Wednesday 11 March 2009


When Chris spied the cavolo nero on Sunday I had a vague memory of a recipe involving cavolo nero with an egg perched on top. Eventually that vague memory became more solid, more identifiable, more Orangette shaped. I had remembered it as curly kale but no it was, handily enough, cavolo nero/Tuscan kale/black cabbage.

No one likes having to pick favourites (it is a bit too close to those uncomfortable days of being picked last or, on a good day second from last, for the team during double hockey on a Wednesday morning), but if you made me choose just one blog I wouldn't even have to think about it. It's not that I don't enjoy the rest, I do, but I would have to pick Orangette. It is the only one that has me checking for updates every Tuesday morning while I watch the news and eat breakfast. It is the only one that makes me a little bit sad when there is no update ready for me to read before I leave for work (a rare event), and the one that gets me most excited about cooking, writing, and bettering my attempts with a camera.

So, when I saw that UK Amazon had the book ready to ship a week before its publication date I was pressing 'express delivery' without a thought. We ate the chana masala last week and, thank you Brandon, it was delicious. I need to find a reason to make the cornbread for mopping up maple syrup, the berried pound cake, the chocolate cake so good it became a wedding cake, the pickled carrots, the oven roasted tomatoes, the French toast... I think you get the gist. I read the book too quickly (when will I learn), it was finished and it had made me cry twice, proper tears, on the bus. The wedding almost got me as well but I just about managed to hold it together, if I had been at home on my own it may have been a very different story, one involving swollen eyes and a very red nose.

I thought I would make one of the recipes from the book to post with this but actually, now I think about it, this kale recipe is the perfect choice. When I think of Orangette I think of baked goods that make you want to be invited round for a cup of tea and a chocolate chip cookie, or banana bread (she shares my obsession here), or that chocolate cake. I think of the story that comes with every recipe. And I think of vegetables that are usually dismissed as dull, cabbage, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, but become utterly desirable when chopped and sauteed and photographed on that white table under the window with the soft Seattle light shining through.

Boiled kale with a fried egg and toast. It may not sound like the most earth shattering stuff but try it and see and for that I will hand you over to the girl in question...


shanna said...

I agree, and I love her. So sad the book is over now (I did the fast thing, too), but I do still have the recipes to try. The chocolate cake will be first. And I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Lovely writing gemma, you have a whiff of orangette yourself, gentle, pursuasive, honest and real.
I havn't read her book yet but look forward to it but I share your tuesday anticipation.
Eggs on top are pretty unbeatable in my book

Molly said...

Thank you for this sweet post and review, Gemma! I hardly know what to say, except that you are a lovely, lovely writer. I am absolutely honored to think that Orangette is your favorite blog. Thank you.


P.S. Since you mentioned the berry pound cake, I have to warn you: a nasty typo sneaked into the ingredients list for that recipe. So grab a pen, open the book to page 20, and take note: the amount of butter should be 2 ½ sticks (10 ounces), not 2 ½ cups. That might not matter for you, since the measurement in sticks is for U.S. readers, but I wanted to give you a heads-up anyway. Better safe than sorry, right?

Gemma said...

Molly - thank you for stopping by and thank you for your sweet comment. I have annotated the pound cake recipe as instructed. I usually stick to weights for butter as cramming it into a cup can get a little messy but you never know.

Rachel - thank you. And, yes, eggs on top is always a good fallback option!

Shannalee - I always read good books much too quickly, once a fast reader always a fast reader (although I have been reading and enjoying Love in A Cold Climate and funnily enough only manage a few short chapters at a time). I'll look forward to seeing how the chocolate cake works out for you.

Gemma x

Kelly-Jane said...

I'll have to have a shuffty over to amazon... :)