My mother gave me my granny’s recipe book the other day.  I have really fond but hazy memories of my granny, who died when I was 14.  All my memories are good and relate to food…apples pies, soda bread, irish stew, boiled bacon, cabbage and potatoes (I don’t think I have ever eaten potatoes as good since…boiled in their jackets then they would just fall open dripping with butter.  I was considered too skinny and so they were piled onto my plate in a bid to fatten me up).  My granny used to stand over the cooker in her brown checked housecoat, fag in one hand, wooden spoon in the other.  The recipe book isn’t huge, my granny was a plain home cook and I love the minimal descriptions - “Cake” as a title so you have to read the recipe to work out what sort of cake it is.  I found a christmas card tucked into the back with a recipe written on the back of it.  The christmas card was from me, I must have been about 7 or 8 when I wrote it.  A silly thing but made me feel like I was meant to own the recipe book now.  

Granny’s Banana Pudding
175g self raising flour, sieved
4 large bananas, mashed
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 large eggs
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180oC/Fan 160oC/Gas Mark 4.

Beat lemon juice and eggs into bananas.  Stir in the flour, spices and sugar.  Pour into a buttered pie dish.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Serve warm and drown in custard.

My friend Aurore came round one day to show me how to bake her grandmother’s wine cake.  We had an excellent day drinking Pouilly Fume, baking pretzels, baking this cake and setting the world to rights.  I really love it.  I love its simplicity and elegance.  You could add to this cake I suppose and maybe one day I will but for now I don’t see the point.  This is the sort of cake perfect for sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea in the afternoon - a plain sponge with a beautiful backnote of white wine.  Baking it conjures up memories of the afternoon Aurore and I baked it together and I was touched that she shared the recipe with me.  She has kindly allowed me to share the recipe with you so you can make your own memories - bake with friends - what could be nicer?

Gisele Gautier’s Gateau Au Vin Blanc
280g plain flour
280g caster sugar
3 large eggs (lightly beaten)
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
125 ml sunflower oil
125 ml dry white wine (Gewurztraminer works particularly well)

Preheat the oven to 160oC/Fan 140oC/Gas Mark 3

Grease and line an 8 inch round tin.

Sieve dry ingredients together into a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle and add the eggs, sunflower oil and white wine.  Mix together until just combined.  Pour into tin and place on middle shelf of oven.  Bake for 60 minutes.  Test with a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean it’s cooked.  Leave in tin for 5 mins then turn out onto a wire tray to cool.  Or if you can’t wait that long, eat it warm!  Keeps well in an airtight tin for several days.