Pain d’épices au miel de Sologne

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Many years ago I bought a wonderful cooking book titled “The Taste of France”. I was originally attracted by the wonderful photographs of course, which unfortunately have changed colour over the years. The photographer, Robert Freson, made each simple dish appear as if the ingredients had just been plucked and gutted or were exiting the oven with their attached aroma. His style of arrangement and lighting reminded me of another photographer, Irving Penn, who I also admired at the time. Of course, the photographs were just that, photographs. The original dishes, I am sure with free range produce, tasted a lot better than what we have available today. We may be buying chicken in our supermarket today, but it sure doesn’t have very much chicken flavour.

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Originally published in 1983, the recipes are a celebration of regional cuisine. As an assembly of articles originally published in The Sunday Times Magazine, they portray a narrative and visual description of the culinary customs of the fourteen great food regions. Of course, there is one in particular that includes honey. I hope you may enjoy it at this time of year.

Honey Spice Bread:

  • 1/3 cup shelled almonds and/or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped.
  • 1 cup of flour.
  • 1/2 cup thin honey.
  • 1 egg yolk.
  • a pinch each of ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients together, warming the honey a little to liquify if needed. Butter a small loaf pan, fill with mixture and bake until cooked, approx 45 mins.

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