Financiers with Almonds and Argan Oil

Thanks to a nasty throat infection I spent most of last week in bed with a temperature close to 40 degrees Celsius. Prior to last week, I had not taken any real time off work for being sick since a hernia surgery back in 2012. While surgery is never pleasurable, I remember I quite enjoyed being off sick at the time. I had my surgery in Germany and stayed with my parents for the 2 weeks afterwards. Despite my initially somewhat limited mobility my recovery proved to be a wonderful opportunity to catch up with my parents over long conversations, something my quick weekend trips back home don’t leave enough room for. In some twisted way, lately I had begun thinking that it might actually be quite nice to be off sick again some time, naively thinking it could be a nice opportunity to catch up on some sleep and trashy TV. Little did I know that I would spend most of

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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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Persimmon & Ginger Sourdough Scones – Goes well with coffee 2nd Edition

  I am no expert on the history of coffee or coffee culture, so I am not sure who first had the idea to add ground spices to coffee but as ideas go, it was a pretty good one. Today, we have Turkish coffee which, although primarily referring to a specific brewing method (the process by which very finely ground coffee, typically made from Arabica beans, is brewed in a special small pot called Cezve or Ibrik), also refers to coffee often flavoured with cardamom. Then there is Arabic coffee, which is often spiced (often rather heavily) with cardamom, cloves and sometimes even saffron or cinnamon. Both are strong drinks, typically served in small glasses or small cups, that are typically consumed laced with industrial amounts of sugar. Despite these long-standing traditions for preparing coffee flavoured with fragrant spices, there are plenty of people who insist that good coffee is best enjoyed as is, and should not even be adulterated with the addition

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Oat and Cardamom Chocolate Florentines

September is usually the month where things slowly return to normality, the emphasis being on slowly. Everyone is back from their annual holidays, schools are starting again and universities are getting busy preparing for the arrival of a new intake of freshers and the return of second and third year students. Yet this year, September is quickly shaping up to be rather busier for me than usual. Work is the busiest it has been since I started my new job in Brussels. After my first day back after my holidays, it pretty much felt like I had never left and I spent part of my first weekend back in Brussels in the office. I also realised the other day that I am away for every single September weekend for one reason or another (various work related events in Switzerland and the Netherlands, a wedding in Copenhagen, a trip home to Germany to visit my family and a weekend in Turin

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Double Rye Treacle Tarts

Alessandro and I have been travelling around Northern Laos and Northern Thailand for just over a week now. We have been getting up early to watch the hustle and bustle of the morning markets, wandered through the grounds of stunning temples, walked along the banks of the Mekong river, travelled on local buses so full people were sitting on rice bags in the middle of the aisles and swam in the turquoise water of one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. While every trip comes with its own challenges, whether it be jet-lag, getting sick, over-hyped destinations, missed flights or buses – and this trip has certainly had its fair share of that as well – I am so glad we decided to go on this trip. Time seemed to have stopped while we are taking in our new (and temporary) surroundings with all their new-to-us sights, smells and flavours. Above all, it is so nice to spend

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