When I was growing up, Pancake Day in the Little Loaf household involved crêpes. Not the fluffy stacks of American-style pancakes which have become so popular, but good-old fashioned, lacy thin crêpes with all the added fun of flipping involved. Of course one would always stick to the pan, another to the ceiling and nobody could eat at the same time as we flipped and rolled and trailed spoons of batter all over the hob and floor, but that was all part of the chaotic fun that was Shrove Tuesday.
When I was little I loved helping my Mum out with drinks parties. It felt exciting and somehow glamorous to be staying up late, dressing up smart and pushing trays of canapés round a room of grown-ups, eavesdropping on their conversations and sipping soft drinks from my very own champagne glass. And then there was the food – making it in advance with my Mum, arranging salamis and cheese straws on plates or punching cocktail sticks into a melon (this was the ’80s, after all), offering plates of treats to guests and seeing the smiles on their faces with that very first bite. Continue reading
James Ramsden is a high achiever. Trained at Ballymaloe cookery school in Ireland, he started blogging back in 2008 and has since carved himself a career as a respected food writer for The Guardian, The Times, Sainsbury’s magazine and more. Not content with writing for broadsheets, magazines and maintaining a successful blog, he also runs a popular supper club from his home in North London and has just published his first book. All at the tender age of 24. That’s two years younger than me. By rights I should be green with envy.
But I’m not. There’s something extremely likeable about James and his attitude to food. He wants cooking to be simple and he wants it to be enjoyable. He appreciates the fact that, for most people, eating isn’t necessarily an endless succession of dinner-party-standard meals – that in any given week we’ll fluctuate between feeding large groups of friends and throwing together a solitary supper. His attitude reminds me of a cross between a younger Jamie Oliver (minus the cheeky chappy vocab) and my own boyfriend (like James, Carniverous Boyfriend is a Yorkshire boy). Maybe it’s an age thing. Maybe it’s a boy thing. But I definitely feel like there’s a lot I can learn from his enthusiastic, experimental, laid-back approach to cooking. Food should be fun.