Sunday, 27 April 2014

Roasted Rhubarb Rice Pudding with Orange Shortbread


Rice pudding. Staple of an old fashioned nursery menu. Arguably this rather plain pud has not received the best press. Considered somewhat dull, boring and most damningly of all, reminiscent of the pinnacle of culinary ambition (!), the school lunch. Servings of cold, gloopy rice pudding were unceremoniously slopped into your bowl from those ginormous industrial-sized metal trays, a nugget of rubbery, plastic strawberry jam perched on top. Delightful.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

White Chocolate and Lemon Curd Cake



Have you heard? The ghastly, horrifying news that there is a national shortage of Easter Eggs? I'm not joking; we need to start a petition to ensure the Chief Logistics Officer of Britain's major supermarkets receives a formal written warning for gross misconduct. The minute I heard this, I sped in my slippers to perform what can only be described as a 'supermarket sweep' of the aisles at my local store of all remaining Easter Eggs. Yes, the national shortage has been made considerably worse by my greed.

Sorry.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Hot Cross Cookies


Easter is just one week away. Enough time to stockpile the Mini Eggs*, fill up the bread tin with Hot Cross Buns and countdown to the glorious four day bank holiday weekend. 

What joy: four whole days off work with no faffy commitments like at Christmas time. We'll be heading back to the motherland (Wales) carrying our own body weight in Easter Eggs. Several magazines and newspapers have taste tested Easter Eggs (tell me how you get that gig, please) with reviewers salivating over offerings from Betty's, Hotel Chocolat and Prestat. I'm not in the least bit fussy. As long as it is chocolate, in the vague shape of an egg and contains a packet or two of smaller sweet treats I'm as happy as the journalist who did get the plum job of spending an afternoon sampling all the eggs in the name of 'research'.

Monday, 7 April 2014

On The Road: A Weekend in Valencia


Last weekend we went to Valencia, Spain. This is how we got on...

Valencia attracts 80,000 British holidaymakers a year. Other than the obvious- oversized cameras, halting words of Spanish, an upside map - it was easy to tell the tourists from the locals. Us visitors, memories of a long wet winter fresh in minds, were in proper, true holiday wear- shorts, vests and the like- our pale, wan Northern European skins soaking up the vitamin D. Valencians by contrast continued their daily business in thick scarves, big boots and fur coats despite the 25C heat. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Marbled Mocha Loaf Cake


A coffee cake could be thought of as rather an old fashioned bake. A staple of a bake sale and a standard of a cake stall. Whereas the macaroon, a delicate dacquoise or eclair evoke the perfect Parisian patisserie, the humble coffee cake, with its light airy sponges sandwiched together with a generous dollop of sweet, slightly synthetic coffee buttercream brings to mind a village fete, tombola and a lot of homemade bunting. 

But that's really no bad thing. Infact, Nigel Slater would choose a coffee and walnut cake as his last supper. And if its good enough for Nige, heck, it most certainly is good enough for me.