Jazzed up flapjacks to comfort me through an exciting – if exhausting – week

Last week I started on a work experience placement with Food and Travel magazine in London and five am starts along with four hours of commuting a day, combined with the draining effects of getting used to a new job, nerves and a desire to make a good impression, have left me unbelievably tired and without a lot of time to bake or write anything. I did, however, manage to quickly throw a batch of flapjacks together last weekend and I am beyond glad that I did. Come four pm every afternoon, they serve as a near essential energy boost to get me through to the end of the day and the long commute out of London.

Being away from home also means I’m away from my camera….so sorry about the poor photo quality, I’m having to make do with just my phone!

Fruity flapjacks Continue reading

Mini chocolate-courgette cakes

Nine times out of ten – no, maybe make that nine point five times out of ten – whenever I bake something, out pops the perfectionist in me trying to fish out the flaws in whatever I’ve made. Was it, perhaps, a touch too dry, too sweet, a bit dense, not flavoursome enough or the spice too overpowering? What does it need to step it up from really good, to amazing?

But when I took my first bite of one of these little chocolate and courgette cakes, the perfectionist was well and truly silenced. All I could think was amazing… perfect, even. Continue reading

The best granola yet?

Pretty much every time I make up a batch of granola my Mum says something along the lines of it being the best I’ve ever made. It was flattering the first couple of times, but after hearing it every time, the compliment began to grow a little thin. Surely not every batch of granola I make is better than the last. Was she sure she wasn’t just unfairly comparing a toasty, crispy, extra fresh batch with the tired, somewhat stale, several week old remnants of the previous lot?

And so, when she once again told me that my last batch of granola was ‘the best yet’, I (most likely) pulled a face of distrust (I have been told that pulling faces, more often than not unattractive ones, is somewhat of a habit with me. It’s mostly in the eyebrows, apparently, ‘expressive eyebrows’…) and I refused to buy into the compliment. Although I would go as far as agreeing that this particular granola was a very, very, good one. But I wasn’t willing or bold enough to go about casually using superlatives. Continue reading

Pear and ginger compote

I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m nothing but grumpy and miserable about the cold. But right now – while it’s still tolerably cold – I’m loving autumn (apart from the rain). I love the autumn light, when the sun’s a little lower and all the colours appear golden and glowy.  And then there’s that crispness in the air and the damp, earthy smell after rain.

What’s also exciting me is all the produce coming into season, with butternut squash being top of the list. It is definitely way up there with my all-time favourite vegetables. Roasted, simmered in a stew, a curry or a tagine, tossed in a salad with goat’s cheese and parma ham, alongside roast chicken or sausages, with some blue cheese and pasta, or sage and risotto, puréed into soup or even puréed with milk and lots of cheddar to make a sauce for macaroni cheese (I really hope to post about this recipe soon!) Butternut squash is the ultimate autumn food, sweet, comforting and cheery coloured to brighten those rubbishy grey days. Continue reading

Apricot and almond granola bars

Is it a sign you’re getting older when the cereal bars you used to eat so many of as child/ teenager suddenly start to taste too sweet, too artificial and generally unpleasant?

I brought one to work with me the other day, and despite feeling really hungry, struggled to finish it. It just didn’t taste much like ‘real food’. Is this what happens when you start baking all the time and cooking everything from scratch? Everything that comes in a packet begins to taste like plastic?

So, no longer liking shop-bought cereal bars, but still wanting a cereal bar type snack, I clearly only had one option – make my own. Continue reading