Richard Corrigan makes the best soda bread in London at his restaurant Bentley’s in Piccadilly
- Marcus Wareing, How to cook the perfect…
The bicarbonate of soda is the raising agent used by the Irish. Gordon Ramsay says “The advantage is that you don’t have to wait for it to rise or prove, but the resulting loaf will not keep as long and is best eaten the same day.”
The Country Women’s Association of Australia use their scone recipe for some fierce judging in the categories of height, taste and texture. Some hints are to sift your flour three times and to not use a rolling pin. Scones do best with cold hands and minimal handling.
Scones are very easy to make, but they need a light touch or they’ll be chewy and stodgy, so work quickly and don’t over handle the dough.
- Marcus Wareing, How to cook the perfect…
Some people swear by the scone recipe based on lemonade.
Traditionally scones are served with clotted cream, but whipped cream and jam is also common.
Quiche Lorraine is a traditional French dish from the Lorraine region. Traditionally it is a tart flavoured with bacon, nutmeg but no cheese.
“Contrary to popular belief, Quiche Lorraine never has cheese in the filling – just the best bacon, eggs and cream.” I had to investigate further and discovered that both Julia Child and Elizabeth David published traditional recipes for quiche Lorraine based on eggs, cream and bacon, without the cheese. So hold the Parmesan and the Gruyere.
- Loukie Werle, Louke’s Kitchen
Aim for a silky soft baked custard with thin pastry. The base used to be made with bread dough, but these days shortcrust pastry is used.
Quiche can be made the day ahead, but is best served warm. Julia Child recommends serving quiche “with a salad, hot French bread and a cold white wine”.
Profiteroles were popular in the 1970s. They are made from choux pastry, with the aim of being light and crisp. Basic choux pastry can be made into chouquettes, cream puffs, doughnuts, eclairs, glands, religieuses, souffle and cakes such as croquembouches, Paris-Brest and Saint-Honore.
The first time I attempted to make profiteroles they failed to rise, as we were cooking them in a cooking class and the other group kept opening and closing the oven door. Little did I realise that patience is the key.
If you cook pancakes regularly it may be worth investing in a dedicated cast iron pancake pan. Cook them on a low heat if you like them thick and fluffy.
Margaret Fulton describes how to toss a pancake:
Pour the batter from a jug into the pan, tilting the pan to coat the bottom evenly. When bubbles appear on top of the batter and it begins to set, shake the pan to ensure the pancake is not sticking and has browned underneath. Jerk the pan forwards quickly until the pan moves onto the downward slopping part of the pan. Flip the pancake over with a quick movement of the wrist so that the undercooked side is now underneath.
- Margaret Fulton, Encyclopedia of food and cookery
A light flourless cake. The best almond cake recipe nominated by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall is by Elizabeth David for chocolate and almond cake, as featured in The Observer’s Top 50 favourite recipes. Jill Dupleix also recommends Elizabeth David’s flourless chocolate and almond cake. Another almond cake that is popular is the flourless Sephardic cake by Claudia Roden.
Meringues are based on egg whites and sugar that have have been beaten to a stiff froth and then baked.
Gasparini, a Swiss pastry cook from the town of Meiringen in Switzerland, was expecting a visit from Napoleon and was not wanting to waste some leftover egg whites. He whipped them together with sugar and shaped mounds, which he then baked until crisp and dry. They were served with cream and named after the town.
Best served with cream, and fresh chopped strawberries, or a tangy lemon custard.
Madeleines are cooked in a special scallop shaped moulds or baking tins. The scallop is a symbol of the Pilgrim’s route on the Saint Jame’s Way, El Camino de Santiago. Madeleines were originally from Commercy in Lorraine. They are small bite size cakes made with with eggs, flour, sugar, and melted butter . They are commonly flavoured with almonds or lemon.
They come in two sizes – the small madeleines are fro serving as petit fours, while the larger versions are perfect served on their own with a cup of tea.
- Serge Dansereau, French Kitchen
The are best eaten as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
Macarons were made famous by the French Parisian patisserie, Laduree, who create a new flavour of macaroons every year.
Aim for a macron with a crunchy outside and a smooth and soft in the centre.
The spelling of macaron and macaroon is sometimes confused, but macaroon is a almond biscuits from the Lorraine region of France. I’ve included recipes for both.
This is one case where very fresh eggs whites are not suitable. If you have access to freshly laid eggs, set them aside for a least two days before using the whites for macarons. Frozen eggs whites work well once defrosted. Pure icing sugar is essential
- Philippe Mouchel, ‘More than French recipes and stories’
You may need to make a few batches to perfect the technique.