11 Apr 2021

Sunday Small Talk #8: The Letterbox Food You Need In Your Belly

Letterbox food

Tomorrow is going to be a good day lads. The bookshop opens. The pub opens. Whether I have time to get in either of them, because I stupidly did not take the day off, remains to be seen but that’s not the point. It’s a new week and I will have the option to browse bookshops and drink in pubs again. We’re on the up.  


Before I celebrate the return of eating out though, I just want to give a little thanks to the letterbox food that has provided much needed salvation on birthdays, celebrations and dull Thursday nights during lockdown. These have been my faves:


Crème cookies 


Sending a box of these beauties does seem to now be the default Christmas/birthday gift between my friend and I, and I ain’t mad about it. We’ve loved them ever since we first visited the store and several boxes have been sent since that point. These huge, gooey cookies are just the best, they come in a gorgeous pink box and you have to order at least 6 in one go… shame... 


Pasta Evangelists 


Fresh pasta through the letterbox? With fancy sauces? What’s not to love? We bought a box for my birthday and I can confirm, it was delicious. Have so far resisted making it a regular subscription…


Franco Manca Pizza In The Post

 

One of my easy London catch-up-after-work restaurants, I have really missed those cheap sourdough pizzas in lockdown. I finally cracked and bought their letterbox kit for a random Friday night and, whilst not quite as good as in the restaurant, it was still very tasty and easy to make. 


Dishoom Bacon Naan Roll Kit 


You’re probably familiar with the famous Dishoom bacon naan roll but if not – bacon & cream cheese in a naan bread with chilli jam. Sounds slightly random, tastes bloody delicious. So easy to make at home and brings that going-out-for-brunch vibe back to a Saturday morning. 


Rick Stein At-Home Food Boxes 


This was one of my birthday presents for Gary and if you’re looking for something for a special occasion (or just fancy splashing out) at home, then I would recommend. It was about as close to the fancy-restaurant vibe as you’re going to get whilst still being at the kitchen table. We ordered the steak box which was so good but they do veggie and fish boxes as well, and they are all 3 courses. 


The Pudding Stop Letterbox Brownies 


One of our favourites when we lived in St Albans, I feel like I’ve been waiting for them to start doing letterbox brownies since I left. With a choice of chocolate brownie, salted caramel & peanut butter brownie, butterscotch blondie, raspberry & white chocolate blondie, caramel slice or rocky road, all in a letterbox-friendly box, these are a great gift to send someone (cough yourself cough). 



9 Apr 2021

Reading Recap: The Books I Read In March

 The Books I Read In March

David and Ameena – Ami Rao

I loved this book. David and Ameena meet by chance on the subway; he is American-Jewish and she is British-Pakistani and they begin a relationship amongst the backdrop of music, painting and New York City whilst navigating different backgrounds, politics and strong ambitions. Whilst their love story is at the heart of the novel, I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is a romance novel. It’s about art and culture, race and religion, and how our family history continues to impact us years down the line. We spend plenty of time with their family, friends, work colleagues and see how they form part of David and Ameena’s individual identities as well as their relationship. I didn’t always like David or Ameena but I think their flaws are what made the story so beautiful and human. I loved the lyrical writing and the way the city, the art and the jazz are just as intrinsical to the story as the characters. 5/5

Woven In Moonlight – Isabel Ibanez 

I think it was probably the beautiful cover (designed by the author herself!) that drew me to this book, that and just wanting a bit of fantasy to dive into. Based in a fantasy South America, Ximena is a decoy for the Condesa Catalina, the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the Llascan King revolted ten years ago. Now he wants the Condesa’s hand in marriage and Ximena will go in her place to spy on the King, and help return Catalina to the throne. What follows is a story full of magic, mouth-watering food descriptions, great characters and a forbidden romance. I particularly enjoyed the idea of the main character unlearning the propaganda and prejudices she has been taught since a child. I did think it was a little slow in places and I think it could have potentially been better without the romance, but it was an enjoyable read. 3/5

Written In Starlight – Isabel Ibanez 

This is a companion novel to Woven in Moonlight (although I personally think you need to have read the first to understand the second), told from the perspective of Catalina who only briefly features in the first book. Banished to the jungle and ‘betrayed’ by her best friend, Catalina intends to find the mysterious Illari people, form an alliance and take back the throne. Unfortunately, I really disliked the character of Catalina and, whilst she does develop and improve as the story goes on, I spent most of my time rolling my eyes at her. I did admire the author’s boldness in taking a character who is incapable of looking after herself and very self-centred (and a touch racist) and have her grow dramatically over the novel but she just got on my nerves too much, personally. But I really loved the world of the magical jungle and the vivid writing that described it. Would quite happily read another book set there, just with a different character. 2/5 


Happy reading folks x