I’ve been told the three most stressful things in life are death, divorce and buying a house.
I’ve sadly experienced death, luckily never divorce and for the first time ever I am finding out what it’s like to buy and build a home. I’m basically at the mercy of arrogant estate agents who haven’t got the time of day in a seller’s market, in a city where buying a house is like some kind of competitive sport. Like a 200m sprint for a period conversion close to a tube station. And what’s with all the phone calls? Have any of these property negotiators heard of email? SIGH.
It is a stress that prior to a few weeks ago I never knew, which is why I’m now feeling very stupid having scoffed when my dad warned me about the absolute ball ache that buying a house is. Why can’t buying a house just be easy, a good old fashioned spit and shake on the sale? WHY?
Anyway, thanks to the aforementioned stress I’ve been under, I’ve been keeping it simple in the kitchen recently. Baking is therapeutic, and banana bread is the epitome of simple. Plus it gives me a great excuse to ignore calls from estate agents.
I don’t know about you guys but there is something pretty magical about pancake day. I mean, a day where eating pancakes whenever you want that is entirely acceptable and encouraged has got to be one of the food-related highlights of the year, am I right?! Perhaps a close second to International Bacon Day.
I’ve had my fair share of pancake days so uh yeah, you could say I’m somewhat of a seasoned pancake-er-thing. Attending a Catholic school as a child was obviously a major benefit when Shrove Tuesday came around, and I could always count on my mum to make classic pancakes with lemon and sugar for dinner. But one day, all of that changed. Pancakes weren’t just ‘there’ anymore, apparently adults have to make their own arrangements.
Based on previous years’ struggles, this is how pancake day is probably going to play out:
7am – wake up and drink coffee
9am – travel to work with face nestled in someone’s armpit
10am – wonder why no one at work has brought in pancakes. Settle for a very sad looking rice cake
12pm – decide the only lunch option is pancakes, nothing else shall do
2pm – walk to Camden Lock Market and contemplate queuing for 2 hours for Dutch pancakes
2:15pm – return to work with supermarket crêpes, douse them in maple syrup and feel an overwhelming sense of hatred for the world
6pm – scowl at everyone eating at My Old Dutch on the way home, this time face to elbow
6:30pm – stare lustfully at pictures on Facebook of all the pancakes everyone else seems to be consuming, wonder why I’m not so lucky
7:30pm – arrive home, make orange ricotta pancakes and rejoice
Pancake party for one, done. And just so you know, these are the best damn pancakes this seasonaire has ever made. Crêpe Suzette, step aside.
I’ve been holding out on you guys in a big way. See, I know a recipe for the most decadent chocolate tart, adorned with pistachios and flavoured with a hint of smoked sea salt, that only takes 20 minutes to make and doesn’t require any pastry.
All you need is biscuits, butter, chocolate and cream. And salt, smokey salty goodness. And maybe a bit of sugar for good measure, just because. It’s pretty much plain sailing from there. Chocolate sailing through pistachio seas.
Recently I’ve been doing pretty well on the healthy living front, but every now and then I really need to just face-plant into a cake and bask in its glory, you know what I mean? And there is really no better way to indulge than with this monster. Ridiculous.
Not for chocolate addicts, because this tart is like chocolate crack. Thank me later.
I have a list of recipes and ideas, forever growing and ever ambitious. Yet, and through all fault of my own (too much time spent on Netflix and with my hand in the cookie jar), I have neglected to tackle the majority of them… let’s say 99.9% of them actually. Things like that beautiful pizza bianca with courgette flowers and anchovies that I had in Rome, slow braised beef short rib that I tried at a restaurant a few months ago, scallops on cauliflower purée and that no-knead sourdough loaf that I read about one entire year ago have all been forgotten and relegated to that pointless list of mine.
But not any more my friends as today is a new day. Enter the Sunday project, a challenge to myself to spend more time in the kitchen experimenting and finally getting through that damn list, starting with gnocchi.
Truth be told I am a big gnocchi fan. One of the best I’ve ever had was tossed in the most delicious cream and Gorgonzola sauce man has and will ever know. Also, I’m kind of not so seriously honing my Italian cooking skills in anticipation of moving in with my beau, whose mother is basically the epitome of an Italian mama and whose meatballs/lasagna/carbonara/everything are unbeatable. SIGH. Anyway, peas and ricotta it shall be, because that’s probably one of the best flavour combos ever.
Were these easy to make? Yes, although they do take time. Were they worth the effort? HELLS YEAH! I’ve never felt so ballin’, eating homemade gnocchi for lunch on a Sunday like a boss.
Anyone else conquer a big dog recipe this weekend? If you did, pat yourself on the back and buy yourself a shot. Kudos.
I spent approximately 2 days trying to title this recipe, because this is definitely not pesto. I mean it is but it’s not. I tend to sit on the fence when it comes to tampering with Italian food; part of me dies inside when carbonara is made with cream but then another part of me makes a Caprese salad with peaches. And up until very recently I felt that pesto was perfect as it was and that it should be left to be just that. But then Pinterest happened and I got curious.
I went back and forth for a while, debating whether what could potentially just be guacamole on spaghetti would be worth trying out, and if it would even be a decent substitute for the real deal. Ultimately I caved after working out how many calories would be saved by making this healthier and lighter version. Calories saved for cake my friends.
So now I’m basically eating pasta every day and telling everyone about the joys of this avocado basil sauce thing.
After the success of the imposter pesto I told my boyfriend that we’ll be eating it when we move in together. He said we’ll see, which in Italian translates to stai cazzo scherzando? He’s a traditionalist, and I guess this isn’t really pesto.
Still damn delicious though.