Chocolate Orange, Cranberry & Pecan Christmas Cookies

Cookies

Thick chocolate chunk cookies packed with the flavours of Christmas

How often have you sat at your computer, wishing you could reach in and take even the tiniest taste of whatever baked treats lie in front of you? Of course the recipe is right there – you could most likely make them yourself – but there’s something about an original recipe baked by its creator and given with love that’s just that little bit more special.

If anyone could invent a way of instantly shipping blogged treats on demand, I’m sure it would make them millions. Continue reading

Sesame, Almond & Poppy Seed Tuiles

homemade tuiles

Almonds, sesame seeds & a poppy seed crunch combine in these featherlight tuiles

I like how life has the capacity to be surprising. Sometimes the unexpected occurs and things you hadn’t even considered somehow come to the fore, becoming the one thing you want above anything else.

Last week I went wedding dress shopping for the first time. Having not been the kind of little girl who plans that big day while still playing with her My Little Ponies (what, surely, is the point of planning a wedding if you don’t know who you’re going to be doing it with?), it’s all pretty new to me. And even though Carnivorous Fiancé and I have been together for a pretty much all of our adult lives, it’s only recently I’ve really started to think about the dress.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I first entered the boutique. It’s a little like walking backstage at a theatre, row upon row of white and ivory, silk and satin, swathes of veils and hair clips and trinkets sparkling from every corner of the room, doing nothing to dispel the idea that you really are just an eight year old fulfilling some sort of princess-style fantasy. Continue reading

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

lemon ice cream

Crisp, slightly chewy meringue stirred through a rich lemony custard

The first time I tasted this ice cream, I knew I had to share it with you.

The flavour of frozen lemon is something pretty much everyone is familiar with. Whether you first tasted it in lemon ice lollies, lemon sorbet or even a slush puppy (granita to those of you who are Italian or have ever tried the slightly more sophisticated version of the lurid slop on sale in cinemas around the country), I’m pretty confident you’ll be able to find at least one childhood memory filled with that mouth-puckeringly sharp sweetness, shards of icy lemon melting on your tongue.

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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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Honeyed Pistachio Ice Cream

honey ice cream

Salty, sweet, smooth, crunchy & chewy – the ultimate ice cream experience

‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”

I’m the kind of person who thrives on anticipation. I love nothing more than planning in a project at work, booking in my next holiday or organizing an event (don’t even get me started on the wedding . . .). But sometimes I look forward to the future with such a sense of excitement – whether it’s a weekend of activities or simply what I’m going to have for lunch that day – that I need to take a step back, to remind myself to live in the present and enjoy each moment as it comes. Continue reading

Tiramisu with Vin Santo

tiramisu with vin santo

Rich, creamy & laced with chocolate & vin santo: the ultimate Italian pudding

If you’ve never eaten a seriously good tiramisu, you’ve not really lived.

Unfortunately if you’ve eaten a seriously bad one, you’re not alone.

Despite, or perhaps because of, its reputation for being delicious, Italian food is something that continually suffers from major misrepresentation around the world. But rather than focusing on flabby pizza or pre-shaved parmesan – don’t get me started on savoury, I could rant all day – I’m turning my attention today to all things sweet (surprise, surprise). Continue reading

Alfajores-Inspired Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwiches

chocolate alfajores

Dulce de leche ice cream sandwiched between soft chocolate cookies

Visiting a new bakery is one of my favourite things in the world. There’s the smell, seeping out of the doors and into the surrounding street; yeast and warmth, toasty sweetness, the scent of burnt sugar. Then there’s the sound: busy bakers chatting with customers; slicing crusty loaves; sliding purchases into crinkled paper bags. The soft sound of teeth meeting flaky pastry.
Eyes definitely bigger than my stomach and thinking, perhaps, I could try a little taste of everything, I’ll then drink in the feast in front of me: lines of loaves stacked against a bare brick wall, tiers of incredible cakes, trays of pastries issuing forth from the oven and, further forward, a cabinet of sweets and treats, biscuits on offer in every imaginable shape and size.

Kit Kat Ice Cream Bar (chocolate, malted milk, hazelnut wafer)

kit_kat_cake

Smooth malted milk ice cream layered with hazelnut wafer in a shiny chocolate shell

As I write this post, I’m dreaming of summer sun, balmy breezes, sandy beaches and the beautiful city of Barcelona.

When you read this post, I’ll be there.

Writing this now from my flat in London, it feels a little more like autumn than the beginning of June: wind rattling round the flowerpots outside and rain scratching angrily at the skylights. When the weather’s like this, it’s hard to imagine a place where people live their lives outdoors, where carrying an umbrella isn’t compulsory, and where the sun can be seen without a thick shroud of ever-darkening cloud banked up against the brightness of its rays. Continue reading

Caramelized Brown Bread & Pecan Ice Cream

brown bread ice cream

Smooth, creamy custard swirled with crunchy nuggets of brown bread

Fact: Britains throw away over four million tons of edible food every year.

Do you know what’s number one on the list of wasted products? Bread. Approximately one third of this beautiful crunchy-crusted, tender-crumbed, breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner staple purchased is binned by households on an annual basis, at a cost to the country of over a billion pounds.

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Chocolate & Speculoos Soufflés

speculoos soufflé

Spiced biscuit spread soufflé studded with milk chocolate chunks

Did you know each 15 gram portion of Nutella contains two whole hazelnuts, some skimmed milk and cocoa?

Two whole hazelnuts? I’m not sure which marketing mogul thought up the line above for Nutella’s latest TV campaign, but to me two hazelnuts doesn’t sound like the biggest step towards a healthy, wholesome breakfast.

When I was little we were only allowed Nutella on very special occasions. To be more specific, we were only ever allowed it on holiday in Italy, which my Mum somehow managed to convince my brother and I was the only place you could buy the stuff.  And while my littler loaf self looking forward to the future would chastise me for being such a boring old grown up, I’m glad my Mum limited our intake: for all the Ferrero company might dress it up with nutritional advice and fancy ad campaigns, Nutella on toast is essentially eating chocolate for breakfast. And sugar. Lots of sugar. Continue reading