Food: Victoria Sandwich

Classic British Victoria Sandwich

I have no idea what the WI do.

Since I was a little girl there’s been a WI just around the corner from wherever I lived, and I’ve heard “Jam and Jerusalem” thrown about ad infinatum, but I have no idea what they do any more.

Is it all old people, as I suspected as a child, or are there young members running around knitting and analysing baked goods? Other than listening to talks about peculiar subjects, what do they do? During their centenary celebrations last year, did they finalise a secret plot for world domination, a plot that is about to come to final and terrifying fruition? Or is it just a group of people deeply passionate about cooking in the specific way that requires stringent rules about the set of jam and whether or not buttercream belongs in a Victoria Sandwich.

In my opinion it does, and a Victoria Sandwich without buttercream, as is suggested by the WI, is a travesty. So there.

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Food: Caramel Mille Crepe Cake

Caramel Mille Crepe Cake, stacked chocolate and vanilla pancakes sandwiched together with homemade caramel.

Collecting kitchen paraphernalia is becoming addictive.

I own tiny frying pans, good for individual eggs or scotch pancakes, that I never use. I own a cauldron, used mostly for making vast vats of sauces. I own a plethora of baking pans; loose-bottomed, springform, silicone, miniature, patterned, nonstick.

I cannot resist kitchen stuff, and I only want more kitch

en stuff. Have you ever tried ? I haven’t tried Taiyaki yet, but they look amazing. I’m dying to get one of these very specific types of pan. I’m growing herbs on my windowsill now, so now I want herb cutting scissors. I love smoked food and I’m considering a smoking gun so I can taste smoky, barbecued deliciousness whenever the mood takes me.

Unfortunately this is becoming a source of minor disagreement, as my partner wants to know why we can’t get rid of some of the assorted pans that I never use. So now I have to excuse myself by making lots of things in interesting pans so he forgets they’re useless. You ready?

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Craft: Heat Reveal Love Letters (and free printables!)

Heat Reveal Love Letters printed on three colours, and a pile of cookies.

I cannot remember a date to save my life.

If you are anything like me, the sudden arrival of Valentine’s day will have surprised you. I was still convinced it was drifting somewhere in the misty future, maybe next week or something. But no. It’s tomorrow.

My silly, soft-hearted self had such indulgent plans for Valentine’s day; a beautiful home-cooked meal of 3 courses, some over-sweet heart-shaped dessert, all eaten by candlelight, a single red rose in a tall glass between us. These lovely plans have gone completely awry due to the inevitable and expectable passing of time. A passing that, in spite of the best efforts of diaries and calendars, continues to catch me off guard.

And if you are anything like me, you are now trawling through the blogs you love, looking for a gift to give a significant other in your life, something romantic and sweet and doable at speed. For people who are like me, meet the heat reveal love letter; an endearing love letter with an invisible ink twist!

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Food: Rosemary and Goats Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Rosemary and Goats Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love revisiting childhood classics.

There’s a rewarding nostalgia about going back to foods you loved as a kid; digging out recipes scrawled on stained paper, searching for flavours that ring true with memory. Some recipes are fine to be left like this, a warm place to return to on lazy weekends or lonely evenings. Others grow and change, as you learn new things and discover new interests, so too do the recipes you return to. More than just a memory, these foods become a catalogue of change over time, some recipes can even be traced back with change through generations.

These Rosemary and Goats Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies carry exactly that type of narrative: A recipe written in my Mum’s handwriting, “Granny’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cakes” were my favourite thing when I was small. As a teenager I experimented with a “truer” chocolate chip cookie, trying all sorts of recipes; Toll House, Green and Blacks, one from a very battered book called Chocolate Dreams, if memory serves, before settling onto the New York Times recipe, but resting for a mere 16 hours before baking. Now in my twenties, I still like the NYT recipe, but I crave an extra twist, a savoury twang, a less child-friendly flavour. Enter the stars of today’s quick recipe, rosemary and goat cheese, to give something new to such a universal classic.

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Food: Salted Caramel Sundae

Salted Caramel Sundae

Half-pint jug choc-full of brownie, salted-caramel ice cream and topped with salted caramel sauce.

Sometimes things do not go as we planned.

I was planning to share with you an impressive ice cream cake, but as I removed my brownie from the tin it disintegrated into a pile of gooey chunks. Disappointed and annoyed, I dumped it in a bowl and glared at it.  I had a tub of ice-cream waiting for this defunct brownie, and I was not about to let it down. Enter the quickie salted caramel sundae.

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Roundup: 10 Ways with Pancakes


I’m pretty sure that pancakes are a superfood.

I don’t mean like goji berries or whichever food is wearing it’s pants on the outside this week, but c’mon. Pancakes are completely timeless! There is no moment that would not be improved by the liberal addition of pancakes.

First thing in the morning, as a sharp chill nips at your heels, you need pancakes.

Have a go at these Gingerbread Pancakes with Chunky Apple Compote from Crumb. They’re completely fantastic, warming and spiced with beautiful undertones of coffee and black pepper. Total genius.

Gingerbread Pancakes with Chunky Apple Compote -

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Food: Griddled Lettuce with a Yoghurt Mint Dressing

For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Ruth, Shelley and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes. 

Griddled Lettuce 1

I can never decide what to do with lettuce.

I buy crisp heads of romaine and bags of delicate pea shoots, gleefully pondering what they’ll become. Maybe I’ll try Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, or whip up this Grilled Apple and Pecan Salad to eat alongside pork chops. I take my shopping home and pop it in the fridge, full of anticipation. I mull it over for days, and by the time I make a decision the lettuce is limp, tired and thoroughly disappointing. There lies the sad tale of all the lettuce I have ever bought.

If your lettuce suffers a similarly wilted fate then, and please trust me on this, you need to griddle it.

Take any leftover heads of lettuce, halve them through the root, and place cut-side down on a hot, lightly oiled griddle. You can even pop them on the BBQ if it’s the right time of year. They’ll gain glorious char lines and fantastic flavour, enough that you won’t care that they weren’t crisp and fresh when you started. If your lettuce is single leaves, like rocket or bagged mixes, stir-frying will have a similar, though less visually impressive, effect.

My last griddled lettuce was drizzled with this yoghurt mint dressing. Light, fresh and totally creamy, it’s a brilliant way to have a little bit of summer whenever you want.

Griddled Lettuce 2

Yoghurt Mint Dressing
Makes 4 servings

2tbsp olive oil
4tbsp yoghurt
2tsp white wine vinegar
2tsp honey
1/4tsp garlic
1/4tsp cracked black pepper
6 to 12 torn mint leaves

This is easy peasy – pop everything in a jar and shake it until thoroughly combined. Have a quick dance whilst you shake it, you know you want to.

I’ll be honest, though I say had it with lettuce, I went back and added some to the potatoes. And the chicken.

It was delicious, and I have no regrets.

Do any of you let produce get past it’s best?  Got any tips to salvage it? Please enlighten me in the comments!


Food: Sunshine Pancakes


Pancakes are a lie that I tell myself as often as I can.

I whisk batter and preheat the pan, blissfully oblivious. I scatter on fruit or drizzle on syrup and bring them to the table. It is only as I raise the fork to my mouth that my lies crumble and the illusion is shattered.

It’s obvious that I am eating dessert before 9 o’clock in the morning.

I, for one, think we should just break this breakfast-based delusion, and agree that dessert in the morning is a good idea. I even have a list of reasons:

  • Tasty.
  • Full-blown mood booster.
  • Coffee and dessert are classic partners, so we’re already half way there.
  • Really tasty.

You guys have to be with me on this, right?

In the spirit of our new alliance I want to introduce these made-for-morning sunshine pancakes. These began as a way to empty my fridge a bit, but that in no way changes that they are totally delicious. They’re kept moist with plenty of yoghurt, have a warming polenta-gold tinge and a zippy lemon poppyseed flavour. The perfect dessert for a pyjama-filled morning. I know what you’re thinking, but remember: Dessert is breakfast.

We agreed.

Sunshine Pancakes
(makes 8)

Sunshine Pancakes

150g plain flour, sifted
180g cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp poppy seeds
250g plain yoghurt
240ml milk
75g golden syrup or honey
3tbsp butter, melted
1 egg
1tbsp lemon juice
1tsp baking powder

  1. In a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar and poppy seeds. In a separate bowl whisk together yoghurt, milk, syrup, 1 tbsp butter, egg yolk and lemon juice.
  2. Slowly whisk the liquids into the flour mix, taking care to keep the batter as smooth as possible.
  3. Leave to stand for as long as you can reasonable wait. I sometimes prep this batter the night before, because I am supremely lazy in the mornings.
  4. Once you’re ready, heat a griddle or frying pan on medium-high heat until water flicked on it fizzes and spits. Stir the baking powder into the batter. Brush the pan with a little melted butter and pour about 1/2 cup batter into the pan.
  5. After about 2 and a half minutes the edges begin to firm up and bubbles start to break in the centre. Once that happens, flip it. Cook for a further minute until the bottom is golden brown and delicious.
  6. Slide your pancake onto a plate and devour. Classic butter and syrup is delicious, but dollops of sweet yoghurt,fruit and honey or a sprinkling of lemon and sugar are all delicious variations, if you’re in the mood.

Are you feeling dessert for breakfast? Or is it brinner that’s stolen your heart? Let me know in the comments!

Craft: Bright Edge Chalkboards

I envy organised people.

You know the ones, with planners and diaries, inevitably handmade and filled with perfect lines of beautiful handwriting in neat black ink.

I am not one of those people. I mean, I have diaries and planners and to-do lists, but no organisation. My papers are permanently lost, I can never find them. At least, not until after the rabbits have eaten the most important bits.

I’m trying, again, to make myself one of the organised people, which is much easier since I made these.

I would like to point out we don't usually eat that many wedges in a week. It's just that we appear to have a preoccupation with them since I found a new recipe.

I would like to point out we don’t usually eat that many wedges in a week.
It’s just that I found a new recipe.

Aren’t they adorable? I’m a little bit in love with the bright blue edges.

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