Cranberry & Clementine Sparkler (Non Alcoholic)

Cranberry & Clementine Sparkler

How many glasses of elderflower cordial can one woman drink during the course of her pregnancy? I’ve loved elderflower since I was a little and used to help my granny make big batches of the stuff. We’d spend a morning picking the delicate white buds from the bushes around the apple farm, snaring any high up branches with her walking stick, before heading home for lunch. The picked stalks would steep in water, citrus peel, a slightly scary amount of sugar and citric acid, the odd stray bug bobbing on the surface until it all got strained into bottles of sweet, floral cordial. It’s safe to say I’m a big elderflower fan, and I love that it’s offered everywhere as the non-alcoholic option of choice, but eight months into this pregnancy and it feels like time for a change. Plus, it’s Christmas.  Continue reading

Festive Chocolate Fudge

Festive chocolate fudge

Aside from a family sized tub of Celebrations (which disappeared with alarming speed), this fudge is the first sweet treat to pass through our brand new kitchen. We moved in last Thursday and while I’m eager to share some photos with you all, there hasn’t been a moment to take them in between long dark evenings and party-packed weekends. Suffice to say I’m thrilled with the vast new expanses of work surface and storage, our beautiful ceramic sink and a fridge big enough to fit all sorts of little loaf delights. Now, let’s talk fudge.

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Gingebread Blondies with White Chocolate Chunks

Gingerbread Blondies recipe

In a previous post about blondies I brought up the age old debate about blonde vs. brunette. Blondes, they say, have more fun but in the edible stakes, brownies definitely have the upper hand. There are far more recipes for brownies than blondies on this blog, and if you cast your net wider to google, a ‘brownie’ search returns 45 million results; blondies fewer than 2. But what about that elusive third category, the much-maligned, often forgotten but every bit as delicious ginger? Continue reading

Frangipane Mince Pies (+ Mincemeat-Free Alternative)

Frangipane Mince Pies

The first time I saw a frangipane mince pie, I fell a little bit in love.

To put this in context, I’m not much of a mince pie eater. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that I’d take chocolate, caramel or creamy desserts over boozy dried fruit any day of the week: an indifference to festive desserts that extends to both Christmas pudding and cake. If a mince pie is all that’s on offer, I’ll probably end up eating it (top removed, filled with copious amounts of brandy butter then replaced) and I do enjoy the ritual of baking them at this time of year, but getting excited about a recipe? It doesn’t tend to happen. Continue reading

Festive Fig Rolls with Orange, Honey & Cinnamon

Festive Fig Rolls

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If my husband happened to be said man, you could pretty much guarantee his affection for life with a humble packet of fig rolls.

When he was little, Carnivorous Husband’s mum would always buy two packets of fig rolls at the supermarket: one to keep in the cupboard and one for my hungry husband-to-be to consume in one sitting. A couple of hundred miles away, at a similar age and unaware at this point that he even existed, I took a similar approach to a freshly baked loaf of bread. Some treats, it seems, are made to be savoured, others to be eaten in enormous quantities. Continue reading

Mini Chocolate Amaretto Yule Logs

Chocolate Log via @thelittleloaf

Flourless chocolate sponge filled with chocolate amaretto cream

When did food start getting smaller? I’m not talking super-sized fries or ridiculous restaurant portions here (global obesity statistics suggest that serving-size is anything but under control), but pre-packaged foods: the biscuits, chocolate bars and ice creams of this world.

The other day Carnivorous Fiancé was feeling a little bit under the weather. Food being my go-to solution for many of life’s smaller problems, I popped to the shops to buy him our ultimate childhood treat: a mint cornetto. Pulling it out of the freezer cabinet I was taken aback by how small it seemed, a thought only compounded by seeing it in Carnivorous Fiancé’s (much larger) hand as he polished it off in a matter of mere bites. Continue reading

Chai Spiced Syrup, Apple Cinnamon Crisps & an Innocent Mocktail

Winter Apple Mocktail

Sparkling spiced apple juice topped with a snowflake biscuit

This Sunday, I reached saturation point.

It’s that time of year when, with the holidays just around the corner, everyone begins to let their hair down. Christmas parties take place, the champagne starts flowing and the number of chocolates in the office outnumbers employees by fifteen to one.

Last week’s festivities culminated in a weekend of celebrations: a friend over from Australia, another one heading off there (what is it with my friends and Oz?), Carnivorous Boyfriend’s DJ debut and a big birthday meal. Christmas treats were baked (more on that later this week), sleep was lost and alcohol consumed. By Sunday evening, a mocktail felt not just desirable, but really rather necessary. Continue reading

Gingerbread Lime Ice Cream

Gingerbread ice cream

Soft, spiced gingerbread with the kick of sweet, sharp lime

When something goes wrong in the kitchen, what’s your default solution? Are you the inquisitive person who keeps consuming what they’ve made until over half is gone, trying to ascertain exactly what it is that doesn’t taste quite right? Do you shower everything in icing sugar and hope that no one notices? Do you calmly set the failure to one side and start the whole process from scratch? Or do scrape whatever it is into the bin in a fit of fury, never to be spoken of again?

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Chocolate Christmas Wreaths

Chocolate biscuit cake

‘C’ is for Christmas – the perfect festive chocolate treat

Saturday marked the official start of Christmas in the little loaf household.

We went in search of an oversized tree, cranked up the cheesy tunes, cracked open some bubbles and spent the afternoon stringing up lights and debating between different baubles. I baked a batch of gingerbread (which was delicious, but not quite perfect enough to make an appearance on the blog just yet) and the flat was filled with warmth, laughter and the scent of spices. Continue reading