Buttery cornbread by Emine Hassan

Buttery cornbread

I’ve wanted to share this recipe for cornbread since August. I’ve already been in talks with my sister about making it as a side for this year’s American inspired Christmas dinner (this cornbread is the sole reason why Christmas will be American this year). Also, sorry for mentioning Christmas.

Buuutttt, I am glad we’re finally in the season of comfort food. This thick and buttery cornbread can be served savoury or sweet. My first batch was served with spicy jerk chicken and citrusy avocado salsa. My second batch had less sugar, so I chose to drizzle the bread with acacia honey and dried corn flowers from this little spice shop in London’s Borough Market. Adding corn flowers to a cornbread is possibly the corniest thing I’ve ever done.

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Cheddar beer bread

Aren’t they the three best words to see together? I mean, of course there’s “I love you” and “Dinner is ready!” but…cheddar beer bread.

It’s been a bit of a month for bread around here, as I spend my weekends scouting out local bakeries and other produce and, well, it’d be rude not to take some home for the week, right?

But I’ll leave the complicated styles to the pros. This bread – the type that doesn’t require rising time or kneading – takes about an hour from start to finish, so it’s a great easy accompaniment to a hearty autumn stew or chilli. (The ease is a relief when you’ve spent the first half of your evening chopping, stirring, and lifting absurdly heavy pans in an effort to batch-cook something excellent.)

I feel like the base recipe also has plenty of scope for adaptions – herbs? Heavier beers and cocoa? More cheeses?

But we’ll start with this. Cheddar beer bread, I love you (dinner is ready!).

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Cardamom and date wreaths

The pub was where I realised it: with just over 100 days to go, I am on a crash course for relearning patience. CardamomDatePerhaps not relearning; perhaps stretching through deep breaths and pressing outwards, like yoga. 100 days until the referendum, I mean, of course. Referendum debate is unavoidable now, whether it’s through facebook — oh god, facebook — or thrust into your actual face by a man waving The Sun, in a strangely accusatory manner, in a south London boozer.

Because that’s how the conversations start. Not through a natural topic change, but as a result of one person brandishing their opinion, treating their anecdotes like knuckledusters, as if when they hit you enough, they’ll win.

It won’t relent over the next three months; the same old arguments will continue to be trotted out by the same people, often unprompted, and unnecessary when we both know neither will change their mind. And  I will be there thinking, “We could be talking about books right now, or food, or anything, honestly anything, else.” So we breathe, and we press at the barriers of our tolerance, feeling them expand, and we let these next few months run their course.

This bread, too, requires patience, and the ability to know when it’s time to walk away and let things play out. All the grinding and rising and warming and soaking and blitzing that has to be done before you can enjoy the waft of butter and spice from the oven.

But it’s worth it.
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In Season: March (and Easter!)

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t my parents’, we have an annual Easter egg hunt, despite the fact that we are all at least 12 years too old for such antics. The point of the hunt isn’t really finding the chocolate and gorging until we have to allocate one person to roll the rest of us into the dining room for lunch. The real point is finding the most difficult places for the eggs for my oldest brother, so we can sit back and snigger as he wanders about looking for them.

Until this year. This year, with one heart attack behind us and a wedding in the near future, we’re foregoing the chocolate. Instead, I’ll have to live vicariously through you lot and Instagram. This month’s round-up slightly reflects this.

Last thing before we hop off to the good stuff…don’t forget that you can get £10 off at Bloom & Wild (in time for Mothers Day) here! This isn’t even a paid-for endorsement, they’re just…really good. Continue reading

Raspberry breakfast rolls with cream cheese frosting

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couple of weeks back, on one of those many days when people were questioning if somebody had twisted the planet to place us back in February, with the threat of rain hanging over us, I went to a talk at Borough Market with Stephanie. It was based around what makes good food writing – the styles of recipe writing, how best to introduce a dish, how many ingredients is too many. The best bit of the night was probably the food after the panel, but as I tucked a blanket up around my neck and listened to how food writing should carry emotion and take a reader to another place, I couldn’t help thinking What if it’s just a recipe you like? What if it’s no more complicated than that? 

So. Here’s something that I like. It doesn’t need a personal essay or a link back to childhood. The recipe is all about a sweet, pillowy dough that makes a light floof sound when you turn it out and the joy of painting with jam and studding it with chocolate. Continue reading