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Showing posts from January, 2013

Fennel Seed Drop-Biscuits – A Random Recipe

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Dom of Belleau Kitchen has introduced a little twist into his Random Recipe challenge for this month, namely that we should randomly select from someone else’s books rather than our own. So I borrowed a recently published, glossy cookbook by a well-known author.

And then it all went wrong. Most of the offerings in the book turned out to be rehashes of well-known recipes. That was disappointing enough, but then I started to spot errors, such as ingredients listed but not mentioned in the method and vice versa. But it was the book’s endless gush of self-congratulation that meant I really couldn't face selecting one of the recipes for the challenge. My mother always told me that if I can't say anything nice, then I should shut up. So I returned the book from whence it came while smiling sweetly and looking grateful.

While thinking what to do instead I realised that there was a book which I’d borrowed some time ago and, errm, which still seemed to be on my shelf. So I randomly o…

Véritables Macarons de Somewhere or Other

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If you're unlucky enough to have been reading this blog for a while then you might have noticed a certain obsession with French baking and you can’t wander through the world of French baking for too long without falling over a macaron. Everyone must be familiar with the modern macaron, beloved of fine patisseries everywhere, but there are more traditional versions of the almond cakes which turn up in various places around France. Amiens, Reims, St Emilion, St Jean de Luz, Montmorillon, Cormery, Melun, Niort and Nancy all have their own versions and that’s just the ones I can think of for the moment.

I feel an urge to include a few random facts at this point  (sorry, I can be really annoying sometimes):
There’s a vaguely plausible theory that macarons may have been baked first in ancient Persia, although there’s little doubt that they arrived in France via Italy. Cormery claims the oldest recipe - allegedly dating from the 8th century. The Cormery macarons are ring-shaped – well, th…

Low-Fat Banana and Prune Loaf Cake

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Rumour has it that we've started a new year and so there are probably quite a few people making resolutions to be good or, at least, to be careful about what they eat. So it seems a good time to write down my favourite recipe for low-fat cake. Over the years I've tried many variations on this recipe but this very simple version is the one I usually come back to.

This loaf cake has no butter or oil and no eggs. It doesn't even have a lot of sugar. Of course, take those ingredients out of a cake mixture and you’ll get a very different sort of texture in the finished cake. This cake has a typical fruit loaf quality – soft but chewy.

I must make it very clear that you don’t have to use prunes – you could use other dried fruits such as dates. I know from past experience that many people hate prunes for some reason. Maybe they were force fed prunes as children. But personally I think prunes are deeply misunderstood and seriously delicious.


This recipe will fill one 500 g (1 lb) …