Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Sshhh...The Underground Restaurant

This Saturday night I will be parking Jimmy up in the driveway or Ms Marmite Lover, doyenne of the underground restaurant scene in London. This hush-hush thing is starting to take hold as the gap between eating in and eating out becomes bridged in this big ole changing city.

I'm excited for this change. I love a good restaurant but more than that I love an atmospheric one and London isn't always brilliant at pairing great food with this. It reminds me of being in Tel Aviv where so many bars are like homes - and you can always get a really delicious plate at the bar until early morning.

I'm excited for the personality factor of eating like this - a paying guest in somebody's home, a menu that has been decided irrespective of you and at a price you can definitely afford.

I'm going to do a spiced chocolate mousse to go with the Mexican dinner. I've even been invited to stay the night. It's reminding me of my days on tour, trundling around Britain looking for strangers to have me into their homes for supper. I may get re-addicted. I like London suppers but more than that I like life out there, on the road, free-wheeling.

I'm planning to do more. Abroad. The thought of this has me ebullient with delight.

Jimmy Carter's favourite snack...

Today I have discovered that:

  • I love pancakes as much as ever. After a p-c extravaganza last night (baked pancake stack with wild mushroom and herb gruyere bechamel, followed by endless sweet flips), here I am today, still flipping, still squeezing and still enjoying.
  • There was no public transportation provided to evacuate New Orleans citizens after Nagin urged everyone to leave pre-Katrina. This may be old news but never better relayed than via Trouble The Water on More 4 last night.
  • Today is National Chocolate Covered Peanuts Day (US) - and I'm clean out. I wonder where in London might sell me some choc-covered salted peanuts; I imagine they're darn good.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

I need it and I want it, so I gotta get a...

I'm ordering one and pairing it with a brown bulb. I can almost smell the summer...or at least the spring anyway.

Dear choco star...

I love what chocolate does to people and I love the kinds of people who are drawn to the van and all that it contains. There is a kind of outpouring of appreciation that often turns up in my inbox. Yesterday I received such a touching message that I felt compelled to put it up here - and Kumi, don't worry - I got you girl!

Hello choco star,

I'm writing this email because I'm very impressed by your brownie.
I became a big fan of your shop yesterday. I'm really glad I went to valentine's market and found you.

It was wonderful, so delicious. You made me really happy, thank you.
I have no idea how you make those.

I became to love brownies after coming England. They are very nice. We don't have those in Japan. We have, but it's not same, not as nice as them at all.
Then I've had lots of those. But your one is the best I've ever had!!

I've been trying baking them as well. I've tried many kinds of recipes.
But I can't make nice one. I don't know how. I made them for my family once. They liked them.But I wanted them to eat nicer, really English one.
Actually I baked some for a valentine's day the day before yesterday. I was a little happy as they were much better then before.
But after eating yours, I thought mine was rubbish.

I know, I can't ask you, I'm sorry if I were rude. But I want to know why it's so difference. It's same brownie.
maybe chocolate is different. I use 75%one. maybe I shoul make it thicker.
I melt butter and chocolates together,and put into egg and sugar. Then, put flour. sometimes almond powder. the nuts
Mine is so different from yours. it's really sad.
I want to make them like yours. It's my dream.

I want to buy other things from you as well, such as hot choco,cookies....want to try everything.
Could you let me know when you are coming next time please, if you can.

Thank you very much,


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Valentine's Slow Food Weekend

Lovers, sweethearts, enamoradas! Choc Star has the flow to make ya drawers drop slow...err, I mean I love Biggie and I can't help but bring the guy into my blog for the special occasion of Valentines Day.

We'll be outside the Royal Festival Hall from Friday 13th (RRrrrrr) to Sun 15th Feb - all day and into the night - for the Slow Food Valentine's Market.

On the menu: Iced bitter chocolate cookies, rose scented Venezuelan truffles, red velvet cupcakes plus all the winter classics.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Blood & Chocolate

My uncle took me aside at my cousin's christening at the weekend on a matter of utmost importance.

"Petra - you have to get yourself over to Boca di Lupo asap for the Sanguinaccio", he insisted.
"Chocolate and pig's blood that you spread on bread and sprinkle with salt - it's out of this world".

The hair on the back of my neck bristled with glee and I was sat at B di L's long marble bar two days later sipping on some friulli in anticipation of the main event. The lovely Irish bartender presented it to me with a glint in his eye and after my first thick slather of this sweet, rich, iron-tinged pate I was twinkling from the inside out too.

Some chocolate is greedy, some an academic pleasure, some just an abuse of a brilliant raw ingredient. But when it's done well, with intelligence and respect, the mind and body waltz. Like a brilliant movie I don't want to say anymore but do, if you're in the area, pull yourself up to the bar and prepare to get primal.

January Weddings

January has been the month of weddings. We've traveled down snowy lanes and through landscaped parkland, along the old faithful M4 Corridor and into winter wonderlands - all to bring warmth and joy via the exultant medium of hot chocolate. Often with rum. OK, it's been the coldest winter in 13 years so almost always with rum.

And we've discovered that Jimmy likes getting out of snow more than he does getting out of mud. No tow-bar action for this little snow monkey!