Saturday 8 August 2020

Funghi Trifolati

 The weather is sultry, and slightly heavy. We eat late, and to the background chorus of cicadas, and the gentle splashing of the fountain in the lily-pond. Those few people in town who stayed put through lockdown appear all to have disappeared to the coast or the mountains, and we have the city more or less to ourselves. Funghi trifolati is perfect as a cold first course to an undemanding summer dinner...

For two servings.

Ingredients: approx 500g mushrooms; 1/3 cup oil; 1 small onion; 2 garlic cloves; 4 tbs chopped parsley; salt and pepper.


1. Heat half of the oil in a large shallow pan (I use a paella pan for this). Chop the onion small, and saute it in the hot oil until it has wilted and is just starting to colour.

2. Add to the pan the mushrooms, sliced wafer thin, and the rest of the oil. Lower the heat, until the juices start to run out, and then raise it again, and cook the mushrooms for four or five minutes until all the liquid has gone.

Add seasoning to taste. transfer to a bowl, and thoroughly stir in the copped parsley. You can serve it warm or at room temperature, but my personal preference is for it to be good and cold, when I think the mineral arthiness of the favours comes properly through.

Friday 7 August 2020

St Clement's Cheesecake

Flavoured with the zest of orange and lemon, and on an almond shortcake base, this is rich, and dense, and dangerously more-ish...

For a ten-inch, deep cheesecake.

Ingredients: For the base: 0.75 cup flour; 0.75 cup ground almonds; 0.25 cup sugar; 1 egg, separated; 0.5 cup butter
For the filling: 1125g cream cheese; 1.75 cup sugar; 3 tbs flour; grated zest of one lemon and one orange; 2 egg yolks + 6 whole eggs; 0.25 cup cream.


1. Heat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease the inside and line the base of a 10 inch spring-form pan.

2. Process together all of the base ingredients - apart from the white of the egg - and press it into the base and up the sides of the pan. Bake for approx 18 minutes, until coloured and crisp. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and brush the base with the egg white, lightly beaten. Increase the oven temperature to 235 degrees C.

3. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and, still beating, add to it the flour, sugar and zest. One by one, beat in the yolks and the whole eggs, and finally mix in the cream.  Pur the filling into the pan. Bake at 235 degrees C for fifteen minutes, and then lower the temperature to 100 degrees C and bake for an hour. At the end of this time, turn off the heat, and leave the cheesecake in the cooling oven for a further hour. Then, remove from the oven, and once properly cool, place in the fridge to chill before serving.

Monday 3 August 2020

Vanilla Bavarois

Served here with blackberries which have been macerated in orgeat. If you want to ring the changes on the flavour, then the vanilla specified here could most easily be replaced with either a tbs instant coffee or a tbs of powdered chocolate. And, of course, Other Flavours Are Available...

For six servings:

4 egg yolks, 4 tbs sugar, 2 tsp gelatine, 1/2 pint milk, 1/2 tbs vanilla, 1/2 pint cream.

1. Thoroughly grease the inside of the mould you intend to use (I always use baker's spray for this sort of thing).

2. Heat the milk in the top of a double boiler, while you beat the yolks with the sugar. Add the heated milk to the egg mixture, and stir to amalgamate; return the mixture to the double boiler, add the gelatine, and continue to cook, stirring from time to time, unil it has visibly thickened.

3. Allow the mixture to cool completely (an hour or so), and then whip the cream until dense, and fold the cooled custard into it.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared mould, and refrigerate until it has properly set - I normally allow at least six hours for this.

5. To un-mould, sit the base of the mould in hot water for half a minute or so, and then up-turn it over the serving plate.