Cacao Nib and Buckwheat Crunch Cookies

  Since moving to Rome in November, Italy has not stoppped to surprise me – while healthfood stores are hard to track down and most Italians think nothing of eating sugar-laden pastries for breakfast, a pile of pasta for lunch and a pizza for dinner (which might also explain the mountain of prunes on offer in most supermarkets!), it is surprisingly easy to find a huge variety of different types of flours and sweeteners. My small local supermarket stocks spelt, buckwheat and kamut flour (in addition to a whole plethora of different types of wheat flours for baking and pasta-making), I know a couple of places where I can buy chia seeds and I can get my hands on maple syrup, agave syrup and molasses with a simple detour during my lunch break. While my impression is that there cannot be a big market for these ingredients in Italy given that I have yet to eat a homemade birthday cake

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House-hunting in Rome & Inspiration from the interwebs – May edition

House-hunting – the bane of my existence. While the past 12 odd years of moving across Europe (Germany-Austria and back, Germany-UK and back (a few times), UK-Brussels and back and, lastly, UK-Italy) have taught me a great deal about minimising the stuff we all drag around with us (well, except for my cookbook collection, but I am not willing to part with that) and to wrap my beautiful bowls I bought when we went to Japan carefully enough to survive a move half-way around Europe, the one thing I am still utterly crap at is house-hunting itself. I know what websites to use, what sleazy property agents to avoid, what questions to ask prospective landlords, what hidden costs to look for etc, but at the end of the day I struggle with the simple fact that, at least if you are renting in large cities, you will never find a place that ticks all your boxes. Now add a boyfriend to the

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Orange Mocha Marble Cake

While I am researching different eclairs recipes and different methods and ingredients for making pastry cream for a new recipe (which I am already very excited about sharing), I baked an Orange Mocha Marble Cake the other day to have on hand for easy breakfasts at home and to nibble on during the day. But before we talk about the Orange Mocha Marble Cake, I wanted to say that I was super excited to hear that my recipe for Toasted Rice Blancmanger was featured in the Guardian’s Cook section under the theme ‘WOBBLY’ last weekend! I absolutely love creating recipes and it is even better when others like my creations! Back to this marble cake – chocolate and orange is one of my favourite flavour combinations but the addition of coffee was new to me until very recently. I first came across this in the form of a Chocolate Orange Tiramisu at Jamie’s Italian which opened fairly recently in my

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Food photography reading list

The Guardian – source of infinite reading pleasure – just came out with an  interesting article on food photography: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/aug/01/food-photography-tricks-of-trade.  Not that I have been impressed by the quality of food photography in the Guardian’s food section (the pictures always seem a bit static and stuffy), but there are certainly some interesting tips in this article (including a few more obscure ones like the one about the tampon which did make me chuckle).  There are also plenty of additional helpful comments plus links to gorgeous food blogs which I shall peruse this weekend I think.  Oh and it’s just as well that I stumbled upon the World Foodie Guide’s blog (which sadly has not been operational for about 3 years) today as I then came across another great post on food photography together with a long list of helpful links: http://www.worldfoodieguide.com/index.php/10-food-photography-links/#more-4933.  Last but not least, I have just added “Plate to Pixel” to my basket on Amazon.  However much I like reading things online, I

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Baking with olive oil

I found a brief post on baking with olive oil and how olive oil can be used to replace butter in baking. Although for some recipes butter plays an important role in the flavour of the finished product, I have been meaning to experiment a bit with olive oil – in case you also have nothing better to do than daydream about adapting recipes for no particular reason, here is the article: http://en.julskitchen.com/dessert/olive-oil-cookies-some-notes-on-the-use-of-olive-oil-in-confectionery