December 23, 2013 · 8:00 am
The first time I saw a frangipane mince pie, I fell a little bit in love.
To put this in context, I’m not much of a mince pie eater. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that I’d take chocolate, caramel or creamy desserts over boozy dried fruit any day of the week: an indifference to festive desserts that extends to both Christmas pudding and cake. If a mince pie is all that’s on offer, I’ll probably end up eating it (top removed, filled with copious amounts of brandy butter then replaced) and I do enjoy the ritual of baking them at this time of year, but getting excited about a recipe? It doesn’t tend to happen. Continue reading →
December 11, 2013 · 6:00 am
They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If my husband happened to be said man, you could pretty much guarantee his affection for life with a humble packet of fig rolls.
When he was little, Carnivorous Husband’s mum would always buy two packets of fig rolls at the supermarket: one to keep in the cupboard and one for my hungry husband-to-be to consume in one sitting. A couple of hundred miles away, at a similar age and unaware at this point that he even existed, I took a similar approach to a freshly baked loaf of bread. Some treats, it seems, are made to be savoured, others to be eaten in enormous quantities. Continue reading →
September 2, 2013 · 6:00 am
As you read this I’m on my way to Bali on honeymoon with my favourite person in the world. In my absence, two of my favourite bloggers have stepped in with a wonderful recipe all of their own. First up is the amazing Kathryn from London Bakes. I’d quite like to set up camp in her kitchen so I could eat all the amazing food that comes out of it, but as that might be a little odd (and I imagine my brand new husband might miss me), the recipe for these cookies is the next best thing. Enjoy!
I’m so thrilled to be here today filling in for Kate while she and her new husband enjoy their first few days of married life. My blog and The Little Loaf were started on almost exactly the same day 2 ½ years ago and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kate over the last few years and watching her blog develop into something really quite special.
I know that we share a very similar outlook on food (right down to our mutual hatred of wet, gravy-logged food) and that we both love baking treats using wholesome and feel-good ingredients. Both of us are big fans of using coconut oil and coconut sugar in baking and I think these cookies show just how wonderful these ingredients can be. Continue reading →
August 12, 2013 · 6:00 am
When I was about five years old, my brother and I entered drawings into the consecutive age group categories of a children’s magazine competition. The theme was mothers and their babies and although I can’t remember what my brother submitted, I was particularly proud of my illustration of a tiger, a collection of wide-eyed cubs sitting along the length of her back.
I like to think it had something to do with our artistic genius – although more likely the magazine had such a small circulation that ours were amongst the only entries – but we both chosen as the winner of our respective age groups. Our pictures were printed in the magazine and prizes sent out, each of us receiving a giant selection box of Cadbury’s chocolate. Continue reading →
July 29, 2013 · 6:00 am
After three straight weeks of sunshine (ok, plus the occasional shower, this is England after all), it feels like we’ve actually achieved a summer of sorts. As with anything weather related, this is a hot topic of daily conversation, discussed at length amongst friends, colleagues and at almost any social occasion (especially if there’s some sort of awkward silence to fill).
Some people are praying for cooler weather to make their commute more bearable, some pessimistically suggest that this isn’t going to last while others simply soak up as much sunshine as they can get while it lasts (I’m firmly in the final category). The only thing we all seem to agree on is that they just don’t make summers like they used to. Continue reading →
July 15, 2013 · 6:00 am
There’s something about pre-packaged wraps that makes me sad. The cardboard cousin of plasticky sliced white, they’ve become synonymous with health in recent years, the ultimate ‘light lunch’ on the go, which in reality amounts to little more than minimal protein, soggy lettuce and over-seasoned sauce which weeps into each mean, thin layer.
A homemade wrap – on the other hand – is a thing of joy: puffed and tender, soft with a slight chew and enriched with any flavour you might care to add. In fact, let’s call it flatbread for what it is and allow ourselves to accept its carb-based origins. Bread isn’t always bad. In fact it can be fresh and light and altogether easier on the stomach than the stodge contained within that shop-bought wrap. Continue reading →
July 1, 2013 · 6:00 am
Hands up if you’re the person who always orders the chocolate option for dessert in a restaurant?
Until recently, that was me. In fact I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t seriously consider something chocolate based if you took me out for dinner tomorrow. But as I’ve got older, I’ve started to appreciate other flavours on my plate, subtle sweetness, spice and seasonal ingredients like this simple honey almond cake with strawberries. Continue reading →
June 24, 2013 · 6:00 am
Summer and strawberries go hand in hand. Wimbledon, barbecues and, being a summer baby, birthdays are all synonymous with a strawberry or two in my mind, the season kick starting with that first sweet burst at the end of May.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but memories of my childhood summers are dappled in sunshine, garden grass scorched by the sun as we took turns spraying each other with the hosepipe and praying that it wouldn’t be banned. As an adult, the Great British Summer seems a little wetter, certainly colder, the sky hung with clouds and even edible sunshine kept at bay with our strawberry season delayed by several weeks. Continue reading →
June 10, 2013 · 6:00 am
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 →
June 3, 2013 · 6:00 am
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 →