Archive for the ‘Sadie's recipes’ Category

Peck of the week

Mr S and I went to the New Forest yesterday, and it was our first book group with chickens. Disappointingly, they had not read the novel, though they did have a little peck at my toes. Once again we were given triumphant cake — the best Victoria sponge I have ever eaten. There was much cake related discussion as the village show is on Saturday and the feared lady from the WI is judging once again. Last year, the cakes were scored publicly and the written reviews presented for all to see… comments included ‘next time, turn out your sponge onto a tea-towel NOT a wire rack as otherwise you will have faint wire lines on the base of your cake’… ‘I’m sorry to say that technically a Victoria sponge must be spread with raspberry jam not strawberry jam’. A strawberry jam sponge cake is an Abomination not a Victoria. Who knew?

The champion of summer puddings

I have to confess that this magnificent summer pudding was made by my mum. It’s stuffed with fruit from the garden (blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, strawberries) which is poured into a mould lined with cheap (thinly sliced) white bread. The whole thing is then steamed until gooey and delicious. It’s tart so that your teeth tingle, just a little.

I tried to make one once but it didn’t really work. I didn’t grease the bowl that I put the bread in or line it with paper so that the (rather dry) pudding wouldn’t come out. We all just ate from the serving bowl. Not my finest dessert, nor my most elegant. Goodness knows what they’d say on ‘Come Dine with Me’!

Rose-in-Bloom in London

Mr S and I are in London at the moment and happily writing the screenplay to Mr R. Instead of pacing across the Dorset fields we’re strolling through Regent’s Park when we need to tease out a tricky bit.

I’ve been busy with a few more stops on the book group tour and one of the questions that I’m asked for most often is ‘may I have the recipe for Baumtorte’. Here it is:


Whip together a batter made of eggs, the right amount of sugar, sufficient flour, the zest of enough lemons and the perfect quantity of vanilla. Oil a tin and heat up the grill until it is the correct heat, spread a thin layer over the bottom of the pan and grill until it is done. Ladle on layer after layer and grill until the side of the cake looks like the rings of a tree. Bake a layer for everyone you need to remember. Decorate with sugared lemon and orange peel, or in spring, frosted violets.

Sadie’s recipe is taken from a book of my grandmother’s – her quantities and cooking method being every bit as mysterious as Sadie’s. My mother (an excellent baker) and I (a terrible one) have through a process of trial and error and burned cakes, worked out the approximate measurements.  For each baumtorte use half a pound of butter, six eggs, one lemon and half a pound of vanilla sugar, and last of all mix in around half a pound of flour. My grandmother insisted that three cakes should be made at once: one cooking, one spreading and one pondering.

And lastly, I was at an event in Cambridge for Women’s Word with the lovely Sophie Hannah and Toby Litt discussing men writing female characters and women imagining men. Can’t wait to read their books now…