Look, I know Christmas is coming and all that, but just for a day, maybe even a few days (depends how long these last) I think we should stop and appreciate something that isn't overly spiked with cinnamon, ginger, cloves or nutmeg. I know that might seem controversial what with stir up Sunday just having passed, but hey, let's try and eat something that tastes of sunshine and summer.
My Mum has a theory that she's not a great cake baker. I beg to differ as her coffee and walnut is the stuff of dreams; pillowy soft sponge with just the right amount of bitter coffee and almost buttery walnuts. A huge slice and a cup of strong black coffee is my pick me up heaven.
How ready for Christmas are you? I am feeling pretty smug to be honest. I don't want to rub your faces in it, but really I'm almost done. I've ordered everything I need to online. I haven't written the cards yet, but that's not allowed until I crack open the mulled wine, which is only acceptable in the month of December.
I am never happy. No, I don't mean I'm a depressive. I think I was depressed for about 2 months back in 1999, but other than that have been lucky on that front. I'm just never happy with my lot. I have this constant suspicion I am missing out on things. I have to try everything once. It's a recipe for disaster. Like poor impulse control in infants.
I do love Halloween though I have never been trick or treating. It's just not in my British nature to knock on someone's door and give out ultimatums. I'd likely apologise or stutter. But any celebration where there's even a sniff of novelty food up for grabs and I'm there. All over it. Here's an idea if you fancied hosting a Halloween party of your own.
Now in cake shows past I haven't bothered going into this room. I've always felt like a pretender; a bit of a fool. I had this suspicion the security guards might sling me out by my ear or laugh when I produced my VIP pass.
It came as a bit of a surprise to read that Mary Berry would be cooking on stage for the very first time with her daughter Annabel Hunnings at the BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show, leading to quite a bit of speculation about Mary's time in the tent and whether she might be considering retirement
I have never ever hankered after a daughter. Obviously if one had appeared then I'd have loved her and been very happy indeed. But one never did. And I now find myself in the curious position of being a mother of three sons, still under 35 and yet about to sell all the unisex baby bits on eBay. I'm getting rid of everything.
It's been a vintage year for The Great British Bake Off, and as an avid cake-maker myself, I've watched the contestants produce outstanding show stoppers, inventive signature bakes and mind-boggling technical challenges in awe every week. The programme never fails to help me improve my baking skills, but this year, it's also taught me 10 valuable life lessons...
This year when given a cider-y amount of apples I found myself hankering after baked goods to squirrel away rather than chutney. I don't know why. I think I might be spoiling for something. My freezer is my preserving jar this Autumn. Full to the brim with these cupcakes.
The teenage girl next to me sat reading a classic novel, earphones in, occasionally rolling her eyes. I'm not sure whether to be impressed at their joie de vivre or appalled as she was. The only answer to the trauma of this very long journey of being terrorised by inebriated middle aged men was to make a batch of these brownies just as soon as I got home.
I fell off the wagon. Thump, spectacularly to the ground. I was so very nearly there. Just 1.5 stone to go in my five stone battle of the bulge. It started with just one night off and ended in a weekend of gluttony. Here's how I regained 6lb in just three days...
Just back to school and already I'm thinking about the opportunity for wearing thick woollen jumpers, drinking soup and preparing a feast for Bonfire night. There are a few things that must be done on Bonfire night.
Cream the butter and sugar for four minutes in a stand mixer using the flat beater starting low speed and working up, or six minutes with a handheld electric mixer or about 8 - 10 minutes with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be lighter in colour than when you started and very creamy...
I will share with you three mistakes I made that taught my daughter to fear failing and, how the Great British Bake Off helped me rectify those mistakes and build her resilience around failure.
This recipe is easy and adaptable so do as you wish with it - add stuff, take stuff out, just keep the rosemary and mustard.