Naturally sweetened granola made with apple juice & tahini
On 31st March 1979, my parents got married. One year later they returned home from work, tired and late, to discover a small pile of envelopes inside the front door. It was their first year anniversary and, while a few friends and family had posted little notes and celebratory letters, the pair of them had completely forgotten.
Until today, I thought this was unlikely to ever happen to me. I’m organised and I’m excitable, two traits which mean that when it comes to birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations, I’m always in there early. You know the girl who complains that her boyfriend completely forgot her birthday/Valentine’s Day/insert any other day designed to make our men look bad? Not me. I’m the one reminding him at least three weeks in advance then gleefully (and noisily) counting down to the celebrations day by day. Continue reading
Chunky homemade granola
Happy Valentine’s Day!
All around the world, in every corner of the internet, people are posting or googling recipes for things like chocolate fondants and profiteroles, planning in what they will eat with their other half this evening and exactly what it is that constitutes the ultimate romantic dessert.
So today I’m bringing you breakfast in the form of my favourite chunky granola . . . Continue reading
Soft & golden: the perfect breakfast loaf
Let’s imagine it’s Sunday morning. You’re in bed. The curtains are still drawn where you left them last night but a little chink is letting in just enough light to make you stir. Cocooned in a warm envelope of covers, your eyes and nose peek out over the top and, as you begin to wake, the salty, smoky smell of sizzling meat wafts in under the door. Someone – probably someone who loves you very, very much – is making you a bacon sandwich.
Magdalenas have a unique fluffy texture setting them apart from muffins or cupcakes
The most important meal of the day.
The secret to better brain functionality, staying healthy, lowering blood sugar levels and preventing obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.
The perfect excuse to indulge in the pleasure of eating when you are truly hungry.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a good breakfast. In the working week I tend to rotate between different combinations of fruit, nuts, seeds and cereal, adding in yoghurt or milk for protein or substituting in homemade toast with smashed avocado or a scrape of salty butter if I fancy something savoury.
Buckwheat breakfast muffins packed with earthy kale & a kick of chilli
On average, how many of your government recommended 5-a-day do you manage to eat?
Despite, or perhaps (in part) because of, my love of baking and this blog, I’m very conscious of getting my daily quota of fruit and vegetables. In the UK it’s fairly easy to stick to, with the government recommending a modest five 80g portions. However in Australia it’s seven, Spain eat eight and in Japan they suggest a staggering seventeen, although I’m guessing each serving size is slightly smaller than ours given that consuming over a kilo of even the most ambrosial fruit would be a struggle for most sensible human beings in any given day.
A pile of beautiful, buttery homemade croissants
How far would you go to find the perfect croissant?
With so many wonderful bakeries in the city, Londoners like me are lucky enough to have some pretty amazing options on our doorstep. Fancy venturing a little further afield? France is your obvious answer, synonymous with the very best croissants in the world and only a couple of hours away. Doable in a day, definitely, and not so completely crazy if you’re really on a mission to find that perfect pastry.
I’m going to throw another option into the mix. How about we travel for twenty two hours, averaging around 500 miles per hour, covering nearly 11,000 miles and ending up in Surry Hills, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, Australia? We’ll head for Bourke Street, number 633 to be precise, and before you can even begin to feast your eyes on the incredible array of bread, cakes and pastries displayed in the window, you’ll detect the irresistible smell of butter and baking that draws Sydney-siders to Bourke Street Bakery like moths to an irresistible, edible flame. Continue reading
My first ever sourdough loaf!
At the end of February the little loaf blog turned one. As the anniversary approached I started to think about ways in which I could celebrate, pulling together pictures of cakes, recipes for frosting and decorating techniques from my various recipe folders, bookmarks and pinboards. However, even as ideas began to take form for lines of little loaf cakes, sparkling candles and layers of chocolate, I realized I wanted to do something a little more special. Not necessarily anything fancy, but a new challenge to kick off the year to come.
The answer, in all its simple, slow brewing, tangy tasting glory was to start a sourdough culture. Mulchy, brown and bubbling away in a little kilner jar, it was hardly going to provide the glamour shots I’d originally intended for this first birthday post with my multi-tiered celebration cake. But it was exciting in its own way – an acknowledgement of how far I’ve come since that very first wholemeal loaf emerged from my oven and the start of something new. Continue reading
Buttery pears, smooth pecans & sticky syrup make the perfect winter breakfast
This recipe started life as something really rather different.
It began on New Year’s Eve when I offered to cook dinner for my boyfriend and his family up in Yorkshire. Knowing that on New Year’s Day we might be nursing various degrees of hangover, and that the shops would be shut – or operating on minimum opening hours with a likely lack of any fresh produce – we hit the local market to stock up on ingredients. Fresh fish, bread, cheese, vegetables and various spices secured, my attention (surprise surprise) turned to pudding. Continue reading
Can you guess the secret ingredient?
You’ll either love this recipe, or you’ll hate it. Such is the divisive power of Marmite.
Or so their ad men would have you believe. In reality, the lines of this savoury stand-off are slightly more blurred. Of course you get the obsessives who buy into the brand at every level – from crisps and cheddar bites to Marmite-flavoured chocolate – and the haters, who recoil at the mere mention of the word. But there are also a small percentage of people who fall into a murky middle ground, who’d never choose to spread it on their toast, but would nibble on a Twiglet or stir the occasional spoon into gravy. Continue reading
Simple crusty white loaf with a soft, buttery crumb
One of the things I love about bread is its versatility. Even a shop bought loaf can be used in a dozen different ways, from slices of toast to sandwiches, breadcrumbs to bread and butter pudding, the savoury crunch of a crouton or stirred through smooth sweet ice cream. And when you start to bake your own, the combinations are endless – crusty loaves and fluffy rolls, baguettes and baps, sprinkled with seeds, or run through with olives and cheese, fruit, nuts and more.
When I first started writing this blog, I made it my mission to bake my own bread on a regular basis. I’ve since experimented with various different flours and techniques, but the staple loaf I return to time and again is a simple mix of wholemeal and malted grain flour. The latter is fairly forgiving, lending the loaf a lovely lightness of texture and depth of flavour. I tend to do my baking on a Sunday afternoon, and each week a freshly baked loaf of bread makes getting up on a Monday morning just that little bit easier. Continue reading