Banana Bread


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Overripe bananas on the counter are a perfect excuse to make this delicious, moist, soft, tender bread with loads of banana and walnut flavour. Use older, slightly soft and darkly speckled bananas for maximum taste. This cake can be served plain or frosted with a cream cheese icing to make it even more special. Delicious fresh and warm and equally good two days later, even toasted slightly.

Makes one 9″/23cm loaf cake


2 cups / 240g flour
3/4 cup / 150g sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons / 85g butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 180C / 350 F
Butter and flour base and sides of a 9″ / 23cm loaf tin
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and walnuts in a large bowl
In another bowl mix the bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a spatula
Lightly fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture, do not overmix
Pour batter into the loaf tin
Bake for about 55 minutes until cooked and golden brown
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack
Serve warm with cream or allow to cool completely and frost



Raspberry tart / tarte aux framboises


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This is one of the easiest tarts to make, yet it is so delicious. You can use any fruit you wish and of course, if you make your own pastry, it will be even better. I had bought a box of raspberries recently, the last of the season and although juicy and delicious, I knew they were not going to last so what was I going to make, jam? No, I was not in the mood for making jam so I decided to whip up a tart for afternoon “gouter”. Being short on time as it was already past lunch, I did not have time to make pastry and allow it to rest but I always have a few rolls of store bought pastry handy. So, I went to get some pâte sablé (sweet shortcrust pastry) only to discover, I was out of that. What to do? Well. I had a  roll of puff pastry staring at me and begging to be used and so, even though I am sure my cooking school instructors from years back would be horrified, I decided to use the puff pastry. And it turned out beautifully. You just bake the crust, make a crème pâtissière, pop on the fruit on top et voila! Almost instant tart for afternoon tea or coffee.


Crème pâtissière


  • 1 cup (250ml) cream
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (110g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup (35g) cornflour
  • 80 butter, chopped


1 store bought puff pastry or pàte sablé
2 cups (250g) fresh raspberries


Preheat oven to 180C /360F (160C / 320F fan-forced)
Butter and flour lightly a 22cm / 9″ baking dish
Place pastry into dish and trim edges
Cover pastry case with baking paper, fill with dried beans or rice
Bake for 15 minutes
Remove paper and beans and wrap a strip of foil around edges of tin to protect sides from over-browning
Bake uncovered, for a further 15 minutes or until pastry base is browned
Set aside to cool while you make the crème pâtissière
Bring the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla bean to the boil in a medium saucepan
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl then whisk in the sifted cornflour
Gradually whisk in the warm milk mixture
Return the mixture to the pan and stir over a medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter
Cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature
Stir the crème patissiere until softened
Spoon into pastry case and smooth the top
Add the raspberries
Sprinkle some powdered sugar if you wish
Serve with whipped cream

Fidget pie


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No one knows exactly when this pie was invented, but it has been made for at least 400 years. This is a regional specialty from Shropshire in the UK. Fidget pie, probably the county’s best-known dish, was in danger of becoming a distant memory until recently. Only the elderly still had recipes or remembered fidget pie’s function as a portable meal in the hand for workers at harvest time.

There are a few variations but the basic ingredients remain consistent: gammon or ham, apples, cider cooked in a pastry, with potato and onions too. I have changed it up a little, as it is near impossible to find gammon in France, and I used minced or ground pork instead and it was delicious.

Serves 6


500g / 2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
140g / 5oz lard or butter
215ml / 7oz water
Knob of butter for the tin
1 egg, beaten
500g / 1lb minced pork
125ml / 1/2 cup medium cider (cidre brut)
1 teaspoon salt
8 sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
115g / 4oz unsmoked bacon or lardons, finely chopped
225g / 8oz grated onion
225g / 8oz peeled and grated apple, (I used pink lady)
1 large potato, grated


Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/400F
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray
Butter the sides of a 22cm / 9″ springform cake tin
Place the springform pan, without its base, on the baking sheet

To make the pastry, put the flour into a large bowl
Add with 1 tsp salt
Heat the lard or butter and the water in a medium saucepan until the butter or lard melts and the water is just simmering
Pour the hot liquid into the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula
When the mixture has comes together, tip it onto a floured surface and knead lightly to make a dough
Cover and set aside

To make the filling, mix the pork, cider, salt, sage, nutmeg and sugar together in a large bowl
Add the bacon, onion, apple and potato to the mixture and mix well – the best way to do this is with your hands
Be sure to squeeze all excess liquid out of your grated apple, onion and potato or else your mixture will be too wet

On a lightly floured surface roll out two-thirds of the pastry to a large circle and use it to line the cake tin, allowing the pastry to overlap the rim slightly
Trim off any excess
Roll remaining pastry to form a lid large enough to cover the pie
Set aside

Put filling in the pie case and push down well
Brush the pastry case’s edges with a little water and cover with the lid
Crimp the edges together and brush the top with the beaten egg
Bake for 60 minutes then turn off the heat and allow the pie to cool in the oven for 30 minutes
Remove from oven and cool for about 60 minutes before serving
Delicious cold as well