Rhubarb Bakewell Tart

The first time I made this the rhubarb sank without trace and the flaked almonds slid inexorably sideways as the topping rose. Then I glanced at Instagram to see a five year old had knocked up a perfect rhubarb frangipane tart after she got home from school. Her mum Jess says she’s hoping for a three course meal by the time the prodigy hits 10. Continue reading

Raspberry and Rose Meringue Torte

Before I started writing this blog I used to write recipes longhand into a series of exercise books. On page one of desserts is one from my sister and scrawled at the bottom are the words ‘possibly the best pudding in the world’. Continue reading

Mothering Sunday

Image of violetsWhen I was a child our parents would put us on our bikes and send us off to Sunday School at the nearest church, two and a half miles away. It was probably the only bit of peace and quiet they got all weekend.

We weren’t keen on sticking pictures of an improbably blond, blue-eyed Christ into little books while being catechised by well-meaning parish ladies, so we often faked a puncture. Continue reading

Orange Ice Cream with Pistachio Biscotti

Image of citrus fruit basketI’ve gone a bit nuts over oranges this last month. I blame Catherine Phipps, whose lovely book Citrus pushed me over the edge. I’ve probably bought Suffolk’s entire stock of blood oranges, Sevilles and Jaffas on top of lemons, limes and grapefruit. More exotic varieties elude me. Continue reading

Caramelised Blood Oranges with Orange Shortbreads

I could cheerfully eat my own not inconsiderable body weight in blood oranges, they’re such a seasonal treat. Straight out of the fruit basket, sliced up with other citrus for breakfast, baked into cakes. This, though, makes a refreshing dessert, particularly good if you want something light at the end of a hefty meal.  Continue reading

Basics: Pavlova

Image of pavlova

I once tried to make a strawberry pavlova and it was such a disaster that I broke up the meringue and turned it all into an Eton Mess. Pavlovas … those big meringue nests you fill with cream and fruit to spectacular effect … can be a bit tricksy. They conspire with your oven to make you look like a bad cook. Then all your friends tell you how easy they are and how theirs work perfectly every time. Pah. Time for a fight-back. Continue reading

Basics: How To Lattice Pastry

Image of latticed pie

Great British Bake Off fans may recall an episode when Mary Berry ticked off a competitor for failing to interweave the lattices on his or her pastry properly, just laying the strips over each other instead.

On a scale of one to 10, whether or not one can lattice a pie is hardly up there with masterminding world peace and ending global hunger and more competent pastry cooks will probably be rolling their eyes, but I confess it’s an art that had largely eluded me, too. Continue reading

Pear Galettes

Image of pear treeIt’s Murphy’s Law but the gnarled old pear tree on the corner of the house, with its scabby leaves, generally produces better fruit than the ones we planted in the orchard.

We were told it was a hard cooking variety but picked and left in a basket, the pears ripen into honeyed perfection, ideal for this recipe.

These individual tarts are a nifty make-ahead dessert. Continue reading