Our lime and lemon trees are laden with fruit at the moment. This is making me feel quite smug – as I can duck out to the courtyard and pluck a few juicy limes or lemons whenever the fancy strikes. O is making the most of it, managing to consume her own weight in fresh lemonade most days, and Kip is not adverse to eating them straight from the tree…

In an inverse relationship to their size, small cakes hold a big place in my heart. For me, there is just something immensely likeable about them. Maybe it has something to do with nostalgia and the fact that they so easily transport you back to childhood – when the ultimate treat was a cupcake with pink icing, or better yet, a butterfly cake – or maybe it is that being small in size you feel less guilty about eating them and can therefore eat them without constraint…

I love the distraction of a celebration, and in the current circumstances that’s even more welcome – so whilst most people are still recovering from the sugar-high and excitement that is Easter, we are gearing up for another Easter celebration tomorrow (involving red boiled eggs and bread, not chocolate, thankfully).

Chocolate pots and soggy roses….
If this doesn’t sound like the ultimate Valentine’s Day to you, then I’m not sure we can be friends. Ha! Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much a fan of the ‘grand-gesture’ as the next person, but sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most, isn’t it? Like cheat’s-chocolate-mousse and soggy garden roses.

‘And every creek a banker ran,
And dams filled overtop;
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If this rain doesn’t stop.”‘

As I sat with the rain drumming on the roof, gutters over-flowing and big fat drops splattering the windows, this John O’Brien poem kept running loops in my head.

Those of you who know me will be familiar with my belief in the restorative qualities of cake. Most milestones or problems in our house are met with the making of some kind of baked-good. Sad…? You need cake. Happy? A celebration cake. Sick…? Plain cake and a rest. Tired? Cake and tea. Heartbroken…? Chocolate cake, big slice.

When my parents visited last time, with them (among all manner of lovely treats from home) came a bag full of beautiful blood oranges from their greenhouse. There’s something about blood oranges that makes them seem very precious to me – maybe it’s their short season, or glorious ruby-colour, but whatever it is, I always feel pressure to treat them with respect and use them wisely.

Tilly's Table - Baked Leeks Two Ways

When I was little, for a treat my mum would occasionally buy some lovely fat leeks, wrap them in ham and bake them in a cheesy white sauce. I remember it being a pretty special dinner (leeks were expensive!) and one that was a favourite of mine and my brothers – I mean, what could be better than sweet baked leeks and ham in bubbling cheese sauce…?

This is my take on mum’s recipe (really just with an added crunchy breadcrumb topping). Perfect winter fare.

Up in the mountains, winter has hit in full force. This week it has felt not so much like a cold ‘snap’, but a cold whack in the face. It’s decidedly nippy and the wind has been fierce…

Smoked trout, crème fraîche, lemon, fresh crusty bread… I mean really, does it get any better? Ok, ok – maybe throw in a glass (bottle) of chilled …