Winter jam – with prunes, dried figs and apricots

Winter jam 1

It is a bit late for Christmas, but as I am watching the rain falling, wrapped in a big plaid in my sofa, I feel like it is still time for a winter jam recipe. Making jams in the summer is easy, there is plenty of juicy, ripe fruits out there ready to be cooked and jarred. I am not (yet) lucky enough to have an orchard full of fruit trees, so I usually make jams with fruit that have spent a bit too much time in the fruit bowl. Up until the end of fall, I have a decent supply of berries, apricots, plums etc. But come December, I start falling short of fruits to cook. And by February there is no more jam to be found in the cupboard.

I tried making kiwi, banana or apple jam, but really I am not a fan. I contemplated making orange marmalade, but the process seems so long that I have not gotten around to do it yet. And I am definitely not one to buy strawberries in the winter.

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Galette des Rois – Pear & almond cream

Galettes LR

If you know a few French people, you might have seen this type of pie already. Every first Sunday of January, we bake a “galette des rois” (litt. king’s pie) to celebrate the Epiphany. It is a really nice tradition, though one might argue that it is a little too much after the Christmas and New Year festivities. Anyway, I really like it and especially the ritual that goes with it. Here is how it goes in my family.

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Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Beetroot chocolate cake

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! And yes, this cake contains a whole lot of beetroot. It might seem mad, but it is not!

I tasted a Chocolate Beetroot cake for the first time at the Christmas market in Oxford. There was a lovely bakery serving all sorts of cakes and mulled cider. As it often happens, I could not chose between all the mouthwatering cakes, and after 5 whole minutes I was still hesitating between a lemon-poppyseed cake and a chocolate cake, so I asked the vendor’s advice. He told me to go for the chocolate cake, saying it was actually chocolate and beetroot, and he would give me the biggest slice if I was brave enough to follow his advice. I did and was nicely surprised (though I still remember the stomach ache from wolfing down the huge piece of cake).

The beetroot actually substitutes the butter , giving it a moist, sticky texture and a vibrant colour, without the fat. You can count a slice of this cake as one of your 5 a day and it is not even cheating as the cake contains 4 cooked beetroots. If you eat one slice, you’ve technically eaten half a beetroot! For those among you who hate beetroot, let me reassure you, you can’t taste it once the cake is cooked (you do taste it quite a bit in the batter though).

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