London calling!

It’s been a very busy last few days and I feel bad that I haven’t had any time to cook any lovely food for myself and TOH. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look set to improve over the coming weeks and I think I might have to make do with baking as an outlet for culinary creativity. It makes no sense, but there’s always time to bake things, even when there’s no time to cook!

Now, there’s a few things which I’ve been missing since my move to The Country – one of them is Itsu Gyoza Noodle Soup. Interestingly enough, this post isn’t about that, which is a shame as I really do miss it. One of the other, more relevant, things is Stylist magazine. Now when I was in London full-time, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about Stylist and how great it is. I’d pick it up at TCR and work my way through it on the way home, and then finish off in the morning, ready to pass on to someone at work who’d been less fortunate and hadn’t been handed one at their tube station. But now, oh now, I see what a good thing it was. Those first two pages especially – you know, the double page spread of nice things on pages 2 and 3? Lovely.

So, how nice it was when Lovely Friend Flee popped into my new OutOfLondon inbox with the Emerald Street daily mailshot. I’d seen Stylist advertising their mailshot before, but never taken investigations much further. I’ve got to say, it’s no substitute, not even nearly – I find the website quite clunky and un-navigable, but that’s by the by. Luckily for them, the opener yesterday was about The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell, already a firm favourite of mine back in the day due to their really excellent wine list. Emerald Street was featuring a really brilliant-looking ginger shortbread type recipe from TMP’s Kiwi chef and seeing as though the only ingredient I needed to buy was going to be more butter, I figured I’d give it a go.

And yum they were. It seemed to be a pretty standard shortbread recipe, with the typical Kiwi twist only to be expected from The Modern Pantry. I’d never seen a shortbread with added baking powder, and I’m not totally sure of the role it actually played. Sure, it puffed up when in the oven, but you have to squish it down with the gooey caramel anyway. Maybe it was more to do with the crumbliness of the base, as it was very lovely and short when finished. Either way, it was super quick to make and super easy to do – my favourite. The caramel was artery-cloggingly brilliant – with the added *zing* of 8 tsps of ginger in there. Lots of butter, lots of sugar, and it’s pleasantly grainy on the teeth today.

I’ve got to say, these are  no where near as beautiful and elegant as Anna Hansen’s were in the Emerald Street post yesterday, more ‘caf’ than ‘pantry’, but I’ve never been an elegant cook. I think next time it’ll be a half batch in my tin, hoping for lovely wafffffer theeeen tea time treats, rather than the chunky, match-tea slabs which I seem to have ended up with. Seems to indicate I’ll be making them again then??

p.s. a big thank you to Lovely Friend Flee who came to visit with her OH this weekend and brought just the most beautiful peonies which are currently blooming in a big, bushy, koosh-ball sort of way on my dining table. I know you said you don’t read this, Fliss, but if you do … here’s what they turned into … And after all, you sent me Emerald Street, so the above is down to you too … didn’t you do well?!


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