Always one to support an underdog, I think Easter might be my favourite holiday. My passion for pastels is only marginally trumped by my passion for baking, and both are very much “on brand” at this time of year. I was told once that you can either be good at baking or cooking. My family is full of brilliant cooks; I’ve grown up jealously watching my mother throw spices into a hot pan with abandon, never following a recipe or bringing a measuring jug into the equation. As hard as I try to emulate this culinary creativity, I like rules and order and I hate mess, so it almost always ends in tears and burnt paella.
However, when it comes to a good bake, I’m in my element. It’s a science experiment of perfectly measured ingredients and perfectly timed cupcakes. Baking calms my obsessive thinking, soothes my anxiety; for one hour, there’s nothing to worry about except flour and ganache. If you’ve never baked while listening to a podcast, you truly haven’t lived. While the cooks of this world may have endless sexy, sweaty chefs to emulate, I’m personally proud to be in the Mary Berry buttoned-up-cardigan camp. Baking is a sport best played by control freaks and it’s time we started to be proud of it.
The real question when it comes to Generation-Z baking is: if a Gen Z-er bakes something but doesn’t post a picture, did she really bake anything at all? Easter is a delightfully social-media-able holiday, encompassing everything my generation has chosen to love and endlessly share: breakfast foods and cute animals. If you’re still trying to decide what your Eastergram will be, my recipe for Creme Egg brownies might be the most experimental I’ll ever get in the kitchen and remains to this day my finest bake. All you need to do to get these clickbait delights is to make your favourite brownie recipe and, before baking, submerge 10 Creme Eggs below the surface of the mixture, making sure they’re completely covered to save the surprise. Bake. Slice. Snap. Share. And watch those likes pour in.
As an anxious, technology-obsessed human being, I get the overwhelming temptation to abandon it all and move to a remote island in the middle of the nowhere on an hourly basis. I am not this brave. However, Nell Stevens is — and I can live vicariously through her. Part memoir, part fiction, Bleaker House is the account of her trip to the remote Falkland Islands to finish her novel and eat one Ferrero Rocher a day. It’s the perfect read for anyone who has ever considered themselves “a writer” and anyone who loves penguins. It’s already out in the States and comes out in the UK on June 1 (Picador £13).
Raclette seems to be having a moment, purely because of its melted-cheesy Boomerang potential. Glossary time for the culinarily clueless: raclette = a Swiss dish made of melted cheese scraped off a wheel onto potatoes. For technologically confused older folk: a Boomerang = a short, looped video in which 2 seconds of footage is played forwards and then backwards, making the subject look quirky and fun, even if, in reality, they are merely boring and basic and it took them 10 attempts to get the perfect shot (that’s me!). If you want to jump on the raclette bandwagon, head to the Kappacasein Dairy stall in Borough Market, in London, to get your fix.
Hot girls wanted: Turned On v Girlboss
New to Netflix this week come two female-based series that couldn’t be more different. The first, Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, is a six-part documentary examining every aspect of the porn industry, from the performers to the consumers and the tech. The second, Girlboss, is a drama based on the life of Sophia Amoruso, the 33-year-old founder of the fashion brand Nasty Gal. While I’m more of a fan of Nasty Gal than watching gals getting nasty, I’m excited about both.