This month’s Borough Market Cookbook Club book was Honey & Co at Home by Sarit Packer and Itmar Srulovich. At the Cookbook Club, one book is chosen and we all make something different from it. There were about 15 of us who made different recipes from Honey and Co at Home, so we got to taste a good range of dishes. This breakfast loaf is not something that I would have chosen to make, and this is the beauty of the club. I’ve made plenty loaf cakes in the past and this seemed pretty ordinary. Well, boy was I wrong. This unassuming loaf is anything but ordinary. It is packed full of flavour. The orange zest and clementine peel elevate this loaf to a whole new level. The dates are soft and sweet, the macadamia nuts buttery and crunchy. So now I have found my new, favourite breakfast loaf.
(Makes one large 2kg loaf or two smaller ones)
150ml full fat milk
50g salted butter
280g self raising flour
Zest of 1 orange
Skin of 1 clementine, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
200g Medjool dates, roughly chopped
130g macadamia nuts
For the topping
50g cup macadamia nuts
Sprinkling of demerara sugar
1. Heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Line your loaf tin(s) with a sheet of baking paper.
2. Place the milk, honey and butter in a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. In the meantime, mix the rest of the ingredients apart from the eggs in a large bowl. Pour in the melted butter mixture and use a large spoon to stir until just combined. Add the egg and stir again until fully combined.
3. Transfer to the baking tin, top with the macadamia nuts and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.
4. Open the oven and rotate the cake for an even bake, then leave for a further 20–25 minutes. It should feel lovely and bouncy when you press it. If you are using two smaller tins, they will bake in a shorter time – I would rotate them after 20 minutes and then leave for another 20 minutes to bake fully.
The book for this month’s Borough Market Cookbook Club is in fact the Borough Market Cookbook. Hot off the press, it was only published earlier this month. It is divided according to season, so as soon as it arrived, I dived straight into autumn.
After considering Autumn panzanella, Watercress, russet apple and cobnut salad, Beetroot dahl, I turned to the page with Roast plum pavlova with tarragon and the deliberation was over. It was the tarragon that did it; I love desserts with herbs and was curious to see how the tarragon and plum worked together. After I had roasted the plums with the tarragon, I tasted some of the syrup, it was divine.
The plums and tarragon on their own would be wonderful with Greek yoghurt or with porridge so I was really glad I had roasted extra.
After I had assembled the two smaller pavlovas, I was thrilled with how they looked. This is a real show stopper and would wow anyone. Hope the Cookbook Club crowd like it!
I’m now writing this a few days later and am happy to report they loved it.
For the roast plums
6 sprigs tarragon
150 ml water
1kg plums, halved and de-stoned
40g golden caster sugar
For the meringue
5 large egg whites (about 175g)
350g caster sugar (twice the weight of the egg whites)
70g toasted flaked almonds
600 ml double cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Leaves picked from 2 sprigs of tarragon
15g toasted flaked almonds
- Preheat oven to 200ﹾC fan/220ﹾC/gas mark 7.
- Place the tarragon sprigs in a roasting dish with 150 ml water. Lay the plums over these, cut size up, ideally in one layer. Sprinkle the sugar onto the plums, macerate for 15 minutes, then bake for 20-30 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then transfer the plums, juices and tarragon into a smaller container and refrigerate until needed.
- Weigh the egg whites. Weigh double the amount of sugar. Set the oven to 130ﹾC fan/150ﹾC/gas mark 2 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Add the egg whites to a stand mixer and whisk at a medium speed until they form stiff peaks. Increase the speed and slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Continue whisking for 9 minutes until the mixture is glossy and has no hint of sugar crystals.
- Scatter with half the almonds. Use a large metal spoon to carefully but confidently ripple through the nuts in two or three swoops. Spoon the mixture onto the lined baking sheet creating a circle of 26-28 cm in diameter, with high, wavy sides and an indent for the cream and fruit in the middle. Place in the centre of the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 110ﹾC fan/ 130ﹾC/gas mark ½ and bake for 2 hours, then turn the oven off and leave for 1 hour more. Remove the meringue from the oven and sprinkle the remaining almonds on top.
- Whip the cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until they reach a loose stage, then spoon on top of the meringue. Arrange the plums and juices over the cream, then scatter with tarragon leaves and the flaked almonds.