Lemon Crepes (Crêpes au Citron)

I remember in Italy as a child there was only one way of eating crepes – with nutella. Now, at home people may have made them savory with ricotta and spinach or filled them with fruits and jam, but the crepe stalls outside only offered you the option of nutella. I loved nutella as much as any other child but they were always appallingly generous with their slathering of nutella.  It wasn’t crepes with nutella so much as crepes being a vehicle that encased half a jar of nutella in your hands.  Especially now that I haven’t really touched nutella in years (I’ve become a snob and now only go for the premium expensive nut spreads), just the idea of the crepes in those days make me gag. IMG_0962.jpg Continue reading “Lemon Crepes (Crêpes au Citron)”

Better Baked Beans

“It has to be Heinz” – no, that sh*t’s got so much sugar and preservatives in it, make your baked beans at home.  I do not understand this British loyalty to Heinz baked beans.  Taste wise it’s pretty one dimensional, it is sweet and bland and it should not define how baked beans – an iconic British staple – taste.

Doesn’t this look so much more appetizing than that pale orange slimy dollop of beans that’s placed in the midst of a traditional fry-up?
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Romanesco Pasta

I am currently at the airport in Istanbul, at 1:30am, waiting for my delayed flight at 6am and I am understandably bloody exhausted.  So I am reminiscing of the time I made this pasta.  It was a few days ago back home in Italy when we were altogether as a family – the four of us are spread over three continents so it does not happen very often, and we ate and we cooked and we grocery-shopped because that is what my lovely family does. img_9960 Continue reading “Romanesco Pasta”

Orange Marmalade Cake

I loved buffets as a child, and hotel buffets were once quite affordable in fancy hotels in Beijing – this was at least a decade ago, as now they’re over 50 pounds per person for mediocre food.  Back in the days  it was something we often did as a family.  Some families go camping, some go hiking, some play card games together, but our family just went out to eat buffets.  Now we go out and eat in nice restaurants.   This is all leading up to the story where my dad stole jam for his darling daughter.
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Roasted Broccoli with Peanuts

Okay, there are some unspoken rules about the lunch you bring to work.  You don’t bring brassica vegetables, you don’t bring fish, you definitely shouldn’t bring anything that is seasoned with fish sauce.  I’ll admit, I’ve done most of those, because whilst in general I’m quite considerate of those around me, noone can tell me what I can or cannot eat.  That said, however, after what happened a few days ago I probably never will again.
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Some poor bastard heated up his fish meal for lunch at work.  Probably leftover from the nice fish supper they had the night before.  Maybe their partner had lovingly prepared it, maybe it was from the really nice but overpriced fishmongers in the neighborhood, maybe they were up early in the morning and had decided to treat themselvese and so made some fish for lunch.   It’s none of our business.  Yes, the smell saturated the entire floor, and my colleagues and I had briefly commented on it, but then we moved on because that is something that just may happen when you have an open plan office.   Then, the HR lady actually went around every single table of diner to inspect the food and ask each of us sternly “is it you that’s eating fish?”
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Chocolate Almond Cake (Torta Caprese)

Food neophobia is defined as the relucatance to try or the avoidance of new foods.  We all know at least one obnoxious person in our friendship group that’s like that.  I was food neophobic as a child.  It’s quite different from being a fussy eater because it’s not like I didn’t like many things, I just stuck to my favorites and never ventured out to trying anything remotely exotic.  Pizzas were always margherita, pastas were always the plain tomato sauce, and ice cream was always chocolate.  I did also go for vanilla and hazelnut at times but it was always in conjunction with chocolate ice cream.  I remember once being at my parents’ friends house in Italy, and the hosts’ daughter, along with my sister and I, were asked to go buy a few tubs of ice cream for everyone to share at the end of the meal.  On our way over to the shop the girl talked about how she loved melon flavored ice cream so we should definitely go for that.  Melon and also lemon, oh she loved her f*cking lemon ice cream.  I was shy and nervous, but my sister, understanding the situation,tried to suggest chocolate or hazelnut or vanilla as the last flavour but then the b*tch just said “let’s just go for all fruit flavors”.
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Parmesan Saffron Biscuits

They say I’m absent-minded, that I’ve always been.  I miss things, I lose things, I break things, I walk around in black and blue legs because I seem to not have any awareness of my own body and surroundings and thus constantly run into solid objects.  I hate it.  I hate being labeled as negligent, careless and distracted.  I broke a mug, a bowl and a new spice container yesterday.  I didn’t need to wait for a real scolding because whenever this happens my parents’ voices are loud and clear in my head, berating me for the mistakes I made and reinstating that’s why I am to  never touch anything, wait outside the glassware shop and never do anything remotely adventurous because they’re not meant for scatter-brained kids like me.  img_9902
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Spiced Chocolate Almond Diamonds

I worked in the pastry kitchen of a 5-star hotel one summer and the wastage I witnessed was astonishing.  Things had to be precise, brownies had to be 5 by 5 and if that slab of brownies was 29cm in length, well that 4cm strip at the end was binned.  If you unintentionally sliced it at an angle so it wasn’t perfectly square, it was binned.  Leftovers, binned.  Look at my mishaped cookies below, they would’ve been binned. img_9792-copy
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Shakshuka

I f*cking love breakfast on weekends.  Instead of a 2-minute microwaved oatmeal gulped down in front of a computer whilst you check your emails, you take your morning easy – you can enjoy that first meal of the day for over an hour, with proper coffee, maybe some background music, and eggs – I love eggs.  I tried microwaved eggs at work and I loathed it.  Eggs need to be lovingly prepared.  We’ve all had bad scrambled eggs for instance, it’s the easiest thing to f*ck up if you’re not doing it with love.  Anyway.  I do it when I can, on weekends I absolutely love going out for breakfast, even if it’s on my own with a book.  But September was a terrifying month financially, so instead of going to a cute cafe, we ate in.

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