When I was pregnant with Nino, brownies and ice cream were my Sunday evening indulgence. It wasn’t a pregnancy craving per se: brownies and ice cream are the treat that never fails to cheer me up, my dessert island dessert. But I’m pretty sure I ramped up consumption during those nine months. Ice cream, vinegar, beef mince 😉 This time round, however, baby girl – or the body containing said baby girl, to be precise – has different ideas. Ice cream still appeals but eating it any later than lunchtime simply isn’t on the cards. If you suffer with heartburn outside of pregnancy, my heart goes out to you (quite literally, it burns). So last weekend, after dinner, I sadly ignored the good stuff calling to me from the freezer and – feeling disproportionately sorry for myself – looked to the cupboards instead to rustle up something sweet.
One of the (many) things I love about having a little person in my life is the way he’s made me reappraise my relationship with people I don’t know. Sitting on the quieter side of the social spectrum and living in London where everyone (with a few exceptions) is happy to go about their daily lives without so much as a ‘good morning’, I’m not much one for speaking to strangers if I don’t have to. But it’s impossible not to wave and smile along with Nino’s uninhibited attempts to make friends with any and everyone. Over the past year I’ve found myself striking up conversations in the shops and playground or on the bus. And even the surliest of strangers find it hard not to crack a smile at his full bodied, double handed wave. It’s incredibly sweet to watch. Continue reading
When we were first sent home from hospital with Nino I was tasked by the staff with fattening him up before his open heart surgery. There’s something statistically significant about a baby weighing over 5kg in terms of operation survival rates and, although we weren’t aware of it at the time, Nino’s abnormally complicated network of coronary arteries meant it was even more important that he pack on the pounds. In those early days before his heart was re-plumbed, helpless to fix him myself, food was truly my love language to our little boy. Continue reading
All around me people are making resolutions. Dry January seems to be top of a lot of lists and the favourite question everyone loves to ask a pregnant lady is ‘how hard is it not to drink for nine months?’ To be honest, I really haven’t missed alcohol, but even when I wasn’t pregnant I could take or leave it to some extent. My weakness is definitely treats of the sweet variety and since I believe in Julia Child’s old adage of ‘everything in moderation, including moderation’ we’re kick starting January round here with these tasty little morsels of chocolate peanut goodness.
I’m blaming the succession* of crumble recipes on this blog for the arrival of autumn and a strong urge to cosy up warm with comfort food. The dish itself does the job for a dinner party or even as a single serving. However, I’m powerless to resist topping a classic crumble with a scoop of ice cream, so in the interests of some semblance of health, I’ve been making these ‘breakfast’ style baked goods (and then eating them for dessert).
*Succession meaning two in as many weeks which, when you live with one other person, is a fair amount of crumbly goods to be getting through. 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
‘Any soft drink plus popcorn only £7’. That was the sign we passed as we ascended the escalator to the cinema on Saturday night. Everywhere I looked, people were filling up on sweets from the pick and mix, tiny tubs of ice cream and those slightly scary looking nachos with their lurid toppings and takeaway odour. If you’re in the market for making money, cinema food is a serious business.
Reading this blog, you’d be forgiven for thinking my husband and I live on sweet treats alone. The occasional loaf of bread maybe, but mostly cookies, cakes, brownies, pies and pastry. Looking at the recipes I post, people have been known to ask why neither of us is the size of a house with all this available on a daily basis. The answer, I’m afraid, is that it isn’t.
I bake for special occasions, birthdays and celebrations. The food we eat on the weekend, on holiday and when friends come over is indulgent – these are the recipes I post and which, of course, we eat every last bit of – but during the working week it’s mostly about health in the little loaf household. Green smoothies, eggs and oats are on regular breakfast rotation, I make up fresh batches of salads for our packed lunch each day and our evening meal is always made from scratch with a good balance of protein, vegetables and grains.
Despite being a classic dish from childhoods across generations and around the country, crumble isn’t something I’m tempted to make that often.
Growing up with an apple-farmer for a granny, crumble was (unsurprisingly) always made using fruit from her farm and there’s something about the texture of stewed apple that I’m just not that keen on. Whenever a crumble was served, I’d accept the portion offer, add extra ice cream then proceed to eat my way through the crunchy oat crust, leaving a lonely pile of fruit at the bottom of my bowl. Continue reading
Towards the end of last week, autumn arrived in earnest. Until then, it felt a little like we were living on borrowed time: sunny days and warmth that extended into the evenings even after darkness had fallen (and did so increasingly earlier every day). In my inbox, however, autumn arrived about a month earlier: it’s easy to define the seasons by what fellow food bloggers are raving about and on arrival back from honeymoon my virtual world was a veritable celebration of all things pumpkin. Continue reading