Baked Plums with a Crunchy Coconut Topping

I made this for the first time in Central Otago with apricots poached from an old tree we discovered along a path by the Clutha River. Growing amongst wild thyme these were the most amazing apricots. We ate as many as three greedy girls could manage and then filled up our backpack. For pudding that evening we sliced the apricots in…

Plum, tangelo & almond cake

I make this cake every summer, at least once. The last time I made it I took it round for dessert at a friends’ place. After finishing his (let’s be clear, generous) first slice of cake, one friend announced he was going to quickly have another before his stomach told him that he was too…

Rhubarb & crème fraiche tart

I have a fond spot for Alison Holst. Some of the first recipes I remember making as a kid were from her books: citrus slice, ‘one pan dinner’, crunchy lemon muffins. Last time I was at mum’s I spent an afternoon going through a pile of old Alison Holst recipe books. Some of it – the food…

Sponge cake

My Dad is a sponge cake expert. An electrical engineer, he takes an analytical approach to the production of baked goods. Sunday morning pancakes, for example, involved the use of a second ‘finishing pan’ set to a lower heat, to allow pancake production to keep pace with my family’s enthusiastic pancake-eating. He took a similar approach to…

Lemon meringue pie

It all began on Saturday night with an unusual, but not unheard of decision: lemon meringue pie. I’ve never had great success with lemon meringue pie; soggy pastry, runny lemon curd, watery meringue. I found a recipe by my favourite baking man Dan Lepard, and quickly whizzed up the pastry and made a very tart lemon curd….

Apricot clafoutis

When I was young, each summer my mum would preserve box after box of peaches and apricots. I remember shelves lined up goldenly glowing jars of fruit ready to be turned into wintertime cobblers and sponges for dessert. I guess becoming a preserver of fruits was pretty much inevitable for me. Apricots are among the easiest…

Vanilla macerated tamarillos

One of my favourite ways to eat tamarillos is to macerate them with vanilla. Intensely red and glossy, vanilla macerated tamarillos have an amazing tart and sweet contrast and are the perfect thing to have on top of porridge, or with muesli and yoghurt for breakfast. Or try them for dessert with lemon polenta cake and yoghurt. Vanilla macerated tamarillos Slightly…