The maelstrom of a disorganised Monday morning always follows a busy weekend. In an act of sheer denial, I always shun the Sunday night preparation for the week ahead in favour of a Sunday night glass of Beaujolais, therefore I usually arrive for work on Monday completely dishevelled with only half of the things I need and relying on strong coffee to get me through the day. Today is no exception.
This is what happened in the last week:
Yalla Yalla, Fitzrovia
I was beside myself with excitement when I discovered that the Yalla Yalla in Winsley Street had a take-out counter that sells an impressive range of wraps, sides, desserts and coffee. The halloumi wrap is one of the most delicious of its kind with black olives, tomato and fresh mint. The soujoc wrap is a meaty alternative with Lebanese sausages and cucumber tzatziki. All wraps are under £5 and the perfect size for lunch. I have resisted the baklava so far, but who knows how long that will last.
Following the weekend fridge clear-out, I found I had the ends of several bags of potatoes languishing in the veg drawer so decided to make a cottage pie. This recipe by James Martin is especially good if you have an uneven oven, as I do, as most of the cooking is done on the hob. Best eaten on a rainy evening in front of the television.
Divine Pop-up Shop, Covent Garden
Fairtrade chocolate supremos Divine have opened a pop-up shop for Fairtrade Fortnight selling their entire range of delicious chocolate. They are only open for one more week, so get down there if you can. The full write up is here.
Chocolate Coconut Brownie
This was a little recipe for Fairtrade Fortnight, inspired by my trip to the Divine pop-up shop. It had been a really long time since I last made brownies and I forgot how much delight they brought to people – Ollie’s new colleagues were particularly happy to receive them. Half of the batch has gone into the freezer to bring out for unexpected guests – a little trick I learned from a friend. The recipe and full write up is here.
The Battle of the Cinnamon Buns
Last week, my colleagues and I set out to settle the debate of who makes the best cinnamon buns, Scandinavian Kitchen or The Nordic Bakery. After an afternoon of tasting and judging, the results were in: Scandinavian Bakery won by 9-3. My colleagues have requested more taste testing. The full write up is here.
Band of Bakers ‘Baking with Cheese’ Event
Wednesday was the long-awaited ‘Baking with Cheese’ event at The Crooked Well in Camberwell. Thirty-five bakers came along with an impressive range of cheesy bakes, everything from gougeres and spanikopita to cream cheese brownies and vodka cheesecake. My bake was a batch of Gruyère, mustard and London Pride-caramelised onion puffs, for which I hope to write up the recipe this week. Needless to say I had some pretty messed up dreams that night.
This great little Indian restaurant on Holly Grove is one of my favourite lunch spots; the food is great and the lunch deals are excellent value. If there were not a screeching child and array of toys spread across our communal table it would have been perfect (inconsiderate parents spoil lunches).
Cafe East, Surrey Quays
A perfect gem in amongst the horrors of Frankie and Benny’s, Pizza Hut and some kind of pseudo-American grill. You have to walk right to the back of the car park to reach it, but the food is excellent and good value. My favourite is the lemongrass pork chop enjoyed, naturally, with the super sweet iced coffee with condensed milk ubiquitous in Vietnam.