and her pink skies will keep me warm

I was a very righteously-opinioned child. For example, I took the mathematics curriculum as a DIRECT PERSONAL SLIGHT against myself and would injuriously huff about it at any given opportunity (and especially in opportunities that weren’t given.) Like, in any schoolbook from my youth I’ll take jabs at it – not least in the actual maths workbook itself where I’d constantly write evaluations of my work complaining about how unfair and stupid maths is, and take great pleasure in defacing each and every possible blue-lined square with colours and stars and patterns. God help the defenceless teacher if there was an “about me” section in any piece of work – I’d be all, “I’m Laura Vincent and I hate war, people who don’t understand the genius of the Spice Girls, and the fact that I have to do pointless, irritating mathematics.”  

 the rose tint

the rose tint

That’s just one example. I was also vehemently against the colour pink, simply because I wanted to rebel against the generally held gender norms that pink was for girls and blue is for boys. I definitely went through a distinct Barbie doll phase (I was in it mostly for the fashion, but I do remember being with my cousins and pretending to burn a Shaving Ken at the stake while several other Barbies danced around him triumphantly as we sung Sacrifice by Elton John – “we’ve got a Shaving Ke-e-en, and he’s our sacrifice”) but after a point I truly felt like not seeking out pink things made me somehow more superior. Pink was obvious. Obviousness was weakness. 

Tiny jerkfaced me could never have predicted that in the year 2017, I would embrace the very shade that I so long derided (okay so from the years like, 1999 – 2014 I was honestly neither here nor there on it) in the form of Millennial Pink.

Millennial Pink is a real phenomenon (there’s a great article charting its rise to prominence) and I ADORE it. In these garbage times, this shade is soft, it’s kind, it’s calm AS HELL, it’s really, really pretty. And it’s increasingly charmingly genderless, which I feel lil no-wave feminism me might have appreciated. It’s the colour of soothing tumblr aesthetics, of Drake’s puffer jacket, of Rihanna wearing pyjamas in the club, of watching makeup tutorials till you fall asleep, of brutally plain late 90s slip dresses, of rose quartz crystals, of Jenny Holzer truisms, of the icing on top of cream buns and doughnuts, of peonies and rose petals, of bleached and coloured hair on Instagram, of sun-faded walls with bright green plants propped up against them, of fluffiness and softness and dreaminess. 

All of which possibly sounds stupid but like, I like what I like. 

Hence why I found myself starting with a colour as an inspiration point and working backwards from there, and ended up with this extremely delicious toffee.  

I had some almonds kicking around from making orgeat for work and in the spirit of sustainability or the illusion thereof, I decided to surround them with crunchy, buttery toffee and smother them in rose-tinted white chocolate. Anything caramelly just bloody does it for me, and I sheepishly prefer white chocolate over the other sorts, so this resulting slice was extremely 100% my idea of a good time. Making toffee from scratch does require some patience and a healthy fear of getting too close to the relentlessly boiling sugar. What you get though is the most glorious stuff – your teeth sliding effortlessly through the silky, vanilla-y white chocolate into hard, almond studded salty toffee which shatters as you bite down into chewy caramel crystals.  It’s intense and it’s wonderful.

millennial pink salted almond white chocolate toffee

a recipe by myself

  • 250g butter
  • one and a half cups caster sugar
  • a decent pinch of sea salt
  • one cup of toasted almonds, blitzed in a food processor so they’re rubbly and chopped
  • 250g white chocolate
  • one teaspoon vegetable oil
  • a few drops of pink food colouring

This recipe looks really really long but it’s just a convoluted way of saying boil stuff then chill it then cover it in chocolate, it’s all pretty straightforward I promise. 

Line a regular sized brownie pan with baking paper . In a large saucepan, heat up the butter, sugar and salt and allow it to come to the boil. Let it bubble away, stirring only occasionally (it might seem like the butter won’t absorb into the sugar but as it boils the sugar will take it in, give it a few gentle stirs though if it eases your mind.) After a while, take a spoonful of the boiling sugar and drop it in a glass of cold water. Let it sit for a few seconds and then taste it – the texture you’re after is a good hard toffee crunch. If it’s more fudge-like, then you need to let it carry on boiling. 

Once you’re at this point, remove it from the heat and dump in the almonds. Give it a quick stir and spatula it briskly into the waiting brownie pan. This is like, the hottest thing on earth and it will continue to bubble VERY disconcertingly in the pan so just let it settle down for a bit before you put it in the freezer or it will throw your entire ecosystem in there out of balance. 

Once the toffee is cooled and firm to the touch, melt the white chocolate gently with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and add the merest droplet or two of pink food colouring. Stir gently and add more colour if you desire but go slowly! I used literally like, three drops for this stuff. Spatula it evenly over the surface of the toffee, and gently bang the base of the tin against the bench to settle any lines in the chocolate. Return it to the freezer, and then when that is finally set, slice it however you like and eat the damn stuff. 

 pink is the flavour, solve the riddle

pink is the flavour, solve the riddle

To be honest almost every time I make something starting with aesthetic instead of flavour or texture as the inspiration point I end up screwing up the recipe completely, as though the universe is admonishing me for being driven by such base instincts, but this worked out perfectly. Proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that wanting things to be pretty is like, not the worst. I ended up taking it around town and dropping off tasters of it at various beloved establishments before bringing the rest to work for my team like some kind of actual heroic angel. I know there’s some still waiting for me tonight when I go to work and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Just one woman’s opinion, but go forth and embrace pink. Oh and maths really does suck, I was right about that one. 

title from:  Frank Ocean, Sierra Leone, from his extremely very perfect album Channel Orange. 

music lately: 

I am regrettably completely head over heels for this guy from the UK called Rat Boy, who was clearly bred in a lab with the express purpose of being to my personal taste. Sample song: Revolution. 

As well as being an absolute BOP, Charli XCX’s song Boys is like…Millennial Pink condensed into one explanatory video. 

next time: It’s (SOMEHOW, and I suspect HIGHLY ILLEGALLY) September now, so like, let’s shuck off the heavy winter food and get into spring (it’s honestly colder outside than it has been all year but a gal can remain optimistic!) 

call my name through the cream

You know when someone puts something so succinctly and you’re like yes, this articulates something I didn’t even know I needed articulating but I feel so seen having absorbed these words? Yes? Well, yesterday I read a tweet that said “this year I kept feeling like ‘sorry I wasn’t the successful mental health recovery story you wanted'” and I was like…yes. Me. Earlier this year when I got my ADHD diagnosis I was all, my problems are solved! Ritalin helps everything! I’m great now! But in fact, to the surprise of absolutely no one except my wilfully naive self, one success does not equal a nonstop upwards trajectory. By which I mean, I’m in a weird place currently where all my resources are exhausted – my brain is tired, my body is tired, I’m pretty sure my skull is still tired from my wisdom tooth operation even though it was like, a week ago, and the hamster running in the treadmill of my mental health faculties is very, very tired. 

All I want to do is sleep for a thousand years, but also all I can do is sleep and it’s the most frustrating thing ever because I can’t get out of my own way – or bed – and get anything done that would help myself – like tidy my room or do yoga or whatever other vague self-care things you’re supposed to tick off on the road to wellbeing. As well as feeling hellaciously lethargic, my anxiety is scratching a sharp, bitten fingernail down the back of my spine more than ever. I’m really hoping I can bust out of this feeling of being suspended in a bowl of jelly, unable to claw my way through and find myself, because being tired is so tiring. 

As such I haven’t really cooked for myself in a while – I’m eating regularly, I just don’t have the energy to stand up and put one ingredient inside another. Fortunately my disinclination towards progress has its own shady rewards, as in, here’s one I prepared earlier! But totally missed the boat on blogging about because, like so many small tasks, I just didn’tFor all that I am coming across as TOTALLY MISERABLE the fact that I’m actually here writing this blog post and putting one foot in front of the other and one letter of the alphabet in front of the other is a definite achievement, so – dubiously – yay me. 

So let’s get to the less uncomfortable content! Panna cotta is an Italian dessert, comprised more or less of cream heated and set with gelatine – silky, yielding yet firm, immensely ploughable to the spoon, rich yet light, rather fancy yet childishly reminiscent of packet-born pudding. I had this idea that turmeric – as in the whole turmeric root, not the vivid yellow powdered stuff – would go well with vanilla – as in the excoriated black dust from an entire bean, not the essence in a bottle. I was pleasingly correct. It’s all very simple – just heat the vanilla and turmeric with the cream and throw in some sugar and gelatine – but has glorious results. The turmeric tints the cream a pale primrose colour and gives it a slight lemony-carroty freshness (I don’t know if that sounds awful but I promise you it’s good) and the vanilla seeds have a soft, almost chocolatey richness which makes it taste incredibly luxuriant and scented-candle-y. If you can’t get hold of whole turmeric root I imagine a small teaspoon of powdered stuff would work okay but it might be a bit intense and earthy – maybe change tack completely and instead use the grated zest of a lemon or grapefruit. 

Generally panna cotta is set in small moulds and then turned out but I was happy to cut out any additional stress by instead pouring it into cute receptacles and eating it straight from them. I recommend you do the same. 

turmeric and vanilla panna cotta

a recipe by myself

  • 300ml cream
  • three leaves of gelatine
  • three tablespoons of caster sugar
  • one vanilla bean
  • one knob/root (lol) of turmeric

Peel the turmeric roughly (I just use a sharp knife to slice the skin off) and roughly chop into pieces. Place it in a saucepan with the cream and then slide a knifepoint down the length of the vanilla bean and scrape, as best you can, the seeds of it into the cream, then just chuck the bean itself into the cream as well. 

Heat the cream gently till it’s juuuust starting to wobble on the surface. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water – they’ll turn translucent and soft after a minute or two. 

Remove the cream from the heat, and either strain it into a bowl or scoop out the vanilla bean and bits of turmeric. I prefer the latter because…less dishes. Scoop up the soft gelatine leaves – which will feel pretty delightful – and give them a squeeze to remove any clinging water before dropping them into the cream. Add the sugar and give it a stir to dissolve everything. 

Pour this mixture carefully between two waiting vessels of around 150ml each. Refrigerate them for a couple of hours and then they’re all yours to eat. 

Serves two. I ate both at once. 

Leaf gelatine is generally available in supermarkets these days and is much more fun to use than the traditional powdered stuff – it comes in sheets that look like old fashioned glass windows, which soften in cold water and then dissolve in the hot cream. As a result, the texture of this is incredible – so pillowy and satiny, like the feeling of raking your fingers through cool water as it slides across your tongue. 

Seriously though, I’m sorry to be so damn glum, it’s like, I’m fine, honestly, I’m just really really really tired in every possible way but also totally fine and don’t worry about me but also someone please pick me up and lay me down on a soft, warm loaf of bread and let me sleep until I finally feel rested, while taking care of all my responsibilities and maybe rewiring my brain while you’re at it, but also I’m fine? I mean, I wouldn’t say I’ve never been better, but I’ve definitely been worse! And I’ve written this blog post, which is absolutely something. And now to try and work on more somethings. 

 Something!

Something!

title from: Soundgarden, Black Hole Sun. The unbelievable sadness about Chris Cornell aside, this song is magnificent and huge and was the first music video to truly terrify me. Like, for real, I’ve linked to a lyrics video here rather than the original one because I honestly still can’t watch it. 

music lately: 

Sky Ferreira, Everything Is Embarrassing. I mean! 

Kesha, Praying. I’m happy she’s back. 

next time: well I finally read some of a book about coping with ADHD that has been under my bed, untouched, since February. And I’ve been reading the food blogs and cookbooks that spur on my hunger for cooking the most. It’s something! 

bruises on the fruit, tender age in bloom

It has taken me what feels like forever to get this blog post done and it’s not because I’ve been doing anything exciting by any means, I’ve just been busy with work and overtired and rinsing and repeating. That’s a lie, I’m not even rinsing. Just grubbily unproductive. But here I am and I’m determined to make this happen because, if nothing else, the recipe I’m talking about involves quince which is in season for about the same length of time as the brief nap I wish I was currently having.

So quinces, yeah, they look like large pears and smell like if an apple was presenting you with a bunch of flowers and blushing nervously. They’re impossible to eat raw and rock hard when you try to cut through them and take forever to cook but once they do, you get blessed with soft, melting texture with just a little of that autumnal fruit grittiness, and intense, perfumed sweetness of flavour.

I bought two, knowing full well I’d probably get too busy to do anything other than occasionally appreciatively sniffing them before ruefully throwing them in the bin once they’d deteriorated beyond the point where I could ignore it; however I surprised myself by actually doing something. And that thing was delicious. I grated the quince – not the easiest task, since they’re so concrete-like, but I managed – and cooked it in plenty of butter with sliced pears, and then just added water slowly, almost risotto like, until everything was cooked and soft. A tiny bit of sugar was all that was needed, no spices or anything – I mean, you absolutely could, I just wanted the fruit to be the undistracted star. If I was going to add something here I’d personally go for cardamom – a tiny bit lemony and gingery and less obvious than cinnamon, or indeed, actual ginger. The butter with the fruit is so lush, and flavour enough, making everything all rich and sweet and juicy and, well, buttery.

buttered quince and pears

a recipe by myself

  • one large quince
  • two pears
  • 40g butter
  • one tablespoon sugar
  • water

Peel the quince (just use a vege peeler) and carefully grate the flesh, till you’re left with just the solid core. This is a bit of an undertaking because quinces are, as I said, extremely tough. Throw the butter into a large frying pan and over a medium to high heat, melt it and tip in the quince. Finely slice the pears and add them to the pan too. Continue to stir until the pears have softened a bit.

Sprinkle over the sugar, add some more butter if you feel like it, turn the heat up on high and add 125ml/half a cup of water. Continue stirring regularly until the water has evaporated, and then continue in this fashion, adding water and stirring till it’s gone, until the quince has almost dissolved into a nubbly paste coating the pears and everything is very, very tender and golden.

I ate it with extremely thick natural yoghurt, the type you can basically stand a spoon up in, and a mixture of toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped and mixed with coconut sugar and sea salt. The textures and temperatures and sweet-salty-buttery-fruity thing going on was sensational, but also extremely, calmingly simple. You can do what you like with this nubbly fruity mixture though – put it under crumble, stir it into whipped cream, fold it into a cake batter, eat it with ice cream, and I suspect it would also work with some kind of pork or alongside sharp goat’s cheese.

If you’re up to your neck in quinces right now I also suggest some other recipes that I’ve blogged about – like quince sorbet, quince brandy, quince glaze and quince loaf cake  (that last post I linked to is from early 2008 which was literally 84 years ago).

And that’s like, it, really. In fact as soon as I hit publish I’m scooting to work again. I will do my very, very best to get into some wacky anecdote-worthy scrapes and capers for you so that the next blog post has more filler material. Au revoir till next time.

title from: Nirvana’s aggressively bucolic song In Bloom.

music lately: 

Gideonby My Morning Jacket. This song is from 2005 but sounds like it could’ve been written in like, 2015, it’s all soaring and dreamy and wonderful, but above all I’m thankful for this band because of the scene in Happy Endings where Alex is like “There’s my My Morning Jacket jacket!”

Santa Feby Beirut. God this song is uplifting from the second it kicks off, it’s just lovely and happy and simple and good.

next time: I made some extremely good polenta with olive oil and roast garlic, I’m also really, really wanting to do some kind of slow cooking with the weather being so freezing. I also promise anecdotes or something. 

workworkworkworkwork

Generally my ideas come all at once, fully formed, or not at all. Like I’ll stare at my wardrobe for a literal forty minutes, paralysed with the inability to choose a simple garment to prevent my public nudity (admittedly, ritalin has helped alleviate these vibes) or I’ll wake up being like “I’m going to channel Victor Garber playing Jesus in the 1973 film adaptation of the musical Godspell and this is exactly how I’m going to do it!” I submitted a cocktail to Wellington on a Plate this year for work and I came up with it, concept, recipe, title and all, in precisely five seconds, but on the very last day that submissions were open. There’s other examples, just imagine I’ve given them to you (I’m very tired right now.) All of which leads us to this pomegranate cheesecake that I made on Tuesday night, simply because the words “pomegranate cheesecake” plus the entire recipe appeared in my head suddenly, and I was like…guess I better act upon this. Who am I to ignore the voice telling me to make a cheesecake that no one was asking for nor needing in their life? Who am I to not act upon every damn whim that occurs to me, no matter what it is? Who indeed?

Luckily the cheesecake was as delicious as my odd little brain promised.  

This is an extremely easy cheesecake to knock together, and in fact the only difficult part is sourcing the one key ingredient: not actual pomegranate, because I am a heathen who decided to forge ahead with this despite the fruit in question being wildly out of season, but instead: Monin Pomegranate Syrup. I’ll be honest with you, some of their fruit syrups are spectacular and some of them are…less so…but the pomegranate stuff is pretty magical: lip-smackingly, butt-smackingly sour, zestily sweet, and appealingly pink in colour. If you live in Wellington it’s easily available at Moore Wilson’s, otherwise I would try buying it online, or using something like Six Barrel Soda’s Cherry Pomegranate Soda syrup, or perhaps scout your local bars for who has it in stock and ask nicely if you can borrow a small quantity in a takeaway cup in return for a slice of cheesecake. Or you could change tack completely and look for a good-quality raspberry syrup, the kind which real fruit was harmed in the making of; you’ll still get that appealingly sour red fruit flavour. OR you could go archly artisinal and use pomegranate molasses while upping the sugar content: in fact I’m now extremely curious about this variation and want to try it.  

But back to the actual cheesecake that I actually made, actually. (Cheesecake…actually…is all around.) 

I went into work on Tuesday night to knuckle down and overhaul the till to add and remove and shuffle a zillion buttons to make it more useable (it’s one of those ancient systems that’s about on the level a Brick Game or even, for those of you in the audience from the previous generation, an Atari, but also like, it’s MY system that I know how to USE and if anyone changes it I’ll be mad because I can’t be BOTHERED learning new THINGS.) I also had an ulterior motive: I was going to make this cheesecake, and then feed the troops with it the following evening once it had chilled sufficiently overnight. Yes, it’s a refrigerated cheesecake, not a baked one, and I honestly kind of prefer them. I’m down if you are to engage in a lively debate about this. 

All of which means it’s fantastically easy to make. The filling itself is just cream cheese and whipped cream which somehow holds together and I do not question it, the lack of effort involved is enough for me. This concept is based on a Nigella Lawson recipe, so you know you can trust it. I made the base before starting on the till, refrigerated it while I got stuck in on said till, made the filling when I needed a break after realising I’d been programming everything completely wrong and was about to cry, and then put that in the refrigerator and ploughed ahead until some progress was actually made on the damn till. The next day, I came in and photographed the cheesecake, and then left it there to be consumed by whomsoever happened to be around and desiring surprise treats. 

So that’s how I got there, but what in the heck did it taste like? Absolutely amazing. I didn’t actually eat the finished product as a whole but I can tell you I ate an alarming amount of the biscuit base as I was pressing it into the cake tin, and also a near-on hilarious amount of the filling as I was making it, so I can confidently say, with my hand on my heart and one hand in my pocket and the other one flicking a peace sign, that it’s a really, really good cheesecake. The tartness of the cream cheese echoes the tartness of the pomegranate syrup but it’s in such a sherbety kind of way – not truly sour, just fizzy and fruity, softened by the billowing cream. The biscuit base tastes good because of course it does, it’s smashed up biscuits and lots of butter, I don’t have to explain that to you. The colour, a merest blush of rosy pink, is really pretty, and that is also important. 

While I’m being extremely heathenish and cavalier with regards to the seasonality of produce, I did buy a package of pomegranate seeds to put on top and they kind of tasted like nail polish remover but they looked so nice that my love of aesthetic won in the end. Besides, as I reasoned, you can always flick them off before you eat your slice of cheesecake. If this horrifies you too much or you just can’t access pre-packaged pomegranate seeds, simply drizzle the cheesecake with more syrup, or leave it as a plain expanse of pale, pale pink. 

pomegranate cheesecake

a recipe by myself

  • one packet of plain biscuits, the boring kind that are only useful for cheesecake bases
  • 100g butter
  • 250g cream cheese, full fat (I’m not trying to be cute, low-fat has a weird texture)
  • 300ml cream
  • half a cup of icing sugar (just spoon it in, don’t pack it down, you can always add more)
  • 60ml Monin pomegranate syrup
  • Pomegranate seeds to decorate (optional)

Get yourself a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base with a sheet of baking paper. Then, get those biscuits crushed. Either put them in a food processor and blitz them into dust, or put them in a plastic bag and bash them with something heavy (in my case, it was a muddler that I usually use for making, like, caipirinhas.)  Apply some heat to the butter till it’s anywhere from extremely soft to totally melted, it really doesn’t matter, and mix it into the biscuit crumbs. Tip all this into the cake tin and use the back of a spoon to press it fairly evenly across the base (I find if you run the spoon under water it helps the crumbs to not stick.) Pop this into the refrigerator while you get on with the filling, which is a matter of moments.

Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature otherwise you’ll never get anywhere, in cheesecake or life. Mix it, the icing sugar, and the pomegranate syrup together briskly. Taste to see if it needs either more sugar or pomegranate. Then, whip the cream until it’s softly bulky but not like, super stiff, and fold it into the cream cheese. By the way, you can do this in a food processor or blender, mixing up the cream cheese first, removing it, and then blitzing the cream, but just be really careful to not overwhip the cream. Spatula all this on top of the biscuit base, smooth out the top, and refrigerate it for at least three hours, but ideally overnight.

When you’re ready to go, run a knife around the inside of the caketin and carefully unclip the springy bit to remove the sides. Transfer it to a cute serving plate, and either scatter with pomegranate seeds or drizzle over more syrup, but basically just do something aesthetic, okay?  

I came into work later the next night: the cheesecake was all but gone, a slender wedge remained. Obviously overtired largely-broke hospo people will eat a pile of dirt if someone implies that it’s free food (just me?) but I took that as a sign that yes, it was delicious, and yes, it was a good idea, even if I have no idea why it appeared or whether I truly needed to follow through on it. 

On the other hand, I am also considering making it a weekly thing now, so, thanks brain. That good idea was a good idea. 

title from: Barbados gave us rum and it gave us Rihanna, both of which are true blessings. Rihanna’s song Work is as glorious as she is. Please enjoy both versions of the video, don’t deprive yourself. 

music lately: 

Mint Chicks, Bad Buzz. This song is not on spotify and it hurts my feelings because I can’t put it on a work playlist till it is!! It’s so good!

Lorde, Liability. It’s so inconsiderate of her to release music in my lifetime when it affects my heart so much? But here she is anyway. Well Lorde, I don’t respect it, but damn it: I respect it. 

next time: The weather is getting colder rapidly so I’m keen to respond in a culinary way. Something slow-cooked and extremely comforting. Either that or I’ll wait until an idea hits my brain with a bang. 

almond looks, that chill devine

My mind bounces around a lot from idea to idea; sometimes I swear it bounces right out of my head leaving me to fend for myself, for example as I sit here now with my designated two hours of time to myself to blog and instead I am staring into the middle distance thinking small fragmented thoughts about nothing in particular, being all “have I ever even had an opinion about food in my life?” It’s like a nervous horse, the more you try to corral it the more likely you are to get a hoof to the neck; but on the upside, the same brain zig zags are what got me thinking up, out of nowhere, the recipe for almond milk and coconut sugar creme brulee.

(It also got me googling, against my better will, “where is a snake’s dick located” during a perfectly sensible conversation on the group chat with my two best friends where someone happened to mention an ouroboros in a metaphorical way. The result: you uh, don’t want to know how the sausage is made.)

Almond milk creme brulee though: what a calming thing to think about. It’s very simple – thickened over a low heat with cornflour to provide that luscious texture, with coconut sugar giving a particular deep caramel vibe – although you could just as easily use brown sugar. It’s not as creamily voluptuous and straightforwardly sweet as a traditional creme brulee, but it has its own charms: the gentle flavour of almonds suspended in a thick yet incredibly light custard, the delicious and almost savoury toffee flavour of the burnt sugar on top, powerless under the heat of the grill, the crunch of said sugar against the soft custard, and of course the fact that it takes hardly any time or effort to come to fruition.

The idea for this recipe appeared to me suddenly like someone was whispering it in my ear (I presume this was not actually the case) and I decided simply to act upon it. It made for a serene little lunch in its entirety and while it would not be hard at all to expand it out to make for more people than just yourself, sometimes it’s nice to selfishly throw some effort for you and you alone, right? You count too.

almond milk and coconut sugar creme brulee

a recipe by myself

  • one and a quarter cups of almond milk
  • one tablespoon of cornflour
  • two heaped tablespoons of coconut sugar, plus an extra tablespoon for sprinkling over
  • one teaspoon of vanilla extract (or whatever vanilla delivery mechanism you like) 

In a small bowl – I just use the cup measure that I’m going to use for the rest of the almond milk – mix together the quarter cup of almond milk and cornflour till smooth. Scrape this into a medium sized saucepan and stir over a low heat till it has thickened some. Add the remaining almond milk a little at a time, continuing to stir, until it has all been added and the mixture has thickened into something fairly custard-ish looking. Remove from the heat and stir in the two heaped tablespoons of coconut sugar and the vanilla. 

Spatula into a smallish ramekin of around one cup capacity. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining coconut sugar. Place your ramekin or serving dish or whatever into the oven, and turn on the grill. Putting it in the oven before you turn on the grill helps it to heat up more gently. Keep an eye on it, and remove it once the sugar has largely melted and is bubbling in places. Leave for a few minutes before cracking in. 

 a serene mess a serene mess

Almond milk is really pretty accessibly priced these days, but you could always replace it with coconut milk for a more pronounced flavour, or with half milk half cream. Whatever works for you. If you have a small kitchen blowtorch then that will be a lot easier and faster than caramelising the sugar under a grill, but it does work!

This week and the week before it have been kind of intensely busy in both work and life, and with Wellington on a Plate coming up it’s going to get even busier, so when I’m not dashing around Doing My Thing I’ve been sitting very still doing very simple things: watching a continuous stream of old Nigella videos on youtube; watching INXS videos on Youtube, watching old Downton Abbey episodes on Netflix, reading old, old America’s Next Top Model recaps…you get the picture. No alarms and no surprises, please: one small, spoonable pudding is achievable though.

On that note! If little spoonable puddings appeal to you, I recommend also taking a look at my recipes for Instant Coconut Custard Semolina; Poires Belle Helene For One; or Blackberry Fool for Two.

In lieu of any actual further thoughts, bouncy or otherwise, here’s a good selfie for you.

title from: Mystify by INXS. Yeah I’m still super obsessed with them. I feel like it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. 

music lately: 

Uh so awkwardly all I’ve really been listening to is INXS, and I found another version of Disappear that I really love. This time it’s a live version from 1990 and Michael Hutchence’s voice is aggressively confident.

Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! by Mint Chicks is a modern classic that I hadn’t heard in forever and then suddenly heard two days in a row, a good a sign as any to include it here.

next time: Honestly I don’t know, I need to cook myself something as asap as possible.