I am fed up. I am very much ready to wake up from this quaran-dream and return to some normalcy. But in the meantime, to keep positive, I’ve leant hard on my two favourite hobbies, reading and cooking (and reading about cooking). I have found the most wonderful chef - Kate Young, whose books are full of recipes inspired by literature. Think lemon cakes from The Great Gatsby, Mulberry and Apple pastries from Sense and Sensibility, and French Bonbons from Little Women. What a dream job! I have ordered one of her books, which I can lend to you after I’ve read it, but for now, I think that you will appreciate this link!
Finally, got around to reading In Defence of Food - which I loved and subsequently am now binge-watching everything Michael Pollan has touched (Cooked on Netflix).
In a moment of procrastination, I went through my screenshot photos on my phone and have written down all of the books that caught my attention at some point. Lots of which I think you’ll like the sound of, so here goes:
- The Call of the Farm - Rochelle Bilow
- The Third Plate - Dan Barber
- Who really feeds the world? - Vandana Shiva
- Eleven kinds of loneliness - Richard Yates
- Consider the Fork - Bee Wilson
- The New Farm - Brent Preston
- Let my people go surfing - Yvon Chouinard
- Romance in Marseille - Claude McKay
- The Enchanted Hour - Meghan Cox Gurdon
- Writers and Lovers - Lily King
- On Earth we’re briefly gorgeous - Ocean Vuong
We just got hens this week (Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup - quite a niche cartoon reference from Mia, I thought)
So expect some egg-y recipes next time (some eggsperiments if you will).
Very country life but am really missing the city at the moment so I have written a small love letter to the city where I should be right now.
What I miss about Paris
Sitting in Square du Temple after my Sunday afternoon walk and seeing the same woman run laps around the very small park, smiling every time she went past.
The rain every Sunday when we would walk to go out for our weekly sister supper and I’d always forget my umbrella and Mia’s umbrella would always flip inside out with the slightest gust of wind.
Really sunny mornings when there were workmen on the roof opposite my sitting room window.
The boulangerie on our street that made the best baguette, but despite me going every other morning for six months, they still did not know my ‘usual’.
Sitting on my own in the cinema watching a French film, revelling in the comfort of anonymity and the fact that, for all anyone knows, I am French and can understand every word of the complicated script.
Being asked for directions in French when walking down the street (whether I know the way or not, the compliment that I look like a local is always welcome).
All of my books that I haven’t read yet that are sitting patiently on my bookshelf waiting for me to collect them.
Only paying €4 for a cinema ticket (although I would pay £100 now to sit in a sticky Odeon)
Walking past and waving at the locksmith on my road, who saved my ass twice when I got locked both in AND out of my flat in the same week.
The man who announces the stops on the Metro who repeats each station twice but with slightly different intonation. (RepubLIque…REPublique)
Banana Bread with Espresso Butter as pudding after breakfast. I am going to order two of these the day I get back.
I have tried to recreate this banana bread, because it is SO good. I think I have finally cracked the cake, and will attempt the espresso butter today. The recipe for Banana Bread is below. (Have I reached peak lockdown behaviour?)
250g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Bicarb
1 tsp Salt
3 mashed bananas (riper than ripe)
1 tbsp milk
110g unsalted butter (soft)
200g granulated sugar
2 large eggs (or 3 small)
180g dark chocolate chopped into shards
The laziest cake method in the world
In a food processor, whizz the butter and sugar until creamed, add all the eggs and bananas and milk. Then add all the dry ingredients and whizz until combined. Fold in the chocolate and pour into a lined loaf tin. Should dropping consistency.
Sprinkle the top with white sesame seeds. Cook at 180 for about 45 minutes, just keep an eye on it (mine took over an hour to cook yesterday)
I am sorry that this email, firstly is so late, and secondly is so haphazard, it feels like word vomit. But I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. Final recommendation if you want something to really cheer you up, then listen to the Greg Davies episode of the Off Menu podcast. It has had me howling with laughter on my fourth listen of it, which is very welcome right now.