Recipes and Ruminations of a Freelance Eater

Recipes and Ruminations of a Freelance Eater

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Festive Edibles for Gifting and Scoffing

Festive Edibles for Gifting and Scoffing

It seems that the Maidenhead Farmer’s Market is at dire risk of being closed for good and that got me thinking about the ways we source and buy local produce and edible gifts, especially at Christmas time. Everyone loves receiving chocolates or a hamper of goodies at Christmas, but you can always do better than a bog-standard brand from the shelves of your local supermarket. If you can’t find the time to make your own truffles or bake some shortbread, the next best thing is finding a locally made or artisan treats and while they might not be easy to …

Chocolate and Roasted Walnut Truffles

Chocolate and Roasted Walnut Truffles

I normally stay away from either making or eating truffles. I don’t like all the rolling-by-hand. So when I saw this idea on a Mexican cooking show recently, I was motivated to put this knew technique into action. Instead of rolling your truffles, simply pour the mixture into a tin and cut the pieces into rustic cubes. Dust in cocoa as you have truffles without all the fussles.

When it comes to making truffles, as long as you’ve got equal parts of chocolate and cream you can pretty much do what you like with them. I feel the marriage of …

Cranberry Christmas Crackles

Cranberry Christmas Crackles

It seems there’s no end in sight for my Christmas creations this year….Hot on the trail of the peanut butter cups, I decided I had to have some White Christmas. Well, that’s what we call it back in Australia…not sure if anything like it is made around the world. But you see there’s a problem. I don’t really like the ingredients of the traditional White Christmas and I’m not talking about coconut and the milk powder, I’m talking about the glace cherries, candied citrus and sultanas. So, I figured out a way to enjoy all my favourite parts of this …

Tapas Revolution: Windsor

Tapas Revolution: Windsor

A few years ago I travelled to Madrid, mainly to look at art and enjoy a weekend without parental committments. And while seeing Yves Klein’s striking blue “La Victoria de Samotracia” in person was an enriching cultural adventure, it was the tapas that lingered longer in my memory. You can find it everywhere and you can have it any time of day, with coffee, a Coke or a glass of wine. The quality is always good whether you’re in a dusty old joint full of older men smoking and talking loudly or in a stylish bar in the heart of …

Russian Salad

Russian Salad

As you know, I went to Russia. And I loved it. The food was surprisingly varied and the quality was always good from the smallest cafe to the largest restaurant. When ever I travel I endeavour to make good food choices and so I was on the look out for vegetable-based dishes on the menus. In our favourite spot just near the hotel, we ordered the Russian Salad and it was amazing. I’d never had Russian Salad before, and to be honest I thought it was probbly something made-up by some guy in America somewhere, but it turns out to …

Christmas Spiced Nuts

Christmas Spiced Nuts

I must pass on my thanks and a kick in the shin to Nigella Lawson for passing on this recipe – the bar snacks at Union Square apparently. I’m sure they are responsible for at least 1 of the obligatory 3 pounds I put on over Christmas time. These make excellent edible Christmas gifts for teachers, neighbours, postmen and hairdressers. That is if they make it out of your kitchen.

Spiced Bar Nuts Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups of raw nuts
2 tbs chopped rosemary
2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp brown sugar (or maybe some more depending on your taste)
1/2 …

Laura Ashley The Tea Room: Burnham

Laura Ashley The Tea Room: Burnham

The words ‘Laura Ashley’ and ‘tea room’ belong together as naturally as ‘scones’ with ‘jam and cream’. Only a 15 minute drive from Maidenhead, the drive into the Burnham country side was awash with autumn foliage and I was eager to visit the new Laura Ashley The Tea Room at Burnham Beeches Hotel. A delightful and discreet country-side hideaway, the Laura Ashley tea room is perfect for those looking to enjoy high tea without the crowds of the larger hotels and manor houses.

Decorated in signature Laura Ashley style, the room is bathed in sunshine from the floor-ceiling windows that …

Bejewelled Christmas Chocolate Drops

Bejewelled Christmas Chocolate Drops

If you’re not overly confident to start your own chocolate factory just yet, why not try these little treasures. All you need is a microwave to create an endless variety of these pretty and festive sweets. You can create a florentine style creation and top with candied peel, raisins and nuts or keep it simple and go with Christmas colours like my cranberry and pistachio recipe. To add some sparkle, once set, brush with edible lustre dust or add some edible glitter or stars to your topping.

All you need to do is slowly melt on the lowest microwave setting, …

Surprising St Petersburg

Surprising St Petersburg

Our trip to St Petersburg started off well with perfectly cooked scrambled eggs and a glorious sunrise. I would recommend splashing out on Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food in Terminal 5, if not for the teriffic views and relative peace and quiet, then for the quality of food and coffee. It’s nice to feel like a mildly glamorous world-traveller before reality sets in and you’re herded on to a crowded plane and squashed into a seat with less room than a discount coach.

Flying in to St Petersburg it was interesting to see the great swathes of land and forest contrasting …

Super-easy sticky date puddings with toffee sauce

Super-easy sticky date puddings with toffee sauce

Puddings. Not even a whisper of autumn and I’m already looking for excuses. Speaking of putting on the pounds, this recipe comes to you after a period in my life that I now refer to as ‘The Pudding Years’. I was newly married, scratching around my new home like a chicken, content in the novelty of my newly domestic life. I had begun to explore the gifts of the kitchen and so did AT. In fact he took over the dessert duties during this period, and soon earned the nickname ‘The Pudding Man’ from our friends. We would lure them …