When absent friends collide
Posted by the Cake Shop
This summer, the hot weather and the return of absent friends alchemises into something especially golden.
For me, this bright peak of July has coincided with old friends coming out of the woodwork. And not just any friends: my Bourdainian mates, the ones who push me on food adventures throughout the city. I love the journey of us, trucking around in the full-blown ripeness of the July heat, staying out and staying up to eat and drink our way from day til night and back again. The romance of the quest, digging out the hole-in-the-wall places; the philosophical nuances; the deeper treasure of conversation, discussing the intricacies of bouillabaisse and urchin over tasting menus, or lying under big oak trees eating rhododendron ice cream in a state of hazy delirium. It’s not about the name of the restaurant – it’s about the spark, the rag-tag ruggedness, the sense of communion.
When I think about the spirit of these friendships, I think about Anthony – Saint Bourdain, in the most human way possible. His demise is still heartbreaking, but what lingers for me is his joy and curiosity: the way that he came across as open to pure experience, boyish and hungry for life; his enthusiasm for precisely the kind of urban food adventure I adore.
I remember the first times I experienced this as a teen, in our punkier new-wave vegetarian days: hunting down soy milk in Chinatown, traveling all the way across Melbourne to look for a Lebanese restaurant a friend had stumbled across. His satisfaction as he watched our reactions while we ate: you’re allowed to put this many herbs in an omelette? Pickled turnips? Mind blown.
Friends are showing up, and so are fruits – a little later than I expected this year, perhaps delayed by the lorries not coming in, coupled with the rains. I spied punnets of gooseberries in Fulham Broadway this morning and thought: cordials and shrubs! Long meandering conversations call for long cold drinks – summer socialising wouldn’t be the same without them. I’ve been perfecting iced teas in anticipation (this rooibos, strawberry and balsamic number will be making an appearance in the Cake Shop soon) to keep us sparkling and refreshed as we vibe.
I'll leave you with a little Bourdain love, and this recipe for a big jug of love.
Rooibos and Strawberry Iced Infusion
Steep the rooibos in a big 16oz teapot for 10 minutes. Decant in to a large Pimms-style jug and leave to cool.
Wash and thinly slice your strawberries, then pour the balsamic over them. Toss lightly and add a sprinkle of sea salt. Chill for an hour or so.
Combine the strawberries and the rooibos infusion, and refrigerate again until chilled. Serve with a slice of orange, mint and loads of ice.