Sunday, 31 July 2011


It's the English cherry season and I have been eating them with great delight and absolutely no effort on my part. We have had a couple of meals at our house with two different groups of friends. On both occasions everyone brought a contribution to the meal. We do this quite often at each others homes and it is always a success.
Andie brought a traditional Limousin clafoutis. It is a dish that I usually make with black or red currants because they are plentiful in the garden. I don't have a cherry tree. We grew 'white heart' cherries in the orchard of my childhood home. As soon as they were really sweet and ripe all the birds in the neighbourhood would descend. They were capable of stripping the tree of all it's fruit.

A big clafoutis is a good party dish - and it travels well in the car, something that I've learnt to consider the hard way! Andie's contribution was a labour of love because she prepared the fruit by hand as she doesn't have a cherry stoner. We all appreciated her effort!

Limousin clafoutis.

1lb stoned cherries
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
300ml milk
castor sugar for dusting.

Butter a shallow ovenproof dish and scatter cherries over the base.
Put flour and sugar in a bowl and add eggs and milk to make a smooth batter. Pour over fruit and bake for 30 to 40 minutes in a hot oven until risen and golden brown.

Later in the week we had a lunch party and Pam brought this delicious cherry tart.

Passports are not the fascinating objects that they once were, when every movement in and out of the country was stamped and recorded. The one that I have just relinquished had some very impressive attention from the Russian authorities, but trips to Canada and Egypt resulted in only meagre rubber stamps and holidays in Europe were not recorded at all. My first passport as a child was far more colourful.
I was called in from the garden where I had been eating cherries. My mother washed my face and tied my hair in two tight plaits with ribbons and clasps. I wore my best party frock, with smocking across the front. We were going into town to have my passport photograph taken.
The photographer had a difficult time getting me to smile properly, just a nice little smile, quite straight, not lopsided. He gave up in the end and just took the photo anyway.
When we got home I took the cherry stone that I had been storing all afternoon in the side of my mouth and put it in the kitchen bin. Mum rolled her eyes in despair but Dad just laughed.

When I look at it now I think that it's the best passport photo of me that has ever been taken!

Passport photograph 16th July, 1949.


  1. I love a good clafoutis. I think I mentioned before that I ordered one in a restaurant once, and the waitress - mishearing me - brought a cup of tea.

  2. My husband bought a few pounds of cherries yesterday. I gave some to my daughter, but I think I have enough to try your recipe. Here's hoping mine will taste as good as yours looks.

  3. She brought you just one cup of tea, Tom, not 'fou'?

    Dear Starting Over, "A few pounds of cherries' - I'm dooling, I'm sure your clafoutis will be delicious. The photo above is of a piece of Pam's cherry tart.

  4. Yes, I do agree about passports. Mine used to have stamps from all over the world, particularly ones from various eastern countries where they seemed to like to put several stamps on one page. Now we hardly get any. As for passport photographs - I always have looked like an escaped convict on mine and don't expect it will ever get any better now!

  5. I love cherries and came home from the market yesterday with a bag full. With the local blueberries now gone, I am eating cherries by the handful.
    Having been born in Germany, my earliest passport picture was that of a chubby faced infant. I believe the last picture I had taken, I was told not to smile.

  6. I must admit to never hearing of a clafoutis, but with those ingredients it can' fail....pudding is pudding! Cherries and you have just made me hungry. Have a good one.

  7. Dear Weaver, I know just what you mean, my passport photos over the last few decades have been deeply depressing!
    Dear Bonnie, Remember when pairs of cherries were just the thing for wearing over your ears?
    Dear Gary, stoning the fruit aside, this is the easiest and most foolproof of recipes. It's a batter pudding so your oven needs to be HOT.