Dining al fresco has been popular for centuries. Our concept of the picnic likely evolved from the elaborate traditions of movable outdoor feasts, often enjoyed only by the wealthy. Medieval hunting feasts, Renaissance-era country banquets and Victorian garden parties were the picnic's predecessor.
Bread and Butter Pudding is classic British mommy food and one of the easiest puddings to make. It's a great way to use up left over bread — white, (the classic), brown, brioche, even stale croissant, the method is the same whichever you use. If you're feeling particularly decadent, smear the buttered bread with a little marmalade or jam before baking.
If you can get dandelion leaves when they’re tiny and in their first flush of green, they are wonderfully tart, with just a nip of bitterness. That’s when they’re meant for the salad bowl.
Excellent hot or at room temperature. Reheats well.
Use this Orange Flower Cake as a blueprint for other citrus cakes. Serve it plain, with a dusting if confectioners sugar, or poke the top with holes and saturate it with a tart glaze as follows.
Egg whites are the key element in this recipe.
It's a pleasure to sink your fork into during brunch, lunch, or dinner.
This is an easy-to-make crust that is flaky and tender and tastes like butter. The butter is pared down to what I consider to be the minimum amount possible. The flour/butter mixture is chilled midway through the process so that when the dough is rolled, the hard butter forms flat sheets, increasing the flakiness of the dough. Some of the usual butter is replaced with sour cream, which has less fat and calories but adds to the tenderness and richness of the crust. A pinch of baking powder adds a degree of lightening.
One of my all-time favorite desserts, raspberry gratins are a cinch to make if you have frozen, unsweetened raspberries on hand, as I always do, and good store-bought cookies. I give two variations: one is made with packaged chocolate chip cookies - who doesn't love the combination of chocolate and raspberries? - and one with buttery shortbread. (I use Mrs. Fields individually wrapped boxed chocolate chip cookies and Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread from the supermarket, although other brands - or even homemade cookies - can be substituted.)