Peggy Porschen’s Sticky Toffee Cupcakes

the little loaf: Sticky toffee pudding cupcakes

Cupcakes rich with dates & walnuts with a sticky caramel core

When was the last time you saw something on your plate and said it looked ‘too good to eat’?

Usually intended as the highest form of praise, this kind of comment makes me ever so slightly uneasy. As a bit of a baking perfectionist, I like my food to look beautiful, but it should also be inviting – I want people to see a dish and immediately lick their lips, grab their spoon and dive right in. That’s not to say I don’t have a lot of time for food that looks like an incredible work of art, but it really has to deliver on taste too. Continue reading

Individual sticky toffee puddings with vanilla bean ice cream


Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla bean ice cream

In 1990, the world was a very different place. Nelson Mandela had just been released from prison, Margaret Thatcher was still in power, and the Hubble Space telescope was launched into orbit. This was the dawn of the information age, with the world wide web just a year away and science set to change beyond recognition (though it’s fair to say both technology and taste still had a fair way to go). Despite some major world-changing events taking place at the time, media of more immediate concern to my six-year-old self were such pressing issues as which magazine to buy (Horse & Pony, of course), what was on at the cinema (Home Alone), what to listen to on the radio (Madonna’s Vogue) and what to fight with my older brother over to watch on TV.

Amongst the various cartoons, BBC dramas and other viewing termed suitable by our parents, Delia Smith was a firm family favourite. This was an era post Fanny Cradock, yet nearly a decade before the likes of Jamie and Nigella first appeared on our screens, launching a whole new wave of kitchen enthusiasts and the start of our current obsession with cookery programmes. While Nigella flirts and slurps and Jamie rips and rummages his way through a kitchen strewn with fabulous foods from around the world, Delia portioned everything into perfect little pre-prepared white bowls, carefully instructing us step-by-step and introducing the early 90s viewer to such exotic ingredients as anchovies (pronounced with a Loyd Grossman-esque long ‘o’ which always made us giggle). Continue reading

Marco Pierre White’s Kings Road Steakhouse (and the joys of the internet)

marco_pierre_white_steakThe internet is incredible.  Terrifying and wonderful in equal measures, it has completely changed the way we think, communicate and develop on a daily basis. While as a child I found it funny to think that my parents grew up without TV and computers in their family homes, my kids are going laugh at their dinosaur mum who can remember the arrival of the internet, rise of mobile communications and had her first (definitely not touch screen) phone at the ripe old age of 15.

The internet has also had a huge impact on the foodie community. Where once we relied on a handful of suited and booted Michelin men to dictate our restaurant choices and Delia provided the first (last and only) word in creative home cooking, we’re now inundated with photos, blogs, news, reviews and instant updates from anywhere around the world. Pretty much every restaurant now puts its menu online, celebrity chefs and home cooks alike post their recipes for anyone to see and a world of wonderful bloggers write and tweet their way through culinary highlights to suit every taste going. When started blogging back in February, one of the first recipes I made was Dan Lepard’s Tahini Flapacks. I tweeted a link to my recipe post, mentioning his name, and within 6 hours I’d had hundreds of hits on a pretty much unknown blog, gained several followers on Twitter and received a photo from a woman based in the States who’d found my recipe and baked the flapjacks as a teatime treat for her kids that afternoon. All because of the internet. Incredible.

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