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
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
‘There are a million and one directions in my waking hours, but I find there’s a welcome habit in cooking, in the routines of the kitchen around which our lives revolve. It’s what gets us going in the morning and brings us back together each night.’
This is the closing paragraph of the introduction to food blogger Tara O’Brady’s beautiful debut cookbook, Seven Spoons. It’s a sentence that seems to sum up her approach and the way this book will work its way into your kitchen. If you’re into cooking, I suspect that Tara’s is the kind of food you’re already making, but a new improved version, introduced with passion and such elegant prose, peppered with little surprises and tips along the way. Continue reading
A shop-bought Jaffa cake is one of those goodies somehow so much greater than the sum of its parts. The cake-y base is drier than you average sponge, the jelly too sticky to wobble and the outer coating too thin for a proper chocolate fix. Yet somehow, combined, these elements make a uniquely satisfying and more-ish mouthful. Better still, have you ever tried making your own Jaffa cakes at home? Now that’s where the magic really begins to happen . . .
This time last year I’d just signed a cookbook deal with my publisher, Orion. I had an enthusiastic editor, a slightly scary deadline and a rough proposal consisting of 100 recipes – some of which I could make with my eyes closed, most of which I’d only tasted in my dreams. Thousands of words, dozens of kilos of butter, sugar, cream and chocolate and countless sleepless nights later, I’m slightly speechless to confirm that I DID IT!!! Continue reading
Are you bored of these photoshoot updates yet? I couldn’t resist sneaking in a few final pictures from the week just gone. So that’s a wrap, the final Homemade Memories photograph has been taken, the last prop carefully washed up, crumbs cleared away and leftovers distributed to my nearest, dearest and hungriest. On Thursday I got the first round of printed pages to proof read and this weekend just gone – in between packing up our whole flat and moving in with my parents for renovation work to begin (phew!) – I set to work on marking up those final little amends.
When I was fifteen I got my first mobile phone. Not your standard smart phone with fancy apps, a camera or even a colour screen; just a pink-cased Nokia brick which I used as a sort of portable telephone box to call my parents. Friends were contacted using our good old-fashioned landline and the internet (including the joy of MSN Messenger) accessed by via our clunky home PC. I didn’t spend much time online and any baking we did was inspired by my Mum’s extensive collection of recipe books, magazine cuttings and a little bit of imagination. Continue reading
Writing a cookbook while you have a full time job is a lot of hard work. Over the last month I’ve spent alternate weeks in the office and at the studio in Acton, with the weekends spent writing lists, shopping and prepping for the shoots whilst somehow also managing to squeeze in a trip to Yorkshire, a family wedding and our first year anniversary celebrations. You know what they say about giving a job to a busy person . . . Continue reading
While I don’t have a new recipe for you this week, what I do have is a little insight into what I’ve been up to during my absence from this space. Last week we spent four days shooting the first set of photographs for The Little Loaf: Homemade Memories (my first cookbook (!), coming out next year). With four photoshoot days down and six to go, I’m by no means any kind of expert, but am learning a lot, fast, so I thought it would be fun to share a few photos, insights, observations and general excitement about the whole process. Continue reading
. . . I’ve been working on the first round of edits for my book. Most of my spare baking time has been spent in front of the computer or scribbling myself notes and any time spent in the kitchen (beyond what we eat on a day to day basis) has mostly focused on re-testing any recipes then testing again. It might be a couple of weeks before I post anything new, so in the meantime here are some more iPhone snaps of what I’ve been working on.
There was also a nice little feature on the little loaf from Sorted Food last week. If you’re new to this space it offers a lovely little recap of my last few years blogging. Just don’t look too closely at those early posts please: they’re a little like a disastrous past haircut in terms of cringe factor.