Buckwheat and Blackcurrant Chocolate Slab

Chocolate Cake with Blackcurrants

Every year, in the field at the back of the cottage, I plant something meaningful. A mighty oak now 8 foot tall, found as an acorn in a wood near Gort, co. Galway in 1995; another one a little bit smaller, given years ago by my Dad, from my Grand Parents’ house in Brittany. I want the wildlife to be happy, as this is not really for me, a mere contribution, a legacy maybe? Maybe… I have Hazel, Chestnut and Walnut trees in there, Aronia and Sea Buckthorn for the crazy berries and a couple of years ago, I planted some goose berries and blackcurrants… At last, a decent crop!

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Damson Flan Tart

Damson Plums

September, especially this September 2014, has been great for Damson plums… Well for foraging fruits and berries in general. I like the wildlife to enjoy them too, so I just got enough to make a flan tart with them, quite easy, super tasty.

You’ll Need:

  • 12 to 15 Damson plums cut in halves
  • 300g of good short crust pastry (or your own, 250g Flour, 125g butter, 1 egg, a bit of cold water…)
  • 15cl of milk
  • 15cl of double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 eggs
  • 50g of sugar

How To:

If you make your own, mix the flour and cold butter in a food processor, with the egg and a bit of cold water, work it a bit until homogenised but not too long whatever you do… Cool for a bit. Take a tart dish, rub some butter inside and on the edges, do the same with a dusting of flour. Roll and lay the pastry and lay it inside the dish. Cool in the fridge. Remove the stone from the plums by cutting them in halves. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Add the milk and cream. Cut the vanilla pod lengthways and remove the seeds. In the mix they go, whisk a little more.

Pre-heat the oven and place a sheet of grease proof paper inside the tart, with some ceramic baking beans on top. Blind bake for 5 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, place the halved plums around the dish, pour the mix over and bake for 20-25 minutes… Brush the tart with plum jam, crust and flan by simply heating the jam up with a bit of water… Et Voilá.

Damson Flan tart

Classic Breton Crêpes

Classic Breton Crêpes

Autumn is trying to come back, pointing its nose through my window.  Time for the ultimate comfort food, perfect with the blackberries I gathered at the back of the house … If I have any left, as I can’t stop eating them, I might gently stew a few and pour over my Breton Pan Cakes!

Breton Crêpes

You’ll need:

  • 250 g of Organic white flour
  • 50g of melted butter
  • 1 pint of milk (500 ml) or ½ Litre
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. of honey (or sugar)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 scraped vanilla pod (or a splash of vanilla essence)
  • 1 tsp. of baking soda


How to:

I guess, like Brown Bread in Ireland, everybody have their own recipes, I have several hidden in books and note books, in safes, under the mattress…  I like this one; I think it is as good as any.

In a bowl, place the flour, salt and baking soda and give it a brief whisk; it will help breaking the clumps, I don’t believe in sieving… (Us Bretons are like that, rebels and contrary to the max). In another bowl, whisk the eggs until homogenized. In a pan, gently melt the butter and the honey together. Back to the flour bowl, pour the eggs in the middle and start stirring gently; Little by little, add the butter and honey mixture, then start pouring your pint of milk. Gentle now! You should start getting a ribbon like texture, almost there… Cut a vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds inside the mix. Give it another gentle stir and cover, in the fridge it goes for 45 min to 1 hour. It needs a rest. If you don’t have a vanilla pod or vanilla extract, pour in a bit of dark rum, my Mum used to put a dash in her Breton dessert… Very good too!

Ok, you’ll need a cloth, butter and a hot pan… Off we go! One ladle at a time, once it doesn’t stick anymore, flip the crêpe to the other side for a few seconds to a minute, in a plate, butter the pan again, and repeat the operation until you are out of Crêpe batter…

Enjoy with more honey, homemade jam, chocolate, stewed apples, etc., etc…

August 2014