Matcha (green tea) sponge cake with lemon and bay leaf scented whipped cream frosting. It’s a beautiful dessert, beautifully simple to make (but nobody will believe you how easy it is).
Meringue kisses: pink coloured mini meringues, filled with white and dark chocolate ganache. It’s not all fun making them though – meringue has the tendency of going its own ways, clinging to everything but the inside of the piping bag.
Samin Nosrat’s midnight cake is one of the easiest and the nicest chocolate cakes in the world. I finish it with a dried mixed fruit salad topping for a citrusy tang.
My recipe for mince pies has the best shortcrust pastry and the nicest mincemeat filling - easy to make too. They go back to the times of crusades and the Middle Eastern approach to sweet and savoury, mixing meat with spices, fruit and nuts.
Mini gateaux bretons, individual breton butter cakes with jam filling. Breton butter cake, or gateau breton is one of the best things to come out of northern France.
Mini Pavlovas - individual meringues with whipped cream and fruit toppings: passion fruit, pomegranate and raspberry. Simple – and gorgeous. Any time of year. And what’s more important – small meringues are much easier to bake than a whole big Pavlova.
Festive Stollen with sweet, spiced poppy seed filling. Poppy seeds make such a fantastic festive filling for breads, cakes and little bites that it’s a shame they are not more popular in the bits of Europe west and south of Dresden.
Mokonuts’ cranberry, chocolate and rye cookies are a revelation. If you thought you knew all there was to know about cookies – you were wrong.
Wholemeal Scottish morning rolls with ale and honey. Perfect rolls for breakfast. Plan ahead as the sponge needs to prove overnight or up to 18 hours and then you might want to either chill the dough to shape rolls in the morning, or even chill the shaped rolls.
The best, darkest, gooey-est chocolate cake ever – so I’ve called it Morticia’s cake. A bit of effort involved, separating eggs and folding the batter carefully but the end product is pure Addams Family.
Muffins with orange curd and chocolate ganache filling. Muffin mix is dead simple, I’ve made this mix with blueberries, raspberries, chocolate, orange zest and it works. Orange curd was organic and not too sweet – what could go wrong?
No knead bread is a good start for breadmaking deniers. I’m only going to ask you one question: have you got a cast iron casserole? If the answer is yes, you’re in business. This bread can be the first you’ve ever made.
Boller - Norwegian raisin buns with cardamom flavour and a shiny glaze. What can be nicer for breakfast than a fresh from the oven – or toasted – buttered bun? Okay, a scone. Or a croissant. Or a full fry-up. Let’s leave it there.
Oatmeal biscuits, the healthiest cookies, sprinkled with pinhead oats. They are gluten-free and only contain three spoonfuls of sugar. Definitely good for your gut with all the fibre, but oatmeal apparently also lowers bad cholesterol levels while providing bags of nutrients.
Oatmeal raisin cookies, buttery, chewy and delicious. I recently realised I’ve been obsessed with oats. Porridge and I go back to before anyone else was interested in cooking oats first thing in the morning.
These cereal and dried fruit bars make fantastic breakfast. You can have a scrambled egg. Boring, I know, but so good for a weight-loss-régime (no bread just egg – harsh!). You can have cereal or my favourite combo...
'Porridge' bread made on a base of oats, honey and seeds. I call it ‘porridge bread’ because you soak the oats with the seeds the night before. The starter sitting around overnight gives the bread great flavour. And the honey makes it extra tasty.
Old fashioned apple cake with brown sugar frosting. We used to have two apple trees in the garden: one eating, one cooking, fruiting every other year each, in alternative years – a perfect arrangement.
Olive, caper and seaweed crackers, savoury biscuits with a unique flavour. Savoury biscuits are always such a hit. Forget crisps – they’ll just give you a guilty feeling as they are the Top Villain of The Unhealthy.
Orange and lavender quatre-quarts cake - great combination of orange and a strong unusual flavour of lavender. One of the easiest cakes to bake. Four quarters: there are only four basic ingredients and they are mixed together in equal parts.
Orange dacquoise biscuits, chewy almond cookies made with egg whites, are like a meringue that changed its mind at the last minute and turned into sponge batter.
Orange macaroon cake with dessicated coconut and orange liqueur. This is a glorious cake. Just the right moisture (wet), orange flavour fantastic (no, can’t be less), and slightly chewy on account of the coconut.
Orange and spice muffins with candied citrus peel. These smell lovely while they’re baking – orange-and-spice, Christmas-just-around-the-corner aroma.
Tartlets with ricotta and almond filling, topped with candied orange slices. I can’t honestly say which filling is nicer – the bonus about the ricotta one I guess that you can stick the leftovers into a buttered and floured ramekin and bake for a mini cheesecake.
Dan Lepard’s orange and walnut loaf cake with cinnamon and fresh ginger, a wonderful combination of flavours. One saucepan, a loaf tin and zest from five oranges!
Easy cheesy oregano cheese straws from homemade shortcrust pastry; flaky, buttery and melting in a mouth. Everyone’s all-time best ever favourite snack.
King Oskar II cake - almond macaron style cake filled with buttercream. Apparently they sell them in Ikea, frozen, and tasty to boot, alongside the meatballs and pickled herring. I adore Swedes and Swedish food but detest Ikea.
Pain de mie, French sandwich loaf baked in a Pullman tin with a lid. This is fantastic bread by the way, tasty, even more so by replacing all-white with a little wholemeal flour in the mix and using, of course, fresh yeast which does make a difference to the rise and the taste.
Pandoro, Italian festive 'golden bread', the sweet buttery panettone's rival. Come on, Italians - just have both. I’m having both this year, although my pandoro is baked in a panettone tin - and my recipe is a somewhat hacked version of an Italian one.
Panettone - classic Italian Christmas sweet bread. Yes – it’s doable. A word of warning though: it’s a fickle, capricious beast in the truly Italian style, la donna è mobile and so is panettone.
Parker House rolls, created in the famous Boston hotel, are soft and buttery. They look a bit like Pacman and infuriatingly open up whilst being baked. Very, very nice though – all that butter doesn’t go in there for nothing.
Parsnip and orange cake with cinnamon and raisins. Very similar to carrot cake though not quite as moist, it’s good enough to bake at Christmas instead of the fruit cake.
Partybrot, traditional German sharing bread, white and brown pull-apart rolls. It's bread baked in Germany and Switzerland, tear 'n' share rolls perfect for potluck.
Passion fruit cake with crunchy coconut crumble. Passion fruit, or maracuja, are the nicest smelling and flavoured fruit on earth. Does the flesh have to come wrapped around those crunchy pips though?
Peach pound cake is the richest, most buttery and tender crumb made with peach puree, with diced fresh peach embedded in the batter. Jerrelle Guy’s recipe from NY Times Cooking with minor tweaks.
Plain scones with pineapple flavour, soft and light. There is no butter in the mix and pineapple juice instead of milk. It turns out you can make scones pretty much out of anything.
Pissaladiere Provençal, a simple savoury tart on pizza dough with onion, anchovy and olive topping. And that is one of the best snack/street food/ starter/nibble in the world.
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...
Pistachio and cherry tart based on Ottolenghi’s recipe, with pistachio paste frangipane filling studded with glace cherries. It’s bliss. It’s the queen of tarts.
Easy pita bread, ready in an hour. Pita is very gratifying because you eat bread, but so thin and not a lot of it that you can pretend you’re having a no-bread salad.
Plain scones, or biscuits as they are known in America. This version has cheese in it but a couple of spoonfuls of sugar and some cinnamon will make a decent sweet version.
Soft and rich brioche base with plums and cinnamon crumble topping. It means brioche is not just for breakfast. It means turning bread into cake!
This is the best and the easiest plum cake with crumble topping. German plum cake with streusel where plums can be swapped for any other soft fruit, it's brilliant every time.
Poilâne-style loaf, whole grain sourdough rustic bread. Pain Poilâne is all about stoneground flour, natural fermentation and wood-fired oven. Lacking the last element, I can’t very well say I’ve made pain Poilâne
Poppy seed cake, buttery and dense with poppy seeds soaked in milk. One of the best ever. Moist and buttery, even the vanilla flavour comes through which is unusual.
A classic pound cake also known as quatre-quarts or madeira. You don’t need to frost or layer it, there are no raisins thrown into the mix, no chocolate goes near it and the only adornment should be a discreet dusting of icing sugar - or a lick of good jam.
Puff pastry tartlets with three kinds of filling: prawn and garlic, spinach and blue cheese and bacon and Cheddar. Puff pastry – party food rescue, the solution for when you crave pizza-type food but can’t be bothered to make the real thing...
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