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

ROASTED BALSAMIC STONE FRUITS | MAGPIE + MAPLE  ROASTED BALSAMIC STONE FRUITS | MAGPIE + MAPLE

The end of summer and beginning of autumn may be my favourite time of year — it’s warm and beautiful, with enough summer sunshine left over but also a breeze of coming change and exciting new beginnings. I only have a few lazy weeks left before officially embarking on adult life, aka the world of work, but on bright, warm September days like this one I can almost believe I’ll be young and free forever.

It’s also the most abundant time of year for fresh produce and therefore one of the most exciting months for foodies; there is just so much in season! Stone fruits are some of my late summer/early autumn favourites, though, as they’re so sweet and succulent and flavoursome. Roasting brings out even more flavour, and with a little coconut sugar to caramelise them and a splash of balsamic to really enhance the tasting experience, they really are perfect. I served this warm for breakfast alongside homemade coconut yogurt (recipe here or here or here, take your pick!)  but it would work equally well as a dessert with ice cream, and maybe a sprinkling of granola. View Full Post

It’s the first of September, and that makes it officially cookie season. I know what you’re thinking: cookies don’t have a season. Cookies are for all year round. And that’s true – but isn’t there something slightly autumnal about cookies?

Maybe it’s because freshly baked cookies — so fresh that they crumble as you hold them and burn your fingers and tongue — always remind of the fall semester I spent at Princeton. The campus there had an underground cafe serving free tea and cookies during certain hours of the afternoon, and again late at night; there was nothing better on chilly autumn days — especially when it was -10 celsius outside and the icy wind cut like daggers against any exposed skin — than to come in out of the cold, stamp the snow of our boots, and warm our frozen hands with steaming mugs of tea and buttery cookies. We English girls may have balked at the way the Americans made their tea, using warm rather than just-boiled water and adding honey to English Breakfast, but they certainly know how to make chocolate chip cookies. View Full Post

A leisurely breakfast is the ultimate symbol of luxury. It means a slow and gentle start to the day; a morning of lie-ins, no alarms, no urgency, nowhere to be. It was the best thing about post-finals life. There was such a novelty about being able to wake naturally, fully refreshed, not feeling tired from the moment I opened my eyes ; I could take my time, and eat my breakfast of choice in PJs on my window seat, soaking up the sunshine and watching the world go by.

I made waffles for the first time the night the lawyers finished finals. It was in the middle of a June heatwave, and I excitedly unwrapped my new waffle maker as the hot afternoon gave way to a balmy evening. I was envisaging a quiet night, experimenting with my new gadget, but conceded to a game of croquet with the jubilant lawyers and before I knew it we were all lying on the croquet lawn amidst empty bottles of champagne, laughing up at the sky as the long evening light faded to star-studded blackness. The waffle batter was forgotten until I returned to my room in the early hours and decided it was a perfect time to make waffles. Until it wasn’t, and I slept instead.

My waffle-making and I have come a long way since that first hedonistic experiment, but now that the highs and lows that made up Oxford life are a thing of the past, waffles serve as an eternal testament to post-finals champagne-filled summer nights and getting up at midday for pimms parties and punting (do I sound pretentious yet?). It was a luxurious time after the never ending nightmare of finals, and waffles will always taste like that feeling now. If you need a moment of luxury, make these. Invite friends round for brunch. And don’t forget the champagne. View Full Post