Camomile & Cantaloupe Granita with Lime Yoghurt Mousse

Chamomile Cantaloupe Granita with Lime Yoghurt Mousse A couple of weeks ago I turned 29. In true little loaf style, I managed to draw the celebrations out for well over a week, beginning with a BBQ in the rain, through two lunches, dinner with friends and a family meal on the actual day to a romantic meal for two. A pretty good haul for my very last birthday as an unmarried lady (‘single’ somehow sounds wrong; I’ve not been single for over eight years).

The highlight of it all was an evening at Pollen Street Social with Carnivorous Fiancé. I’ve wanted to eat there for ages and thankfully the restaurant didn’t disappoint, from the endless supplies of beautiful homemade bread (so important for first impressions, but sadly something so many places get wrong) to the tiny personalized cake and card they brought over at the end of our meal after discovering that it was my birthday. Continue reading

Chai Spiced Syrup, Apple Cinnamon Crisps & an Innocent Mocktail

Winter Apple Mocktail

Sparkling spiced apple juice topped with a snowflake biscuit

This Sunday, I reached saturation point.

It’s that time of year when, with the holidays just around the corner, everyone begins to let their hair down. Christmas parties take place, the champagne starts flowing and the number of chocolates in the office outnumbers employees by fifteen to one.

Last week’s festivities culminated in a weekend of celebrations: a friend over from Australia, another one heading off there (what is it with my friends and Oz?), Carnivorous Boyfriend’s DJ debut and a big birthday meal. Christmas treats were baked (more on that later this week), sleep was lost and alcohol consumed. By Sunday evening, a mocktail felt not just desirable, but really rather necessary. Continue reading

Apricot & Pistachio Tartlets

apricot tart

Toasted pistachios, crème d’amandes & sweet apricots fill each delicious little tart

Summer is coming to an end.

While the last few days have seen warmer temperatures and clear blue skies, there’s an autumnal note in the air. Darkness draws in earlier each evening and there’s a coldness first thing in the morning,  a reminder of frosts to come in the not too distant future. Holidays in Spain and Italy are fading to a distant memory of long, lazy days, hazy heat, bare limbs in the evening breeze.

But I’m not letting go without a fight. Continue reading

Raspberry, Peach & Hazelnut Eton Mess

peach eton mess

Eton mess reinvented with sweet ripe peaches, fresh raspberries & toasted hazelnuts

Where do you stand when it comes to freezers? Are they a baker’s best friend, a modern monstrosity or simply a necessary evil?

If you like to bake as much as I do, you’ll be familiar with the issue of leftovers. While our household has as large an appetite for sweet treats as the next (ok, possibly ever so slightly larger), sometimes there’s simply more than we can manage. And while one of the best things about baking is sharing the spoils with family and friends, if they’re not around the freezer can be a lifesaver. Continue reading

White Nectarine Frozen Yoghurt Semifreddo

semifreddo

This simple frozen dessert showcases nectarines at their best

A couple of weeks ago, my ice cream machine broke. Having poured a simple peanut butter custard into the turning bowls, I sat back to watch it churn into the soft, smooth, scoopable consistency I have learned to expect. The mechanism whirred unreasonably loudly, plastic paddles slapped pathetically against the sides and forty minutes later my ice cream attempt was in as liquid a state as when it started.

With work, holidays and everything in between, it’s taken some time to get it off to the manufacturer for (a luckily within warrantee) repair. Last Friday I finished up early, packed the two-bowled beast into a large cardboard box and headed off to the post office in the afternoon heat. After a twenty minute walk and twice as long waiting, I was told I’d taken it to the wrong place. No ice cream for me that day (but at least I gave myself a good arm workout).

Continue reading

Raspberry Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache

raspberry cupcakes

Raspberry cupcakes topped with a chocolate ganache swirl

Aga toast is probably the best toast in the world.

Other than that, and the occasional slow-cooked one-pot wonder, I’m not an enormous fan of agas. Aside from the fact that I’d boil to death were we to install one in our tiny London kitchen (that is, if it’s great weight didn’t cause it to fall through the floorboards to the foundations below), they can guzzle enormous amounts of gas and slightly scare the obsessive baker in me with their lack of precision dials and just four basic oven temperatures.

But they do make seriously good toast. Continue reading