Over the last year or so I’ve tried to be more structured in the way I bake. That might means noting down where a recipe is from, tweaks I’ve made or how I’ve constructed a recipe from various places, rather than just chucking stuff in and hoping for the best and totally failing to replicate it later on, or using a recipe I found online and never being able to find it again. My bullet journal, which I use to order my brain, is basically lovely layout pages interspersed with scribbles covered cake mix. Once those scribbles are a secure method, I write them up and stick them in a huge book my mum and sister gave me when I went to uni (it also has some excellent life tips in from my mum!). Although the system isn’t new, I have been making more of an effort and its been paying off in spades – no more dredging though endless screenshots of recipes and google search histories. Continue reading
For me, January is not a month of giving things up. Resolutions have never really appealed, and denying myself is not my style. However, the though of trying Veganuary, where you eat vegan for January, has been ticking over in my mind for a while. I’m keen to try and reduce my environmental impact, and alongside other ethical shopping habits, veganism seems like a good way to do that, .
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.
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.
Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. I first had these Easter biscuits at my boyfriend’s family’s house, as one of about 10 amazing bakes made by his mum. She kindly gave me the recipe and I’ve been making them ever since.
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.
One of the most frustrating things about having a nut allergy is severe fear of missing out (FOMO).
There are so many foods that look bloody delicious but I’ll never be able to try. I just know if I could eat them I’d be such a nut enthusiast! So I fantasize about macarons, frangipane tarts, nut butters and other delicious (I’m assuming!) nutty goodies and then plot to create my own nut-free versions.