Sticky Cider Pecan Cakes with Cinnamon Ice Cream & Salted Caramel

ginger cupcakes

Individual nutty sponge cakes smothered in salted caramel sauce

How to turn a cupcake into something just that little bit more special.

  1. Bake it straight into a non-stick muffin pan for contrast between the outer edge and fluffy middle
  2. Cram it full of crunchy pecans, fiery ginger, a pinch of cinnamon and a splash of cider
  3. Smother it in sticky caramel sauce, lifted with a generous sprinkle of sea salt
  4. Give it the dignity of calling it a little cake, not a cupcake

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Caramelized Brown Bread & Pecan Ice Cream

brown bread ice cream

Smooth, creamy custard swirled with crunchy nuggets of brown bread

Fact: Britains throw away over four million tons of edible food every year.

Do you know what’s number one on the list of wasted products? Bread. Approximately one third of this beautiful crunchy-crusted, tender-crumbed, breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner staple purchased is binned by households on an annual basis, at a cost to the country of over a billion pounds.

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Treacle Tart Ice Cream with Rosemary Sea-Salt Pastry

Smooth, sweet ice cream with chewy chunks of treacle tart filling & crunchy buttered pecans

In between school and university I took a year out. I’d originally intended to head straight on to my next level of studies, but as friends around me started to plan their various adventures abroad, it dawned on me that this kind of opportunity is pretty much once in a lifetime. When again, until you’re of retirement age, do you get the chance to take a whole year to yourself, to see the world, try new things, do what you want and go where you please?

I spent the first half of the year working in this restaurant to save money for my trip. Working long hours on London wages and living at home with no rent, I managed to save up enough to spend the next three months in South America and another two in Thailand and Australia. The year was unforgettable and –  as with most of my memories – could easily be measured in experiences with food; from clearing tables and calling checks to drinking pisco sours and eating ceviche, discovering pad thai and tom yum, picking beetroot out of sandwiches (the downside of Australia . . .) and enjoying BBQs on the beach (. . . the definite up-side). Surprising then, that with all the unusual sights, sounds and smells on offer, one of my most enduring memories of food from our travels is that of the ice cream. Continue reading

Pear, Pecan & Brown Butter Tart with the Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream

pear_pecan_tart

Crisp pastry, nutty caramelized custard & soft sweet pears – the perfect dessert

With Christmas just a distant memory and Spring still a fair way off (despite the bizarrely unseasonal arrival of  daffodil or two), it feels like comfort food should be firmly on the foodie agenda. I was therefore excited to discover that over the coming weeks The Guardian will be giving away a series of 36 collectable recipe cards tackling this very subject. With contributions from seven stellar chefs including Yottam Ottolenghi, Angela Hartnett and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the recipes on offer look set to be a little more exciting than your standard soups and stews, promising to inject some serious flavour into the dark, cold evenings ahead. Continue reading

Death by Chocolate Halloween Tombstone Brownies

chocolate_brownies

‘Death by chocolate’ brownies with edible white chocolate skull & crossbones

The majority of my Halloween memories can be measured in food. Whether bobbing for apples or dipping them in sticky toffee, biting doughnuts from a string or simply counting through a treasure trove of trick-or-treat sweets, my relationship with this spooky celebration is all about the edible.

And reading through some of my favourite foodie sites in recent weeks would suggest I’m not alone. There’s hardly a blog out there that hasn’t produced some kind of Halloween-themed treat; from  spooky spiderweb cupcakes to ghostly meringues, witch’s finger biscuits to candy corn and more variations on toffee, apple and pumpkin (think pies, cheesecakes, fudge, brownies, muffins and more) than you could make in a lifetime. Continue reading