Smokey Banana Bread – Goes Well With Coffee – 8th Edition

I wasn’t supposed to be in Brussels this weekend. I had booked flights to Rome to see Alessandro who just moved back there after taking his final exams in Turin. Alas, thanks to the fire in Rome’s airport, that weekend in 32 degrees Celsius temperatures was not meant to be. Instead I spent all of Saturday at work (thankfully this doesn’t happen too often and being in Brussels definitely made it easier having to work) and what was left of my weekend was mainly spent on the sofa, drinking my first batch of this year’s cold brew coffee and eating one too many slices of this Smokey Banana Bread. The inspiration for this recipe goes back several years. Back to before I moved to Brussels, back to before I had even moved to Rome, when my sister Helena was still living in Brussels and I was living in London. Helena came to see me often – to spend time together, to

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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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Lemon Curd and Pinenut Bakewell Tarts – Goes Well With Coffee – 4th Edition

My company’s London office is snuck right between St Paul’s and City Thameslink Station. While the options for lunch (Leon, Pret a Manger, Pod, Crush etc) are pretty much the same as for most of Central London, the office has the benefit of being close to a number of decent coffee places. One cafe I had been meaning to try for a while is Alchemy Coffee. So when I found myself working in our London office a few months ago on a rather hot September day, I decided to make a little detour on my way back from lunch and stop by Alchemy Coffee to get an iced cold brew coffee with milk. Cold brew coffee, which is typically made by steeping coffee grounds overnight in cold water (straining the coffee grounds before serving), has been around for a while now but over the last 12 months or so, cold brew coffee suddenly became trendy and sales really took off

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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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Toasted Cornmeal and Salted Honey Shortbread … Goes Well With Coffee – 1st Edition

This post is a little different from my regular posts as I have decided that, over the next few months, I want to do a series of posts all around one theme. And no, we are not talking Christmas cookies (even if Pinterest might have you believe you should be dusting off your star-shaped cookie cutters already). Instead, this little series will be all about things that go well with coffee. And by things that go well with coffee, I, of course, mean cakes, cookies, pastries and all their various incarnations. Because, really, isn’t the whole point of sitting down for a cup of coffee the opportunity to enjoy something sweet alongside said cup of coffee? The series is inspired by the Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel produced by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. As it says on the SCAA’s website, the Flavour Wheel develops a glossary of coffee terms based on sensory science and is used by coffee cuppers

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Black gold – London’s best coffee shops and some black sesame madeleines

(Amended to update the little blurb on Prufrock). So, I was browsing the Stylist’s website the other day and came across a brief article on London’s best coffee shops. As an avid coffee drinker (coming from a family that managed to kill an espresso machine by drinking more cups of coffee per day than any espresso machine developer could have ever imagined (we now have a commercial espresso machine)), I keep a list of favourite coffee shops (key attractions are: (i) decent coffee (look out for the crema on your espresso and the use of fresh milk – noone wants to drink a cappuccino made with UHT milk), (ii) free wi-fi (because I am a cheapskate and treat my ipad as though it’s a limb I never knew I had by carrying it around with me wherever I go), and (iii) outstanding pastries and cakes (which reminds me I need to tell you about Gail’s almond croissants)). However, once in

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