October 7, 2013 · 7:00 am
When I was about five years old, I took my toy dog to a neighbour’s birthday party. Throughout my childhood a cuddly elephant was my companion of choice so I’m not quite sure why the dog received this special honour: perhaps the elephant was holding the fort in my bedroom. Either way, the dog was present for pass the parcel, sleeping lions, birthday cake cutting and jelly and ice cream.
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June 17, 2013 · 6:00 am
If someone presented you with a ‘seriously nutty’ pistachio ice cream, what would you expect?
To me ‘seriously nutty’ suggests the presence – perhaps even an abundance – of nuts. And in the case of a pistachio ice cream, pistachio nuts. Call me an idealist, but if an ice cream is labelled as ‘nutty’, I’m expecting a whole load of the good stuff. Continue reading →
March 11, 2013 · 6:00 am
Sweet, soft & full of interesting flavours
‘Every time I’m forced to watch [my friends] eat egg whites, I feel bad for them. In the first place, egg-white omelettes are tasteless. In the second place, the people who eat them think they are doing something virtuous when they are instead merely misinformed’.
My attitude to egg white-only omelettes is pretty much in line with the Nora Ephron quote above. After a major custard or ice cream making spree, I’ve occasionally attempted to scale the mountain of leftover albumen by making an anaemic omelette, but I’m almost always disappointed by the odd consistency and insipid flavour which result. Continue reading →
December 3, 2012 · 7:00 am
‘C’ is for Christmas – the perfect festive chocolate treat
Saturday marked the official start of Christmas in the little loaf household.
We went in search of an oversized tree, cranked up the cheesy tunes, cracked open some bubbles and spent the afternoon stringing up lights and debating between different baubles. I baked a batch of gingerbread (which was delicious, but not quite perfect enough to make an appearance on the blog just yet) and the flat was filled with warmth, laughter and the scent of spices. Continue reading →
Filed under Recipes
Tagged as baking, chocolate, christmas, cranberry, digestive biscuit, feuilletine, nuts, orange, pecan, pistachio, wreath
September 14, 2012 · 8:17 am
Salty, sweet, smooth, crunchy & chewy – the ultimate ice cream experience
‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
I’m the kind of person who thrives on anticipation. I love nothing more than planning in a project at work, booking in my next holiday or organizing an event (don’t even get me started on the wedding . . .). But sometimes I look forward to the future with such a sense of excitement – whether it’s a weekend of activities or simply what I’m going to have for lunch that day – that I need to take a step back, to remind myself to live in the present and enjoy each moment as it comes. Continue reading →
May 17, 2012 · 12:50 pm
Take these out of the oven while still slightly wobbly for the perfect squidgey centre
If there’s one thing I admire more than a brilliant baker, it’s a brilliant baker who is also a wonderful cook. While that’s not to say there aren’t a number of people, professionals or otherwise, who are talented at both, baking and cooking involve some fundamental differences in attitude and approach to ingredients and how they are used.
While a chef is generally constrained only by his or her creativity, throwing together ingredients and experimenting with pinches of this and splashes of that, a baker’s art is somewhat restricted by the confines of science: a cake will only rise with the right ratio of fat, sugar and flour; accuracy is key; and following a recipe to the word is important to achieve the right results. Of course baking can still be creative, and cooking is full of scientific detail, but moving seamlessly from one to the other is not always as simple as it might seem. Continue reading →
May 10, 2012 · 7:23 am
Chewy crusted blondies studded with chocolate chunks & toasted pistachios
If asked to describe your favourite food or dish, what’s the first thing to springs to mind?
Would you think about taste or texture, flavour or the way feels in your mouth, the essential ingredients or how it can stir a specific memory and create a certain mood? Would you attach it to a location – a restaurant, a party, a place in time – or remember it through colour, the patterns created on the plate, the image etched in your mind? Continue reading →
August 17, 2011 · 8:30 pm
Creamy butterscotch pecan ice cream in a smooth chocolate shell
Cooking, for me, is all about memories; indulging in old ones and creating new ones. Looking back over previous posts, you’ll notice that the vast majority include the lines ‘When I was little’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to recreate’, and I think this sentiment is somewhat universal. Much of our lives can be measured in the edible; from celebratory meals and birthday cakes, to the comforting smell of a Sunday roast, the zing of an exotic new spice or a single taste which transports you instantly to a certain time or place.
When I was given an ice cream maker for my birthday, there were certain flavours I knew I had to make. Rich chocolate and vanilla – my all-time favourite childhood combination – velvet smooth and dripping from a giant cone; milky straciatella, packed with fragile shards of bittersweet chocolate; nutty gianduja, a slightly more sophisticated take on Nutella, and mint choc chip – for me the flavour of France – piled high in a sundae glass and topped with delicate clouds of crème chantilly. Continue reading →
August 12, 2011 · 8:36 am
A fudgey layer topped with a shiny, crispy crust
When I was young, an old lady at the bottom of our garden used to bring us brownies. Not literally, of course – she lived on the next street along and her house backed onto ours – but I used to love the silly image this reference conjured up; a little old lady tucked away amongst the shrubs and fairies, happily baking brownies somewhere between the garden shed and the compost heap.
This neighbour of ours lived alone – her kids had worked abroad, eventually settling in the States – and every so often she’d come round to babysit, armed with a plate of dark, chewy brownies. I don’t know if it was something to do with the seeming exoticism of her far flung family, but I always associated these treats with America. I knew they were brownies, but their crisp crust and chewy texture felt a far cry from the cakier, fudgey version I sometimes made with my Mum. Continue reading →
Filed under Recipes
Tagged as baking, brownies, chocolate, david lebowitz, dessert, freshly baked, fudge, nutella, nuts, signe johansen, tea time
July 26, 2011 · 7:25 am
Hazelnut heaven: creamy gianduja ice cream sandwiched between chewy chocolate chip cookies
What could be better than a scoop of gianduja ice cream, velvet-smooth and creamy with sweet chocolate undertones and the richness of roasted hazelnuts?
If you’re an ice cream purist, not much. But if you enjoy the sweet things in life on a scale of decadence just tipping into over-indulgence, I’d suggest trying a scoop of gianduja ice cream sandwiched between two crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies. It’s heaven. Or as close as you’re going to get through a mouthful of frozen dessert anyway. Continue reading →