Virgin Piña Colada

Virgin Pina Colada

As of today, I’m officially 39 weeks pregnant. Research has shown that babies with this particular heart condition have the best rates of recovery if born between 39 and 40 weeks, so on Wednesday afternoon we’re scheduled for induction (or, to use Luke’s grandad’s spoonerism, seduction, which I much prefer the sound of). Something of a hippy at heart, I’m hoping to limit the drugs put into both our bodies so I’ve told our baby boy he has a strict eviction deadline of Tuesday night. There are plenty of punctual genes in the family, so it might just work; if not, then I’m counting on this virgin piña colada.  Continue reading

Coconut Pancakes with Pomegranate & Figs

Coconut Pancakes with Pomegranate & Figs
To my darling boy,

Today your Dad and I celebrate our eleven year anniversary. Not of getting married – we did that just over two years ago in Kew Gardens under blazing sunshine and surrounded by all of our favourite people in the world: I’ll show you the photos when you’re big enough to roll your eyes and be bored and embarrassed by them – but of meeting for the first time. We were twenty, at university, fresh faced and with no idea what would happen in one year – let alone eleven – except that we seemed to have fallen in love.

We talked about the future from fairly early on, not marriage and kids and mortgages in any sort of sensible grown up way, just a mutual understanding we needed to be together, and that everything would turn out all right if we had each other in our lives. When conversation did turn to children, we knew we wanted lots of you, couldn’t wait to see what would happen when our features and personalities combined (my eyesight, Luke’s ears please) and even had a favourite boy’s name long before you first appeared as a kidney bean-sized heartbeat on the ultrasound scan.  Continue reading

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

This Friday just gone I finished work. Our little loaf is due in just over two weeks and I’m finally ready to admit that my forty five minute commute on the tube twice a day is getting a little tiring. Although it’s weird handing over your working life for a year – holiday time! I can hear mothers all around me chuckling – I’m ready to start nesting, preparing our home for this little life to be. The next two weeks will be spent tidying cupboards and sorting last minute decorations, maybe a pedicure for those feet I can no longer reach, long walks with my mum and lunches with friends. People keep saying I should take some quiet time before this little man drops in and changes our lives forever, and I will, but busy is my default setting and just what I enjoy. Which I guess stands me in good stead for the months and years to come. Continue reading

Snickers Flapjacks

Snickers Flapjacks

All around me people are making resolutions. Dry January seems to be top of a lot of lists and the favourite question everyone loves to ask a pregnant lady is ‘how hard is it not to drink for nine months?’ To be honest, I really haven’t missed alcohol, but even when I wasn’t pregnant I could take or leave it to some extent. My weakness is definitely treats of the sweet variety and since I believe in Julia Child’s old adage of ‘everything in moderation, including moderation’ we’re kick starting January round here with these tasty little morsels of chocolate peanut goodness.

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Pistachio & Pomegranate Rice Pudding

Pistachio & Pomegranate Rice Pudding Bowls

Christmas and New Year have been and gone, and while most people are moving out of the silly season of presents and parties, it feels like ours is about to begin all over again. This month it’s Luke’s birthday and our anniversary (of meeting, not marrying and yes, of course we still celebrate both), I finish work to go on maternity leave and a sweet friend only a few weeks less pregnant than me is throwing my baby shower. Cake and celebration are going to become the norm around here.  Continue reading

The Little Loaf: Top 10 Recipes from 2015

The Little Loaf 2015 Recipes
As year’s go, 2015 has been pretty big. I published my first cookbook. Luke quit his job to pursue the career of his dreams. And we’ve made nine tenths of a human being, the littlest addition to the loaf family due to arrive at the beginning of February 2016.

It’s also been an amazing year of eating. There were trips to Paris, St. Lucia and Tuscany which, as our holidays always do, revolved almost entirely around food; we’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries at some incredible restaurants; and of course we’ve eaten all sorts of deliciousness from the comfort of our own home (see this list of the cookbooks I’ve been loving in 2015). A fair few new favourites have also made their way onto the blog, so as 2015 draws to a close, here are the ten most viewed recipes by you, my readers. I’ve already got a bunch of ideas up my apron sleeve for 2016, but if there’s anything specific you’d like to see in this space, please do let me know in the comments below! Continue reading

Cranberry & Clementine Sparkler (Non Alcoholic)

Cranberry & Clementine Sparkler

How many glasses of elderflower cordial can one woman drink during the course of her pregnancy? I’ve loved elderflower since I was a little and used to help my granny make big batches of the stuff. We’d spend a morning picking the delicate white buds from the bushes around the apple farm, snaring any high up branches with her walking stick, before heading home for lunch. The picked stalks would steep in water, citrus peel, a slightly scary amount of sugar and citric acid, the odd stray bug bobbing on the surface until it all got strained into bottles of sweet, floral cordial. It’s safe to say I’m a big elderflower fan, and I love that it’s offered everywhere as the non-alcoholic option of choice, but eight months into this pregnancy and it feels like time for a change. Plus, it’s Christmas.  Continue reading

Apricot, Coconut & Hemp Protein Bars

Apricot, Coconut & Hemp Protein Bars Wrapped

‘If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.’ – Gail Sheehy

The past few months have been marked by rapid change. My growing belly and the increasingly present little person inside it are testament to the physical, we’re doing up the nursery and spending inordinate amounts of time in John Lewis and on Pinterest, but beyond that there’s a change in attitude too. In eight short weeks – give or take, I’m aware most babies have a habit of arriving on their own terms – we’ll be parents to this living, breathing being. Life, as we know it, will never be the same again. Continue reading

Claire Ptak’s Rye Chocolate Brownies

Rye Chocolate Brownies4

A brownie, for me, is the little black dress of the baking world. They bake up in batches to feed a crowd, can be stacked high and eaten with fingers or served singly with toppings for something more refined. Like that little black dress, they can totally miss the mark – I can count the number of brownies recipes I trust implicitly on one hand, excluding my thumb – but as with fashion, on occasion, a new season contender can jump in to shake up the status quo. Hello rye chocolate brownie with flaky sea salt. Continue reading