I’ve been cooking food that doesn’t belong to me. No, I’m not confessing to a shoplifting habit. Part of my job is developing, testing and writing recipes. Though they mess up my stove, bubble and spit in my pans, colonise my fridge and - shameful admission time - sometimes fill up my bin, though they’re coaxed and soothed and occasionally bullied into edibility by my own fair hand, they aren’t mine to share until they appear, weeks, months, later in their designated newspaper or magazine. As well as my regular gigs, I’ve also been working on recipes for my friend Mark’s book which will appear in the autumn. So though the Spoon stove has seldom been cold these past few weeks, I’ve made very little I can share with you yet, dear blog readers.
This isn’t helped, either, by the stolen camera situation. Or the hours spent dealing with the insurance company. Or the endless, torpor-inducing discussions of new technology to replace the nicked stuff.
I felt as sprightly as a week-old loaf as I folded myself into the passenger seat last Saturday. We were heading north to the country and Victoria’s fabulous fortieth birthday weekend. This was a big deal. We’ve been hearing about it for months. Something special had to mark this milestone, so a dozen of us abandoned our concrete comfort zone of the city for the opalescent skies and high hedgerows of North Norfolk.
We stayed at Fritton House, where barmen and waiters and chambermaids indulged every whim and fancy of kids and dogs and overexcited townies with charm and humour.
This was the perfect antidote to weeks of double shifts at the stove and desk. Victoria is my dearest friend, the one whose judgment I trust in all things and in whose company I’ve spent most of the happiest times of my life, as well as some of the saddest. And the rest? Well, these are our ‘top table’ the ones who, when my mother calls to ask who’s coming to lunch and I begin reeling off their names, she replies ‘Oh, the usual suspects’.
Back in London on Monday, even the heavy skies couldn’t dampen my spirits. Mark’s recipes are within a within a ping of a kitchen timer of being done. I have my eye on a new camera. Normal service will be resumed.
Oh, and another thing, Mark told me I have to Twitter and I always do what the cool kids tell me. Usually three years after they tell me to do it when they’ve all moved on to something else. So if you’re the Twittering sort, do please tweet along with me at @lickedspoon.
The next day, Leo tries on his mummy’s hat, also bought by Kim in Peckham Market. The night before we christened it The Hat Of Truth, as we all took turns in trying it on and telling a secret.