Dark Side of the Spoon: Dark Chocolate & Pistachio Cookies

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

I love thinking about what I’m going to make for Dark Side of the Spoon – my monthly feature about all things devilishly indulgent, and laced with dark chocolate. I frequently go into whole reveries about the magical qualities of dark chocolate, and the flavours it works so well alongside – from tart raspberries to fragrant lavender and salty but sweet caramel. But it wasn’t until I got a delivery of beautiful nibbed pistachios from my wonderful local Persian deli that an idea began to form itself in my mind. And over time, it grew to become these amazingly moreish Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Cookies.

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Gluten Free Hot Cross Scones

Gluten free hot cross scones

This year the arrival of spring took me completely by surprise. Last week I was scurrying home in the dark after work, and dreaming of hearty winter stews. This week, there are buds on the trees, spring bulbs as far as the eye can see, and it’s not only still light when I leave the office – it’s sunny!

To top it all off, Easter has suddenly appeared on my horizon. And with it the promise of a long weekend of delicious treats..

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Dark Side of the Spoon: Chocolate Chai Spiced Polenta Cake

Chocolate Chai Spice Polenta Cake

As a general rule, I love food that’s full of bright, healthy flavours that make a plate sunny even when it’s grey outdoors. But we can’t be angelic the whole time, can we? Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

That’s why I’m excited to announce the arrival of Dark Side of the Spoon, a new recurring monthly feature on the blog, where I’ll post a devilishly indulgent recipe based on dark chocolate…

This month it’s chocolate chai spiced polenta cake.

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Gluten Free Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts)

Gluten Free Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts)

People always ask me what I miss most since going gluten free. They assume I’ll say pizza, or beer maybe. But I’ve had spectacular gluten free pizzas, and I mostly just swapped beer for delicious, refreshing cider. No, what I really miss most are things like profiteroles, and baklava, things that seem uniquely designed to take advantage of the transcendent qualities of glutenous flour. Or at least that’s what I thought. But tonight I made another pastry off the ‘things I miss most’ list, and it forced me to think again. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you gluten free pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts)!

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Gluten Free Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Butter

Gluten Free Pancakes

I love the way that every country has its own take on pancakes. In America it’s all about fluffy buttermilk pancakes, piled high with blueberries, syrup and bacon. In France they’ve got the delicate crêpe, and India they’ve got the delicious savoury dosa. But while all of these pancake incarnations have place in my heart, for me there’s nothing quite like the glorious taste of a classic English pancake.

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Persian Love Cake

Persian Love Cake

Sometimes food is more than just food. One forkful of cod in parsley sauce and I’m back at my grandmother’s table aged five, watching her unleash great plumes of white pepper onto her plate while Home and Away plays in the background. The merest whiff of a batch of hot, freshly baked chocolate cookies takes me back to secondary school, where the aroma of the cook’s legendary dark and white chocolate cookies would waft through the classrooms every morning, and drive us all mad with hunger while they cooked.

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