Recipes and Ruminations of a Freelance Eater

Recipes and Ruminations of a Freelance Eater

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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 …

Butternut Squash Loaf

Butternut Squash Loaf

Seasonal recipes are the bane of the digital media provider. Bloggers, journalists and marketing folk are always looking for fresh and fabulous seasonal ‘content’ to hurl at readers each month. I struggle with this because I tend to eat what I like, when I like and the seasons don’t usually play a critical part. But I hit the jackpot browsing the Waitrose magazine last week when I came upon their butternut squash loaf recipe. While I didn’t fancy buying treacle and yoghurt especially to make the cake, I did have the desire to add to my loaf repertoire, so after …
French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

The first time I had French onion soup was in L’Entracte brasserie on 1 Rue Auber, opposite the Opera Garnier in Paris. I wrote about it here. The last time I ate French onion soup was this weekend, as the rain and wind swept away the promise of fun and relaxation this weekend. Ok, so I’m exaggerating a little.

I did the obligatory Google-search, and read Felicity Cloake’s thoughts on the ‘perfect’ French Onion soup at The Guardian. And as usual, I was kind of put-off by the attitudes some people have towards cooking and eating. Food doesn’t …

Super Soft Sour Cream Donuts

Super Soft Sour Cream Donuts

Can you imagine how Stephen Hawking must have felt when the concept for the expanding universe dawned on him? Or how Tesla might have felt when he first realised the potential of wireless technology? That’s kind of how it was for me when I bit into some donuts that I made last week. It was like time and space was bending, the ether opened up and whispered to me the secrets of the universe and the cosmic recipe for the best donuts ever made. You might think I’m exaggerating, but perhaps you’ve never tried to make donuts at home, or …

Damson in Distress

Damson in Distress

The ancient Syrian city of Damascus has given us many gifts over the years, giving its name to a number of wonderful and unusual things like damask fabric, the decorative inlay of metals called damascening, a type of fancy pigeon, moments of revelation called “Damascene moments.” It is also said that perhaps it is the ancient home of the damson (known as a ‘damascene’ in ye olden times – or “plum of Damascus”), but this is a controversial statement, as the British damson is much less sweet than the fruits known as damascenes. Indeed, much more tangy than a plum, …

Apple, Nut, Cranberry and Coconut Loaf

Apple, Nut, Cranberry and Coconut Loaf

I don’t know if it’s the same in your neighbourhood or backyard but our neighbours have an apple tree on our fence line that’s bare but for the green baubles that occasionally drop and roll across the yard. I have no idea what kind of variety it is but they taste pretty good. I’ve seen trees along the motorway that have red fruit still adorning the barren branches and I can’t help but wonder if that’s why we decorate our Christmas trees the way we do.

There are a number of similar recipes for this kind of apple-cranberry loaf and …

Homemade Fatballs

Homemade Fatballs

To an Aussie – the word ‘fatballs’ could only have one possible meaning, and it’s not until I moved to the UK that I encountered the use of this word in relation to wildlife and birds. If you want to be the envy of all your wild-life-loving neighbours, start making home-made fatballs. Not only can they get really expensive to buy, but they look as if they contain dubious ingredients and like us,  birds like good food too. I can tell they prefer my fatballs because they’re almost all gone just a day or two after I put them out, …

Pumpkin pie with hazelnut crust

Pumpkin pie with hazelnut crust

“Good friends are like stars…. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there”

I have a friend from Canada and together we used to enjoy swapping recipes, talking about food and embarking on oven-baked finger food odysseys. Being Canadian, she had a fine sense of North American cuisine, and shared with me her recipe for pumpkin pie that she made with a hazelnut pastry. It seemed timely that this recipe appear on my blog in November, in time for Thanksgiving (which is also celebrated by Canadians) and after discovering canned pureed pumpkin on the shelves in …