With Easter just around the corner, my thoughts are turning to chocolate, spice and all things nice. My mother-in-law gifted us generous amounts of Hotel Chocolat goodies last weekend which have already been eaten (chocolate = perfect fuel for middle-of-the-night nursing), but luckily there’s a batch of these sweet, squidgy Hot Cross Blondies in our freezer. Mellow with warming seasonal spices, a kick of citrus and plump dried fruit, these blondies are the perfect afternoon tea treat for the long Easter weekend and can also be dressed up, warm, with ice cream for a decadent dessert. Continue reading
Time both flies and stands still when you have a newborn. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been home from hospital for over a month, that Nino will be six weeks old on Friday and while I feel like we’re really beginning to get to know this little personality, at the same time he changes on a daily basis. Life is sweet, if more than a little sleep deprived, and I know I’ll look back on these weeks in the months to come and wonder where they went. Continue reading
Over the years, friends have sought advice about relationships. I’m not an overly qualified – or interfering – agony aunt kind of a person, I just mean those conversations that come up over morning coffees and late night cocktails as people wonder if a particular love interest is working out, are they worth the extra effort and ‘is he or she THE ONE’? One friend, while drawing up a list of pros and cons about their partner, asked how they’d truly know if this was the love of their life and my answer – the fact they were writing that list and even questioning the relationship – was simply, you’ll just know. Yes there will be ups and downs and reasons to feel frustrated with, or maybe even momentarily hate, the most important person in your life, but beyond all shadow of a doubt, that underlying love and need to be together will win out. True love is unconditional, all consuming and inescapable. Continue reading
Up until the end of my third trimester of pregnancy, the only things we had in our freezer were ice, a champagne jacket, frozen blueberries and petit pois. So much of what we eat is quick to cook or relies on an abundance of fresh ingredients, it barely seemed worth the hassle to prepare, pack and label portions of any given meal, let alone the time it would take to defrost before we wanted to eat. It wasn’t until the teacher at our ante-natal classes drew a twenty four hour clock portioned into hour long pieces for baby feeding, bathing and nappy changing on repeat that I realised a few pre-made meals might come in handy for the weeks after Nino arrived. Continue reading
This Friday just gone I finished work. Our little loaf is due in just over two weeks and I’m finally ready to admit that my forty five minute commute on the tube twice a day is getting a little tiring. Although it’s weird handing over your working life for a year – holiday time! I can hear mothers all around me chuckling – I’m ready to start nesting, preparing our home for this little life to be. The next two weeks will be spent tidying cupboards and sorting last minute decorations, maybe a pedicure for those feet I can no longer reach, long walks with my mum and lunches with friends. People keep saying I should take some quiet time before this little man drops in and changes our lives forever, and I will, but busy is my default setting and just what I enjoy. Which I guess stands me in good stead for the months and years to come. Continue reading
All around me people are making resolutions. Dry January seems to be top of a lot of lists and the favourite question everyone loves to ask a pregnant lady is ‘how hard is it not to drink for nine months?’ To be honest, I really haven’t missed alcohol, but even when I wasn’t pregnant I could take or leave it to some extent. My weakness is definitely treats of the sweet variety and since I believe in Julia Child’s old adage of ‘everything in moderation, including moderation’ we’re kick starting January round here with these tasty little morsels of chocolate peanut goodness.
As year’s go, 2015 has been pretty big. I published my first cookbook. Luke quit his job to pursue the career of his dreams. And we’ve made nine tenths of a human being, the littlest addition to the loaf family due to arrive at the beginning of February 2016.
It’s also been an amazing year of eating. There were trips to Paris, St. Lucia and Tuscany which, as our holidays always do, revolved almost entirely around food; we’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries at some incredible restaurants; and of course we’ve eaten all sorts of deliciousness from the comfort of our own home (see this list of the cookbooks I’ve been loving in 2015). A fair few new favourites have also made their way onto the blog, so as 2015 draws to a close, here are the ten most viewed recipes by you, my readers. I’ve already got a bunch of ideas up my apron sleeve for 2016, but if there’s anything specific you’d like to see in this space, please do let me know in the comments below! Continue reading
Christmas is just around the corner and there’s nothing I love more than ripping open wrapping paper to discover a shiny new cookbook. There are lots of round ups out there this year, so for what it’s worth, here are the books I’ve been loving – and will more than likely be gifting – in 2015. 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
With 31st October just around the corner, my mind is turning to bite-sized snacks. If you’ve bought my book or read this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m not a big fan of packaged treats. If there’s a shop-bought something I’m craving, I’ll likely try to recreate it at home. Every Halloween as a child, in amongst the fang-shaped Haribo and fun-sized Mars Bars that filled my trick or treat bag, I’d almost always end up with a Penguin bar scrabbled from the biscuit tin of an unprepared mum. Penguin bars were pretty much a staple 1980s snack in every household except ours, so while it might have seemed boring to some, the addition of this run-of-the-mill chocolate bar to my seasonal stash was always very welcome. Continue reading