Apple, Maple & Walnut Cookies

Apple_Maple_Walnut Cookies

This year January has taken its cue from Christmas with gluttonous ease. Rather than observing an abstemious month of little or no alcohol, fewer desserts, low-fat-this and diet-that, we’ve eaten and drunk our way round London, Paris and Yorkshire. A birthday was celebrated several times over with rounds of cake and cocktails, an anniversary with an epic ice cream pie (more on that next week, just you wait) and Paris passed by in a blur of macarons, garlic butter and a Paris Brest the size of a tyre (albeit an elegant, pastry cream-filled one). Today we’re not going completely cold turkey, but these Apple, Maple & Walnut Cookies are at least a step in the right direction.

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Maple Walnut Banana Bread with Crunchy Cocoa Nibs

Maple Walnut Banana Loaf with Crunchy Cocoa Nibs

Banana bread with peanut butter is pretty hard to beat

It always makes me a little bit sad to read interviews where chefs explain that they can go days without eating a proper meal. I suppose it comes with the territory of working such strange hours and constantly tasting, testing and tweaking, but it does seem a shame to be surrounded by so much wonderful food and not have the opportunity to sit down and properly enjoy it.

In between school and university I spent six months abroad, working as a waitress beforehand to save money for my trip. Sixty-odd hour weeks and lots of late night shifts meant complete disruption of my body clock, compounded by the fact that the restaurant I worked in refused to serve their staff proper meals in between shifts (a practice completely counter-intuitive unless you want your waitresses wandering round ravenously eyeing up plates of food as they emerge from the kitchen). Continue reading

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