Chocolate Orange Victoria Sponge

In honour of cake week on GBBO, I thought I’d share the recipe for one of my new favourite Victoria sponges. Now, chocolate and orange isn’t exactly a groundbreaking flavour combination, but you have to admit, they go together like strawberries and rhubarb: both are perfectly delicious on their own, but put them together and you’ve got some serious yum. Jazz it up for a dinner party with some candied orange peel, or, if you’re in a hurry or can’t find any, finish the cake off with a dusting of icing sugar.

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Raspberry Chilli Jam

I don’t know why, but making jam gives me an immense sense of satisfaction. Seeing the ingredients come together, simmer down into that thick, delicious mixture, and then admiring those lovely rows of jewel-tone jars…I love it. And with fruit now coming in fast and furious, this is jam-making season.

I’ve been doing jams and preserves for a few years now, which means I’ve learned quite a few things, the most important being: most jam recipes are terrible. I don’t even use recipes anymore, I just go by instinct, what I know I and my husband like (not too much sugar), and flavours I know go together. And it’s working out pretty well for us.

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Downton Dish: Charlotte Russe

Apparently, in Isobel’s mind, the best way to distract a mother from the grief of losing a child is to have her over for lunch. And, oddly, she turns out to be right, but mostly because Robert shows up to make a scene and look like a intolerant jerk and a buffoon yet again. Though he’s enraged by the idea of his wife, daughters, and mother being served luncheon by a (gasp!) former prostitute, the ladies all take one look at the pudding and decide to stay. I’ve never had a Charlotte Rousse, but if the picture’s anything to go by, I don’t blame them one bit.

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