Cranachan – A Dessert for Burns’ Night

It’s Burns’ Night tonight, 25 January, and the celebration of the great Scottish poet’s birth in 1759. Remarkably, this popular event has been going since 1801 when it was held by a group of Burns’ friends to mark the fifth anniversary of his death in July 1796. The first Burns’ Night was held in July, […]

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Almond & Orange Biscotti

I hadn’t planned to do any serious cooking today but when I received a message from my Italian friend Antonio this morning wishing me a ‘Buona Befana’ I couldn’t resist finding out more. I had heard of La Befana but have always celebrated Epiphany before French style with a Galette des Rois. But clearly it […]

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Tarte aux Prunes et amandes

I was cooking for the family again. Ingredients for a big pot of bolognese ragù were coming in the morning with my Waitrose delivery so I suggested making a lasagna for us all. There’d be plenty for the lasagna and enough spare to freeze a few portions of the ragù. I always like to make […]

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Apple & Blackberry Open Pie

I love making a meal for the family on Sunday. Sometimes they come to my house; sometimes I take everything to theirs. It’s more of the latter the moment. With two little boys having school and pre-school the next morning and needing early nights, it’s easier to be based at their home. We don’t ‘do’ […]

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A Simple French Apple tart

I like apple-based desserts more than any other kind, from a homely apple crumble or pie (which always has to be served with Bird’s custard in my house or there are complaints!) to fancier tarts and cakes. I’ve made little tartlets on flaky pastry, deep-filled tartlets. I’ve made tarts with apple purée on the bottom […]

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Little Blueberry Cakes for a Picnic

A picnic was promised. I’ve been booking weekly slots to go to Kew Gardens since it reopened. I do miss just being able to go there spontaneously on a nice day since the gardens are local to me, just a couple of miles away, but I’m grateful they’re open again and I can once more […]

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Cooking with Freddie: Olive Focaccia

Well it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to cook with Freddie, my gorgeous 5½-year-old grandson. With the pandemic lockdown, for weeks we couldn’t see each other and then only at social distance, which Freddie was very strict about! ‘The virus’ is part of his new vocabulary. One has to hope there won’t […]

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Taralli ai Semi di Finocchio

Well if Lockdown is getting us all to ‘make do’ in the kitchen and to ‘not waste’, it’s also given us time to try out new things. And I’ve been looking at the recipe for taralli in Gino D’Acampo’s Islands in the Sun book for ages, thinking, ‘I must make those some time.’ These little […]

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Ligurian Potato Bread

Over a month into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s astounding how many people have taken to baking their own bread and it’s still nigh on impossible to buy bread flour or yeast. I’ve been lucky to be able to source fresh yeast and flour from my local Italian deli, Corto, but this gives […]

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Sweet Focaccia

One of the many things I miss during this coronavirus lockdown – and to be honest, it’s really not the most important – are my daily trips out to a cafe in the morning to enjoy a coffee, pastry and to read my newspaper. I like to still buy the ‘real’ paper kind – although […]

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