Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate

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Long enough ago to make me feel extremely old, I met my husband-to-be at university. We were young, in love and, being students, didn’t really go on dates. There were late nights clubbing, bacon sandwiches eaten on scruffy sofas and a few ‘fancy’ suppers when housemates were out, but mostly we just spent time together without needing to label it a ‘date’. As we got older there were meals out and tasting menus, holidays, birthdays, trips to the cinema and all the usual things that couples do. It was easy; spending time together didn’t need a second thought.

I’ve owned a copy of Ashley Rodriguez’s Date Night In since it published a couple of years ago (check out this ice cream cake), but it wasn’t until our little man blazed his way into the world and made us a family of three that I truly understood the sentiment behind her words. Since he started a new job and I went on maternity leave, Luke and I have arguably spent much more time together during the week, yet somehow there are days when I find myself missing him. Or missing the ease of existing alongside him before we had this extra human to care for and entertain. Life as a parent is brilliant and bettering and blissful, but it can also be all-consuming and pretty tough at times. Suddenly you’re sharing not just your heart but your time with this new little life, and making space to appreciate, talk to and love my favourite grown up boy alongside our baby sometimes takes a conscious effort. Continue reading

A Day in the Life of a Seven Month Old Baby

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Since becoming a mum, I’ve adored reading about others’ experiences with their babies, devouring ‘day in the life’ posts and watching mummy vlogs while Nino naps and I work out (true life, sad but true). I appreciate this post may not be for everyone, but life is speeding by so quickly at the moment that I wanted to capture this sweet time for my sake as much as anyone else’s. If baby stuff is your bag, I hope you’ll enjoy these random ramblings; if not, I’ll back next week with a cake you’re not going to want to miss 🙂 Continue reading

Oaty Dunkers + WIN tickets to Stylist Live Foodie Friday

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I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve spoken voluntarily in front of a big crowd. The first was at our wedding, where it just didn’t feel right to let the men do all the talking.  My speech was short and mostly centred around our incredible cake (and Luke, of course), but nonetheless I stood up in front of 150 people and said my piece. The second was at the launch party for Homemade Memories (again talking about cake) and the third was Nino’s naming party. I can’t think of a much better reason to stand up and say some words than your first born overcoming ten hours of open heart surgery . . . Of course I’ve spoken at conferences for work and a few other events as well, but it isn’t something I relish or would naturally choose to do. I’m more of a conversation with close friends or pouring my heart out on the internet sort of person, as this space attests.

But I’m happy to say that I’m excited to be speaking at Stylist Live’s Foodie Friday on 14th October. In front of 150 people. Of course I’m a little bit terrified after months of maternity leave (and wondering whether I can do more than blow raspberries and sing a nursery rhyme or two), but I’ll be talking about food and blogging, two of the subjects closest to my heart. There will be a video (to take up some of my talking time), some slides (so you have something to look at when I forget my words) and of course some delicious Little Loaf samples baked by yours truly. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a whole lo of fun and I’d love you to come along too. So . . . Continue reading

Getting Started on Solid Food: Baby Led Weaning & Spoon Feeding Nino

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Today Nino turns seven months old. Seven months! My sweet bean. You’re growing up so fast. Your thighs get longer and even chunkier by the day, your soft blonde hair (you were so dark at birth) is starting to curl and two pearly white teeth fill your gummy smile. You’re pretty much crawling (your knee coorindation hampered only by your desire to walk), and for the last six weeks you’ve been discovering all sorts of solid food in addition to your voracious appetite for boob.

I appreciate this post won’t be for everyone. I’m not planning on giving Nino any sugar other than what naturally occurs in fruit and dairy til he’s one year old (that first taste is going to be the best birthday cake I’ve ever made), so if you’re here for grown up recipes, please do have a mosey round the sugar and butter filled archives or come back next week. But if you’re interested in weaning, or have babies of your own, here’s a little run down of what we’ve been doing for the last six weeks. I’m by no means an expert – we’re still at the very early stages and learning every day over here, but I’ve loved reading about what other mums have done – check out here and here and here for blogs I’ve found especially helpful during the weaning process – and hope you’ll find a few nuggets of interest here too.  Continue reading

Apricot, Stem Ginger & Pistachio Meringues

Apricot, Stem Ginger & Pistachio Meringues

Three years ago to this day, we walked out of our wedding ceremony to the cheers of the congregation, rings on our fingers, Nat King Cole’s L.O.V.E dancing in our ears and joy in our hearts. I married you because you make me a better, happier, more confident me, for your easy charm and endless capacity to love. I thought our wedding was the happiest day of my life until we found out that Nino was on the way, then came the day that he was born, then every single one since: that happiness dial keeps tipping as our family expands. Continue reading

Coconut Stracciatella Ice Cream

Coconut Stracciatella Ice Cream

Last Monday we transferred Nino into his own room. Six and a half months is a little later than we’d originally intended, but what with three weeks in Italy and then a wedding in Lithuania, it felt like moving him before all that upheaval might just be more trouble than its worth. And while he’s not quite yet a twelve hour sleeping beauty (do these babies really exist, or are they an invention to make us buy books and tear our hair out at ungodly hours of the morning?), I’m pleased to report that our nights are – touch wood they stay that way – a whole lot smoother. I guess if I had been sleeping next to the fridge I might be more inclined to indulge in a midnight feast or two too . . . Continue reading

Mint Oreo Cookies & Cream Popsicles

Mint Oreo Popsicles

At its outset, summer seems so long and lazy and full of endless possibility. My birthday falls at the end of July and I’m this season’s baby through and through: the summer months are my absolute favourites and, as August draws in, I start to get twitchy about the darker evenings, the slowing of the sunshine and the way summer produce slowly begins to disappear from the shops. Sometimes I have to remind myself to live in the moment and enjoy each sunny day and outdoor dinner for what they’re worth.

Ice cream, incidentally, isn’t something I feel needs to be constrained to the summer months, but I’m definitely more inclined to want something cool and creamy for dessert when its warm outside. When Oreo got in touch while I was on holiday in Italy to see if I could develop a recipe using their brand new Mint Oreo flavour, I knew that an icy treat was on the cards.  Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Salted Panko Crunch

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We’ve just got back from a whirlwind weekend in Lithuania celebrating the marriage of two very lovely friends. I’m tired, but the lugging a pram down a hill to the picturesque lakeside dinner setting and getting up at 4am to feed a baby confused by the time change tired, rather than the slow lazy sleepiness that comes with daytime drinking and dancing into the night. Weddings with a mini man in tow are an altogether different kettle of fish, and the night before the big day I was in bed by 9pm, snuggling down into the duvet and ordering up chocolate cake on room service. Continue reading

Mango & Turmeric Smoothie

Mango Turmeric Smoothie
I’m back! After three weeks of Italian sunshine, wine, pizza, pasta and a daily gelato (or two), we’re quickly slipping back into the groove of life with a lively six month old. One who now eats solid food, can sit unaided and is working on his crawl with all the ferocious determination you’d expect from the son of a personal trainer. Our days are full and joyous but also exhausting, so recipes like this mango and turmeric smoothie that are both simple and healthy are exactly what I need. With the added bonus that it can be sipped one-handed whilst preventing said baby from throwing himself off the changing table or under the sofa.  Continue reading

My Top Ten Italian Recipes

tiramisu with vin santo

I’m sure I’ll regret writing this, but for the last few nights Nino has been sleeping better. All that restorative snoozing means he’s bright eyed and bushy tailed the wrong side of 6am most mornings but, while exhausting in its own way, this has encouraged us as a family to make the most of our extra long days. Yes, we may be ready for lunch come 11am, but we’ve also packed in an exercise video or two, a walk round the park, breakfast, snacks, stories, several rounds of coffee, four outfit changes and maybe managed to read a blog or two. On a good day I might even use the time while Nino is down for his first nap to post a recipe of my own . . .

Today, I’m afraid, isn’t one such day: we’re off to Italy on Sunday and in between some freelance recipe development and raising said little human, I haven’t had a chance to successfully re-test and photograph my latest creation. What I do have, however, is  a round up of my top ten Italian recipes from the archives. I can’t take you all to Italy with me, but this is hopefully the next best thing. We’re planning to eat pretty well while we’re away – including my birthday meal out and experimenting with a brand new pizza oven (which I’m inordinately excited about) – so do hop on over to Instagram and follow me if you’d like the latest updates. Continue reading