Raspberry and coconut sponge recipe

I’ve spent the last few days wondering whether it is frivolous to give you a cake recipe at a time like this. But I’ve finally come to the conclusion that, actually, it’s probably more important than ever. Baking is a source of comfort and joy, both for those doing the baking, and for the recipients, and to willfully lose something like that when we face uncertainty and challenges, when many of our other sources of comfort and joy have been at least temporarily restricted, is sad. Having a simple cake recipe up your sleeve is reassuring – a taste of normality. I’ve gone for a cake which relies on store

Buttermilk waffles recipe

I don’t like one-use kitchen gadgets. Well, that’s not true, I do like them actually. I love them. I am drawn to them in those little catalogues that come through the door, brimming with plastic and promise, like a magpie. But my small kitchen doesn’t love them. My overflowing drawers and crowded worktops don’t love them. After ditching my garlic peeler and my egg poacher, my milk frother and my (ahem) hot dog slicer, I have made a pact with myself that any utensil or equipment I bring into the kitchen has to do some heavy-lifting. No single-purpose gadgets shall darken my door any longer. But there is one exception:

Recipe: Spotted Dick for grown ups

Spotted dick is synonymous with school dinners: it’s one of a field of puddings that divide the nation – like rice pudding and jam roly poly – into those who, haunted by sloppy or stodgy memories, cannot countenance the idea of enduring them again, or those who seek them out in a fit of nostalgia. The joy of writing this Vintage Chef column is that even those dishes I might otherwise avoid, I get to rediscover and share. I was extremely sceptical of blancmange; I treated coronation chicken with suspicion, but in exploring and experimenting with recipes, I was newly converted: blancmange can be heavenly, like an enormous panna cotta;

Recipe: Sticky toffee pudding

I’ve been cooking for a little while now: professionally for huge quantities of people for a couple of years, writing about it for the thick end of four, and teaching myself at home for over six. I’ve been to pastry school for an entire full-time academic year. None of this matters to my family: all my family wants from me is sticky toffee pudding. At Christmas, it is mandatory, and every other occasion where I fail to arrive bearing a huge tin of the stuff, its absence is quietly resented. I’m going to visit my sister soon, but will be away just beforehand, so there’s already a large pudding sitting

Recipe: The Perfect Leftover Turkey Curry

Turkey curry, as a means of using up festive leftovers, has become something of a joke: the turkey curry buffet in Bridget Jones is the true low point of Bridge’s festive calendar. The prospect can strike fear into the most Christmas-spirited of souls. But actually, on Boxing Day, or the day after, the last thing you really want is the same meal you’ve been eating for the past two days, looking a little tired and fridge-worn, all the best bits gone. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll be first to the table for cold roast meats and my fifth serving of stilton in 48 hours, and if you hesitate for a

Forget the school slop – a true rice pudding is a rare treat

If I had a pound for every person who’s told me they hate rice pudding, I would be a rich woman. It might be the most hated dessert in Britain, and we have our school system to blame for it. The rice pudding that is ubiquitous (and seemingly generation-crossing) in British schools is offensively bland, inexplicably metallic and unbelievably gelatinous. Made with milk powder and water, never introduced even in passing to actual milk, then poured into a quadrant of a battered plastic tray, it is many people’s first dalliance with rice pudding and, understandably, their last. I’m not sure its original incarnation would do much to persuade the deniers,

How to cook Stilton and broccoli bake

Finally, I almost have my kitchen back. I feel like during Christmas, we give our kitchens over to a higher power: one who insists that we fill our fridges with enough prosecco to see us through a nuclear winter, that everything is spiked with brandy, and followed with a chaser of cheese. We didn’t even host Christmas this year: we were away for Christmas-proper and bookended it with visiting various friends and relatives. There is, really, no excuse, for such a high proportion of festive leftovers. And yet, for the last week, I’ve found soggy mince pies everywhere, and brandy butter I don’t remember buying. But now, I am starting