Apricot-Almond Meringue Cookie Bars

When I was an awkward pre-adolescent with dreams of becoming a chef, my immediate goal was to differentiate myself from my mother. My mother is possibly the world’s best pastry chef. After a long day of work at the laboratory (both of my parents are scientists), she would effortlessly whip up beautiful airy genoises, cream puffs, Polish poppy seed cakes, elaborate Black Forest cakes (remember those?), delicate pralines, rich ganaches, and meringues shaped like the letter S for me and R for my sister. Her bible was Paula Peck’s The Art of Fine Baking, the book from which (much later) I too taught myself how to bake. But, at the age of 11, achieving parity with my mother seemed impossible. Anyway, I didn’t want to IMITATE, I wanted to DISTINGUISH myself. Continue reading

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Tamarind-Apricot Semolina Cake

It’s National Baking Week! Having dumbly watched National Chocolate Week and National Cupcake Week whizz by without making a thing, I figured it was time to get off my arse and show some, er, British home cook spirit. I have a nascent obsession with tamarind and have been fantasising lately about incorporating tamarind into baking. This cake shows WHY MY HUNCH WAS RIGHT. Continue reading