A late lunch at Tonkotsu East

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On Friday evening, while wading through a bottle of red, I demanded that The Boy and I go to Bone Daddies for lunch the following day. On Saturday morning, the craving for ramen remained but a nearer option sprang to mind. A quick google of Tonkotsu vs. Bone Daddies brought up Picky Glutton’s comparison of Bone Daddies, Tonkotsu and Shoryu ramen bars, and from reading this I decided that the plan was for a long overdue visit to Tonkotsu East, just a hop skip and a jump from our home in East London. [Read more...]

David Lebovitz’s no bake granola bars

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Granola bars are a tricky thing. In theory they shouldn’t be that difficult to make, but getting them to hold their shape with the right balance of fruits, nuts, seeds & grains without throwing in a whole load of sugar is surprisingly hard. In fact it’s so tricky that after many slightly dodgy attempts I have become quite suspicious of commercial granola bars. What on earth can they be putting in them to hold them together?

I’m always keen to try out a new granola recipe in the hope that this time they will be the perfect granola bar I’ve been searching for all along and to my utter surprise I think this time it’s happened. When David Lebovitz’s no bake granola bars cropped up in my rss feed, I was immediately interested. I’ve made a few of David’s recipes and they’ve never let me down. When I read the blog post and he discussed the exact same frustrations about granola bars as I’ve felt I was sold. I made them that very afternoon, and they turned out pretty well… [Read more...]

January 2014 Roundup

January was a long month, as it always is after the chaos of Christmas, but other than being rather skint I enjoyed it. I started my new job at Comic Relief in December, but in January the Sport Relief 2014 campaign kicked off. At the moment it’s really exciting, but I suspect exhaustion will kick in by the end of this month. No complaints here though, it just means my weekends will be more dominated by sleep than ever.

I’ve been getting back into my running this month. I’ve got my first half marathon of the year this coming Sunday so I’ve been stepping up the miles over the last few weeks. I’ve quite enjoyed running home from work along the Thames and have loved being back out on my Sunday long runs along the Regents Canal. I know I didn’t start training early enough for this half marathon and my performance on Sunday will not be dazzling, but acknowledging this in advance maenads that I can take it easy, enjoy it and just treat it as another training run for my next half marathon in March. Plus looking at my last few long runs, even without pushing myself I might just dip under the 2 hour mark and I’ll be chuffed if I do.

This month in facts… Books read: Reclaiming the F Word, Sweet Tooth & The Great Gatsby. Films watched: The Great Gatsby & A Hijacking. Restaurants visited: Soho Joe’s & Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (more on this soon!). Recipes of note: Nigel Slater’s mildly spiced beef, Hamelman’s 40% Caraway Rye & my Grandma’s meringues (again, more on this shortly!). Miles run: 62. Hats knitted: 1.

And of course a monthly roundup wouldn’t be complete without the rest of January’s Instagram Eats:

An easy, light sourdough rye bread and a lot of excuses

40% Caraway Rye

First some excuses… what baking I have been doing recently has gone undocumented on this blog I’m afraid, but if I’m honest I’ve not done a huge amount of baking anyway recently. It’s not so much time that’s lacking as energy. I work an early shift at work from 8.30am-4.30pm at the moment so I’ve plenty of time to bake in the evening, but by the time I’ve cycled or run home and cooked dinner or run some errands, all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with the cat.

I’ve still been baking for the market stall at Hornbeam every other week, but I have had to admit that it has become a bit of a chore now I’m having to squeeze it in around work. The whole point of baking for the market stall was that I loved it and it was fun, but fitting it in around work and other commitments is too stressful, and I find myself avoiding baking for the rest of the weekend after doing it. So I’ve given up for a couple of months and hopefully when work quietens down in April I’ll be able to take it up again.

Some of the unblogged baking has been Instagrammed, but I didn’t get a chance to photograph it properly so I didn’t bother blogging it. I always worry about taking beautiful photographs for this blog, but when so much of the day is dark it’s so difficult to take good photos. I’ve been thinking about it over the last few days and I think my worries are foolish. I am not a food photographer. I can’t compete with some of the beautifully photographed food blogs out there, but that is a terrible excuse for not blogging my bakes.

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Instagram Eats : December 2013 & A New Year!

     

How 2013 went so quickly I will never know. I’m blaming it on the fact that for most of the year I worked from home, so every day merged into one. That is of course rubbish, but it’s what I’m telling myself.

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Instagram Eats : October & November 2013

    

I have a working computer again! It took a week of ridiculously complicated techy activities to rescue all of the data off of my hard drive but I managed it in the end and now I’ve got everything set up again I can get back to blogging. I’m going to start with a long overdue Instagram roundup of the food I’ve been making & munching for the last couple of months…

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Christmas Gifts #1 : Speculaas Cookies

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I know and I’m sorry. No one is quite ready to start thinking about Christmas yet, but like many people I am on a tight budget this year so I’ve already been thinking of ideas for homemade gifts. Over the last couple of years I’ve got into the habit of baking for our extended families, whipping up batches and batches of cookies on Christmas Eve and boxing them up for everyone, so when these cookies appeared on the Weekend Bakery blog last week I thought I would give them a try.

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Band of Bakers Harvest

I’ve had a bit of a nightmare over the last few weeks. My job situation is up in the air, making me feel like I’m stuck in limbo. Then, while in the middle of creating a presentation for an interview my computer hard drive failed. Hence the radio silence. I have baked a few things recently, but can’t upload pictures from my camera at the moment, so my reports in those will have to wait.

However, a highlight from the last few weeks was the Band of Bakers‘ meeting at Anderson & Co in Peckham Rye. The theme was ‘harvest’ and there was a wealth of fruit & vegetable delights on offer.

Last time I attended Band of Bakers I was blown away by the decorating skills of many of the bakers. I can make a mean cake but beautifying it is not in my skill set, so I decided to go for a bake that I knew I could impress with. Sourdough bread, of course.

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The Multigrain of Multigrains

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I love seeded bread so a little while ago I decided to try out Hamelman’s Five-Grain Levain, a loaf that combines rye, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and oats in a wheat dough. The loaf was dense, but the crumb was soft and it is packed full of grains, you are definitely not short changed by this recipe and it was agreed straight away that this would become a staple bread in our house.

The following week I was flicking through Hamelman’s book again and found the following recipes:

  • Five-Grain Bread with Pâte Fermentée
  • Whole-Wheat Multigrain
  • Five-Grain Sourdough with Rye Sourdough
  • Five-Grain Bread

I was left wondering if the Five-Grain Levain that I made was the best choice? And if I make a different one each week how will I compare them?

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Sourdough Surprises : Sourdough Banana Pancakes

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I haven’t taken part in the Sourdough Surprises challenge for a while, but I thought as it’s Sourdough September I should get involved again. This month the challenge is pancakes & waffles. Not European, crepe-style pancakes but thick, bubbly American-style pancakes. I’ve tried lots of recipes for these in the past and I’ve had some success, but I’ve never been 100% happy with the recipe. So instead of adapting one of my previous pancake recipes to a sourdough version I started googling for other people’s recipes. I found one from King Arthur Flour which I’m sure would be good, but you had to whisk the egg whites separately and for me breakfast foods like this should be as simple as possible. I also found this recipe on Completely Delicious. It looked easy & I had all of the ingredients, so it got a thumbs up from me. [Read more...]