Parmesan & Poppy Seed Biscuits

parmesan poppy seed biscuits

Light, crispy, salty & crunchy – the perfect accompaniment to drinks

When I was little, before I discovered shopping and boys and all the other infinitely important distractions of adult life, one of my favourite things to do was help my Mum out with drinks and dinner parties. Actually, who am I kidding? It’s still one of my favourite things: the selection of ingredients and writing up lists, laying out platters and plating up dishes to make the food look as pretty and enticing as possible.

If you’ve ever wondered where to find me at a party, the kitchen is usually the best place to start. Continue reading

Sesame, Almond & Poppy Seed Tuiles

homemade tuiles

Almonds, sesame seeds & a poppy seed crunch combine in these featherlight tuiles

I like how life has the capacity to be surprising. Sometimes the unexpected occurs and things you hadn’t even considered somehow come to the fore, becoming the one thing you want above anything else.

Last week I went wedding dress shopping for the first time. Having not been the kind of little girl who plans that big day while still playing with her My Little Ponies (what, surely, is the point of planning a wedding if you don’t know who you’re going to be doing it with?), it’s all pretty new to me. And even though Carnivorous Fiancé and I have been together for a pretty much all of our adult lives, it’s only recently I’ve really started to think about the dress.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I first entered the boutique. It’s a little like walking backstage at a theatre, row upon row of white and ivory, silk and satin, swathes of veils and hair clips and trinkets sparkling from every corner of the room, doing nothing to dispel the idea that you really are just an eight year old fulfilling some sort of princess-style fantasy. Continue reading

Brutti Ma Buoni Biscuits

hazelnut meringue cookies

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.

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Homemade Graham Crackers

graham_crackers

Sweet, crisp & rich with dark brown sugar – a homemade version of the US staple

When we were little, one of my brother’s best friends was Canadian.

Coming from another country, there were numerous things about this boy which we found fascinating: his Mum made incredible chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis (I’ve explained before that mine was more of the raisin and apple offering inclination); his family had a BBQ the size of a small car in their back garden (which they’d brave even in winter weather to cook the most incredible slabs of meat on); at nine years old his school had never allowed him to use a knife to eat with (bizarre, but true). Continue reading

Alfajores-Inspired Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwiches

chocolate alfajores

Dulce de leche ice cream sandwiched between soft chocolate cookies

Visiting a new bakery is one of my favourite things in the world. There’s the smell, seeping out of the doors and into the surrounding street; yeast and warmth, toasty sweetness, the scent of burnt sugar. Then there’s the sound: busy bakers chatting with customers; slicing crusty loaves; sliding purchases into crinkled paper bags. The soft sound of teeth meeting flaky pastry.
Eyes definitely bigger than my stomach and thinking, perhaps, I could try a little taste of everything, I’ll then drink in the feast in front of me: lines of loaves stacked against a bare brick wall, tiers of incredible cakes, trays of pastries issuing forth from the oven and, further forward, a cabinet of sweets and treats, biscuits on offer in every imaginable shape and size.

Real Bourbon Biscuits

homemade_bourbon_biscuits

Bourbon biscuits . . . with a hint of the strong stuff

When it comes to biscuits (of the British variety, not their soft, scone-like American counterpart), some brands do exactly what they say on the tin, while others are a little more elusive with their identity. Custard Creams are sandwiched together with – you guessed it – a layer of custardy cream, Jammy Dodgers filled with jam, and while their abilities to aid the breakdown of food may not be proven scientific fact, there is something soothingly simple about a plain Digestive biscuit that more than justifies its name.

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