In suburban Sheen, not as far as you think, there is a little house painted pink where Lara Newman cooks. If Katie Jordan Price cooked (don’t think she does, do you?) her kitchen would probably resemble Lara’s; pink Smeg fridge, pink Smeg dishwasher, pink Kitchen aid mixer, pink kettles, coffee pots, knives, drainer…well you get the picture. There are also many examples of knitted cupcakes: it’s as if the psychedelic sweetness of Alice in Wonderland were dipped in pink dye.
“Go on mate, ‘av a bit more”
“Normally I build restaurants, not serve in ’em”
- I’d like to see Lara emerge from the kitchen after the main course and chat. There is an natural urge to meet the chef, the person to whom the house belongs…
- I prefer mixed tables. We were all sat in twos and threes. Another food blogger was there but I didn’t get the chance to meet her which was a shame considering the intimacy. I’m there as much to meet other people, which never happens in a high street restaurant, as for the food. Home restaurants don’t have to imitate normal restaurants.
- Lara’s kitchen is lovely, perhaps she should offer the chance to have a look at it (I say to people “come in after the main course”). Reasons for this: in the absence of a licence, it allays any fears on the part of diners; part of the excitement of a home restaurant is the voyeurism of looking at their house; the deconstruction of traditional restaurant ‘staging’ is interesting to play with, making transparent the process.
Ginger Blondies, Ginger Cream and White Chocolate & Ginger TrufflesThe Blondie recipe makes about 16-18 small Blondies, 12 large ones, less if you trim the edges off to make them neater. Basically, a tin 18cm x 32cm or the equivalent size in a different shaped tin.Ginger Blondies:300g good quality white choc (chopped into very small bits – I use a food processor)150g unsalted butter (cubed)1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger – microplane grated is best (no fibres)I vanilla pod300g soft brown sugar3 medium eggs (size is important in this case)175g plain flourIn a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla pod scrapings.Use a bain mairie to carefully melt together 200g of the choc and butter on a low heat. Cool for 5 minutes so you don’t scramble the eggs and add to the egg/sugar mixture.When well mixed, add the flour – don’t beat the life out of it but do carefully make sure it’s properly mixed.Mix in the ginger and taste. It should be there but should not overpower the fudgy flavour of the choc. Stir in remaining chocolate bits and pour into the tray (they need to be small so they melt into the mix quickly and don’t sink). Tap the tin a couple of times to get rid of big bubbles. Cook for 35 minutes in a pre-heated oven (180/gas 4 – I use the conventional rather than the fan setting). Test at 30 minutes. They are ready when an inserted skewer is cleanish – some stickiness is fine and in fact, desired.Ginger Cream:The amounts for the cream entirely depend on how many people you wish to serve (obviously).For a pint of double cream, add 4 tbsp of Golden Syrup and 1 level tbsp of Ground Ginger and whip to desired thickness.Truffle:250g good quality white choc (small bits)150g good quality white choc (finely grated)60ml of double cream50g unsalted butter1 tsp of ground gingerPinch nutmegCrystallised ginger for decorationIn a pan and carefully, on a low heat, melt 250g of the choc with all other ingredients (except the crystallised ginger). Cool in a covered tray in the fridge for anything from 2 to 12 hours (I often leave overnight). It’s ready for the next stage when it’s firm and you can scoop out a truffle shape with a spoon, melon baller etc. but it still has some stickiness. Roll the truffle shapes (you’ll get 20 ish small truffles from this recipe but you can make them whatever size you want). Roll them in the grated choc, add a little strip of crystallised ginger to the top and sit on greaseproof paper in a sealed container in a nice cold fridge to set further.