Name: Jenny

Posts by Jenny:

    My Top Five Favourite Cookbooks

    February 24th, 2017

    The one thing that has almost completely survived my incomplete love affair with The Magical Art of Tidying Up is my cookbook collection.  Curling up on my sofa with a hot mug of tea flicking through pages and pages of beautiful images and flavour combinations I would never have thought of is one of my favourite indulgences.  Truth be told I don’t cook from them nearly as much as I should do – but as my job is literally to cook recipes for book photo shoots I don’t feel at all guilty about my crowded book shelves.

    Last week in a flurried spring cleaning moment I pulled out all my books, cleaned the shelves, said goodbye to a couple I knew wouldn’t be missed and rearranged them so that the new books were just lying haphazardly and horizontally along the tops of the other.  When I reordered them (in colour order… I am dreading this trend becoming completely passe as it speaks so perfectly to my love of bright colours and occaisional leanings towards OCD) it got me thinking about which books I reach for more often than others.  I thought it would be fun to share my top 5, and the mood I am in when I pick them up.

    book 1

    For Beautiful ImagesStirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden – Laura Edwards is one of my favourite food photographers of all times, her work is light and feminine with a comforting lived in messy feel about them.  This book is an eclectic collection of recipes that perfectly encapsulates the London food scene at the moment.  The recipes jump from Indian to Vietnamese to Middle Eastern but an over riding theme of good quality fresh ingredients and a joy of eating running throughout.  I can’t wait to try her Almond, Oat and Raisin Cookie recipe they are meant to be exceptional (I think I know what I will be doing tomorrow morning…)

    For InspirationFive Quarters by Rachel Roddy – As soon as I flicked through this book I knew it had to be mine.  Roddy’s writing is absolutely exceptional.  Her paragraph on the perfect lunch of salted butter, radishes, anchovies and good quality bread had me running to the shops on my way home and is still one of my favourite lunches I’ve ever eaten and that’s not even venturing into her actual recipe writing.

    book 2

    For Savoury BakingThe Fabulous Baker Brothers by Tom and Henry Herbert – Whenever I get the urge to bake my own bread (which happened a lot more before I moved close to an exceptional bakery) this is the book I reach for without a doubt.  There language is accessible but informative and I really love that each chapter includes recipes for serving suggestions to go with the breads.

     

    For When You Don’t Want To Eat MeatA Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones – I fell in love with Anna Jones in her introduction when she carefully and gracefully excluded herself from health food writers at the height of the ‘green goddess’ trend. She creates real dishes that just so happen to not use meat.  Her pale green double page spreads sprinkled throughout the book sharing how to build different recipes are a revelation for anyone who want’s to expand their own kitchen creativity.  I was lucky enough to meet her once after working at a supper club she attended and she was the sweetest person.  She gave me the biggest hug after I garbled through a nervous introduction like a teenage girl meeting a boyband (yes I have just lost any cool points I may have garnered).

     

    For Home Cooking InspirationMinistry of Food by Jamie Oliver – I didn’t grow up in a particularly foody or kitchen adventurous home, or area in general and this book is basically a trip down memory lane to the dinners I would eat as a child.  Whenever I want comforting ‘traditional’ home cooked British food (which could be a curry or chilli as much as a meat pie such is the vast scope of the suburban English dinner table) I reach for this book for inspiration.  I would recommend this for anyone who is a little unsure in the kitchen.  The recipes lack specialist ingredients and use limited equipment, it cements the basic of home cooking and helps to guide the reader away from prepackaged meals and sauces to making their own from scratch (which most of the time is barely any more effort).

     Breakfast Scene Photo by Rosie Alsop

     

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    Recipe: Tarka Daal

    February 15th, 2017

    Last week I had a slight rant about the kind of food I wanted to write about, and the type of content I thought would be most useful to people reading this site.  At the top of that list is how I have been trying to focus my weeknight meals around plant based protein sources rather than relying on hastily bought supermarket meat.

    I in no way demonise the eating of meat, I love the stuff.  Last night for Valentines Day I ate a giant slab of glorious juicy rare rump beef steak.  It’s been widely reported on that eating less meat is better for the environment, your body, your wallet and of course the animals, which is why as a rule I try to make the meals I make at home Monday-Thursday plant-based.  I personally started eating vegetarian meals as a poor student, when a 20p tin of beans to bulk up a vegetable curry was my only viable option.  After watching a plethora of pro-veggie documentaries on Netflix the cruelty of the farming industry to create low cost meat definitely became a factor.  But if I am being completely honest, my main reason for eating vegetarian meals is that I genuinely like them.  If I didn’t I know that I don’t have the courage in my conviction to make myself.  It would be like my resolution to eat more fish all over again, I’ve had the same vac-packed pieces of salmon sitting in my freezer since last summer.

    The easiest and tastiest way to start adding more vegetarian meals into your diet is to turn to cuisines that already excel at it, rather than replacing meat with a prepackaged meat substitute.  India has the highest percentage of vegetarians in the world, 3-4x higher than the next nearest country.  One of my favourite quick, comforting and insanely cheap midweek Indian meals is daal, a spicy red lentil dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and freezes really well so is worth making a big batch and saving for later.

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    Tarka Daal

    Recipe by Jennifer Brown Cooking Time: Under 30 Minutes Serves 8

    The lentils in daal count as one of your five-a-day. Easy ways to up this is to add a roasted vegetable like cauliflower, butternut squash or sweet potato, stir through chopped spinach or add a speedy chopped salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion, fresh coriander tossed in a little lemon juice and salt. I like to serve my daal with rice, mango chutney (Waitrose Hot and Spicy Mango Chutney is my favourite - I currently have one jar on the go and 3 back ups in my cupboard) and a speedy raita of plain yoghurt and a spoonful of dried mint.

    Ingredients

    500g red lentils, rinsed

    Full kettle of boiling water

    2 tbsp oil

    1 tbsp mustard seeds

    1 tbsp cumin seeds

    1 tbsp nigella seeds (optional - and probably not traditional I just love how they taste)

    3 garlic cloves, crushed

    2 inch piece of ginger, grated

    1-2 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)

    ½ tbsp turmeric

    ½ tbsp ground coriander

    2 tbsp hot curry powder

    Salt and pepper to taste.

    Instructions

    1. Put the lentils in a large pan (I usually use my 24 inch Le Creuset as it’s the biggest pan I own) and cover with boiling water about an inch above the level of the lentils.
    2. Bring to a simmer, and cook over a medium low heat for about 20 minutes until the lentils are mushy and the water has been absorbed.
    3. Stir the lentils every few minutes and add a splash of hot water if they begin to look to dry and thick.
    4. In a frying pan medium high heat the oil then add the mustard, cumin and nigella seeds and fry until the seeds start popping, which usually takes about a minute.
    5. Reduce the heat under the frying pan and add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for two minutes until the garlic is golden and cooked.
    6. Now add the rest of the spices to the pan and fry for 30 seconds or so until they are aromatic.
    7. When the lentils are cooked stir through the fried spiced (this is the Tarka) and season to taste.
    8. Serve hot with rice and some of the suggestions in the note above.
    http://www.bake-online.co.uk/2017/02/15/recipe-tarka-daal/

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    Thoughts About Blogging

    February 8th, 2017

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I want from this corner of the internet, whether I have something to say or whether to shut it down completely.  Working in the food industry reminds me every day what a saturated market the food blog world has become.  I am just so fed up of so many beautiful people telling you that you won’t even miss what they are touting you should give up (spoiler alert – I totally did – my body does not function without carbs).

    I started this site to share my love on baking and photography at a time when I was surrounded by coworkers eager to demolish whatever treats I brought in from home.  That was over 5 years ago and my interests have changed, and now I’m self employed the only greedy coworker is me and my trouser waistline just can’t handle the extra strain!  I  used to try and blog about whatever overly sweet fad (do you remember cake pops? They were disgusting!) I thought would bring in the most page views and not necessarily about what I actually wanted to eat.

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    The thing is, when I talked to my friends and to people I love about food it’s never about baking. I talk to them about the real food that I make in my kitchen after a busy day at work when the siren’s song of the local Turkish takeaway shop is calling my name.  About how I am trying to reduce meat in my diet and which dishes make me forget that I have, or what I rustle up out of cupboard staples when I have spent too much money and it’s the end of the month.  So that’s what I want to share, the meals I’m passionate about with a few bonus lifestyle posts thrown in for good measure.

    On the topic of sharing things I love, yesterday I had the pleasure of working on a photoshoot with the extremely talented Polly Webster and here are a few of the beautiful shots she took and I food styled.  As I have said many a time bread is basically my soul mate so working on a shoot focusing around sandwiches was my dream come true! I will be sharing one of the recipes from this shoot in the upcoming weeks.

    Open Sandwich

    photos by Polly Webster

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    Recipe: Apple Pie Porridge {Vegan}

    November 16th, 2016

    There is something about waking up to a cold dark flat that can make even the most leisurely of mornings feel like a utilitarian affair. Moments that in summer would be spent casually sipping a mug of piping hot tea basking in the early morning sunshine are replaced with dragging your unwilling body from a cocoon of duvets and darting into a steaming hot shower trying to lose a little body heat as possible in the journey. Needless to say, I am not the biggest fan of when the hours of darkness are longer than those of daylight. Having something hot for breakfast just about makes up for the lack of warm weather.

    If you read this recipe you will see I have listed a lot of different options. Porridge isn’t fussy. So what if you don’t have the latest trendy sugar alternative, you can use whatever you have in your cupboard. I like to add chia seeds and ground flaxseed to my porridge for a little added fibre and some fat to keep me full for longer, those they are completely optional extras. Making the apples may seem like a bit of a faff, but their sweet and sharpness brings extra dimensions to an otherwise rather bland breakfast, plus they keep all week in the fridge. On days when I am working on photoshoots I usually have to be out of the house by just after 7am so I put all the ingredients in a pan in the fridge the night before. Letting the oats start to absorb the liquid the night before dramatically reduces the cooking time in the morning and helps me get out the front door just that little bit quicker.

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    Apple Pie Porridge

    Serves 1 Recipe Jenny Brown

    Ingredients

    5 apples

    2 tbsp maple syrup/honey/sugar - to taste

    ½ cup rolled oats

    1 tbsp chia seeds - optional

    1 tbsp ground flaxseed/linseed (they are the same thing, it tends to be cheaper when marketed under linseed) - optional

    1 flat tsp coconut oil or butter - optional

    1 tbsp maple syrup/honey/sugar - to taste

    Pinch of cinnamon

    Pinch of nutmeg

    Pinch of salt

    1 cup milk/nut milk/water (I use around ¾ cup almond milk and ¼ water because it makes a 1l carton last my 5 week day breakfasts)

    Instructions

    1. To make the apple topping peel, core and roughly chop your apples and place in a sauce pan with your chosen sweetener and 3 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid in the pan has evaporated and your apples are soft. Leave to cool then transfer into a container to store in the fridge until ready to use.
    2. For the porridge place the rest of the ingredients into a pan. If starting this recipe the night before cover the pan and put in the fridge. When you are ready to cook place over a medium heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the oats are soft. If making straight away simmer for 20 minutes. Add a little extra milk or water if you prefer a thinner consistency to your porridge.
    http://www.bake-online.co.uk/2016/11/16/recipe-apple-pie-porridge-vegan/

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    Recipe: Chocolate Orange Health Food Bites {Vegan}

    February 24th, 2016

    If you follow me on instagram, or read last week’s post you may have seen that I have given up sugar for lent, so I thought it would be fun to share a little about how it has been going. I am not going to lie, it has been tough. After working at Violet Bakery last summer I have developed a real sweet tooth. Compounded by a trip to New York where I tried to visit as many of the bakeries I had spent years reading about online as possible (my favourites were Doughnut Plant, Domnique Ansel Bakery and Momofuku Milk Bar). Basically I had gotten to the point where I was indulging in something sweet every day, sometimes twice.

    Choc Orange 2 Blog

    I haven’t gone treat cold turkey, I’ve tried that before and believe me (and about twenty other people) I was not someone you wanted to be around. I don’t think I have ever raised my voice at work. This is partially because I love my job and being able to work in such a creative industry is a dream come true, and because I am relatively timid in a work environment. Last year when I gave up sugar at the height of my bakery induced sugar coma I yelled (the wrong name) at the cutest puppy for trying to forage some chicken bones from a bin. It was bad, I had to go outside for a walk to calm down, and thinking back to it makes me cringe in shame. To minimise photoshoot faux pas I have been curbing my cravings with healthier options, and in that first week chocolate orange Nakd bars were a real leaning post for me.

    If I am being totally honest I think most of them taste pretty awful, but there is something about orange extract that can make even the blandest of health food mushes taste delicious. My habit was getting pretty expensive and with the percentage ingredient list doesn’t always add up I thought I would have a go at making them at home. The verdict, it was pretty much a tie. My homemade version was lot drier with a crumbly texture, which makes me suspect that they slip some extra oil in with the ‘natural flavourings’. I forgot to pick up raisin which contribute to the slight tang of the store bought bars. I think making them at home worked out a fraction cheaper, but not by much.

    Choc Orange 3 Blog

    If I am being perfectly honest, I probably wouldn’t ever make them again. Yes, it is a quick 10 minute recipe, with the comfort of knowing the exact ingredients of what you are putting into your body, but at the end of the day it is still a sweet. When lent ends, I want to have curbed my sugar cravings, not just be placating them with pureed medjool dates. In the last week I have been moving away from my beloved chocolate and orange health food bars and have swapped them out with bananas, which whilst not perfect is still a step in the right direction

    If you are interested in how I made my chocolate orange bars I here’s the recipe

    One Year Ago: Fruity Pancakes Two Ways
    Two Years Ago: Boozy Chocolate Mousse
    Three Years Ago: Pink Meringues
    Four Years Ago: Lemon And Sugar Pancakes

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    Choc Orange 4 Blog

    Chocolate Orange Health Food Bites

    makes 28 recipe by Jennifer Brown

    Ingredients

    130g raw cashews

    175g medjool dates, stones removed and roughly chopped

    20g cocoa powder

    2 tsp orange extract

    ¼ tsp sea salt

    Instructions

    1. Place the cashews into a food processor and blend for 4-5 minutes until the nuts have begun to release their oils, but the paste is still quite chunky.
    2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for a further 5 minutes. As I mentioned earlier my mixture was quite dry, so it never came together as a puree, but if you squeezed together the mixture it would hold it’s shape.
    3. Using a spatula press the mixture firmly into a small tub to flatten it out.
    4. Chill in the fridge for an hour, then turn the bar out and cut into bite sized pieces.
    http://www.bake-online.co.uk/2016/02/24/recipe-chocolate-orange-health-food-bites-vega/

    1 Comment "

    Valentines: Apple Pie

    February 14th, 2016

    Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I saw the sweetest heart topped pie in the latest issue of Donna Hay Magazine and I knew that was exactly what I wanted to make for a special dessert. Small disclaimer I actually made this a couple of weeks ago before I went of sugar for lent, and editing these photos has been absolute torture!

    Apple Pie 1 Blog

    There is no recipe from me today as I followed the Pies and Thighs recipe using a premade pack of pastry as I was in a rush, which seems like a huge mistake when you watch the accompanying video. The crust looks insanely good in it, so good that I might make this apple pie again as my birthday cake!

    Photo 06-02-2016, 15 35 23

    When I was in New York last year we tried to get a slice of pie from the hugely popular Williamsburg bakery Pies and Thighs but there was a queue out the door and we had a tight schedule and couldn’t wait. I kind of regret it but we ate so many sweet treats (here/here/here/here) on that trip so my body was probably quite grateful for missing one more sugar high. We’ll just have to go back to New York again!

    Photo 06-02-2016, 15 44 48

    The real secret to this pie filling is that you macerate (use sugar to draw out the juice from) the apples overnight. You then strain the juice from the apples, boil it down to a thick glossy syrup and then toss the apples in it before adding them to the pie.

    Photo 14-02-2016, 16 21 30

    This is a real pie game changer! Instead of a watery filling that causes the bottom of the pastry to go soggy you end up with a spiced caramel that oozes when you slice the pie. The apples are slightly underdone in this recipe to retain some bite which I didn’t love I much prefer them soft. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will cook them slightly before putting them in the crust.

    Photo 09-02-2016, 09 06 39

    This unfortunately is the only photo of the finished pie! The one I took on my camera was so blurry! Let that be a lesson to me.

    One Year Ago: Mocha Mini Valentines Cakes
    Two Years Ago: Rhubarb Tart
    Three Years Ago: Pink Meringues
    Four Years Ago: Chocolate Mousse

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    Recipe: Homemade Nutella

    February 8th, 2016

    I don’t think a year has gone past that I haven’t made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Whilst most of my peers, when I excitedly question what toppings they prefer, shrug and ask ‘oh is that coming up?’ I spend weeks lost in my own world conjuring up which flavours to use this year. They were one of the first things that my parents allowed me to make, once a year whipping up 50+ crepes to feed my huge family two courses of soft, paper-thin pancakes, practising flipping each one with only a few casualties each year.

    Nutella 2 BlogNutella is a classic crepe topping, the smooth creamy spread melting slightly in the warm pancake. As soon as a I saw the recipe in Kate Doran’s beautiful book Homemade Memories (read my review here) I knew that it was only a matter of time before I made it myself. The result is intoxicating. Darker and less sugary than its store-bought counterpart, what it lacks in sweetness it gains in rich chocolate flavour. Nutella 3 Blog

    The method is strangely therapeutic, the process needing less skill than time. I made it standing barefoot in the kitchen whilst the wind and rain of Storm Imogen battered at the windows, absent-mindedly rubbing still warm hazelnuts between my palms to release them from their dark brown skins.

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    One Year Ago: Fruity Crepes Two Ways
    Two Years Ago: Leek, Potato and Gorgonzola Pancakes , Apple Pie Pancakes
    Three Years Ago:  Lemon and Mascarpone Crepe Cakes, Blueberry Wholewheat Pancakes
    Four Years Ago: Crepes, Chocolate Crepes, Unrefined Pancakes

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    Homemade Nutella

    adapted from Kate Doran’s Homemade Memories makes one 0.25l jar

    Ingredients

    100g hazelnuts, skin on

    100g milk chocolate, chopped

    1 tsp flavourless oil

    40g icing sugar

    1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    pinch of salt

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 160C Fan and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Pour the hazelnuts over the tray and bake for 8-10 minutes until the skins look loose and will easily rub off the nuts (lol!). The nuts will burn very quickly (I found that out the hard way) so check the nuts after about 5 minutes. Leave the nuts to cool to room temperature. Taking 5-10 hazelnuts between your palms, rub them together until the skins fall off. Try and remove as much of the skin as possible as it tastes slightly bitter, and you will have to up the sugar content to combat it.
    2. Melt the chocolate over a bain marie (a bowl over a pan of gently bubbling water - making sure that the water doesn’t come into contact with the bowl). Take the chocolate off the heat before the chocolate is completely liquified, and use the residual heat to finish melting it. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes.
    3. Tip the hazelnuts into a food processor and then blend for 2-3 minutes or until the natural oils are released and it becomes smooth. Pour in the oil and blend for another 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for a final 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the blender at minute intervals to make sure the mixture is completely smooth.
    4. Decant into a sterilized jar.

    Notes

    Find my recipe for classic crepes here.

    http://www.bake-online.co.uk/2016/02/08/recipe-homemade-nutella/

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    Favourite Places: Margate

    January 31st, 2016

    This year I am fortunate enough to be doing a little travelling so I thought it would be fun to start a monthly series documenting some of the best things to do. Starting it off is my home town of Margate, a small seaside town on the Kentish coast. Over the last few years with the building of the art gallery the Turner Contemporary and last summer’s re-opening of the fairground Dreamland, Margate has been reinventing itself from derelict 50s summer holiday destination to a beachside escape only and hour and half from London.

    Eat // Greedy Cow Deli A charming cafe in the centre of Margate’s old town, famous for its pulled pork which had always been sold out in previous visits but we finally got to try after timing our meal with the beginning of the lunch service. The pork was soft and moist, falling apart with every mouthful, and the coleslaw that came with it had the surprising addition of apple which leant a sweet note to the slightly bitter cabbage. I chose the grilled cheese made with their signature blend of cheeses. It was absolutely delicious, if not slightly oily for my liking. I stole Dan’s tangy sliced pickles to offset the grease which was the perfect side.

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    Drink // Lighthouse Bar Positioned at the end of the harbour wall, this bar is best visited in the summer when you can enjoy a cheap pint of good quality German beer in their outdoor seating area. Whilst the vintage wood burning stove offers some respite from the January cold, the ineffective chimney causes the bar to be filled with smoke. Its offering of locally produced bar snacks, great drink selection and unbeatable location make it one of the best places to stop for a quick drink.

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    Go Out // Walk Along The Coast You can’t visit the seaside without spending at least a little time gazing out over the water. I always take the opportunity to borrow my parents’ ridiculous dog and get a little exercise chasing him up and down the sea wall. Walk a little further round the coast and you come across the now abandoned lido. Once a seawater-filled swimming pool, where my mother amongst many other children learnt to swim, it is now boarded off and only visited by the odd hipster or two. Marvel at the white cliffs that line the coast, and maybe, if the weather is right, enjoy the feeling of warm sand between your toes.

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    Stay In // The Turner Contemporary When the Turner Contemporary was first proposed it promised to renew Margate as a holiday destination for those wanting to escape the city. I am rather fond of the much hated building. Its jagged roof resemble the yacht sails that fill sea throughout the summer and the grey blue panels subtly change to match the sky. The little gallery has been host to some big names. Tracey Emin, a Margate girl herself exhibited early on, but it has also shown work by Grayson Perry and even Leonardo Da Vinci. Later this year it will be showing work by its namesake JMW Turner who loved Margate so much that he based more than 100 of his paintings on the small coastal town.

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    Shop // Scotts Judging by the number expensive haircuts and designer shoes I saw in the unusually busy gem, this vintage store has been discovered by half of east London. A salvage yard and warehouse on the back roads in the heart of Margate is home to innumerable treasures with handwritten price tags, where you can find solid wood church pews, antique silverware and slightly stale linens all under one roof. Half of my styling props have been bought after afternoons sifting through stacks of plates in one of the musty back rooms. Climb up a rickety stairway and the attic is filled with classic wooden furniture stacked haphazardly towards the rafters.

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    One Year Ago: Seriously Seedy Bread
    Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich Cake
    Two Years Ago: Tuscan Bean Soup
    Three Years Ago: Bread Sticks

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    Sourdough Bread and Butter with Anchovies and Radishes

    January 20th, 2016

    I am so fortunate to live in a truly amazing corner of one of the best cities in the world.  Hackney has an incredible food scene with new pop-up restaurants, cafes and bars opening every day.  But better than that, its collection of local producers and shops is unparalleled.

    sourdough 4 blogLast Saturday morning after Dan had finished running some errands and I had gone to the gym, we stopped off at a few of my favourite shops to pick up a few simple items for lunch.  Inspired by Rachel Rody’s beautiful book Five Quarters I had my heart set on fresh bread and butter with anchovies and radishes.  We stopped at Spence Bakery for a sourdough loaf, which is so good I’m a little wary of trying to make it myself at home as they have got it down to an art.

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    This may be the most perfect combination of four ingredients I have ever eaten.  The bread and butter was so delicious that it could almost have been a meal on its own, still fresh and light from the morning’s bake. The saltiness of the anchovies was cut by the peppery freshness of the radishes.  In a flashy world of bigger and better, crazed diets and food trends, it was refreshing to enjoy something simple and humble, but utterly delicious

    One Year Ago: Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins
    Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich Cake
    Two Years Ago: Cake Balls
    Three Years Ago: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

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