Syrups (honey included) are a great way of sweetening and flavouring cake. Their viscous nature and generally rich flavour enhances almost any sponge far more than most sugars. Their use is a fool-proof way to ensure a moist, dense and well-textured crumb, as well as a deep, almost burnished flavour, which is likely to satisfy even the most ardent sponge sniffers in your neighbourhood. Syrup, in my opinion, also does away with the need for overly sweetened layers of icing, which usually have the effect of drowning the natural flavour of your sponge in a little too much decadence. Any syrup you can think of will work well here (except perhaps corn syrup), particularly golden syrup or maple syrup.
Rice pudding is something of a British institution, served up in insipid and stodgy piles in school canteens up and down the land. Yet the inhabitants of these great isles by and large look upon the non-descript white mass that inhabited the pudding bowls of their formative years through some kind of ironic rose-tinted haze, as though nostalgia alone were enough to carry short grain rice into the upper echelons of the pudding hierarchy. Happily, this isn’t always the case and an increasing number of recipes are proving that rice pudding can be incredible – with this rendition I’d happily claim the proof is in the pudding!
Shaped like a grain of rice but with the textural qualities of pasta, it’s easy to see why orzo is such a versatile ingredient. Indeed, whether in a casserole, salad or “risotto”, orzo performs admirably, adding a touch of lightness and a smooth texture to every dish. One of its finest qualities, however, is just how quickly it can be prepared. From start to finish this fresh herb salad should only take you 10 minutes to prepare, making it a great choice for anyone who’s in something of a rush.