Saturday 10 September 2011

A Little Lebovitz Magic...& the giveaway result!

I started the day by baking these Banana & Toasted Macadamia Muffins for the Coffee Tree...
Banana is another flavour that is quite difficult to sell, I find - people either love it or really hate it. So this may have been the Marmite of muffins...but I'm happy to say that they did sell well...thanks, in no small part, to the toastiness of the crushed macadamias I think...they set the sweet fruit off perfectly.

On Wednesday night, I had the great pleasure of meeting the legendary blogger, pastry chef deluxe and food writer David Lebovitz at a dinner event hosted by La Fromagerie , the iconic cheese & everything special food shop in London's Marylebone. Several of my friends were there, including Christine & Marta , and we ate delicious small platefuls & drank perfect wine while chatting & listening to David and La Fromagerie's owner Patricia talking about the meal, and most importantly about David's latest book - just published in the UK - 'Ready for Dessert'. We sampled 6 of the divine creations that night - Almond Ding (which was demonstrated by David amidst much hilarity), Ricotta Cheesecake with Orange & Aniseed, Chocolate Orbit Cake, Peach-Amaretti Crisp (perhaps my favourite...) Blackberry Brown Butter Financiers and Champagne Gelee. All fabulous. And, of course, I bought the book...gorgeously personalised just for me...and got a hug & a kiss from another of my foodie icons to add to my (small) collection too!

So, I had to try some of the recipes immediately - both are at The Coffee Tree this weekend....the first, which had half gone when I delivered the second this morning is the Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake...

As usual, I tweaked a little bit (not because the recipe required it, just because it's what I DO!)....the original has a glace icing, but I went for a showy ganache. Also, I replaced the alcohol (which I can't use for the coffeeshop as children etc need to eat it) with pomegranate molasses & water, which I thought complemented the tartness of the dried sour cherries really well...a very easy but gorgeous cake.
The second creation was the Fresh Ginger Cake, which (as the name suggests) contains no ground ginger but LOTS of the finely chopped fresh root variety...this makes the flavours sing amazingly. Again, I eschewed the given topping and substituted the Fresh Lime Cream Cheese frosting from another recipe in the book, for Guinness Ginger Cupcakes....
also sprinkled a little candied ginger ....because I love it's sweet heat!
So, I cannot wait to try some more recipes soon...I love a great new book that gives me inspiration in my never-ending quest to please my customers! Highly recommended.

And, lastly, the giveaway results for the Roald Dahl cookbook. Out of twenty names, the first out of the 'hat' (actually, it was a mug!) was....JoEllen!!! AKA AlicesRoses. Congratulations to you and I hope you love the book which will shortly be winging it's way over the Atlantic....let me know what you think!

Thanks so much to everyone who left lovely comments and entered my giveaway...I'll have another one soon. I'm also planning a new Random Bake of Kindness in the near made me laugh, but also reflect on the fact that some of you are worried about the recipients thinking you're mad if you join in. I know just what you mean...people can be so suspicious, it seems hard for them to accept that others are purely being nice, out of the kindness of their hearts. I don't blame you at all for not running the gauntlet of  their icy stares! I once gave someone a sample of brownie and their first question was 'what's the catch??' It's really sad - but it's the way the world can be, I guess. I just try and break down those barriers, little by little (and I'm used to people thinking I'm a little strange, anyway!)

Hoping that everyone has a fabulous weekend....why not bake something for someone you KNOW will appreciate it? Like yourself, for instance :-) That's a kindness too...


  1. Goodness gracious - these muffins look incredible. I'm having an imaginary bite now - wish it were for real. Bananas and macadamia... And look at those tops! They've risen beautifully!
    Oh, yes... That Wednesday at La Fromagerie was memorable, indeed. Meeting you, sharing all those cheesy/chocolaty/boozy etc creations and meeting David - such amazing pastry chef and incredibly good writer - made for an amazing evening. Thanks Rachel for your company!
    And I have also got inspired by David's book - right know, in my oven, there's his Easy Marmalade Tart baking for which I'm using your very own Marmalade, a wonderful gift I left Devon with. Oops - I'd better check on that tart - we don't want a burnt top!

  2. I am Thrilled to be the lucky girl! I love cookbooks. Just sit around reading them...and your gorgeous blog. You have a gift, Rachel. Such perfect combinations of flavors-they're inspiring! Now off I go to Farmer's Market. Then back home to find a place of honor on the bookshelf for Roald Dahl! Tra la tra la! xo

  3. I think your random act of kindness should be baking for a jet lagged relative around the 16th! It all looks, as always truly wonderful. can't wait xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Doesn't all that look super yummy!! You've made me jaded--I always expect it to be orgasmic and it always is! I don't see why random acts of baking should seem so odd. Don't people still bring neighbors treats? Seems to me they do. I have many new neighbors so haven't been doing so much lately but often I did bake and share with fave neighbors. So I say go for it. If you can pry Esther's greedy hands off what you bake first that is!

  5. Oh Rachel.....I am tempted to find this wonderful new cookbook as well now----you foodies are all about temptation aren't you? A little of this and a little of that and voila....I must have it: NOW! Hmmmmm, I love bananas and I love macadamia nuts as well----wonderful combination. I just recently purchased some ginger from a new spice shop that opened in our Old Town area.....I love your description as it being a hot true!!! A lovely post and many congratulations to Aliceroses----yay for her!!!!! And so kind of YOU to be so very generous!!! I will be thinking of you extra bunches as you connect with new friends and dear family.....Love from CO, Joann

  6. Wonderful post, dear Rachel!! How dare the people not care for bananas and macadamia nuts...oh, yummers!!!! Congratulations to JoEllen!!! I have to be off soon, but I am also thinking of you enjoying time with friends and family shortly. Make some great memories!!! Love and hugs, Sherry xxxxx

  7. You have an amazing knack for putting flavors together when creating your delightful sweets. Just would love to sample some of them.
    You are a sweetheart to give such lovely prizes away. Congratulations to JoEllen!


I love to read what you write! Thanks for visiting! xo