I was just at a kids birthday party where the highlight was not being in a hotel ballroom transformed into Disneyland (more on that in another blog), nor the quality of the entertainers or goody bags, but of warm home-made sweet madeleines made by the french dad and his daughter. Where do french women find husbands like that? Since I couldn’t change husbands, you see I am quite attached to mine, I asked him for the recipe and how long it took to make them. He replied breezily ‘I just looked ze recipe up on ze internet and it took me 20 minutes to make. 10 minutes to mix and 10 minutes in the oven’. That’s what I call very good foreplay. So for those women who want to impress at the school bake sale with something slightly more sophisticated than brownies and chocolate chip cookies, try this recipe. Or find yourself a sexy French man who will make them for you.
by Michel Roux Jr.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Brush the madeleine tray with melted butter then shake in a little flour to coat, tapping out the excess.
- Whisk together the eggs and the sugar in a bowl until frothy. Lightly whisk in the remaining ingredients. Leave to stand for 20 minutes before carefully pouring into the prepared madeleine tray.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture has risen a little in the middle and is fully cooked through. Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack and leave for a few minutes to cool slightly. These are best eaten within an hour of cooking.
Prequel to the review of Blue Jasmine, directed by Woody Allen, one of the most famous Jews known for being a Jew.
Weinstein, Blankfein, Einstein, Lichtenstein, Stein. This could be the premise of a new child’s game to name all the great jews with names ending with ‘-ein.’ I think I should have been born Jewish. I am an anxious, neurotic, person who loves to talk and gossip. I would also love to be intellectually superior to all my peers. Oh and I have a penchant for larger than average noses, which I find very sexy. I am actually and sincerely nose-o-philic. Three friends I know, a superwoman Vietnamese banker, a super tall blond glamazonian Dutch Cameron Diaz lookalike and an African American Ivy League graduate have all converted to Judaism. These minorities all wanted to be born Jewish too. Who wouldn’t want to be the minority who rules America?
In America, they are the Kings of the Economy (Goldman, Sachs, & Blankfein), Kings of Hollywood (Weinstein et al.), Kings of Comedy (Seinfeld, Stiller, Sandler), Kings of New York therefore the world (Bloomberg), Kings of Literature (Philip Roth, Allen Ginsberg, Mordechai Richler, Gertrude Stein), Kings of Physics and Relativity (Albert Einstein), Kings really of almost everything. I could go on but there isn’t enough space in my blog to list them all. Jews are 100% more clever than you or me. ‘How did you come up with this number?’ I can hear my sneering, sarcastic brother grilling and mocking me as I mention this statistic, so I prepare my answer. ‘Easy. 20% of all Nobel Laureates are Jews, but Jews only consist of 0.2% of the world population, therefore making them 100% more intelligent than the average Patel, Jones, Mohammed, or Li Ming. You can check on Wikipedia, Einstein.’ I will smugly retort.
Jews have migrated to almost every corner of the world, overcoming all kinds of adversity, which is what makes their community stronger and more resilient than most. I envy their sense of solidarity and community, which is almost a form of secret society like the Skull and Bones at Yale. I believe there is also a ‘Jewdar’ that allows them to spot a Jew from 20 meters away. They all seem to know each other and Friday night’s Shabat is a ritual of bread-eating, hat-wearing, juice-drinking that unites them in a way that they can find themselves anywhere in the world with a place to go to for dinner on Friday night. Except maybe Kings Road and Majorca. Read on:
A North London Jew meets an American Jew and they start dating. They fall in love and are deciding where to live. The American Jew lives in Kings Road, whilst the North London Jew, well, lives in North London. The American tries to convince the North Londoner to move to Kings Road, she responds ‘Kings Road? There are no Jews on Kings Road! I don’t need a lot of Jews, but I need SOME Jews!’
Another couple is made up of a non-Jew and Jew. They are lucky enough to have enough money to choose to live anywhere in the world. The non-Jew is looking at Majorca. It’s sunny, not too expensive, they have good international schools and they can adopt a Mediterranean lifestyle of good food, sunshine and have a beautiful house overlooking the azure Mediterranean sea. When she mentions this to her husband, he asks her how many Jews live on the island. She quickly turns to google and finds that 200 Jews live on the island. She breathes a sigh of relief and runs to tell her husband. He replies ‘200?! That’s not even the size of a small Jewish wedding!’ That quickly shatters her dreams of late lunches, siestas, tapas and Rioja by their pool in Deia.
So, why this sudden interest in Jews, you may ask me. Well, I am a fan of Woody Allen. Not for screwing his wife’s adoptive daughter while she was lovingly cooking his Matzo balls in their Kosher kitchen, but for his great films. His latest, Blue Jasmine, has just won Cate Blanchett an Oscar in the Best Actress category and is considered instrumental in making his comeback as a master filmmaker. Jews are great entertainers, being some of the best actors, screenwriters, and comedians around. Judd Apatow made us pee in our pants (or poo in our wedding dress for some) with the likes of Bridesmaids, Knocked up and Superbad, Ben Stiller’s Zoolander is a classic, and Seinfeld is too brilliant for words. And they also have Nathalie Portman who is every man’s wet dream.
I find that Jews are great at making others laugh by using their own shortcomings and flaws as a topic of conversation. They are witty observers of humanity, which Woody Allen achieves so well in his movies by making us cry and laugh, often at his own and others’ downfalls. Add that to the list of why I want to be an ‘-ein’
This weekend was the press launch of Kevin Pieterson’s new kids hair salon, Bella & Beau, on Ledbury Road. I booked an appointment when I saw the beautiful aquarium full of baby nemos and Ariel’s sebastians, angelfish and sea anemones and since M had never had a haircut, I thought it would be OK to splurge. There, one can choose from a red fire engine with bell, a retro plane or car to sit in during the haircut. You are given an Ipad with Peppa Pig or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to keep your kid’s head still during the haircut. There is an Alice in Wonderland sized pink piano with a large mirror out of snow white. Why don’t they have these kinds of hair salons for grown ups? I would certainly go for £100 a haircut. I told my high priestess of a hairdresser about M’s appointment and she tsk tsk’d me saying that a hair salon is not a playground and haircuts should be an experience for children to feel grown up. I cowered in shame under my gown and muttered under my breath that this was really just a one off.
The haircut itself was lovely, the lady was very sweet with M and all went accordingly to plan for the whole 5 minutes the haircut lasted, since it didn’t even include shampooing. That would equate to £5 a minute and I started to feel very guilty about this excess until I saw my daughter’s delighted face as she rang the fire engine’s bell.
I still am not sure how I stand on expensive kids’ haircuts, even though it was a lovely mummy baby bonding time. Please share your thoughts!
Bella & Beau
56 Ledbury Road
Private Members Club 5 Hertford Street
2-5 Hertford Street Mayfair, London W1J
Food: 2 stars
Atmosphere: 4 stars
Design: 4.5 stars
Price/Value Ratio: 1 star
Service: 3.5 stars
‘In London if you have £10,000,000 you’re poor’
Only in London and a place like 5HS or Loulou’s, as the cognoscenti like to call it, can you overhear someone saying that with £10,000,000 you are poor. This city never ceases to amaze me. I finally managed to fit in a dinner there after one year of hibernation post baby number 2 with Mr. C, my husband, and some Eurotrash friends. I had high hopes for this establishment, being lauded as a melting pot for celebrities, royals, billionaires and opened by Robin Birley in 2012, whose father was behind Annabel’s fame and mother was Lady Annabel Goldsmith.
Upon entering Loulou’s, first appearances satisfied the senses. The decor of thick fabrics, curtained doors, an eccentric oversized stuffed giraffe head, and bartenders in proper uniforms took me to a place where French boudoir meets Great Gabsy hedonism. The lights were so low that one could easily hide their flaws for the night. The scene was a smattering of older English aristocrats mixed in with American Hedge Funders, girls-night-out tables and twentysomething Eurocrats (Eurotrash aristocrats). Like Julie’s in Holland Park, there were small alcoves everywhere, perfect for hiding your mistresses or lovers. It was a good start to the evening. The Whiskey Bar was sexy and cool with lots of gold trimmings, although the cocktail I asked the bartender to make was nothing more than fruit juice mixed with vodka.
We found our table downstairs in Loulou’s, through a maze of stairs, curtains, alcoves and tables to a back room, which buzzed with conversations of term sheets and how much money you needed to feel rich these days. Completely obnoxious yet entertaining. Now for the food. The menu consisted of standard but unimaginative starters priced at £20-£30 and mains from £30-£40. For those prices I am expecting great food. Great food reminds you of places you have been through the memory of your tastebuds triggered by remembered tastes. The Arts Club menu charges similar prices but the food generally delivers. I was curious to see how this compared.
I ordered a starter of tuna tartare and the special of the day, lobster linguine. You can tell a lot by a tuna tartare, from the freshness of the ingredients to the chef’s mastery of flavours. A good tuna tartare in London is hard to find, California being the birthplace of tuna tartare, this one was married to an avocado layer. This version had bland, defrosted, chopped up tuna mixed with souring, stinging avocado. The chef must have forgotten the spices and left the avocado on the counter for too long. I was clearly more at a conveyor belt sushi chain than sitting in the Californian sun.
I chose a safer dish (or so I thought) as a main with my lobster linguine. We are closer to Italy and lobsters are easier to find in the Mediterranean than ahi Tuna so I hoped this would be an easier trip to make. To my disappointment, the pasta seemed to have been boiled from a bag of dry semolina pasta and the lobster was equally from a frozen bag, devoid of the sweet firmness of fresh lobster. The tomatoes were neither good nor bad, indicating a lack of awareness from the chef leaving the dish quite unremarkable and worthy of not much more than Carluccio’s. This was a far cry from the River Cafe’s delicate and freshly made pasta dishes made with carefully sourced ingredients, which managed to both ask yourself where you could find these tomatoes in London and simultaneously take you to a sunny terrace in Italy’s piazzas.
The desserts chosen by our host were sweet treats, sweet but lacking much character but by this time my attention and enthusiasm had considered wavered and I knew what to expect. Considering the cost of my meal, £22 for the starter, probably £40 for the main (the waiter omitted the price of the specials) and around £13 for a dessert, this is a place where if you start looking at the prices, you really shouldn’t be here because it will really leave you feeling sick. Therefore I opted not to look at the bill from fear of having to taste the tuna tartare again.
We then wandered to the main bar area of Loulou’s, another beautiful golden bar with white staffed bartenders, crammed with twenty year old rich kids with childish enthusiasm acting like they were in a music festival mosh pit only with Armani suits and Louis Vuitton handbags. This was my cue to leave. Our friends told us the party started later in the nightclub area and I could see the potential of a great night out of sweating, dancing, drinking shots, and dancing on tables being in a beautiful place full of beautiful people (helped by Botox, expensive clothes and dim red lights) but I was ready for an affair with my bed instead.
This place is perfect for those a) who don’t care what they eat or how much they spend on cafeteria food b) need a debaucherous night out away from their job/kids/husbands/wives or for their extramarital tryst c) aspirational twenty and thirty year olds dreaming of becoming the founder of the next big Hedge Fund or Net-a-porter. Next time, I will order a Gin and Tonic, which frankly would be hard to ruin, skip dinner, and hide in an alcove to listen and watch the outrageous crowd before heading to the dance floor.
Later, I sighed and turned to Mr. C in the comfort of our Uber Mercedes on our way home and asked ‘Am I too old for this?’ ‘Yes’ he replied, ‘you would have loved it at 20.’