Festive Chocolate Fudge

Festive chocolate fudge

 

Aside from a family sized tub of Celebrations (which disappeared with alarming speed), this fudge is the first sweet treat to pass through our brand new kitchen. We moved in last Thursday and while I’m eager to share some photos with you all, there hasn’t been a moment to take them in between long dark evenings and party-packed weekends. Suffice to say I’m thrilled with the vast new expanses of work surface and storage, our beautiful ceramic sink and a fridge big enough to fit all sorts of little loaf delights. Now, let’s talk fudge. Continue reading

Top 10 Cookbooks of 2014

paris_pastry

With Christmas present purchasing in full swing, I thought now was as good a time as any to bring you my Top 10 cookbooks of 2014. The nature of a Top 10 means this isn’t an exhaustive list – I’ve left off some of the bigger hitters as the latest Ottolenghi or Jamie Oliver is a pretty safe bet – but these are the books I’ve enjoyed for their writing, recipes and gorgeous photography over the course of the year.

Paris Pastry Club by Fanny Zanotti

For the confident baker and those with chefly aspirations. Fanny is the pastry chef at Chiltern Firehouse and writes the blog Like a Strawberry Milk. Her book has the same dream-like quality as her blog with beautiful, stylized photography from none other than Helen Cathcart (the photographer who shot my book). There are some seriously beautiful, plated, restaurant-style desserts in here but also simpler baking for those less experienced. Read my review of the book (and a recipe) here.  
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Gingebread Blondies with White Chocolate Chunks

Gingerbread Blondies recipe

In a previous post about blondies I brought up the age old debate about blonde vs. brunette. Blondes, they say, have more fun but in the edible stakes, brownies definitely have the upper hand. There are far more recipes for brownies than blondies on this blog, and if you cast your net wider to google, a ‘brownie’ search returns 45 million results; blondies fewer than 2. But what about that elusive third category, the much-maligned, often forgotten but every bit as delicious ginger? Continue reading

Homemade Cashew Cookie Nakd Bars

Homemade Cashew Cookie Nakd Bars

Over the last couple of years, a range of healthy little snack bars has been inching its way into our everyday lives. Nakd bars (or Larabars as they’re known in the US) bridge that gap in the sweet treat on-the-go market between an apple and a chocolate bar. They’re small but mighty, packed with energy in the form of good fats and natural sugar, and despite their hippy credentials are now available to buy in supermarkets and service stations all over the country. Continue reading

Pumpkin Pecan Shortbread Squares

Pumpkin pecan shortbread squares

On Friday morning I opened my email to read this post. Emma, a friend in real life and one of my favourite baking bloggers, has decided not to post any new recipes on Poires au Chocolat while she gets to grips with her graduate medicine course. Rather than leave the blog completely static, she’ll be revisiting recipes on occasion, treating the blog something like an ever-evolving book, but I’m still sad that we won’t be seeing many (any) new recipes for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

Chocolate, Peanut Butter + Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut butter oatmeal cookies

‘Any soft drink plus popcorn only £7′. That was the sign we passed as we ascended the escalator to the cinema on Saturday night. Everywhere I looked, people were filling up on sweets from the pick and mix, tiny tubs of ice cream and those slightly scary looking nachos with their lurid toppings and takeaway odour. If you’re in the market for making money, cinema food is a serious business.

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Quick Courgette + Rosemary Bread

Courgette rosemary loaf

The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…

[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.’

M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating Continue reading

Salted Caramel + Cocoa Nib Brownies

Salted caramel
I first tried one of Milli Taylor‘s brownies around this time last year. We’d been chatting online about various food-related things and realised that we live pretty close to one another. Milli had some goodies going spare from a catering job so promised to drop a few samples round the flat while we were out. Several bemused messages later, it dawned on us that she’d left them in the wrong street and I ended up having to tiptoe my way down a stranger’s garden path to retrieve the box from behind the bush by their front door. Not the easiest brownies to get hold of, but some of the best I’ve ever eaten,  so when I received a copy of Milli’s debut cookbook, I knew this recipe was the one I’d have to make first.  Continue reading

Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Crunch

Pumpkin maple muffins

I always know autumn is on its way from the number of pumpkin recipes that start appearing in in my inbox. This year the reminder has been more necessary than most as you couldn’t tell the season from the weather we’ve been having. On Saturday night some friends and I ate after-dinner ice creams outside in the street as if it was summer and yesterday we went for a walk in short-sleeved tops and sunglasses. While I’m secretly hoping that this warmer weather will last a little longer, I’m also aware that colder climes around the corner are an inevitable part of living in England. And when that moment comes, there will be warming autumnal muffins.

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Some Thoughts on Writing a Cookbook

Chocolate fondant

Are you bored of these photoshoot updates yet? I couldn’t resist sneaking in a few final pictures from the week just gone. So that’s a wrap, the final Homemade Memories photograph has been taken, the last prop carefully washed up, crumbs cleared away and leftovers distributed to my nearest, dearest and hungriest. On Thursday I got the first round of printed pages to proof read and this weekend just gone – in between packing up our whole flat and moving in with my parents for renovation work to begin (phew!) – I set to work on marking up those final little amends.

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