These puddings, soft and yielding, are delicious and, without doubt, made for chocolate lovers. The combination of ingredients is a classic one but with timeless appeal. The cooked puddings will sit happily in a warm oven for at least an hour before serving and, indeed, could be made ahead of time, allowed to cool and re-heated in a bain-marie in a warm oven. The prunes in the recipe can be replaced with cherries - a delicious variation - in which case I would soak them in Kirsch. Cognac can replace the slightly dryer Armagnac with the prunes. The pudding can be cooked in a large dish or in individual ramekins or even tea cups.
There are lots of green vegetables in the summer garden that are suitable for adding to a bowl of mashed potatoes. There are the obvious ones like cabbage, peas and green onions. Some perhaps more unexpected additions are broad bean leaves, pea leaves, chard leaves and stalks and what I am going to use in this recipe, green or yellow courgettes. Generally speaking, I prefer to use courgettes when they are very small, about 10cm, and crisp with a nutty flavour. Here they can be a bit bigger, say 15cm. If your courgettes are any bigger, half the courgettes and remove the watery seeds before cooking. The potatoes are cooked in the normal way for the mash recipes and the courgettes are coarsely chopped, sautéed with garlic, fennel and chilli in olive oil and added with chicken stock and marjoram to the potatoes. The result should be a green and yellow-flecked bowl of comforting potato softness with a little river of olive oil running through it.
Moroccan food is one of the great cuisines of the world and in the hands of the skilled and knowledgeable cook strikes a beautiful balance of sweetness, saltiness, sourness and heady aromatic flavours. In Morocco this soup is traditionally served to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan. There are thousands of different recipes for the soup, with each household adding their own twist. I prefer to use lamb rather than beef and find a more balanced flavour is achieved. This is a purely personal preference - and I don't think there is a right or a wrong combination of ingredients. You may find the addition of the rice at the end of cooking to be an unusual choice, but it gives a velvety finish to the soup. Sometimes the rice is replaced with tiny bits of pasta, like orzo. This soup is substantial - I like to serve it with lots of fresh chopped coriander and a lemon wedge on the side. The warmer the weather, the more inclined I am to squeeze a little juice into the soup.
This is a really simple and lovely ice to make with our furry friends. The sauce is delicious and makes the whole combination into a thoroughly refreshing dessert. I serve this with Sugar Biscuits.
These lacy and deliciously crisp biscuits keep perfectly for several days. Serve them with ice creams, sorbets, granitas, mousses and soufflés and anything to do with chocolate. They are also perfect with perfectly ripe fruit such as pears or peaches.
Kale is another of those vegetables that is not regarded as being glamorous, but when cooked properly is as delicious and stylish as anything. Its more stylish cousins, such as the ragged-leaved and purple-tinged Red Russian or the long, dark and plume-like-leaved Nero di Toscano, otherwise known as Black Tuscany or Cavolo Nero, can also be cooked in the manner suggested here. Any of the kales are great in soups and broths, in purées, folded through mashed potatoes, in gratins, as a topping for grilled bread, as a simple accompanying vegetable to poultry, meat and fish and so on. Tiny pinched pieces of the raw kales can also be added to the winter green salad bowl.
At the times of the year when I do not have purslane, I replace it with rocket leaves or foraged wild greens.