Summer’s here, y’all! I’ve got hastily cobbled together spring wardrobe to prove it. It would seem this is the year my friends and I have aged – when we got together for a picnic in Regent’s Park yesterday we all took suncream (factor 30 to 50), wailed over the lack of need for the word “listicle”, when “list” is perfectly good (okay, that one was just me), and, in the most ridiculous show of no longer being the partiers we once were, discussed our favourite humous varieties (a lot of support for original, and red pepper).
But seriously, invite us to all your wildest raves, we’re a scream. We’ll be the ones with wine and water bottles.
Anyway, now we’ve had our first scorching weekend of the year, we can start to look forward to those glorious months of abundant produce, beginning with a vegetable that has legions of loyal fans: asparagus. Read More
I might call this “Surprise Victory Cake”, instead of its actual descriptive name, because I did not expect this to work, and my god, it did. It really did.
I just about half-followed a recipe: made the topping up as I went along; tasted and guessed at the spice quantities; set to work bringing it all together with bowls strewn around the kitchen. The mixing stage was nerve-wracking, and for a split second, I wondered if it was a a waste of time and ingredients.
But then I put it in the oven and the kitchen filled with the smell of autumn. Cut into it and found it had the perfect level of springiness, just the right amount of cinnamon and nutmeg flavour.
It turned out to be a cake that you take into the office and ten minutes later start getting “Oh yes 10/10” messages. A cake that might make your flatmate mutter, “Marry me,” as they take a bite. Maybe a couple of “I feel all warm and cosy inside”s. Read More
There 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.
It’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. Read More
onger daylight hours, no more excuses to live on chocolate, and aaaaaall the green veg in season: April has landed!
The other new thing, as if it being light at 6pm wasn’t enough, is a handy little month-by-month index at The Dinner Bell. You can find the page, which, as the name suggests, lists what’s in season each month with clickable links for exploring, here, or via “season’s eatings” in the menu. Read More
This time last week, I was waking up from a nap, with a pounding headache and a strange sense of home that contradicts everything I wrote about in my past post.
If you’re expecting this to be a romantic story about friendship and discussing deep issues under the stars…you’re going to be disappointed. At a friend’s place, we were far enough out of London to actually see the stars, but bank holiday Friday was a night of tequila shots and pizza, cookies baked at 1am and so many ridiculous stories that will become part of the lore of our group. The weekend has been the subject of a number of flashbacks throughout the week that have left me burying my face in my hands, half in laughter and half in disbelief. In short, it was excellent. Read More
Silence seems to be the order of the day here, at the moment. So far, 2014 has been unrelenting in pace, throwing us all forward quicker than we’d perhaps like, hurling challenges to clamber back up from like we’re playing the Takeshi’s Castle of Life. My tiredness levels have reached the point where last night I even dreamed about sleeping, and when asked what my plans for the week are, said, “I’m cooking two of my friends for dinner tomorrow.” Sorry guys, looks like you’ll be on the table, not at the table.
I’ll get back to cooking properly soon, but for now it’s all a little uninspiring. The latest vegetable obsession – I’m a latecomer to this non-beige food party – has seen me wielding a julienne peeler at every courgette I can find. Honestly, courgettes are a revelation, but as much as I’d love to pretend that’s all I’ve been eating to fuel these long days, the chocolate smudges on my jeans tell a different story. A couple of nights ago I definitely gave life to the Frankentoastie, the gooey marriage of brie and Easter egg chocolate – the best kind, and we all know it – between two seeded slices. No regrets. Read More