It’s December tomorrow. Seriously? I know me, you and everyone we know is saying the same thing but HOW IS IT DECEMBER TOMORROW?! It just freaks me out how quickly this year has gone. With December comes party season and with parties comes at least one fancy ass cake. I like to think this would be a great addition to any dessert table this Christmas. It’s dark and chocolatey but perfectly flavoured with orange and a hint of cardamom. Cardamom is hands down my favourite spice and I’ll find a way to work it into most desserts if I can. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Back home, in that small village with the fields of crops I’m incredibly allergic to, most of my neighbours have known me since birth. They’ve watched as learned to walk, ride a bike, and eventually as my brothers and I left home.
My favourite neighbour is an 80-year-old man called Bill. Sometimes when I’m back for a weekend, I’ll nip over one evening, and we’ll end up drinking wine and chatting for hours in his front room, while my parents sit at home and wonder what on earth we could be discussing. Often, when he leans back in his chair, he’ll lace his fingers together and rest them on his tummy while he talks, his Scottish accent still very much there despite his decades in England. He’s not an ordinary old man – he’s fiercely independent and physically active – and we have the same conversations you would with anyone half his age or younger. Continue reading
It’s struck me recently that as you get older, you not only find surprising things you’re good at, but also things you’re truly, woefully bad at. I always thought that one day I’d just discover something I had a natural talent for – say, gardening (nope), or baking bread (also nope). In another life, I might have been able to grow my herbs and then whack them into a really impressive artisan loaf. Alas, it’s not to be.
In the last year, I’ve discovered that I’m excellent at navigating the tube network when tipsy, but awful with London buses, even when sober; that I cannot for the life of me paint any of my nails without looking like I was at an explosion in a paint factory; and that I’m completely useless at making icing. Continue reading
One of my most vivid memories from childhood is, unsurprisingly, centred around food. When we were young, my mother seemed to have frequent dinner parties with five of her friends, an affair that saw her slightly on edge the days preceding the “big night”, busy with writing lists, checking and double checking ingredients while she planned an enormous array of dishes Continue reading