Time both flies and stands still when you have a newborn. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been home from hospital for over a month, that Nino will be six weeks old on Friday and while I feel like we’re really beginning to get to know this little personality, at the same time he changes on a daily basis. Life is sweet, if more than a little sleep deprived, and I know I’ll look back on these weeks in the months to come and wonder where they went. Continue reading
No new recipe today, we’ve had our hands more than full with this little tyke. But before he emerged into the world, I made a short film with the brilliant guys at Copper Productions which I wanted to share. Now that Nino is here, it’s hard to imagine life before our baby boy but there he was, snoozing inside my eight month bump and providing an excuse for second (ok, third) servings of the pear and pecan treacle tart featured at the end of the video. 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
After spending my first year of university in catered halls of residence, I lived in a house with seven of my very best friends for the remaining two. A single oven, fridge and hob between seven meant certain limitations on our culinary exploits and sharing took on a whole new meaning. I’ll never forget the exchange between one friend who discovered that the lasagne she’d lovingly made to share with her boyfriend had mouse-like nibbles taken out of it and the other who – more night owl than mouse – had drunkenly dug into it the night before and then promptly forgot. Continue reading
Soft, sweet frangipane studded with drunken plums
After all the festivities of the past week or so, it might seem a little indulgent for my first post in 2013 to feature ‘drunken plums’. But rather than being anything overtly boozy, this fruit is roasted in just a little brandy, butter and sugar, improving on the flavour and sweetness with such subtlety that it’s pretty difficult to detect. So difficult, in fact, that I could have simply called this ‘Plum Frangipane Tart’. However, there’s something wonderfully satisfying about the sound of a drunken plum . . . Continue reading
Summer is coming to an end.
While the last few days have seen warmer temperatures and clear blue skies, there’s an autumnal note in the air. Darkness draws in earlier each evening and there’s a coldness first thing in the morning, a reminder of frosts to come in the not too distant future. Holidays in Spain and Italy are fading to a distant memory of long, lazy days, hazy heat, bare limbs in the evening breeze.
But I’m not letting go without a fight. Continue reading
Crisp pastry, a sharp layer of lemon & pillows of light mascarpone cream
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better – Samuel Beckett
I think that awful moment when a recipe goes wrong is one that we can all relate to. While some people may have many more of these moments than others, whether you’re working in a Michelin starred restaurant or a Bridget Jones-type sheepishly scooping string from a blue soup, you’ll have experienced the horror of a major recipe fail in one way or another. Be it an overflowing tart tin, a sunken cake, a loaf left in the oven too long or mistakenly substituting sugar with salt, everyone is subject to these kitchen mishaps once in a while. Not everyone admits to them, of course, but they definitely do happen.
While no-one wants their cooking to be a catalogue of complete disasters, failure isn’t always such a bad thing. Experimentation – whether planned or otherwise – leads to innovation, and some of the world’s favourite foods can be attributed to the fortuitous mistakes of their creators – just think of Ruth Wakefield’s discovery of the chocolate chip cookie when pieces of chocolate in her Butter Drop Dos failed to melt properly. A world without the chocolate chip cookie would be a very sad place indeed. Continue reading