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!
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…
I will try any food at least once because otherwise how will I know if I love it or loathe it, or just find it somewhere in between the two? Without this policy I would have never discovered my penchant for pickled herring, been completely underwhelmed by crocodile, or chowed down on grasshoppers… bugs really don’t taste too bad, I promise you, and they make for a hilarious cocktail party conversation. But not every bite has to be so out of the box, sometimes it’s just nice to rediscover flavours you thought you didn’t like but maybe now you do…
Like carrots. A lot of people know I have an unnatural dislike of orange vegetables (sweet potato, pumpkin, squash…) but in the last few years carrots have somehow broken free of this ban and now I eat them all the time. Recently sun-dried tomatoes and olives have also joined these ranks… though after two weeks in Morocco, I’m taking it easy on the olives for a while. I remember dabbling in the sun-dried tomatoes and olives in my late teens, I was pretending to be sophisticated but it didn’t really work so I promptly gave them up. Then sometime around my mid twenties they made a reappearance and have been in the good books ever since.
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!
My sister recently told me about this banana diet which is making the #fitspo folk go, well, bananas. My first reaction was to laugh; who can seriously eat bananas all day, everyday? Who wants to?! But then I remembered that not everyone shares my opinion, people actually like those pungent, squishy things. They are everywhere: lollies, ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies, milk, fritters, and of course cake.
Banana cake just doesn’t tickle my fancy, obviously if it was a choice between that or carrot cake, it’s the lesser of the two evils but it will never be my preferred option. On the contrary, a certain someone is rather fond of banana cake so feeling generous one afternoon I decided to make him one. Kind of. I mean there are a lot of bananas in it but it also calls for pineapple, a fruit I do adore, and the cake is technically called a Hummingbird Cake…
Sausage rolls are like the Alison Holst or Mary Berry of the edible world. Loved by all ages and welcomed with open arms at any occasion, they rebel against food trends and have stood the test of time. I don’t think there has ever been a time I didn’t love a bit of sausage roll- they were always one of my favourites at birthday parties when I was a kid, and now I still make a beeline for them at the office morning tea.
A couple of months ago, on a rather uneventful afternoon I suddenly had a craving for a sausage roll. It had been a while since we were last acquainted (are they not standard fare at the English office morning tea?) and I just wanted to sink my teeth into some porky pastry comfort. I decided to make my own because, how hard can it be? As it turns out, not very, so I thought I would give the old girl a bit of a makeover and voila, how good does she look now?
I can confidently say that most of the omnivores I know start salivating at the mere mention of pork belly, and grin ear to ear whilst licking their lips when crispy crackling comes into view. I won’t insult your intelligence by denying that I am one of those omnivores, and a certain someone? Well I’m pretty sure he loves pork more than I do because he could happily eat ham sandwiches for lunch everyday. If that’s not love…
But let’s get back to the belly- I was day dreaming about that time we had those infamous Momofuku pork buns and decided to make those dreams a reality. Unfortunately Skyscanner was not finding me any affordable flights to NYC, so feeling adventurous I thought the next best thing would be to just recreate them myself. They look simple enough, right?