What a treat to wake up this morning to a bright blue sky. A bright blue sky! There was a big ball of fire in the middle. Were I in a chicken licken frame of mind, I may have panicked, but no, today is March 1st and it is spring. That ball of fire is the sun, gently warming my grey, rain battered frost kissed skin. Daffodils are starting to peep up through the earth, tentatively poking bright green shoots out, and crocuses have thrown all caution to the wind and are brightening up dull gardens. Can you tell I love it? Hurrah for spring.
February was brief and hurried, those 4 weeks always seem to fly, especially after that dreaded hanger on of a month, January. I was starting to feel invigorated and hopeful. Sun and bright skies were surely near. I counted the weeks to British Summer Time (4 weeks left now) and started to do more fun things.
I’ve been very busy, both indoors and out, working on a blog redesign. It’s become EPIC, I’ve been talking about it since last July, working on it slowly. I desperately wanted to put some structure on what I was doing, instead of being so random. As a cook, this started out as a recipe blog, but as the years have gone by (almost three now), I’ve been doing lots more things, and I want to write about these too. It’s very nearly there; hopefully you’ll see the fruits of it this month. I still want the focus to be on my cooking, you can let me know what you think soon when you see it. The handiwork is all my own, and I would love your feedback when I do roll it out, as always, your comments are very much appreciated.
Otherwise, what other fun did February hold? I wrote about my time in the kitchen with Francesco Mazzei cooking Vongole. We had the inaugural Girls Steak Club at Hawksmoor, which was great fun with delicious food and an utter bargain. Keep an eye out for the next one if you’re in London.
I went to the relaunch of the Loft and had the pleasure of meeting Nuno Mendes, Pierre Koffman & his lovely wife Claire. We chatted about Turkish food in London, I do hope they like my recommendations.
I contracted the dreaded norovirus and lost a whole week, for 3 days I struggled with water, then gently coaxed myself back to life with Lemon, Ginger & Honey tea. A homemade chicken soup was well intentioned but rejected forcefully, I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it.
Once recovered, I had a wonderful evening at a Paul A Young chocolate tasting at The Ivy Club. Yes, folks, The Ivy Club. I was like a drowned rat, dragging myself in out of the rain. It was a wonderful evening, I’ve long been a fan of Paul’s chocolate and it was wonderful to be brought through a tasting experience led by the man himself. We also got an opportunity to try fantastic chocolate from Mast Brothers of Brooklyn, which Paul’s business partner brought back from a trip there.
Other food cooked but yet to make the blog was a wonderful wild boar pork belly slow roasted with wine and lentils. It was delicious, the flavour was sharp and clear, and the meat was so tender. I also did lots of weekend brunches, as per usual.
The Blaggers’ Banquet auction finished, all of the moneys were counted, totalling £9349.49. Action Against Hunger were very happy, so much so that they gave us an award for Best Fundraising Event of the Year. We were delighted and look forward to more fundraising events this year.
I kept myself entertained, very rarely a problem, with two new initiatives. I first started Posh Lunch Club, a tour of London’s set lunches in high end restaurants. I’m already booked up for months. So far I’ve had great lunches at Arbutus, Quo Vadis and The Ledbury (review to come). I chatted to Tom Parker Bowles on LBC about my dinner at Arbutus. You can listen to the brief snippet here.
The second initiative was a Guerrilla Wine Tasting. I really wanted to do something fun in wine, so approached Denise of The Wine Sleuth, hoping she would be game, and she was. We had our first one last week, on the South Bank in the pouring rain. Great wines, great company and lots of gorilla fun. We had a gorilla you see.
There’s a ridiculous video (above) which we had such fun editing over wine in Borough Market. There will be more soon. Come join us, they’re open to everyone and free! We hope to get the wine donated as we did last week. It was great wine too.
I spent a week perfecting jiaozi, those lovely Beijing dumplings and exploring possible wine matches. It was really enjoyable although I probably won’t look at one for a while. Recipe and wine information here.
It was a meaty month, with a write up of January’s Pig Masterclass and wine dinner featuring delicious Alsatian wines from Trimbach. I also wrote yesterday of the butchery class that I attended on Saturday at London’s oldest butcher, Allen of Mayfair. I couldn’t recommend it enough.
A busy month, what could be next? Posh lunches a go-go, fittingly, one is at River Café, following the sad news of Rose Gray’s death yesterday. I have had it booked for a month now and am very much looking forward to that. A previous dinner before my blogging incarnation impressed, this time I will bring my camera.
I have a couple of cookery courses coming up, one evening one at La Cucina Caldesi, and a two day Seafood one at Tante Marie. I can’t wait for both of those. Paddy’s Day looms, I’ll be sure to blog something Irish that you can cook at home for that.
Other than that, I do hope I can finally roll out the behemoth redesign. It’s more the thought of it than the work involved that’s preventing its completion. So, spurred on by a little sunshine, I feel sufficiently recharged to complete it.
See you on the other side!