There's nothing more annoying than a friend recommending somewhere good to eat, and the cafe closing down before you can visit.
That's what happened a few years back when I really wanted to visit The Pear Cafe in Bristol, run by Elly Curshen, who is otherwise known as Elly Pear. Sadly, I didn't get the chance to taste her food, but now I can.
I've recently been cooking some of her recipes from this book which was published in 2019 but has only just come on my radar.
Although I do eat some meat, I love eating and making vegetarian and vegan meals, and am always looking for something new to try. Boy, do I have some new favourites after reading and rereading "Green"
It's set out in two parts...weekday recipes and weekend food, which works out very successfully.
Let's face it, many of us want fresh food, cooked quickly or easily at the end of a weekday, and Elly Pear delivers recipes that can be frozen, or cooked in one pan and some which are ready in 20 minutes.
Rose Harissa Chickpeas with Za'atar baked feta is easy peasy and tastes divine, and so is the baked two cheese, three greens, four herb frittata. I've never cooked a frittata in a cake tin before but this was full of flavour and perfect for supper or lunchtime. My "Writers what lunch" gang doesn't know it yet, but this is what they're going to have at our December meet up at my house. and it's perfect for cooking in advance.
Also on the must list to make in the very near future is Elly's recipe for Roasted Beetroot, Horseradish and Amontillado Pearl Barley risotto. What a combination of punchy, sweet and savoury ingredients ...
The second part of the book features ideal weekend food. Ideas for what to prep for the weekend and brunches, lunches and suppers that hit the sweet spot for a lazy day, alone or with friends. Recipes that ooze freshness and make you feel that they not only taste good but by golly make you feel good too. Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Pea Grain Bowl with mint yoghurt sauce anyone?
These are all arranged seasonally, but even though this cake is suggested for Spring, it's ideal for right now.
140g plain flour
125g ground almonds
2tspn baking powder
Half a tsp salt
225gm salted butter
200gm caster sugar
zest and juice of a lemon
2 tbsp raspberry jam
4 tbsp almond flakes, toasted lightly in a dry pan
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan/ 200C/400F or gas mark 6
2. Mix together flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the dry ingredients along with each egg.
3. Fold through the remaining dry ingredients and then mix in the lemon zest and juice.
4. Grease a 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Pir the cake mixture into the tin for 25 minutes or until the top of the cake is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool completely in the tin. Only then remove the cake from the tin, spread the jam over the top ad sprinkle with almond flakes and serv
6. Grease a 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Put the cake mixture into the tin for 25 minutes or until the top of the cake is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool completely in the tin. Only then remove the cake from the tin, spread the jam over the top, sprinkle with almond flakes and serve,