Once again I found myself darting across the countryside, trying not to be late but understanding the hopelessness of this desire in the light of Jimmy's slow moving ways. The drive from Dover to Hastings (via St Margaret's Bay to check out some raw chocolate making guys) is bellisima! Romney Marshes are great green basins full of hedgerowed pastures and contented looking, sun-glazed livestock. I charged past. Through heady fields of rape and over railway crossings, past Pop Larkin style clapboard farms and the Victorian mansion blocks of Rye....into a much larger than I'd realised Hastings.
DINNER TABLE TOPICS: Food blogger inhouse politics - the whys and wherefores of posting and being blackballed by precious foodies; Chris' nerve-wracking dash through JFK with a couple of Lobel's strip steaks in his bag; William Curley V Paul A. Young V L'Artisan du Chocolat; what to do with the horse meat in their freezer (apparently raw is a good option since it's the only meat that doesn't carry bacteria); how Nigel Slater should really not stray from food writing and onto the screen and this continuing theme of the joy of exchanging goods for goods without money always coming into it.
THE PUD: I made them one of Willie's Cloud Forest cakes - using a whole bar of his chocolate, ground almonds, the basics and topeed with a glossy ganache. It is a sensational cake - very dense, almost truffle like but with a lightness and a depth that keep it primal but not too heavy.