I love well used kitchens where cooking actually gets done with unusual old kitchen gadgets (for whipping cream) smells, foraged food, chaos & the distinctive sounds of laughter. For Mark’s birthday he cooked up bags of new covent garden chanterelles with cream, 4 day marinated pork in juniper berries and beef dredged in fennel & cinnamon, roasted on the barbeque beside the grilled marinaded octopus; all served with black beans & olive oil garlic mash. A sophisticated, tasty & comforting feast.
For pudding we had a 1969 chateau rothschild (with a beautiful label designed by miro), cheese & peaches & more chaoic chat about the ethics of song lyrics …. the distinctive family laugh & comparing sibblings hands. Lovely evening around the kitchen table – thanks & happy birthday mark !
Is ‘too much’ choice a good thing ?
Personally, I prefer my choices to be limited – but unlimited choice is certainly stimulating – chilli fudge followed by black somerset blood sausage for breakfast. We sampled our way around Borough market which is up & running again whilst people were queuing round the block for coffee at Monmouth. Mushrooms were the top choice of the day; British proccini, a box of figs for only £3.50 and very buttery Colsten Bassett Stilton.
I prefer Konditor & Cook’s mini cakes, passion fruit flavored meringues & multiple flavored brownies (especially the ones with crannberries hiding inside), whilst others in the market (and in Princi, Wardour Street) offer tremendous & huge tray bakes cut into slabs and served from rectangular aluminium platters, somewhat reminiscent of school diners.
Yautcha once again topped the charts with red & black ‘punk’ and yellow glittery macaroons and the most intensely coloured and flavoured red strawberry chocolate eclairs. Even the base was red. Nothing crude about that.
Punk and delicately paint splattered flavorings and color on top made chocolates and meringues look unusual and enticing here (and at Paul Young, just round the corner). Who played with their spray gun first I wonder?. And at Yautcha lots of experiments with matt red and green tea mould ‘fabric-like’ textures on the outside of cakes, almost defying the senses – but we still really wanted to eat those green mouldy mounds and red upholsted buns. Maybe next time.
Meanwhile William Curly didn’t really offer enough choice at the end of the day. His buns are made in Twickenham apparently – that well known home of buns (not). Orange mango beautifully textured and flavoured squares exploded in our mouths even though they had also exploded in the box on the way home. It was so disappointing to see the car crash site of buns in the bottom of the box when you so want them to remain perfect to share with friends after the bus ride home. Maybe that’s why macaroons are such a big hit – their indestructibility on the bus!
I like to see and possibly smell what I’m buying when it comes to good chocolate & cakes ….there’s no excuse for bad lighting in chocolate shops and too colorful branded packaging (Prestat) so you can’t see what you’re buying at all. Not a hint of chocolate smell to identify their chocolatey cave in Liberty – or were we really in the perfume department? It was hard to tell in amongst the carefully arranged array of glossy boxes.
Similarly I don’t want all your creativity to go into the shapes and atmosphere. At Choccywocckydoodah we loved the truely baroque multi-tiered cakes, irreverent skulls, mad glitter decorations and the cute little solid chocolate love birds. But 22% chocolate really ….? Not sure I wanted to taste their wares in the cafe after that – only 22% froth on my cappucino …
Cloud grey was the surprisingly chic colour of the day – for macaroons at Laudree – the same colour as the ‘back to school’ boots and tunic we liked in Cos. But unlike Cos, that golden cave for cakes and macaroons needs a really good dust please.