‘There are a million and one directions in my waking hours, but I find there’s a welcome habit in cooking, in the routines of the kitchen around which our lives revolve. It’s what gets us going in the morning and brings us back together each night.’
This is the closing paragraph of the introduction to food blogger Tara O’Brady’s beautiful debut cookbook, Seven Spoons. It’s a sentence that seems to sum up her approach and the way this book will work its way into your kitchen. If you’re into cooking, I suspect that Tara’s is the kind of food you’re already making, but a new improved version, introduced with passion and such elegant prose, peppered with little surprises and tips along the way. Continue reading
A shop-bought Jaffa cake is one of those goodies somehow so much greater than the sum of its parts. The cake-y base is drier than you average sponge, the jelly too sticky to wobble and the outer coating too thin for a proper chocolate fix. Yet somehow, combined, these elements make a uniquely satisfying and more-ish mouthful. Better still, have you ever tried making your own Jaffa cakes at home? Now that’s where the magic really begins to happen . . .
Milk caramel, cajeta, dulce de leche or manjar; whatever you call it, sweetened caramelized goat or cow’s milk makes an excellent addition to a cheesecake. Today we’re celebrating so the cheesecake in question contains a whole jar of the sweet stuff, but before we talk recipes let’s focus on the reason for those celebrations. My cookbook, Homemade Memories, hits the shops in four weeks and my lovely publisher is giving everyone who pre-orders it the chance to win an amazing bundle of baking goodies (hurrah!). Continue reading
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 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