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elevenses

February 18, 2011





(fergus henderson enjoying his seed cake & madeira for elevenses, from “beyond nose to tail: a kind of british cooking: part II“)


. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

seed cake and madeira, a match made in heaven.

as the wise fergus henderson has said, it’s good to enjoy a little “something to keep you steady” around 11am … also known as “elevenses” in the UK.  and he recommends a slice of seed cake with madeira.

when i heard this almost a year ago, i vowed to make the st. john seed cake and enjoy it with a glass of madeira. it took me some time to finally do it but i think this will be a regular habit around here. the seed cake is incredible; it uses caraway seeds (caraway is a main ingredient in rye bread).  it’s really excellent.

this is why i love st. john, their restaurants, their cookbooks and the entire enterprise. they take simple things and make them special … extraordinary even.  in this instance, a few moments during your day when you can sit down to a slice of cake and a little nip of madeira. isn’t that the good life?  be kind to yourself and follow fergus’ example. you won’t regret it.

(the seed cake recipe can be found in an article here [i love the part about what a snack should be: “the very evanescent nature of the snack lends itself to a certain kind of delight, like a nocturne or a study in music”]. madeira is available from many wine shops)

. . . .

speaking of st. john, the hotel is opening soon after some delays and this video on nowness is blowing my mind.  i can’t stop watching it – it’s brilliant.

i have some special guests in town this weekend and i’m taking them to st. john on saturday night… we’re very excited.  i hope you’ll eat something tasty this weekend, too.  cheers.

15 Comments
  1. Sarah permalink
    February 18, 2011 8:27 am

    Just moved to Seattle (and by just moved, I mean we are arriving later today after a week-long road trip from DC)-I think this should be a tradition in our new home. Lovely.

  2. February 18, 2011 8:42 am

    did you ever find the madeira we tried? we asked again but no luck so far.

    have a wonderful weekend. it’s dim sum tonight for us but no other plans so far although homemade baked beans with bacon and bourbon might feature.

  3. marthasnail permalink
    February 18, 2011 8:44 am

    what a wonderful post. love that photo of fergus eating his seed cake. hope you enjoy your dinner tonight (i want to hear what you eat).

  4. Christophe permalink
    February 18, 2011 8:50 am

    Ah, go on I’ll comment here too…top photo is a real cracker mate.

    Video is wonderful isn’t it? Haven’t seen it with sound yet and dare say it won’t be the last time I watch it either. Agreed, you’ve got to love how Fergus refers to things being steadying…total legend.

    Have a brilliant weekend!

  5. Birchstar permalink
    February 18, 2011 9:33 am

    Just like Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit!” I can’t wait to try this recipe :)

  6. February 18, 2011 10:17 am

    your photos make me want to take pictures all day long.

  7. February 18, 2011 10:35 am

    well inspired of this nice post I understand I now reallyreally FINALLY have to actually enter st john and try out their tempting menu – walking past it almost every day, but never had the chance!

    my everyday elevenses: a cup matcha tea and a yoghurt-nut cracker.
    mmm, and let noon come along.

  8. February 18, 2011 11:50 am

    I loved the article and video. So many good things here. Happy weekend, Brian.

  9. February 18, 2011 8:33 pm

    I have both St Johns cookbooks and look forward to trying the restaurant when I visit London in the Fall. I can hardly wait.

  10. margaret permalink
    February 18, 2011 11:15 pm

    a bit of madeira at 11am every day sounds very nice…

  11. Misty Ihrke permalink
    February 20, 2011 9:46 am

    For those of us in the States, what is caster sugar?

  12. February 21, 2011 3:42 am

    We need to clock in some bacon sandwiches soon, too!

  13. February 21, 2011 5:55 pm

    it makes me want a good glass of french or south african wine :P
    great pictures as usual

  14. rob permalink
    February 21, 2011 10:13 pm

    @ Misty… Caster sugar is really fine sugar. It is sometimes sold in the US as “superfine” or “fruit” sugar. It’s good for recipes that require you to dissolve the sugar in a cold liquid (like meringues). For the seed cake recipe above, you would be fine with normal granulated sugar.

    Nice post Brian! Fergus is the best!

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