Ottolenghi’s coffee, cardamom and walnut madeleines

If you own a madeleine tin then, chances are, it’s your favourite tin to bake with. Maybe you get a little misty-eyed each time you butter-up those pretty shells thinking about the tiny Parisian store you brought it in on a sunny August day that seems all too long ago now; or maybe you’re just after a sexy little cake to nibble on with your morning coffee – either way, these nutty little guys are for you.

Ottolenghi coffee, walnut cardamom madeleines recipe

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Custard tarts with rhubarb and pink peppercorn compote

Ask any good double act and they’ll tell you that the secret to their success lies in the blending of opposites; a subtle mix that both elevates and tames their individual traits that on their own can be, well, just that little bit too much. For me, a rich, velvety custard tart needs a serious side of tang to cut the creaminess down to size, and this rhubarb compote has that in spades. On top of the rhubarb’s natural sharpness, the pink peppercorns give a hint of smoky warmth as well as adding to the Pretty in Pink vibe – always a good thing in my book.

Custard tart with rhubarb and pink peppercorn compote recipe

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Spooky Halloween cupcakes

Take a look at these spooky guys! Halloween is a fab chance to cook up a batch of kooky creations and each of these cupcake recipes, that I have designed for www.allaboutyou.com, are easy to make and look pretty damn cool. Shouldn’t play favourites, but between me and you, I’m crazy about the zombies! For all the recipes and decorating tips click here

Rock cakes: In Utero anniversary cupcakes

First up let me get this out of the way – I’m not a cupcake fun. Their sickly sweet, bunting-bearing omnipresence is something that, frankly, my kitchen can do without. Having said that, I loved the idea of toughening up these baking sissies, and what better way to do that then by making a batch to celebrate the stinging, nerve-shredding awesomeness that is Nirvana’s In Utero album as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this week. Nirvana are the reason I do many things, but when deciding on which of these things to immortalise in fondant form, I kept coming back to this: it’s always a good day when I’m wearing plaid playing Heart Shaped Box that little bit too loud. So I went with that.

In Utero Nirvana cupcakes

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French fancies: Madeleines with passion fruit curd

A summer in Paris will leave its mark on you. Whatever reason leads you there, art, architecture, fashion, cheese, you will leave with a distinct feeling of enrichment that only a place that beautiful, that delicious, can bestow. If you love to cook as well then your kitchen cupboards can also expect a similar sense of enrichment given that you will not be able to walk past a Parisian cookware shop without buying a copper pan or three, or in my case, a madeleine tin. I feel in love with these shell-shaped sponge cakes while I was there  and while traditionally these little cakes have no filling, the passion fruit curd and strategically placed raspberry add a zesty, summer spin to this timeless French classic.

Madeleines, madeleine tin and a blue teapot

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Apple & elderflower muffins

In a desperate bid to encourage some small sense of summer, I reached for one of my favourite sunny flavours and decided to lace a batch of muffins with it. Bit of baking logic for you there. Elderflower’s fragrant sweetness is so good with apple, its subtle but substantial, and really makes these muffins sing. These light, fluffy lovelies will be the perfect partner to a G&T in the garden should the sun ever come and join the party this year. Sigh.

Apple and elderflower muffins in brown paper cases

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