On Saturday, I went out to dinner with girlfriends for the first time in months. Before having Nino I couldn’t comprehend parents who never went out, always assumed it was easy but – (not such a ) news flash – it’s not. There’s a reason why all those friends with kids smile wryly and forecast the end to your social life as soon as you tell them you’re pregnant. Being a parent is wonderful in more ways than can be imagined, but it can also be repetitive, tough and – unless you have a live in nanny, endless family or an even more endless supply of cash – full time. Add into the mix a not-so good sleeper, breastfeeding on demand and separation anxiety (both Nino’s and mine), and you’re talking stay-at-home central. Continue reading
Way back, before Ottolenghi opened his first deli in Notting Hill and when the general public still thought the anchovies that Delia Smith used on her BBC cooking show were exotic, my Mum was using tahini as an ingredient. On shopping trips out we’d frequent cafes like Food for Thought and Cranks for lunch, while at home the cupboards were stocked with packets of wholesome seeds and grains. While most wound their way into savoury dishes – ours was a household decidedly lacking in childhood sweet treats – my Mum had a wonderful recipe for tahini flapjacks studded with sesame seeds and peanuts which we’d eagerly await the appearance of as an after school snack. Continue reading
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
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
Squidgy, chewy squares with added crunch
When I was younger, owning a drinks cabinet felt like the sort of thing I’d do when I became ‘a proper grown up’. Rather than purchases for a specific purpose, wine bought with only immediate consumption in mind or the bottle of booze that inevitably gets polished off at a house party – if only by some random stingy student that a friend of a friend invited – I loved the idea of a proper wine cellar and being able to choose from my very own wide selection of spirits.
If asked to describe your favourite food or dish, what’s the first thing to springs to mind?
Would you think about taste or texture, flavour or the way feels in your mouth, the essential ingredients or how it can stir a specific memory and create a certain mood? Would you attach it to a location – a restaurant, a party, a place in time – or remember it through colour, the patterns created on the plate, the image etched in your mind? Continue reading
‘Is it true…blondes have more fun?’
Since this provocative line to promote Clairol home hair colour was penned by US ad exec Shirley Polykoff back in the 1950s, the idea that blondes have a better time has become part of global consciousness. Blonde = bubbly, fun and frivolous. Brunette = natural, sophisticated but sensible. And every time a celebrity changes the colour of their hair the same old research – most likely commissioned by a hair dye company – is wheeled out as the age old debate continues.
Which do you prefer? Continue reading
Blondies with turron
Spain isn’t a country renowned for its desserts. On a recent trip to Barcelona, the majority of our sweet consumption was split between flaky treats from the local pastelerías at breakfast time and a requisite daily ice cream; justified as compulsory thermostat control on the sweltering beach or busy streets. Maybe the rest of the food and drink on offer is just too good; after wedges of tortilla, melting plates of jamón, rich, creamy croquetas and raisin scented sherry, dessert might well be the last thing on your mind.