Summerpud

Summer fruit pudding with lime, and vanilla mascarpone

Summer fruit pudding season has been the longest time coming. The cravings came mid-winter, just before I wrote a post half about out-of-season berries, and stuck around until my twice-weekly supermarket check for those red and blue and purple gems bore, er, fruit.

There’s satisfaction in the fact that the recipe saves a little food waste – I don’t keep bread in the house so I bought a loaf from the reduced section in the supermarket, but for the average person it means using up those past-best slices, and the crusts can be whizzed up into breadcrumbs for meatballs or a savoury crumble. Between that and all the vitamins you’ll be getting, it’s pretty much a virtuous pudding. Continue reading

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Eating Out: Ladies Love Beer at Neighbourhood

We all do different things to unwind. I can’t fathom going for a run to clear your head, or playing first person shooting games for hours. But one of my old post-work rituals was befitting of someone about 40 years older than me and the opposite gender – a nice quiet pub, a pint of ale, and a book. Shoes off and feet up on the sofa like I lived there, it was a sanctuary away from work stress and, crucially, out of the tiny flat I lived in. It’s also where I became “a beer drinker”.

There’s this idea, somehow, that women don’t drink beer, that all we really want is a white wine or maybe a G&T. But, although an adolescence that featured only Fosters or Boddingtons should have put me off, I can attest firmly to the fact that we quite like a pint, too.

Neighbourhood3So of course, when an email landed in my inbox about the Ladies Love Beer night at Neighbourhood, near Stratford, I was quick to confirm that I’d be there with bells on.

I went into the event a little sceptical – purely because my taste is quite specifically the darker, richer end of the spectrum. I’m not into “hoppy”, or “citrus”, and I’m certainly against lagers, which to me often taste more like they should be in the back room of a doctor’s surgery in a sample pot. So I headed off to Very East London, and I was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

The Dinner Bell Monthly Digest

tinyletterHello all!

Just popping in to say this month I’m launching The Dinner Bell Monthly Digest. The newsletter, which I’ll send at the beginning of each month, will feature recipes, info on what’s in season that month, and some tidbits about weird or straight up interesting food news from around the world (this month, bees, and a bit on the history of ice cream!).

You can sign up for the Digest – it takes seconds! – here.

cherries

In Season: July

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appy July! *Looks out of the window*– it’s July, yeah? ‘Cause I’m wearing a long sleeved roll neck at the moment. Ah, home sweet (overcast) home.

The seasons are getting confused this year, not just for us (she says, as she coils a scarf around her neck) but for produce, too. Traditional seasons have been delayed, and, quite bizarrely, we now grow pak choi in Lancashire.

Just like asparagus, cherries in the UK this year have been slowed right down by the weather, meaning they’re unlikely to hit the shelves until late July. But that just means we can get ready for them now, right? Right.

As always, you can find a full rundown of what’s in season each month here! Continue reading

Rhubarb, strawberry & almond crumble

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here are two topics when it comes to desserts that I’ve found will split people: the ideal dessert menu (up to two chocolate options, at least one lemon option, and a soft choice for brace/denture wearers – anything after that is inconsequential) and the perfect crumble.

IMGP20231 copyIt’s a surprisingly divisive dessert, when you get down to it: you can’t deviate much when it comes to a pie, but when it comes to this particularly British pudding, “crumble” can be both its name and what happens to your relationship with your best friend when you realise they’re devoted to some white sugar based sandy monstrosity. Don’t even get me started on a mushy apple filling.

Why yes, I do have strong feelings on this. How could you tell?

Any crumble is a marriage of flavours. The fruit layer, the one that diminishes any (badly placed) feeling of guilt over the butter, will inform the nuances of the crumble itself: the sugars; the spices; the nuts. 

That layer of virtuousness, for me, is a vehicle – an excuse – for a thick layer of lightly spiced topping, made up equally of crumbs, oats, and little balls of what is essentially shortbread. Continue reading