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. Read More
“You like baking, right? Do you accept cake commissions? She said you’re really good at cookery.”
Flattery may get you everywhere, but it doesn’t make receiving a message like that from your friend’s dad any easier.
“Chocolate. Would you like a challenge?”
Eek. Only a little hesitance. “What are your ideas?”
“Popping candy and jelly pieces. Is that possible?”
“Like the Marvellous Creations?”
Obviously I had to say yes, despite the unshakable feeling that it would all go horribly wrong, based on past experience. Not because I can’t bake, but because I only ever seem to fluff it when it’s important.
Move over, all other variations, for I have found the most warming, accidentally-boozy, rich hot chocolate out there. Even if you make it with low-calorie drinking chocolate, we’re talking thick, dark, and creamy. This is serious business. Meet caramel spiced rum hot chocolate.
inally, finally, it’s Feeding Month. For 31-ish days, it seems perfectly reasonable to bounce from caffeine high to sugar high to booze.
I for one am full in the throes of festive eating – the table between my colleague and I is now mostly orange citrus fruits and shortbread.
Four years on since my last Christmas in retail, I’m not sure I can say, “Well, Christmas starts in October for me!” these days, but it can start now. I’ve bought wintery candles, and started writing party food lists, and decided to put the tree up when my flatmates were out, because that is the most boring bit. The moment when you drop the box and scoot back in case of spiders; the trying to work out how the hell the base goes together. The lengthy task of separating out branches.
But with that done, it’s all fairy lights and glitter from here. And a lil too much food, of course. Read More
orwich, my darling hometown, is a weird and beautiful little jigsaw of terrible 1960s architecture and hidden cobbled streets, of modern malls just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a cathedral and a castle. It’s cute independents and funny accents and surprises at every turn. It’s not really home anymore, but it’s still a sanctuary, only two hours and yet a whole world away from London. And next month, it’s going to be even better, as it hosts a chocolate festival.
It’s easy to miss the hints these days, now that Norwich is known more for mustard and popping in and out of the Premier League, but for 100 years Norwich produced chocolate which rivalled Swiss products and was sent to British troops on the frontline during the First World War. The first Rolos, Munchies, and Caramacs even dropped off the belts at the Chapelfield factory, which changed hands from Caley’s, to The African and Eastern Trade Corporation, then to John Mackintosh & Sons, and finally to Nestle, in the 1980s.
Caley’s is still going to this day, 158 years after Albert Jarman Caley opened a chemist’s business in London Street, but for two days the city will also play host to chocolatiers from across the UK and the world, championing not just quality but also Fairtrade, vegan, and free-from treats. Read More
ou know what’s a great idea in 30C summer heat? Laying around in the sun with a good supply of drinks. You know what’s not such a great idea? Making pastry.
So naturally, on Saturday afternoon/evening, the scene was me standing in my kitchen, swearing at an uncooperatively melty pastry case while I desperately tried to cool myself and it with a standing fan positioned next to us. Read More
In my head, these biscuits have always been Coraline biscuits. Since I first heard from Emma at Emma Jane’s Bakery, her range of adorable cookie stamps have been destined to become part of my mission to bring together two of my favourite things: books and food.
ovelty chocolate klaxon! You know those foods that are so odd, for the first 30 seconds of eating them your mouth doesn’t quite know what to do? When your tastebuds are totally confused as each bit of your tongue is hit with a new flavour? This fig & pink pepper dark chocolate is one of those, but unlike the time my oldest brother tricked me into eating wasabi Lindt, when your tongue finally settles down you’ll be reaching for another piece.
Betty & Walter have teamed up with Creighton’s, the geniuses behind bacon chocolate, to create a limited edition range of quirky chocolate bars. Check out the four new flavours here.*
Bonus link – here’s a little love letter to lunchboxes. Who doesn’t love a compartmentalised airtight box?
Tip of the Week – chopping chocolate
Keeping on theme here, there’s one super easy tip that’ll stop chunks of chocolate flying everywhere when you chop it – it’s not just me, right?
Instead of using a straight knife, use a bread knife, particularly when cutting through large blocks. The serrated edge reduces resistance, making the cut less jerky and difficult. Keep the tip of the knife on your chopping board using your spare hand as you cut down. No more three-second-rule-floor chocolate. (Sorry. Ew.)
‘m moving pretty soon, leaving behind our tiny flat for something further out of town and bigger, with a kitchen that isn’t so small that every meal is like a Chuckle Brothers episode.
We got lucky, I guess. We stumbled across a flat that we loved as soon as we stepped through the front door and the smell of new carpets hit our noses. That particular love might just be mine, but there’s nice tiles and a good sofa and enough space, finally, to have people over for dinner. There might even be enough room for my ridiculous collection of shoes.