Pinterest; good for more than just dream homes, pugs in pumps and hair you can never recreate…

Pinterest. You either love it or hate it. There’s no in between here because like Adam Sandler movies, cake for breakfast or Crocs, you’re either a fan or you’re not. If you are a lover of the aspirational lifestyles that drift across thousands of boards, you’ll know that you can find anything on there and if you’re not, well apart from seriously missing out, you’d be surprised at how much you can find on there.

One of the biggest topics for pinning is undoubtedly food and take it from one who knows, if you don’t learn when to put the phone down and join the three dimensional people outside, it can overwhelm you. You want sweet treats? Ok how about cookies. Yeah, we like cookies. Oh cool, there are, like, 10’000 types of cookie. So pretty. Oh wow, each type has 15’000 recipes for it. Oh…my…each recipe links back to 20’000 different boards…can’t…stop…

…and before you know it? Your hand looks like Chandler’s claw, you have a migraine from all the pictures flashing in front of your eyes and your boyfriend is suggesting that maybe it’s time to stop. Note to self: at that point, it really is time to admit that you’ll never reach the end of that board and a little fresh air might be good.

Anyhow, that entirely fictitious scenario aside, Pinterest was the source for today’s dinner, a mash up of what was on the recipe and what was in my fridge. On the lovely website you can find a cracking recipe for salmon with white beans and kale. I was on a bit of a kale kick recently searching for a million and one ways to incorporate it into our food and wouldn’t you know it, Pinterest gave me dozens of kale related categories – I stopped counting at 35 – and approximately 93’712 ways in which I could jump on board the kale train and check into first class and with this dinner, that’s exactly what we did because it was fabulous.

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Getting our Italian groove on with Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Oliver…

Which celebrities are at your dream dinner party? Yes, I know it’s a game as old as time and right up there with such classics as Desert Island Foods (bread, cheese, wine, chocolate, avocados) and who your Would-But-Shouldn’t is (Michael Bolton pre AND post haircut, he just makes it work) and I’m not saying your choices have to be final and committed to and laminated a la Ross Geller but indulge me and play along…

Gwyneth and Jamie might not be sat at your table in your dream scenario but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t turn your nose up at them catering your soiree. Now before you scoff and tell me that Jamie would be welcome in the kitchen but dinner from Ms. Macrobiotic sounds as much fun as a colonoscopy, let me just say this in her defense…


Best. Brownies. Ever.

I’m not even joking – her recipe for dark and chocolatey, fudgy and oh-so-gently-coffee-laced brownies creates something that is insanely, ridiculously delicious and will have those you give them to weeping at your feet for the recipe.

And again before the scoffing starts, yes, there are unusual ingredients that you might not use all the time in her recipes but I’ve found every single one at my local supermarket and so could you. Anyway, this is not an ode to Gwyneth although I absolutely could write that because I adore her All-American-wholesome-and-glowing-with-healthiness-aura; this is me saying give the woman a chance when it comes to her cooking. You might not agree with the naming of your children after fruit and I won’t deny that she can sometimes speak before thinking but I promise you, the woman knows how to make food that is good for you and tastes wonderful. And so onto today’s kitchen experimenting…Jamie’s home-made pasta with Gwynnie’s dazzlingly fresh and light lemon Parmesan pasta.

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A cake to please your soul…and your skinny jeans…

When the cast of ‘Oliver’ exalted their love of food, glorious food and longed with waifish eyes for indigestion, I think the foodie inside us all agreed with them. Not about needing the Pepto Bismol perhaps but about the sentiments that food can trigger; the boys’ hot sausage and mustard might take you to a warm and cosy autumnal fireplace supper as the rain lashes down outside while cold jelly and custard may transport you back to your youth and Sunday lunch at your nan’s house.

And cake? Well it may not have been sung about by roguish scamps armed with a cheeky Cockney twang and a light fingered touch, but cake is responsible for triggering a multitude of sentiments. Often presented to mark a celebration or special occasion, cake is definite treat food. Think about it – most other foods have some health benefits. I mean you can even tout anti-oxidants as the reason behind your clinging onto a glass of Pinot Noir and a bar of 70% Green & Blacks if you feel the need but cake? Hard to justify the physical well-being that comes from a marriage of butter, sugar, eggs and flour.

Good thing then that we really don’t care! That’s right, we don’t even try to justify it because – just to clarify – we don’t care! Cake is good for the soul. It’s good for the spirit. It makes you happy be it dark, rich and fudgy chocolate layers, tangy, bright and crunchy-topped lemon muffins or a glossily iced and whiskey-scented fruit loaf and here’s a new one for the repertoire – a damply more-ish lemon blueberry yoghurt cake.

I promise I’m not going against everything I’ve just said and deliberately trying to be healthy here by hiding fruit in the batter – I’m just branching out with my baking tins, spatulas and whisk.

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