When I was a much littler loaf and unable to be left on my own in the house, I used to accompany my Mum on the weekly supermarket shop. Just small enough to sit in the seat at the front of the trolley, I found it so exciting cruising up and down the aisles, deciphering illegible words from a scrawled shopping list and begging for exotic items that we’d never normally be allowed Continue reading →
Soft slices of light rye bread – perfect with cheese or smoked salmon
‘All sorrows are less with bread’ – Miguel de Cervantes.
While I’d like to accredit the infamous Spaniard with being as big a fan of baking as I am, he is, of course, referring to the importance of a full stomach to society in general, daily bread being a synonym for food. Going back tens of thousands of years, bread has been a staple of cultures around the world, playing its part in everything from riots and revolution to tea time treats and the humble packed lunch. Continue reading →
Moist chocolate sponge cloaked in chocolate & rolled in coconut
Saying goodbye can be hard. Any way in which the blow can be softened – if only by butter, chocolate and sugar – has got to be better than nothing.
On Saturday two of our friends threw a leaving party. At the end of December they leave for Australia where they plan to spend year at absolute minimum, more likely two with very little likelihood that they’ll make it back for our wedding next summer. Continue reading →
Smooth malted milk ice cream layered with hazelnut wafer in a shiny chocolate shell
As I write this post, I’m dreaming of summer sun, balmy breezes, sandy beaches and the beautiful city of Barcelona.
When you read this post, I’ll be there.
Writing this now from my flat in London, it feels a little more like autumn than the beginning of June: wind rattling round the flowerpots outside and rain scratching angrily at the skylights. When the weather’s like this, it’s hard to imagine a place where people live their lives outdoors, where carrying an umbrella isn’t compulsory, and where the sun can be seen without a thick shroud of ever-darkening cloud banked up against the brightness of its rays. Continue reading →
Dark chocolate & peanut sponges layered with caramel
Back in 2006, Anthony Worrall Thompson‘s ‘Snickers Pie‘ was labelled ‘one of the unhealthiest recipes ever published’ by the Food Commission. At a whopping 1,250 calories per serving and with no less than five super sweet chocolate bars chopped into it, this puff pastry crusted creation was cited as an example of chefs’ irresponsibility with regards to calorie control and our increasingly unhealthy attitude to what constitutes home baking.
Fellow food blogger Jamie Schler recently wrote this interesting piece for the Huffington Post bemoaning the wave of boxed brownie mix, chopped up chocolate bars and cans of frosting masquerading on blogs around the world as home baked treats. While I’m not averse to the odd Oreo crumbled into a blondie or topping a cupcake with fizzy cola bottles, I absolutely agree with her that baking should be about creating things from scratch. It may not make them calorie-free, but using real butter, free range eggs, seasonal fresh fruit and natural colourings in all my recipes is important to me and feels a world away from the oleaginous Worrall-Thompson’s sickly sweet idea of dessert. Continue reading →
Simple crusty white loaf with a soft, buttery crumb
One of the things I love about bread is its versatility. Even a shop bought loaf can be used in a dozen different ways, from slices of toast to sandwiches, breadcrumbs to bread and butter pudding, the savoury crunch of a crouton or stirred through smooth sweet ice cream. And when you start to bake your own, the combinations are endless – crusty loaves and fluffy rolls, baguettes and baps, sprinkled with seeds, or run through with olives and cheese, fruit, nuts and more.
When I first started writing this blog, I made it my mission to bake my own bread on a regular basis. I’ve since experimented with various different flours and techniques, but the staple loaf I return to time and again is a simple mix of wholemeal and malted grain flour. The latter is fairly forgiving, lending the loaf a lovely lightness of texture and depth of flavour. I tend to do my baking on a Sunday afternoon, and each week a freshly baked loaf of bread makes getting up on a Monday morning just that little bit easier. Continue reading →
Cracked crust with a moist chocolaty centre
Recipe titles are so important. To restaurateurs it’s a question of selling their dishes, to editors a means of making their books and magazines fly off the shelves, to bloggers it’s SEO; getting posts listed high in Google’s rankings and being able to reach new readers. Although it could be seen as a shameless exercise in sales and seduction, a recipe title also comes from the heart, and is often no greater than the sum of its parts. There’s something wonderfully alluring about a short, simple title that speaks a thousand words more than its lengthier counterpart.
Allow me to introduce the chocolate custard muffin. Sometimes you see a recipe and just know you have to make it. This is one such recipe. The word ‘chocolate’ caught my attention, before the comforting ‘custard’ enveloped me in a blanket of nostalgia. To me a chocolate custard muffin suggests warmth and sweetness, flavour without pretension, richness without intensity and a big fat hug in food form. I had to make them. Continue reading →
Fresh, fluffy pancakes with creamy guacamole
‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’ ‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’ ‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.
Reading this quote from A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner, I can’t help but smile. In just a few short sentences, the author manages to capture both the thrill and satisfaction of finding pleasure in food. Any foodie worth their salt (or should it be honey?) will always have thoughts of their next meal ticking over gently at the back of their mind, and after the enforced fasting that comes with a good night’s sleep, there are few greater pleasures than waking up and deciding what to eat for your very first meal of the day. Continue reading →
Recently Carniverous Boyfriend and I have become slightly addicted to Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food. For those of you without Sky, or of a less carniverous persuasion, this show sees self-styled food fanatic and inveterate eater Adam Richman travel round America’s ‘greatest pig-out spots’, meeting chefs and participating in local eating challenges along the way. It’s a button-busting, drool-inducing, sometimes sublime and always ridiculous programme, and while the food challenges would most likely leave you comatose, the places he visits at the beginning of each episode never fail to get the tastebuds turning. From slabs of steak and juicy crab claws to ooey-gooey cheese, slow-cooked BBQ cuts and crispy fried chicken, this is American excess at its very best.
Continue reading →