Seeded Soda Bread

Seeded Soda Bread

Wholesome soda bread studded with three types of seeds

Waking up and eating is a joy. I adore breakfast and can’t imagine a day without it, so it pains me that so many people skip this meal on a regular basis.

While people around the world are making resolutions to restrict their diets, I’d like to suggest you add something to yours. If you don’t eat breakfast every day, why not make the time to do so? It kick starts your metabolism, limits snacking and overeating and is recommended by pretty much every nutritionist out there. It’s so wonderfully satisfying to start the day with a delicious meal, however small, and the perfect opportunity to try a whole host of recipes and flavour combinations. Continue reading

Sesame Milk Loaf

white loaf

Soft & golden: the perfect breakfast loaf

Let’s imagine it’s Sunday morning. You’re in bed. The curtains are still drawn where you left them last night but a little chink is letting in just enough light to make you stir. Cocooned in a warm envelope of covers, your eyes and nose peek out over the top and, as you begin to wake, the salty, smoky smell of sizzling meat wafts in under the door. Someone – probably someone who loves you very, very much – is making you a bacon sandwich.
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Sesame, Almond & Poppy Seed Tuiles

homemade tuiles

Almonds, sesame seeds & a poppy seed crunch combine in these featherlight tuiles

I like how life has the capacity to be surprising. Sometimes the unexpected occurs and things you hadn’t even considered somehow come to the fore, becoming the one thing you want above anything else.

Last week I went wedding dress shopping for the first time. Having not been the kind of little girl who plans that big day while still playing with her My Little Ponies (what, surely, is the point of planning a wedding if you don’t know who you’re going to be doing it with?), it’s all pretty new to me. And even though Carnivorous Fiancé and I have been together for a pretty much all of our adult lives, it’s only recently I’ve really started to think about the dress.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I first entered the boutique. It’s a little like walking backstage at a theatre, row upon row of white and ivory, silk and satin, swathes of veils and hair clips and trinkets sparkling from every corner of the room, doing nothing to dispel the idea that you really are just an eight year old fulfilling some sort of princess-style fantasy. Continue reading

Squid Ink & Sesame Baguettes with Homemade Harissa Butter

squid_ink_bread

Charcoal coloured bread is offset by a pat of bright harissa-spiked butter

Black. Not a colour we necessarily associate with wonderful food. Especially those of us who are keen bakers where, unless you’re talking black treacle, black bottomed cupcakes or black cherries (of which I’d argue the latter are really brown and purple respectively), black tends to signify something that has been in the oven too long; in other words burnt.

Try to think of a black food and you’re likely to conjure one of two ends of the culinary spectrum. In the losing category come the burnt items; over baked bread, lasagne left in the oven too long, black bits of onion in a pan that should be caramelized or the singed tips of an otherwise snow-white meringue. At the other end of the scale, black seems to signify something altogether more luxurious; tiny pearls of caviar, dusky black truffle, exotic black garlic or the supposed aphrodisiac qualities of a stick of licorice.   Continue reading

Dan Lepard’s Sesame Seed Slider Buns

mini_burger_buns

Sesame-topped bun rich with soft, sweet onions & packed with flavour

When was the last time you left something in the oven for too long?

Something where timing really matters, that is. I don’t mean slow-roasted shoulder of pork or a melt-in-the-mouth stew – dishes which work well with the odd inattentive slurp and stir every half hour or so – I’m talking food that is measured in minutes, where ‘too long’ can result in a complete catastrophe and clouds of smoke billowing from the cremated contents of your oven. Cakes and cookies, biscuits and bread – let’s face it, pretty much all baked goods – fall within this category; just a few minutes too many can mean the difference between a feather light sponge and piece of cardboard, a lovely loaf and a lump of lead.

The best example I’ve ever seen of something being left to bake for too long involves my Mum and a (now infamous in my family) hot cross bun. When I was little, we’d often have rolls for breakfast on the weekend. Rather than putting them in the toaster we’d warm them in the oven; the bread stayed soft but the butter would melt instantly on impact, making a simple yet indulgent change from the usual toast of the working week. Sometimes we’d branch out – croissants from the local bakery if we were feeling fancy or special seasonal produce such as hot cross buns, but only a few weeks either side of Easter. You might see where I’m going with this story when I tell you that the hot cross bun in question was discovered at some point during the Christmas holidays . . .