Pumpkin and sunflower seeded rye sourdough, German style blonde Pumpernickel. Sourdough on rye starter with only a small addition of wheat flour which can be replaced with spelt.
Seeded sourdough batons with barley, oats and millet grain fermented over four days. My obsession with sourdough isn’t letting up. I’ve got five little – not so little – pots of sour in the fridge, like Winnie the Pooh and his pots of huny.
Sfogliatelle, Italian leafy pastry bites, with creamy ricotta filling. Lobster tails, as they are also known (easy to guess why), must be one of the nicest things that come out of Italy – and that’s of course a serious claim.
Classic shortbread made in the easiest way, flavoured with lemon and sprinkled with sugar. Short. Crunchy. Melty. A spray of crumbs when broken. Sugar covered.
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.
The best chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting. Now what we’ve got here is a shortcut to the best birthday cake ever.
Easter Simnel cake with dried fruit, marzipan layer and icing on top. I decided to forgo the double marzipan whammy for fear that it would make an impossibly sickly end product – also I don’t have confidence in my grill, and my homemade marzipan needs to be cooked.
Easter Simnel cake made with yeasty dough, with marzipan layer inside and marzipan topping. This is Simnel cake made with yeast dough – it appears that the Victorian version was baked thus, unlike the modern variety which, basically, is just like the Christmas cake sans so much booze and fruit.
Snickerdoodles, butter cookies with cinnamon coating. Make them with kids so they roll the dough balls in sugared cinnamon like dung beetles. Also tempting to add choc chips – but then you’d turn the funky snickerdoodles into plain old choc chip cookies which would be a shame.
Soft white, floury old-fashioned baps. Comfortingly squidgy, sticking to the roof of your mouth a little, nom, nom. Perfect housing for burgers as well – I’m telling you, stuff the little sesame buns.
Sourdough baguettes on wheat starter, fermenting over 36 hours. They taste like they came from a French boulangerie, and just look at those air bubbles…
Sweet sourdough pull apart buns filled with jam. Impossibly sticky, and that’s before the icing. The jam puddle at the bottom of the tin. Pull apart sweet buns are a nightmare to eat but such bliss.
Sourdough no knead white bread on starter made with pineapple juice. Very tasty bread – next time I’ll add some wholemeal or even whole grain flours for a sharper taste.
Soft crust sourdough sandwich loaf bread baked in Pullman tin. Pullman tin is simply a loaf tin with a lid; you can fashion the same thing from foil-wrapped heavy baking sheet placed on top of a regular loaf pan.
Chocolate cake with dark chocolate topping and spider web white chocolate drizzle. The cake is so easy to make it’s embarrassing – but excellent for the kids to be engaged.
Homemade egg white sponge fingers, aka ladyfingers or savoiardi, for your next trifle, tiramisu or chocolate mousse. Or they might just disappear on their own.
Sticky fig upside down cake. The figs get sticky and melt into the almond layer; and if they don’t look quite as appealing as I was hoping – well, the proof of the pudding and all that.
Sticky toffee pudding - date cake with delicious toffee sauce, best served warm. Let’s face it: it’s a date cake. Easy to make, nice and slightly gooey, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with baking it, leaving it dry and eating a slice or two cold.
Light Victoria sponge cake filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Airy sponge, almost-melted zesty strawberries, a pillow of cream…
Strawberry cake - or use the mix with any soft seasonal fruit. Very easy, melt-in-your-mouth cake. Once I got so pissed off with l’homme de ma vie that I ate six pieces at one go to make me feel better. It did. The bathroom scales the next morning didn’t though. The basic recipe is pretty much a simple pound cake...
Easy strawberry cake with crumble. This is what I call a bucket cake. Not because it should be on everyone's list of cakes-you-must-eat-before-you-kick-the-bucket ( although it's a lovely cake)...
Summer cherry cake with a hint of cinnamon and minimal effort involved. This cake mix is pathetically simple – and fool proof every time. No mixer needed, it’s almost what the Americans call a ‘dump cake’.
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.
Date cake with tamarind paste and lemon and cardamom icing. I'm sure it would go amazingly with a caramel sauce, served warm from the oven or heated up in a microwave but it’s really good just left at the ‘cake’ stage.
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;
Tomato tarte tatin with caramelised plum tomatoes and shortcrust thyme pastry. Cut corners by all means and use puff pastry. But it’s so much more rewarding when it’s a proper tart: slicing into shortcrust base rather than the squishy puff which goes soggy much too soon is worth the effort of producing the pastry.
Tartine style sourdough country bread including recipe for starter made from scratch. I promise: it's absolutely worth the time and the effort.
Two-day bread with tomato and olive filling, Andrew Whitley's recipe from 'Bread Matters'. The dough can be left well alone, just shaped into a loaf without any additions but it’s also very well suited to become a flavoured loaf.
Tomato crostata with honey and thyme flavour on flaky pastry made from scratch. Delightfully flaky pastry, with or without sneaky cheese addition, is full of carbs, those floury devils.
Savoury tarte Tatin with confit tomatoes. Tomatoes are generally rubbish through three quarters of the year in the non-Mediterranean part of Europe. Tasteless and watery, with thick skins and not much flavour.
Traditional panettone, sweet Italian Christmas bread, made with natural starter. You have to be patient. You have to have patience, lots of it. Patience, grasshopper.
Black rye bread with treacle, seeds and sultanas, easily adapted to be gluten free. Swap the bread flour for a white spelt, in which case possibly replace dark rye with light, so the texture isn’t too ‘short’.
Triple chocolate chip cookies, chewy inside and crunchy around the edges. What a sadistic recipe this is! It comes from NY Times Cooking, which I unreservedly trust, but this is (excuse the lame pun) taking the biscuit (cookie). 24 hours’ wait for the first cookie? They are having a laugh.
The easiest Valentine cake in the world: a mini Victoria sponge sandwich, shaped like a heart, filled with jam and whipped cream. This is a ridiculously easy little cake to make - takes all of five minutes to prepare and half an hour to bake
Vanilla chocolate cupcakes with meringue buttercream frosting. These are good though for a dinner party dessert: you dish out individual items which is neat and stops people from devouring the whole large cake in one sitting.
Venetian carrot cake, gluten free carrot cake with pine nuts and a handful of boozy raisins. This is a lovely cake, squidgy and wet (‘wet’ being the word I’m campaigning for to replace the hateful ‘moist’).
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.
Raspberry muffins with white chocolate chunks. Muffin is not a biscuit. It's not a cake. It's not quite breakfast fodder. It's this weird cakey thing that you grab when on the go, when hungry but its not lunchtime.
White chocolate kladdkaka. Swedish 'sticky cake' can be made with white, milk or dark chocolate.
Wholemeal sourdough loaf on rye starter. This is mainly aimed at those people who harbour pots and tubs of weird gunk in their fridges.
Wholemeal sugar-free ricotta cake with honey and poppy seeds. This cake doesn’t require much lobbying as it has many virtues: wholemeal cake! sugar-free! with poppy or chia seeds for crunch!
Wholemeal seeded bloomer - the recipe for the uninitiated. The end product tastes a bit like sourdough, depending of course on the mix of flours. The suggestion below will bring you closest to the sourdough semblance.
Wholemeal seeded sourdough loaf baked in a Dutch oven. It’s a very very decent loaf of bread, crusty all right, with open crumb as they say on expert forums - that’s air bubbles to you and me.
Bread made with wild yeast water infused with dried figs. Pure magic. Forget about wine, it’s water turning into bread! Possibly the most organic, natural and fascinating way of creating food. It’s no longer fermentation – it’s alchemy.
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