A feathery sponge cake, drenched in a glistening, tangy syrup: fairly simple, yet so full of character. These are the words that best describe this cake, in my opinion. The first time I had it was when my boyfriend's mum baked it for me, in the occasion of my birthday. I have been making it ever since, following the recipe she passed on to me, with a little twist: the addition of two tablespoons of lemon curd to the batter, to make it even more lemony! I like using a loaf tin as I enjoy the rectangular, yellow slices that it produces, however you can use a regular round tin if you prefer.
I love game and its rich flavour, which works so well with the root vegetables winter offers to us. This venison fillet was the star of a celebratory pre-Christmas meal for my boyfriend and I. In the midst of the travel disruptions and flight cancellation frenzy that is affecting me directly, I have decided to make the most of my extra time in the UK and at least get a nice meal out of it :-)
This is a warming, oozing, comforting dish that casts the vegetables as the leading character, and gives the pancetta that accompanies it the supporting role. Of course you could leave the pancetta out, should you wish to make this a vegetarian dish. However if you do eat meat, I recommend you include the pancetta: this is an example of how you can make a little meat go a long way. I have used potatoes, carrots and parsnips, but you could choose celeriac, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes or any other root vegetable you may like. This gratin is very rich, so while you could serve it as a decadent side dish, it is certainly bold enough to be a main dish in its own right. In that case, accompany it with a mixed leaf salad, or some steamed greens.
Ricciarelli are almond and sugar biscuits traditionally eaten around Christmas time, which originate from the city of Siena, in Italy. They are fat and gluten free (although very sugary), with a melt in the mouth consistency and a sweet, lingering scent. They keep well in an airtight container and therefore make lovely presents to give to your friends and family. You can accompany them with an aromatic espresso, or dip them in dessert wine (for instance, Vin Santo).