A moment later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavour you can think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, rice pudding...As Harry helped himself to a treacle tart, the talk turned to their families.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling, p93
It all started with a treacle tart. A treacle tart, served with sour cream, to round out a not terribly cohesive dinner party of ravioli and roasted lamb. A treacle tart that I made because I was feeling horribly homesick, and I thought that if I were eating Harry Potter’s favourite dessert, somehow everything would be OK. Ten thousand miles from home, I wanted pure comfort, and this was it.
A week after serving the tart, I decided to put it up online and include the quote from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to show my inspiration. It’s been more than two years since then. Two years and 128 recipes from 108 books. I’ve blogged every week since March 2014, through rubbish weeks at work, while travelling in foreign lands, in the middle of catering a wedding for 200 people and once (the Atonement cocktail), so drunk from recipe testing that I could barely take a photo of the finished product.
As regular readers of this blog will know, I am currently writing my first cookbook. I have had a terrific first few months of it, putting together my dream list of food, and books, spending time testing and re-testing the recipes I will include. It’s led to a rediscovery of the back catalogue on the blog, those recipes I still use regularly but which those of you who came to this blog more recently may not have discovered.
So, for the coming months, at least until the book is due, my new recipes are going to be coming fortnightly. And every other week, on the Guardian only, I’ll be re-releasing one from the archives, introducing you to some of my early favourites.
First up is that treacle tart: the one that started it all.