the syrup becomes thick and glossy. Add the orange flower water and allow to cool.
To make the baklava, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the whole oranges. Simmer for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is soft, making sure the oranges are covered by water at all times. Remove the oranges with a slotted spoon and leave to cool. Slice the oranges open and pick out the pips, then transfer all of the cooked orange (including the skin) to a food processor and process to a smooth purée. Place the orange pulp in a muslin bag or cloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the liquid and put the orange pulp into a bowl. Add the vanilla seeds and orange marmalade and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Cut the filo pastry sheets to fit a baking tray approximately 25cm x 12cm. Keep the pastry covered with a damp cloth while you're not using it. Brush the baking tin with a little butter and start layering the filo sheets, one by one, brushing butter on to each layer. I use 8-10 sheets to start with. Do not press the sheets down as you layer them - they should be loosely laid into the tray.
Once you have layered the first half of the filo sheets, evenly spoon over the orange and vanilla purée. Then continue to layer with the rest of the filo sheets as before, another 8-10 sheets on top, each time brushed with butter.
Cut the uncooked baklava into small squares or diamond shapes and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 170C/gas mark 3½ and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, until golden and puffed up. Remove from the oven and, while hot, slowly pour over the cooled syrup, making sure it seeps into every little gap. Sprinkle the pistachios over the top. Cool completely and serve accompanied with mascarpone.
From Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume by Silvena Rowe (Hutchinson, £25). To order for £18 with free UK p&p go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop
Snow-flecked chocolate brownies: Nigella Lawson
unsalted butter 375g
dark chocolate 375g, best quality
caster sugar 350g
real vanilla extract 1 tbsp
plain flour 225g
salt 1 tsp
white chocolate buttons or good white chocolate, preferably Montgomery Moore 250g, chopped
icing sugar about 2 tsp, for dusting
You will also need
33 x 23 x 5.5cm baking tin
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line the sides and base of a 33 x 23 x 5.5cm baking tin with baking parchment. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a large heavy-based pan over a low heat. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the caster sugar and vanilla extract.
Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt. Stir in the buttons or chopped chocolate. Beat to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into the tin. Bake for about 25 minutes. You can see when the brownies are ready because the top dries to a slightly paler brown speckle, while the middle remains dark, dense and gooey. Even with such a big batch you do need to keep checking: the difference between gungey brownies and dry ones is only a few minutes. Remember they will continue to cook as they cool.
To serve, cut into squares while warm and pile up on a large plate, sprinkling with icing sugar pushed with a teaspoon through a small sieve.
From Feast: Food That Celebrates Life by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus, £17.99). To order for £13 with free UK p&p go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop
Nigella Lawson's snow-flecked chocolate brownies. Photograph: Romas Foord