I’m hoping a suitably refreshing ice cream recipe in this scorching weather will make up for radio silence the last few weeks. We’ve just got back from two weeks in Italy split between three locations – a dear friend’s wedding, my parents’ house up in the Tuscan mountains and down by the sea in Senigallia, a sweet little town in Le Marche we’ve been visiting since I was seven. Nino stayed up well past his bedtime on multiple occasions, got to play properly in the sea and sand for the very first time, dined in a Michelin starred restaurant and ate mussels, clams, whole prawns (sucking the ‘prawn brains!’ from their heads with unabashed glee), wild boar and rabbit for the first time. We ate equally well, soaked up plenty of sunshine and indulged in the gift that is grandparental babysitting including an – unheard of – day of lunching and lounging by ourselves. All in all, it was bliss.
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
According to reliable sources – aka Wikipedia and the various blogs and websites who have authoritatively regurgitated its contents – the word ‘butterscotch’ was first recorded in Doncaster in 1817. Little wonder my Doncaster-born husband ranks butterscotch in his top three sweet treats of all time (battling it out against fig rolls and lemon sorbet, if you’re interested). Butterscotch Angel Delight is his particular weakness (the boozy version from my book now trumping any nostalgic memories of the nasty artificially flavoured packet stuff) but he’s also partial to a simple sauce – on meringues, in cake or smothered all over ice cream. So when I was recently tasked with creating a ‘Taste of Britain’ for Rennie’s 80th birthday celebrations, I knew exactly what to make. Continue reading
Judging by all the gingerbread, peppermint, cranberry and brandy recipes that have been landing my inbox of late, this simple ice cream isn’t exactly on trend for this time of year. With no refined sugar, no dairy and an absence of alcohol, it’s possibly more suited to the New Year, New You party which rolls around with guilt-incuding speed just as you’re polishing off that Christmas selection box you found down the back of the sofa. But I’m posting it today because, despite its short ingredient list and surprising vegan credentials, this chocolate banana ‘nice cream’ tastes luxurious enough to serve alongside any more indulgent dessert as you celebrate the season. Continue reading
Last night the clocks went back and many of you (most likely those with older or non existent children) may be basking in the hazy glow of a lazy extra hour in bed. Oh how fond yet distant a memory that seems. Now, as we ease into autumn proper with a nearly nine month old in our lives, an hour’s time difference means we may well be woken the wrong side of 6am for the next few days as Nino adjusts to his new routine. Continue reading
Last Monday we transferred Nino into his own room. Six and a half months is a little later than we’d originally intended, but what with three weeks in Italy and then a wedding in Lithuania, it felt like moving him before all that upheaval might just be more trouble than its worth. And while he’s not quite yet a twelve hour sleeping beauty (do these babies really exist, or are they an invention to make us buy books and tear our hair out at ungodly hours of the morning?), I’m pleased to report that our nights are – touch wood they stay that way – a whole lot smoother. I guess if I had been sleeping next to the fridge I might be more inclined to indulge in a midnight feast or two too . . . Continue reading
At its outset, summer seems so long and lazy and full of endless possibility. My birthday falls at the end of July and I’m this season’s baby through and through: the summer months are my absolute favourites and, as August draws in, I start to get twitchy about the darker evenings, the slowing of the sunshine and the way summer produce slowly begins to disappear from the shops. Sometimes I have to remind myself to live in the moment and enjoy each sunny day and outdoor dinner for what they’re worth.
Ice cream, incidentally, isn’t something I feel needs to be constrained to the summer months, but I’m definitely more inclined to want something cool and creamy for dessert when its warm outside. When Oreo got in touch while I was on holiday in Italy to see if I could develop a recipe using their brand new Mint Oreo flavour, I knew that an icy treat was on the cards. Continue reading
Like the Banoffee Pie I posted a few weeks back, I hadn’t planned to put this recipe up on the blog, but an enthusiastic response on Instagram (my most likes ever, where did all you people come from?) led me to believe I should share the details. In fact I’m thinking of starting an Insta-recipe series (Izy does something similar) of treats I haven’t had time to test multiple times or capture with anything other than my iPhone, but which I’d like to log recipe details of for a future me – and for you to try, of course. Continue reading
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
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