11.6.16

Favourite Instagram Shot - Cover Shoot for Co-Op


One of my favourite jobs I've taken on this year; to style the cover for a new, sparkly, rebranded Co-Op magazine. Shoots can  vary. Sometimes they flow, feel light and breezy during the day and others can seem hard work, the food not doing quite what you would hope. 

This cover shoot was gorgeous. The image was shot by the very talented Maja Smend - http://www.majasmend.com - under the direction of Amanda Grant.  The brief was exciting as CoOp dramatically re thought the look of their mag, returning to their roots and concentrating on the quality of their ingredients. The logo has reverted back to an original, used years ago and the majority of cover lines have been removed. It's clean and successfully retro. 

My handmade floury wrap needed to look appetising, doable and bright. I think we managed to tick all of the boxes. 

28.5.16

The Reliable Dense Chocolate Pudding Cake

This morning is a stolen morning. Grandparents have come to the rescue and whisked the boys away to the farm for an hour or two and I sit, in my still house, for a few blissful minutes.

This recipe is something I wanted to share for a few days. I’d say it fits neatly into the bracket of a ‘heritage collection’. I’m sure we have all had or tried something similar before; a dense, heavy, dark chocolate slab that cuts like cold butter. This sort of recipe is noted down on a scrap of paper or forged in memory but quickly forgotten, and often a reliable version can’t be located. Well here it is… a recipe that Higgidy have written for their archive and I cooked and photographed as proof. We sprawled over salted caramel but a dusting of cocoa powder is all that is really necessary.


FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE

PREP TIME – 30 Minutes
COOK TIME – 40 Minutes
SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

200g dark chocolate, broken up
200g unsalted butter, cubed
200g caster sugar
5 free-range eggs, separated into two separate bowls
30g cocoa powder 

INSTRUCTIONS

1.      Preheat oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas mark 3, grease a 23cm cake tin and line with parchment. Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl and leave aside to cool.

2.      Whisk 100g of caster sugar in a bowl with the egg yolks until pale and thick. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding the remaining sugar until the mixture is thick and shiny.

3.      Fold the melted chocolate mix into the egg yolks. When fully incorporated, gently fold in the egg white mix. Pour the gloopy chocolate mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.

4.      Turn the oven off and leave the cake inside to cool for around 10 minutes – the cake will sink and crack slightly.







13.5.16

Favourite Instagram - Birthday Love


In nearing my mid thirties, birthday expectations seem to dim year on year. The merriments seem nothing as exciting as milestone of becoming 4. I don’t spend hours planning my party/parties, requesting ambitious cakes or deciding whether babies should or shouldn’t be invited.


However, this year I enjoyed the most unexpected of sunny, light days and was surrounded by birthday love. I was given not one, but two slices of strawberry tart, fresh from the counter of our favourite cake shop. One for me and one to satisfy Jasper, of course.   

29.4.16

CLAMS WITH BORLOTTI & TARRAGON


Life has become about a handing in my next book manuscript. It seems funny but I'm quite enjoying the pressure, knowing the clock is almost up, that the looming biro deadline in the diary is becoming ever closer.

My evenings have become about sitting in front of the screen and getting to know my recipes like old friends, refining and adjusting copy where needed. And then there are new ideas that arrive at the last possible moment and I scrabble around trying to include and perfect them. It might be telling but these latecomers sometimes end up being my favourites.

A couple of days ago I found some stunning looking clams in our local market. I bought them knowing they would be the catalyst to a recipe, but was unsure of the other ingredients. I developed the recipe later that day, over lunch, and knew it would make it into the final edit of the book. Clams, white wine, shallots, borlotti and tarragon; I think it’s a winner.




CLAMS WITH BORLOTTI & TARRAGON

PREP TIME – 20 MINUTES + OVERNIGHT SOAKING
COOK TIME – 1 HOUR
SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

150g Dried Borlotti beans, soaked
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Shallots, finely chopped
A small handful of parsley
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 dried chilli
1 kilo clams, rinsed
1 lemon, sliced
150ml white wine
200ml vegetable stock
A small handful of tarragon, finely chopped

METHOD

1 Drain the beans from any soaking liquor and empty them into a big saucepan. Cover with cold, fresh water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gently simmer and cook until the beans are tender - 50 minutes or so.

2 Meanwhile pour a generous glug of oil into the a heavy bottomed casserole pan. Add the shallots, garlic and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Tear the stalks from the parsley, roughly chop them and add to the pot. Crumble in the dried chilli and cook over a moderate heat, until fragrant and the shallots are tinged with gold, about 4 minutes. Increase your heat to high - pour in the wine and cook until almost evaporated before tipping in the beans, clams, sliced lemon and stock. The pot will be filled with fury and steam, give everything a good shake and put the lid on. After about 4 minutes, the clams will tentatively start to open their shells. Keep shuffling the pan until all of them have opened, removing any that have remained closed. Stir in the parsley and tarragon and serve in bowls with fresh bread.



                 


12.4.16

FAVOURITE INSTAGRAM SHOT - THE TRAIN HOME


It has been ages since we spent the week together, as a unit with little agenda or demands on our attention. Being more of a seaside girl, I’ve slightly avoided the mountains and all the lifts, fondue and kit that can be associated with them. This year, however, two of our wonderful friends invited us to join them in Switzerland, to hang out, live chalet life and indulge the snow.


It was week of firsts, not least seeing J on his first, gentle nursery slope and W simply seeing snow. This picture was taken on the train home, all of us were so happy.