Betty’s baked Alaska – Blog

Glorious baked Alaska by Betty Twyford

Betty Revisits the 1970’s to remember tastes, times and youth

I produced my first Baked Alaska when I was a very young and naïve cook working in our first restaurant in North Devon.

If you can, cast your mind back to 1975 – our restaurant has been created on a shoe string, with both patrons literally removing walls, and plastering walls and inserting floors along with painting and decorating to produce a 40 seat restaurant with letting rooms. The courage of the young knows no bounds – it is hardly something I would be prepared to tackle now. But out of youth and naivety come great ideas and accomplishments, and it has to be said we are full of energy; we are innovative, creative and famous for a while.

The restaurant is at the top end of a long and winding street in North Devon which leads to the sea. We furnish the restaurant with antique furniture which is frequently sold to customers who have perhaps had a little too much to drink. (No drink driving laws here!) The paintings on the walls change from week to week. The bar area has an open fireplace on both sides where we build a roaring fire in the winter months. Health and safety would have a field day in 2015!

Our menu is ‘French’ and I like to think we introduced the Devonian public to the possibilities of the Aubergine, the Courgette, the green and red pepper and Lobster Therm o Dore! Some of the dishes are named after me, some after our children, but mostly they are cooked with imagination and finesse. It is hard to source good coffee; After Eight mints are a luxury. We are in the days of Prawn Cocktail with a Marie rose dressing (salad cream and tomato sauce) fruit cocktail (grapefruit and tangerines from a tin) and corn on the cob is a new and exciting idea! Our cooking is different from these delights – we love pork tenderloin, chicken Kiev (very new) and Fruits de Mer. The chip and the Pea are nowhere to be found. We serve scalloped potatoes in cream, ratatouille, red cabbage with caraway. It is very hard work!

My duties are without limit. I care for young children, I hostess, I cook, and more importantly, I am in charge of ‘The Sweet Trolley’. This trolley is the bane of my life. It has a wonky caster, is always heavily laden, and at the end of service, has to be ‘tidied’ up – i.e. there is an awful lot of cream and pudding consumption because it simply ‘will not last until tomorrow’ – get the picture? Baked Alaska falls into this category – it simply will not last until tomorrow and is truly delicious. I used to make the ice-cream for this dish, but today I urge you to buy a good ice-cream (perhaps made with clotted and double cream) and save your energy for something more important.

CClLinick through to the recipe for Baked Alaska

Apart from that, I will take you step by step to produce the Glorious Baked Alaska for your next dinner party. Prepare to be admired…