Trio of Vegan Chocolate Desserts (and recipe challenge number 2!)

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Yesterday, my husband arrived home after 10 days away. Of course, I planned a special welcome home meal for him, including a delicious dessert (that is what I do best, after all!)

You know those fancy restaurants where you get a trio of desserts? Three little morsels of something that all complement each other perfectly? I thought that a couple of tastes of something small might be more appealing to my poor jet-lagged man than plonking a big dessert in front of him, so I decided to attempt The Trio.

Sadly, I have classic, pretty round plates rather than ultra-modern, fashionable square/rectangular ones, so excuse the presentation. It would have looked better laid out on a long, rectangular plate, but never mind.

Firstly I baked mocha brownies, using the same recipe from my previous brownie post, halving it as I didn’t need as much, and adding a good big tablespoon of instant espresso powder at the same time as the cocoa powder. These were delicious – the recipe worked well again, and you could discern the coffee taste, but it didn’t overwhelm the chocolatey depths. I cut these into very small squares and attempted to artistically tower two of them on each plate.

Next, I did chocolate dipped strawberries. Strawberries are gorgeous here at the moment, and I had decided to go with a chocolate theme. I’m sure no one needs me to tell them how to make these – but just in case, it was dark chocolate (check to make sure it is dairy free – I used Lindt 70%) melted in a pyrex dish over a pan of simmering water, wash and dry the strawberries, dip into the chocolate, chill on greaseproof paper in the fridge, serve. Simple!

I had a little bit of chocolate left over after the strawberries, so I got another square of greaseproof paper and made some chocolate decorations. I simply used a knife to drizzle some of the melted chocolate into the shape of two hearts, to sit atop my mousse, and then a sort of artistic (!) wiggly thing that was destined to be balanced upon the brownies.

The final component of my trio was vegan chocolate mousse. This is also my new recipe for the week as part of my recipe challenge.

I used a recipe from Sweet Vegan by Emily Mainquist. It comprised silken tofu, melted chocolate, tofu cream cheese, tofu sour cream and icing sugar. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but it worked really well. I quartered the recipe as I only needed a tiny amount, planning to serve my little tastes in shot glasses.

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As usual, I have adapted the recipe slightly, including simplifying some of the steps – it still worked fine my way. I have shown the quantities for the small amount I made. For reference, this amount would serve two generously, or four if served in tall shot glasses like I did. The original recipe, which makes four times this, says it serves five, but they must be five enormously hungry people!

Recipe challenge – vegan chocolate mousse

  • 200g silken tofu, drained
  • 90g chocolate – the recipe specifies chocolate chips but I just bashed up a bar
  • 57g tofu cream cheese
  • 27g tofu sour cream
  • 35g icing sugar

In a food processor, whiz the tofu until it is all creamy and smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate either in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water.

Add the chocolate to the tofu and whiz until well combined.

Add the cream cheese, sour cream and icing sugar to this chocolate tofu mixture and keep processing, scraping down the sides, until it is very well blended.

Put into whatever receptacles you plan to serve it in, and chill for at least 30 minutes, but preferably a couple of hours.

Enjoy!

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First Recipe Challenge – Peperonata

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After having tried peperonata for the first time (see earlier blog post – review of Citrus in London) I wanted to see if I could recreate it at home.

 Luckily for me, this coincided really well with my self-imposed recipe book challenge as I managed to find a recipe for it in Marguerite Patten’s Century of British Cooking. What a fascinating book – I have certainly thumbed through it many times despite this being the first occasion I have actually cooked from it!

The recipe looked good, although of course I would make a few adaptations. I decided to serve it with my sticky sausages roasted in cider, and the old standby of glazed carrots – recipes coming shortly.

According to the venerable Ms Patten, peperonata is a type of ‘stew’ similar to ratatouille, and it came into fashion after the huge popularity of that aubergine and courgette based dish. Peperonata, however, is just made with peppers, and a bit of onion in some recipes. Seeing as I like the idea of ratatouille, but dislike both aubergines and courgettes – a slight barrier to any enjoyment of the dish! – peperonata seemed right up my street.

So, based on this recipe…….

sausages14My own version – slightly adapted. I removed the tomatoes, simply because the one I had eaten in the restaurant had had no tomatoey element and I wanted to let the peppers be the main, uncomplicated flavour. Rather than parsley and oregano, I used fresh thyme, rosemary and sage, partly because I have an abundance of them in the garden but also so that the dish would marry better with the sausages. I didn’t bother peeling the peppers because, well, life’s too short! I also found that the dish took a lot longer to cook than she specified (maybe these two things are linked…?)

It turned out delicious, though; an excellent side dish and something that could even stretch to a quick vegan dinner over some nice pasta.

Enjoy!

Rough guide to peperonata (based on Marguerite Patten’s recipe)

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  • Peppers – a mixture of colours. I used three, in red, yellow and orange. This made enough for three servings of the finished product.
  •  1 large onion (obviously use more onion if you use more than three peppers)
  • Garlic (2 – 3 cloves depending on taste)
  • Olive oil – a slosh
  • Fresh herbs of your choice – I used thyme, sage and rosemary, but it’s up to you. They really should be fresh though; don’t be tempted to chuck in some dried and hope for the best!

Method

  1. Core and deseed the peppers and slice into long, thin strips, as evenly as possible
  2. Dice the onion finely
  3. Crush the garlic
  4. Chop the herbs
  5. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep frying pan (just make sure it has a lid) and add the onions and garlic
  6. Cook over a low heat until the onions are softened and translucent – a good 10-15 minutes
  7.  Add the chopped peppers, herbs, and season to taste
  8. Cover the pan and cook gently until the peppers are very soft. This took me about 45 minutes. Toss the pan or stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

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Yum! So simple, yet full of flavour. As I said, I served this with sausages and carrots, recipes for which are coming very soon J

Recipe Book Challenge

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Oh, I have been extremely lazy over the last few days!

I have had various blog ideas bubbling away (along with various pans in the kitchen…) but actually sitting down and writing them has felt too much like hard work. Never mind; they are imminent, but while I finish them off, something that I have been thinking about for a while……

I bet I am not the only one to have a multitude of recipe books that rarely get used.

Sure, they look pretty, and I can often be found leafing through one when I find myself waiting a few minutes by my little kitchen timer during cooking, but I rarely actually cook anything from them. It is far too easy to pop online when I need inspiration or a recipe (Google is my friend, remember?!) and I never seem to think of actually cracking open one of my books.

However, that all must change.

 I have decided to set myself a challenge: once a week, I will cook a new recipe from one of my books, until I have made at least one thing from each book. And I will, of course, blog about it! Oh the excitement…

 

If there are any books that I simply cannot get up the enthusiasm to cook a single thing from, they will be banished. Indeed, ‘Simple Stir Fries’, which could only have been picked up in a charity shop, has been unceremoniously dumped already for this very reason. Really, though, what was I thinking – who needs a book to make stir fries more simple?!

Of course, this will be a delightful undertaking when it comes to my copious baking books, but some of the others may prove more of a challenge (the three ‘River Café’ cookery books are already eyeing me malevolently from the corner…they belong to my husband and I’m not sure they have ever been opened!). Nonetheless, I will do my level best, and hopefully it will help to add some variety into our weekly menus. Wish me luck!

Coming soon to the blog: my top secret recipe glazed sausages, my first attempt at peperonata, vegan golden syrup cupcakes, herby potatoes, herby pork chops, herby herbs, herby cupcakes (not really)……and I’m off to Geneva very shortly so I may well be able to post a food pic or two from the land of the Swiss! Until next time…

Vegan Brownies

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There are certain types of baked goods that it is incredibly easy to make dairy free. Pastry is one of them; just use a non-milk based fat, and you’re sorted. Basic plain sponge cakes can also work really well. It’s once you stray into the realms of things using a lot of eggs that it starts to become slightly more difficult.

Brownies are something I thought I would never be able to get right. They would always either come out dry and crumbly, beyond cakey, or too gooey and fudgey that it was as though they weren’t cooked at all. They would fall apart, stick to the sides of the pan, and generally wreak chocolatey havoc every time I attempted to make them.

So it was without a lot of hope that I set about making Ms Cupcake’s brownie recipe, from her new book The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town. A quick word about Ms Cupcake; she runs a little vegan bakery down in Brixton, London, that appears to have gone from strength to strength. I have only visited it a couple of times back when it had only just opened, but I always mean to go again. One day, I will! I see daily pictures of their incredible vegan goodies on Facebook every day, and I was thrilled when they released a recipe book.

Having already made two of the recipes in this books (Neapolitan cake, and lemon blueberry loaf cake – both delicious) I decided I needed to try her brownies. I always try the brownies in pretty much every recipe book I buy.

It looked like a fairly standard recipe, except that it uses ground flaxseed (I presume in place of eggs) and rather than having melted chocolate in the batter, as some brownie recipes do, it relies just on cocoa powder for the chocolateyness. You are also meant to put chocolate chips or chopped chocolate on top of the batter before baking it.

brownie ingredients

The recipe specifies a 13” by 9” tin, but I only have 8” by 8” so I used two of these.

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I wasn’t sure at all about the placing of broken up chocolate (I had no chocolate chips) on the top, so I only did it on one of them. I also was very lazy with my chocolate breaking, so some of the chunks were too big.

I added a handful of sultanas to my mix too, as I like having something a bit chewy to punctuate the very dense chocolateyness; and it worked well in this recipe.

Anyway, into the oven they went, and………cue much shock from me…..THEY WORKED! They were actually gorgeous, and even non-allergic-husband pronounced them excellent.

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Just the right balance of gooey and cakey, and the sultanas worked really well. Gorgeous!

So, with my own adjustments highlighted, here is the recipe…all credit to Ms Cupcake, whose book can be purchased on Amazon and other online retailers.
 

Dairy, egg and nut free chocolate brownies

• 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
• 3 tbsp lukewarm water
• 250g plain flour
• 60g cocoa powder
• 300g caster sugar
• 100g brown sugar
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 100ml soya milk (or your milk alternative of choice)
• 280ml flavourless oil (I always use vegetable oil as it’s cheap and works well)
• 1 tbsp vanilla extract
• I also added 1 tsp chocolate extract, which can be purchased in big supermarkets or speciality baking shops
• The recipe specified 150g chocolate chips or chopped chocolate – I put this in one of my pans and not the other, and the one without was by far the best, so personally, I would omit this.
• I added a couple of big handfuls of sultanas. I imagine other dried fruit would work well, too, and I bet mini marshmallows would be gorgeous.

Method

1. Grease and line a 13” by 9” cake pan, or two 8” by 8”
2. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
3. In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed and warm water, and set aside for 10 minutes
4. In a very big bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients
5. Add in 120ml water, the milk, oil, vanilla, chocolate extract, and the flaxseed mixture.
6. Stir until thoroughly combined.
7. Add the sultanas or any other additions you are making and stir through.
8. Spoon into the prepared tin(s)
9. Bake for 20 minutes. The recipe says do not be tempted to bake for longer or they will lose their gooeyness…but mine took about 23 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely IN THE TIN. Cut and serve!

These were delicious eaten with a cup of tea, or served as dessert with a few strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

And there you have it…vegan brownies!! 

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Experiments in dairy- and nut-free pesto

Before today, I have never tasted pesto. This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider that I am allergic to cheese and nuts, both of which seem to feature prominently in most pesto recipes.

However, I do love basil, and for the last few weeks I have had a proudly blossoming basil plant growing larger and larger on my kitchen windowsill, looking at me accusingly every time I nip a single leaf from it to dress a salad or sprinkle on pasta.

With the plant threatening to block my view of the garden entirely, I knew these meagre attempts to use it up were never going to cut it. What do you make with copious amounts of basil? Well, pesto, of course.

A quick consultation of Google (yes, go-to-Google again, what else?!) indicated that it is, in fact, possible to make a vegan and nut free version of pesto. So I painstakingly stripped my poor little plant of all its leaves, which looked impressively copious on the chopping board. The plant, on the other hand, was left not a little bedraggled, but I comforted myself that everyone loves a refreshing haircut in this stifling heat…

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Being inexperienced and rather green (ho, ho) in the world of pesto-creation, I hadn’t realised how all these basil leaves would go down to absolutely nothing! I had had visions of making lots of glorious green gloop and storing it in a jar in the fridge, ready to whip up an incredibly quick pasta dish whenever I fancied…oops. My mountains of basil, whizzed together in a food processor with olive oil, lemon juice and a smidge of garlic, produced barely four tablespoons of what I assume, not being all too familiar with it, is a pesto-like substance.

Never mind, we soldier on. Not least because trying to put four tablespoons of something in a jar would look more than a little pathetic, I decided it needed to feature in dinner.

So I mixed the ‘pesto’ with a couple of spoonfuls of breadcrumbs* to make a thicker paste consistency.

I plastered this on two fillets of lightly smoked salmon, which I then baked at around 200⁰C for about 25 minutes.

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Served with a huge chopped salad, this meal quite happily satisfied both my need for something light on night-before-weigh-in-Thursday (yes, I am on a constant diet. This won’t feature much in the blog because quite frankly, it’s boring), and my husband’s demand for ‘low carb’.

Husband, who has tasted ‘real’ pesto, pronounced it very tasty, saying that it tasted less greasy (?) than the ‘real thing’, and that you could really taste the basil. I thought it was pretty yummy, and it worked perfectly with the salmon.

Yum!

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Very rough guide to dairy free and nut free pesto

You need as much basil as you can lay your hands on (I stripped an entire large plant), leaves only, a good glug of extra virgin olive oil, the juice of half a lemon (or if you’re lazy, like me, a few squirts of bottled lemon juice), one garlic clove, peeled, and salt and pepper.

You need a food processor for this. Start by processing the basil and the garlic clove, until it is pretty much mush. Then add a ‘glug’ of olive oil; you need enough to loosen the green mush. Add lemon juice to taste (bearing in mind this will further liquefy your mixture)…and there you have it!

It is quite a pure, clean taste, and I can’t imagine how it would taste with cheese and nuts (not least because I have never tasted cheese and nuts!). It worked really well mixed with breadcrumbs as a crust to the salmon. I think it would also be nice as a dressing for a tomato salad.

As for the chopped salad, today mine contained wild rocket, lamb’s lettuce, cucumber, radish, carrot, spring onion, red and yellow peppers and sweetcorn. Absolutely delicious.

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*shop bought, I’m afraid. I would love to be the girl who angelically dries out old crusts of bread, whizzes them to dust in the food processor and freezes them ready to be whipped out at a moment’s notice for all her breadcrumbing needs…….and maybe one day I will be. But that day is not today and my freezer remains embarrassingly free of homemade breadcrumbs.

‘Citrus’ Restaurant Review (London)

One thing I adore unashamedly is eating out. It is something my husband and I have in common, and we try to go out to eat as often as we can. Last night, we took the opportunity to go to Citrus Restaurant in London. It hails itself as ‘modern Italian’, and is in the Park Lane Hotel on Piccadilly.

We booked the table a few weeks in advance through Toptable. As usual, my husband included a brief summary of my allergies in the booking form. We always try to do this, but we’re never sure whether the restaurants actually see or take notice of it.

Our reservation was fairly early in the evening and the restaurant was quiet, but not empty. We began with a cocktail each and perused the menu.

I don’t know about other allergy sufferers, but the first thing we both do when in a restaurant is skim the menu to ascertain if there will be anything at all that I can eat. My husband frequently has no idea what he is going to get when the waitress comes to take our orders, as he has been too focused on making sure there will be something for me.

This menu looked fairly promising – if nothing else, I decided I would at least be able to have a pizza with no cheese.

As we were enjoying our drinks and people watching from our excellent window table, a very friendly lady approached us, who we assumed was one of the managers. It was evident that she had been made aware of the allergy notes on our booking, as she immediately asked if I had any questions.

I love this – even though we eat out loads, I still always feel awkward and nervous when it comes to ordering time, and I don’t know how the waiter is going to react to my often endless questions. I checked a couple of things, and the lady basically said that they could adapt any dish on the menu to be dairy, egg and nut free, except the walnut pasta (not unsurprisingly!).

Excellent! This meant I had free choice, so I went for a melon and prosciutto starter, and a chicken breast with peperonata and thyme jus for my main course. The chicken was meant to come with fondant potatoes but they substituted these for rosemary potatoes to make the dish dairy free.

The starter was delicious – salty ham that melted in your mouth and worked really well with the cold, refreshing melon. It was so good I forgot to take a photo until I was half way through…

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The main was excellent. The chicken was succulent and the peperonata, which I have never had before, was incredibly tasty. The thyme jus really lifted the dish and the potatoes were sublime…it was all so good that I am running out of adjectives! I am already working out how I can imitate this dish at home.

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Then came the question: “Do you want to see the dessert menu?”. This is usually followed by us umming and ahhing, looking at each other, and eventually deciding to ‘just have a look’. I am never that hopeful. Being allergic to eggs and dairy means that dessert is often an impossibility when eating out, and I am used to this.

Having an incredibly sweet tooth, sometimes reading a dessert menu and knowing I can’t eat any of it is nothing short of torture. However, this time I was in luck, as they had a dish on the menu that consisted of strawberries, jelly, shortbread and ricotta cream. I asked if they could adapt this to omit the cream and shortbread, and add sorbet instead. The waitress was very amenable to this suggestion, although she said the chef was not enthusiastic about pairing mandarin sorbet with a strawberry dish! The food arrived and was very nicely presented. Chef had been right…the mandarin and strawberry didn’t go that well together…but I was just ecstatic to actually be eating a dessert.

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So, overall, I was extremely pleased with how Citrus catered for my allergies. The staff was extremely helpful, had paid attention to the notes on our booking and were willing to discuss how dishes could be adapted. My food was very thoughtfully put together and was utterly delicious. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for anyone will allergies who finds themselves in Piccadilly!

Top tips for living with allergies…

Over the years, I have obviously learnt a lot about cooking, eating and generally living with allergies. Here are some of my tips…

  • Most recipes can be adapted. Find your preferred substitutes and stick with them. The internet is a wealth of information – Google is always your friend!
  • Where possible, tell restaurants about your allergies when booking. You’ll be surprised at how accommodating some places can be, but it is difficult if you just rock up and demand a special dish.
  • Don’t be afraid to try things! You will know your own body and the extent of your allergies, but try not to be scared of food. I, for example, carry two Epipens and a bottle of antihistamine wherever I go. My allergies are pretty sensitive so I quite often have mild reactions, and can frequently be found glugging half a bottle of antihistamines or spending the night after a meal out in the bathroom…but it doesn’t stop me! I know people with allergies or intolerances who are very rigid and while I know the prospect of getting ill or dying (!) can be horrifying, I urge you not to let it stop you living your life.***
  • On that note…liquid antihistamines work more speedily than tablets. If you are going to be an adventurous eater, you might want to start carrying a bottle around with you.
  • Explain your allergies very clearly to people. These days, it is fashionable to be following a special diet or to be ‘intolerant’ to things (don’t get me started. I am an allergy snob. That perhaps requires its own blog post…) so when you say you are ‘allergic’ people may assume you are one of these faddy types. If your allergy is severe or life threatening, make that very clear. Wave your Epipen in their face if you must. If you’re in a foreign country, practise your ‘keeling over and dying’ mime before you go. You may need it.
  • And as for travelling…find out in advance how to say what you are allergic to in the language of the country to which you are travelling. Wow, that was a clumsy sentence. Basically, you can’t rely on the fact that restaurant staff will have enough English to understand about allergies. I can boast of the fact that I can pretty much say “I am allergic to eggs, dairy and nuts” in most European languages and I can definitely recognise them on food labels and menus. What I have done in the past (which was my wonderful mum’s idea) is to get a little card printed with “I am allergic to x, y and z. If I eat these, I will die. Please can you tell me the items on the menu that do not contain x, y and z.” As long as you keep the sentences very simple, you can usually trust online translation websites to be reliable enough for this. Show it to waiters when you first go into a restaurant, and don’t be afraid to walk out and go somewhere else if they seem less than helpful.
  • Similarly, learn all the secret spy names of your allergen. By this I mean, ‘milk’ is not always just ‘milk’. Sometimes milk is ‘lactose’, ‘skim milk powder’, ‘butter’, ‘cream’, ‘cheese’, ‘casein’, ‘whey powder’ etc. Also, if you are travelling, as above, learn the translations for all of these, as well.
  • Develop a restaurant routine. If you like to eat out and will do it a lot, you will soon fall into a pattern when it comes to choosing food and ordering. More about my own routine to come in a later post…
  • Keep checking things. Ingredients change. Sometimes, something you have been eating for years will suddenly change ingredients and will no longer be ok. It’s a pain, but you can never stop reading labels. Never, ever, ever.
  • Don’t go on and on about your allergies. She says….whilst writing in an allergy based blog! What I mean is, people will get bored. Try to adapt to those around you rather than expecting them to adapt to you. Don’t always be the one to insist on choosing the restaurant and get really fussy about what social activities you do. All that will happen if you’re annoying is people will stop inviting you. There are very few places where you will be able to eat nothing, so try and go along with it. That said, if you are allergic to cheese and someone is asking you to go eat in a cheese shop, then clearly there need to be limits to your accommodating nature. Just find your own line to tread!
  • Do your best to cook the same for all the family. Apart from having ordinary milk in his coffee and occasionally sprinkling cheese on his pasta, my husband eats exactly the same as me at home. Does he complain? No, because he has realised that a ‘special diet’ can still be interesting, tasty, and varied. The only thing he perhaps misses is egg – as in, boiled egg or fried egg or omelette – pretty much everything else can be substituted and adapted! Try not to get into a habit of cooking separate dishes. If nothing else, this must be such a pain to do, and life’s too short to separate out the potatoes and mash some with cow’s milk and some with soya…when people can’t even taste the difference anyway!
  • Try to enjoy cooking and eating! I credit my allergies with being the main reason for me becoming a competent cook. Often if I fancied a particular dish, figuring out how to cook it myself was my only option. Now, I can cook most things and while I am by no means excellent in the kitchen, I am more than able to produce tasty, hearty food that everyone – allergies or not – enjoys.

***obviously, disclaimer disclaimer, you know your own body and your own allergies so you know what risks you can and cannot afford to take!

Hobby blogging

For too long, I have ‘needed a hobby’. You know, something to occupy time, perhaps even to produce something to be proud of, and most importantly, to be able to go to bed at night having done something other than gone to work and watched TV! I’m not very practical. Never been interested in sewing, card-making, scrap-booking, or any of the other feminine pursuits that a tentative google of ‘I need a hobby’ (well, where else would the 21st Century researcher look?!) throws up. Unfortunately, I’ve never been the sporty type. I enjoy gardening, but it’s functional and I’m nowhere near proficient enough to claim ‘hobby status’ in that particular area.

So, what do I enjoy? Eating. Drinking. Cooking. Baking. Eating… Sounds good, but we pretty much all eat and drink. If I’m going to start proclaiming that ‘eating and drinking’ is my hobby, I may as well elevate other basic bodily functions to that category – ‘going to the toilet’ or ‘sleeping’ (actually, becoming a serious sleep hobbyist doesn’t sound half bad!). A wise website (again a product of that plaintive ‘I need a hobby’ search) advised thinking back to what you enjoyed as a child. Well, as a child, I loved to write. Adored it. Never stopped. By the time I had finished primary school, I had written a horrendously plagiarised ‘novel’ based in a Swiss boarding school (so sorry, Elinor Brent-Dyer – at least my school wasn’t in a chalet…). I spent huge amounts of time in my childhood and adolescence writing, and looking back with my adult English-teacher eye, I know that what I wrote was good. Sadly, some time between discovering boys, wine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs and graduating with my English and Drama degree, that passion and ability faded away. Nowadays my written pursuits are limited to comments on students’ essays, and the odd Facebook post…both situations in which brevity is the order of the day. Suffice to say, I have as good as forgotten how to write at length.

I digress (it will become a theme. As will brackets.). Of course, after noting what I love – food and drink – and what I used to love – writing – it became clear what I my hobby should be. Never mind that my husband has been telling me forever that I should start a food blog – now the INTERNET has told me! So, here I am.

I am perhaps very ill-equipped for this in that I don’t actually read blogs. Not consistently, anyway. That is something that will need to change, and I am excited for what I might discover (and slightly daunted, too). I don’t know how one actually gets people to read a blog. I doubt I will be particularly good at aggressive self-marketing so it is likely that my readership will consist exclusively of friends and family (hi!) but for a little hobby, I think that’s ok.

What makes my blog different, you might wonder? Well, despite my enormous love of food and drink, I am slightly limited in what I am able to enjoy. I have been allergic to eggs, dairy products, and nuts all my life. People are sometimes shocked when I tell them, but to be honest, it isn’t that bad. It does mean, however, that I have got quite good at adapting recipes, knowing what to order and ask about when eating out, and researching special diet options when travelling. One thing I try to ensure is that the food I cook is enjoyable to other, non-allergic people. I think I generally manage to achieve this, and that is why my blog might (perhaps) be interesting to people other than just those following special diets.

So, here I am! I promise to include lots and lots of blurry pictures of cakes, and hopefully even some writing too. Thanks for reading!