On Friday, I was invited to a book launch in London. This, in itself, was exciting. It meant getting up extra early to bake my morning orders...coming home to dress in a manner befitting (what is that exactly?? I later felt that I should have worn something pink...I'll explain why in a while!) and catching the 10am train into town. We British often, for some reason, call London 'town'!
After staying on various trains for as long as possible, due to a quite magnificent rainstorm (I did take an umbrella, but it was small...), losing my beloved pocket street directory and wandering in a circle for 40 minutes (!) I finally arrived at the beautiful venue, the Knightsbridge branch of chocolate emporium Rococo . I've only been to the (much smaller) Marylebone store....this was large and open, decorated beautifully with displays of gorgeously wrapped chocolates & had a small cafe area at the back of the shop. I knew that I was heading in the right direction when I saw a selection of fabulous cakes, together with stacks of the new book, arranged on tables near the stairs! Once again, I had the strange but wonderful experience of meeting people that I felt I knew well from their blogs...but had never actually spoken to! I was greeted so warmly by everyone, that I immediately lost any residual shyness and plunged straight in to chatting and eating some of the amazing cakes!
The biggest thrill was finally meeting the author, Vanessa Kimbell. She is one of those people that are, truly, larger than life...her personality lit up the room as she embraced and welcomed us all and the happiness & pride in her achievement glowed from her like a beacon!
'Prepped' is her first cookbook, and it will, I hope and predict, not be the last! You can read all about the journey from concept to finished book on her blog, here ,which was started as she had the idea to write & publish the book within a year, and is full of interesting tips and anecdotes on the pleasures and pitfalls of embarking on such a daunting challenge!
It's concept is that, like a professional chef, the home cook can save time, energy and often money by thinking ahead and 'prepping' a few key ingredients in advance. She cleverly links recipes, which are grouped into chapters by flavour. While most of the recipes are simple enough to be attempted by anyone, the tastes created are deceptively complex and delicious...plenty of new twists to keep experienced cooks as happy as the comparative novice.
When Vanessa was writing her recipes, she cleverly recruited an army of 'real people' to test them...mainly other food bloggers... who called themselves the 'Prepperati'! They all wore something pink to the launch, and it was wonderful to see these people, who in many instances had never met, squeal with delight as they recognised each other and launched immediately into exchanging their experiences of the testing process!
Sustained by delicious coffee, eating slices of Cardamom & Rose Victoria Sponge and Chocolate Chili Cupcakes and chatting into the afternoon about food and writing....pure bliss! As I stepped out into the now bright, warm sunshine, I felt so happy and honoured to be part of this wonderful creative world...
I've already made the Lavender and Lemon Cake from the book...and as this morning is wet and chilly, I may just bake that divine Cardamom Sponge too...
Hoping your weekend is wonderful xo
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