I'm excited this week. For two reasons, primarily. Both MMB related. I could go into the non-MMB related reasons I'm also excited about but then before you know it I'd have gone down one of 'those' rabbit holes and I'd be rambling to you about Jesus Christ Superstar, house plants and haircuts. No need.
The first reason I'm excited is because tomorrow I am off to London to do some essential research and development. I am visiting a number of places that have inspired me since day one of MMB but have never had the time to get to and properly recce. In fact my list is so long and ever-growing it's going to take more than one visit (hard life). But the fact I have found the time to go and do this research is a big step forward for the MMB journey. I read a phrase in a business book years ago that said 'work ON your business, not IN your business' and I've struggled to get to that point for so long. But here we are. It's happening. And hopefully you will be the grateful recipients of all the inspiration gleaned and brought back to sunny Saffron Walden before too long. I'll let you know how I get on. And if you have any recommendations of places that really should be added to my list then do let me know (just please ommit anywhere that prides itself on serving wheatgrass, aloe vera shots or low-fat anything).
And the second reason I am excited is because this week sees the arrival of Portuguese Tarts at MMB. This is a big deal for me because not only has new teammate Alison perfected a beautiful recipe with the most crunchy of pastry bases filled with a delicious homemade custard which you are going to devour in seconds, but because Portuguese Tarts is the final piece of the jigsaw that I wanted to offer since MMB's infancy, alongside sourdough and cinnamon buns. But, like the buns, I didn't want to cut corners and until one of us had the time to make proper pastry then I wasn't willing to put them on the counter. If you scroll far enough back on my Instagram feed you'll find my home trial testings of them in 2017. I remember taking some into Bicicletta (the local cafe I was working in at the time) and dreaming of the day I could possibly put some on their counter to sell, let alone my own counter.
So here we are and that's why these little tarts are a big deal for me. Because every now and then we all have to look back and recognise how far we've come. And MMB, with it's super team whom I could do none of this without, is doing well. And I am really proud.
The Portuguese Tarts (or Pastel de Nata as we might decide to label them, because it sounds fancy) will first arrive on our counter on Saturday morning alongside Sally's super Vanilla Buns and Cinnamon Buns (have you tried a Vanilla Bun yet?? Good LORD they are quite something). And then we plan to have them every Saturday morning thereafter. Depending on demand we may then add them to our weekday offering but one step at a time. You can't rush a good Pastel de Nata.
For those of you heading to us tomorrow (Thursday), you will be rewarded with a fresh harvest of organic asparagus from the gardening team at Audley End House & Gardens. We are so lucky to have built a relationship with the guys down there so we can provide you with THE best, most local, most lovingly grown and super fresh fruit and vegetables from time to time. The asparagus I have just picked up was harvested this morning and the flavour is sublime (did you know asparagus grows about two inches every day? I didn't. Just a little bit of trivia...) . We had some of the Audley End asparagus last week with some of the Cacklebean Eggs and the Elrick Log goats cheese from Neal's Yard Dairy and it did not disappoint. In fact our (fussy) youngest daughter was a fan which really is testament to its deliciousness. So that'll be on the counter from 9am on Thursday and available until all 5kg has sold out.
Sourdough wise, Jeff has just returned from foraging more Wild Garlic ready for the Friday and Saturday Wild Garlic Sourdough special so if you haven't yet been lucky enough to bag one of these loaves then do try again this week. We have upped our production of Rugbrøds as these seem to be getting more and more popular, and we are now on our final couple of bags of the Miller's Choice flour from Duchess Farms which we use to make our Heritage Grains loaf. Don't worry - we will be getting more flour, grown and milled by Duchess Farms down the road (using their new mill we all helped to fund), but it's a new grain which we will need to get used to working with. Could be interesting. So do grab a Heritage Grains loaf now before it's too late and they're gone forever!
And I think that's it for now. Well it probably isn't it to be fair. I usually write a list of all the things I need to tell you about, but I've lost it. amongst a myriad of receipts and recipes. So who knows what riveting ramblings I've failed to entertain you with. Maybe I should fill you in on my tantalising house plant excitement... or put my pre-weekend 'Jesus Christ Superstar: 70s film vs 90s stage production' analysis to you for your input before Saturday. I know, I know...my life is just one big rollercoaster of fun and excitement that you all wish you could jump on and ride alongside me with.
Ok, I'm rapidly diverting. I'm going. See you soon!