Hope Springs Eternal (or at least from January to June)

Rhubarb and custard tart

Jane Grigson does not like rhubarb. Jane Grigson does not like rhubarb at all.

Her Fruit Book is a delightful and beautiful thing: each chapter is a paeon to an individual fruit, listed in alphabetical order. All, that is, apart from her chapter on rhubarb. That chapter is something to behold: a barely disguised invective against rhubarb, laced with vitriol. Yes, there are recipes within the chapter, but each speaks of flavours that will ‘improve’ or ‘ameliorate’ rhubarb, and are littered with caveats.And don’t get her started on rhubarb and custard: one two line instruction exists and begins with the fatal line ‘if you must have rhubarb with custard’.  The entire chapter drips with disdain and derision.

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Christmas Anxiety Brownies

Chocolate orange anxiety brownies

For the last week I have had acute Christmas anxiety. So I made brownies. Christmas brownies. The best brownies, possibly, that you will ever taste.

When I say ‘Christmas anxiety’, I don’t mean indecision over which cheeses to buy, or what to wear for Christmas Day, or even whether I’ve bought particularly rubbish presents (although, also all of those).

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Chocolate Orange Sharing Scone

Chocolate orange sharing scone

I have fallen in love with scones.

Quite suddenly, all at once, head over heels. All scones. Cheese scones (sometimes with marmite, sometimes with walnuts and mustard), saffron, honey and sultana scones, cherry scones, stilton and cranberry scones. I can’t get enough of them. But this is my current favourite: a grown up, not-too-sweet scone — the only added sugar is the crunchy Demerara on the top — that is sufficiently handsome to present to friends, but simple enough to knock up for yourself at 10:30 to go with an 11 o’clock coffee.

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