Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Take me home, country roads

Here’s Jimmy hanging out in Lavenham a few days ago. I picked him up from the wilds of North Suffolk and we bounced along at our usual leisurely pace - taking in a bit of Bury St Edmunds to see what was new (not a great deal, but everything just looks so much smaller than I remember), then down to Lav’nam and on to the village of 100 people where I grew up.The winter sun fell steady on the ravaged countryside. A sludgy, untidy looking time of year anyway, the storm of the other week had really been busy - uprooting trees that had been around for years, churning up fences, shooting holes in the roofs - all things I hadn’t been aware of in London. I pottered around quite happily for a bit, then went over to Tash and Noches to catch up after their two month stay over in Jamaica. My three year old god-daughter Zahara goes around singing Buju Banton and talking in her new little patois chat and her sister Mya tried to show me some of the dances, but came over all shy and giggly halfway into it…I’m not surprised! There’s one called the Dutty Wine which involves some pretty vigorous neck spinning - apparently it’s common to see girls being carried off after fainting from giving it too much turn!

So anyway, I left Suffolk after a few days and returned Jimmy to London. We’ve got back into the flow of things at Brick Lane and done a couple of really fun parties. While the chocolate martini shots have been seized very heartily by all who come near, so too has the Venezuelan hot chocolate…there’s a bit of a beast to be fed here and I’m a touch nervous as the supplies are dwindling. My Chuao connection, Willie, is in the midst of setting up his very own mini chocolate factory down in the West country and the beans are en route…but not processed. It’ll be worth it in the end though as I’ll have access to a magical supply of pure, single estate cocoa liquor - the things I want to do with that stuff set my heart a flutter! (So please be patient if I have to cross the Ven Hot Choc off the board for a couple of weeks).

Now, one more thing before I go. On Monday night I was invited to a steak extravaganza at Hawksmoor. I’ve been in there enough times before, propping up the bar, munching on the thrice cooked chips and getting intimate with many different bourbon based drinks (courtesy of the lovely Lucas and the hilarious Jorge), but their steak and me had not yet met. Well, we have now and it’s all rosy. Great juicy slivers of Sirloin and chunky discs of Chateaubriand kept arriving on my plate, whereupon I’d gather them up on my fork with some Bearnaise sauce and proceed to enter That Place. You know the one - where voices and noise fade away, the eyes close and, for a moment…you can’t be reached. Joyous, indulgent escape.

And then came this little fella - the Chocolate Sazerac. I’m a big fan of this cocktail anyway, but when they made it with chocolate-infused bourbon and creme de cacao I could barely contain my delight. I usually stay away from anything too sweet with drinks, but this guy is bad. It’s Sean Penn in a glass with a Jay-Z twist and I’m going to be hunting down that recipe and executing it at home, in the van and wherever else I can find.