Pomegranate Parfaits with Popped Amaranth, Pistachios & Almond Cream

Parfait Bowl

Today we’re talking breakfast (again). Breakfast and whole-grains to be more precise: the subject of a beautiful new book which hasn’t left my kitchen counter since it arrived last week.

Wholegrain Mornings is, at face value, a book of breakfast recipes from food blogger, Megan Gordon. But it’s also so much more than that. Like her blog, A Sweet Spoonful, the book is understated yet compelling, an honest insight into Megan’s life: from the way she thinks her way around a kitchen to running a granola business to a long-distance love story with a wonderfully romantic ending. 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

Maple Walnut Banana Bread with Crunchy Cocoa Nibs

Maple Walnut Banana Loaf with Crunchy Cocoa Nibs

Banana bread with peanut butter is pretty hard to beat

It always makes me a little bit sad to read interviews where chefs explain that they can go days without eating a proper meal. I suppose it comes with the territory of working such strange hours and constantly tasting, testing and tweaking, but it does seem a shame to be surrounded by so much wonderful food and not have the opportunity to sit down and properly enjoy it.

In between school and university I spent six months abroad, working as a waitress beforehand to save money for my trip. Sixty-odd hour weeks and lots of late night shifts meant complete disruption of my body clock, compounded by the fact that the restaurant I worked in refused to serve their staff proper meals in between shifts (a practice completely counter-intuitive unless you want your waitresses wandering round ravenously eyeing up plates of food as they emerge from the kitchen). Continue reading

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites

chocolate brownies

Crispy edged & squidgy middled – everything a brownie should be

This is a recipe for anyone who has ever fought it out over the last crispy-edged piece from a pan of brownies.

I appreciate that this may not apply to everyone. Some people prefer the middle slice, an altogether more uniform and yielding experience, devoid of any edges, contrast and – dare I say it? – character. Of course I’m not going to judge you on your brownie preferences (ok, maybe I am), but they do say that variety is the spice of life and there’s something about the contrast of texture as crisp, chewy crust melds into smooth, fudgy middle that makes a brownie pretty much perfect in my eyes. Continue reading

Salty Bourbon Pecan Squares

blondies

Squidgy, chewy squares with added crunch

When I was younger, owning a drinks cabinet felt like the sort of thing I’d do when I became ‘a proper grown up’. Rather than purchases for a specific purpose, wine bought with only immediate consumption in mind or the bottle of booze that inevitably gets polished off at a house party – if only by some random stingy student that a friend of a friend invited – I loved the idea of a proper wine cellar and being able to choose from my very own wide selection of spirits.

Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

chocolate_tart

A thin slice of this dark chocolate tart is all you need (though you might want more)

This Saturday morning, the sun shining bright despite patches of cloud hanging heavy in the sky, I rolled myself out of bed and headed down to the farmer’s market. Although I love a lazy Saturday morning as much as the next person, there’s something so invigorating about the bustle of an early morning market and so satisfying about bringing home the freshest food to be eaten on the day it was bought that I just couldn’t resist.

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