When I worked 12 hour overnight shifts, among my most popular colleagues were those who, apparently casually, knocked up a tub full of cakes to be shared round when everyone was at a low ebb in the early hours. Continue reading
Cor, look! We’ve had a bumper crop of strawberries this year and it’s been way too hot to make jam, so with friends coming for supper I made a strawberry tart. Few things look more lusciously edible but I have to say I’m not a huge fan of crème pât, Great British Bake Off notwithstanding. The contestants seem to bathe in the stuff. This tart has a much quicker and easier filling and one that I think is nicer to eat. Continue reading
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
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
When 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
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
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
For anyone who, like me, loathes Christmas pudding this is a lighter but festive alternative, berry-bright and fruity, with a welcome whiff of brandy. Oh, go on, you can atone later. Continue reading
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