Thursday, 26 February 2015

Swedish Chocolate Cake: Top with Cinnamon

I have baked three of these Swedish chocolate cakes in two weeks. I wish I was joking. This cake is far too easy for it's own good. And it's also taken me three attempts to perfect the balance between gooey and chewy.

This cake takes approximately 5 minutes to throw together: you'll spend as much time greasing the tin as you will mixing up all the ingredients. Melt the butter and then chuck everything else in. Give it a stir and in the oven it goes. 40 minutes max, from ingredients to cake.

When it's done it's gooey (but not quite as liquid as my first attempt), but chewy round the edges; it's chocolate-y and rich; it's that cake that you'll just have 'just another little slice' of, every time. Izy, it's all your fault that my jeans were a little tricky to get into this morning.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ristorante Frescobaldi

The wine making Frescobaldi family have been making wine in Tuscany since 1308, and in 2014 they opened their own restaurant just behind Regent Street in London.

On a Sunday evening in February we're the only party there. The staff outnumber us, although I'm sure our noisy conversations helped keep them awake as they diligently (although a little pointlessly) stayed at their stations throughout the long meal that was to follow.

A glass of champagne in the bar downstairs was accompanied by platefuls of crispy flatbreads scattered with rosemary, olive oil and sea salt. The bar is glamorous and plush, seats wide and comfortable enough to curl up in and sit sipping drinks for hours. But on this  particular evening, food beckoned. We were led upstairs to the bright, sleek dining room, where modern mosaics of various Roman gods cover the walls and columns, and the names of wines are engraved around the room.

Perfectly simple tomatoes and mozzarella to start. An extra drizzle of oil on top and there was a happy little me. Creamy, soft mozzarella with small, sweet tomatoes. A little slice of summer dreams on a cold, dark Sunday.

And the food improved from there: pasta definitely won everyone's vote as the best course. Spaghetti con vongole e bottarga: slippery, buttery pasta with salty, perfectly prepared clams and bright, sunny bottarga.

Perfectly cooked fish for L, and the richest, woodiest veal chop for Papa. And the others mmmmd and aaaaad at their forkfuls of Tuscan treats between hilarious stories, and more and more glasses of wine.

Maman couldn't leave without trying the tiramisu, which was the best tiramisu I've ever found in London, and was really rather beautiful too. 

After piles of petit fours and cups of fresh mint tea it was time to leave this palatial restaurant, and return to the cold outdoors. It had been a surreal evening of wonderful pasta and too much wine.

Highlight: pasta
Lowlight: an atmosphere created solely by ourselves

Ristorante Frescobaldi, 15 New Burlington Place, London, W1S 2HX

Friday, 20 February 2015

5 Things & 3 More

5 happy moments from what has been a frustrating week sat around waiting for things to happen. But then spring poked it's head out from hibernation and everything was momentarily well with my little world.

1. Monmouth coffee
2. Reading
3. Lunch at Borough market
4. Being able to run again
5. Sunshine

And 3 little snippets from around the internet that I've enjoyed include some wonderful photos of my little brother playing fives (proud!); the fabulous news that Heidi Swanson is publishing a new book; and a brief history on the Champagne glass.