Rhubarb and Orange Friands

I’m a pushover for any cake that contains ground almonds and if fruit is involved too, I’m a goner. Friands are best eaten on the day they’re made but I think you’ll find that isn’t a problem. They vanish faster than you can say rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. (Yes, yes, I know rhubarb isn’t technically a fruit.)

I made these for a dessert but they’re equally good for elevenses, or threeses or fourses if you’re having an afternoon cuppa. Continue reading

Rhubarb and Pomegranate Jelly

Image of rhubarbThis is English jelly, the wibbly sort, not American jam/jelly. I was at a lunch recently where an apple jelly was part of the dessert and it was delicious, tart like a Granny Smith and with just the right amount of tremulous wobbliness.

It occurred to me that if you made it with rhubarb instead, you’d get a double return because after straining off the juice for the jelly, you could use the rhubarb to make a fool. If you’re feeling particularly profligate you could even serve the two together.  Continue reading

Banana Breakfast Muffins

Image of the builders

No, these aren’t the muffins, they’re the builders. Meet James, Andy and Mick

It’s a lucky cook who has willing guinea pigs to experiment on. Usually it’s Him Outdoors but at the moment I have three extra: our builders James and Mick and Andy the roofer, who’ve worked through rain, hail and snow this week and have earned a bit of TLC.

A shout of “tea’s up” will usually bring them scrambling down the scaffolding and they’re always game to sample whatever I’m cooking that day. This time though I blackmailed them into having their photos taken: no picture, no banana muffins.  Continue reading

Date and Ginger Bundts with Toffee Drizzle

Image of Date and Ginger Bundts with Toffee Drizzle

I’ve never been very good at sums. When I was doing my GCSEs (or O-levels as we called them in those days) I got such a bad grade in maths my father made me re-sit the exam. Knowing how idle I was he supervised my revision, a practise to which I attribute my abiding dislike of having people standing over my shoulder watching me work. To my dad’s disappointment I got a lower grade the second time around. Go figure, as our north American friends would say.

The reason I’m telling you this is that I based this recipe largely on one from Debora Robertson, whose original measures were for a full-sized bundt cake. I was making six baby bundts but as I’m not clever enough to work out the ratios, I ended up with enough mix to fill that tin and another of bite-sized cakes. Continue reading

Italian Easter Flower Pot Bread

Image of daffodils

This is a lovely recipe for an Italian Easter bread given to me by my sister-in-law Sarah many years ago. It’s a sweet, citrusy yeasted bread or cake, similar to panettone and not a million miles from a hot cross bun. Normally you divide the risen and knocked-back dough into four balls and put them side by side in a cake tin for their second rise.

But because I like to make a rod for my own back – and because I thought they’d look pretty – I decided to make them in old clay flower pots instead (I did dishwasher them, honest, guv). You can go down either route. Continue reading

Rhubarb and Raspberry Pie

Image of a basket of rhubarbIt’s Day Three of Mrs Portly’s Pie Week (and incidentally British Pie Week but that’s just the excuse) and maybe time to get a bit of fruit into our diets.

I love the combination of rhubarb and raspberries … it’s one of my favourite fruit crumblesContinue reading