I’ve been gone two months now. Sorry about that. The transition from unemployed grad/stay-at-home-daughter to independent, employed, financially responsible (maybe) adult has been a tricky one to navigate. Life just gets in the way, you know? I’m left wondering how anyone ever has time to do more than get up, go to work, come home, eat, and sleep. But I’m getting there.

For someone with a food blog, my day to day meals aren’t all that inspiring – to put it mildly. Case in point: this morning’s breakfast was a slice of bread. Literally a slice of bread. Grabbed straight from the bag. Not even toasted. Eaten whilst running to the tube station half dressed, untied laces, wet hair, no makeup, just oversized sunglasses in a desperate attempt to look more with it. Whilst running down the road with a slice of bread in one hand. Before doing my makeup on the Northern line. Lunches are either non existent, whatever is reduced in the local shop, or the (very) occasional sandwich brought from home. For dinner I eat out, have leftovers, or throw the contents of my fridge into a frying pan.

Every now and then, though, I feel like I should make a better effort to look after myself (that’s what adults do, right?) and that to me means loading up on fruit and veg. So I go all out. This is one such example. I got it into my head I needed to get some vitamins and probiotics in me. Which I probably did, in fairness. And I love that citrus is in season, so that was part of the motivation. So I blitzed up an orange, a grapefruit, frozen raspberries and coconut yogurt. The result was a bright, sharp, fresh tasting thick smoothie which I topped with homemade granola, more coconut, and half a mango. It’s not quite as good as being on a beach in the tropics, admittedly. But it doesn’t taste too far off. View Full Post

I’m back from Stockholm, and although it rained the entire time I had a beautiful apartment and the best of company. The ever-present grey drizzle was compensated for by the long hours of daylight and old cobbled streets of Gamla Stan, as well as the fact it provided plenty of opportunities for fika, Swedish for coffee-and-pastry break. The two days were equal parts exploring in the rain and warming up in Shoreditch-worthy coffee shops with cinnamon or cardamon buns, staring out through the steamed-up windows at the blur and bustle of the streets in between sips of scalding coffee. We even braved a rooftop bar, and stoically nursed cognac and champagne cocktails under our umbrellas, for the sake of a hazy view of the Stockholm skyline.

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SIMPLE SUMMER SPAGHETTI | magpie + mapleI’m running around frantically throwing things into a suitcase, having only just realised that tomorrow’s  flight requires a 6.32am train and only permits 10kg of luggage…so just a short post tonight. Which is actually very appropriate, because this recipe is all about expediency. Minimal effort, ingredients, and washing up, but with maximum flavour. It’s also great for days when it’s too hot to turn on the oven but you’re not really on board with the salad-as-dinner idea. That way there’s time to pack, sip a pre-dinner drink in the evening light, and still have a hearty, wholesome dinner on the table in twenty minutes.

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Everything moves slowly. The air is hot, the sand underfoot is hot, the sun is too strong in the sky to move anywhere too fast. I can’t work out if it’s because I’m a tourist in a designated place of leisure, or if the pace of life there generally has a more laid-back quality to it. It’s easy to see why I’m not stressed, lying on a hammock under the coconut palms and swaying gently in the sea breeze. But the way the waiters laugh as they effortlessly hack open coconuts with machetes, or the steel pan players dance to their own rhythms in the midday heat, makes every movement and moment of life look fun and carefree. And yet so many I spoke to work multiple jobs and incredibly long hours. I think about what it is that makes life look easy when it isn’t, then get tired of thinking and order another rum cocktail. View Full Post