Forgive me for having been a bit slack at organising things lately, but it's been hectic, what with finally resigning from my glamourous job in advertising and getting accustomed to a life at home with two kids to entertain over the summer holidays.
Although it's kept me on my toes, life hasn't prevented me from thinking about reasons for meeting up with the illustrious round that are the foodbloggers in London and beyond. The disappointing news first: for those of you who've already been saving up their hard-earned pennies for a food & wine trip to Austria, you'll have to keep filling up that piggy-bank, as it's become too late for organising it now, as I won't be able to fly from the end of November. But I might organise something for next summer/autumn.
This should not be a reason for dispair, though, there's lots we can do around here, of course, and here's what I propose:
(Remember that most dates are flexible and subject to change and I'll try to organise them depending on demand - so let me know which ones tickle your tastebuds!)
23rd September: Cocina Mexicana: Cooking Mexican at Johanna's in South-West London.
Between Iliana, a Mexican friend of Jeanne's, Xochitl and myself, we'll be arranging a hands-on session for an introduction to Mexican cooking - the menu is still in the works but we will cater for vegetarians and carnivores alike. And of course, we'll be enjoying our creations afterwards!
Cost: We'll be splitting the bill for the ingredients we buy.
October (exact date tbd): Knife Skills, venue tbc
Jeanne's friend, a professional chef at the Docklands Museum's restaurant, will assist us in honing our knife skills, to make us more efficient in the kitchen and prevent accidents such as this one.
28th October: Butter & salt tasting at Johanna's in South-West London.
The idea is to sample butters from the cheapest supermarket brand to what the finest Delicatessen and the Borough Market have to offer. We will also dip our fingers in the best salts available, from Fleur de Sel de Guérande to pink rock salt from the Himalaya - a little promenade through what I have amassed on my travels, basically.
We'll try it raw, on toast/potatoes and in food and change the salt and butter consumption of an entire nation by rating it and blogging about it afterwards ;-)
The plan is to resume the afternoon with low-fat, low-sodium food and some alcohol - purely for medicinal purposes!
Cost: We'll be splitting the bill for the ingredients we have to buy.
8th November: Mushroom & Truffles workshop at Harvey Nichols.
And some drinks & nibbles afterwards for those who are interested.
Cost: £15 for the workshop
Mid November (date tbd, but a Sat or Sun): Make your own chocolate truffles at mychocolate in London.
After a short intro on how chocolate is gained and produced, we'll be handrolling our own truffles. Perfect preparation for some nice home-made Christmas presents or just to indulge yourself, as well as for the last edition of SHF for this year which I will be hosting in December.
Cost: £50, £44 if we can book as a group of 8 or more.
2nd December: Christmas Gathering & Cookie Swap at Johanna's in South-West London.
Apart from the traditional mulled wine and punch, I have not decided what I'll be making this year - I am torn between another Austrian evening, a Swiss Cheese extravaganza and Christmassy finger food... details to follow, but let me know if you have preferences.
Cost: bring your own cookies.
December 9th: Invitation by June to visit the Bath Christmas market. The plan is to hit the stalls at 4pm when it should be getting darkish - for maximum sparkle. But you can arrive earlier and have a tour of the Roman Baths or splash around in the new Spa Baths. In any case, we will be taking in some heart- and bodywarming food afterwards.
Price: arrange your own travel and accommodation (if required)
Please let email me as soon as you can if you're interested in attending, as some events require quite a bit of advance booking (truffle rolling being one example). Also, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.
It goes without saying that these events are open for foodbloggers from overseas as well, should you find yourself in the country at that time!
Hope to see many of you for one or more of these gatherings!