Bea’s of Bloomsbury.

Like many English hogs that don’t know better, I was once extremely suspicious of the peanut butter/jam combination. ‘Ludicrous!’ I squawked. ‘Those yanks don’t know what they’re talking about! How could that possibly work?’

What a fool I was. Over time the veil has fallen from my eyes. And yesterday I had an exciting encounter which only strengthened my love of the flavour: a whopping great slice of shortbread, topped with jam, topped with peanut butter crumble, and made by the glorious Bea’s of Bloomsbury.

Holy balls. ImageThe size of it alone was enough to get me drooling. That, coupled with the goo factor (all that scarlet jam provocatively oozing from the sides), told me this was going to be good.

And it was.

THIS is what baking should be: huge, exciting, and downright delicious. Creating things you have never seen before, but know you need to wrap your mouth around – at once. More innovation, please! More mischievous kitchen mixing! Not all of the time, of course – nobody wants to get rid of the classics – but there’s clearly room to push the boat out.

Cakes like the one made from tagliatelli I saw on a blog a few months ago: Sweet Pecan Kugel, it’s called. Looks crazy… and delicious! So many of my favourite things mixed into one: pasta, cinnamon, pecans… One day, I swear, I’m going to make that Kugel and demolish it. With my mouth.

In the meantime, Bea’s can keep me happily fed with their PB&J creations. The jam, so sweet and gloopy; the shortbread, so fresh and crunchy; the peanut crumble, so buttery and crisp – and with the subtlest hint of cinnamon. What an excellent use of resources: it really made my day. It also gave the Man – who, hunter-gatherer that he is – brought the slice home to me in the first place – about a billion brownie points. Praise be to him and his wonderful cake-spotting skills!

Praise be to Bea’s as well. With your chocolate Guinness cake, fruity pavlovas, chocolate salted caramels and blondie, you have made me smile on more than one occasion. Make your marshmallows gelatin-free and I’m yours for life.

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