I'm very aware that I haven't written anything since last month. Having said that, I'm not especially keen on the blogger who only posts sporadically, with accompanying gushy excuses about "being incredibly busy" and "life is hectic". You will know the type. It's a bit like people who are late for meetings complaining about the "awful traffic". In Soho, Covent Garden or St James's.
But this time, I have a proper excuse: I've been working for the last six months on my new online decorative antiques shop (www.lukehoney.co.uk). I don't normally plug my "other life" on The Greasy Spoon, but this time I'm going to. Unashamedly. It's currently a holding page, although you can quite easily log on, and sign up for my regular newsletter. I'm expecting the site to go officially live over the next few days.
Although I'm currently known in the business as a specialist in antique games (you know the sort of thing- ivory chess sets, leather backgammon boards, eighteenth century gambling chips, mah jong, interesting antique roulette wheels) I'm also going to be dealing in other Country House goodies: Regency reverse glass mezzotints, Fornasetti, Modern British paintings and prints, Gothic revival furniture, old ikats, Chinese blue and white ceramics, convex Empire mirrors, library ladders, vintage globes, fascinating old medical charts. There's going to be a blog too, linked to the site. A new blog on antiques, architecture, design and the like; anything that grabs me- and as you've probably worked out by now, I've got eclectic interests.
In the meantime, back to the food- and long may that continue. Grub Street very kindly sent me an advance copy of Nathalie Hambro's Particular Delights through the post. I'm a big fan of Grub Street. They publish foodie authors of interest, and I love the quality of their production: lovely smooth, creamy paper; well sewn bindings, soothing typography, tasteful illustrations.
Particular Delights was first published in 1981 and won the Glenfiddich Award for food writing, and it's been a favourite on my bookshelf for some time now. Some of Nathalie Hambro's recipes are a bit weird, (I seem to remember a scrambled egg studded with kidney beans, and a celery and banana salad), but that would be missing the point; the book is stunningly original. I like the sound of Grape and Radish salad (sliced radishes, black and white grapes, bound in a yoghurt and dill dressing) and Smoked Oysters steamed in Vine Leaves (vine leaves stuffed with ricottta cheese, smoked oysters, dried fungi, coriander, spinach and spring onions and seasoned with cayenne pepper, mace and salt).
I like cooks who invent their own dishes. If this sort of thing floats your boat, have a look at Sybil Kapoor's Taste, A New Way to Cook; and Niki Segnit's The Flavour Thesaurus. Experimentation and Creativity are the way forward!