KP+: Basil cake with roasted plums
The joy of summer's green oils.
Hello KP+ gang,
It’s so lovely to be here. I hope all is well in your world.
Although I’ve got LOTS of inspiration from my US trip, today’s newsletter is inspired by a meal I had much closer to home. Thanks to one rather green cake I enjoyed in London last week, I’m excited to share the recipe for bright green basil cake made with a stunning oil (you can apply the method to anything!) with roasted plums and creme fraiche:
After arriving back in London, I met two friends in Spring, Skye Gyngell’s restaurant in Somerset House. It’s the closest restaurant I can think of to San Francisco’s famously seasonal Chez Panisse in spirit and taste. The menu is unfussy but well-considered and is put together with style and restraint. Much of the produce is grown at the famously elusive Fern Verrow farm (a biodynamic farm in Hertfordshire which grows fruit and flowers exclusively for Spring), but they also source from their farm at Heckfield Place in Hampshire.
Spring is… fancy. The room is beautiful, and the FOH are dressed in a uniform that is on the stylish side of Handmaid's Tale. It’s totally an occasion restaurant - my sister had her wedding there in 2020 - and the price of a meal there can be prohibitive. However, Spring does offer something quite fun every day - their ‘scratch’ menu. Available from 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm daily, the scratch menu is a £25 set menu which utilises ‘waste’ or ‘leftovers’ from the kitchen. This might mean offcuts of pasta from making ravioli, unsold loaves turned into perfect bread and butter puddings, or soups with roasted cauliflower leaves or turnip tops. It is all presented and put together in the spirit of their a la carte menu, with thoughtful flavours and beautiful visuals, so you get the Spring experience at a fraction of the price.
On the evening we visited, the dessert was a delicious Fig leaf cake with nectarines. It came out: A perfect slice of bottle green cake. I was in love:
The flavour was subtle - in fact, I thought it WAS a basil cake because, to me, it tasted more herbaceous than coconutty. Fortunately, that error in my taste buds was the perfect inspiration for today’s newsletter, especially since basil goes so well with our fruit du jour: The plum.