Category Archives: English traditional

Brioche bread and butter pudding with orange blossom water

Bread and Butter pudding to use up Christmas left-over brioche!

Ingredients list:

  • Panetone or pandoro, sliced horizontally
  • Liquid cream, 500ml
  • Butter, 50g
  • Brown sugar, 50g
  • Eggs, 2
  • Dark rum, 3 tbsp
  • Orange blossom flower water, 3 Tbsp
  • Vanilla essence
  • Some icing sugar to sprinkle
Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

IMG_2168Butter a flat dish and then each slice separately ,then lay the buttered slices into the dish. By slicing the pandoro horizontally, I produced large star shapes which were a great look for our festive table.

Mix the sugar, cream, milk and flavourings into a jug and pour on top of the bread to cover generously.

Let it steep for a few minutes, then put in the oven for 30min at 170°making sure it does not dry out – add milk if necessary.

Serve warm with a sprinkle of orange blossom water and icing sugar on top.

This is a great way of using up the left over bits of brioche or panetone, post Christmas. The flavours of rum and orange flower blosson hit a winning note and make this dish a very posh version of the humble bread and butter pudding.

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Revisiting old favourites: Nigella’s moist chocolate cake

I still have my much fingered copy of “How to be a domestic goddess” by Nigella Lawson in prime position on my kitchen shelves. And I have adored this recipe since I started making it because it is both light and strong but does not give you this chocolate overdose feeling, even if you eat tons of it!
To emphasize the strength and lightness of the mix, I make it with twice as much chocolate and a third less sugar than the original but I particularly love the tangy taste left by the use of bicarbonate. It reminds me of a moist gingerbread…

Recently, I have been adding cinnamon and ginger to the original mix because I love spices and because they go so well with this moist and dense chocolate base… Here is one good reason for reblogging!

The other one is that I am due to serve it tomorrow to some of my favourite bloggers and can’t wait to get their feed back on it! I am having the closest thing there is in adulthood to a Teddy bear picnic: a mum and babes tea party! I wanted to celebrate a few very good friends first babies and this seems a good reason to throw a tea party but because those friends are real foodies and very demanding girls, I am desperately trying to impress and feeling a little nervous…

“Domestic goddess” or not, I am going to enjoy this tomorrow! (this was written early summer and party went well thank you very much – Babies lovely and even the mothers behaved!)
Ingredients list:

  • Butter 225g
  • Muscovado sugar 260g
  • Eggs 2
  • Vanilla extract 1tsp
  • Dark chocolate 200g
  • Flour 200g
  • Bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp
  • Boiling water 250ml
  • Optional spices: Tablespoonful of cinnamon and ginger

Pre-heat the oven to 190° C and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. This cake mix will be very runny so this is pretty essential.
Cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon then add the beaten eggs and vanilla. Melt the chocolate with a spoonful of water and add it to the mix. Measure the flour with the bicarbonate and add it in batches to the mix with the boiling water until you have them all well combined.

Note that you can add some cinnamon and ginger in the mix to make it richer in taste but do not have . A nice twist is also to present it with a cinnamon and ginger infused chocolate icing- more indulgent but totally worth it for a special party.

Pour into the tin then bake at 190° for 30 minutes. Turn down the oven to 170 °and bake for another 15mn.

Remove when the cake has raised but is still squidgy inside. It keeps well and like gingerbread is lovely the next day with a cup of black tea or Chai Latte.

Here are a few photos from the tea party:

My lovely friend and blogger @homesweetlondon

My lovely friend and blogger @homesweetlondon

HIghtea IMG_0281

Valentine sandwich cake with lemon cream and blueberries

Sponge cake with lemon butter cream and fresh berries

Sponge cake with lemon butter cream and fresh berries

For Valentine’s day, I propose to you a very British classic : two layers of sponge cake with a butter cream filling with fruit. Nothing could be more traditional but if you are not used to sandwich cakes, it is a very nice way to celebrate a very anglo-saxon day! Do not forget a nice and corny card – or a very rude and inappropriate one!- and you are set for the tackiest day in the calendar!

Joke apart, I actually quite like Valentine’s days because it is attached to fond memories and because a day celebrating Cupid is never a wasted day in my books. Tonight you should open a bottle and curl up on the sofa to watch a nice soppy rom-com like “Love Actually” or “About Time”. Something romantic and cute that will make you think that really “Love is all around”! Because it is – that bit is true! Nothing else really matters, does it?!

Anyway, back to baking:

Ingredient list for the cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • Butter
  • Caster sugar
  • self-raising flour
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder, 1 ½ tsp

Weight the eggs and then weight a similar amount of sugar, butter and flour. Reserve.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the beaten eggs and the flour in alternance.

Mix the vanilla extract in. Beat the mix in with a whisk until light and fluffy.

Divide in two shallow tins and bake at 180° for 25 minutes.

Remove and let it cool.

Ingredients for the butter cream:

  • Butter, 100g
  • Icing sugar, 150g
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon

Mix in a blender or with a whisk. Reserve.

Spread the cream on one cake, lay blueberries on top, sandwich with the other cake and dust icing sugar to decorate – I used a paper heart as a stencil.

Crack open that bottle and curl up with your lover to enjoy this in front of that good British comedy! This is the one night of the year when I would not recommend going out unless you are truly desperate for food, or company, or both: restaurants are foul on Valentines’s day and you do not want to be compromised in such bad settings…IMG_8774 IMG_8778 IMG_8782

Burn’s night haggis and duck egg tartlet

Tonight is Burn’s Night, in which the Scots eat Haggis and drink whiskies, recite Burn’s poetry to the sound of bag pipes and generally have a song and a dance around one of the weirdest food stuff possible!

I happen to really enjoy Haggis and I share with my Franco-English brood a very candid love for the full flavours of this ancient and mythical dish. So we usually share at least one Haggis with friends during the months of January or February.  The Haggis itself is best bought from your butcher and if you follow the instructions you should be set ! What I suggest here is what to do the next day with the left-overs – I always buy generously and so the left-over is quite plentiful. You could always just purchase a small haggis, cook it for the time required and use it in this recipe. I reckon this starter is an easy and user-friendly introduction to the real thing…

A sausage shaped haggis ! Perfect

A sausage shaped haggis ! Perfect

Ingredients for 6 tartlets:

  • 500g of Haggis (cooked and cooled)
  • one egg, beaten
  • Fine oatmeal or brown flour
  • Duck eggs, 6
  • Maldon salt
  • Little glass of whisky

Poach the duck eggs directly in boiling water (with a spoonful of vinegar added) or in small darioles moulds stood in one inch of boiling water. Count 3 to 4 minutes after boiling point to get soft boiled eggs. Rinse under cool water, peel and reserve.

Put one spoonful of rapeseed oil in a skillet and heat up.

With oiled hands, shape 100g of haggis in round tartlet shape or flat pat tie and brush both sides in the beaten egg. Add a bit of water with your fingers if this helps. Sprinkle the fine oatmeal over and then fry both sides in oil. Repeat for 6 rounds.

Drain the excess oil on some kitchen towel then serve the Haggis base with one poached egg on top and sprinkle some salt over.

Serve with a sprinkle of whisky on the haggis base.

Each guest will cut the egg : the soft yolk mingling with the spicy haggis meat and the alcool gives a lovely and very unusual mouthful. Some bag-pipe music might always be enjoyable at that point but if you want to really get the full experience of Burn’s Night you can always try reciting the traditional address or heading to a Scottish pub during the next three or four weeks and seeing how it is done properly!

In any case, this is a night for loud and rowdy fun and for eating things you never thought you would love! Never miss an opportunity to party, is my honest advice for this new year. And may the memory last long after Burn’s Night is over…

I took no picture of the starter sadly but here is a picture of the whole Haggis, ready to be cut up, the night before…

A robust and fragrant Haggis

A robust and fragrant Haggis

Miniature classic Xmas puddings

This year, we are going totally British for our Christmas lunch. Usually I pick and mix : one starter here, a main there and some odd exotic bits from someplace else ; but this Christmas, lunch will be very traditional and purely British. For once, we are not travelling anywhere so that is one extra reason -if need be – to stay very local.

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In this spirit, I have decide to do my own Christmas puddings. I have been asked many times by friends to share a Christmas pudding recipe and I had none! But fear not, here is one coming!

I dived into some of my oldest books and searched far and wide to eventually settle on a mixed recipe which heritage is a cross between “Kitchen Essays” by Agnes Jekyll (in the beautiful Persephone Books edition) and Dan Lepard from The Gardian.

Little miniature puds in foil dressing

Little miniature puds in foil dressing

Agnes Jekyll calls hers “The Enchantress Plum Pudding” and calls for:
“Half a pound of bread-crumbs, sultanas, currants, raisins, mixed peel, suet, brown sugar, 4 eggs and the zest of two lemons. Mix and cook in usual way, serving with Brandy or orange butter.”
Though I love her concision and economy of style, I think my recipe needs a little expansion…

Ingredients list for 6 mini puddings:

  • Bread-crumbs, 125g
  • Sultanas, 125g
  • Currants, 125g
  • Chopped dates, 125g
  • Mixed peel, one small handful
  • Coconut cooking cream (or any shortening), 75g
  • Agave syrup, (0g
  • Brown sugar, 125g
  • Plain flour, 50g
  • Baking powder, ½ tsp
  • Mixed ginger, cinnamon and cloves spices, 2 tsp
  • nutmeg or mace, 1 tsp
  • Eggs, beaten, 2
  • Grated carrot, 1 small (or 50g)
  • Blanched almonds, 100g
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Dark rum, 100 ml

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and turn well with a wooden spoon until all is mixed evenly. It is traditional at this point to give a go to each member of the family at turning the spoon in the mixture and make a wish for the year ahead. The sunday before the advent calendar begins, so five weeks before Christmas, was traditionally called Stir-up sunday because it was the time to make your puddings ahead of Christmas day. You can still make it after that date but it will have less time to steep and for all the flavours to mingle…

Line and oil 6 small Dariole moulds. The ideal shape is round but you can be ground-breaking and inventive – you are making you own pudding after all!

Put the mixture into the moulds or into one big mould and cover with a small circle of baking paper. Then wrap each into a big square of baking paper and twist the ends on top. Wrap this into a square of foil and twist the ends then tie a rope around the mould, just below the rim and leave a loop – to retrieve the pudding after cooking. Cover and leave them to steep until the next day or two!

Put the puddings into a jam pan or a large cooking pan, pour some water in, being careful to only go halfway up the sides of the moulds – you will need to top up later but better not to drown the cakes… If unsure, you can stand the moulds on upturned jars or a small rack.

All ingredients together

All ingredients together mixed

Cover the pan with foil or a lid and cook on low flame  for 3 hours, checking the water level from time to time.

Let them cool down and put them under a cloth in a cool, dark corner of the house until Christmas day. A cellar would be ideal but failing that I have put mine under a bed!

On Christmas morning, you will need to steam them again in the same way for 2 to 3 hours. Serve warm, pour a thimble of rum over and set light to it!

I love the festive, lovely glow of anything flambéed! Love the smell it leaves behind too…

Stir and wish

Stir and wish for a happy Christmas day