Almost Virtuous Waffles

Almost Virtuous Waffles (easily made dairy-free) // The Dinner Bell

“I,” I declared to my flatmate, four and a half years ago, “am going to get a waffle iron, to celebrate moving to London.”

Spoiler: I did not get a waffle iron. Until this month, when my lovely colleagues bought me one. I am an idiot, and it is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Admittedly, I once said that about a pod coffee machine too, but we have all been young and foolish (and then older and foolish).

Anyway, a waffle habit is a hard one to sustain, due to the fact that a lot of the recipes out there use a load of butter. I mean…enough butter to make a 12-person cake with, some of them. A horrendous quantity.

So! Waffles, made fluffy with egg white, with minimal, and even then, optional, butter. A lil bit of sugar. A good basis for fruit and yoghurt, or avocado and eggs, or cheese, under the grill.  Continue reading

In Season: March

It’s spring, all of sudden, isn’t it? I know this because at the weekend I had to urge to pull up all the sofa cushions and hoover them, a level of domesticity that I’ve exhibited before in my life a grand total of zero times. I had to wait to do it until my hands had thawed out from a chilly wander around a nearby rec, but it happened and I was rewarded with £1.50 in change found down the back of the sofa and crumb-free cushions. Earlier in the day I also realised that the honk of the Canada goose is a lot like my laugh, but that was a slightly less welcome discovery than the coins.

Alongside the gradual change of seasons comes the short wild garlic window. With a softer taste than bulb garlic, it lends itself to a wide range of dishes including as an addition to salad – if you can find it. Thanks to its preference for damp, shady woodlands, in London, wild garlic locations are closely guarded secrets. For those of you lucky enough to have better access to it, here’s some tips for foraging wild garlic, and a whole bunch of recipes… Continue reading

After Eight chocolate mint cake

After Eight chocolate mint cake // The Dinner BellWhat this blog is, really, is a series of love letters about the people in my life, and sometimes to vegetables. There’s even one love poem, about speculoos. It’s never truer than with cakes, and a round cake on here is almost always a food-based emotional outpouring, because I’ll only make a big, proper dessert, big enough that it could almost be a weapon, for someone I really care about*.

This one was for the work wife.

It’s weird, the intensity of the relationships you form at work, with people you see more than your housemates and family. The ones that are right there when things go wrong, and bring snacks to remedy it, and the ones that make you cry with hysterical laughter. Continue reading

In Season: February (Keeping Cosy edition)

In one of the most ridiculous middle-class struggles, I have a cookbook problem. A lot of us –and by “us”, I mean the people who hang out in the food section of book stores, stroking spines and sighing with longing – have cookbook problems. Too many books, not enough shelf space, and a disinclination to actually look through them when the internet is right there. They’re there as a safety blanket, for proper baking days or, god forbid, when the internet dies.

My questions is this – how can we make cookbooks more user friendly, more likely to be cooked from? What will encourage me to follow a recipe instead of whipping out my dinnertime classic, “Stuff in a Pan”? I’d love to hear what makes you use yours, whether that’s apps, making room for the books in your actual kitchen, or an elaborate treasure hunt that encourages you to explore your many, many volumes of Jamie.

The recipe search is harder at this time of year. There’s only so much you can do with a cabbage, and I don’t know about you, but basically all I want to eat is stew…and so, this year’s February round up is all about keeping cosy when it’s snowing outside. Continue reading

Honey & dark chocolate macaroons

Honey & dark chocolate macaroons // The Dinner Bell

There are very few things about modern cookery that actually make me sad. For my dad, the great tragedy is chilli being added to everything – chilli ketchup, chilli chocolate…other things. Some might be disappointed by the rise of burgers, or perhaps by how their native or favourite cuisine has been bastardised as its slipped into the mainstream, like Mexican food expert Diane Kennedy is.

I’m just sad that if you google macaroon, you get pages and pages of macarons, with not a shred of coconut in sight. Instead of golden, moist treats, it’s all smooth domed meringue, glued together with ganache or curd. The humble coconut macaroon has been usurped by the finicky French macaron. Continue reading