When I first published this cookie recipe, we were packing up our life in Wellington and getting ready to go on our first adventure – a couple of months travelling through parts of Canada, America, Cuba and Mexico, before landing in London. That was about 6.5 years ago. Wow. So much has happened since then… we settled into London life, we took a break and went off travelling again, and now we’re back in the big smoke, albeit under very different circumstances.
Lots of things might have changed over the past few years, but my sweet tooth has remained constant. As does my love for this cookie recipe. It’s dead easy and still delicious so I thought it was about time I gave this post a spruce up and introduced people to it again… after all, most of us are still staying home and baking more than ever before!
Today marks three years since I arrived in London with my suitcase in one hand and a certain someone in the other. In that time I’ve fully embraced the challenge to explore London’s restaurant scene, but London itself? I haven’t attacked that with as much zeal. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve visited no more than a handful of the many museums and galleries, and I don’t snoop around new neighbourhoods as often as I would like to. I put it down to the ‘it’ll still be there next week’ mentality; the landmarks and attractions aren’t going anywhere, whereas that quirky pop up will be gone in a flash, which explains my prioritisation logic!
However this year, that logic is going out the window because while the landmarks and attractions might remain in London forever and a day, I might not. We have no concrete plans but I have a feeling we might only have another year or so in this fine city and as a result, it’s time I started playing tourist a little more. The first attraction I’m ticking off the list? The London Eye. It’s on almost every tourist’s London bucket list but I’ll confess, it never really tickled my fancy because the queues are always huge and knowing my luck, I’d end up riding it on a particularly grey day. So I just never bothered.
I am the proud owner of a very, very well stocked freezer. That’s probably not the coolest (pun totally intended to add to said coolness) or most glamorous thing to admit but such is real life. And in my life, a well stocked freezer is one key to eternal home happiness. Ridicule me all you like but you know who will be having the last laugh? Me, with my belly-warming bowl of homemade dumplings and broth, ready in just ten minutes. Me, diving into my oxtail stash for a Sunday stew, saving myself the trolley battles in the Sunday supermarket swarms. Or me, wading through my ice cream options for dessert just because I can.
Every freezer should have at least one type of ice cream, but in a well stocked freezer like mine, one is never enough. Oh no, that would be a disgrace! Our current situation involves two staples – a tub of top notch vanilla (because it goes with everything, duh) and a selection of mini Magnums (because I can be sensible in my indulgence), and a new entry… a delectable array of ice creams and sorbets from Simply Ice Cream! When I say there’s something sweet for everyone in that bottom freezer drawer, I really mean it.
Deciding what to make for an office shared lunch can be quite a challenge. You certainly don’t want your colleagues to think you are incompetent in the kitchen (even if you are, some things should be kept out of the office) but you also don’t want to get too complex. No one likes a show off, or to be accused of trying to pass off a shop-bought item as one of their own. Then there’s the added issue of actually getting the food to the office – there’s no way I’m carting anything bigger than a standard sized tupperware box across London on three tube changes and a bus ride. Yeah, my commute is worse than yours; I know.
Given the list of dietary requirements, general likes and dislikes, and the scrutiny of some discerning diners in your midst, I would recommend you do what I do and play it safe. Chocolate brownies are the answer; a guaranteed crowdpleaser. If by chance there is someone in your team who doesn’t like chocolate brownies, someone else will no doubt be rubbing their hands together with delight because that means there’s another one going spare…
There are certain types of people I mistrust from the outset: politicians (like the rest of the world), parking wardens (how are they always conveniently around the corner, ready to pounce) and people who don’t like chocolate. How? Why?! I just cannot fathom not liking the smooth, creamy delight so am naturally suspicious of chocolate haters. Were they robbed of a childhood of chocolate eggs and bunnies at Easter or endless Milk Trays at Christmas? Did no one else share with them the simple pleasure of a rich chocolate cake covered in ganache? Do they even like their taste buds?! I better stop before I fall further into despair.
Needless to say, I absolutely love chocolate… I’m not a huge consumer of sweets or lollies but chocolate is my guilty pleasure, my afternoon pick-me-up, pretty much my favourite sweet treat! I find it very hard to look beyond a chocolate dessert so decided to try making one of my favourites – the chocolate mousse. I’ve tested it out on two sets of dinner party guests and am happy to report this dark chocolate mousse was devoured in record time and there was a lot of glass scraping to get every last bit!
After extensive research, I’ve concluded that three courses is probably the right amount of time needed for a proper girly gossip. The ‘Law Girls’ usually get together for breakfast at Leuven every couple of weeks but there’s not really enough time to get into the real juicy bits over the waffles or potato cakes. That’s when the longer dinner dates come in handy.