Monday, 30 May 2011

Delicious Imperfection: Peach and Nectarine Tart

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It was supposed to be a lazy Sunday afternoon.  We'd had lunch at one of our favorite London restaurants (to celebrate my first full draft of my manuscript!), followed by a windy wander through Bermondsey, and the plan was to go home and relax / work.  But then I was struck with an unrelenting desire to bake a peach tart.

Admittedly, the desire began a couple of days before, when I was watching Come Dine With Me and one of the contestants made a peach and nectarine tart.  We didn't have the fruit on hand, so I filed it away for another day, but then we walked past an M&S on the way back from lunch and I decided to do it that day.  In a hurry.  Without a recipe... which kind of led to a semifail.  Let's go through it one part at a time.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Stodgy Summer in a Bowl

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The New York Times is a great recipe resource.  I forget that sometimes, and then one day, in my 'Recommended For You' sidebar, up will pop a link to a recipe, and I'll just happen to have the ingredients on hand, and I'll be struck with a desire to try that recipe then and there.

And boy, am I glad I decided to try this leek and lemon chicken soup.  It's so good, and so...unexpected.  Fresh and bright, creamy but without any cream, and super healthy to boot!  It was delicious.  I was seriously really proud of myself.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

American as Blueberry Pie

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I made my first fruit pie last weekend.  Oh, I've made pies before, but usually I limit myself to pumpkin and then move on to cakes and cookies.  In the States, it's pretty easy to make a pie: buy pre-made crust, line pie dish, fill pie, bake.  But over here, good sweet pie crust is really hard to come by, so making a pie means making pastry, and we all know how I feel about that...

Nonetheless, this being spring and all, I got it into my head that I wanted to make a blueberry pie.  We invited the work girls over for dinner, and I planned a menu of Italian Wild Boar Stew with Taleggio Polenta and a big side salad, then got to planning the piece de resistance: my pie.  I thought if I could just get the crust sorted, I'd be golden. And after much huffing and puffing and mess (and a premature nervous breakdown), I had what looked like a decent crust!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Simply delicious: grilled cheese and tomato soup

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I talk a lot about simplicity on this blog.  Simple cakes, simple candies that turn out not so simple, simple...cakes.  But there are deliciously simple savory ideas out there too, and when it comes time for me to make dinner, this is where I rock.  Pan-fried chicken breast in olive oil with asparagus or broccollini?  Yes, please, and don't skimp on the salt.

Last week I decided that I would make dinner, since the bf has been cooking a lot lately and I wanted to cut him a break.  Okay, maybe I just wanted to control the dish-making for once – don't judge me.  Either way, I was struck with a wonderful idea: we had fresh tomato soup in the fridge, and suddenly all I wanted to eat it with was a grilled cheese sandwich.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Falling Into Spring: Pumpkin Spice Bread

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It's definitely Spring here in London.  The trees are blooming, the sun is shining more often than not, and the birds on the canal are having adorable, fluffy babies:

And how am I celebrating this glorious breaking of Winter?  Well, I'm sneezing a lot... and numbing myself with bucketsful of Benadryl... and baking pumpkin bread.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

With a little planning, you too can dine Ad Hoc!

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The bf and I spent the Easter holiday in San Francisco with my family.  I'll spare you the details on that (mostly because the only interesting bits involve silly string fights and yipping pitbulls), but there is one part of our vacation that I just had to share: dinner at Ad Hoc.

Whenever we go back to the Bay, the bf and I try to get a little time in the Napa valley.  My parents have a house up there (I know, sweet, right?) and we love to go up and just veg out: we swim, we read, and most of all we eat.  We have a few must-hit spots (Go Fish, Redd, Cook, and C Casa are some of the faves), but we've always wanted to try one of Thomas Keller's restaurants, especially after we had such an amazing experience at his NYC restaurant, Per Se.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Baking for others: Cinnamon Bun Bread Semi-Fail

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Well, we're back from San Francisco.  And while I'm not stoked about having to leave my friends and family, I am looking forward to getting back into a routine with work and writing.  And, of course, blogging!

I think my stomach is looking forward to a routine as well; we ate so much good food in NorCal, which made my mouth extremely happy but my body has gone all soft.  I'm sure it hasn't helped that I skipped my usual daily pilates in exchange for more delicious food.  Mmmmmmmm...