Month: July 2012

Summertime coldness – Café frappé, comme en Grèce

[Iced coffee, just like in Greece]

There is this nice place a few footsteps away from Knightsbridge. It has a counter made of salads – more beautiful one than the other – and cakes – most likely blueberry with some kind of oaty crumbles. It also has the cutest waiters. And they make coffee, the Greek way.

In fact, I need to bring my camera next time I go. Most likely tomorrow. Not for the waiters, although I’m sure you wouldn’t mind some serious hotness, but today, it’s more about coldness.

Ice-cubes and coffee. And milk, with a touch of cream too.

Because we can never have enough coffee in our lives, here is the recipe for the creamiest cup you could ever have.

In a one-litre jar, mix 3 tablespoons of instant coffee with 3 tablespoons of cold water and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Close the lid and shake away, until light and foamy. Add ice-cubes half-way to the top of the jar. And top with milk. Add dash of cream. And serve in glasses. Or as we do in the kitchen: in mismatched small jars.

Hope you’re having a lovely summer. Mine has been super-busy so far. News and updates to come soon soon.
And PS. thanks to everyone who signed in for the newsletter. The first edition should be on the way very shortly (well, knowing me, that’s more likely to be another month).


Bonjour juillet

[Hello July]

It’s raining. And somehow, we’re once again having winter in July. It seems to be a standard these days. And really, I could just write a letter to July. Not unlike the one I would write to that boy I’m in like with, that I’ve been in like with since I first saw him, in fact.

A letter to July, sort of

I thought that – as you once feared so much – I had forgotten about you. About those nights of magic rush. About the cold we found only one way to fight against. About those words you told me, and how they felt like music to me. About your lips and how delicious they tasted.

Yes, I thought I had forgotten.

But then, just like the firecrackers that shatter the summer sky in million pieces or the ones you made me feel, I remembered.

As the waves pushed me on the shore. As tiny pebbles rolled on my skin. As I could hear bubbles pop when my head was underwater. And just as I started to let go of myself, I held onto you a little more with every somersault. I miss you. And I wish you were here. And really, I wish I’d never let you go.

There would be Pim’s, and lemonade too. Blackberries – of the wild, tiny, kind – picked from bundles of green leaves. And mostly, there would be the sun.

I shouldn’t complain though; the past month was pretty much amazing.

Not unlike spending days at a café terrace or in the potager. Not unlike sleeping on a péniche [canal boat] and eating tellines cooked à la plancha, just so. Literally and figuratively too.

Summer happened and it was great. Nights with that boy I’m very much in like with happened and it was more than great.

But I guess, July will be a month of new beginnings. A new flat (by the Thames, and really, all caps could be appropriate here; perhaps even exclamation marks). A new job at my old-school love: the Capital, alongside two of my favourite chefs, Richard and James, who are making beautiful things on the plate and in my mouth (I’m always spoon-ready, just in case…). I might add Jake, the apprentice to that list too. He’s the most amazing little chef ever and really I wish he was on pastry full-time.

And it feels so good to be in a kitchen again after so much time spent in flip-flops and bikini. One day last week, we got delivered a little (ahem, of the 2kg kind) too many blackberries, which I turned into a very dark du jour dessert.
There was a blackberry coulis topped with clotted cream mousse and crystallised white chocolate. Blackberries pan fried in a little sugar until just juicy; and some fresh ones, halved, too. A blackberry foam, barely set. And a big fat quenelle of clotted cream ice-cream. Oh, and I almost forgot the most important: a crumbly yet melt-in-your mouth vanilla sablé.

That night, I also made a pré-dessert of red-currant sorbet with peach granita and a touch of yoghurt foam, with a see-through tuile.

Yes, it might not feel like summer around here these days, but one thing is for sure: good things WILL happen. Under the rain. Drenched to the bone. Smile on my face.

The unofficial July happy-list.

1. Melting a tablespoon of nutella in the microwave then topping it with one scoop of cookie dough ice-cream on a rainy evening. Eating it with a side of Made in Chelsea. And calling it a day.
2. Which one I feel more guilty about: nutella slash ice-cream or Made in Chelsea? Hmmmm really, no need to feel bad, just watch a few episode of Cooking with Dog to reset the tacky-balance.
3. Watching the boats go by at night from my bedroom window.
4. Dreams made of plates and foams. And fruits and ice-creams. This is always the place I get my ideas from.
5. Finishing to write the never-ending book. Yes, I’m almost done and, all of the sudden, feel like I need to change everything.
6. A second strawberry season. Or a lesson in making the most of climate differences between the south of France and London.
7. A happy place made of aprons and plates. And labels and plastic containers. Yes, I belong to the kitchen.
8. Drinking bloody maries, and champagne, and gin and tonic during the same night.
9. The thought of Lukie growing up fast. Soon she won’t be a baby anymore. I miss her so so much already.
10. Day-dreaming about lands that lie behind puddles and on top of clouds.

What are you day-dreaming about these days?