Run Away to Sea Breton Cake

Breton cake

When I am fretful, I run away to sea.

I was born by the sea, and grew up by the sea. I am from South Shields, a small coastal town in between Newcastle and Sunderland, that sits at the mouth of the Tyne, with a coastline of pigeon-grey cliffs. If you are born in South Shields, you’re not a Geordie, or a Mackem: you’re something different, all of its own: you are a Sand Dancer. I am a sand dancer. I am a beach baby. There is salt and vinegar in my blood. Lighthouses make my heart soar. My spirits can be revived by a single pickled egg.

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Honey and Sea Salt Shortbread

Honey shortbread

I have become obsessed with tiny kitchen miracles: little, unassuming, simple recipes, that for whatever reason become so much greater than the sum of their parts. A paltry number of ingredients that give way to deliciousness or complexity that almost defies reason. This shortbread is a tiny kitchen miracle.

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Christmas Anxiety Brownies

Chocolate orange anxiety brownies

For the last week I have had acute Christmas anxiety. So I made brownies. Christmas brownies. The best brownies, possibly, that you will ever taste.

When I say ‘Christmas anxiety’, I don’t mean indecision over which cheeses to buy, or what to wear for Christmas Day, or even whether I’ve bought particularly rubbish presents (although, also all of those).

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Flopsy, Mopsy, Coconut Tail and Peter

Bunny biscuits

Is it possible for silly little bunny-shaped biscuits with fluffy tails to be elegant? Probably not. But I’m confident that this is the closest we’ll ever get.

I am irreparably clumsy and lacking in artistic talent in and out of the kitchen. Since I started baking, this has really irritated me. When I’m cooking comforting, hearty meals, it’s not really a problem; no one ever expects an oxtail stew to look like anything other than an oxtail stew. But sweet bakes are a different kettle of fish. These biscuits are my secret weapon. If you can scatter glitter over pritt stick, you can make these biscuits look utterly charming.

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondies

Blondies

My intention to medicate all autumnal malaises and maladies with appropriate food has been… stalled somewhat.

I put my back out making meringues. Or rather, I thought I had put my back out making meringues. Last Sunday, I was making meringues and something very odd happened to my back and it hurt a lot.

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Hey Shorty, It’s Your Birthday

Gus (millionaire's shortbread)

I am not a very creative or inspired person.

A while ago, before we moved in together, Sam came round and made millionaire shortbread to take into work/class on his birthday (which OUTRAGED my housemate: ‘What is this FUCKERY? Why should one have to provide one’s own cakes on one’s BIRTHDAY?’). Anyway, he made too much caramel, and left it in my fridge. I peered at it this morning and said sagely ‘ah! I shall seek out a suitable recipe to use THAT up’, then went back to bed. But I didn’t. Which is why, when my case finished early, I found myself in Bedford M&S buying the other requisite ingredients for, well, millionaire’s shortbread.

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