A couple of weeks after Nino turned one, I’d weaned him fully onto cow’s milk. For someone who wasn’t sure how easy it would be – before getting pregnant I’d always assumed there was some sort of ratio between boob size, quantity and quality of milk produced (there isn’t) – I’m super proud to have breastfed my baby for over a year. It’s a controversial topic, and some mums choose to feed on demand for a whole lot longer whilst others are on bottles of formula from the get go, but for me it’s been a wonderful experience. Crazy, beautiful, physical and emotional, tough at times but a brilliant journey that’s reconnected me with my body, our baby and afforded me hours of quiet contemplation in an otherwise hectic year. Continue reading
As I sit here writing, Nino is snuggled across my chest in his baby sling, pinky finger pointed and forehead slightly furrowed. Although he’ll now grace us with a gummy mega watt smile when we’re particularly entertaining of a morning, his everyday expressions tend towards the sterner, more concerned. These old man mannerisms seem fairly typical of newborn babies, but I also think there’s a contemplative personality growing behind those long-lashed eyes. Continue reading
Every week when my blog goes out, I’ll get an email from my Dad. Aside from the spelling and punctuation which, as an ex-publisher, he always picks up on, the messages range from complimentary to longing: ‘looks delicious’, ‘definitely not on my diet!’, ‘reminds me of our trip to X’ or ‘I wonder if your mum might make me that.’ Dad, I’m afraid to say this definitely falls into the ‘not on my diet’ category. Everyone else, if you’ve given up sweet stuff for Lent you might want to look away now . . . Continue reading
Dark chocolate & peanut sponges layered with caramel
Back in 2006, Anthony Worrall Thompson‘s ‘Snickers Pie‘ was labelled ‘one of the unhealthiest recipes ever published’ by the Food Commission. At a whopping 1,250 calories per serving and with no less than five super sweet chocolate bars chopped into it, this puff pastry crusted creation was cited as an example of chefs’ irresponsibility with regards to calorie control and our increasingly unhealthy attitude to what constitutes home baking.
Fellow food blogger Jamie Schler recently wrote this interesting piece for the Huffington Post bemoaning the wave of boxed brownie mix, chopped up chocolate bars and cans of frosting masquerading on blogs around the world as home baked treats. While I’m not averse to the odd Oreo crumbled into a blondie or topping a cupcake with fizzy cola bottles, I absolutely agree with her that baking should be about creating things from scratch. It may not make them calorie-free, but using real butter, free range eggs, seasonal fresh fruit and natural colourings in all my recipes is important to me and feels a world away from the oleaginous Worrall-Thompson’s sickly sweet idea of dessert. Continue reading
Dark chocolate cups encasing rich peanut ice cream & studded with peanut butter pieces
If I ask you to describe your most memorable ice cream experience, what immediately springs to mind?
To start off, you might want to put it in context – a European holiday, the lazy heat of a summer’s afternoon, a long queue snaking down the street as you wait patiently for the ice cream van or a stolen after-school treat, still solid from the freezer and stuck to its flimsy paper packaging.
Flavour is likely to come next on the agenda. You might be a plain vanilla kind of person, a die-hard chocoholic, or someone with a preference for all things fruity. The ice cream in question might be smooth and simple, or packed with bits – chocolate, nuts, flakes of this, flecks of that and swirls of sticky sauce. Continue reading
Salty chocolate & caramel macarons
There’s no denying it, the Americans know how to do dessert. The rise of mouthwatering confection meccas like The Hummingbird Bakery means we’ve come to think nothing of putting away giant slabs of brownie, cupcakes smothered in inches of icing and whoopie pies the size of cricket balls. Dessert has become super-sweet, super-sized, and certainly not subtle.