Lemon banana coconut fairy cakes

I feel like these are super virtuous by merit of being gluten free and vegan. They’re also really easy to make and require minimum effort. And they’re pretty.

I’m going to be old fashioned/British and refer to these as fairy cakes – I feel like cakes need a tonne of icing to be defined as cupcakes. Thoughts?

These are adapted from a recipe by Chloe Coscarelli from her book Chloe’s Kitchen– I’ve made them gluten free, changed the icing and added a few other changes.

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I love my bike

Recently I got rid of my trusty bike. I say trusty, but she was a bit flaky. I named her Lady because she was so elegant. A vintage bike with about 30 years on her, her three (sometimes two) gears didn’t quite cut it. She also had a tendency to have bits of her fall off all over the road. But she was beautiful. Miss you Lady.  Here’s some pictures of the same bike model but in much better condition than poor old Lady.

My new bike doesn’t have quite the same elegance, but it does have an awesome 24 gears, doesn’t break all the time, doesn’t feel like she’s about to keel over and can tear up hills with no problems. I’ve named her Britney because even though she’s a bit aged now, she’s still got it going on. Also her official bike name is ‘Crossroads’. An absolute teenage classic, I rewatched it recently.

 

Cycling around London on a sunny day is pretty much the best thing ever. We recently cycled along the canal from Islington to Notting Hill, it was magical. I also recommend the Capital Ring, the Hackney Wick and Marshes section is particularly special and I love the Crouch End bit along the old railway line. I’ve only done this on foot but I reckon it might be even better on a bike.  Britney needs a day out ASAP.

Why Joffrey why?

Joffrey (my sourdough starter) has been having quite a few temper tantrums recently. It was only a matter of time with a name like that.

 

He’s been getting more and more boozy, and starting to smell less like a pleasant loaf and more like a raging alcoholic. I’ve been draining off all his booze and that problem is kind of solved. Then he made a really disgusting crust of flour and water on his surface which I also had to remove.

I made a loaf with him the other day (see picture) but I’m not getting a great rise. Not sure if this is due to my own skills, or due to how lacklustre Joff he is. He’s not really capable of making a loaf without added yeast, and even with the yeast he doesn’t rise that well. I have been making my loaves freeform but wonder if using a loaf tin or something would force a rise up instead of out.  

I’ve now put Joff in the fridge to get out of my life until I figure out how to deal with the brat. Sourdough management suggestions welcomed.

 

 

 

Courgette & pearl barley summer risotto

I didn’t have much food in the house but I rediscovered an old favourite in the cupboard, pearl barley. Normally I love this in a winter soup but I thought it could also work in a summer recipe. This recipe served two and made a lot of extra risotto which didn’t fit inside the squashes, so I served it alongside. I would do one courgette squash per person you’re serving, and serve the extra risotto alongside or save for later. 

We ate with bread and white wine. This meal was born out of necessity (hunger and few ingredients) but actually turned out really well, and you could probably throw in other vegetables you had kicking around too. It’s vegetarian but could easily be made vegan.

 

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Russian night & mushroom stroganoff

I recently made one of my favourites, mushroom stroganoff, as part of a Russian themed evening. We have weekly flat dinners which involve us putting lots of effort into dressing up to a theme, taking on new personalities for the night (meet Svetlana) and trying to top last week’s dinner with a new three course extravaganza . People always think this sounds like a fun raucous event (which it is) but get perplexed when they find out there are only two of us plus the odd visitor. We make our own fun.

 
I should add a disclaimer here that my definition of Russian food was pretty broad, and incorporated most of the former Soviet Union, so probably not the most authentic of meals.
 
Mushroom Strog