Monthly Archives: January 2018

Reading List (16/1)

Salted chocolate chip cookies

Nirvana in a major key. The weirdest, warpiest thing your brain has heard this week.

Sometimes academia is a dog-eat-dog world.

Colour impacts on our ability to taste different flavours.

Having the kind of day when only cake will do? This gingerbread salted caramel layer cake looks delicious.

Eating comfort food can cure a lonely heart“.

Improving oneself in January. An article to make you think about the point of it all.

Baking the cinnamon rolls from Mario Batali’s ‘apology’ letter. And related, Batali & Bastianach restaurant group is restructuring.

Volunteering can help improve your life.

Reading too many health stories, I’ve decided, is bad for your sanity“. Bee Wilson on health in the new year.

Protecting cocoa trees in the wake of the modern world.

I loved both these articles from the NYT magazine. The first, by Dorie Greenspan, reflects on learning to cook instinctively, without recipes or measurements. The second, by Samin Nosrat, is on the joy of friendship and cooking. The importance of cooking in taking care of, and being cared for…

Thoughts on robots preparing your salad in a restaurant?

An interview with Tim Hayward.

I made these cookies on the weekend. (To accompany some rather delicious fig, dark chocolate and marsala ice cream I made for dessert – from Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles). They are very good, and rolling them in sugar before slicing and baking is a genius idea but are they the best chocolate chip cookie ever? I am not convinced.

This tart looks delicious. The feed over on Canal House is inspirational if you are not sure what to cook this month. Pistachio lemon bars sound like a brilliant idea.

Have a good week! x

Reading List (9/1)


Thoughts about things to let go of in the new year.

Controversial employment practices at Wagamama over the festive period.

A photograph creates images of bird movements in the sky.

Foodie things to do in January.

Friendship bread.

A fascinating read on Anthony Bourdain and his particular brand of food travel.

I fully identity with this: “I, for one, invariably feel overwhelmed by huge projects I’ve yet to start, the pressure to achieve goals within a neat 12-month timeframe, the anxiety and panic around what might happen to the world in the year ahead”. If you’re suffering from a case of January blues, read this advice on surviving the month.

Thinking of writing as self-care.

An online Baking Club. I think I may dabble in this.

This is an old but useful list for new year decluttering, streamlining, organising etc…

Iceland has made it illegal for men to be paid more than woman.

Baking in winter.

“Sometimes, I believe the only reason we maintained a relationship with her was to get a tin of her fruitcake”. I love this essay on food, heritage, identity and fruitcake.

A list of must read stories for food bloggers and writers.

Team, you can go and run a bookshop in Scotland for a few weeks, for a holiday…

A pilot to make school cafeterias in Boston more like casual-fast food places. This means they serve better, fresher food.

I’ve been listening to How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. I absolutely love it. It is wonderful, part magic, jumping around in narrative time and place. I loved this line: “as if a part of us is contained in every book we’ve ever loved“. What a wonderful idea.

Have a good week! x

Reading List (2/1)

Happy New Year all! I do hope you had a happy December and a very good New Year. I spent a lot of it asleep, recovering from a particularly hectic year. This reading list was a few weeks in the making so there may be a few things that seem ‘old’…


If you are still adjusting to the new year, Maria Popova wrote eloquently on how taking a longer perspective might help us deal with the present moment. Look up at the stars, and wonder at our insignificance.

A list of inspiring women.

Motivation porn‘.

Being a minority in an elite university.

Being a person of colour in the hospitality industry. A pastry chef on restaurants.

Rachel Roddy’s recipes for Christmas feasting. I’m including this because really, we should be able to eat trifle at any time of the year. Plus, the recipe for bean and bacon casserole seems appropriate for these colder days. And her recipes for the New Year.

The Guardian’s best food books of 2017. Saveur’s best food reads of 2017. (If you read only one from the list, make it Helen Rosner’s essay on Mario Batali.) The Food Programme reviews their favourite cookbooks of the year.

The story of Hodmedod’s.

Why food appeals at Christmas obscure the structural factors that result in people being unable to afford to buy food.

Ideas of how to cope with the academic publishing complex. Work-life balance in academia.

Coping with anxiety.

Monkey bread. These shortbreads. (Today is soooo grey these seem like a perfectly sound option for dinner).

On tamales.

It is coming up to Epiphany, January 6th, which means galette du rois

A French chef giving back his Michelin star.

Barbara Cartland’s Cookbook. (Thanks Jo for bringing this to my attention!)

I did a fair amount of non-work related reading this past month. Apart from re-reading Harry Potter (currently busy with The Goblet of Fire), I read some truly wonderful books:

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore. I read this in a scant 24 hours. I could not put it down. The writing is eloquent and I loved Lizzie, the narrator. But I really loved Dunmore’s notes at the end of the book. This was her last novel before she died and the novel is all about what remains after we leave this world. She writes, “only a very few people leave traces in history, or even bequesth family documents to their descendants. Most have no money to memorialise themselves, and lack even a gravestone to mark their existence. Women’s lives, in particular, remain largely unrecorded. But even so, did they not shape the future?

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. This is another novel that is technically YA but should be read by everyone. It has stayed with me long after I finished it, thinking about Calum and Sephy, and their relationship. I haven’t read more of the series yet, although I will this year.

The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick. I just loved this book. It jumps around in time, deals with ancestors and ghosts, magic and stars. It moves from France to Ireland to Antarctica. It is a strange and wonderful book.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie. Because it isn’t the festive season without a bit of murder mystery in a grand house right?

The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. I’ve read this like a memoir and I want to make all the recipes…

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. My god, this book! Another about silenced women. Well, not exactly. It is a book about a young woman, Faith, who travels to an island with her family and natural scientist father. He is hiding a specimen and the story revolves around Faith, the tree, her father, and the secrets and lies people tell. I found myself wanting to yell at the men keeping Faith from pursuing science, telling her she couldn’t know anything and is absolutely not as important or as intelligent as her brother – it is set in the mid-1800s so women are supposed to be silent, and are definitely not clever (they are measuring people’s heads to prove it!). In one chapter, Faith is in the church and reads some of the marble plaques on the walls, full of women’s names. “Who had they been, all these mothers and sisters and wives? What were they now? Moons, blank and faceless, gleaming with borrowed light, each spinning loyally around a bigger sphere. ‘Invisible,’ said Faith under her breath. Women and girls were so often unseen, forgotten, afterthoughts”. In a year of #metoo, this book, along with Birdcage Walk, draws attention to the way women are regarded (and have been regarded) in our societies.

Have a good week! x