Marzipan and clementine cake…a Christmas cake for those who only like the marzipan bit…and it’s wheat-free

Life continues as crazy as ever.

Clementine and marzipan cake

Perhaps it’s a test, to build my adaptability and capacity to handle uncertainty.

Currently, I have absolutely no idea where I’m headed next. I’m still stuck in limbo land. I want to follow that part of me that lights up at the thought of a food related career. But I just can’t quite figure out how to make that a reality.

Clementine and marzipan cakeWhich food-related route do I attempt to go down? Chef school? A commis chef job? Take a journalism course that may, or may not, lead me towards a career in food writing? Continue reading

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Pear and ginger compote

I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m nothing but grumpy and miserable about the cold. But right now – while it’s still tolerably cold – I’m loving autumn (apart from the rain). I love the autumn light, when the sun’s a little lower and all the colours appear golden and glowy.  And then there’s that crispness in the air and the damp, earthy smell after rain.

What’s also exciting me is all the produce coming into season, with butternut squash being top of the list. It is definitely way up there with my all-time favourite vegetables. Roasted, simmered in a stew, a curry or a tagine, tossed in a salad with goat’s cheese and parma ham, alongside roast chicken or sausages, with some blue cheese and pasta, or sage and risotto, puréed into soup or even puréed with milk and lots of cheddar to make a sauce for macaroni cheese (I really hope to post about this recipe soon!) Butternut squash is the ultimate autumn food, sweet, comforting and cheery coloured to brighten those rubbishy grey days. Continue reading

Everything’s better with custard

Custard is miracle food.

Slightly sweet, milky-creamy, a teeny touch eggy. For me, custard can lift all but the worst of moods.

It stressed me a bit at first, making custard. I think it was the fear that if I messed up and over-cooked it, that would be an entire box of eggs wasted and no eggs left in the fridge for a second attempt.

I’m just about over that fear now.

Whereas I normally quite like to experiment and play around with classics, when it comes to custard, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. Custard should be vanilla flavour…it just works. It works brilliantly. Why mess with something brilliant?

I do, however, quite like ginger, love ginger, even. And so, last weekend, I made an exception and made ginger custard.

Now ginger custard doesn’t top vanilla custard, because that would be impossible and ridiculous. But ginger custard is still very, very good. (It is still custard after all!)

We had ginger custard with ginger and pear cake.

And ginger custard with plum crumble. Continue reading

The meal I nearly forgot to blog about

I was looking forward all week to cooking dinner for friends, taking photos and being able to blog about it. However, caught up in the cooking, the anxiety that everything turned out ok and the impatience to start eating, I completely forgot about the blogging. Or at least I did until we were just about to start eating the main course and one of my friends says, ‘So Fleur, are you going to blog about this meal then?’ Arghhhh! I’d forgotten to take photos of the  starter I’d been so pleased with. Fortunately I could still get the main in and the dessert though. For the starter I made some Piadine, an Italian flat bread, which is so quick and easy to make, yet really impressive. The dough gets rolled out into rounds and then fried in a dry frying pan or griddle pan for a few minutes each side. To go with the bread I made a large platter of Prosciutto, goats cheese and balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes. (In place of a photo of the starter I’ve provided a rather cute photo of one of the two dogs I’m dog-sitting for this week whilst the owners are away skiing. So I am also house sitting, which means a bath, an en-suite, a tumble dryer, six gas hobs and a double oven. For a student, this is such luxury!) Continue reading

A beautiful thing

My frangipane tart is a beautiful thing. This is not in an aesthetic sense, as my not so great photo demonstrates, but in an eating sense. It is the sort of tart I feel compelled to devote my full attention to eating, so much so that if you were to try and talk to me whilst in the process of consuming my frangipane tart, you would be unlikely to receive a decent response. Crumbly pastry with a moist frangipane sponge, almondy and just sweet enough, cut through with some tangy, juicy greengages. It is a food substance of perfection. Continue reading