Two weeks at my parents’ house in Italy and it feels like we were away for two months. Somewhere around the 15km mark outside the local town, time stands still and you slip into this blissful world where – although the days are packed with swimming and eating and chatting – nothing really happens and nobody else much matters. Looking out across the mountains from the edge of the garden there are a handful of houses in the distance, so small that they hardly look real, and at night the sky is a vast canvas of twinkling stars, all the more visible and beautiful for the lack of electric light. Continue reading
Is it too early to be feeling festive? Because of complications with our little loaf-to-be (see this post) we’ve decided to stay close to our specialist hospital in London this Christmas, and will be celebrating in double family style (my husband’s and mine) for the second year running. Mentioning that we’ve voluntarily spent Christmas with both parents and in-laws together gets the odd raised eyebrow, but if it’s anything like last year, we’re going to have a ball. The three bird roast has been ordered, bedrooms allocated and my phone is full of tentative present ideas. This is a time of year to embrace family, and we’re so fortunate for what we have. Continue reading
‘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
Homemade wholemeal digestive biscuits
Spare a thought for the humble homemade biscuit.
Baking in Britain has never been more popular; in the last few years it’s become a borderline obsession. While some might argue that it never really went away – from traditional tea rooms to high street bakeries, cakes and baking are something inherent in our culture – the recent resurgence of interest has taken home baking in a whole new direction. Spurred on by shows like The Great British Bake Off, The Hummingbird Bakery’s cutesy cupcake creations and the jewel-like confections on show in shops like Ladurée, people at home are taking their baking to a higher level.
Out go the simple sponges, scones and rock buns, and in come the macarons and millefeuilles, fancy fondant decorations, perfect petit fours and triple tier cakes. Increasingly, if we’re going to make the effort to bake we want it to be a showstopper, not an every-day-eat. In a kitchen where chunky chocolate cookies and iced éclairs reign supreme, something to nibble mid-morning and dunk in our tea just doesn’t make the grade. It’s a bad time to be a biscuit. Continue reading