By Fiona Cairns
Seasonal baking from the Royal cake maker.Royal cake maker, Fiona Cairns, knows how important the seasons are when creating delicious cakes. Not only are ingredients at their very best and cheapest, but it also makes sense to be in tune with the changing colours, moods and celebrations of the seasons. In the spring, why not try baking early rhubarb and vanilla custard cupcakes? On a hot summer's day enjoy a mango pavlova, and on a cold winter's afternoon curl up by the fireside and share a slice of chocolate and cardamom tart. From edible gifts to party and celebration cakes, plus decorating ideas and drink suggestions, SEASONAL BAKING is full of inspiration whatever the time of year or occasion. Fiona Cairns supplies cakes for Waitrose, Selfridges, Harrods, Sainsbury's and Bon Marche Paris and was the official cake designer for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. Many of the cakes in this book are accompanied by decorating ideas, as well as seasonal drink suggestions. Whether you find yourself in the kitchen wondering what to bake for the simple pleasure of it, to share or give to a friend or maybe bake for a party large or small - whatever the time of year or occasion, you will find plenty of ideas.
Every Italian cook has a soffritto - the 'starter kit' of olive oil, herbs, garlic and other core ingredients from which a great dish is built. Lucio Galletto was in search of the soffritto of his life.In 1938, 16-year-old Anna Galletto ran away with Gino Guelfi, the charming gelato maker she'd met at a local dance. In 1943, Anna's brother Mauro escaped from a German prison camp and hunted fascists in the marble mountains of Carrara. In 1951, Mauro and Gino built a shack on a beach next to the ruins of a 2000-year-old Roman city. They started selling fish soup to the artists and writers who were holidaying in the area and became legendary for the way they used the local specialties: parmesan, pecorino, olive oil, pasta, pesto, balsamic vinegar, truffles and prosciutto. In 1975, Mauro's son Lucio arrived for work at the restaurant, fell in love with a beautiful girl sitting in the bar, and ran away with her to Australia.In a new century, Lucio returns to his birthplace - Lunigiana, in north west Italy - on a mission to understand the family, the food and the culture that prepared him to create a successful restaurant in a new world 17,000 kilometres away. Farmers, fishermen, war heroes, winemakers, waiters, hunters, cooks, cousins, aunts, shepherds and scholars told him their secrets and inspired this story, told beautifully by David Dale.