I’ve got enough cookery books to open a small shop and I love reading them and cooking from them. But much of my food is inspired by what’s growing in the garden and by chatting to friends. Continue reading
I shall probably be drummed out of the food bloggers’ club for saying this, but I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I mostly make cakes and desserts as presents and when we have guests. Unless it’s tarte au citron, I could eat my own body weight in that.
But I do enjoy fresh fruit and compotes like this: Continue reading
If it wasn’t for Sarah, I wouldn’t be married to Him Outdoors. She’s one of my oldest friends and in a rash moment nearly 20 years ago she invited me to a house party where I was introduced to one of her brothers. Our eyes met over a drain he was digging in their father’s garden and the rest, dear reader, is history. (I should say the digging wasn’t part of the festivities, it preceded them. There was a long queue for the bathroom that day.)
She was telling me about another party she threw recently, the sort where people drift in and out over many hours, often with their kids in tow. The food needed to appeal to all generations, Continue reading
There are probably more sensible ways of adding stripes to a cat-shaped biscuit, but this worked for me. At the unbaked stage my husband said the chocolatey bits looked like mitochondria, but please don’t let that put you off. Continue reading
I never need a reason to make a lemon cake but if you have any home-made lemon curd (of course you do!) with its eat-by date approaching, this is a good way of using it up. A good-quality bought curd will work just as well. Continue reading
Chin-chin, it’s World Gin Day on Saturday. The Portly household never needs an excuse to down a G&T but for anyone less steeped in alcohol, this is a safe way to sup the spirit that kept the Empire afloat. Continue reading
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
This 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
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
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