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
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
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).
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
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
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
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 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
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
When I was growing up, Pancake Day in the Little Loaf household involved crêpes. Not the fluffy stacks of American-style pancakes which have become so popular, but good-old fashioned, lacy thin crêpes with all the added fun of flipping involved. Of course one would always stick to the pan, another to the ceiling and nobody could eat at the same time as we flipped and rolled and trailed spoons of batter all over the hob and floor, but that was all part of the chaotic fun that was Shrove Tuesday.