A four-week absence! I’m still here…
So much for spending my birthday at an event giving two talks about chocolate. I spent it in hospital in a ward of strangers who didn’t know it was my birthday. My husband brought me a brownie with a candle though. 🙂 On the Thursday after my last email we drove to A&E because I was in pretty excruciating pain. I ended up having emergency surgery that evening and spending five nights in hospital, including my birthday (no chocolate talks after all!) and the Sunday and Monday when I normally send these. The rest of the following week I spent entirely at home and wasn’t up to doing or eating much.
But I’m all better now and here are the highlights from just this past week:
- The most incredible yoghurt, honey and jasmine dessert on Sunday night at a charity dinner for Refettorio Felix, a space in Earl’s Court that feeds hundreds of homeless and socially isolated people three-course meals every week that are produced entirely from food that would otherwise go to waste. They also provide counselling, skills training and laundry facilities. The whole evening was so inspiring and the food was beyond delicious. It was organised by Nathan of Food Story Media with Food Chain.
- On Saturday my friend Terri of Happy Endings treated me to her Christmas chocolate bauble making class and served us sensational hot chocolate on arrival and a stunning dessert as a reward made with homemade cocoa nib soft serve, candied puffed grains, rosemary, dehydrated sour cherries and Sri Lankan spiced love cake, with more hot chocolate poured over the top.
- My favourite thing from a very Michelin French meal at Seven Park Place on Tuesday was the rhubarb pre-dessert perfectly poached rhubarb, sorbet, crème fraiche gelato and a sprinkle of crumble. Everything was delicious but this just sang. (I was a guest of a friend who was a guest of the hotel.)
- On Wednesday I went to Wild Food Café‘s gorgeous new café in Islington as a guest of Joel, the founder. I met Joel fourteen years ago when I first arrived in London and am totally inspired by his commitment to quality and to packing meals with the most nutritious ingredients available. The food is so innovative and beautiful. A definite must visit for vegans and vegetarians. The pizza and the rainbow cheesecake were particularly good.
- The week after I came out of hospital I was chaperoned to the Guittard 150 Year Anniversary party and came home with a selection of their chocolate. I’ve been making a “milkshake” in a highspeed blender from two pieces of their 100% chocolate, 8-10 cashews, a small piece of cinnamon stick and the inside of two cardamom pods, one banana and ice. I melt the chocolate first with a little hot water before topping up with cold and ice cubes. It makes one large pint glass and is delicious.
I’m having a quiet week this week getting ready to host Christmas, but I will venture out at some point. I currently have a test run of some cinnamon buns proving (so excited my Stoves oven has a proving function!). If they’re good I’ll be making them for breakfast on Christmas day and I’ll include the recipe next weekend in case you’d like to do the same.