Chocolate Orange Madeleines

Chocolate Orange Madeleines

My name is Kate and I’m addicted to buying cookbooks. In between purchases I try to get my fix from blogs and magazines and websites, but there’s nothing quite like a physical cookbook with its secrets and stories and real pages to prop open. Ask my husband to verify this fact and he’ll wryly smile before leading you to our spare room where a whole wall of evidence awaits: Ottolenghi snuggled between Annie Bell and Richard Bertinet, beneath rows of River Cottage, River Café, Hugh, Delia, Jamie and more.

This army of cookbooks isn’t just made up of big name bestsellers. I love to see how home cooks approach recipe writing and the recent rise of food blogs to books has opened up a new world of temptation as far as cookbook buying goes. These books don’t just share recipes but invite you into the kitchen of their author, the personal tone making them incredibly satisfying; a feeling of sitting down at someone’s table rather than simply being dictated what to make. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Milkshake with Raspberry Swirl

Peanut Butter Milkshake Raspberry Swirl
Peanut butter and jam is something I’ve come to later in life. I grew up on butter and Marmite for breakfast, melted and scraped over slightly burnt toast or mashed together and spread on bread (which will sound delicious or disgusting depending on your love/hate stance). My Dad would mix peanut butter into his Marmite (which definitely sounds disgusting, regardless of your stance) but combining it with jam just isn’t something that happened in our household. Continue reading

Chocolate Coconut Sorbet Bars (aka Frozen Bounty Bars)

Chocolate_Coconut_Sorbet1

Back in March we spent a week in St. Lucia. As well as making it a blissful place to flop flat out and drink cocktails, the blazing sunshine gives the island the perfect climate to grow sweet bananas, pineapples, papaya and coconuts. Every day at the beach the same elderly man would walk past touting the ‘best water in the world’, and each time he cracked open a fresh coconut and inserted a straw I felt like we’d escaped into a Bounty advert (minus the dodgy ’80s hair and make up). Continue reading

Homemade Ginger Nuts (Ginger Snaps)

Ginger Nuts tray

With their fiery flavour and tooth-breaking crunch, ginger nuts – sometimes known as ‘snaps’ – regularly come top of ‘dunkability’ experiments. If you don’t have a cup of tea to hand but prefer something softer, a shop-bought ginger nut can be gently warmed in the oven or microwave. Just be careful with the timings or you’ll end up with incinerated biscuits, a wailing fire alarm and an angry university warden (I’m speaking from experience).
Continue reading

Flourless Lemon, Almond & Ricotta Cake

Flourless Lemon Almond & Ricotta Cake Raspberries

While I’d never say no to a mini egg, my Easter dessert of choice nowadays doesn’t tend to involve chocolate. I’d rather something zesty and bright to sit (slightly) lighter in the stomach, something I can serve with fresh fruit, make well in advance and bring out the next day for any friends and family popping round over the holiday. This flourless lemon, almond and ricotta cake fits that bill on all counts. Continue reading

Giant Ice Cream Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Giant Ice Cream Peanut Butter Cup

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

Mango, Coconut & Rum Rice Pudding

Mango coconut rum rice pudding bowl

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

Spring/Summer 2015 Cookbooks I’m Looking Forward To

Violet-41
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 Blood Orange & Cardamom Ice Cream

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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

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes + a Fourth Blog Birthday

Chocolate coconut cupcake toasted coconut
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