Gooseberry Clafoutis

Gooseberries and elderflower. It is all about them these days. Everywhere you see recipes for pavlovas, fools, cakes, pies, tarts, and crumbles filled with sour, greenish berries and sweetened with flowery syrup. Indeed, I found some gooseberries at the farmers’ market here in Wimbledon the other day, and couldn’t resist buying some. Then, back at home, I made clafoutis – a favourite dessert that loves berries in every form, even if they are tart gooseberries.

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Turkish Yogurt Cake with Figs

Turkish Yoghurt Cake with Figs - Valeria Necchio
Fig season is in full swing in Italy right now. I bought a good bagful at the market the other day, and after eating almost all of them I had to get creative with those left behind, which were becoming a little too soft.
I concocted this cake recipe with what I had in the fridge. The cake turned out as light and airy as a soufflé, and perfuming of orange blossom water. We all loved it; it felt just perfect for these last days of summer.

Raspberry Almond Cake with Basil

 Before leaving London for Venice, I had been corresponding with my mum about the season and the weather in Italy. Heat and humidity would welcome us, she told me, but also a lot of summer fruit and vegetables. I couldn’t wait to bite the first tomato, a crunchy cucumber, some deeply flavorful bell peppers. “The raspberry bush is going crazy, here. I collect some berries every day, and I’m saving them in the freezer for when you come.”
It was, indeed, very hot. To get some solace, we had to stay all day on the shore, enjoying the only breeze we could find in miles, the one which blows from the sea. It felt like heaven like it should have been – a hot, sticky, humid, salty and sandy summer. The way it has always been, the way I would like it to be. This is a note to my future self.
A summer storm surprised us one morning, forcing us inside for a few hours. We thought to bake some cake for the following breakfasts and went to the garden to pick some herbs to see how to work them into a berry cake. Basil and raspberry is a combination I was curious about, and so I thought I’d give it a try. It turned out to be unique, striking yet delicate and light. A touch of flaky sea salt gave this cake a further depth of flavour, and an elegant, final touch.

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