Does your morning routine change with the seasons? I find mine does. I’m not one to leap chirpily out of bed at any time of year, but the darker mornings make me even less inclined to do so. Whereas in summer I’m content to wander downstairs in light pyjamas and blend up a cold smoothie, even drinking it outside on the patio on particularly sunny days, the chillier autumn mornings mean that getting from duvet to dressing gown is a test of mental strength and the journey to the kitchen can only be undertaken when well wrapped up.

I know you’re probably thinking that it isn’t even that cold yet and I’m being overdramatic. Well, maybe. But either way, icy smoothies and fridge-based breakfasts are dead to me until next spring. And yet it’s not quite porridge season either. Granola is a happy middle ground, but the problem is that I don’t always have granola on hand and when I do, it doesn’t last very long. It’s a perpetual temptation, sitting in the cupboard and asking to be snacked on whenever I’m in the vicinity. Which is why this single portion is perfect — especially as it only takes a few minutes. This, served with almond milk and accompanied by hot coffee, is the perfect autumn morning in a nutshell. Whilst wearing a warm dressing gown, obviously. View Full Post

Summer just doesn’t want to go away. I feel guilty any moment that I’m not outdoors, savouring the warmth of the sun on my skin and the freshness of the breeze and the fragrance of the flowers and fresh-cut grass and the sound of birdsong. It may be the last blue sky we get for another year, for all I know. Any day now the weather will turn, the leaves will fall and the rain will come once more.

Summer was part of the motivation behind this recipe. Crumble is delicious, but it’s a warm, comforting dessert, better suited to cold winter nights than summer picnics. It also isn’t portable – like, at all. Just don’t even try that. Which is where the bars come in.  View Full Post

The best flapjacks I ever had were the ones my history teacher used to bake. We always had tea and cake in our double lessons on a Wednesday morning, passing round the tins of home-baked goodies in between gulps of hot English Breakfast tea and discussions of trade union history, trying not to spill anything down our blazers or get buttery fingerprints on the pages of the textbooks. It was one of the best lessons of the week, especially in the depths of winter, when the sustenance and comfort it provided was some insulation against the icy classrooms, and we could look out onto the frozen playing fields at the lower school rugby games and feel grateful that we were, at least, indoors. The flapjacks were always a favourite on days like that.

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carrot cake porridge |

I’m back from New York and, although I miss my friends and the time away from my thesis, I do not miss the weather. It is bitterly, bitterly cold, with an icy wind that cuts through every layer of clothing and drives the watery snow sharply into the face, eyes, nose, mouth, and slashes at any exposed flesh. 5 degrees C now feels positively tropical. I’m also happy to get back into a breakfast-eating routine; the on-the-go nature of my visit, little sleep, sporadic eating, and the fact that none of my friends eat breakfast (must be an American thing) meant my favourite meal didn’t really get a look in. And that’s fine – but I’m searching for positives amidst post-holiday blues and breakfast is one of the few.

The first time I tried this, I used far too much carrot and didn’t cook it for long enough, leading to a rather unappetising bowl of congealed oats and raw carrot. I’ve discovered that the trick is overnight soaking — it serves a dual purpose of allowing flavours to infuse whilst softening the carrot, making cooking time minimal. I transferred mine to a slow cooker in the morning and cooked it on high for an hour or so, but I’ve given instructions for heating it over the stove too. View Full Post