Take Comfort

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.”
Eli Brown, Cinnamon and Gunpowder

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Yesterday I was cooking with garlic (not unusual – I cook with garlic most days – I love garlic) and I was thinking how great garlic smells when it’s cooking. (It also tastes amazing, but that’s not so much what this is about.) It got me on to thinking about smell, and how powerful it can be. The smell of something can have a huge influence on how you feel about it, and is also one of the most powerful memory evokers. (As an aside – I often want to wear suncream as a perfume during the winter months, to remind me of happy sunny summer days.) And then I started thinking about all the senses, all involved in the culinary experience. Food is so much more than just taste. I decided to come up with a list of my favourite sights, sounds, smells and textures to do with food (and drink). This is definitely a work in progress, but here goes…

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I can bake a rainbow…

I love colour. And I love baking. A couple of years back I decided that making rainbow cupcakes would be an excellent use of an evening. And it was. I used a regular cupcake recipe, then divided the batter in to 6 ramekins. (Yes, I know there are 7 colours in the rainbow strictly speaking). Using food colouring I dyed each tiny pot of batter a different colour of the rainbow. Then I set about filling the cupcake cases. A tiny amount of purple in the bottom of each case, put in and spread using a teaspoon. Then a tiny amount of blue, applied even more carefully so it doesn’t mix with the purple. Then green, then yellow, then orange and then red.

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Mashed Potato…in a cake?!

My friend is coming round for afternoon tea but she has recently gone gluten free. I can’t go to any of my go to recipes and I don’t have any gluten free flour in the cupboard. I have a scroll through some websites and come across a nice looking gluten free lemon drizzle cake. Scanning my eyes down the list of ingredients one thing jumps out at me – mashed potato! Mashed potato – in a cake – is this a thing?! When did this become a thing? Potato cakes as a savoury item, sure, but in a sweet cake? Well, always (or perhaps just sometimes) one for adventure I decide to give it a go.

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The Power of Tea

“Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”

Sydney Smith

I remember the first time I realised the power of tea. I was thirteen and feeling sad. I made myself a cup of tea, sat down at the kitchen table and slowly sipped on it. As the hot liquid made its way to my stomach, something happened: I felt comforted; I felt calmed; I realised that maybe things weren’t so bad after all.

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An open letter to McVitie’s

Dear McVitie’s,

I think you are fabulous. You create two of my favourite biscuits: the chocolate hobnob with all its crumbly oaty chocolatey goodness; and the chocolate caramel digestive, which is decadently gooey, tasty and crunchy.

I have a suggestion for you, which I think could make you very rich indeed (richer than you already are, of course). Introducing the love child of these two most excellent biscuits: The Chocolate Caramel Hobnob. Seriously, why does it not exist?! What’s not to love? I’ve been talking about this for years (amongst other things) and I believe the time has finally come to bring this wonderful idea to your attention.

I would, of course, be willing to help out with any taste testings.

Yours Sincerely,


PS – everyone I have mentioned this to thinks it’s a great idea: the nation is right behind you!