“Blackberry Ricotta Cheesecake” from “Crumb”

Kirstin: I used to make cheesecake a lot when I was younger and not so much recently. But having made two wonderful recipes from Ms Tandoh’s books I can feel myself drawn to them again. And I urge you to do the same. This one had a beautiful blackberry compote mixed in (sadly not in the picture because we ate it all!) which went beautifully with the lemon ricotta flavoured cheese. Cheesecakes are an easy but very satisfying form of cake, lovely to share with others for tea and dinner alike. Do it. You know you want to.

“Blackberry Ricotta Cheesecake” from “Crumb”

“Blueberry Clafoutis” from “Crumb”

My usual go to on a Sunday evening for friends coming around is a strawberry crumble (Nigel Slater if you’re interested) but this may just have taken its place. The clafoutis looked so pretty (it’s not every day that I take out the macro lens but it would have been rude not to in this case) and tasted wonderful; the lemon and vanilla essence balancing out the fruit perfectly. Would I make this again? I’m already planning to next weekend. And maybe the weekend after that too. One of my friends on facebook suggested I try using cherries in the summer and I may just do that!

Oh and if you’re interested, it warmed up beautifully the next day too.

“Blueberry Clafoutis” from “Crumb”

“Honey Madeleines” from “Crumb”

Today is the first day of Spring. I can tell it’s Spring because of all the Spring activities I have been up to today. These have included washing all the bedlinen and then putting it out on the line to dry, wearing stripes, listening to The Police, gardening and also…baking!

I am not a baker. Have I mentioned that before? I have an oven that has a tendency to burn things and I just don’t have a feel for all things pastry. So I thought I would make the madeleines. Because French. And financiers! I had not however read the small print which included making brown butter which looked terrifying. So having procrastinated for most of the morning I finally got down to it and made two batches of 12 madeleines. It was a bit of a faff with the chilling of the tin and then the pastry in the tin but my goodness they were worth every second! Ms Tandoh explains all the stages beautifully and she has a lovely picture of the result if you want to see what colour the madeleines are meant to be when made in an oven that behaves itself. I am restraining myself by not downing the whole lot before my family returns home later. They smell DIVINE! And if Ms Tandoh can get me out there and baking, then she truly is a genius!

And the bedlinen is already dry!

“Honey Madeleines” from “Crumb”

Cookbook A Month, March 2017: “Crumb”

Maureen: This is a first, in the history of this blog. We’re doing the same author two months in a row. Ruby must be something special.

Kirstin: I know. We felt bereft at the end of February, so we thought we’d try Ruby’s first book in March, even though some of us are not bakers. See how much I love her!

Maureen: I know you don’t think you like baking, but maybe this will be the month you will come around to liking it. You never know.

Kirstin: [Big sigh] I will give it a go.

Maureen: I’m feeling confident that this is going to turn your attitude toward baking around.

Kirstin: Usually we do a baking book in May.

Maureen: That’s true. But why not bake in March? It feels like the world is going to shit. Let’s bake for a month and make everyone feel better.

Cookbook A Month, March 2017: “Crumb”

Our Verdict: “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

Kirstin: I am so sorry we chose to do this book in February, the shortest month of the year.

Maureen: Tell me about it. I’ve got at least eight other things that I made out of this book– all delicious– that I never wrote up.

Kirstin: I’m sorry we’re doing it in winter too, because there’s loads of recipes I want to do in the summer. Salads and fruits and all sorts.

Maureen: I think we may have already found our book of 2017.

Kirstin: You think? I’m so gutted we’re not doing this any more. I have loved this book.

Maureen: I was making stuff last week that I knew I wouldn’t even post about. It was that good.

Kirstin: I am so bringing this out again.

Maureen: Over the years of doing this blog, ,we know that cookbooks are like fashion, in that they can be trendy, or specialised or whatever, and also how everyone has their own cooking style. We also know that my style is different to your style, but this book hit the sweet spot for both of us. It was delicious, it was relatively easy and it was healthy.

Kirstin: Yes. I liked the light flavours and her simple style.

Maureen: The other thing I loved about this cookbook is that she writes beautifully in each introduction about her inspiration and why she likes eating the particular dish. She reminds me of Nigella Lawson in that way, because she also writes beautifully.

Kirstin: I subscribe to Elle magazine and her column is always the first thing that I read.

Maureen: I loved it when she wrote for the Saturday Guardian, and now I miss them. But I guess it would be hard to produce that many recipes week on week. We’ll just have to look for her recipes elsewhere.

Kirstin: She’s also just such a role model. I love her.

Maureen: The flavour combinations always looked a bit crazy, but they worked. Look at the chocolate pretzel peanut butter pie. You’d never think those three flavours would work together, and yet, they did. The title of the book holds up.

Kirstin: Thank you Ruby for making February so yummy. It’s the worst month of the year and it’s given me joy.

Maureen: Maybe it’s a good thing we did it in February then, even if it is the shortest month. It made everyone happy.

 

Overall Grade (A- F):  A* (Maureen)  A* (Kirstin)
Best recipes: Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Pie (Maureen) Grilled cheese sandwich (Kirstin)
Grade for Photography (A-F): Kirstin: I love Charlotte Bland’s photography, so a big A from me.
Any disasters? (Kirstin and Maureen) No.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? This is going straight into the High Rotation Bookshelf for both of us.
Would you give this to a friend?  (Maureen) Happily. (Kirstin) Oh, yes. It’s got something for everyone in this.

Our Verdict: “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

“Brooklyn Cheesecake” from “Flavour”

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Kirstin: So I had all these plans for us today, and as the girl is on half term I thought we should go to a museum or something. You know, to bond. But Storm Doris had other plans for us, and we decided to stay indoors. And make a cake!

Ella: I wanted to go to the British Museum and see the Brutus coin.

Kirstin: Riiiiight. That well known Brutus coin. Ha! I let Ella choose the cake but not the music.

Ella: I wanted to listen to Quomodo Dicitur.

Kirstin: I vetoed the musical choice because I don’t need to listen to Latin while baking. Anyway, why did you choose this cake?

Ella: Because I like cheesecake more than I like chocolate cake. And this one involved crushing things.

Kirstin: Yes, you did rather enjoy the crushing part, didn’t you.

Ella: I love to crush. We were supposed to use a rolling pin to crush the biscuits, but we also happen to own this spiky hammer, it’s like a hammer but with metal spikes. Perfect for smashing in the skulls of your enemies.

Kirstin: It’s a meat tenderiser.

Ella: So I was just taking out some of my rage on these biscuits, as you do, but I ended up foiled by the brazil nut effect.

Kirstin: Riiiight. So while that was happening, I was making the rest of the cake.

Ella: I still don’t understand what cream cheese is. Is it cream? Is it cheese? Is it some Franken-dairy-product?

Kirstin: Good question. I have never been able to figure it out.

Ella: IT’S ALIVE!

Kirstin: …

Ella: There’s not even cheese in this cake. What kind of fake news is this. What kind of alternative facts. What’s the truth.

Kirstin: Anything about the actual cake?

Ella: I am disappointed that you didn’t let me lick the bowl.

Kirstin: So what did you think of the final product?

Ella: The cake was good. The cake was REALLY good. It was like, you die and you think you’ve ascended to heaven and God is there and she gives you this cheesecake and you’re like ‘is this heaven,’ and she’s like ‘Get Ready to Level Up, Mortal,’ and you take a bite out of the cheesecake and instantly ascend to Heaven². And God² is there and she reveals the secrets of quantum physics to you and you get to punch Plato in the face with the meat tenderiser.

Kirstin: Excellent. Shall I make it again sometime?

Ella: If you let me lick the bowl.

“Brooklyn Cheesecake” from “Flavour”

“Two-potato Dauphinoise” from “Flavour”

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Kirstin: I am a HUGE fan of potato dauphinoise. Tom is not. So I timed the making of this when I knew I would have fellow potato enthusiasts for dinner. Two kinds of potato, one kind of cheese, garlic infused double cream. And while I may have overcooked this (I blame my oven, but that’s another story) it added a rather lovely crunchy texture which even Tom had to admit was rather good.

“Two-potato Dauphinoise” from “Flavour”