Bought at: online from Booktopia, a regular online haunt of mine for books.
Recipes Made: Squash, Brown Butter & Sage Quiche (pp.86-87), Banana Buttermilk Bread (p.104), Lemon Drizzle Loaf (pp.114-115), Ginger Molasses Cake (p.125), Summer Spelt Almond Cake (p.137), Egg Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies (pp.140-141), Quince Ice Cream (pp.184-185) and Roasted Quince (p.241).
For the Quiche I used the basics of the recipe and instead of squash and sage I used purple sweet potato, goats cheese, thyme and topped the quiche with goats cheese stuffed zucchini flowers. The quiche was amazing and the recipe was really easy to follow. Claire’s recipes are very clearly written and she has managed to keep all the chef-y inside tips in there without making everything seem daunting.
The Banana Buttermilk Loaf is a great way to use up over ripe bananas and I have made it many times. I have often been known to deliberately buy the over ripe bananas in the quick sale section of the green grocers just to make this bread. When I make it I tend to cut it into slices once cooled, wrap individually and freeze. The loaf is quite different to other banana breads, which can be quite cakey. This one uses 6 bananas so the flavour is perfect and the texture is more dense.
I made the Lemon Drizzle Loaf when bergamots where in season last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t think the drizzle added too much to the cake, so if you wanted to skip it and just have the icing I think the cake would still work really well.
I was really looking forward to making the Ginger Molasses Cake as I love the combination of ginger and molasses in cakes. I didn’t end up being a fan of this one however. The flavour was nice but the texture of the cake was too wet for my liking.
The Summer Spelt Almond Cake I have made many times, in many different forms. It is a great all rounder and works well with lots of different fruits, flavour combinations, sugars and flours. In the version pictured I used raspberries only and the rosewater icing - with the addition of crystallised rose petals it probably looks a bit too much like a Valentine’s cake, but it did taste really good!
The Egg Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies have been my go to biscuit recipe for a while now. They are great as the recipe uses up egg yolks that may be left over from something else, and the raw dough freezes really well too. The dough also bakes well from frozen as well. I have made this with a few different flavour combinations, however the winner always seems to be raspberry and white chocolate.
The Quince Ice Cream I have posted about here, and the Roasted Quince I tried out this year when quinces were in season. I have a recipe I usually use which poaches them, but I thought I would try this one out as well. I wasn’t as keen on the final result of the roasting, I found it took significantly longer for the quinces to cook than the recipe said and they didn’t turn a deep ruby red colour like the should have. They still tasted really good, but I think I will stick to poaching next year.
Favourite Things About The Book: The recipes are really a stand out in this book, which I think is evidenced by how many I have tried (and still want to try)! It really feels like you aren’t missing out on the Violet Bakery in London having this book, and there is such a vast range of recipes that it really covers all seasons and tastes. The recipes also come with great advice from Claire, in a way that feels like you are generously benefiting from her years of experience and training.
Even being someone who has baked for a long time, I still find I learn things from this book. Claire’s flavour combinations and use of less common ingredients is also a real high point of this book. At first glance things to me seemed a little out of left field, and maybe a bit like they were being designed to suit the ‘healthy’ food trends that have been hanging around the past few years. But once I really read the recipes, and tried some of them out, these ingredients (think spelt flour, agave, rye flour, buckwheat flour etc) are really being used as they bring something to the recipe and make the end result the best it can be. These ingredients are used because of their taste or the texture they bring to the bake, and this to me is extremely refreshing.
Bookmarked Recipes (to make later!): Honey & Rosewater Madeleines (pp.126-127), Chewy Ginger Snaps (p.134), The Violet Butterscotch Blondie (p.143), Loganberry-Vanilla Birthday Cake (pp.213-214) and Carrot Cake (p.219).