Showing posts from March, 2013

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

This is a classic and simple way of making a cake that turns up with minor variations in quite a few different countries. I first came across it in France where it often seems to be the first cake that children are taught to make because it’s easy, very forgiving and there’s no weighing needed. For this month’s Random Recipe challenge Dom of Belleau Kitchen has asked us to select from our cuttings, clippings and old hand-written recipes. I'm very happy to do that – in fact, I should do it more often. Reaching into the magic cupboard containing my ‘library’ I came up with a notebook containing a mixture of hand-written and torn-out recipes dating from the 1990s. From that I randomly selected this yogurt cake, or I should really say ‘gateau au yaourt’ since it’s taken from a French magazine (although I'm not sure which one). Lemon or lime is more commonly used to flavour this cake, but grapefruit is actually a very pleasant change. I have to confess to making two minor chan

Debden Chocolate Pudding

If you've not come across this little pudding before, then you might think that the recipe sounds ridiculous. Well, it is a bit odd, but it does work, honest. It's one of those puddings that separates out during cooking. You should end up with three layers: a crunchy sweet topping, a chocolate sponge middle and a chocolate fudgey base.  It's indulgent and delicious without being too ridiculously high in fat. What's not to like there? This recipe used to be famous. Around the early to mid 1980s this dish seemed to turn up everywhere. OK, it's old-fashioned and it's not photogenic but it's also delicious and it definitely doesn't deserve to be forgotten. I really don't know the origins of this dish. When I first came across it in the 1970s I'm pretty sure that I was told it was named after the place in Essex. Later someone told me that it was named after a Mrs or Mr Debden. More recently I found that there’s a similar American dish called Denve

Palets de Dames

Gaze into the window of a boulangerie in the north of France and there’s a chance that you’ll spot some palets de dames.  Gaze into a number of boulangerie windows, though, and you might notice that the palets look very different.  They’re a pleasing little treat that’s somewhere between a cake and a biscuit but sometimes they have a smooth covering of fondant icing, sometimes no icing  at all and sometimes they contain currants or candied peel. Well, my version has a coating of apricot jam and a thin, lemony icing. I don’t really know if that’s authentic but it’s a recreation of the first palets that I ever came across while wandering around the Baie de Somme. If you’re unfamiliar with the Baie de Somme, then I’d describe it as an area of spectacularly large and rapid tides, seabirds, seals, fine seafood,  salicorne (samphire), salt marsh lamb and some excellent baking among many other things. Happily for me, it’s also not all that far from the south of England. Incidentally, they