Showing posts from June, 2012

An Eccles Cake For Mr Henri

This is a bit of rambling story, but I promise that there’ll be a recipe at the end. Back in the latter part of the 1960s there was a particular book that came to be essential reading for anyone in the UK wanting to read poetry but who thought they might just be vaguely in tune with the times as well. “The Mersey Sound” was a Penguin paperback collection of poems by Adrian Henri , Roger McGough and Brian Patten and was just about affordable to anyone. My copy cost 4 shillings (20p). Over the years I’ve lost and given away a large number of books, but I’ve always kept this one – even if it is tattered and yellowing. The other day, I happened to hear a Liverpool Scene track (the band that included Adrian Henri as resident poet) and I decided to reread his poems from this ancient volume.  The last Henri poem in the collection ‘Mrs Albion You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter’ (click on the title to read the poem) is an ecstatic celebration of Liverpool (‘Albion’s most lovely daughter’) a

Far aux Pruneaux

For this month’s Random Recipe challenge Dom at Belleau Kitchen has asked us to find a recipe from the middle of a randomly chosen book.  So I randomly selected the shelf of shorter books (in height, not length), closed my eyes and grabbed a paperback copy of ‘Jenny Baker’s Cuisine Grandmère’. This is a fine collection of recipes from Northern France published back in the nineties. Halfway through I found myself at a recipe for Far aux Pruneaux, the classic dish from Brittany. The far is a batter pudding containing prunes and not only is it really easy to make, it’s also delicious. It’s possible to make this dish with fruits other than prunes – I know that there are many people who hate the reviled prune for some reason. Chunks of apple fried in butter are particularly nice as an alternative but you could also use poached pears or dried fruit such as big, juicy raisins. I’ve come across many versions of this recipe and I confess that I’ve not stuck faithfully to Ms Baker’s ingred

Strawberry and Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt with Sesame and Sumac Tuiles

I remember buying strawberry ice creams when I was knee high to something or other and they were always very pink, very sweet and, to be honest, tasted more of pinkness and sugar than strawberries. I loved them back then. But I had to grow up (a bit) and so this frozen yogurt has a balance of  sweet and sour flavours  that should make a refreshing end to a more adult meal. It also has the big advantage for many of us adults of being low in fat. The tuiles are a variation on my usual, general-purpose tuile recipe but, again, have a bit of that sweet and sour thing going. You can leave them flat, but I take a childish delight in folding them into wavy shapes when they come out of the oven. Well, a man’s got to have a hobby. The amount given here is about right for my ancient little ice cream maker but should serve 6 comfortably, on the understanding that we’re all restrained grown-ups. For the frozen yogurt: 400 g strawberries (unprepared weight) Juice of 1 lemon 3 tsp pomegran

Lemon Remoulade

I love classic remoulade made simply with celeriac and a mustardy mayonnaise, but sometimes little variations can be very useful. This particular version is fine on its own but is also good alongside foods that would benefit from a bit of a citrus edge, such as smoked fish. I know that the easiest way to make remoulade is to buy ready-made mayonnaise but, if you have a food processor, then I promise that this mayo is really easy to make and I think it tastes better. If you'd like to cut down on the amount of fat in this recipe, then you could, of course, buy a reduced fat mayonnaise. Another option, though, is to mix mustard and lemon juice with a natural pouring yogurt to replace the mayonnaise. It's not the same sort of taste but it makes a very pleasing, healthy and refreshing salad all the same. This will give you around 4 portions. 1 small or ½ large celeriac Juice of 1 lemon 2 tsp Dijon mustard For the mayonnaise:         2 egg yolks         1 tsp Dijon mustard


There are a lot of seriously good biscuits in Brittany making use of the excellent local butter. In fact, bigoudens use less butter than many of the other Breton biscuits and, as a result, are crisper and very good for dunking. If you’ve read some of the previous postings in this blog, then you’ll know not to expect true authenticity, but there are a lot of local variations of this recipe, so I don’t feel too bad about offering my version. The butter in this recipe should really be salted – I’ve got into trouble before for using unsalted butter in Breton recipes and I don’t want any more disapproving looks from the people of Brittany, who are seriously proud of their salted butters. (I think that's enough buttering up now - perhaps I'll be allowed back into Brittany before too long). You should get somewhere between 20 and 30 biscuits depending on how big you make them. If you can avoid eating them all at once, they do keep well in an airtight tin. 300g plain flour 100