Decadent, dark chocolate brownie beneath a rich, creamy cheesecake
Last weekend snow descended on the UK. After one of the mildest winters on record, including un unseasonally warm Christmas Day, we’re finally being reminded what it feels like to be cold. As is always the case in a country where we’re as unprepared for annual snowfall as we are surprised by the heatwaves that regularly occur in the summer, lots of things ground to a halt; thousands of flights were canceled, trains came out of service, motorways slowed to a standstill.
While snow always brings a certain element of chaos, it also adds a sense of peace and tranquility. The world is a different place under its blanket of snow; smells are crisper, scenes softer and sounds swallowed by the heavy sky and thickly carpeted ground. In London the snow never lasts very long – delicate flakes of ice are little match for the combination of traffic, heat and hundreds of thousands of feet pounding the pavements – but for a few hours at least, the road outside our flat stayed covered in a pure, snowy blanket. Continue reading
Sweet, sharp rhubarb & orange ice compote stirred through a cool, creamy custard
One of the books I’ll turn to time and again when in need of some recipe inspiration is A Year in My Kitchen by Skye Gingell. Inspired by the seasons and full of interesting yet accessible flavour combinations, it manages to be both sumptuous and simple at the same time, and with dozens of beautiful recipes based on a ‘tool box’ of core basics – stocks, spice mixes, flavoured oils, custards etc – it’s something I can’t imagine ever getting bored of. Skye’s enthusiasm for food and avoidance of any overtly cheffy pretension are what really make this book, and my regular use of it is evident in the well-thumbed, slightly spattered pages and rapidly weakening spine.
Surprising, then, that until last weekend I’d not made a single dessert from this book. Looking at my blog you’d likely assume that something sweet would be the first thing I’d want to road test, and while this is often the case – my natural inclination is to scour the index of a new book for sections on sweets and baking – with A Year in My Kitchen I just haven’t felt the inclination. Perhaps it’s the fruity nature of the desserts on offer – I have a somewhat unhealthy in-built radar for anything of a chocolate, caramel or sticky-sweet persuasion – but it could well be that the other recipes have been simply too distractingly good to allow me time to pause and consider pudding. Continue reading