Lunch yesterday with Tanna from My Kitchen in Half Cups, her friend Sue from Texas, and Karen of Bake My Day. Tanna and Sue have been in Europe visiting their blog friends, including Karen, so I wanted to find somewhere special to meet, because just about anything could be an anti-climax after eating at Angelika's new kitchen in Vienna!
We met at Books for Cooks in Blenheim Crescent, just off Portobello Road. This little shop is a food blogger's paradise - more than a shop, it has a kitchen/diner at the back, domestic in scale, where they test the recipes book by book. Yesterday it was 100 Great Tapas by Pippa Cuthbert.
Three courses for £7, or two for £5 - no choice, just what's up on the board. And to drink, water from a tap (the best kind), or wine from the proprietors' own vineyard. So three courses it was, a bottle of red, and an enamel jug of water. Even before the food arrived, out came four cameras, capturing the lunch for the blogosphere. That's one of the great things about a blogmeet - everyone takes it as read that the food is worth photographing. No-one whining, "Oh mum, do you have to?" or "That is SO embarrassing" etc etc. We probably were embarrassing, but we were all having far too good a time to notice.
To start, various crostini. Home-made tapenade, a wonderful caramelised fennel and onion & goat's cheese. Then lightly spiced meatballs with orzo. Orzo looks like rice, if you're not inspecting it too closely. Tanna spotted straight away that it wasn't rice, and told us that orzo, which I'd never had before, is a type of pasta. Good. Worth seeking out.
Pudding was cake and coffee. The sweet girls cooking lunch could see they'd never get a straight answer out of us over what cakes we'd like with our coffee - and so they prepared us a tasting plate of all four. I liked the lemon sponge best, Karen preferred the meringue, Tanna gave her chocolate-coated banana cake to Sue, and concentrated on the pineapple cake instead.
It was a wonderful lunch - Tanna's laughter is infectious, there was food to enjoy, stories to tell, the pleasure to come of browsing in the bookshop. Later, laden with shopping, we crossed the road to the Spice Shop, a tiny space crammed full of spices from all over the world. More shopping. And then I had to go. I left the three of them to explore the delights of the Portobello Road on a market day. I hope that London was all they wanted it to be.
THANK YOU, Tanna!
Friday flowers - imperial cornflowers - Imperial Cornflowers by Fabergé, c.1900-1905; now in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. A work of supreme craftsmanship as it is, I think I'd rather have...
7 hours ago