15 August 14

Summer Puddings

For those of you who know me well and have been following my recipes for quite some time, you’ll know that I do not do things by halves. I have taken exactly the same approach with these summer puddings and they are something rather special. There is nothing very traditional about them, but the results are truly delicious!

I basically use any berries that I have to hand. Some say that a traditional summer pudding does not contain strawberries, but from my point of view, if you have them, then use them, if you like.

These puddings are made using a Victoria sponge cake instead of bread. The reason for this is that for me to serve a pudding in the restaurant it has to be special, and the Victoria sponge adds a bit of richness and decadence to a traditional dessert.

I have also added gelatine to the filling


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13 August 14

Salad of Sugar-cured Tomatoes with Crushed Broad Beans and Oregano Crème Fraîche

You will find in my cookbook (The British Larder, A Cookbook for All Seasons) for the month of July, a page dedicated to tomatoes. Tomatoes surrounded me as a child and my grandfather used to grow them. When we visited my grandparents, my grandmother used to have the salt and pepper, a wet dish cloth and a sharp knife at the ready for my father, because the first thing he used to do when we arrived was to visit the tomato vines and eat as many as he possibly could in one go! Deliciously ripe and picked straight from the vine, the tomatoes were still slightly warm from the baking summer sun. I toddled along beside my father and patiently stood waiting for my share to be passed over – the smell and taste of those wonderful tomatoes is something I will never forget.

In my book, I semi-dry the


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06 August 14

Raspberry and Vanilla Cake

Quite often I get asked to bake birthday cakes for guests, which I enjoy doing. I do love a good bit of cake myself and if it’s not a rich dark triple chocolate number, then I do quite like making a tasty raspberry and vanilla cake.

My secret to creating this really delicious cake is a few key ingredients, including good-quality unsalted butter, fresh ripe raspberries and large free-range eggs, all of which contribute to the overall colour and depth of flavour. My final special touch is vanilla seeds freshly scraped from a vanilla pod and these add a touch of sophistication to this tremendous and tasty cake.

My feeling always is that if I’m going to do something, then I had better do it well. It’s quite expensive in terms of making a good cake, but in my opinion, cheap ingredients equal a tasteless product.

For the filling, I


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29 July 14

Peach Melba Cordial

Some fabulous fresh peaches and raspberries arrived by the back door with my daily vegetable delivery today; their smell is something rather special. OK, so I must admit that peaches here in the UK do not have the same flavour and scent as back home (in South Africa), but with the heat today, the fruits have ripened that bit quicker and they smell absolutely amazing.

Seeing the two together, I could not resist trying this classic combination for peaches and raspberries. It reminds me of the popular Peach Melba, where traditionally, poached peaches are served with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. This popular dessert was created by Escoffier in 1892 for the opera singer Nellie Melba. What a combination and what a triumph that after all these years we still use the flavour profile and refer to it, so it’s never gone out of fashion!

I have used the


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