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
Firstly — apologies for the two-week absence. What with a hectic new job and a whirlwind trip to the UAE (I’ll tell you all about that sometime. It was a hundred-miles-an-hour trip) there really hasn’t been a lot of time or energy for baking. I’m rarely home in daylight hours so photography is impossible, and my little time at home needs to be directed towards sleep.
Today, though, I’m in PJs all day, drinking hot coffee and eating fresh cookies. And I know what you’re thinking: if there’s one thing this blog really doesn’t need, it’s another cookie recipe. But hear me out. Firstly, you can never have too many cookies. Secondly, these are Christmas cookies. Yesterday was my official playing-Christmas-music-for-the-first-time-this-year day, because although I normally try to restrain myself until 1st December, when you’re still crawling down the M1 late on a Friday night, knowing that there’s still the underworld of TFL to deal with once you actually make it back to London, you need the emotional comfort that only Christmas music can bring. Which means that for me, Christmas season is here. And therefore the Christmas recipes can start to come.
If you’ve been hanging around these parts for a while now, you’ll recognise the basic recipe. It’s my go-to for cookies. Because why fix what ain’t broke?
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Of all the American classics, pecan pie might be my favourite. Its warm, buttery comfort sometimes lured me to Oxford’s famous ice cream parlour, G&Ds, on cold autumn evenings. I’d sit by the window, late into a Sunday night, with forkfuls of warm pie and sips of ice-cream-blended-hot-chocolate, alone with my essay deadline. There was something peaceful and detached about watching rain-blurred fragments of people and lights and umbrellas and colours smear past the steamy windows in the darkness and the rain. Pecan pie, like the parlour itself, was both a part of Oxford and an escape from Oxford. I felt about G&Ds as Holly Golightly did of Tiffany’s; nothing very bad could happen to you there. Not even Monday morning could come for you there.
Fast forward a year, to a different autumn and a different place, pecan pies remained an occasional Sunday evening escape. 10 degrees below freezing and three thousand miles from home, I watched a different blur of people and lights hurry home through falling snow, and felt faraway.
Even the best food grows heavy in a mouth that cannot swallow. But though pecan pie may never have solved any of my problems, it provided moments of warmth and respite in harsh climates. And sometimes that’s all a pie needs to do. View Full Post
It’s courgette season, and our garden produced so many this year that for a while we seemed to be eating them at every meal. Although we’re at the tail end of the glut now, I thought I’d experiment with ways to use up the healthy vegetable while they’re still in season. After all, there’s only so many times you can add it to pasta.
Although it isn’t a novel idea to add courgette to baked goods like cakes, loaves and brownies, it’s not something I’d ever tried before. Much as I love vegetables and advocate eating them in abundance, I’m not a fan of them sneaking in where they’re not welcome. In my experience, ‘healthy’ cake made with things like sweet potato/ beetroot/ spinach/ [insert vegetable here] just don’t taste right and the only people who think they do are those who haven’t eaten proper cake in a decade. Baked goods are never going to be superfoods, so if you’re going to indulge it should at least taste nice.
The one exception, however, is carrot cake; everyone likes carrot cake. Somehow, it just works. So I thought I’d be brave with the courgette, remodelling a Hummingbird Bakery recipe to make it a little more wholesome (and vegan friendly) and I’m pleased to repot that it operates far more according to the carrot cake model than the sweet potato brownie model — i.e., the courgette flavour is undetectable and it just contributes to making a beautifully moist, delicately spiced cake. I’m pleased to report that everyone who tried it loved it, and no one came close to guessing what was in it. View Full Post