Month: May 2013

Marble cake

Some cakes are pure decadence: a Victoria Sponge that is bound together by a butter corset, or a carefully regimented army of macaroon clones. These creations are fabulous, but baking perfection requires the patience of a saint or the skilled hand of a patisserie. I have neither, so perfection has to be something else than the crisp shell of a macaroon. A couple of years ago I read Anthony Bourdain’s ‘A Cook’s Tour’. His search for the perfect meal takes him around the world’s dining table until he reaches the rather obvious epiphany that his pursuit is futile – there are too many perfect meals.  Of course, the taste buds are as subjective as the ear, and when food sings like heaven to one mouth there will be another that it tortures. The perfection of food is the perfection of a moment. When we remember eating that first forkful of spaghetti al vongole on the Ligurian coast, we’re not only remembering the pasta, but we’re reminiscing over the taste of the sunset and the lick Read More

Pearl barley salad

Summer, summer, summer, rolling before me in reels of golden sunshine that smell of freedom. Last week, whilst sitting at my desk with dusk drawing in far too quickly, I drew up a mental list of everything I would do after exams. In an atmosphere where even cooking dinner felt like a guilty pleasure, I dreamed of my five-month break – soon becoming a languishing tumble of lie-ins in my mind. Now that my exams are over I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that there has to be more to my summer than lie-ins and daytime tv. I have a job, now I need adventure. Days and days of tiny adventures that are tied together by a narrative of sunshine and contentment.   So we’ll start our summer in Highgate Wood. Picture the scene: the clouds are tumbling over each other as they chase across the sun, leaving a stencil of brightness and shade over the soft dirt ground. I’m sitting on a log, admiring the delightful simplicity of my picnic for one. There’s homemade Read More