French Onion Soup

Hello 2016! I don’t like January usually, it is cold and going back to work after a break always seems like such a struggle but I am slowly getting back into my routine. In times like these we need soup and specifically this soup. James’ dad cooked this for our NYE starter and I had forgotten how much I love this soup and wondered why I’d never made it before. I resolved to make it and we had it for dinner after the first dreaded day at work of the year. The thought of it kept me going all day at work. It was scrumptious. It takes a little time but most of that time you can be getting on with other things. You mustn’t rush the onions though, no no no.



 I made this version gluten free (using gluten free flour and bread) but you can use plain if you’d rather. I received a make your own halloumi kit for Christmas (it is amazing!) and saved the whey as advised to use in cooking pasta, rice and stocks, so I put a cup in my soup because it is full of protein. Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food.

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Bacon, Asparagus & Pea Risotto and Gibbon Conservation

Hello everyone! On the off chance you had noticed that I haven’t posted in a while, the past two weeks I’ve been working away in London and catching up with many lovely friends in the evening. I didn’t have a kitchen when staying in London and even though I came home in the weekend between (to see Foo Fighters play Milton Keynes – a bucket list item for sure), eating out for every lunch and dinner got old very quickly. I did manage five pre 7 am runs along the beautiful Southbank of the Thames (see my Instagram) though, my favourite part of London.

Risotto

On a related note, tomorrow I am running the first of two runs for a charity called The Aspinall Foundation, who do amazing animal conservation work, this particular run is for their Gibbon projects (the most endangered primate). If animals are your thing then a donation, no matter how large or small would be hugely appreciated by the animals and myself. The first run is a 5 km fun run and the second is a 10 km run in October (my longest official run to date, eek!).

The recipe inspiration is courtesy of Jam and Clotted Cream, such a simple but delicious combination of flavours with the genius addition of clotted cream at the end, risotto is comfort food at its finest!

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Fruit & Honey Flapjacks

I went for dinner at my dearest Jenny’s house a couple of weeks ago and her mum had baked something delicious. They were flapjacks but they were fruity and delicious and I needed the recipe ASAP. Luckily she obliged but of course I changed it up a bit, I’m so pro real butter but I was using these for my ‘healthy’ mid morning snack so I subbed the sugar for honey. The recipe was half honey and half sugar but I made it all honey. I know that sugar is sugar is sugar but I just feel better when the bees made it. Oh, I also subbed half the dried apricots for dried cranberries because I really love dried cranberries.

Fruit & Honey Flapjacks

These are the perfect balance of nutrition and naughty, in my eyes, they are packed with fruit, seeds and nuts but also have that sweet, buttery deliciousness. These may be good for you but I’m not deluded that they are healthy in the sense that if you are torn between a banana or this, have the banana, but if you are torn between the triple layer chocolate fudge cake or the fruity flapjack then this is the choice to make because IT IS DELICIOUS. Unfortunately I was just sent a photo of the recipe so I am unable to credit it but I will do so as soon as I find it!

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Banana & Nibs Cake

The Hotel Chocolat cook book ‘A New Way of Cooking with Chocolate‘ is a rare one in that it has two banana bread recipes, not only that but they are in the breakfast section; now that, is someone speaking my language. I’ve already posted one of those recipes on the blog which contained coconut butter, spelt flour, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate and pecans, I was excited just reading the ingredients, never mind eating the cake. That recipe was delicious but it is only fair that I try the other recipe too and this recipe is amazing too. It is so hard to choose which I like best and Gingerbread Jenn threw a total, delicious, spanner into the works by combining my favourite parts of each recipe into one new recipe, which I have yet to try but most definitely will be.

Banana bread

There can never be enough banana cake recipes in the world, it really is such a flexible, delicious, comforting and warm hug of a cake. The previous banana cake recipe I made was Angus Thirwell’s (co-founder of Hotel Chocolat) and this recipe is Jon Bentham’s (Executive Chef of Hotel Chocolat).

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French Toast and Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm

This recipe is inspired by (and features in) the latest book (due out on July 17th) Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin. Rebecca has written some of my absolute favourite books, all (so far) set in the deliciously quaint town of Ashford, Connecticut with her gang of incredible characters. The relationships between the characters literally warms my heart and I want so badly to move to Ashford and be their friend. Whilst Lil (who I’ve blogged about here, here & here, and reviewed several Rebecca Raisin books in this post) is my kindred spirit in these books, this book focused around Lucy who is an artist and a totally new character who has been made to promise her mum (whom she cares for) that she’d take a year for herself and get on the first bus out of town. I couldn’t help but love Lucy and don’t get me started on the mysterious maple syrup farm owner Clay, what a character he was! I could not put this book down, I HAD to know what happened and despite it not being officially out yet I am in desperate need of the sequel to it. I HAVE TO KNOW, it is imperative. In this book Lil cooks Lucy some French toast and I realised how long it had been since I’d rustled up this favourite for breakfast myself.

French Toast

So here goes, my recipe for French toast…

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