Gingerbread Marshmallows

Gingerbread MarshmallowsUntil pretty recently, I thought my marshmallow eating days were long gone.

As a child, I thought they were awesome. Soft on the outside with a sweet, slightly chewy middle, marshmallows came big or small, pink or white (purely aesthetic with no nod to flavour as far as I can recall). My friends and I would buy penny twists with our pocket money, melt larger ones down to make the gooiest rice krispie treats or thread them on sticks before scorching over an open fire. Continue reading

Wholemeal Maple Pumpkin Pie with Salty Sweet Pumpkin Seeds

Maple Pumpkin Pie, Wholemeal Spelt Crust

Seasonal baking is something that often seems to pass me by. Although I’ll eat the occasional mince pie (mostly for the pastry and an excuse to eat an extra spoonful of brandy butter), I’m not the biggest fan of mincemeat, while boozy Christmas pudding, marzipan-filled Simnel cake or stollen leave me pretty cold.

Rewind the calendar a month or so and Halloween, for me, has always been about the bags of sweets gleaned from a trick-or-treating spree rather than any great tradition of pumpkin-based treats. Not surprising then, perhaps, that until last week I’d never eaten, let alone attempted to make, a pumpkin pie. Continue reading

Individual Pear Tarte Tatin

Pear Tarte Tatin A meal, in my eyes, isn’t quite complete without something sweet at the end. At home, in London, I tend to reserve my major indulgences for the weekend, with natural sweeteners and whole grains, yoghurt and fruit featuring regularly during the working week. On honeymoon, however, we threw caution to the wind, eating dessert on every single day. Sometimes even twice. 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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Sticky Cider Pecan Cakes with Cinnamon Ice Cream & Salted Caramel

ginger cupcakes

Individual nutty sponge cakes smothered in salted caramel sauce

How to turn a cupcake into something just that little bit more special.

  1. Bake it straight into a non-stick muffin pan for contrast between the outer edge and fluffy middle
  2. Cram it full of crunchy pecans, fiery ginger, a pinch of cinnamon and a splash of cider
  3. Smother it in sticky caramel sauce, lifted with a generous sprinkle of sea salt
  4. Give it the dignity of calling it a little cake, not a cupcake

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Homemade Graham Crackers

graham_crackers

Sweet, crisp & rich with dark brown sugar – a homemade version of the US staple

When we were little, one of my brother’s best friends was Canadian.

Coming from another country, there were numerous things about this boy which we found fascinating: his Mum made incredible chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis (I’ve explained before that mine was more of the raisin and apple offering inclination); his family had a BBQ the size of a small car in their back garden (which they’d brave even in winter weather to cook the most incredible slabs of meat on); at nine years old his school had never allowed him to use a knife to eat with (bizarre, but true). Continue reading

Spiced Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake

chocolate_mousse_cake

Dense, dark chocolate orange mousse cake topped with a spiced white chocolate layer

Chocolate is one of my favourite ingredients to bake with. Whether it’s chunked and studded through cookies, stirred into the smoothest mousse, melted over ice cream or baked into a dense, fudgy cake, chocolate is an ingredient reliable enough to be called on for comfort, yet versatile enough to always be exciting.

While chocolate and cocoa regularly make an appearance in my shopping basket, it’s rare that I’ll buy a bar to simply eat on its own. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I really enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and combining chocolate with other ingredients, making it into more of a meal or occasion than a snack straight from the packet. However there are two major exceptions to this rule when I (and a pretty a large percentage of the UK population) can’t seem to help but over indulge: Christmas and Easter. Continue reading