Carrot cake with a fancy twist - with oranges and pistachios, flavoured with tahini and pomegranate molasses, with cream cheese frosting. Posh carrot cake. Fancy carrot cake. Use your regular recipe 364 days a year but make THIS once for a special occasion.
Croquants aux amandes, French almond cookies. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure if these cookies should be crunchy or gooey. ‘Croquant’ suggests the former, meaning precisely that, but I found the ones baked a bit less nicer.
Feta cheese, roasted grapes and crunchy walnuts is a perfect combination of juicy, sweet, crunchy and salty. I roast grapes like I like to roast summer berries when so plentiful they get a little tired: sprinkled with very little sugar and blasted with big brief heat.
Financier cakes, French almond biscuits made with brown butter are deliciously moist, light and tender, quite similar to madeleines and really easy to make.
Hazelnut ricotta cake, with poppy seeds and an apricot jam and grated chocolate topping. A grownup cake - none of that bish bash mix-everything-together nonsense: you have to separate the eggs...
Hungarian flourless hazelnut cake with buttercream filling. This is a fantastically nice cake that incidentally happens to be flourless, just so, and anyone will completely love it, gluten-shy or not.
Lemon and pistachio bars with nutty lemon topping on shortcrust base. It was the pistachios that attracted me in this recipe, featured in NY Times Cooking.
Lime yoghurt cake with pistachios and rose water flavoured drizzle. Aren’t yoghurt cakes gorgeous? And so easy – you just throw everything into a bowl and mix a bit, not even too much. I believe French children learn to bake those at pre-school age.
Mouchous, traditional macarons basques, easier to make than the Parisian variety but just as delicious though presented individually and quite rustic compared to Paris macarons.
Maple shortbread bars with almonds and pistachios. I like nuts but pecans and walnuts are probably my least favourites so I replaced them with what I like best: almonds and pistachios.
Homemade pesto - the classic with basil and a hint of garlic. Grab a handful of pine nuts, toast them in a dry pan, grate some parmesan, tear up a lot of basil leaves and that’s it – you’ve embraced the Italian in you.
Pistachio and chocolate chip cookies - chewy inside and crunchy around the edges. No brainer how to make them, is it? Mix the brown with the white sugar, add enough butter and just a little flour and you’re in business.
Pistachio and lime loaf cake, with apricot and honey topping. So there we have it – health in a loaf tin. Well okay – there is a bit of sugar and flour added, plus a generous amount of butter...
Takeaway-style sesame noodles with spring onions and beans, served with chopped peanuts and cucumbers. These are plain, vegetarian, sesame flavoured, takeaway-style noodles with peanuts, cucumber and beans.
Sicilian pistachio cookies are delicious, meltaway biscuits easily made gluten free. They are about the second best thing you can do with only egg whites, nuts and sugar. Up there with madeleines, financières, said macarons, tuiles and croquants.
Swedish Tosca cake with almond caramel topping. A nice little number, easy to whip up in 15 minutes plus the baking time and actually perfect for afters or pudding as it can be baked in advance, topped and blasted under the grill at the last minute.
Tarta de Santiago, traditional Spanish almond cake. Three basic ingredients and no electric appliances required: that’s St James’ cake, or tarta de Santiago. It’s a Galician specialty going back to Middle Ages;
Tartine sourdough loaf with toasted walnut chunks. Squirrels have dug holes in my lawn, the sure sign of autumn. I don’t blame them much – they manage just about to scuff the grass and topsoil, puny diggers they are.
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