Monday, September 25, 2006

Amaretto, apple cake and artichokes surprise!

Way back in June when I last attended one of the fabulous cook book club events at Conran’s Blueprint Café hosted by the equally fabulous Jeremy Lee and guest ‘chef’ Charles Campion, I signed up for the next event planned for October 11th. Over the evening I had consumed my body weight in chicken livers threaded onto rosemary skewers – just so delicious – and had some wonderful wine and Champagne so I hadn’t actually written down what the event was, who was the guest ‘cook’ or ‘chef’, which cookbook was being featured etcetera. Well it all seemed just so far away and it was. On checking the website now, I was extremely delighted to see that it is Anna Del Conte and her Amaretto, Apple Cake and Artichokes book that I’ve been raving about ever since I bought it. I am sure we’ll have a fantastic evening and some stupendous food and of course I will report back here.

If you haven’t heard of the Blueprint Café Cook Book evenings, I urge you to check them out. Though I understand if you struggle to extract the details from the Conran site – they seem to have almost entirely buried them for some reason.

At each event a guest chef/cook/food writer who has recently written a cookbook comes in with a stack of cookbooks (to give you the opportunity to add to your collection if you haven’t already done so) and with the help of Jeremy and his brigade whip up a few tasty morsels from their latest missive. You get the opportunity to meet them and ask questions and of course to eat fine food! Jeremy is an ebullient host, they are always fun yet intimate evenings and you get a great view over the Thames from your table (there’s even a set of binoculars if you want a good old nose about!).

And there are some eclectic people there. Various other chefs and food writers come along, the odd critic and Sir Terrence often comes along with his colourful wife, a box of vegetables from their garden and a rather intriguing walking stick. And scattered around the tables are other memorable characters. Not naming names but the gin magnate who bought a house from one of Sunday supplements, the one from Lullaby Bay, the one who was totally stressed looking after her country dogs in the city and the restaurant reviewer who just lurves Jeremy – but then who doesn’t. I always attend alone as it promotes better mingling with all these wonderful people but others arrive en masse. At a previous event, I even got the chance to meet Nigel Slater – my food hero! I am so not worthy!

I might see you there then…

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