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.
‘The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…
[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.’
M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating Continue reading
I always know autumn is on its way from the number of pumpkin recipes that start appearing in in my inbox. This year the reminder has been more necessary than most as you couldn’t tell the season from the weather we’ve been having. On Saturday night some friends and I ate after-dinner ice creams outside in the street as if it was summer and yesterday we went for a walk in short-sleeved tops and sunglasses. While I’m secretly hoping that this warmer weather will last a little longer, I’m also aware that colder climes around the corner are an inevitable part of living in England. And when that moment comes, there will be warming autumnal muffins.
When I was fifteen I got my first mobile phone. Not your standard smart phone with fancy apps, a camera or even a colour screen; just a pink-cased Nokia brick which I used as a sort of portable telephone box to call my parents. Friends were contacted using our good old-fashioned landline and the internet (including the joy of MSN Messenger) accessed by via our clunky home PC. I didn’t spend much time online and any baking we did was inspired by my Mum’s extensive collection of recipe books, magazine cuttings and a little bit of imagination. Continue reading
If there’s a meat-eating man in your life, you’ll likely have heard of the Paleo diet. My carnivorous husband is a fitness fanatic, always looking for new ways to incorporate protein into every meal and the Paleo approach of eating enormous quantities of meat, eggs, nuts and seeds is endlessly appealing to his inner caveman.
In theory there are benefits to eating in this ancient, natural way. In practice, there’s so much I’d miss – pulses, whole grains and dairy, not to mention flour, chocolate and all sorts of sweet things which, while less immediately nourishing for your body, are one of the pleasures in life and, arguably, good for your soul. Continue reading