The Comfort Food Cafe in Debbie Johnson’s new summer romance is entirely fictional – but we would love to go there! As well as the fab location and delicious food, Debbie wanted to create a place where people felt safe and valued and content. A place where everybody knows your name, just like they used to in Cheers!
And while Cherie’s cafe might be made up, the Hive Beach Cafe in Dorset is gorgeously real. It overlooks the beautiful beach at Burton Bradstock, one of the prettiest places on the Jurassic Coast, and has stunning views out across Lyme Bay.
Its location is idyllic, and so is its food. The cafe specialises in fresh fish and seafood, which is sourced locally using sustainable methods, and cooked simply and well. The cafe also has a reputation for friendly and welcoming service, and its creative team in the kitchen.
Now in their 25th year, they’ve produced two cookery books, and have also kindly agreed to share a few of their recipes here with us as well. These are taken from the Hive Beach Cafe Family Cookbook (£16.99, Bristlebird Books). If these tingle your tastebuds, you can find out more at http://www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk/, or follow them on Twitter @HiveBeachCafe.
Lemon and Lime Ginger Lovely
This is an impressive, refreshing dessert that is super-quick to make. The sharpness of the citrus fruit offsets perfectly the rich combination of double cream and condensed milk. Crushed ginger biscuits make a delicious spicy-sweet base. Don’t forget to get the kids involved in crushing them. Wrap them in a tea-towel and bash them with a rolling pin. They’ll have never had so much fun in the kitchen.
250g ginger biscuits, crushed
115g melted butter
300ml double cream
170g condensed milk
3 lemons, juiced
2 limes, juiced
Combine the ginger biscuits with the melted butter in a bowl and mix. Spoon half of the biscuit mixture into serving glasses and set aside.
Whisk the double cream until it has the consistency of custard. Pour in the condensed milk and whisk again, slowly adding the lemon and lime juice until the mixture if thick and creamy.
Spoon the mixture into the serving glasses and scatter the remaining ginger biscuits over the top. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so until you are ready to serve.
Dorset Apple Cake
There is no definitive recipe for Dorset Apple Cake. It’s one of those dishes that provokes fierce arguments between villages throughout the county, as everyone seems to believe that their way is the only way. The constant in all, of course, is wonderful local apples, baked with butter and sugar to produce a deliciously sticky cake that goes perfectly with Dorset clotted cream. Cut yours into generous slices before serving and make a big pot of tea to sit alongside it on the table.
285g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
6 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 lemon, juiced
345g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp cinnamon
4 large eggs
450g self-raising flour
2tbsp Demerara sugar
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F
Take a deep, 30cm cake tin and grease the inside with butter. Line with greaseproof paper and set aside.
Place the apple pieces in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Set aside.
Cream the butter, cinnamon and caster sugar together in a bowl with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at time, and whisk in a little of the flour after each egg to keep the mixture smooth. Pour in a little milk to thin it if the consistency becomes too thick.
Drain the apple pieces and stir them into the mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, gently level the top and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.
Bake the cake in the oven for one hour or until it has risen and browned on the top (if the cake is getting too brown, you can cover it with a sheet of greaseproof paper after 45 minutes or so). The cake is cooked when you insert a skewer into the middle and it comes out clean.
Not got your copy of Debbie’s book yet? Order here: http://bit.ly/1SgJUhF
Photo credits: colin@vertiworks