Banana and Pecan Loaf Cake

I’m a bit gob-smacked (and only ever so slightly miffed) to find that that cookery websites this week are awash with banana bread. It’s like we’re all tied into some hive mind. There is a good reason for this synchronised recipe writing though. Continue reading

Easter Recipe Round-up

We’ve got the family coming for Easter and although they’re far too polite to demand a particular menu, their eyes tend to light up when they’re presented with roast lamb. Over the years I’ve cooked it in umpteen different ways. These are some of my favourites … and I’ve thrown in a few extra Easter recipes for good measure. Now’s the time to make your shopping list … Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Rhubarb

Image of rhubarb growingThe spring equinox has whizzed by already and we’re officially in the Everything’s Burgeoning In The Garden phase of growing – and yet we’re still in the period known as the hunger gap, when there are few fresh fruits or veg ready to harvest locally.

One exception is rhubarb, either bright pink and forced in the growing sheds of the famous Rhubarb Triangle of west Yorkshire or like ours, already poking up in the veg patch. Continue reading

Chocolate and Coffee Charlotte

This recipe originated with a remarkable and frankly formidable Frenchwoman called Marie-Solange, who I’m told was an epic cook. She held a cocktail party for 300+ people every year and made every morsel of food – canapes, petit fours, a profiterole mountain – herself. Continue reading

Audley End and Mrs Crocombe

Image of Audley EndHave you met Avis Crocombe? You really should. In the 1880s she was head cook to Lord and Lady Braybrooke at Audley End, a lovely old house near Saffron Walden in Essex. But 180 years after her birth she’s come roaring back to life as an internet sensation. Continue reading

Eve’s Apple Pancake

Image of Adam's Luxury and Eve's CookeryThis recipe is based on one from a wonderful old cookery book called Adam’s Luxury and Eve’s Cookery. Published in 1744, it is the earliest book I’ve seen which is largely vegetarian. The first half (Adam’s) is devoted to kitchen gardening, and the second (Eve’s) to recipes. It wasn’t a feminist era. Continue reading

Christmas Brownies

The tree is up and decorated, the turkey and goose are nearly ready to be collected and there’s just time to squeeze in one last recipe before the family arrives for Christmas.

Make these chocolatey, fudgy, gently spiced brownies as an alternative to a traditional fruit cake, for a dessert or just for a sweet treat with a cup of coffee or tea … they’re versatile enough to fit in pretty much anywhere. Continue reading

Damson Gin Truffles

Image of damson ginEvery time I make a fruit gin (which is often) I look at the boozy fruit left over and wonder what to do with it. This is the perfect solution, especially as gins of this sort are usually ready to be strained and bottled close to Christmas, and these truffles make such great presents. Continue reading

Medlar Tart

“Take medlars that are rotten, strain them, and set them on a chaffing dish of coals, season them with sugar, cinamon, and ginger, put some yolks of eggs to them, let it boil a little, and lay it in a cut tart. Being baked, scrape on sugar.” The Accomplisht Cook, Robert May, 1660/1665.  Continue reading