Monday, 26 September 2011

Lunchtime pick-me-up

If you have ever worked in the daily eating machine that is the City of London, you will know of the conveyer belt of lunches consumed every day amongst its ancient and crumbling walls. Pret A Manger, Eat, M&S, are some of the bigger names in this business. They advertise their wares, “New!”, “Healthy!”, “Fresh!”, and wait for the queues to form out the door, because there are hundreds of thousands of people to be fed every working day. Nobody does BYO lunch in this city.

Leave office, find store, choose food item, queue, greet attendant, pay, smile, thank, leave store, return to office with little paper bag of food. So easy. On a side note, something that disturbs me is the level of waste created by this eating machine. For every nicely wrapped baguette, pretty waxed-cardboard tub of soup or plastic-packaged wrap, they insist on giving you plastic cutlery, at least three napkins, and they present it all in a lovely little paper shopping bag.

Now at my work, which shall remain nameless and shameless, there are no recycling facilities and thus, into the bin goes my paper bag of plastic wrappings. If you think about every person in London City, and how much waste each of those sole individuals can create just by eating lunch. Anyhow, that is the end of my side note. I can’t save the world on tiramisu alone.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Lemony fun

On Saturday I went to scope out a café for breakfast, recommended to me by someone in the family, who said it was one of their favourite places to sit and read or write, with a cappuccino and almond croissant.

The café is called Pâtisserie Bliss, on St John St, just down from the tube station in Angel, London. Pâtisserie Bliss in Angel – I don’t need any more reason to go there than that. The café is tiny, and the woman who served me was friendly and apologetic that I couldn’t sit inside because they were closing (okay okay, it was a late breakfast…). I ordered black coffee and an almond croissant, a grand total of two-pounds-and-something, and stepped outside looking around for somewhere to sit.

Something I love about London is that you can always find some little obscure courtyard or church ground or simple bench, in which to sit on or in and enjoy the English weather. I didn’t manage to find a bench (they were all taken up by men with walking sticks), but I did find a reasonably secluded piece of curb, hidden from the road by shrubbery. It was here that I planted myself, in my very own little corner of city, with the noise of street cleaners and sirens and buses creating a homely buzz in the background. And it was here that I sat and enjoyed a cup of sweetened black coffee, and an almond croissant that was slightly stale on the outside, yet had the yummiest gooey almond filling. It is times like this that I love living in the city.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Birthday Tiramisu

The sad facts of life when you grow up include having to work on your birthday. No one in the real world actually cares that it is your birthday. However, a good way to make them all care is by baking cake. I made lemon drizzle cake, the recipe for which came from the back of a Yeo Valley yoghurt pottle. And a very good recipe it was too, I am still getting almost daily requests for a repeat of the lemon drizzle cake at work.

Lemon drizzle cake
125g butter
150g caster sugar
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
150g natural yoghurt
1 large lemon, zested and juiced.