Citrus & rosemary olive oil polenta cake

in Desserts, Taste -

Celebrating the most beautiful fruits of the season with this bright citrus & rosemary olive oil polenta cake, in partnership with Olive Tree London.

Citrus & rosemary olive oil polenta cake

There aren’t many things I love about winter; crisp, icy mornings with the promise of a timid sun, Christmas and the anticipation and family gatherings, comfort dishes with strong, familiar flavours, light fruity desserts, warm coats & fluffy scarves- that’s more or less it. I very much dislike the cold and dark days which drag forever always bring me a little down. Still, the one thing I always like about winter is that it is followed by spring. The cold months seem to prepare us for the explosions in colours and smells which are never too far away and for that, I am forever grateful, forever patient. That and citrus fruits. See, in my mind, they always stand somewhere between winter and spring. Offered in abundance during the cold, gloomy months, yet their beautiful colours alluding to the brightness that’s sure to follow. [READ MORE]

Honeyed kumquats, yogurt & thyme

in Breakfast, Desserts, Taste -

Honeyed kumquats are a real treat, especially for breakfast, served with thick yogurt & fragrant thyme over crunchy toast. 

I’ve gone back and forth before deciding what to do with the heaps of kumquats from my parents minuscule trees. While your suggestions inspired both research and tremendous appetite, I found it almost impossible to settle on a recipe. While I was trying to make up my mind, I must have eaten a third of them, with no preparation at all, pith, seeds and all. I just find them so very delicious, impossibly fragrant, lightly bitter and with a lovely texture. I’ve added them to salads in place of oranges and in warming, creamy oats and, before deciding anything else, I knew I had to make my mom’s delicious kumquat marmalade. And yet, I didn’t. See, they were so pretty, so bright and shapely I refused to chop them down. Instead, I made a preserve of sorts. [READ MORE]

Cranberry, citrus & pecan brown butter cake

in Desserts, Taste -

Sweet and a little sour, soft and bursting with seasonal goodness- there’s lots to love in this cranberry, citrus & pecan brown butter cake.

Cranberry, citrus & pecan brown butter cake

There was a time when I was oblivious to cranberries and their beauty. They sure are a peculiar bunch: perky and bright red, a sight for sore eyes indeed, yet tart and mostly accessible when they are cooked. Instead, come spring I paid my respects and showed love to other berries: soft sweet blueberries, my favourite of them all, perfect in a summer pie, a fragrant cake or rich overnight oats; also delicate raspberries and the ever so slightly tart and chubby blackberries. [READ MORE]

Cinnamon, clove & clementine dark chocolate brownies

in Desserts, Taste -

These gooey cinnamon, clove & clementine dark chocolate brownies have a subtle Christmas fragrance and an irresistible texture.

Cinnamon, clove & clementine dark chocolate brownies

After an almost three-month hiatus from baking, boy am I glad to be back! I thought I hadn’t missed it, but I realised how mistaken I was with the first batch of brownies that came out of the oven: the kitchen was hot and smelled like kitchens really should, the brownies were set, but also soft and almost bubbly and I was content. You can never really go wrong with brownies and these came out dizzyingly fragrant and impossibly gooey: filled with almost two bars of dark chocolate, cinnamon, cloves & clementine zest, perfectly seasonal and appropriately festive.

Indeed, you can’t go wrong with brownies and these are definitely a festive winner, made in partnership with Home Run. I’ve enjoyed their excellent services time and time again and perhaps you should too? You could get all the ingredients for these beauties within the hour. Not bad, especially for this time of the year. Not bad at all. [READ MORE]

Red wine & grape molasses poached pears with mascarpone

in Desserts, Taste -

Celebrating one of the season’s stunners fruits in one simple dish: red wine & grape molasses poached pears with mascarpone, cinnamon & cloves.

Red wine & grape molasses poached pears with mascarpone

I didn’t always love pears; up until recently, apples, all kinds of them, always took centre stage come autumn and winter. Pears were always in hand none the less, since every time I’d bite into one’s juicy, sweet flesh I’d think that they really were quite special. Yet, I never though ‘Damn, I wish I had a pear now’, nor would I excitedly reach for one when in need of a sweet, fresh bite or a quick snack. This year though, I somehow found myself hopelessly attracted to them. I can’t recall how it happened, nor is it really essential to trace down that first spark. Since they first appeared in markets, I’ve been buying them in heavy rotation and enjoying them on their own or incorporated into various dishes. In thick, steaming hot quinoa or oats with maple syrup and a dollop of almond butter, sitting pretty on a cheese platter or dunked in melting Camembert, or cut in thick slices and topped with Maldon salt flakes and a drizzle of honey- they’ve become a true favourite of the season. [READ MORE]

Brown butter & hazelnut apple cake

in Desserts, Taste -

This brown butter & hazelnut apple cake is a variation of the one my mom’s recipes: simple, unapologetically straightforward and perfect for fall.

Brown butter & hazelnut apple cake

Enamoured as I am with apples, every autumn they are appear on our table frequently and in different ways: roughly chopped, tossed with dried fruit, toasted nuts and folded into creamy oatmeal; sliced thinly or turned into a jam, topping thick slices of toasted bread, along with tahini and sweet honey; cut in big chunks and added last to cider chicken stews; mixed with pears and spices to fill buttery dough for pies. I have experimented with many different recipes in the last couple of years, yet my favourite by far is my mom’s apple cake. The main reason is possibly nostalgia and missing her and my dad a little too much; but it’s also the flavour, simple, straightforward and utterly satisfying, as well as its rustic looks, with thick apple slices, which she cuts in a hurry on her worn wood cutting board. [READ MORE]

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

in Breakfast, Desserts, Taste -

This apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam is thick, as sweet as it should and has made me fall in love with apples all over again! 

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

Ever since I moved to London, every autumn, without fail, I find my self in awe of all the apple varieties available: there’s small, sour ones, with light pink and green flesh; and bigger ones, very sweet and very pink; shinny green apples, crunchy and juicy, perfectly sour and refreshing; and then others, large and brownish, with a subtle sweetness which reminds me of pears. One is truly spoilt for choice and one is hopelessly enamoured every year, all over again.

I buy large quantities and I slice and sometimes peel and eat at least one a day; I freeze for smoothies and grate for spicy oatmeal; they’re added in cakes and pies, often alongside juicy, blushing pears, or eaten hungrily, on the spot, with just a drizzle of tahini and another of honey. They’re set aside to be used in warming stews, with sprigs of rosemary or tarragon and sweet potatoes, or even added to buttery mash for a touch of sweetness. Autumn is for apples, every year, and every year I am without fail hell-bent on celebrating apples as I should: often, repeatedly, enthusiastically, hungrily. [READ MORE]

Apricot & blueberry pie

in Desserts, Taste -

Buttery, crumbly, sweet and juicy, this apricot & blueberry pie is delicious on its own and even better with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

During colder months, apples and pears are my go to, both for a quick snack and for a pie. In the summer, I very happily switch to nectarines, peaches and mostly apricots. They may look less impressive than the two former, but I so love their soft flesh, sweet & slightly sour flavour! Plus they are just perfect for baking: tossed with some sugar and a little spice, when cooked they turn so sweet and sticky, they are just impossible to resist. [READ MORE]

Almond & white chocolate salami

in Desserts, Taste -

This almond & white chocolate salami is one of the easiest and quickest desserts you’ll ever make- and it is just ideal for summer snacking.

Almond & white chocolate salami

I am not exactly sure how this salami got stuck in my head; chocolate is, surprisingly, not something I really crave during the summer months. I long for simple pies and delicious ice creams, refreshing popsicles and fragrant sorbets. Yet here I was the other day, mixing melted butter with cocoa, chopping white chocolate, fragrant almond cookies and shaping it all into delicious thin logs. [READ MORE]

Damn fine cherry pie

in Desserts, Taste -

Buttery and crumbly on the outside, juicy, red and perfectly sweet on the inside- a damn summery, damn fine cherry pie indeed!  Damn fine cherry pie Pies with buttery, sugary crusts bursting with fruity, juicy fillings are amongst the things I most love to make; there is a bit of challenge to them, which is always a good thing, while also welcoming experimentation with so many different ingredients and flavours. Apples and pears are impossible to resist in gloomy, rainy, autumn days and cherries are a gift that keeps on giving in the summer. For this damn fine cherry pie, I have worked with Madame Gâteaux– she is not only amongst the people I most love to be with, she’s also my baking fairy godmother. She’s taught me every decent thing I know about baking- and without cringing even once at my questions, comments and suggestions. Without further ado, here’s her tips and secrets for the best damn fine cherry pie you’ve ever had in your life!

* find the original recipe, inspired by the insanely cool Twin Peaks, here. [READ MORE]