Sunday 14 November 2010


After almost four months away from this place I wasn't quite sure where to begin.

I considered the new stationery option, fresh start, fresh blog but I couldn't. It seemed wrong. This place reflects the ups and downs of the last few years including many that I haven't mentioned, brushes with tough decision making, the difficulties of the current economy, trying and failing to switch off and stop thinking about London, Edinburgh, London, Edinburgh, London...

So let me just say this. We're here, in Edinburgh, in a new flat with room to cook and a table where we can feed people. We have walls where we can finally put things up, a bay window and wooden floors, we even have a pantry which makes me very very happy. We have been sitting at the table looking out at the life on the street below and during the day we can, through the buildings in front, see just a glimpse of the sea and Fife in the background.

And I have a job. I start tomorrow and am both excited and nervous. It's a change for me, no more publishing for now. I may tell you more about it someday but for now let me just say that I'm looking forward to getting back to it, I'm looking forward to normality resuming, and now I can finally look forward to the end of the year and Christmas.

But for now I am cooking again. There have been big salads and soups, shepherd's pie and spaghetti bolognese, lemon cake and granola. There is an entire bookshelf in the kitchen just for cookery books. It's slightly terrifying but clearly not terrifying enough to stop me from buying yet more. Recent purchases include 'Kitchenella' which I adore and not only because the cover is my very favourite colour, 'Tender: Volume II', 'How I Cook', and, of course, 'Kitchen'.

Have you seen the old Nigel Slater series Real Food? It's pretty cringeworthy stuff but the highlight is seeing Nigella before she became the Domestic Goddess. It reminds me of why How to Eat was and is such a fabulous book, just Nigella at her original best.

But while 'Kitchen' isn't my favourite, How to Eat and Feast are and are likely to remain so, it is readable and filled with recipes that I want to cook and when I settle into a new kitchen and back into some semblance of normality one of the first things my thoughts turn to is baking. Having eaten a loaf of delicious caraway seed bread last week the caraway seed cake seemed like the perfect way to road test the oven. It is marzipanny from the ground almonds with the sour undercurrent that comes from caraway. It was good on the first day but on days two, three and four it had settled into something better, a cake to keep in the kitchen during the week, a cake to take slices of in a lunchbox, a cake to whip up when something plain but not boring is called for.


Molly said...

So glad you're back, friend. The new flat sounds just right, and I love the sound of what you've been cooking in it! Good luck with the new job tomorrow. xo to you and C.

Nora said...

A larder?! So jealous! And the cake looks fab - just the thing for settling into a new kitchen, job, etc. Good luck with your first day!

Shauna said...

So happy to see you writing again! Your flat sounds fabbo . Hope you're enjoying rediscovering Edinburgh. All the best for the new job :)

Sarah said...

Welcome back to blogging!

The seed cake looks lovely; must put it on my list to try. :)

I loved Real Food, hehe. So many sexual double entendres and dodgy 80's sax!

xox Sarah

Anonymous said...

yeah! great to see you around these parts again.

Gemma said...

Thank you all!

Nora - it's not quite cold enough to be a proper larder but does have shelves to store lots of dried ingredients so close enough for me!


Unknown said...

Ahh, so nice to see you blogging again Gemma AND really happy that you and Chris are settled in your new pad and you start a new job - all wonderful news.

Song Que will be missing your pennies! Talking of asian food - have you read Tamarind and Thyme blog:

Great for Asian food obsessives!

So, Dan and I will book ourselves a little visit in the New Year and will look forward to some deep fried pizza's ha!

Cas and Dan

Alicia Foodycat said...

Good luck with the new job!

I'm really enjoying Kitchen the series, and the dishes I have made so far make me think I will probably get the book.

Gemma said...

Hi Cassie, great to hear from you! We are missing Song Que like crazy, I should try to learn to cook some Vietnamese food but it wouldn't be quite the same without our moustachioed friend to serve the food! You and Dan should come up any time Gx

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Welcome back - if you want to ease yourself back into blogging why not join my new Forever Nigella event with one of those How to Eat/Feast recipes?

I've got Kitchen but not really read much of it yet.