Meringues will always make me think of my Granny.
Not my paternal grandmother – a skilled home baker whose larder was always stocked with a homemade chocolate cake, fluffy scones or knobbly rock buns the size of a fist – but my mother’s Mum. The same amazing woman who would serve stale Maltesers had little interest in baking, producing meringues from a packet and filling them with cream from a can, yet somehow this dessert remains utterly magical in my memory. Continue reading
I’m not very good at surprises.
This may well be one of the reasons why I’m such a fan of baking. I enjoy the precision that comes with planning, the security of weights and measurements and the specific anticipation which comes with the understanding of how a combination of ingredients will work together. Continue reading
On the eve of the French revolution, Marie Antoinette is said to have responded to claims that there wasn’t enough bread to feed the French people with the now infamous phrase, ‘Let them eat cake’. Historians have since refuted this, suggesting variously that it was completely made up, the much maligned queen was misquoted, or that something may have been lost in translation from the French into English.
Whichever way you like to look at it, there’s definitely some sort of confusion between bread and cake. Continue reading
Breakfast is such an important meal, but doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. If an army marches on its stomach, just imagine the unproductive days up and down the country for those who fail to fill themselves up first thing. Continue reading
About twenty miles from my parents’ house in Italy, down from the mountains in a valley where the land rolls gently under golden fields of dinner plate-sized sunflowers, there is a wonderful pizzeria. Serving simple, understated but utterly delicious pizzas, until the age of about fifteen I didn’t even know its name: the doorway lacking in any obvious signage, we simply called the restaurant after the little village in which it was located, a trip to the village and the pizzeria being pretty much one and the same. Continue reading
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
When was the last time you tried to recreate a restaurant dessert at home?
One of the joys of eating out is the complexity of the dishes on offer. I love to cook and bake but it’s not often I’ll take the time to make the numerous reductions, drizzles and sprinkles that often adorn a single plate. Continue reading
Hot cross loaf made with wonderful, natural ingredients
Coconut is one of those ingredients I’ve never been one hundred percent sure about.
As a little girl, I can remember waiting for what seemed like forever at the local fair while my Dad and brother threw wooden balls at a row of coconuts in the attempt to win this exotic prize. Once the hairy husk was prized open and crumbly white flesh exposed, I’d try a tiny nub but soon be distracted by the other edible excitements on offer: burgers from the BBQ, bags of sweets or a stick of candy floss that melted with every messy, fuzzy mouthful. 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