LATE spring is always a busy time for me. Somehow, all of the plans and projects I’ve been brooding over during the winter months finally come to fruition alongside the blossoming trees. It seems fitting to mimic nature, to stay up later into the long evenings, exuding a frenzy of energy and cultivating ideas. The term ‘busy bee’ comes to mind as I buzz from appointment to appointment, dodging spring showers as I go. Making time to eat heartily is always a priority but at least the sluggish carb cravings of winter are starting to abate. Warmer weather brings colour, crunch and tang to our plates through the reappearance of fresh berries and summery greens. However, one cannot live on fruit and veg alone and, whilst productivity is no bad thing, time for oneself is crucial.

I write a lot about the merits of baking; namely the significant role baked goods play in bringing friends and family together. Making someone a birthday cake or a batch of welcome cookies is an internationally cherished act of giving and a custom we should never ceased to uphold. However, there are times when baking should be about the self. I believe it’s okay to make and frost a batch of cupcakes with absolutely no intention of sharing, or to bake bread when everyone is out, just so you can eat the first, warm slices alone at the kitchen counter. I am a huge advocate of buying single ‘to go’ truffles from chocolate shops, or making spontaneous deviations to visit ‘that bakery that sells those amazing croissants’ and covering yourself in pastry flakes on the bus.

If my life were like a French film I would arrive home from the market, my basket full of flowers, and I would carry my little, ribbon-adorned, patisserie box carefully to my Parisian roof terrace where I would delicately consume my single, perfect éclair. As it is, life is rarely so romantic, so self-indulgence often takes a simpler form. For those moments when you’re in desperate need of some self-love, I can only recommend making these White Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies. Snapping bitter chocolate into shards and then watching it slowly melt with the butter is deeply therapeutic, as is the aroma of vanilla essence and the tang of stolen raspberries. Once they’re baked and completely cool, I suggest scurrying off to a private corner, preferably a candlelit bath, to feast. Their intense depth is best enjoyed alone, since rapturous eye rolling and chocolate moustaches are very much a private thing.