I have spent the last two months playing with my food and writing. I’ve been taking forgotten Polish recipes and reworking them into a modern context; researching the origins of dishes that I’ve known since childhood but never thought twice about; and tweaking old family recipes. It’s a dream come to true to be able to do this, and yet even living my dream has its difficult moments. This is absolutely OK,  because even though somehow society conditions us to think there will be a happy-ever-after, this is not life. Life is supposed to be challenging and as long as each difficult moment is taken as an opportunity to learn something then we’re in a good place. Some days the writing doesn’t flow for me and if I force it I risk putting myself off for the next day, so I’m learning to treat myself gently. Guilt trips do not work, what I need to do in this situation is find my inspiration. Other days, I’ve found it hard to cook, because I can’t find ingredients I thought would be easy to come by or I don’t feel like eating what I’ve planned to cook – through this, I’m learning to be flexible and adaptable. I have the added complication of having fallen pregnant at exactly the same time as my book deal happened. This was not ideal timing, but I definitely want this baby, so my partner and I are working it out. Through this added complication (blessing though it is) I’m learning to be more open minded. Perhaps I do not want to shoe-horn myself into someone else’s home that isn’t suited to me or have someone squeeze themselves in on top of me in order to have the traditional set up in time for the baby… I’m also learning that sometimes the best action is no action at all. Every day I am grateful for my beautiful, cosy flat, which gives me a feeling of much-needed security; the amazing opportunity to write the book of my dreams; my supportive family; a partner that is prepared to work on our relationship and wants this baby as much as I do; the little string bean that is growing into a human being inside me; and a host of other things. I’m also enjoying eating whatever I want: some of it is healthy and some of it, not so much. For the first time since childhood, it really doesn’t matter. I am allowed to get fat. How liberating. I’ve been meaning to make this Hackney Mess for a long time –  a dessert idea that’s been floating about my head, based on the traditional Eton Mess but a more colourful and flavour packed version.

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Ingredients
 
2-3 egg whites
150g sugar
2 tablespoon raw cacao powder
 
150ml whipping cream
50g sugar
1 teaspoon matcha powder
 
Lots of cherries
 
The meringue is chocolate – whip up some egg whites with a pinch of salt.
 
When they have formed peaks, start adding the sugar until the mixture thickens, finally add the cacao powder.
 
Bake in a pre-heated over at 180 degrees C for 20min, then turn the oven off and leave them in there to cool.
 
The fruit I used were juicy cherries – so of course you need to take the stones out first.
 
Whip the whipping cream until fluffy then add the icing sugar and matcha powder, bit by bit, until you achieve the desired, light green colour and sweet flavour.
 
You put the three components together in layers. And yes, Hackney Mess is uber trandy and therefore must be served in a jar.