Strawberry & Pimms Tarts with Cucumber Glaze

Strawberry pimms tarts

After three straight weeks of sunshine (ok, plus the occasional shower, this is England after all), it feels like we’ve actually achieved a summer of sorts. As with anything weather related, this is a hot topic of daily conversation, discussed at length amongst friends, colleagues and at almost any social occasion (especially if there’s some sort of awkward silence to fill).

Some people are praying for cooler weather to make their commute more bearable, some pessimistically suggest that this isn’t going to last while others  simply soak up as much sunshine as they can get while it lasts (I’m firmly in the final category). The only thing we all seem to agree on is that they just don’t make summers like they used to. Continue reading

Wholemeal Spelt & Coriander Flatbread

Wholemeal Spelt & Coriander Flatbreads

There’s something about pre-packaged wraps that makes me sad. The cardboard cousin of plasticky sliced white, they’ve become synonymous with health in recent years, the ultimate ‘light lunch’ on the go, which in reality amounts to little more than minimal protein, soggy lettuce and over-seasoned sauce which weeps into each mean, thin layer.

A homemade wrap – on the other hand – is a thing of joy: puffed and tender, soft with a slight chew and enriched with any flavour you might care to add. In fact, let’s call it flatbread for what it is and allow ourselves to accept its carb-based origins. Bread isn’t always bad. In fact it can be fresh and light and altogether easier on the stomach than the stodge contained within that shop-bought wrap. Continue reading

Maple Chocolate Pots with Olive Oil Thyme Crumble

Chocolate Pots

Hands up if you’re the person who always orders the chocolate option for dessert in a restaurant?

Until recently, that was me. In fact I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t seriously consider something chocolate based if you took me out for dinner tomorrow. But as I’ve got older, I’ve started to appreciate other flavours on my plate, subtle sweetness, spice and seasonal ingredients like this simple honey almond cake with strawberries. Continue reading

Honey Almond Cake with Spiced Strawberry Sauce

Strawberries

Summer and strawberries go hand in hand. Wimbledon, barbecues and, being a summer baby, birthdays are all synonymous with a strawberry or two in my mind, the season kick starting with that first sweet burst at the end of May.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but memories of my childhood summers are dappled in sunshine, garden grass scorched by the sun as we took turns spraying each other with the hosepipe and praying that it wouldn’t be banned. As an adult, the Great British Summer seems a little wetter, certainly colder, the sky hung with clouds and even edible sunshine kept at bay with our strawberry season delayed by several weeks. Continue reading

Raspberry & Pistachio Eton Mess

Raspberry & Pistachio Eton Mess Meringues will always make me think of my Granny.

Not my paternal grandmother – a skilled home baker whose larder was always stocked with a homemade chocolate cake, fluffy scones or knobbly rock buns the size of a fist – but my mother’s Mum. The same amazing woman who would serve stale Maltesers had little interest in baking, producing meringues from a packet and filling them with cream from a can, yet somehow this dessert remains utterly magical in my memory. Continue reading

Brown Butter Banana Bread Squares

Chocolate Banana Bread Squares

On the eve of the French revolution, Marie Antoinette is said to have responded to claims that there wasn’t enough bread to feed the French people with the now infamous phrase, ‘Let them eat cake’. Historians have since refuted this, suggesting variously that it was completely made up, the much maligned queen was misquoted, or that something may have been lost in translation from the French into English.

Whichever way you like to look at it, there’s definitely some sort of confusion between bread and cake. Continue reading

My Favourite Homemade Pizza

Simple homemade pizza

About twenty miles from my parents’ house in Italy, down from the mountains in a valley where the land rolls gently under golden fields of dinner plate-sized sunflowers, there is a wonderful pizzeria. Serving simple, understated but utterly delicious pizzas, until the age of about fifteen I didn’t even know its name: the doorway lacking in any obvious signage, we simply called the restaurant after the little village in which it was located, a trip to the village and the pizzeria being pretty much one and the same. Continue reading

Blueberry & Oatmeal Ice Cream Sandwiches

Blueberry ice cream sandwiches Today’s is a recipe inspired by breakfast.

Breakfast is possibly my favourite meal of the day. I’ve described before my love of waking up after the enforced fast of a good night’s sleep, deciding exactly what it is that I want to eat, pottering around preparing the ingredients then sitting down to start the day. Sharing breakfast with loved ones is ideal, but a solitary bowl of bircher muesli or slice of homemade toast can be just as enjoyable: a good meal setting you up for an even better day. Continue reading