As much as grand dinners and extravagant dishes are nice, and a fantastic treat, sometimes there just ain’t nothing better than the simple pleasures. Peanut butter fingers, bread covered with a thick spread of butter, a cheeky slice of cheese cut straight from the fridge, the perfect cup of milky sweet builders’ tea. These little gratifications are the things that perk up the humdrum of daily life.
Category Archives: Baking
I don’t know about you, but for me the idea of being a mum has always been synonymous with images of angelic flour-splattered children standing on chairs in the kitchen next to an apron-clad serene-looking woman, joyfully stirring cake mixture before licking the spoon. Well, Finn is too young to help out at the moment and I am anything but serene, but I’ve been working on getting my bake-on. For me, mum’s bake. And to date, I’ve been a miserable failure on that front. So, time to rectify…
I really questioned whether or not to post this. I first cooked it back in October as part of my review of Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals and then didn’t have time to write it up. I had all but resolved that the moment had passed. But then walking home from the office today, as my face started tingling from the cold and my fingers were freezing through my gloves, I knew exactly what the perfect antidote would be and I decided that you all need this recipe for the quickest and easiest chicken and mushroom pie in the world.
If there is one thing that America knows how to do it is breakfast. When I lived in America, after a night on the town we regularly used to make late night visits to IHOP (The International House of Pancakes) for a post-match recuperative carb-fest. A couple of times I passed out in the car before we even reached the car-park (sorry Mum), but if I made it to the booth I only had eyes for one order: a blueberry stack with bacon. Now breakfast is one of my favourite meals (along with dinner and, um, lunch…!) – and no doubt through the course of this blog you will hear me wax lyrical about numerous breakfast wares – but truly, blueberry pancakes with bacon is the perfect breakfast. Sweet spongy pancakes, dotted with juicy tart blueberries, served alongside salty bacon, all smothered with ladlefuls of maple syrup. Genius.
When stuck for meal ideas, one of my favourite ways to find inspiration is to look through Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries. You probably know the book, but if not it does pretty much what it says on the tin: a year in Nigel Slater’s kitchen. The reason I love it is because it’s a month by month and day by day account of seasonal recipes. You can pretty much go to the very day of the month and see what’s good to eat right now.
Part of the point of this blog is to get me to cook things that I don’t usually, for whatever reason. One such thing is cheese soufflé. Perhaps it’s my of a fear of failure or perhaps it’s because whenever I’ve thought of doing it, I’ve been cooking for friends and it feels like too big a risk: what if they don’t rise? I couldn’t possibly serve deflated soufflés to real people (real people being any one other than Sven or me)! Shocking isn’t it? I recently realised that the reason I don’t experiment too wildly with flavours or mess around with classic recipes is because to me food is all about feeding people (hence the name of the blog). I can’t take the risk that the food I put down on the table might be anything but delicious. I’m stopping slightly shy of saying food is love, but you get the picture.
Ok, I know baking hot cross buns at Easter is pretty obvious, but as this is my first year of blogging I reserve the right to do the obvious thing. Next year it will be incumbant upon me to be a bit more imaginative, but this year I will cook hot cross buns at Easter, mince pies at Christmas and pumpkin pie at Halloween. However, I will at least promise to try to do the unobvious with the obvious… so for my Easter cliché I thought I would try a variation on Dan Lepard’s (of The Guardian) stout and tea hot cross buns.