Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Also...cakes again

It will not come as a surprise that I have been making more cakes. My friend's daughter Nancy is being christened at the weekend and the little lady and her mum Liz came round to pick their favourites from trial batches of lemon, raspberry and white chocolate, coconut and vanilla cupcakes to be served at the do. The recipes are all from the Primrose Bakery cookbook and, mercifully, they all work. Raspberry and white chocolate, with a spoonful of jam slipped into the cake under icing that's a cross between vanilla buttercream and white chocolate ganache, won the day. The ones in the picture look at bit playschool, but once I've applied 25 pairs of icing feet, some pink wafer roses and pearly pink sugar spheres to Saturday's lot, they're going to be pretty impressive.

The tapas revolution

The north west is in the grip of a hosepipe ban, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been pissing it down. Spaniards Omar Allibhoy and Danni Sancho (Omar is head chef at El Pirata De Tapas in Westbourne Grove, Danni an ex-colleague and friend) got the soggy end of the stick last week as their 'tapas revolution', in which they travel a T drawn on the UK map cooking tapas for anyone who asks, began.

They're travelling on motorbikes (one of which has now been stolen) but it had been so wet in Liverpool that they had had to join their camera crew in their motor home. They were soaking wet, already heartily sick of camping, and late. Nevertheless, they manfully cooked a tapas feast in our kitchen, dispensing chorizo tips to our guests Bryony and Ric, and by proxy the camera, along the way. And that was before they'd put their tent up.

I had elected to stay out of shot, so I had to wait until filming had finished to try the sangria, melon with ham, potatoes with alioi and white asparagus, garlicky fried mushrooms and pinxitos of bread topped with Manchego and Murcia al Vino from Delifonseca, membrillo and walnuts. But I did get a sneaky mouthful of Omar's quick Spanish fry-up, featuring chorizo, prawns and a slightly agitated egg, and decided we'll be replicating it at our brunchy leisure, although sadly we'll have to do the washing up rather than leaving it to a couple of visiting Spaniards.

Before the boys arrived I was sceptical about a tapas revolution and suspected whole thing might be more to do with Omar's Che-like looks than a need to educate the eating public. It's not as if tapas is unknown; most people even realise that what La Tasca does isn't it. But Omar and Danni came to us fresh from cooking outside Anfield, where a succession of the mad and foolish had refused their food. One woman explained that she went to Spain every year, but preferred to eat egg and chips while in residence. Perhaps those who lurk around the Kop in the middle of a workday aren't the best sample, but at the risk of sounding like Rick Stein just after he's checked out of a chain hotel in Woking, what is wrong with people?

NB: Will the revolution be televised? Potentially. They just have to sell the finished travelogue to a broadcaster.