Blowing in the Wind(mill)
We love our customers :-) Of course everyone says that about their customers but we’re so lucky not only to have them, but also to meet them in person at various farmers’ markets. It’s great because we get to chat and exchange opinions and ideas and it’s so lovely that sometimes our customers share things with us. Our most recent gift from one of them was a bag of wholemeal flour.
By coincidence I was looking for some recipes for wholemeal flour (as I hadn’t baked with it for a while) and there I go, Nigel brings back this lovely packet with a picture of a familiar looking windmill on it from Herne Hill Market. Then I realised it was the same windmill I could see in the distance that I used to pass by on the bus travelling through South London - Brixton Windmill. I was always curious about it, but back then it looked deserted and I didn’t think it was be possible to visit. Windmills are charming, unusual buildings with interesting histories and I was drawn to them and always wanted to see inside. The lovely gift of The Brixton Windmill wholemeal flour not only enabled me to bake a delicious cake, but I also discovered that this once sad old looking windmill now is up and running and looking at the website event’s, it’s usually buzzing with activities & events which is so nice to know! I had no idea that it had been restored and even better, that it’s being used for its original purpose of milling flour again, thanks to The Friends of Windmill Gardens. Apart from flour, it’s good to know that they also sell some fabulous looking merchandise including mugs and tea towels. Can one ever have too many mugs and tea towels? We think not :-) - they look great and would make lovely presents.
So what did I make with that kind gift of the wholemeal flour from our customer who is one of the volunteers at Brixton Windmill? I couldn’t recall making a particularly delicious cake from wholemeal flour before (as they can be rather heavy) so I went for help to one of my favourite baking books Short & Sweet by Dan Lepard and found Cinnamon cake with blackberries.
I overwhipped the cream a bit and didn’t even have blackberries (instead I used frozen raspberries which I reduced with sugar) but the recipe was yet another success from Dan’s amazing baking book! The recipe was so good, and approved by all family members that I will bake it again, next time hopefully with fresh local blackberries from Kent! Now what tea would one have with it? As Brixton Windmill is based in South London, we think a good choice of tea to go with a delicious spongy cake such as this is our Balham Blend – a black tea we started blending back in 2007 and supplying to Trinity Stores in Balham (South London), then it was called Balham Builder’s Blend. This blend of high-quality large leaf Assam, Ceylon and Darjeeling teas is a great thirst quencher with pleasing malty and muscat notes, and hence is our TEA OF THE MONTH!
We have such fond memories of visiting the wonderful Trinity Stores in Balham with its big bay windows on Station Road, next to our favourite My Back Pages second hand book store, listed in The Guardian’s article London’s Finest bookshops. At the store-café we would indulge in a big pot of our Balham Blend with the most wonderful Victoria sponge cake made by the very talented Nick Fu. Sadly, neither Trinity Stores or My Back Pages bookshop are there anymore, but you can still get the same Balham Blend from us, we haven’t changed the blend a bit! Great news is that Nick is still baking his delicious produce, now from his North London bakery Nick’s [FINE FOODS] and even My Back Pages book store is having an online comeback as you can see on Instagram and read more here. Some of the above mentioned share humble beginnings and lovely memories of South London, and it feels good that despite all, we are still around doing what we love, just like Bob Dylan still sings…’Blowing in the wind’.