With 31st October just around the corner, my mind is turning to bite-sized snacks. If you’ve bought my book or read this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m not a big fan of packaged treats. If there’s a shop-bought something I’m craving, I’ll likely try to recreate it at home. Every Halloween as a child, in amongst the fang-shaped Haribo and fun-sized Mars Bars that filled my trick or treat bag, I’d almost always end up with a Penguin bar scrabbled from the biscuit tin of an unprepared mum. Penguin bars were pretty much a staple 1980s snack in every household except ours, so while it might have seemed boring to some, the addition of this run-of-the-mill chocolate bar to my seasonal stash was always very welcome. Continue reading
This Thursday just gone we jumped on a plane and spent the long weekend in Seville for some much needed r&r. After a detour to Malaga due to thick mist on the runway, our weather prospects didn’t look great, but two hours later we arrived to a city bathed in autumn sunshine. Having filled our bellies with tapas we decided to skip on cultural activities for the afternoon (if you know us well, it didn’t take much persuasion) and spent the rest of the day sunbathing beside our hotel’s rooftop pool. Continue reading
If, like me, you watch more than your fair share of food programmes, you’ll be aware of a running theme. Every time a presenter takes a bite of the food they’ve just prepared or been served or discovered by the side of the road in some exotic country – Great British Bake Off judgement and soggy bottoms excluded – they declare it the best they’ve ever eaten. Food bloggers can be guilty of the same hyperbole – it’s so easy to get caught up in the moment that nothing else compares; it’s not exaggeration, it’s how you actually feel. So here goes . . . this is the most delicious chocolate loaf cake I have ever eaten.
The last few weeks have been full of celebration. We’re at that stage in life where everyone is turning thirty, getting married or engaged with the various drinks and parties and hen dos that go with it. In between all the socialising there’s been little time for baking, so what I end up making tends to involve minimal time and effort for maximum results. Continue reading
This Saturday just gone I hosted my first ever afternoon tea at Sonny’s Kitchen in Barnes. Having not catered a proper event before – the Homemade Memories launch party doesn’t count in my mind because people weren’t paying – there were a few stray butterflies in my stomach, but as soon as I got into my kitchen comfort zone, rolling biscuit dough and cutting out scones, I had a feeling it was going to be good. Continue reading
I’m not normally what you’d call a cupcake person. Rugged muffins, buttery financiers and slabs of brownie I can get behind, but American-style cupcakes weighed down with buttercream and covered in sprinkles? Not so much. Yet try as I may, there’s something so birthday-appropriate about a cupcake and with two to celebrate this weekend just gone, I’m going against my better nature and sharing these peanut butter beauties. Continue reading
My name is Kate and I’m addicted to buying cookbooks. In between purchases I try to get my fix from blogs and magazines and websites, but there’s nothing quite like a physical cookbook with its secrets and stories and real pages to prop open. Ask my husband to verify this fact and he’ll wryly smile before leading you to our spare room where a whole wall of evidence awaits: Ottolenghi snuggled between Annie Bell and Richard Bertinet, beneath rows of River Cottage, River Café, Hugh, Delia, Jamie and more.
This army of cookbooks isn’t just made up of big name bestsellers. I love to see how home cooks approach recipe writing and the recent rise of food blogs to books has opened up a new world of temptation as far as cookbook buying goes. These books don’t just share recipes but invite you into the kitchen of their author, the personal tone making them incredibly satisfying; a feeling of sitting down at someone’s table rather than simply being dictated what to make. Continue reading
Back in March we spent a week in St. Lucia. As well as making it a blissful place to flop flat out and drink cocktails, the blazing sunshine gives the island the perfect climate to grow sweet bananas, pineapples, papaya and coconuts. Every day at the beach the same elderly man would walk past touting the ‘best water in the world’, and each time he cracked open a fresh coconut and inserted a straw I felt like we’d escaped into a Bounty advert (minus the dodgy ’80s hair and make up). Continue reading
Every week when my blog goes out, I’ll get an email from my Dad. Aside from the spelling and punctuation which, as an ex-publisher, he always picks up on, the messages range from complimentary to longing: ‘looks delicious’, ‘definitely not on my diet!’, ‘reminds me of our trip to X’ or ‘I wonder if your mum might make me that.’ Dad, I’m afraid to say this definitely falls into the ‘not on my diet’ category. Everyone else, if you’ve given up sweet stuff for Lent you might want to look away now . . . Continue reading
The last time I celebrated a fourth birthday, I was about 3 feet tall. My party took place at the brilliantly named Roly Poly Club, a room made up of what I remember as wall-to-wall bouncy castles where my friends and I careered around, fuelled by the heady mix of excitement and mint choc-chip ice cream (there are rosy-cheeked, chocolate-covered photographs to prove this). My mum reminded me recently that I wrote her a shopping list beforehand ‘in case you get it wrong’, consisting simply of ‘mus bus’ (Mars Bars) and ‘sossighes’ (sausages). All the essentials then. Continue reading