Sometimes food stays with you for a really long time. Years ago, my sister and I took our mum to an incredible ‘High Chai’ afternoon tea at Cinnamon Soho in London. The dishes were all spins on English afternoon tea staples: finger sandwiches full of tandori chicken and punchy chutney; scones with a tangy spiced relish; cups of masala chai. But the thing that really stood out for me was an unassuming slice of cake spiced with garam masala. Spicy, sweet and moreish, it was everything I wanted from a cake, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Calling everyone with a nut allergy – nut-free macarons are not just a possibility, they’re also totally delicious! Traditionally made with almond meal, ground pumpkin seeds can be used as a simple replacement, and the outcome is completely delicious.
I have to admit that for me, Valentine’s Day is not a big deal. Neither me or the boyf are particularly fussed about it, and with his birthday a few days before I’m always out of present ideas. Although we don’t celebrate the day itself, baking is the way I show love to him all throughout the year (even if that love is sometimes just a big heap of leftover scraps, or a photo!). I though it would be great to share a recipe you can make for everyone you love, romantically or otherwise.
Gluten-free baking can seem like the biggest faff in the world, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve spent years trying out gluten-free recipes to make sure my family and friends who are intolerant to gluten can eat them. When I started out years ago the flours available produced very inconsistent results and recipes were limited. Now there are so many recipes about using a huge range of exciting ingredients, and readily available flour blends give great results.
If magazines and Facebook adverts are to be believed, January is a time for post-Christmas self-denial and flagellation. Drink a green juice, exercise until you cry, give up sugar…the list of what we supposedly should be doing goes on and on, and I just can’t be bothered with any of it. The nights are still long and cold with summer almost unimaginably far away, and I still need a bit of comfort. Instead of self-improvement through denial, I’m focusing on using all all those bits and bobs that sit in the cupboard of the fridge for weeks and months and never get used up because the next thing comes along. I’m talking endless half-jars of jam and marmalade and chutneys which stare accusingly at me every time I want the butter or eggs.
Once you’ve got your basic Christmas baking sorted (I’m talking mince pies, truffles, Swedish Pepparkakor gingerbread, German Lebkuchen Biscuits…) you’re going to need a showstopping pudding for the big day. The obvious choice is the traditional Christmas fruit cake covered in marzipan and white icing or a boozy Christmas pudding. With a nut-allergy, both of these choices are usually off the table. In fact, even nut-free fruit cake has never been something I find particularly tasty. So I wanted to come up with a really special nut-free celebration cake. This Christmas Gingerbread Forest Cake is the final product!
Christmas time has all the best foods. I’ve already posted two differently spiced gingerbread recipes (Swedish Pepparkakor and German Lebkuchen) but sometimes you want a festive biscuit that’s a bit less complex to make. These Spiced Orange and Date Cookies are flavoured with all-spice and nutmeg which gives them warmth and depth without overpowering the orange and date.