A few years ago, hubby and I attended a book launch/cooking demonstration by Bill Granger at Waterstones in Piccadilly. Bill was promoting his then latest book, Bill’s Basics. He signed a copy of the book I purchased, ‘Dear X and Y, I hope this inspires many great meals together!’
I was flicking through the book earlier and started tearing up upon seeing the note. How did I get from trying out countless new recipes on a weekly basis to eating chili con carne four days a week, every second week?
In that book, is a very simple recipe for a pudding- peach and blueberry, in a cakey batter. I made it for our good friend Stavros and his parents when we visited them many years ago.
Here is a link to the recipe. I made it this evening with the Bear. We served it with cream but it would also go well with custard/ice cream.
Peach and blueberry pudding
It reminded of old times, when this blog was actively updated and I had the time/energy/inclination to test new recipes.
Pandan leaves are widely used in Souhtheast Asian cooking, both sweet and savoury. We always had plants growing, almost wildly in our garden, requiring minimal care.
One of my favourite cakes is Pandan cake. I only developed a taste for it in the last few years. One of mum’s friends made the best Pandan cakes ever, often supplying us with freshly baked treats whenever we visited.
Pandan leaves are available in oriental supermarkets in London. Though nothing beats using freshly juiced Pandan for cakes, I’ve come to rely on bottled Pandan essence.
I modified a Mary Berry recipe (lemon tray bake) for a Pandan version and it came out beautifully.
Omit the lemon zest, and ingredients for the glaze. Replace with 2tsp of Pandan essence, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 10g Dr Oetker lime green food gel, for flavour and colouring. Bake for 35 mins, 180 degrees Celsius.
Do try if you’re a fan of Pandan cakes. It’s a lovely taste of home and some of that homesickness and longing does go away, albeit temporarily.
The Bear and I made this amazing lemon drizzle traybake, a Mary Berry recipe a few weekends ago. It was absolutely amazing, spongey, lemony and sweet. Some tips – make sure your baking powder is fresh (for that spongey texture, and cake-rise) and for the glaze, gradually add sugar to water. I didn’t (want to) use 175g sugar for the glaze (on top of the 225g already in the cake mix) and found a gradual approach to the glaze-mix was a sensible one for me.
We’re a big fan of baked fruit desserts. When I stumbled upon this recipe for a peach cobbler, I knew it was a keeper. A stroke of luck, ripe peaches were on sale in the shops. It was as if the dessert stars were alligned!
It is imperative that you place the baking dish on top of a lined tray to catch spillage. And there will be some, depending on the shape of your baking tray!
We love our cream, but didn’t see the necessity to drizzle some over the cobbler. The fruits were sweet with a touch of tang from the lemon juice. Just delicious on their own.
I’ve had a hankering for apple pies and tarts since our last visit to Ireland in November last year. We were treated to home-made apple desserts, ripe from the garden variety, served with hot custard and cold vanilla ice cream. Once we were back in London, I dreamed about them for days, I kid you not. In fact, Hubby made several trips to M&S for their apple pie and custard.
We were watching Rachel Allen on telly last week and saw her make a lovely crumble topped cake, which got me flicking through her book ‘Bake’. I found an easy recipe for a Dutch apple cake, achievable even with the little ankle-biter begging for play-doh every 2 minutes. I used a 9″ springform tin and the cake turned out beautifully. No cream needed, but pots of tea is advisable.
I’ve blogged many versions of this recipe over the last few years. It is a firm family favourite, fuss-free and easy to put together. I had a full fruit bowl and some of the apples were starting to look a bit sorry for themselves. A shame to let them go to waste. I added them to chopped pears and blueberries, with a hint of grated nutmeg, lemon zest, brown sugar and ground cinnamon, topped with oats. 45 minutes later, beautiful, earthy warmth filled the kitchen. Served with single cream. Yum.
Here is the recipe – serves 2 to 3 portions
- 2 packed cups of uncooked oats
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 to 3 tbsp vegetable oil
B) Fruit base
- 3 to 4 peeled, cored and chopped apples
- 1 large pear, peeled, cored and chopped
- a good handful of blueberries
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees celsius
- In an oven-proof pie dish, mix all the fruit bar the blueberries with the rest of the ingredients
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes
- Remove the dish from the oven, stir well and add the blueberries
- In a separate bowl mix the oats with all the ingredients bar the oil
- Mix 1tbsp of oil into the oats, then add another, combine until the mixture is wet. Only add some or all of the 3rd tbsp of oil if necessary
- Top the fruit with the oat mixture, use your oven mitts and transfer the dish into the oven
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the oats topping is golden and crunchy
- Remove the dish from the oven, leave to cool slightly and serve with cream or ice cream
We abstained from sweet treats over lent which would explain the lack of baking posts in recent weeks. It was a gorgeous morning, and I decided to bake us a shortcake I had bookmarked in Bill Granger’s Bill’s Food.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that Bill is my food guru, the man I credit for my interest in food.
The original recipe called for apples and blueberries. I’ve made several cakes and tarts using this combination, and decided to substitute them with peaches and raspberries, reminiscent of another favourite Bill’s sweet treats.
The cake got the thumbs up from Hubby, my trustworthy critic, and food sampler. I served the cake with double cream and it went down a treat.