Crisp meringue layered with fruit and softly whipped cream is what British summers are made for. Nino has recently discovered ‘I spy’, or a two year old interpretation thereof. The game more than often involves him naming a noun (most likely an animal, food stuff or vehicle) then demanding that I ‘do a [insert cat, ice cream, tractor] mummy’. I’ll name the letter with which it begins, provide a couple of clues then wait for his excited answer. Repeat ad infinitum. This weekend we were baking and I kicked off the round with an ‘M’. Clue: ‘it’s crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle and made from eggs. Nino helped mummy whisk it up and we’re going to fill it with whipped cream and blackberries.’ To which he replied, after serious consideration . . . ‘it’s a yummy pavlova’. Well, you can’t win them all. Continue reading
This time last year we were still in hospital. Forty eight hours after he was born, Nino had an emergency balloon septostomy in the paediatric intensive care unit of the Royal Brompton Hospital, a precursor to the open heart surgery he would undergo nine weeks later. I can remember sitting waiting for him to wake from the anaesthetic as if it was yesterday: the flutter and fall of his tiny chest, the sleepy beeps of a dozen life support machines, the artificial light illuminating our twenty four hour world and the sweet nurse suggesting, gently, for the eleventh time that I try to get some sleep myself. Continue reading
While I’d never say no to a mini egg, my Easter dessert of choice nowadays doesn’t tend to involve chocolate. I’d rather something zesty and bright to sit (slightly) lighter in the stomach, something I can serve with fresh fruit, make well in advance and bring out the next day for any friends and family popping round over the holiday. This flourless lemon, almond and ricotta cake fits that bill on all counts. Continue reading
A pile of beautiful, buttery croissants
With just a few hours left until the new year, there’s little left to say other than thank you.
Thank you for your comments and support, for continuing to be interested in what I have to say, for reading and sharing my recipes and for sending me your amazing pictures when you make them.
Rather than posting anything new today, I’ve included a round up of your five favourite (by page views) little loaf recipes from the past year, followed by five of mine.
2012 has been incredible. Here’s to an even more amazing 2013. Continue reading
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.
Almond dacquoise & meringue are layered with lemon curd cream & toasted nuts
A major occupational hazard of baking is the mess.
If you’ve ever left sticky fingerprints on a work surface, mistakenly smeared chocolate behind your ear, walked flour footprints across the kitchen or somehow managed to turn every pan and utensil you own into a pile of washing up, you’ll know what I mean.
My tiny little space for baking might be more hazardous than most. Because it’s so small, every cupboard in the kitchen is crammed to its limit, herbs and spices jostling for space with packets of pulses and only one dedicated place to keep all my baking ingredients. It’s not that I haven’t tried to encroach on other cupboards, but after storing chocolate in the same place as curry powder resulted in it taking on a strangely spicy flavour, I’ve returned to a single space to store my flour, sugar, chocolate, nuts and syrups for fear of cross contamination. Continue reading
The dense, damp, syrupy crumb makes this cake utterly irresistible
This might just be one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten.
Those of you who read this blog on regular basis will know that this is not a comment to be taken lightly. I love cake. I eat it a lot. I live and breathe baking. On our recent holiday in Italy in a round of Articulate the clue ‘Kate loves this’ resulted in an immediate and resounding chorus of ‘cake’, and change one letter in my name and I’d practically be named after the stuff. Cake is very important to me.
Pretty much every year I make my own birthday cake. Before you start feeling sorry for me, it’s absolutely out of choice. I love doing it; the magic of mixing together ingredients, transforming flour, butter and sugar into something that looks and tastes delicious, experimenting in the kitchen, sharing my birthday joy with friends and family and condensing it into a single slice.
Magdalenas have a unique fluffy texture setting them apart from muffins or cupcakes
The most important meal of the day.
The secret to better brain functionality, staying healthy, lowering blood sugar levels and preventing obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.
The perfect excuse to indulge in the pleasure of eating when you are truly hungry.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a good breakfast. In the working week I tend to rotate between different combinations of fruit, nuts, seeds and cereal, adding in yoghurt or milk for protein or substituting in homemade toast with smashed avocado or a scrape of salty butter if I fancy something savoury.
This weekend I’m up in Yorkshire for various family festivities, so I’m keeping this post pretty short. And sweet (of course), which most of my posts tend to be. Continue reading
Crisp pastry, a sharp layer of lemon & pillows of light mascarpone cream
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better – Samuel Beckett
I think that awful moment when a recipe goes wrong is one that we can all relate to. While some people may have many more of these moments than others, whether you’re working in a Michelin starred restaurant or a Bridget Jones-type sheepishly scooping string from a blue soup, you’ll have experienced the horror of a major recipe fail in one way or another. Be it an overflowing tart tin, a sunken cake, a loaf left in the oven too long or mistakenly substituting sugar with salt, everyone is subject to these kitchen mishaps once in a while. Not everyone admits to them, of course, but they definitely do happen.
While no-one wants their cooking to be a catalogue of complete disasters, failure isn’t always such a bad thing. Experimentation – whether planned or otherwise – leads to innovation, and some of the world’s favourite foods can be attributed to the fortuitous mistakes of their creators – just think of Ruth Wakefield’s discovery of the chocolate chip cookie when pieces of chocolate in her Butter Drop Dos failed to melt properly. A world without the chocolate chip cookie would be a very sad place indeed. Continue reading