hopelessly captivated | lemon - ricotta scones

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Prune has the most vibrant dreams. She’ll be fast asleep but you’ll hear her growl, the unmistakable gravelly growl of a big dog. In her sleep she’ll be running, her paws moving, her claws tapping against the floor, hot pursuit, deep in the hunt. Endless grassy meadows and shallow streams under warm sunshine, dusty tracks, mazes of cornfields where she loses herself. Other dogs to chase, rabbits, mossy forests, utopia. But she reaches the end of the track and she panics, in her somnolent way. She sees it all, the fireworks, thunderstorms, and she whimpers. Out loud, in her deep sleep. We comfort her, bring her back to now, lying on her cushion in the kitchen, she sighs, stretches and seems to shrug, like it was all nothing. Like it was just a dream and we didn’t all need to be so worried.

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Suzi is a hushed dreamer. She runs a little sometimes, but for the most part she sleeps deep and quiet, her head on her paws. But she lives out loud. She goes outside and she’ll run, just to run, because she’s fast and athletic and she can. She’ll take sharp curves around the cherry tree, maybe pick up a snack, throw it in the air, shake it, hunt it, subdue it. Then she’ll lie down right where she is, prick up her ears and listen. For the first sign that something is untoward in the neighborhood, a hint of something new carried in the breeze. Guarding her place and her people. Alert and watching.

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Prune sometimes won’t walk when she should. She’ll make herself very heavy when she wants to, physically and emotionally. She’s considered to be very much a Labrador - solid, often hungry, gentle. But she is highly strung in her own way. Like a Thoroughbred racehorse or a very expensive sports car she’s not easy to handle, she’s confusing to understand, and is far too precious to ever be tamed. We live with her moods, her spirited independence, her wild streak. Like a painter who has moved to live high in the mountains and is hopelessly captivated by the endless winter.

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If Prune is the winter then Suzi is the sun. Burning at times. She’ll seek you out, often in the evening, and she won’t let go. Because what she really wants is affection, to lay her head on your lap, black velvet. And like the sun of spring, she’s at times timid, hesitant. It’s like she’s not sure what you’re going to do to her and the clouds win. So you volley between the scorch of summer and ripple of spring sunshine, waiting for those mellow days in June. When she’s lying on her side, waiting for you to tickle her neck. But there is a beauty in the mercurial seasons, that capricious volley, that temperamental up-down that brings the purest snow days and the cascades of spring blossom. Beauty even in the deepest winter and most despondent vernal sunshine. And like the artist in his mountain cabin, entranced by the downpour and the melt, I have been boundlessly won over, infinitely. 

“She was my darling. Difficult, morose, but still my darling”     - Vladimir Nabokov 


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Hi :) Been a little while since I was here buuuut I have scones. These scones are cute triangular shafts of citrusy sunlight so they’re kind of well suited to the time of year. I have seen ricotta in a few scones recipes so wanted to try it out aaaand I was really pleased with how they turned out - the ricotta makes these scones quite sturdy but not too dry. They are also more simple to make than it may first seem and come together very fast.
Anyway. Love you xx

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lemon - ricotta scones

2/3c almond meal
2/3c oat flour
2/3c brown rice flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2tsp salt 
2T coconut sugar 
Zest from one lemon
2T olive oil
1c ricotta cheese (or thicker type of yogurt could work)
3T fresh lemon juice 


Preheat oven to 180 C, 350 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and sugar. Stir until sugar is completely mixed. In another bowl, beat together the ricotta, oil, egg and lemon juice.
Combine the wet and dry mixes until a workable dough forms. Sprinkle some flour over a work surface and tip out the dough. Using your hands, shape the dough into a circle, around 3cm (1inch-ish) thick.
Cut the circle in half, then quarters, then again so you have 8 kind of triangular pieces.
(carefully + gently) move the scones to the baking tray and bake for around 15 minutes - they will have become a little golden with some browning on the edges.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. On their own the scones are not super sweet but are still great. They are equally great with honey or jam.

In an airtight container they will keep for a few days in the fridge but can also be frozen and defrosted.

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my two princesses

the untameable | orange + cardamom sherbet

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So. Another new year. What people should’ve done last year, what they should do, the quickness of it all, things on people’s minds. Mine too, of course, but for now I’d rather linger on the end of last year. A trip, a place far away in so many senses. I didn’t have my camera with me in Bangalore and for some reason I’m averse to phone photography so I have no photos this year. Which is a shame. Because India does visuals so well. The pastel paintbox houses, each a shade from coriander to peach, stacked so geometrically. The saris drying on clothes lines, silver pots and pans heating up in the sun, dogs panting in the shade, motorbikes and rickshaws idling. 

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The ladies with jasmine woven into their dark braids; carrying chubby infants in expert hands, cows with flower garlands wrapped loosely around their horns, hand-painted trucks and tractors. In a small road in the village, teenagers chat. The cool boys on their motorbike with their snazzy collared shirts and slicked back hair doubtlessly inspired by a Bollywood hero. A girl carrying a puppy, the center of attention. Two old timers sitting on an iron balcony, presiding over it all, reminiscing. Heavy and rising afternoon heat. 

Inside the gated compound everything has grown. The tropical pines are thick and towering, the palms proud and facades of houses freshly whitewashed. Trees are dripping hibiscus onto the luscious lawns where nannies supervise the toddlers. There are cats prowling the boundary fences, the toms brawling in the evening as prayer bells ring and the smell of roasting spices floats out of every kitchen. 

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It is early morning. Airless and sultry, the day’s heat building after it barely subsided. Like so many things in India, winter’s changing. I’m out running, soon I’ll be joined by other neighbors, racing a tropical sun . There’s a gentle glow from street lamps where moths gather, a faraway crane is lit for the holidays, clouds hurry past the waning moon. There’s another person out, a grandfather. It’s more than 20 degrees but he’s wearing a white scarf wrapped over his head and face, cotton like his billowing shirt. He regards the morning suspiciously, seeing the high rises all around us like he was hemmed in, a look of passive disdain on his weathered face. Maybe he was thinking about the vastness of home, the untameable north of the subcontinent.  Miles away, a lifetime away. To him the year passing would be an inevitability, a grain of sand in the desert, or one of the thousands of stars that crowd the sky above it.

‘far and wide the vernal breeze wafts sweet odours from blossoming trees to distant lands’ Sanskrit Proverb 


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It seems we’re starting the year with sherbet. It is in a sense like a sorbet since it’s a frozen fruity thing (often citrus) but has dairy to make it smooth and creamy which sorbet doesn’t. You could also call this recipe frozen yogurt but I thought sherbet sounded nice. Anyway it’s a very simple recipe and if you don’t have an ice cream maker you could make cute yogurt pops instead. You can adjust the amount of cardamom according to your taste but if you leave it out altogether you might want to add some vanilla instead. It’s also kind of healthy so if you ever wanted ice cream for breakfast… like Drake said, you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.
Happy New Year. Hope this one is what you want it to be. Love you xx


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Orange + cardamom sherbet

2c natural yogurt of choice
3T fresh orange juice 
3T honey
1/2 - 1tsp fresh ground cardamom 


Put all ingredients into a blender and blend to combine.
Pour into ice cream maker and churn according to ice cream maker’s instructions. Make sure you freeze the bowl-part of your ice cream maker in advance (it varies but often 24 hours before churning).
Make sure you use a freezer friendly container to let your almost-sherbet finish freezing. It will keep for a long time.

It may help to take the sherbet container out of the freezer a few minutes before serving so it’s less icy and easier to scoop.

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woodsmoke | gingerbread bundt cake

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I started this post a few days ago, well before Christmas Eve. In a quiet, dimly lit area of a fairly empty terminal in Amsterdam Airport. Before the boarding crush I could find a seat on tired, cracking vinyl, by the floor to ceiling windows that looked over the runways. The fields and the tarmac were dark, the bodies of planes loomed in gray shadow, brooding and immobile. Like the darkest clouds of a winter sky on the coldest days when rain would fall as snow, casting deep shadows, swallowing the moonlight. 

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I wasn’t at a window seat but when the plane, enlivened in flight, dipped its wing, Amsterdam played out in lights far below us. The warm golds from street lights, the cheery red blinking of cars heading home for the holidays, white glow from illuminated buildings. Like the lights on a Christmas tree, with the colour from strands of tinsel, full of memories, familiar. 
I had a long wait in Abu Dhabi. A wait with a lot of anticipation, eagerly checking my watch, wishing for progress. It reminded me of the night before Christmas when I was very young and impossibly charmed by it all. Finding it so hard to lie in bed and wait for the morning, the expectation so palpable.

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It was early morning when I arrived in Bangalore. Warm, thick tropical darkness, loaded with fumes, throbbing with action, like how the thin winter air clings on to the scent of pine and woodsmoke. Something celebratory in how India does chaos, like everyone is waiting for something to happen. The taxi guys with their windows open played the morning prayers and Bollywood pop, some background similarity to it all, something different woven into each. Telling the same stories to different beats, like Christmas music. Dawn breaks, the red roofs echo the pinky streaks of hot morning sky, doves cry from deep in the clumps of bougainvillea. There’s a whispering breeze through the palms and the clearing night clouds are violet, indigo, pillowy. Someone is cooking in another house, something with spices. Chilli maybe, red and intense; turmeric, powdered gold; ginger, the rounded spice.
There were lights and anticipation; music, people on the move, heady air filled with spices. There was Christmas everywhere, and all the time. 

"and all my soul is scent and melody"  Charles Baudelaire 


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Wow. Christmas Eve already. A little last minute perhaps but if anyone is considering some Christmas baking, this cake is perfect. If you don't have a small bundt pan it will also look cute as a real gingerbread loaf in a regular loaf pan (just keep an eye on the baking time). This cake somehow encapsulates the holidays so I hope you try it.

Merry Christmas to you all. Much love xx

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gingerbread bundt cake

1 3/4c spelt flour 
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg 
Pinch cloves
1 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4c olive oil
1/3c pure maple syrup
1/4c pure cane molasses
1 free range egg
3/4c milk of choice 
2T coconut sugar (or other dark type of sugar)


Preheat the oven to 180 c, 350 f.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
In another bowl beat together the egg, oil and maple syrup. Add the sugar, then the milk and molasses. If the molasses isn’t combining well it may help to heat the whole mixture a little.
Pour the wet mix into the dry and stir gently until just combined.
Prepare a 6 cup bundt pan: oil and flour it well so that the cake comes clean out with the beautiful shape. Prepping the pan right before baking means the oil won’t slide down the sides and pool at the bottom which wouldn’t help much for sticking. If using a different kind of pan, you can prepare it how usually works for you.

Bake 40-45 minutes, until the cake looks deep golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Allow the bundt a little time to cool in the pan, then gently release onto a cooling rack. It will be a little fragile to cut at first so if you can resist the ginger-y smells, it will cut cleaner after it’s cool.
This baby bundt will keep well for a few days in an airtight container and tastes as good (better?) with time. It will also frost and defrost nicely.

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fervent love | ginger brownie cookies

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Have you ever met someone and just thought, wow, you are so plastic. Like you can just see right into them, the mass of veins and nerves and a heart that pumps nothing but blood. It’s like that’s all they are. There’s nothing else there, no deep, intense passion bubbling inside them, about something abstract, obscure. They just absorb whatever it is that’s in the air, whatever is going around, and it never gets deeper than the skin. Surface passion, at best, and it’s difficult to ignite.

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But there are people who have it. A fervent love somewhere, buried under a skin that’s just like everyone else’s. When they talk about this - their passion, the ignition, you know they’re in their element. You can see them come alive. It’s like you strike a match and light up the whole room, they’re not just a shell anymore, they’re a warm blooded person with stories to tell. And you might not know what the stories are. You can’t see into where it is they keep their spirit, but at times it will burst through, given the right conditions. Perhaps someone like minded, someone curious, another dreamer, another believer, another fan. Fire doesn’t start without fuel. 

I always admire people who have that - such a deep passion. People who’ve given their lives to obscure causes. I saw a documentary with a team that devoted its time to studying prairie dog behavior, people who spend their lives restoring classic Land Rovers, divers who dedicate each trip into the ocean to search for Atlantis. They have something. They must get up each day and think, this is my thing.
I guess that’s the deepest level. People for whom each cell in their body is filled with passion. But maybe there are other levels too. The bloodstream intensity, for people who can talk for ages about a topic. Perhaps not one they love per se, but something that triggers feelings. Impassioned rants of passive aggression, peppered with emotive anecdotes, enough to get you thinking. Because they care so much and it’s so tangible. They have something too. They can get up each morning and say, I can make someone think, make someone feel different. Those people, they all have nerves and veins and hearts that pump blood. But theirs are filled with much more, they overflow, there’s a side to them that is their own, that makes them so much more than what you see. 

“Now she went blossoming in her blood, and her blood went rushing deep beneath her”
Rainer Maria Rilke 

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First I would like to say this post was for mum for her birthday. She’s one of those kind of passive-aggressive but inspiring people. It’s probably what makes her such a good teacher, and so nice to be around. 
Transition to cookies. These cookies are quite special - a bit soft with under-baked centers, like brownies, but with a bunch of warm spices that works so well together.
The method may come across as a little finicky but it’s all easier than it sounds and totally worth it.
Love and cookies to you. Who knows, they may just become your passion.
xx

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ginger brownie cookies

makes around 12 medium cookies

1/2c coconut oil, melted 
1 large free range egg
1/2c coconut sugar 
1/4c turbinado sugar (or pure cane sugar)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
1/2c brown rice flour
1/2c oat flour 
1/2c almond meal
1/3c natural cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 

Optional: 100g / 4oz chopped dark chocolate 

Preheat the oven to 180c, 350f and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine the flours, baking powder/soda, salt and spices. Sift in the cocoa and stir to combine.
In another bowl, beat together the oil and egg - make sure your egg is room temp or the oil with harden if it meets anything cold.
Add the sugars and vanilla and combine until the mixture comes together.
Add the wet mix to the dry and stir until evenly combined. 
Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes (in the bowl is fine, the chilling will make it easier to scoop).
Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop out balls of dough into the cookie sheet leaving room to spread. 
The cookies need in total about 10-12 minutes to bake. Halfway through baking (5-6 minutes) take the tray out of the oven and use the back of a spoon to flatten the tops of the cookies slightly - the tops of the cookies will look quite cracked.
Bake for the remaining time. Allow a few minutes to cool on the pan before gently transferring to a rack: they will be fragile and a little puffy, brownie style. 
The cookies will keep a few days at room temp and you can also freeze the cookie dough. 

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