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flower showtime

Chelsea has the best hats but Tavistock has the best cakes. I spent more money at the Tavi show...


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underneath waterloo station

Profound in so many ways...

heston blumenthal's black forest gateau

...takes two or three days to prepare. It involves using a dyson, several plastic bags, a cocktail shaker, paint rollers and trays, an aerosol spray, lots of banging things on counters and sweat. This homage to Seventies kitsch cooking takes so much effort to make that you would actually lose weight just making it. However, I think Heston is missing a trick here. All the layers in his gateau have a perfectly acceptable, ready made, authentically 1970s equivalent which means you could knock together a Blumenthaley-stylee-gateau in about ten minutes and save a load of money. So here is my alternative recipe: For the biscuit base - use two or four Jaffa Cakes (this saves you having to make the apricot compote) Place a bar of milk chocolate Aero on the top of the base Add a layer of chocolate Instant Whip Add some cherries (glace or tinned) Add a good thick slice of chocolate Swiss Roll which has been soaked in kirsch Add another Aero (optional) Add another layer of Instant Whip Add some

uncovering old lath and plaster

This morning this was a blue-painted wall which collapsed in less than two minutes in two almighty thumps revealing all this lovely lath and plaster work. This surely hasn't been seen since 1879 when the house was built and is a rather beautiful piece of handiwork. Sadly it will all be stripped out and replaced tomorrow with something less interesting and which probably won't last nearly as long.... but I am reliably told it has to be done. And me and the builder are listening mainly to The Silver Seas.