useful, rested and a lost knife


The useful recipe is my version of Anna del conte’s daughter’s chocolate and almond cake, which is a bit of a mouthful I know, but in my family cakes always have to have a name attached to them, which then roots that cake to a time and a person forever. I have no memory whatsoever of the neighbour Freida who gave my mum the recipe for marmalade cake, but her cake is still made and she is given credit every time, Frieda immortalised in sticky slice with swirls. Back though to my version of Anna del conte’s daughter’s chocolate and almond cake, the sort of cake that can be made without too much fuss, and then taken anywhere, hence the useful. It is also so good it may require an armed guard.

The recipe for Braised chicken really is – like me – better after a rest. I enjoyed writing that piece very much as I am very attached to my Butcher. I also enjoyed writing about My kitchen equiptment. for a special edition of Cook. I still haven’t found that knife!  I would love to know about your kitchen bits and pieces, the things that have grafted themselves onto your cooking life in an essential, almost superstitious way.

Which brings us to this week, and a recipe for baked pasta from my friend Cinzia – who you may rememeber as the owner of the generous lemon tree. It is a favourite recipe especially for summer weekends – long, slow days when windows are wide and routines go out of them, so something made earlier to bake and eat whenever is welcome.

That is it for now, but more soon. R




Filed under Uncategorized

19 responses to “useful, rested and a lost knife

  1. Guy Phillips

    Thank you for a delightful article on baked pasta – really enjoyed the read and for a few minutes it whisked me away from me desk to sunny Italy. It’s 7am but the hunger pangs are now there and roll on 7pm! One small question and apologies for the ignorance. When you say “mozzarella should be firmed up, so least a couple of days old”……what does that mean? I was just planning to buy a bag of Mozzarella round the corner at Sainsbury’s, drain and add to the recipe…but should I be doing something else? Your advice would be most welcome and please continue to write these lovely pieces. Thank you, Guy

    • rachel

      Hi Guy, sorry I knew that was a bit misleading, it just means the mozzarella should not be very fresh, which isn’t really a problem in the Uk, ideally I would take it ut of the bag and leave it over night in the fridge, but to be honest a good drain, gentle squeeze will do! I really hope you make it x

  2. chefceaser

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  3. That cake sounds like a winner, so simple and easy but sounds like so much more.

  4. Sean McCavera

    Hi Rachel

    Love your food writing. Keep on blogging. Made a lovely huge tiramisu for a friend in a large ornamental gardening cup and saucer. Inspired by the doyenne of Italian food writing Anna del Conte.



    Sent from my iPhone


  5. victoria2nyc

    I made that cake. I LOVE it. It is not too sweet, very chocolate-y, and has a wonderful texture. It was hard for me not to keep sneaking a small piece every time I got near it, which is unusual for me because sweets are not my weakness. This is definitely a keeper! xoxo

  6. It feels nostalgic to read you on WordPress! I like this piece, and I love the link to the Guardian piece about kitchen equipment, and may that knife magically reappear. (“St Anthony, St Anthony, Look around/ Something’s lost and can’t be found.” I’ve found reciting this works, even for a non-Catholic.) Am soon going to blog one of my favourite cakes which coincidentally is from an Anna del Conte book, and look forward to sharing that with you. 🙂

  7. Will definitely try the cake – it looks divine.

  8. foodelf

    Last night, I made the braised chicken and it was stunningly good. Couldn’t be simpler, but the technique for the tomatoes (even canned) made this dish sing and to me a revelation. I used sherry vinegar (forgot I was out of red wine vinegar) and it was gorgeous. I will eat it again today, perhaps with a scattering of fresh oregano.

    This dish will become an important part of my chicken repertoire.

    Love the column and your writing, Rachel.

    Thank you.

  9. Great cake recipe and so simple and do-able. Thanks.

  10. Shelley Charlesworth

    My sister and I have just spent 8 days in our house in the Vendee in the french countryside, with you. Or rather with your book. Reading it, reading bits out of it and of course cooking. In particular the (dried)courgette recipe, the rabbit cacciatore (also with chicken) ricotta and lemon cake, chick pea and greens, and many batches of the soft almond biscuits. Sister has the book as it’s hers so I can’t remember the actual titles but that doesn’t matter. We had a wonderful time eating cooking and talking about food. You even reignited my love for my old moka machine. It would be fair to day we are both good cooks and getting on a bit so it was wonderful to have had our cooking enthusiasm rekindled.

    • rachel

      This is the note every cook book author hopes to receive – what a lovely thing, thank you to you and your sister for bring the book alive on plates – Rx

  11. This looks amazing!!! Great recipe…

  12. SR168

    Any chance of the marmalade cake recipe? (I’ve looked in the cake section in the recipes tab but it doesn’t seem to be there) – it’s something I’ve recently come back to after years of forgetting about and now I don’t seem to be able to eat enough of the stuff!

  13. apw

    I have a pair of extra long bamboo chopsticks that are loosely connected with string at blunt end. They were part of a really cheap Chinese cookery set that I had decades ago and are now all that remains of it. For years now I have used them for the sole purpose of stirring spaghetti so that it doesn’t stick and then serving it. Both functions could quite easily be fulfilled with other equipment (wooden spoons, kitchen tongs) but I keep returning to these chopsticks!

  14. Your recent post popped into my mailbox today. Very pleased to learn of your Guardian work and will certainly follow it.

    I will always remain in your debt for the wonderful recommendations I found in your blog when I planned a visit to Trastevere. That four-day eating sojourn is one of the highlights of my culinary odyssey.
    All the best,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s