20 April 2021

Bloomsbury Gardens

Posted by the Cake Shop

Dear Friends,

A big thanks to all of the regulars who have dropped by the shop over the last few weeks, and just as big a thanks to all of those who have written us emails and messages to keep in touch. We’re all taking our time to get used to the idea of going back out; the question is how to do this gently, how to nourish ourselves in these times of reopening, how to integrate our personal pace into the wider social rhythm again.

Terry says:

I’ve been trying to focus on my immediate environment, which while I’m at work means the parks and squares of Bloomsbury. It’s still quiet here in the centre – without the murmur of tourists or the buzz of many people working in offices near by, the ambience is hushed. Sitting out in the courtyard, watching our new plants take root, it feels like a quieter European city.

I’ve been leafing through The Bloomsbury Cookbook again for inspiration. There’s a certain resonance – it’s comforting to see how this particular band of friends stayed connected through food throughout the global shake-ups of the 20th century. I’ve got Lytton Strachey’s Freedom Pie earmarked, and Vanessa’s Loving Cup – champagne, madeira, brandy, lemon balm and little blue borage flowers.

Borage is growing in abundance around here if you fancy a forage, which I always do. The elderflower is just beginning to come out; there’s chamomile for tea; dandelions, steamed or in a salad; wild garlic, hawthorn and nettle tips, comfrey and chickweed for salad greens or a spring pie.

I like the idea of a cold weather picnic: a good solid pie or a quiche, something that will hold up in a backpack as you bike, and a thermos of hot boozy tea. You could make some herby scones – maybe they’re still a little bit warm because you’ve wrapped them in a tea towel – and bring a tin of salmon or trout pate to pop on top of them. You might be standing in a park, peeling a boiled egg, or meandering off to look for edible flowers and greens – I guess I’m looking for a mellow way to reconnect, a recipe for sustained and nourishing re-entry.

You can always drop by the shop to pick up some cold weather picnic supplies – order a spring tart from us, or a loaf cake. We’ve been making a roasted walnut banana chocolate loaf that’s a real treat, and our rum-soaked cherry vanilla loaf isn’t too shabby either. We’ve got plenty of space in the courtyard outside, and all the parks of Bloomsbury at our fingertips.

And speaking of the courtyard, our next Boozy Tunes Saturday takes place on Saturday 1 May (Beltane). We’d love to see you there, sipping on a bergamot marmalade G&T or a lush glass of Vanessa’s Loving Cup. Watch the website and our Instagram for a link to book your spot.

See you soon,

The Cake Shop team

Books mentioned in this blog post