Travel Diaries: Amsterdam August 2017

Amsterdam

I’ll be the first to admit that I had pre-judged Amsterdam. I’d been before about 5 or so years ago with a group of friends, on our way to Groezrock (a festival in Belgium), and during that particular trip my friends wanted to center most of it around ‘coffeeshops’ and the like, as most group trips to Amsterdam do. I got a brief glimpse of the canals and a couple of bars. I was also less of a savvy traveler, not doing as much research as I do now ahead of a trip. When my girlfriend mentioned that she wanted to visit the city, I wasn’t instantly as enthused as I was about some of our other options, but after the 48 hours we spent there this August, I’d happily go back at the drop of a hat. It’s a city rich in culture, with a vibrant atmosphere, pride in its own traditions & history and an absolutely thriving food scene.
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Cheese Spelt Scones

Spelt Cheese Scones

I had another of those plan-less summer Saturdays that I mentioned in my last post, and guess what, it rained again. That meant I was back to baking. I’ve had a craving lately for scones, and after we’d made spelt dosa with curried paneer for breakfast, I had a whole load of spelt flour leftover. I’ve not used spelt flour with scones before, but after a little searching I found a few recipes which looked pretty great. One of them was full of honey and oats, which I’ve bookmarked for later. However what I really wanted was something filled with cheese, so here’s a recipe for cheese spelt scones. Read more

Vanilla Butter Knots

Vanilla Butter KnotsI love dough wrapped around in coils, or tied up in knots. I like it when it’s all soft, filled with cinnamon, or cardamom and eaten with a strong cup of coffee on a winter’s day. I also love the basic flavour of vanilla. Not that cheap vanilla you find in awful buttercream, but proper vanilla, not from an ‘essence’ but from actual vanilla pods. Combine these two basic concepts and you’ve got something special; a Vanilla Butter Knot. It’s not quite as heavy as a cardamom knot or a cinnamon role, but it’s soft and not overpoweringly sweet. It still goes great with a flat white, or alongside a cup of earl grey in the morning.
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Tahini Chocolate Bundt With Tahini Frosting & Sesame Brittle

Chocolate Tahini Bundt CakeI don’t read enough food magazines. When I went to the states earlier in the year I bought a copy of Olive Magazine for the flight. it had a couple of recipes in it which jumped out and, after I got back, I gave some a go. One of these was this particular recipe. It’s one from the Boy Who Bakes and is indulgent on many different levels. If you’re not a fan of sesame then you’re going to have to stop now, because there’s sesame in every single aspect of it, from the cake itself through to the glaze and the brittle, which also makes it a mouthful to say; Tahini & Chocolate Cake with Tahini Frosting and Sesame Brittle may not roll off the tongue, but boy does it taste good.
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Travel Diaries: Berlin June 2017

Berlin Buildings

I love going back to cities I’ve been to before. It always gives me a completely different perspective. The first time around I’ll usually tick off a bunch of particularly touristy things, immerse myself in more of the history, go to a particular monument or climb that well known hill. The second time around is usually a bit different. I use it as a chance to actually properly get to know a city; where people go to eat, how they spend their lazy days, which bars or parks are best for relaxing or which markets give you the best stalls. I went to Berlin a couple of years ago and when I decided to head back that was exactly what I did. Last time I went I stayed on my friend’s couch, and while staying with a friend did give me a different view into Berlin, I still ended up doing a lot of the normal tourist things, from walking tours to museums. This trip, well lets just say it involved my body weight in food, hardly any central Berlin, hammocks and quite a lot of wine…
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