Three years ago my debut cookbook, Homemade Memories, hit the shelves. I adored the process, a labour of love written, tested and tasted during the evenings and on weekends whilst working a full time job. The day after my book launch, I found out I was pregnant and since then Nino has been born and his little sister is cooking up nicely for her summer arrival. I guess you could say this book was my first baby, a trial run of late nights and hard work and ever so slight obsession. When I was working on the book, people often asked how I managed to find the time. But if you truly love, believe in and benefit from something, somehow you make time, whether it’s baking, or jogging or juggling a family alongside a career.
That’s what I’d like to believe, anyway. Recently – most likely due to our house move last weekend – the scales of work and family and personal projects feel slightly off kilter. Suffice to say I’m excited for maternity leave, for nesting in our new family home, spending time with Luke, Nino and our imminent arrival and reconnecting with the kitchen. Everyone knows new baby visits must be accompanied by cake, right? So there will be cake. And scones and biscuits and bringing out the ice cream machine in time for hot summer days spent in the garden without dreaded commutes or deadlines. I’ll be making a lot from Homemade Memories – is it odd to bake from your own book? It truly is a collection of my favourite recipes, so I suppose not. Anyway, I’d love for you to make things from it too, so in the spirit of moving house and discovering some spares (!) plus the thrill of a third birthday and need for celebration, I’m giving away three signed copies. 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
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve spoken voluntarily in front of a big crowd. The first was at our wedding, where it just didn’t feel right to let the men do all the talking. My speech was short and mostly centred around our incredible cake (and Luke, of course), but nonetheless I stood up in front of 150 people and said my piece. The second was at the launch party for Homemade Memories (again talking about cake) and the third was Nino’s naming party. I can’t think of a much better reason to stand up and say some words than your first born overcoming ten hours of open heart surgery . . . Of course I’ve spoken at conferences for work and a few other events as well, but it isn’t something I relish or would naturally choose to do. I’m more of a conversation with close friends or pouring my heart out on the internet sort of person, as this space attests.
But I’m happy to say that I’m excited to be speaking at Stylist Live’s Foodie Friday on 14th October. In front of 150 people. Of course I’m a little bit terrified after months of maternity leave (and wondering whether I can do more than blow raspberries and sing a nursery rhyme or two), but I’ll be talking about food and blogging, two of the subjects closest to my heart. There will be a video (to take up some of my talking time), some slides (so you have something to look at when I forget my words) and of course some delicious Little Loaf samples baked by yours truly. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a whole lo of fun and I’d love you to come along too. So . . . Continue reading
Exactly one year ago to this day, I found out that I was pregnant with Nino. Of course we didn’t yet know exactly who that poppy seed-sized embryo inside me would turn out to be, but we were pretty sure he (yes he, somehow we knew from the start he’d be a boy) was going to change our lives. I still get goosebumps when I think about seeing those two blue lines for the very first time, Luke’s face when I crept back to the bedroom to tell him the news, his giant beam behind a pair of very bleary eyes . . . Continue reading
I’m keeping it short and sweet today but first of all, thank you. For your lovely comments on this post, but also for your emails, texts, Facebook messages and more. I’m overwhelmed by how many wonderful individuals there are out there and truly touched and humbled by your words of encouragement, stories and love.
Today we’re sticking with a carbohydrate theme and a loaf a little bigger than the one currently in my tummy (although he’s doing his very best to catch up with more kicks and wriggles every day). This recipe is originally from Homemade Memories and has been reproduced online by the lovely people at Design Sponge. It’s a gorgeous space and I’m honoured to have been featured. Continue reading
This Saturday just gone I hosted my first ever afternoon tea at Sonny’s Kitchen in Barnes. Having not catered a proper event before – the Homemade Memories launch party doesn’t count in my mind because people weren’t paying – there were a few stray butterflies in my stomach, but as soon as I got into my kitchen comfort zone, rolling biscuit dough and cutting out scones, I had a feeling it was going to be good. 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
There are so many thoughts and words spinning round my head today that I’m finding it hard to put them into any kind of cohesive sentence. It’s been the strangest of weeks, kicking off with a seven page feature in The Times, followed by a recipe and interview in Marie Claire, two in Stylist, this awesome feature in The Guardian and my first ever radio interview, with another to come on Sunday. To say it’s been a whirlwind would be an understatement, and I need a little time for it to all sink in. Continue reading
A shop-bought Jaffa cake is one of those goodies somehow so much greater than the sum of its parts. The cake-y base is drier than you average sponge, the jelly too sticky to wobble and the outer coating too thin for a proper chocolate fix. Yet somehow, combined, these elements make a uniquely satisfying and more-ish mouthful. Better still, have you ever tried making your own Jaffa cakes at home? Now that’s where the magic really begins to happen . . .
Milk caramel, cajeta, dulce de leche or manjar; whatever you call it, sweetened caramelized goat or cow’s milk makes an excellent addition to a cheesecake. Today we’re celebrating so the cheesecake in question contains a whole jar of the sweet stuff, but before we talk recipes let’s focus on the reason for those celebrations. My cookbook, Homemade Memories, hits the shops in four weeks and my lovely publisher is giving everyone who pre-orders it the chance to win an amazing bundle of baking goodies (hurrah!). Continue reading