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

In Season: January

Chocolate tahini cupcakes // The Dinner BellIt’s a new year! It’s a new you! It’s time to give up sugar, and booze, and fun!

Just kidding. I took these chocolate tahini cupcakes into the office the first day back, then made a massive green smoothie – the kind of broken “balance” logic employed the rest of the year,  but with added glitter sprinkles for some pizzazz for 2017. Instead of resolutions that require an abrupt end to previous habits and tend to drop off after a month at best, I’ll go in favour of better balance, particular with this ace daily goal tracker.

We’re easing into slightly more exciting produce at this time of year too, with forced rhubarb coming in, and loads of green stuff, livened up with sweet potatoes – which are in the middle of their season – and the last of the beetroot until the summer.

Here goes! Continue reading