On a particularly early morning, I found myself sitting in one of London’s east end restaurants working through details of a fast approaching and fairly high pressure event. I must have been the only person in the restaurant at that time and I distinctly remember waiting outside in the drizzle for someone to unlocked the door and let me inside. This particular space is one with the most inspired light even on this misty wooly grey morning and I took a few minutes to admire it as it fell softly over the backs of minimalist birch chairs and polished concrete floors. Being so early, the space was just a hair shy of warm, the ovens having only just begun their day’s labor and coldness from the night before still hanging around ankle level. A familiar conversation ensued soon after and I ordered a cup of black coffee – it felt perfectly austere given my surroundings and I imagined it would also be hottest thing on their early morning menu.
Arriving on my table I clasped my hands around the heavy earthenware mug, pausing with pencil between lips to let the steam hit the underside of my chin. Dutifully securing all ten finger tips into contact with the side of the mug. Lost in thought a hand appeared in my peripheral vision and the distinct din of plate on table registered. I glanced at the plate, a large fat slice of bread and pat of butter and then look up at the hand who had delivered it.
“on the house” smiled the friendly face with a distinctive County Cork accent.
The flavor and warmth of that first mouthful was transporting. Rich and dark and deeply, elegantly spiced with the warmth of ginger, clove and nutmeg. It was perfectly balanced, perfectly textured; it was food for the soul. I piled on a good smattering of butter and let is seep down past the dark lines left by the toaster and into the sponge pockets of the slice. The toasting was perhaps that last key element in taking this bread to the level of the divine. Adding a gorgeous crunchy edge a perfect compliment to the squidgy sponge middle and releasing a steamy aroma from the bread that registered long before I even tasted.
I love the way food and food memories can transport you; to the exact moment, meal or place. Part reality, part reinvention of your version of the truth. Inspired by that particular east London morning, I now make my own version of the cake I had there. Built from memory, it has become synonymous with our own kitchen and our own mornings. But each time I catch the aroma of this molasses ginger loaf wafting up from my Wolf Gourmet toaster, I can’t but think of where it began. It was then and is now the most delightful start to any morning.
The thing about this molasses ginger loaf is that it really need to be served warm, and not just warm but toasted. Of course the spices make it more-ish but the textural contrasts of the perfectly crisp toasted edges and the spongy warm center are truly divine. My Wolf Gourmet toaster perfectly accommodates the necessarily thick slices and I love the “keep warm” setting. If your mornings are anything like mine, I often find my breakfast had gone cold before I’m able to get to it so with the “keep warm” the bread is there waiting, just the right warm for melty butter, whenever I actually get around to pouring myself a cup of black coffee and plucking the warm thick slice out of the toaster.
Find the entire recipe over on WolfGourmet’s blog just click through for full details.
*this post is in partnership with Wolf Gourmet. All opinions are my own.