Lit by orange light.…

I was invited to a friend’s house last night, on one con­di­tion. We had to sit in the dark. It turns out we were mark­ing Earth Hour by eschew­ing elec­tri­city. I admit that our ges­ture of solid­ar­ity to the planet was small, but sixty minutes of candle-lit gloom became slightly addict­ive. Four hours later we were still sit­ting in the murky light shed by a dozen candles.

Although gentle candle-light is flat­ter­ing to a slightly sag­ging com­plex­ion, it turns out that cook­ing in the vir­tual dark is a night­mare. But in the interests of Earth Hour camaraderie, I have the per­fect recipe, one inspired by the great chef Skye Gyn­gell. It’s so easy you could make this dish with your eyes shut. And so brightly zing­ily fresh-tasting is it, you could light a room with its orange glow.

Oranges in Rose­mary Syrup

Serves 4

5 or 6 sweet, juicy oranges. I used Mal­taise san­guines, a deli­cious vari­ety of blood orange

2 good sprigs of rose­mary, about 10cm long

150ml light, clear honey

Cut a thin slice from the top and bot­tom of each orange. Stand the fruit on a chop­ping board and, with a very sharp knife, slice the peel off in curving down­ward move­ments. Reserve a couple of table­spoons of the juice that col­lects on the board as you pre­pare the oranges. Slice the oranges thinly and arrange on a plate.

Bend and bruise the rose­mary in your hands to release the aroma and place in a small pan with the honey and the reserved orange juice. Warm gently for ten minutes over a low heat. Allow to cool for a fur­ther ten minutes, remove the rose­mary and pour the honey over the sliced oranges. Dec­or­ate with another sprig of rose­mary and it’s done.

After my even­ing of enforced gloom I walked home by the gentle light of a wind-up torch. But open­ing the front door was like walk­ing into a harshly lit lift in a muni­cipal car-park. Blink­ing mole-like at my slightly alarm­ing reflec­tion in the dazzling hall­way mir­ror, I real­ised there’s another peril to enter­tain­ing by candle light. It’s impossible to see quite how many times your wine glass has been filled up.

Happy Birthday to you…

Eggs On The Roof is one year old today.

When I star­ted writ­ing and pho­to­graph­ing Eggs On The Roof, I got used to vari­ations on a single, puzzled ques­tion: but what’s it for? The answer to start with was very simple — a slightly apo­lo­getic it’s for me. I wanted to write about food, books I’d read, paint­ings I’d seen and the funny things that happened along the way. I couldn’t do that as a journ­al­ist and cer­tainly not as part of the PhD I’m inch­ing towards com­plet­ing. But over the past year I’ve dis­covered that it’s not just for me after all. I’ve made some won­der­ful friends through Eggs On The Roof. So this birth­day is a joint cel­eb­ra­tion. Happy Birth­day to Eggs On The Roof and happy first birth­day to you too.

Any birth­day needs cel­eb­rat­ing, prefer­ably with cake. And this cake is a good one. It’s light and flour-less and just as import­antly, it’s quick and extremely easy to make. Which means you have more time left to celebrate.

Chocol­ate Mousse Cake With a Hint of Crys­tal­lised Ginger and a Whole Lot of Whipped Cream

50g best dark chocol­ate, min­imum 70% cocoa solids

50g best milk chocolate

100g Green and Black’s dark chocol­ate with ginger, which is 60% cocoa solids. If you can’t get this, use 100g of best dark chocol­ate and add around a tea­spoon of crys­tal­lised ginger, minced very finely. Just remem­ber that you need a total of 200g of chocol­ate for this recipe.

150g slightly salted butter

9 medium eggs separated

6 table­spoons caster sugar

250 ml heavy or double cream, whipped until soft peaks form

Pre­heat the oven to 175 degrees C. But­ter two 18 cm cake tins and line with bak­ing parchment.

Melt the chocol­ate and but­ter in a bowl over a pan of sim­mer­ing water — add the ginger too, if using. While the chocol­ate melts, sep­ar­ate the egg yolks and whites into two bowls. Stir the yolks with a fork and whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Whisk the sugar into the whites. Once the chocol­ate has melted fully, allow it to cool for a few minutes and then mix in the eggs yolks. Gently fold in the egg whites, sep­ar­ate the mix­ture between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. Remove from the tins, allow to cool and then sand­wich the two halves together with whipped cream. As the two halves cool they will sink slightly and wrinkle like a Saint Bernard’s fore­head. If you want a smooth top to your cake, make sure that you turn the top layer upside down.