Bookmarks – 11 April 2015

Carbs et al. Like most years, Alessandro and I spent the Easter bank holiday weekend staying with his parents in a small village not far from Rome. Spending most of the weekend eating (or talking about eating) reminded me again how good Italians are with carbs. Of course there is Pizza, thin and crispy Roman style, or thick and pillowy like they serve it in Naples. But then there are also the thick slabs of sourdough bread to start a meal, slightly charred and topped with a fresh tomato salsa or thin slices of rosemary flecked lardo or even just drizzled with olio nuovo (the beautifully grassy first olive oil of the season), thin strands of homemade tagliatelle¬†like the ones you can see in the picture above (beautifully yellow as Alessandro’s dad made them with duck eggs) – cooked not too long so they retain some bite (al dente) before being thrown into a pan of funghi porcini,¬†or the torn

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Pistachio Olive Oil Miniature Cakes

I once read an article about that strange feeling of returning to a city where you once used to live. To discover that this city has not been preserved in some kind of time bubble. That life in this city has moved on. Your friends have made new friends, filling that small hole your departure might have left. Shops have shut or moved. Restaurants have come and gone. How odd this is, whether or not this city has a special place in your heart or whether you were in fact glad to leave it when you did. It feels like I have spent most of my twenties either moving to London or moving away from London. After university and law school there I spent some time in Germany, working in a law firm to save up enough cash to travel around Argentina and Chile for a few months (which, incidentally is where I met Alessandro). I came back to London

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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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Chocolate Olive Oil Sea Salt Pate a Tartiner

Since I started baking my own bread I had been looking to make my own chocolate spread. As much as I loathe sugar-laden Nutella (amended to clarify that it’s not Nutella per se I despise but the fact that something that tastes so good has to be full of sugar and fake ingredients), I must admit that chocolate pairs incredibly well with freshly baked toasted bread. Nonetheless, I was keen to come up with a recipe that was low in sugar, had a short list of recognisable ingredients I knew how to pronounce and spell and that could be put together in a cinch. It is probably time for an important disclaimer, the recipe copied below is no step-by-step guide to making your own Nutella at home. Firstly, although perfectly adequate for making various nutbutters (walnut being my current favourite), my food processor is nowhere near good enough to make hazelnut paste smooth enough to satisfy my perfectionist tendencies and

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A refreshing watermelon salad and a short trip to the sea

London experienced something of a mini summer this weekend, temperatures climbed into the mid-twenties and it seemed like the entire town had already given up on London getting something remotely resembling a summer this year as no one seemed dress for this mini heatwave (including myself). To make matters worse, as part of my typical Saturday morning coffee break and errand running I had decided to drop some books off at Oxfam, so in addition to a rather heavy handbag I was also lugging a heavy bag full of old paperbacks around with me (which, once dropped off at Oxfam, was quickly replaced by heavy shopping bags). Well, desperate times call for desperate measures and all I wanted when I came home around lunchtime was something refreshing. I had picked up my umpteenth watermelon for this season and decided then rather than eating half my watermelon after my lunch, I would make the watermelon my lunch. My friend Verena had

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