‘After Eight’ Ice Cream Bowl

Magic shell

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Our flat is filled with sparkling lights, rolls of wrapping paper, the smell of pine and the sound of Mariah Carey (don’t judge me, you know you’ll dance around your tree to this at least once before the year is out). I’m the proud owner of a brand new gingerbread man jumper (eat them, wear them, I’ll take any form of extra baked goods in my life). And everywhere I look (granted I’m looking at food blogs, food websites and cookery programmes on TV), it’s all about festive food. Continue reading

Crunchy Maple Walnut Butter Cups

Crunchy Maple Walnut Butter Cups

As a child, there’s something slightly exciting about spending a day off school sick. Not, of course, if you’re seriously unwell, entirely bed-bound and unable to eat. I’m talking about those days when you’re possibly still contagious but ultimately on the mend, able to appreciate eating on the sofa, watching too much TV and your Mum (or another adult) making a great big fuss of you. Continue reading

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies: A Guest Post from London Bakes

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

As you read this I’m on my way to Bali on honeymoon with my favourite person in the world. In my absence, two of my favourite bloggers have stepped in with a wonderful recipe all of their own. First up is the amazing Kathryn from London Bakes. I’d quite like to set up camp in her kitchen so I could eat all the amazing food that comes out of it, but as that might be a little odd (and I imagine my brand new husband might miss me), the recipe for these cookies is the next best thing. Enjoy!

I’m so thrilled to be here today filling in for Kate while she and her new husband enjoy their first few days of married life. My blog and The Little Loaf were started on almost exactly the same day 2 ½ years ago and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kate over the last few years and watching her blog develop into something really quite special.

I know that we share a very similar outlook on food (right down to our mutual hatred of wet, gravy-logged food) and that we both love baking treats using wholesome and feel-good ingredients. Both of us are big fans of using coconut oil and coconut sugar in baking and I think these cookies show just how wonderful these ingredients can be. Continue reading

Chocolate & Hazelnut Ice Cream Bombes

Chocolate & Hazelnut Ice Cream Bombe

Every family has a set of favourite stories in rotation, the kind you tell at social gatherings, on meeting new people or simply to each other: a kind of comfortable, if slightly repetitive, recognition of knowing each other inside out and of memories fondly shared.

When she’s feeling sentimental, my Mum loves to tell stories from our childhood holidays in Italy. The tale of choice for my brother involves a restaurant laid out for a wedding banquet, an excitable two-year-old boy, a table cloth corner just a little too enticing not to pull and . . . well, you can probably guess the rest (except, perhaps, the part where the restaurant owners forgave the devastating mess, whisked my brother into the kitchen and onto the counter, then proceeded to feed him as my mortified mother finished up her meal. God bless the Italians). Continue reading

Maple Chocolate Pots with Olive Oil Thyme Crumble

Chocolate Pots

Hands up if you’re the person who always orders the chocolate option for dessert in a restaurant?

Until recently, that was me. In fact I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t seriously consider something chocolate based if you took me out for dinner tomorrow. But as I’ve got older, I’ve started to appreciate other flavours on my plate, subtle sweetness, spice and seasonal ingredients like this simple honey almond cake with strawberries. Continue reading

Brown Butter Banana Bread Squares

Chocolate Banana Bread Squares

On the eve of the French revolution, Marie Antoinette is said to have responded to claims that there wasn’t enough bread to feed the French people with the now infamous phrase, ‘Let them eat cake’. Historians have since refuted this, suggesting variously that it was completely made up, the much maligned queen was misquoted, or that something may have been lost in translation from the French into English.

Whichever way you like to look at it, there’s definitely some sort of confusion between bread and cake. Continue reading

Coffee Ice Cream Profiteroles with Hot Chocolate Caramel

Coffee Ice Cream Profiteroles with Hot Chocolate Caramel Sauce

Coffee ice cream, crisp choux pastry & hot chocolate caramel

Coffee ice cream will always make me think of the Caribbean.

I’m aware of how horribly pretentious that sounds, but bear with me. I’m pretty sure there’s a blog-worthy story hidden somewhere within that statement.

When I was about eleven, my parents took us on holiday to the Cayman Islands. My Dad spent part of his childhood living in Jamaica and still has some family on the islands. This holiday was the perfect opportunity to introduce us to a few distant relatives, as well as a wonderful excuse for a serious dose of sun, sea and sand.
Continue reading

Caramelized White Chocolate Brownies

Caramelized White Chocolate Brownies

Squidgy chocolate brownies packed with caramelized white chocolate

The simple magic of an oven will never cease to amaze me.

Subjected to its heat, pudgy rounds of dough become crusty loaves, liquid batter rises into golden-crowned cakes, pastry puffs, biscuits bake and incredible aromas escape around the edges of its door.

Normally baking requires some sort of skill, an understanding of the alchemy of ingredients and an ability to weigh, whisk, beat and blend. Butter, sugar and flour are combined, flavours and textures far greater than the sum of their parts created. Whether an amateur cook or a professional chef, it’s satisfying to know that baking is both a science and an art. Continue reading