Friday 26 February 2010

The usual suspects

The Lake
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.
Debora & Lady de B Lady de B and I cling onto each other for warmth, and onto our wine for dear life.
The DenThe Den & Luca Luca and Leo’s den in the woods.

Drinks The birthday girl, with Damian and Brian.

The Table Having dinner.

The Birthday Girl Victoria proudly sporting the banner Kim bought in Peckham market.

Just Zac Stuart. Yes, I know he’s our own personal Zac Efron.

09 Barney & Patrick Barney takes off across the sofa, pursued by Patrick.

After dinner drinks Sunday, 2am. Both the food groups, caffeine and alcohol.

Sunday papers Essential Sunday morning reading.
Leo in the HAT OF TRUTH 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.
13 The Usual Suspects The usual suspects, getting ready to go home.


  1. Once again - another wonderful story! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. I was wondering how things were with you. You have made me laugh at your description of trying to sort out which new gadgetry to buy! It looks like a weekend full of memories. I hope it made you feel like a freshly baked loaf!

  3. Having christened The Usual Suspects it's lovely to see them again at play. And especially lovely to see you taking a breather after all that hard work. Er.. all that lovely, creative, ennobling, rewarding hard work... Mxxxx

  4. What a lovely story. It makes me want to hop a plane and head over to Hambleton Hall or the Stapleford (two of my personal favorite weekend celebration venues)and meet up with my friends.

    P.S. I'd twitter you if I knew how.

  5. Aww thanks for sharing the latest in your amazing busy schedule. It looks like a good time was had by all and what a gorgeous getaway! I hope you managed some quality timeout. Look forward to more on those recipes that are about to flood Licked Spoon. Hehe. Oh, and I too am with Karen H. Twitter, to me, is something that birds do.

  6. Perhaps I got a little confused and meant 'tweeter'.

  7. Darling D - it is so wonderful to have you back. Your gang sounds like a great bunch.

  8. So, another pictorial of the Young and Lovely types making Americans everywhere feel like the dregs of society. You drink beautiful drinks, hang out with darling people, and basically populate a lookalike set of Notting Hill...whereas we, rebellious pups, watch American Idol, eat nachos and call it a party.

    Love, Karen Across the Pond!

  9. Susan - Thank you!
    Kath - I sometimes joke that the main reason I married a technologically literate man is so that I never had to read a manual again. Sometimes I don't think it's a joke.
    Mummy, I promise I'm eating properly (mostly) sleeping (sometimes) and taking my vitamins, (well, whenever I remember).
    Karen - It really was a tonic. Thanks for sharing your own favourite places - I'll look them up.
    Mariana - There you are! Missed you. I hope all is well. I have some really good recipes coming up, promise...
    Salty - Thanks, kiddo.
    Oh, darling Karen, and I thought we Brits were supposed to be the self-depreciating ones...

  10. Looks like you had a blast. I reached that milestone myself in December and I made a very BIG deal out of it. I'm glad that you're getting things in order again after that ghastly incident.

  11. Oh what a lovely wekend - wonderful friends are so important!

  12. Oops - weekend, obviously!

  13. Happy anniversary to Love and a Licked Spoon. It was around the 11th or 12th as I recall that you began your blog. Hope it continues to flourish and grow Debora as you have so much to offer. Love Mariana xxxxxxxxx

  14. Denise - It was the perfect weekend.
    Gratinee - Life goes by so quickly, it's important to cram in as many celebrations as you can, is it not? And thank you for your kind wishes.
    Thanks Alex, that is undeniably true.
    Mariana - Bless your heart. I hope all's well with you too.


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