Fig, Dark Chocolate & Almond Flapjacks

 

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When we were first sent home from hospital with Nino I was tasked by the staff with fattening him up before his open heart surgery. There’s something statistically significant about a baby weighing over 5kg in terms of operation survival rates and, although we weren’t aware of it at the time, Nino’s abnormally complicated network of coronary arteries meant it was even more important that he pack on the pounds. In those early days before his heart was re-plumbed, helpless to fix him myself, food was truly my love language to our little boy. Continue reading

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Few things make you appreciate the passage of time like a baby. This time last year I was five months pregnant, just starting to feel the movement and weight of his little life inside me. Now that (not so) little is careering round our kitchen, shrieking with delight as he masters each new trick. Nino’s lived in the outside world almost as long as he spent in my tummy and October has well and truly arrived with its crisp, bright mornings and chill in the air. We’ve started putting on the heating in the nursery again, our families are discussing Christmas and as the nights draw in I’m seeking comfort in autumnal offerings of squash, spice and all things nice.  Continue reading

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate

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Long enough ago to make me feel extremely old, I met my husband-to-be at university. We were young, in love and, being students, didn’t really go on dates. There were late nights clubbing, bacon sandwiches eaten on scruffy sofas and a few ‘fancy’ suppers when housemates were out, but mostly we just spent time together without needing to label it a ‘date’. As we got older there were meals out and tasting menus, holidays, birthdays, trips to the cinema and all the usual things that couples do. It was easy; spending time together didn’t need a second thought.

I’ve owned a copy of Ashley Rodriguez’s Date Night In since it published a couple of years ago (check out this ice cream cake), but it wasn’t until our little man blazed his way into the world and made us a family of three that I truly understood the sentiment behind her words. Since he started a new job and I went on maternity leave, Luke and I have arguably spent much more time together during the week, yet somehow there are days when I find myself missing him. Or missing the ease of existing alongside him before we had this extra human to care for and entertain. Life as a parent is brilliant and bettering and blissful, but it can also be all-consuming and pretty tough at times. Suddenly you’re sharing not just your heart but your time with this new little life, and making space to appreciate, talk to and love my favourite grown up boy alongside our baby sometimes takes a conscious effort. Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Salted Panko Crunch

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We’ve just got back from a whirlwind weekend in Lithuania celebrating the marriage of two very lovely friends. I’m tired, but the lugging a pram down a hill to the picturesque lakeside dinner setting and getting up at 4am to feed a baby confused by the time change tired, rather than the slow lazy sleepiness that comes with daytime drinking and dancing into the night. Weddings with a mini man in tow are an altogether different kettle of fish, and the night before the big day I was in bed by 9pm, snuggling down into the duvet and ordering up chocolate cake on room service. Continue reading

White Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cups

White Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cups

Exactly one year ago to this day, I found out that I was pregnant with Nino. Of course we didn’t yet know exactly who that poppy seed-sized embryo inside me would turn out to be, but we were pretty sure he (yes he, somehow we knew from the start he’d be a boy) was going to change our lives. I still get goosebumps when I think about seeing those two blue lines for the very first time, Luke’s face when I crept back to the bedroom to tell him the news, his giant beam behind a pair of very bleary eyes . . . Continue reading

Milk Chocolate Tahini Blondies

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Way back, before Ottolenghi opened his first deli in Notting Hill and when the general public still thought the anchovies that Delia Smith used on her BBC cooking show were exotic, my Mum was using tahini as an ingredient. On shopping trips out we’d frequent cafes like Food for Thought and Cranks for lunch, while at home the cupboards were stocked with packets of wholesome seeds and grains. While most wound their way into savoury dishes – ours was a household decidedly lacking in childhood sweet treats – my Mum had a wonderful recipe for tahini flapjacks studded with sesame seeds and peanuts which we’d eagerly await the appearance of as an after school snack. Continue reading

Malteser Ice Cream Bars

Malteser ice cream bars

Like the Banoffee Pie I posted a few weeks back, I hadn’t planned to put this recipe up on the blog, but an enthusiastic response on Instagram (my most likes ever, where did all you people come from?) led me to believe I should share the details. In fact I’m thinking of starting an Insta-recipe series (Izy does something similar) of treats I haven’t had time to test multiple times or capture with anything other than my iPhone, but which I’d like to log recipe details of for a future me – and for you to try, of course. Continue reading

Healthy ‘Snickers’ Crisp Rice Slice

Healthy 'Snickers' Crisp Rice Slice - 3

As I sit here writing, Nino is snuggled across my chest in his baby sling, pinky finger pointed and forehead slightly furrowed. Although he’ll now grace us with a gummy mega watt smile when we’re particularly entertaining of a morning, his everyday expressions tend towards the sterner, more concerned. These old man mannerisms seem fairly typical of newborn babies, but I also think there’s a contemplative personality growing behind those long-lashed eyes. Continue reading

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

This Friday just gone I finished work. Our little loaf is due in just over two weeks and I’m finally ready to admit that my forty five minute commute on the tube twice a day is getting a little tiring. Although it’s weird handing over your working life for a year – holiday time! I can hear mothers all around me chuckling – I’m ready to start nesting, preparing our home for this little life to be. The next two weeks will be spent tidying cupboards and sorting last minute decorations, maybe a pedicure for those feet I can no longer reach, long walks with my mum and lunches with friends. People keep saying I should take some quiet time before this little man drops in and changes our lives forever, and I will, but busy is my default setting and just what I enjoy. Which I guess stands me in good stead for the months and years to come. Continue reading

Snickers Flapjacks

Snickers Flapjacks

All around me people are making resolutions. Dry January seems to be top of a lot of lists and the favourite question everyone loves to ask a pregnant lady is ‘how hard is it not to drink for nine months?’ To be honest, I really haven’t missed alcohol, but even when I wasn’t pregnant I could take or leave it to some extent. My weakness is definitely treats of the sweet variety and since I believe in Julia Child’s old adage of ‘everything in moderation, including moderation’ we’re kick starting January round here with these tasty little morsels of chocolate peanut goodness.

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