Reading List (11/7)

Bureau cats! Squeee!

Apparently people have stopped eating as much ice cream. This is not me or Serious Eats. I made two batches over the weekend – mint choc chip and strawberry-buttermilk. Both are delicious.

These aubergine fritters. Please could someone rassle some up for me for dinner?

Eating food from Egypt in New York City.

The changing purpose of Spanish bulls.

The important power of women’s bookclubs. “Women getting together to gab about books was viewed as suspicious rather than silly and self-indulgent“. A read that got me thinking about what it means to create community, and share ideas. Do you do this in some way? I have a WhatsApp bookclub group, and a cookbook club. Clearly this is something I respond to! And on the other side, someone who finds it difficult to join groups but finally finds one that fits.

Lessons from Shakespeare.

The different meanings of colours.

A long but fascinating read on what is the self?

A new book on influential women and their foodways. Also, has anyone read Barbara Pym? I haven’t but now I want too. Any recommendations of where to start?

On loss and baking. Such a lovely post about the recipes that we share.

Jeong Kwan, the incredible monastery chef featured on Chef’s Table, visits NYC.

Eater has launched a London site!

Have a good week! x

To food blog?

I read Orangette’s latest post a few days ago and it got me thinking. Orangette is one of the last remaining blogs that I love to read. Like read read. I love the way Molly writes about food, but mostly I love the way Molly writes about her life. And I love how the two mesh together in various ways. I find with lots of food blogs nowadays, it is all about lifestyle, with a heavy dose of very beautiful pictures. There is less of the grittiness. Less of the real. Everything is curated. And quite frankly, it is rather exhausting. So now, rather than reading about people’s lives, I am reading their projected existences through their pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I love these food-photography-lifestyle blogs. But I miss those other blogs, the ones that were about life and writing and food. And didn’t really have fabulous pictures and often featured ordinary, slightly mucky kitchen tables. Maybe they are still out there but got lost in the ether that is the very full food blog world? (If you know of any, send them my way – Rachel Roddy’s Rachel Eats used to be one but now it’s in The Guardian instead, which is great by the way but not really the same). So Rachel and Molly are the two I read regularly. But that isn’t really enough to feed by habit.

So I have begun to wonder whether maybe, just maybe, I should write the blog I want to read instead? I used to write a little about my life but I have always been quite guarded about it. And when my PhD came to an end I moved into just curating reading lists because that was all I could manage in amongst all the other things I was doing. I’ve tried writing snippets elsewhere, starting other projects and then abandoning them because really, this is the space I like to write in. So hello *waves manically*, here I am.

I have no idea how this might work yet but I thought I would start with some info on where I’ve been the past eighteen months or so, when all there has really been here is the reading lists (and let’s be honest, there is quite a lot of me being random on those lists but not much detail). The short version is I finished a PhD, got an office job, developed a bout of anxiety and depression, busted the ligament in my knee (surgery next week), got a new job (as a researcher and it is AWESOME), signed a book contract, started to recover from anxiety and depression, started knitting and took up yoga and swimming. Of course there is a much longer and wordier version of this story but that’ll do for now.

In amongst all of that I have been baking (several birthday cakes, one wedding cake), trying not to drive A- mad with my weirdness (almost 3 years together), and I’ve bought an ice cream machine (finally!). I also recently took ownership (rental-ship?) of an allotment in Sneinton in Nottingham. My mother (and pretty much everyone else) is convinced it needs an army of gardeners and a lot of money. It’s only a half plot and is mostly covered in bindweed so I will have to make it work as I have neither an army of gardeners nor tons of extra cash. I am also about to become immobile for around 6 weeks while my knee recovers from its reconstruction. But I went to the site the week before last and the robin came over to say hi so I think I am going to like it there.

Mostly I am learning to do what I can and not stress to much about the rest. This is very difficult. A lot of what I may write about is how difficult it is to give up perfectionism for sanity. I am also busy writing a book. My kitchen table currently looks like this:

Mucky kitchen table masquerading as desk

Tonight for dinner I made what effectively turned out to be a spiced beef pizza but which was supposed to be this. Mine looked nothing like the picture but it was delicious. I also didn’t really follow the recipe, and apparently my pide folding skills need severe work but more on that some other time. I ate some of it (it feeds a small army) with tomato salad, while watching Wimbledon (Nadal v Young) in the dying light of a summer day.

More soon. x


Reading List (4/7)

Hello July! And happy 4th to all you Americans out there. I am back from my week off and have begun by throwing myself into book writing and article writing this month and next.

In celebration of the 4th, watch Ina Garten decorate her flag cake this year.

I quite like the sound of these almond biscuits.

And grilled cheese with zucchini? I am willing to try this. (I do love zucchini though.)

Documentaries based on African stories. I haven’t watched these yet but they all sound good.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was 20 last week and I love this story about sharing a love of Harry with the next generation (and the anxiety attached to wanting them to love it as much as you do!)

Advice on how to approach meditation.

This biscoff ice-cream. My god.

Authors who own bookstores recommend summer reads.

Reading cooking books to cope with foreign-ness.

This is quite a dinner party how-to guide. My advice? Cook something you’ve cooked before, have fresh flowers, lots of wine, enough plates…

Chefs and addiction.

A food training programme with a difference.

Have a good week! x


Reading List (21/6)

Hello all! Welcome summer! Solstice today! I know I am a day late with this post but I was in school and then traveling yesterday, (only getting home after midnight!) so I didn’t get a chance to put this up. I hope you have been doing some sun worshiping this last week. I certainly have. I was lucky enough to be in Cornwall for the weekend, in-between visiting two different schools, so I actually got into the Atlantic. (Swimming is too strong a word but I did wallow a while). It was glorious. On Saturday we are heading back down to St Ives, for a week-long holiday. So reading, relaxing, possibly more bracing dips in the Atlantic, hopefully some yoga. There may not be a post next week, due to this but we shall see!

This made me laugh out loud. As a recent convert to commute-knitting, I have encountered some of this. But the therapeutic effects of knitting far outweigh other people’s idiocy.

Roxane Gay on navigating life as a fat person. Lindy West on the Goop wellness conference. I love what she writes about wellness being depoliticised and why that is hugely problematic.

Fruit trees are not only about gardening and education, they are also part of a culture and heritage of Los Angeles.

We should consider how we address people who live in food poverty, and why they are entitled to more than just basic nutrition.

A perfect day of eating with Sami Tamini.

Growing up with Roald Dahl.

Culinary arts therapy.

New blog find.

I found Gifts from the Sea in a random bookshop on Saturday. It is a wonderful quick read about life and living. Great if you want to do some quiet meditating on how to live well. I am also reading Swell: A Waterbiography which I LOVE. It is all about the pioneering women who advocated swimming in public spaces, and promoted women swimming more generally. I love the voice of the writer, and how she draws your attention to all the ludicrous things our female swimming ancestors had to go through to get in the water. Great inspiration!

I may make these lemon bars to take on our road trip.

Fighting for food justice in NYC.

Have a good week everyone! x

Reading List (13/6)

I am on route to Cornwall today, for work purposes. I am going to be there for a whole week, visiting two different schools. Hopefully it will be sunny!

How cooking can help with healing.

Can a marriage survive if you have strong and differing views on food?

The complexities of social media, and who owns a recipe.

Noel Fielding is one of the new Bake-Off hosts. (This for you, Jo B).

These images of tears are just extraordinary.

A mesmerising video of flowers.

Retreats for writing.

A shop made entirely from felt! This is SOOOOO COOOOLLLLL! (Thanks Princess for sending it my way.)

On becoming a feminist.

A parent questions Tesco’s food education programme.

Finding time to write. And related, how we can learn about taking better notes.

‘The Trump 10‘.

You are not the work you do‘.

Have a good week! x

Reading List (6/6)

Hello June! And happy birthday Sammy! I love this month of the year. Long days. Warm weather. Mostly sunny skies. Bring on the sea and a holiday (14 more working days)!

But first, the Shetland Pony Grand National. Guys. This is a thing. And it may be the BEST THING EVER. As someone who, in their youth, was a seasoned Shetland pony rider, all I can say is cousins, we missed out! Imagine doing this with Penny or Tuppence! My gawd. Thanks Princess for bringing this to my attention. Made my week.

Brave Tart’s advice on making a layer cake.

Civil Eats has some guidance on how you can keep being a food activist in the age of Trump.

The best gelato maker you’ve never heard of, and harsh truth about being older in the kitchen.

Noma Mexico is over but people haven’t stopped writing about it yet. Even on why they didn’t go to review it.

Small acts of ‘boring self-care‘. Love this.

Why cookbooks are so important.

An interesting article on living with less technology and more with nature.

A piece that made me think – on food addiction.

This book is on my wish list. Samin is on various episodes of Cooked, which you can watch on Netflix, if you haven’t already. I like the way the book is organised, and I love the illustrations.

An academic version of would you rather…

Essential books on the future of food.

All these things: a, b, c, from the Kitchen that is Smitten.

Did knitters partake in espionage?

I do love William Kentridge and I think this new project, focusing on the ‘less good idea’ is simply genius.

This week I’d like to make these peach desserts (I love love love a poached peach in the summer) and this cherry tart. I  love the way both these women write about food – the stories that accompany these recipes are just lovely.

Have a good week! x

Reading List (30/5)

Another review of Feast for the Eyes.

Food, cooking and kitchens as a way to overcome difference.

Emily Dickinson’s pressed flower collection.

Food book reviews.

Dorie Greenspan on cream puffs.

Wayne Thiebaud, whose cake paintings I love, has an exhibition at White Cube in London.

A banana nutella cake. A recipe for polenta cake.

A recipe for macaroons, inspired by The Enchanted April.

Love this week’s episode of This American Life – on being fat. It features Lindy West and in it, she says, “instead of spending all my time counting almonds, why not figure out how to be happy now”.

I spent the weekend reading Waterlog, Roger Deakin’s tale of swimming in places all over the UK. It contains some truly wonderful descriptions of swimming in the wild – with newts, in rivers, off the Cornish coast. Makes me wistful for wildness.

I turn the shell-lip to my lips, slide the oyster into my mouth and massage it briefly with my teeth; I savour its brawny goodness in my throat and the dance of sea salt on my tongue. A short story. 

A menu from Great Dixter.

Jane Grigson’s Good Things.

Food films to watch over the summer perhaps.

Soft-serve madness.

Feasting and fasting during Ramadan.

Scientists have found some very very old rice.

Have a good week! x