Apple, Maple & Walnut Cookies

Apple_Maple_Walnut Cookies

This year January has taken its cue from Christmas with gluttonous ease. Rather than observing an abstemious month of little or no alcohol, fewer desserts, low-fat-this and diet-that, we’ve eaten and drunk our way round London, Paris and Yorkshire. A birthday was celebrated several times over with rounds of cake and cocktails, an anniversary with an epic ice cream pie (more on that next week, just you wait) and Paris passed by in a blur of macarons, garlic butter and a Paris Brest the size of a tyre (albeit an elegant, pastry cream-filled one). Today we’re not going completely cold turkey, but these Apple, Maple & Walnut Cookies are at least a step in the right direction.

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Homemade Memories: My Cookbook Cover Reveal

Homemade Memories
‘If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done before’ –
 Thomas Jefferson.

This time last year I’d just signed a cookbook deal with my publisher, Orion. I had an enthusiastic editor, a slightly scary deadline and a rough proposal consisting of 100 recipes – some of which I could make with my eyes closed, most of which I’d only tasted in my dreams. Thousands of words, dozens of kilos of butter, sugar, cream and chocolate and countless sleepless nights later, I’m slightly speechless to confirm that I DID IT!!!  Continue reading

Gingebread Blondies with White Chocolate Chunks

Gingerbread Blondies recipe

In a previous post about blondies I brought up the age old debate about blonde vs. brunette. Blondes, they say, have more fun but in the edible stakes, brownies definitely have the upper hand. There are far more recipes for brownies than blondies on this blog, and if you cast your net wider to google, a ‘brownie’ search returns 45 million results; blondies fewer than 2. But what about that elusive third category, the much-maligned, often forgotten but every bit as delicious ginger? Continue reading

Pumpkin Pecan Shortbread Squares

Pumpkin pecan shortbread squares

On Friday morning I opened my email to read this post. Emma, a friend in real life and one of my favourite baking bloggers, has decided not to post any new recipes on Poires au Chocolat while she gets to grips with her graduate medicine course. Rather than leave the blog completely static, she’ll be revisiting recipes on occasion, treating the blog something like an ever-evolving book, but I’m still sad that we won’t be seeing many (any) new recipes for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

Chocolate, Peanut Butter + Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut butter oatmeal cookies

‘Any soft drink plus popcorn only £7′. That was the sign we passed as we ascended the escalator to the cinema on Saturday night. Everywhere I looked, people were filling up on sweets from the pick and mix, tiny tubs of ice cream and those slightly scary looking nachos with their lurid toppings and takeaway odour. If you’re in the market for making money, cinema food is a serious business.

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Quick Courgette + Rosemary Bread

Courgette rosemary loaf

The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…

[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.’

M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating Continue reading

Salted Caramel + Cocoa Nib Brownies

Salted caramel
I first tried one of Milli Taylor‘s brownies around this time last year. We’d been chatting online about various food-related things and realised that we live pretty close to one another. Milli had some goodies going spare from a catering job so promised to drop a few samples round the flat while we were out. Several bemused messages later, it dawned on us that she’d left them in the wrong street and I ended up having to tiptoe my way down a stranger’s garden path to retrieve the box from behind the bush by their front door. Not the easiest brownies to get hold of, but some of the best I’ve ever eaten,  so when I received a copy of Milli’s debut cookbook, I knew this recipe was the one I’d have to make first.  Continue reading

Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Crunch

Pumpkin maple muffins

I always know autumn is on its way from the number of pumpkin recipes that start appearing in in my inbox. This year the reminder has been more necessary than most as you couldn’t tell the season from the weather we’ve been having. On Saturday night some friends and I ate after-dinner ice creams outside in the street as if it was summer and yesterday we went for a walk in short-sleeved tops and sunglasses. While I’m secretly hoping that this warmer weather will last a little longer, I’m also aware that colder climes around the corner are an inevitable part of living in England. And when that moment comes, there will be warming autumnal muffins.

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Some Thoughts on Writing a Cookbook

Chocolate fondant

Are you bored of these photoshoot updates yet? I couldn’t resist sneaking in a few final pictures from the week just gone. So that’s a wrap, the final Homemade Memories photograph has been taken, the last prop carefully washed up, crumbs cleared away and leftovers distributed to my nearest, dearest and hungriest. On Thursday I got the first round of printed pages to proof read and this weekend just gone – in between packing up our whole flat and moving in with my parents for renovation work to begin (phew!) – I set to work on marking up those final little amends.

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Blackberry, Plum & Almond Galette

 

Blackberry, plum & almond galette 2

After spending my first year of university in catered halls of residence, I lived in a house with seven of my very best friends for the remaining two. A single oven, fridge and hob between seven meant certain limitations on our culinary exploits and sharing took on a whole new meaning. I’ll never forget the exchange between one friend who discovered that the lasagne she’d lovingly made to share with her boyfriend had mouse-like nibbles taken out of it and the other who – more night owl than mouse – had drunkenly dug into it the night before and then promptly forgot. Continue reading