Last Sunday I had a fabulous and much needed day out. I finally managed to take my mother to Caerhays Castle to see the magnolias in full bloom. The display was stunning, but to paraphrase an oriental sage, the heart doesn’t crave flowers for long when the belly lacks calories. Thankfully,when I dropped her off back home, I was treated to a bowl of homemade soup, followed by a good look around the garden and a post-prandial raid on the rhubarb patch. The result is this toothsome rustic rhubarb galette with orange spelt flaky pastry.
We may not be having the best summer ever here in Cornwall, but we have had a few warm and sunny days. We even had a whole week where it was actually way too hot. When it’s that hot, all I want to eat is cool foods and ices. I headed for the freezer, but when I got there, the freezer was bare – of ice cream anyway. To avoid another Mother Hubbard moment, I converted a large bag of cheap seasonal plums into these rose plum yoghurt ice lollies.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be somewhere you can pick plums straight off a tree, I usually find that shop bought ones aren’t that ripe and are better cooked. I had some beautiful looking plums in my Delicado48 box, but I’m guessing they must have been in cold storage as it’s hardly plum season now. Roasting, I reckoned was the way to go and as it was a Sunday, we had a roast, the only difference being ours was a plum parfait.
My friend Henk, over in The Netherlands is a keen baker. Like me, he’s interested in trying out different flours, particularly in cakes. Recently he sent me a recipe for his favourite chocolate nut muffins. They have undergone many iterations, I should add and more will follow as just like me, Henk is an inveterate ‘tinkerer’ of recipes.
When I set banana as this month’s ingredient for We Should Cocoa, I didn’t have anything particular in mind, but with the run of wet weather we’ve been experiencing down in Cornwall over the last few days, I needed comfort and cheer. It had to be pancakes. Not just any old pancakes, but something a little luxurious which was also healthy, delicious and above all comforting, Banana pancakes it was then – with added ricotta.
When I was given some gooseberries from my mother, my first thought was crumble – the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was cold and wet. However, by the time I got around to actually using them, the weather had improved. Although a gooseberry fool or other such dessert might have been more appropriate, I had “baked gooseberry something” on my mind. A sudden flash of inspiration and gooseberry galette it was – both baked and summery.
I’ve borrowed another inspiring book out of the library recently. The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak. It is so up my street, I want to make pretty much everything in it. I may just have to splash out and buy it. The recipes all look and sound as though you want to dive straight in, but they mostly have a healthy twist of some kind.
In my youth, when it was rare to know anyone who had travelled abroad, I was a lot more adventurous than I am now. At just eighteen I set off to work in a Swiss hotel in order to learn French, something I hadn’t managed to pick up at school. At various times I hitchhiked from home to France, to Spain and to Switzerland and when I had only just turned seventeen I went to stay with relatives of relatives in Egypt for a month.
It’s International Scone Week over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Now in it’s fifth year, I’m quite shocked to find that I haven’t participated since 2012. If you ever need a scone recipe, Celia’s annual round-ups of all sorts of scones from bloggers around the world is a must.