Every week when my blog goes out, I’ll get an email from my Dad. Aside from the spelling and punctuation which, as an ex-publisher, he always picks up on, the messages range from complimentary to longing: ‘looks delicious’, ‘definitely not on my diet!’, ‘reminds me of our trip to X’ or ‘I wonder if your mum might make me that.’ Dad, I’m afraid to say this definitely falls into the ‘not on my diet’ category. Everyone else, if you’ve given up sweet stuff for Lent you might want to look away now . . . Continue reading
I spent our first twenty four hours in St. Lucia tearing through Joanna Blythman’s Swallow This, interrupting an otherwise serene scene of beach basking holidaymakers with regular exclamations of ‘did you know this?’ and ‘can you believe that?’ The fact that I was reading a book about the horrors of food processing and production on a 100 acre ex sugar plantation, surrounded by coconuts, mangoes and bananas (whose skin serves as much better natural packaging than any plastic ever will) was not lost on me. Continue reading
As you read this, I’m sitting on a beach somewhere in St. Lucia (!). So no recipe this week, just a round up of the epic set of cookbooks I’m looking forward to buying/reading/cooking from over the next few months . . .
The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak (March)
Claire’s baking is nothing short of wonderful – nourishing but indulgent, simple yet delicious and made using the kinds of ingredients I like to keep at hand in my own kitchen (wholegrain flours, natural sweeteners, seasonal fruit). It publishes this week, so its arrival will be something to sweeten the blow of returning from holiday. Continue reading
Candied citrus has never been top of my list of things to make. Maybe it’s being a summer-born baby, but I’ve always been drawn to fresh and ripe over fruit which has been candied, preserved or stewed. I even, shamefully, used to pick the pieces of peel from hot cross buns: it just didn’t do anything for me. Until, that is, I visited Skye Gyngell’s new restaurant Spring and tried her candied blood orange and cardamom ice cream. Continue reading
The last time I celebrated a fourth birthday, I was about 3 feet tall. My party took place at the brilliantly named Roly Poly Club, a room made up of what I remember as wall-to-wall bouncy castles where my friends and I careered around, fuelled by the heady mix of excitement and mint choc-chip ice cream (there are rosy-cheeked, chocolate-covered photographs to prove this). My mum reminded me recently that I wrote her a shopping list beforehand ‘in case you get it wrong’, consisting simply of ‘mus bus’ (Mars Bars) and ‘sossighes’ (sausages). All the essentials then. Continue reading
When I was growing up, Pancake Day in the Little Loaf household involved crêpes. Not the fluffy stacks of American-style pancakes which have become so popular, but good-old fashioned, lacy thin crêpes with all the added fun of flipping involved. Of course one would always stick to the pan, another to the ceiling and nobody could eat at the same time as we flipped and rolled and trailed spoons of batter all over the hob and floor, but that was all part of the chaotic fun that was Shrove Tuesday.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and this year we’re going out. Not for a romantic meal, mind you, but because not just one but two of our friends are turning thirty, accompanied by the requisite parties and presents. Some people might be sad to miss out on ‘the most romantic night of the year’ but I’m happy to. We’ve never been ones for joining the doey-eyed masses in restaurants on Valentine’s Day, instead preferring a date night in with just each other for company and a menu I can take charge of. More specifically, a menu which includes a dessert like this Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream Pie with Bourbon Butterscotch and a Pretzel Crust.
This year January has taken its cue from Christmas with gluttonous ease. Rather than observing an abstemious month of little or no alcohol, fewer desserts, low-fat-this and diet-that, we’ve eaten and drunk our way round London, Paris and Yorkshire. A birthday was celebrated several times over with rounds of cake and cocktails, an anniversary with an epic ice cream pie (more on that next week, just you wait) and Paris passed by in a blur of macarons, garlic butter and a Paris Brest the size of a tyre (albeit an elegant, pastry cream-filled one). Today we’re not going completely cold turkey, but these Apple, Maple & Walnut Cookies are at least a step in the right direction.
Just as it feels like winter has been dragging on too long, fluorescent sticks of shocking pink rhubarb begin to appear in the greengrocer. Their arrival always feels like a turning point, some brightness in amongst the still short days and a promise of spring to come. That said, spring is still a fair way off so today we’re roasting that rhubarb – plus a handful of frozen blueberries – beneath a crunchy, buttery crumble for the ultimate in winter comfort puddings.
This time last year I’d just signed a cookbook deal with my publisher, Orion. I had an enthusiastic editor, a slightly scary deadline and a rough proposal consisting of 100 recipes – some of which I could make with my eyes closed, most of which I’d only tasted in my dreams. Thousands of words, dozens of kilos of butter, sugar, cream and chocolate and countless sleepless nights later, I’m slightly speechless to confirm that I DID IT!!! Continue reading