Rose Carrarini’s Ginger Cake

You may have noticed from my Twitter feed that I am in London. Two unexpected developments mean that I will be here until roughly the beginning of October.

I am staying in my old flat in Belsize Park with rented furniture. It’s jarring and familiar all at once. I’ve got the big stuff, a sofa to sit on but not the small stuff. The bookshelves are empty, my kitchen counter is bare. I actively miss my kitchen aid stand mixer and my Francis Francis X1 coffee machine. Which is ironic since I often chide my hoarder husband for his addiction to stuff setting forth my own superior nomadic roots and freedom from clutter as an example. As it turns out, if I was living back in my nomad days, my camel would be laden with all manner of kitchen equipment and I would have to hook up some sort of satellite dish to its behind to permit me to get online.London meanwhile is crazy. I’ve been coming back every few months for the last couple of years but living here is a different thing altogether. First there is the expense, I am winded every time I pay for something. I bought a little pot of churros at the Marylebone Street Fayre  yesterday and paid £4 (€5) for it. At Ginger & White, Layla spotted a mini cupcake so tiny I could have snorted it up my nostril (I have small nostrils), it set me back £2. Yet none of this matters because everywhere is full. The churros line was 20 people deep, Ginger & White is mobbed from the moment it opens to when it closes.All shopping interactions are social.  Everyone asks Layla’s name and makes some sort of comment, I stare at them sullenly having become acclimatized to the lean interactions in Berlin, necessary information only, superfluous banter cut off at the root to the point that at Lidl “Schönen Tag noch!” (Have a nice day) becomes a clipped “Schön” and even that is not flung about with any reliable frequency.  Speaking of Lidl, yesterday I went to Sainsbury’s and came home with a thumping headache at the range of goods on offer.  I had an altercation with Layla who was rooted to the spot in front of the display of Peppa Pig, My Little Pony and the like.  Why had I brought her to a toy shop if I didn’t intend for her to buy anything? She demanded from me?  Because despite the 4 aisles of toys, this is not a toy shop! I insisted. Read more of this post

Crispy Duck & Banana Tart Tatin

I can go up to 4 months without buying a single item or clothing.  I perfected the art of not spending when I was earning £6.50 an hour making coffee and living in London.  But I have confessed many, many times my over-consumption of all things cooking related.  This extends to magazines.  I am currently subscribed to; Saveur, Bon Appetit, and Delicious (I would also be subscribed to Elle a Table but they keep taking my card details and not sending me the magazine!).  On top of that, when my husband has a business trip to London I threaten to lock him out unless he brings me; Jaime, Olive and BBC Good Food.

In spite of the obscene magazine count, I hardly if ever make anything from them. Probably because I cook instinctively, letting what I find in the shops that day guide me. But the February issue of Delicious is on fire! I knew I had to make the Crispy Duck because it was Fuchsia Dunlop’s recipe and if anyone knows, it’s she. I picked up duck legs from Galeria and pancakes from Vinh Loi. I had most of the ingredients at home; Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon sticks and ginger (amazing how those 4 things made the duck taste so deliciously “Chinese”). Read more of this post

Christmas Cookie 5: Pfeffernüse

Here it is, the quintessential christmas cookie.  To my mind at least.

It’s got everything related to christmas.

Candied orange and lemon peel? √

Brown Sugar? √

Allspice? Nutmeg? Ginger? Cinnamon? √ √ √ √

Pepper? Umm, yeah ok, why not… √ Read more of this post

Carrot, ginger and coriander soup

(My Mac is in the shop getting a new hard drive so apologies in advance for photo quality, layout, etc. This post was written on the iPad which they should rename the iPain-in-the-A**)

It’s undeniably fall in Berlin. The relentless rain is constantly chasing little L and I indoors. People used to ask me how I was able to live in rainy London? The thing is, the weather in London is quite pleasant! It certainly doesn’t make me think that I should have an ark at the ready.

That is so English of me though isn’t it? Complaining about the weather! Read more of this post

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