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3 Perfect Pastas

3 Perfect Pastas

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, not intentionally, as it’s been a busy year. I’m off next week overseas for about 7 weeks for business, so the family aren’t coming, and I’ve been slightly worried about how my husband is going to feed himself (opening a bottle of wine is not a problem). But when faced with a saucepan and the stove, he’s confused, and takeout is not an option in our family. We just don’t do it.

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Honeyed Carrot Tart

Honeyed Carrot Tart

I came across a recipe a couple of years ago when I was browsing through Stephanie Alexander’s wonderful book The Cook’s Companion that intrigued me. It was for a carrot tart that she had adapted from an eighteenth century recipe of the English cook, Hannah Glasse.

I tried it, omitting the sugar, and found that it became neither savoury nor sweet, but oh so delicate and a joy to eat, each mouthful a discovery of beautifully balanced flavours. We ate it, not even bothering to sit at the table, but at the kitchen bench, greedily devouring each morsel. Joy.

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Butterfly Cakes: for the young, and the young at heart.

Butterfly Cakes: for the young, and the young at heart.

Whether you’re young or old, we all love a pretty little cake. And I’ve never needed an excuse to bake these, and watch with pleasure as a small child gobbles one up: icing sugar and whipped cream on pink noses and tiny fingers, and crumbs everywhere. Lately I’ve been baking these, not for small children, but for Hazel, my dear 91-year- old mother in-law.

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My Favourite Chocolate Mousse: an American Recipe.

My Favourite Chocolate Mousse: an American Recipe.

I have to start this post off by saying this recipe isn’t mine. Like the recipe for Crème Caramel, (in the recipe section) I can do no better, this chocolate mousse, is simply the best. For someone who’s not a chocolate lover, I make this mousse a lot, one of my daughters will eat it for breakfast, (it covers all the food groups, doesn’t it), and every time I post it on Instagram, I have several requests for the recipe, so, for those of you who don’t have Thomas Keller’s fabulous book Bouchon, here it is. He also uses it in a tart, with the most delicious hazelnut crust (see below): a gorgeous crumbly, nutty pastry with a lovely saltiness to it that compliments the mousse perfectly. 

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Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Fresh blueberries are so good, with such a unique flavour, that even though sometimes tempted, I really don’t like to put anything in this pie that would take away from their flavour. So, my blueberry pie, never a tart, is just blueberries, with a little sugar, some flour for thickening the juices, and a bit of butter for lusciousness.

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Chestnut Soup

To prepare chestnuts first slit the shell, with a small sharp paring knife, and peel it away. Bring the chestnuts to the boil in a small saucepan of cold water. They are ready as soon as the water boils. Left any longer they’ll go grey. Not very appetising. Remove the pan from the heat, then take out one chestnut at a time and slip off the papery skin. Now you can start on the soup.

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