Flour. Yeast. Water. Salt. These are the ingredients that real bread is made from. A drizzle of olive oil if you’re making pizza, perhaps, a handful of oats or wheatgerm for flavour, nuts and seeds or dried fruit for texture. Real bread goes from oven to table in minutes. It starts life on the kitchen counter, serves several meals then is either eaten or repurposed to thicken soup, as crumbs to coat fish, or crusts saved in the freezer. Real bread doesn’t sit on a shelf for a week, stuffed with synthetic fats, stabilisers and mould inhibitors to allow it to do so. It doesn’t live as long again in your kitchen, sliced and stodgy and sweating slightly in its plastic wrapper . Continue reading
When Nino was just seven weeks old, two weeks before his open heart surgery, we hired a professional photographer to capture a morning in the life of our little family of three. Those newborn days disappear so quickly that it felt like a precious and important milestone to mark, and, with the operation (hopefully) far behind us, I can now admit I was also scared that those happy moments could be some of our last. This world we live in works in weird and wonderful ways, and two thirds of a year later here we are, happy as can be. A little sleepless, perhaps, but I’d rather be kept awake at night by a bouncing ten month old with a lust for life than intangible fears for its future.
When the same photographer got in touch to say she was keen to capture the preparations of a few families in the run up to Christmas, we jumped at the chance. She describes her photos as ‘imperfect, real, crazy, messy, funny, impossible, bonkers’ and ‘one of the best future gifts you could give to your children’ and I couldn’t agree more. A baby’s first Christmas is an incredibly magical time, and although it will stay etched in my memory forever, I’m so happy Nino will now have something special to look back on too. Continue reading
When we were first sent home from hospital with Nino I was tasked by the staff with fattening him up before his open heart surgery. There’s something statistically significant about a baby weighing over 5kg in terms of operation survival rates and, although we weren’t aware of it at the time, Nino’s abnormally complicated network of coronary arteries meant it was even more important that he pack on the pounds. In those early days before his heart was re-plumbed, helpless to fix him myself, food was truly my love language to our little boy. Continue reading
Despite a coupe of un-seasonally warm days, it’s starting to feel like autumn round here. My evening walk with Nino is bathed in hazy light, it’s dark by the time that supper swings round and those 6am wake up calls? Like the middle of the night. Comfort food feels like the order of the day and dark mornings call for warm breakfast bowls. Nino and I tend to share blueberry porridge made with flaked oats and quinoa, dolloped with thick greek yoghurt and a spoonful of nut butter, but this week I’ve branched out and made a batch of creamy barley to last us several days. Cooked until tender with homemade hazelnut milk and topped with honey roast figs, this nutty grain makes for a delightful porridge substitute and one I’ll be making time and again in the months to come. Continue reading
I’m sure I’ll regret writing this, but for the last few nights Nino has been sleeping better. All that restorative snoozing means he’s bright eyed and bushy tailed the wrong side of 6am most mornings but, while exhausting in its own way, this has encouraged us as a family to make the most of our extra long days. Yes, we may be ready for lunch come 11am, but we’ve also packed in an exercise video or two, a walk round the park, breakfast, snacks, stories, several rounds of coffee, four outfit changes and maybe managed to read a blog or two. On a good day I might even use the time while Nino is down for his first nap to post a recipe of my own . . .
Today, I’m afraid, isn’t one such day: we’re off to Italy on Sunday and in between some freelance recipe development and raising said little human, I haven’t had a chance to successfully re-test and photograph my latest creation. What I do have, however, is a round up of my top ten Italian recipes from the archives. I can’t take you all to Italy with me, but this is hopefully the next best thing. We’re planning to eat pretty well while we’re away – including my birthday meal out and experimenting with a brand new pizza oven (which I’m inordinately excited about) – so do hop on over to Instagram and follow me if you’d like the latest updates. 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
As year’s go, 2015 has been pretty big. I published my first cookbook. Luke quit his job to pursue the career of his dreams. And we’ve made nine tenths of a human being, the littlest addition to the loaf family due to arrive at the beginning of February 2016.
It’s also been an amazing year of eating. There were trips to Paris, St. Lucia and Tuscany which, as our holidays always do, revolved almost entirely around food; we’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries at some incredible restaurants; and of course we’ve eaten all sorts of deliciousness from the comfort of our own home (see this list of the cookbooks I’ve been loving in 2015). A fair few new favourites have also made their way onto the blog, so as 2015 draws to a close, here are the ten most viewed recipes by you, my readers. I’ve already got a bunch of ideas up my apron sleeve for 2016, but if there’s anything specific you’d like to see in this space, please do let me know in the comments below! Continue reading
Last Thursday I catered the launch party for Homemade Memories. I’m always cooking for friends and family, carting cakes across the country and helping out at parties, but feeding over 100 people? That’s an altogether more serious situation. I knew I wanted to share sweet treats from the book, but not wanting people to OD on sugar, I decided to include some favourite savouries as well. 1,000 canapes later (5 savoury, 5 sweet per person) I’m pleased to confirm that I proudly upheld my Mum’s party tradition of ‘never knowingly under-catered’. Continue reading
‘If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done before’ – Thomas Jefferson.
This time last year I’d just signed a cookbook deal with my publisher, Orion. I had an enthusiastic editor, a slightly scary deadline and a rough proposal consisting of 100 recipes – some of which I could make with my eyes closed, most of which I’d only tasted in my dreams. Thousands of words, dozens of kilos of butter, sugar, cream and chocolate and countless sleepless nights later, I’m slightly speechless to confirm that I DID IT!!! Continue reading
2014 has been a bit of a whirlwind. All-time highs have been accompanied by unexpected lows, but as the year draws to a close I’ve got my sights on nothing less than an epic 2015. Exciting things are afoot – not least the release of my very first cookbook (look out for a cover reveal in January) – but before we get there, here’s a little round up of my ten favourite recipes and posts from the year just gone. Continue reading