This summer I have completely embraced gardening. Moving out of London means more affordable housing and a halved commute, with the added bonus of our own patch of of green space. The second we moved in I started reading gardening books and planning, set on growing as many edible plants in pots as possible (it’s a rented house so I can’t dig up the lawn and plant potatoes, sadly).
Veganism is something I’ve had an interest in for a while, but just isn’t practical alongside an allergy to nuts and coconut. The best I’ve managed is four days before I had to give up. Although I can’t commit to it as a lifestyle, I still have an interest in vegan baking, and substitutions in general. Who doesn’t like making tasty treats as many people as possible can enjoy?
One ingredient that has been particularly intriguing me is aquafaba. Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas or beans, and has properties similar to egg whites, which make it great for vegan and egg-free recipes. It whisks to stiff peaks and also has bonding qualities, thanks to the combination of carbohydrates and proteins it contains. A common use is meringues, which I’ve attempted and failed beofre, but I wanted to get back of the aquafaba train. I’ve joined an aquafaba recipe Facebook group and been getting daily recipe inspiration. I decided that this ice cream recipe would be a good place to restart my aquafaba journey.
You might have already read my blog post about making a wedding ceremony cake for my mum and her partner’s wedding. If not, go and read it now! Not only did I make a cake for the ceremony, I also made cakes for the party. Three two-tiered cakes to be exact. I wanted to share how it all went, and hopefully show that homemade wedding cakes are definitely possible.
As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, my mum and her lovely partner Mark, recently got married. The ceremony and party were over separate weekends, but both were filled with family, friends and all the things they both love. There was great music, emotional speeches, a beautiful homemade vibe and a lot of cake.
It seems like the joys of spring have finally descended, and the blossoming trees, gamboling lambs and rolling green fields in Derbyshire are making me feel very lucky to be living in such a beautiful place. Even more excitingly, the hodge podge vegetable garden I’ve assembled in a variety of pots has already started to produce exciting treats. So far that’s just a bunch of radishes and a few handfuls of chard and spinach, but across the summer I’m looking forward to my own peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, herbs, chillis and cucamelons, which supposed taste like cucumbers with a hint of lime, but are the size of a grape.
There are certain recipes that the first time you make them, you know they’re going to be a reliable friend for a long time. Dan Lepard has provided several of these (roast cocoa cookies, anyone?), and a few weeks ago I finally got round to buying one of his books, Short and Sweet. Settling down with some sticky tabs and a cup of tea, I ended up marking about a third of the recipes as ones to try, and these Rye, Raisin and Chocolate Cookies were the most tempting of the lot.
Sometimes baking can really lift your mood in ways you don’t expect. I made this Floral Carrot Cake with Orange Buttercream on a very rainy day. With lots of baking on the day’s list, and still wearing my PJs, I was in a massive grump. One of those grumbly for no reason moods. And I couldn’t work out how to shake it. My favourite Easter biscuits were delicious but seemed unphotographable. I missed a chilling step in a batch of Lemon bars and they ended up unpleasing greasy. The kitchen was a mess and I felt lazy and useless.