Rye, Walnut and Cardamom Crescents

Earlier today I heaved a rather large suitcase (heavy from Saturday’s frantic run around Brussels to buy various Christmas presents), a large bag, a laptop bag and a handbag onto the Thalys to take me home to my parents’ place in Essen, Germany. After 14 years of having to fly from various places in Europe to see my family, it is amazing to be able to take a direct train to go home, with no risk of delayed trains or bad traffic to get to the airport or long queues to get through security. Like every year, I am dividing my time between Germany and Italy and after spending Christmas with my family, I will be flying to Rome on Friday to join Alessandro and his friends and family for further Christmas celebrations and to ring in the New Year. After what can only be described as a very ‘full’ year, I am looking forward to a bit of downtime

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Chocolate Garam Masala Snickerdoodles – Goes Well With Coffee – 3rd Edition

This weekend is the first weekend I am spending in Brussels since the beginning of November. While the weather is no different from what it was four weeks ago (Brussels has a tendency to be equally grey and rainy all throughout November to March), there is no denying that Christmas is close – the¬†strings of lights that now connect the buildings on my side of the street with those across the street were the first telltale sign when I came back from my trip to New York over Thanksgiving. The trip itself was everything I could have asked for and more. I slept more than I had in weeks, I tried out some new exercise classes (it turns out I don’t actually hate spinning and Pure Barre is as hard as everyone says it is) and even found a new pair of glasses. But most importantly, I got to hang with my good friend Michelle who¬†didn’t say anything when I

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Moroccan-inspired Cubeb Pepper Mince Pies

As promised, here is the link to the second recipe I developed for the Peppermongers – a recipe for¬†Moroccan-inspired mincemeat using Cubeb Pepper. ¬†I am clearly a fan of giving mincemeat my own unique twist and this version¬†is inspired by Moroccan Tagines that I so adore and that often include dried fruits like prunes or dried apricots. The mincemeat gets a bit of kick from a generous pinch of cubeb pepper – a key ingredient in Morocco’s famous Ras el hanout spice mix and whose woody ‘Christmas tree’ aroma lends wonderful warmth to the mincemeat. ¬†For our first batch of mince pies this year, I made a rich almond and orange zest pastry filled with this spicy mincemeat and served it with a dollop of cr√®me fraiche flavoured which I had flavoured with orange blossom water. ¬†This is also the mincemeat which made its way into copious batches of mincemeat scones, another delicious way of using up a glut of

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German Peppernuts with Indonesian Long Pepper

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you will have noticed that I am a big fan of bold and unusual flavours and that I don’t shy away from baking with ingredients we typically associate more with savoury preparations. So it was only ever going to be a matter of time before I started playing around with all the wonderful and different types of pepper. In fact I have been playing with pepper quite a lot over the recent months as I have been developing some recipes for¬†the Peppermongers¬†using their incredible range of different types of pepper, including lesser known varieties like Indonesian long pepper and cubeb pepper. I first came across the Peppermongers when I read their interview in¬†CEREAL magazine¬†last Christmas and it was that interview which really sparked my interest in creating sweets with pepper and kick-started what is still an incredible learning experience. Armed with¬†Christine McFadden‘s¬†Pepper¬†bible and a whole plethora of different types

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Sumac and Pomegranate Molasses Cookies

Do you sometimes find yourself in a supermarket or delicatessen holding a new-to-you ingredient in your hands, maybe even a quite pricey one, pondering whether to buy it or not and asking yourself how often you are likely to actually use it before it will go off? Admittedly I try not to let such rational thinking interfere with my buying what are surely the key constituents of future delicious food. But then the other day Alessandro decided the day had come to find a new home for all our pasta. ¬†I counted and we currently have over 10 different shapes of pasta – that might seem a lot to most people but is in fact fairly modest to what I have seen at some friends’ places here in Italy. ¬†While the door of our pantry still closes without forcing it shut Alessandro could be right in saying that my baking supplies have taken over our pantry. ¬†As much as I

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