Tag Archives: baking


Phyllida’s shortbread

Phyllida's shortbread

Today I give you another version of the iconic shortbread. My favourite biscuit. The ingredients are the same as in my original post but this makes a single shortbread rather than a batch of it and I quite like the quaint wheel design so here it goes!

Ingredients list:
Flour 100g
Caster sugar 50g
Fine semolina (or rice flour) 50g
Butter 100g
scraped vanilla pod

Mix it all up until you get a ball. Lay it on oven-paper and shape it and mark it as you like!

In the oven at 170 for about 20 minutes- take it out before it colours!

With thanks to Phyllida and Eleonor for the many batches they have done for us… It tastes strangely better when I don’t have to make it 🙂


Big Ben in gingerbread and other festive delights

I had three teenage girls in my kitchen this week-end, exchanging geeky (chemistry!) jokes and spilling laughter and edible glitter all around the place! They used our recipe from last year and wanted to build a gingerbread house, but being ambitious and competitive young things, they decided on Big Ben as a template! So here it is: Big Ben in gingerbread and sweets.

This will make a fantastic Christmas centre piece and is now displayed in prime position in our house…

We also baked and decorated lots of gingerbread shapes to give as presents in hampers and boxes. Same recipe just shorter baking time. Because the recipe has masses of honey and spices, those are really delicious as well as decorative and none of us seem to get enough of them at tea-time… They make great dunkers!IMG_3188IMG_3182

IMG_3178IMG_3180IMG_3189Well done girls! I am very proud of you and you are very welcome to come back next year! Buckingham palace this time?!

Our production at The Healthy Cooking Club yesterday

Here are the beautiful breads that the children produced by using one of two methods : dry baker’s yeast and sourdough. The nutty one is a sourdough loaf: I had been preparing my starter or “Chef” for the past month! It was nicely bubbly and curiously appley smelling by the time we used it! I had never done that but I was encouraged by my niece Tonie’s advice and I recommend anybody tries it. This is what the Real Bread Campaign is all about: real, free of additives, wholesome and local bread! I am even just now secretly thinking of opening a home bakery from my oven… They are mushrooming all over the country and offering Real Bread to anyone who is tired of the supermarkets sweetened and artificial loaves. Browse the Real Bread Campaign directory for more.

Meanwhile, I will just butter myself a sourdough toast and try the fresh strawberry Jampote with it. I can’t think of a nicer way to wake up right now! The jampote and sourdough recipes will get onto the blog soon…
I thank all my little bakers of yesterday for their keen work and happy mood! They left with little bags of scones and their own soda bread– which were also delicious. I certainly enjoyed my morning with you!

Gooseberry cobbler and its wild Blackberry version

A cobbler is a rough tart with pastry folded over the edges and it is an ideal summer tart because it needs no tin or special pan, just a flat sheet of grease-proof paper. It is eaten warm with whipped cream, as soon as it comes out of the oven. You can use any seasonal berries to make the filling, or use a mix of them.

I came back to England with a terrible craving for gooseberries and blackberries. Their season is ridiculously short and it is now! So here is a quick and easy way to enjoy your pickings. I gathered my blackberries by the river yesterday with my eldest son, got stung by nettles and ate lots but I made these when we got back.

Gooseberry cobbler

Ingredients list

The video link above will lead you to a video (en Fran̤ais) for the most delicious and idiot-proof pastry Рit is on Marmiton.org.

Once you have made the pastry, leave it to rest a few hours in the fridge.

Prepare and wash the fruit.

Roll out the pastry into a loosely round shape directly onto your baking sheet or onto a Silpat sheet.

Brush with the egg yolk then sprinkle the semolina all over. This will absorb the juice without soaking the pastry which you want crunchy and crumbly.

Pile the fruit in the middle in a pyramid shape whilst sprinkling the sugar at various stages. Now fold the edges over, delicately with the flat end of a knife. Brush these with the rest of the yolk or some milk.

Put in a hot oven for 35 min or until the pastry turns brown.

Serve hot as soon as ready.

Blackberry version

Chocolate cake from a faraway island

Chocolate cake is a weakness I try to keep in check but every so often, I give into it… This sunday I had all the children coming back for tea, so I baked this very rich and creamy chocolate recipe that a dear friend of my mother used to bake for us in the island of Martinique. I kept fond memories of this cake and I was very excited to get the recipe!

Some time I feel more like an archivist than a cook and maybe that is what food blogging is really about… The French say that when someone dies, it is a library that goes into flame, so rescuing some of the recipes that were in this “library” might seem trivial to some but it is essential to me. This is what transmission and passing on is all about, is it not?

Ingredients list: This makes a very large cake for sharing at a birthday party for example or you could divide the quantities if you are not feeding the 5000.

  • Eggs, 10
  • Sugar, 500g
  • Flour, 300g (00 grade or fine is best)
  • Dark cooking chocolate, 400g
  • Butter, 330g
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • Zeste of one orange

Note: Best to use the butter at room temperature if you can.

First you whip the sugar and the eggs together in a big bowl.

Then let the chocolate melt in a warm oven until very soft. Add the soften butter into it.

Raise the oven to 170 celsius.

Add the egg and sugar mix to the chocolate and beat with a wooden spoon. Zest the orange and add that in. Add the flour with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda.

Pour into a large round cake tin and bake at 170 for about 35 to 40 minutes.

The cake will still be very soft on top and a bit wobbly when it comes out but do not worry. It will set a little as it cools ; you want it very creamy inside!

The orange zest is a true stroke of genius and lingers long in your mouth after the chocolate has receded…