Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a rut and a routine. Weekday toast or oats plus topping on repeat. Saturday pancakes. Sunday brunch. Meals which comfortably turn from favourites to familiar but run the risk of crossing that extra line towards boring.
In the interest of mixing things up, I made a big batch of granola for the first time in forever. It’s great for breakfast but also serves for snacking purposes. Luke swears by it as an after dinner mid-week treat. It’s as good on oats as ice cream and can adapt to infinite variations depending on what you have to hand.
Cooking is something I’ve always wanted to share with my children. So many of my childhood memories involve standing on a chair beside the kitchen counter, stamping out biscuits, licking utensils and pouring one too many silver balls over dollops of sticky homemade icing. When Nino was still a babe in arms we’d cook together every day, him nestled inside the sling, beady eyes peeping out as I scrambled eggs or stirred a Bolognese. When he got a little older I’d sit him on the kitchen counter, the most appreciative one man audience to my one (wo)man cooking show, letting him suck a lemon or sniff at herbs as I went about the business of making dinner for his dad and I. Then came a good few crazy months, that age where everything goes straight into the mouth and control is neither mastered or desired, directions to mind a hot oven perhaps not understood, perhaps wilfully disobeyed. Either way, most of my serious culinary creations took place while the babe was napping or after bedtime for at least six months. Continue reading
Despite a coupe of un-seasonally warm days, it’s starting to feel like autumn round here. My evening walk with Nino is bathed in hazy light, it’s dark by the time that supper swings round and those 6am wake up calls? Like the middle of the night. Comfort food feels like the order of the day and dark mornings call for warm breakfast bowls. Nino and I tend to share blueberry porridge made with flaked oats and quinoa, dolloped with thick greek yoghurt and a spoonful of nut butter, but this week I’ve branched out and made a batch of creamy barley to last us several days. Cooked until tender with homemade hazelnut milk and topped with honey roast figs, this nutty grain makes for a delightful porridge substitute and one I’ll be making time and again in the months to come. Continue reading
One night last week I rocked our baby boy to sleep singing ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ on an infinite loop, standing next to the tumble dryer because its continuous grumble was the only thing (besides my twinkly twinkles) that seemed to soothe his tired cries. We might have got Nino out of hospital, but that doesn’t mean we’re not now faced with all the usual problems that being the parent of a brand new baby brings. And as any tired parent knows, when you’re sleeping less and singing (bouncing, shhh-ing, swinging . . . you name it) more, an energy boosting breakfast you can quickly sling into a bowl one-handed becomes a very important thing. Continue reading
To my darling boy,
Today your Dad and I celebrate our eleven year anniversary. Not of getting married – we did that just over two years ago in Kew Gardens under blazing sunshine and surrounded by all of our favourite people in the world: I’ll show you the photos when you’re big enough to roll your eyes and be bored and embarrassed by them – but of meeting for the first time. We were twenty, at university, fresh faced and with no idea what would happen in one year – let alone eleven – except that we seemed to have fallen in love.
We talked about the future from fairly early on, not marriage and kids and mortgages in any sort of sensible grown up way, just a mutual understanding we needed to be together, and that everything would turn out all right if we had each other in our lives. When conversation did turn to children, we knew we wanted lots of you, couldn’t wait to see what would happen when our features and personalities combined (my eyesight, Luke’s ears please) and even had a favourite boy’s name long before you first appeared as a kidney bean-sized heartbeat on the ultrasound scan. Continue reading
Today we’re doing something a little different. I’ve got a recipe for you – this creamy, comforting bowl of porridge jazzed up with mapled pears, spice and pecans to warm your autumn mornings – but there’s a little something extra on offer, too. I don’t own much in the way of ceramics. so the eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that these rather charming breakfast bowls are new. New to me and potentially to you to as I’m offering one reader the chance to win a set, plus a copy of my book. It’s not often you see a sponsored or branded post in this space, but these gorgeous bowls come from a company called Loaf and with a name like that I simply couldn’t resist. Continue reading
I’m blaming the succession* of crumble recipes on this blog for the arrival of autumn and a strong urge to cosy up warm with comfort food. The dish itself does the job for a dinner party or even as a single serving. However, I’m powerless to resist topping a classic crumble with a scoop of ice cream, so in the interests of some semblance of health, I’ve been making these ‘breakfast’ style baked goods (and then eating them for dessert).
*Succession meaning two in as many weeks which, when you live with one other person, is a fair amount of crumbly goods to be getting through. Continue reading
I’m not much of a breakfast muffin person – it’s hard to sway me from my standard fare of toast with avocado or eggs, bircher muesli or, as the autumn draws in, a bowl of creamy porridge with yoghurt and fruit – but if you are, these muffins would be just perfect. I’ve been eating them at tea time or after dinner, the buttery crumble topping giving them just enough decadence to stand in for dessert. Essentially I’m saying this is an all day sort of a muffin, a necessary addition to your baking knowledge whatever the hour you decide to indulge. Continue reading
Peanut butter and jam is something I’ve come to later in life. I grew up on butter and Marmite for breakfast, melted and scraped over slightly burnt toast or mashed together and spread on bread (which will sound delicious or disgusting depending on your love/hate stance). My Dad would mix peanut butter into his Marmite (which definitely sounds disgusting, regardless of your stance) but combining it with jam just isn’t something that happened in our household. Continue reading
When I was growing up, Pancake Day in the Little Loaf household involved crêpes. Not the fluffy stacks of American-style pancakes which have become so popular, but good-old fashioned, lacy thin crêpes with all the added fun of flipping involved. Of course one would always stick to the pan, another to the ceiling and nobody could eat at the same time as we flipped and rolled and trailed spoons of batter all over the hob and floor, but that was all part of the chaotic fun that was Shrove Tuesday.