food recipes

Cannelets bordelais or canneles de Bordeaux

It is one of my biggest regrets at this point of my life that I didn’t copy down the cannelet recipe that a German guy posted on a forum in the early noughties, because now it’s gone.

So I will have to attempt to recreate it from memory and other people’s recipes.

I go through a large amount of vanilla beans (my stock of 35 bought 15 months ago is long since gone), so because my blender is not up to cutting up the vanilla beans to make vanilla sugar I just store the beans in a bottle of decent quality rum, which is excellent in cocktails and of course, cannelet!


500mL milk
30 g semi-salted butter
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, the husks of 3 vanilla beans which have already lost their seeds or just use vanilla rum
100 g plain flour
180 g sugar
3 eggs
80 ml rum

Yields about 20 medium cannelets.

Heat the milk, butter and vanilla (scraping the seeds out first & adding them to the mix) in a medium saucepan (or a pyrex measuring jug in the microwave), to 87 – 90 degrees. In the meantime, combine the flour and sugar in a medium mixing-bowl and break the eggs into the middle.

Pour the milk mixture (which should be at the above temperature still) into the flour + eggs, and whisk until well combined.  This temperature is very important for getting the elements to bind together & the butter to not separate out – I think it has something to do with heating the flour enough to activate it’s properties without cooking the eggs.

Add the rum and whisk well. Let cool to room temperature on the benchtop, then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.

When you are ready to bake your cannelet (or cannele or canele, but imagine the accents in this spelling variants), preheat the oven to 250° C. Remove the batter from the fridge: it will have separated a bit, so whisk until well blended again. Pour into the prepared molds using either a drip free jug or a ladle, filling them approx 2/3 full. Put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes, then (without opening the oven door) lower the heat to 200° C and bake for another 40 to 60 minutes, the exact time is experiential depending on how cooked you like your cannelets, your oven and of course your mould size – if you have the mini moulds which are something like 30 cannelets to a sheet I give them 15mins on 250 then another 20 on 200. The cannelets are ready when the bottoms are a very dark brown, but not burnt (the bottoms being the bit on top when they are in the moulds).

Unmold onto a cooling rack (wait for about ten minutes first if you’re using silicon molds or they will collapse a little) and let cool completely before eating.

I use a silicon mould for this which I had a friend bring in from France, they appear to be surprisingly tricky to find.  You could try other shapes, if possible something substantially taller than its diameter, if you can find a tall muffin tin that may be appropriate, just keep an eye on the cooking times.

food recipes

Lemon, almond & ricotta cake

Two days ago I had a slice of the most amazing lemon & almond cake – moist, delicious, so here begins my search to recreate it. Luckily there were a lot of great recipes on the web, my main source was:

2 duck eggs (or 3 chooken eggs)
2/3 cup sugar
100 g almonds put through the blender until fine
75 g salted butter, melted
125 g oz ricotta
zest and rind of 1 lemon (or two if you like it really strongly lemony)

100mL flour

-Whisk eggs and sugar until smooth, add the ground almonds then butter.
– Break up ricotta and add, beat. When the batter is smooth, beat in the flour.
– Pour it into a round 20cm springform cake tin and bake it in a pre-heated oven (180° C) 30 minutes.

I think I baked mine a little too long (as I added an extra 10 mins, but this is probably also because I can’t justify to myself heating up the whole oven for one little cake so I just do it on the oven setting on our microwave.  Next time I will probably make a little syrup with grated rind of a lemon maybe 50g sugar, 20mL water, then add the lemon juice when it has boiled, prick the warm cake all over & pour over the syrup before taking it out of the tin.

food recipes

Anzac Biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts (optional)
1/2 tsp bicarb dissolved in 2tbs boiling water
125g butter, melted
2 tbs golden syrup

Preheat oven to 160 deg. Combine first section of ingredients, then mix in the wet ingredients. Place in teaspoonfuls on a greased baking tray. Bake for 15mins or until golden brown.

food personal restaurants

The best coffee in London

The UK is different to Melbourne in that it doesn’t have many Italian migrants, which means that there is not much coffee culture. In my current job I get out and about quite a bit and people often give me coffees. These are some of the best and worst, judged of course on 1 single cup which is probably very unjust.
1) cheapest good quality cappuccino
Algerian Coffee House on Old Compton Rd Soho – £0.95. A little bit bitter for my taste but good!
2) Lovely bar man
Beach Blanket Babylon, Shoreditch
when I thanked the Italian barman for the lovely cappuccino he said arrrr that, that was nothing, I’ll make you a proper coffee. And he did, it was mild and the coffee had chocolate notes (we had just discussed that I prefer my coffee mildly roasted but not too much milk) & it was great!
3) Nice all rounder
Chris at the Corner Store at Covent Garden made a mean cappuccino with their Izzo or something extremely impressive shiny stainless steel machine
4) Great coffee
Directly opposite Bar Soho on Old Compton St biased a little to the left, small, but nice coffee

Name & Shame
1) the absolutely worst coffee in London is Sketch – maybe I got them on a bad day, but my ‘cappuccino’ tasted like watery instant and the white froth on top tasted like water too….
2) Box – I think they left their milk out too long….

food recipes

Curing salmon – quick, easy and delicious

I’ve been meaning to test the recipe for curing salmon in Charcuterie by MIchael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn for ages but as with all ideas I thought it might take too long. Well we went to Billingsgate fish market with friends recently & I cured it in 5 minutes whilst chatting to them. It tasted fantastic & was so easy! To cure a smaller amount reduce the amount of cure.

1 side of salmon (1-1.5kg), skin on
125g sugar
180g soft brown sugar
175g salt
60mL limoncello / grand marnier / cointreau / other triple sec / extra orange juice
Zest of 2 lemons & 2 oranges
A squeeze of juice from lemon and orange
a pan just big enough to fit the fish

Mix sugars, salt & zests, spread half of the paste on the bottom of the pan
place salmon fillet in pan and sprinkle with liqueur, cover with remaining sugar/salt paste
cover with plastic wrap and weight down with another pan / loaf tin with 2-4kg tins in it
refrigerate for 48h, basting with cure half way through
the salmon should now feel firm to the touch
if not cure for another 24h
when cured rinse well and dry
wrap in butchers paper or greaseproof paper and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks
this is lovely in sandwiches with creme fraiche & lettuce, on its own as a starter, in salads or with eggs for breakfast

we finished the 1+kg in a week (2 people)


Rhumtopf (rum pot)

This is a traditional German thing.

Take one massive earthenware pot with lid. As berries come into season, spread them in the pot, removing ones that are bruised or damaged.  Cover each new layer with a layer of sugar and then enough high percentage rum to cover.  Leave for at least year, then eat on ice-cream and use the juices in drinks or desserts.

recipes wine

Liqueur making

Whilst I’m on the subject of spirits, this is something I believe most of us do not do enough of! It’s quite simple to make very nice liqueurs which can then be drunk straight with tonic water or maybe with a couple of drops of orange bitters. A general recipe:

use lots of passata and put the bottles through the dishwasher to get them really clean, you need these to store your liqueur in & speaking as someone who has tried shoving damsons (small plums) through the neck of a gin bottle, the wide opening is really necessary;

start with decent quality spirits (gin, vodka, brandy all work well as they are dry – I’ve tried rum and it’s natural flavour is a bit too sweet);
prick the fruit a few times (for cumquats, sloes, damsons, apricots etc, not necessary for thin skinned fruit like berries);
put fruit in the bottle up to the half way mark;
depending on the sweetness of the fruit itself add sugar to the 1/4 – 1/3 mark of the bottle;
top up with your chosen spirit (the bottle will then take a little over half it’s volume in spirit (i.e. a 700mL bottle will take about 400mL of spirits);
gently mix every couple of days until all the sugar is dissolved (by gently turning the bottle, don’t shake hard!);
drink any time more than 3 months later – the longer you leave it the better it will taste!


Poli Moscatel Grappa

This is pretty amazing stuff. If you think of grappa as being something akin to an anti-biotic mouthwash, you have to try this. It’s made from Moscatel grapes (the only wine grape which is officially described as having a ‘grapey’ aroma) and on the nose and in the mouth it does have the wonderful floral aromatics of the moscatel: lychees and rose, apricot, mmmm lovely. Really long aftertaste of moscatel as well – it’s something to convert those who don’t usually drink their spirits straight up! (As well as having lovely packaging for a present – copper coloured tin & a swing top, with a very narrow neck for the precision pour).

recipes wine

Cocktails – Aviator

My line of work takes me around quite a few cocktail bars, and I was recently glancing through the drinks list at Lab (Old Compton St, Soho, London) and came across their ‘Dutchy’ which reminded me that I’d always wanted to try an Aviator. Given Julian’s almost got his private pilot’s licence it seemed strangely appropriate. That night we tried it out & it’s fantastic, despite a couple of substitutions in the ingredients department!  I’ve also added in the orange bitters, which I think I saw on someone’s recipe when I was web trawling & I find it really balances out the flavours (also of many other drinks, including my home-made damson gin)


  • 60mL gin
  • 15mL (1 tbs) lemon juice
  • 10mL (2 tsp) maraschino liqueur (gotta buy it as currently the Bombay Sapphire is balancing out the pretty rough cooking kirsch I’m using)
  • 5mL (1 tsp) cr�me de violette (I’m using Monin violet syrup)
  • 2-3 drops of Orange bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.


Lemon Delicious

I’ve been struggling with the recipe from my PWMU cookbook, so I was happy to find this one works well!  (Makes a lot)

50g (1 ½ oz) butter
1 cup castor sugar
finely grated rind of 2 lemons
4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup self-raising flour, sifted
juice of 3 lemons
1 ½ cups milk

Preheat oven to 140-160°C and boil as much water as you can.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat in 1/2 the sugar until the mixture is glossy.
Cream the butter with the remaining sugar and the lemon rind. Beat in the egg yolks and then the flour, lemon juice and milk.
Gently mix the lemon preparation into the egg whites and pour into an ovenproof dish.
Stand dish in a water-bath coming half way up the sides. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes until set and lightly browned.

Serve straight away with cream or ice-cream.