Milk Chocolate Tahini Blondies

Milk Chocolate Tahini Blondies - 9

Way back, before Ottolenghi opened his first deli in Notting Hill and when the general public still thought the anchovies that Delia Smith used on her BBC cooking show were exotic, my Mum was using tahini as an ingredient. On shopping trips out we’d frequent cafes like Food for Thought and Cranks for lunch, while at home the cupboards were stocked with packets of wholesome seeds and grains. While most wound their way into savoury dishes – ours was a household decidedly lacking in childhood sweet treats – my Mum had a wonderful recipe for tahini flapjacks studded with sesame seeds and peanuts which we’d eagerly await the appearance of as an after school snack. Continue reading

Malteser Ice Cream Bars

Malteser ice cream bars

Like the Banoffee Pie I posted a few weeks back, I hadn’t planned to put this recipe up on the blog, but an enthusiastic response on Instagram (my most likes ever, where did all you people come from?) led me to believe I should share the details. In fact I’m thinking of starting an Insta-recipe series (Izy does something similar) of treats I haven’t had time to test multiple times or capture with anything other than my iPhone, but which I’d like to log recipe details of for a future me – and for you to try, of course. Continue reading

Pistachio & Apricot Granola

Pistachio & Apricot Granola

One night last week I rocked our baby boy to sleep singing ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ on an infinite loop, standing next to the tumble dryer because its continuous grumble was the only thing (besides my twinkly twinkles) that seemed to soothe his tired cries. We might have got Nino out of hospital, but that doesn’t mean we’re not now faced with all the usual problems that being the parent of a brand new baby brings. And as any tired parent knows, when you’re sleeping less and singing (bouncing, shhh-ing, swinging . . . you name it) more, an energy boosting breakfast you can quickly sling into a bowl one-handed becomes a very important thing. Continue reading

How To Mend a Broken Heart: Nino’s Hospital Story

Nino Doran

Blogging is a funny thing. In the five plus years since I first pressed publish, I’ve built up a community of not just contacts but friends, sharing life-changing events like getting engaged and married, writing a cookbook and getting pregnant. It’s a deeply personal place, yet simultaneously accessible to any stranger, which is why I had to think hard about how much of Nino’s story to share in this space. But after some deliberation I realised that it’s too important not to tell; for me as a journal and catharsis of sorts, for Nino when he’s older to see how far he’s come, for loved ones to understand what we’ve been through, and even for those strangers to raise awareness of the rare congenital heart conditions that can happen in any pregnancy.   Continue reading

Croquetas de Sobrasada

Croquetas de Sobrasada

On Friday, much sooner than anyone had expected, we returned home from hospital. I want to share some thoughts on those crazy ten days (plus the preceding weeks at home, in fact the months since we first found out about Nino’s condition) but my brain is still processing it all. Suffice to say that my faith in human nature has grown with every wonderful nurse, doctor and member of staff that we met and every friend or family member who has supported us so far, and that our tiny twelve week old boy is stronger and more resilient than I could ever have begun to imagine he could be. Continue reading

No Bake Banoffee Pie with Pecans

Banoffee Pie / The Little Loaf

It feels like a lot of the food I’ve made over the last few weeks is something of a metaphor for the life we’re currently living. I hadn’t planned to post the recipe for this no bake banoffee pie – surely anyone can throw together the basic combination of biscuits, bananas, toffee and cream – but your enthusiastic response to this photo on Instagram got me thinking about what we all appreciate on a day-to-day basis. Not fancy tiered cakes and complicated techniques but the joy of simplicity – the recipe equivalent of slow days snuggling on the sofa rather than a glamorous evening out. Continue reading

Yoghurt & Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Yoghurt Panna Cotta

Ever since we found out about Nino’s heart condition, I’ve listened to love songs with a different set of ears. A broken heart takes on a totally new meaning when you’re concerned with the actual anatomy. If love alone could heal, our baby boy would be better than brand new, but the reality is that the way to mend a broken heart is open heart surgery. Last week we were finally given a date of Wednesday 13th April for Nino to be admitted, so if you’re the sort for sweet thoughts, prayers or positive vibes, we’d more than appreciate any you can send over his way. Continue reading

Healthy ‘Snickers’ Crisp Rice Slice

Healthy 'Snickers' Crisp Rice Slice - 3

As I sit here writing, Nino is snuggled across my chest in his baby sling, pinky finger pointed and forehead slightly furrowed. Although he’ll now grace us with a gummy mega watt smile when we’re particularly entertaining of a morning, his everyday expressions tend towards the sterner, more concerned. These old man mannerisms seem fairly typical of newborn babies, but I also think there’s a contemplative personality growing behind those long-lashed eyes. Continue reading

Hot Cross Blondies

Hot Cross Blondies

With Easter just around the corner, my thoughts are turning to chocolate, spice and all things nice. My mother-in-law gifted us generous amounts of Hotel Chocolat goodies last weekend which have already been eaten (chocolate = perfect fuel for middle-of-the-night nursing), but luckily there’s a batch of these sweet, squidgy Hot Cross Blondies in our freezer. Mellow with warming seasonal spices, a kick of citrus and plump dried fruit, these blondies are the perfect afternoon tea treat for the long Easter weekend and can also be dressed up, warm, with ice cream for a decadent dessert. Continue reading

Rhubarb Rye Crumble Tart + Stem Ginger Cardamom Ice Cream

Rhubarb Rye Crumble Tart

Time both flies and stands still when you have a newborn. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been home from hospital for over a month, that Nino will be six weeks old on Friday and while I feel like we’re really beginning to get to know this little personality, at the same time he changes on a daily basis. Life is sweet, if more than a little sleep deprived, and I know I’ll look back on these weeks in the months to come and wonder where they went. Continue reading