All posts filed under: Sweet things

baked peach mascarpone

Baked peaches

If anything was going to bring me back to writing, it was going to be a baked peach. Ever since the days of reading Jane Grigson in the greengrocers at my Saturday job, bundled up in knitwear and watching the clock on the wall tick laboriously by, I’ve dreamt of baked peaches. In the summer, late August usually, an elderly Italian woman who lived in Bungay would bring in a crate of peaches; big and fat and rosy. They were from her garden, and I would buy three and take them home to savour. The shop is no longer there, but the idea of a peach tree in Suffolk – perhaps planted by a homesick immigrant – has stayed with me. I ate those home-grown peaches with gusto – no time for baking – but I would think of Jane Grigson’s recipe for baked peaches as the juice dribbled down my chin. The hollow left from the stone is filled with crumbled amaretti – or coconut macaroons, this is after all 1980s Britain. The cooked Read More

essi di burano

The sweets of Venice (frittelle, biscotti and Carnevale)

When I remember my first time au pairing, I think mostly of  doughnuts. They were called bombe, and I was obsessed. For two months I ate one every single day. I’d wait impatiently for their delivery to the beach bar, then savour them while they were still warm and oozing sweet creme patisserie. After finding myself stranded in a half-forgotten coastal resort in between Naples and Rome, these hot doughnuts were both freedom and pleasure. In Venice I’ve found my own version of bombe – frittelle. They arrived in the cafes and bakeries here at the beginning of January and will stick around until Tuesday, the final day of Carnevale. The traditional fritole veneziane are small sugar-coated doughnuts, studded with sultanas and pine nuts and best served warm with an afternoon espresso. When they’re fresh out of the oven, the dough seems almost custard-like; light, moist, and fragrant with rum. They’re also slightly more modest in size than the bombe of my au pairing youth – just small enough to  justify eating one with every espresso pitstop. And indeed, I’ve done just that. In Read More

Crêpes

We used to have pancakes once a year at home, on Shrove Tuesday, when the squeezy Jif would appear at the table and my mum would stand at the stove, grumbling about what a fuss they were to cook. English pancakes were never a breakfast thing. I only remember them with the backdrop of a cold February evening, rolled up tight with lemon and sugar, a little damp, a little thick. A couple of Saturdays ago I broke tradition and cooked them for brunch. It was all because of Tiphaine really, my lovely French coworker, who gave me a hand-written recipe for crêpes – the English pancake’s superior cousin.  I’d asked her what her favourite childhood meal was, and like a good Breton she told me it was crêpes. More so now that she’s been in London for sometime, because they remind her of home and weekend breakfasts. It’s funny how moving away from a place draws us closer to the simple foods we grew up with, and more often than not, to one of our national or regional Read More