It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster in the little loaf household of late. About ten days ago Nino started saying ‘mama’ in a very deliberate way, calling me back if I disappeared round a corner or snuggling in and saying it rather than the indiscriminate sound making we’ve been hearing a little longer. My heart is fit to burst and it’s literally the sweetest word I’ve ever heard, but at the same time this cognitive leap seems to have brought with it possibly the hardest behaviour we’ve seen to date. Our usually sunny little man has been grumbling and fussing, clinging round my ankles, waking multiple times each night and resisting sleep with a renewed and infuriating fervour for someone clearly so in need of it. Until you become a mum it’s impossible to understand how you could love one little person so deeply and completely, yet at times want to pop them in a padded room, pour yourself a stiff drink and sleep, uninterrupted, for a week.
Today our little sleep resister turns ten months old. I know this fussy phase will pass (until the next one, that is . . .) but am also wary of wishing a single day away. With less than two months of maternity leave left I’m trying to live in the moment and soak up each precious morsel of my baby, so in the spirit of celebration (and because my sleep deprived brain might forget if I don’t write it down), here’s what we’ve been particularly loving about you this month, sweet boy. Continue reading
A few days before our 20 week appointment when I was pregnant with Nino, I remember reading an article about things you should look out for. After entering into the (relative) safety of the second trimester, it’s easy to think that this second pregnancy scan is all about the gender reveal – a subject of divisive debate between the ‘surprise!’ camp and those who are desperate, indeed need to know – but your stenographer is looking for a lot more than a pair of balls as she swipes cold jelly over your ever-expanding belly. There’s the baby’s brain and spine, fingers and toes, stomach and kidneys, position in the womb and position of the placenta. And then, of course, there’s his (or her) heart. Continue reading
Few things make you appreciate the passage of time like a baby. This time last year I was five months pregnant, just starting to feel the movement and weight of his little life inside me. Now that (not so) little is careering round our kitchen, shrieking with delight as he masters each new trick. Nino’s lived in the outside world almost as long as he spent in my tummy and October has well and truly arrived with its crisp, bright mornings and chill in the air. We’ve started putting on the heating in the nursery again, our families are discussing Christmas and as the nights draw in I’m seeking comfort in autumnal offerings of squash, spice and all things nice. Continue reading
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
A brownie, for me, is the little black dress of the baking world. They bake up in batches to feed a crowd, can be stacked high and eaten with fingers or served singly with toppings for something more refined. Like that little black dress, they can totally miss the mark – I can count the number of brownies recipes I trust implicitly on one hand, excluding my thumb – but as with fashion, on occasion, a new season contender can jump in to shake up the status quo. Hello rye chocolate brownie with flaky sea salt. Continue reading
I’m keeping it short and sweet today but first of all, thank you. For your lovely comments on this post, but also for your emails, texts, Facebook messages and more. I’m overwhelmed by how many wonderful individuals there are out there and truly touched and humbled by your words of encouragement, stories and love.
Today we’re sticking with a carbohydrate theme and a loaf a little bigger than the one currently in my tummy (although he’s doing his very best to catch up with more kicks and wriggles every day). This recipe is originally from Homemade Memories and has been reproduced online by the lovely people at Design Sponge. It’s a gorgeous space and I’m honoured to have been featured. Continue reading
A few weeks ago someone from Kenwood got in touch to see if I’d be interested in working with them on their latest campaign. The idea was to take a favourite, or secret, family recipe, update and make it my own then write up the recipe and take some pretty pictures for them to share in print and online. Continue reading
Crispy, chewy chocolate chunk cookies with the crunch of whole pistachios
The recipe I’m sharing today is not a chocolate mousse.
I appreciate that this may be somewhat stating the obvious, but in my mind this post was always intended to be that mousse. Sometimes things work out wonderfully in the blogging world – long, bright evenings, lots of natural light, photogenic food, other times they conspire against you – unseasonal wind and rain, grumbling tummies that devour anything you’ve made before you have a second to click a single frame.
Apparently today this mousse was not meant to be. Continue reading
Brutti ma buoni – ‘ugly but good’ hazelnut meringue biscuits
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Despite this age old idiom, evaluating things by their appearance is sadly second nature in so many circumstances in life. Appearance influences the big decisions – it is said that in an interview, you have just seven seconds to make a good impression – but also the little ones: the quality of an apple, the content of a book, how delicious a dessert is going to be.
I’ve talked before on this blog about the pitfalls of style over substance when it comes to food. Incredible wedding cakes covered with beautifully crafted decorations concealing bland or dry sponge; slicks of sauce on a plate so small as to make little contribution to flavour; an artfully placed sprig of mint that you have to push to one side without eating.
Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla bean ice cream
In 1990, the world was a very different place. Nelson Mandela had just been released from prison, Margaret Thatcher was still in power, and the Hubble Space telescope was launched into orbit. This was the dawn of the information age, with the world wide web just a year away and science set to change beyond recognition (though it’s fair to say both technology and taste still had a fair way to go). Despite some major world-changing events taking place at the time, media of more immediate concern to my six-year-old self were such pressing issues as which magazine to buy (Horse & Pony, of course), what was on at the cinema (Home Alone), what to listen to on the radio (Madonna’s Vogue) and what to fight with my older brother over to watch on TV.
Amongst the various cartoons, BBC dramas and other viewing termed suitable by our parents, Delia Smith was a firm family favourite. This was an era post Fanny Cradock, yet nearly a decade before the likes of Jamie and Nigella first appeared on our screens, launching a whole new wave of kitchen enthusiasts and the start of our current obsession with cookery programmes. While Nigella flirts and slurps and Jamie rips and rummages his way through a kitchen strewn with fabulous foods from around the world, Delia portioned everything into perfect little pre-prepared white bowls, carefully instructing us step-by-step and introducing the early 90s viewer to such exotic ingredients as anchovies (pronounced with a Loyd Grossman-esque long ‘o’ which always made us giggle). Continue reading