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.

On Sundays, in a trendy part of London we call Shoreditch, is the Columbia Road Flower Markets. If you like flowers, cupcakes, vintage china, designer knick-knacks and washboard-playing musicians, and you don’t mind battling crowds, then it is a lovely way to spend a Sunday. And this is just how I did spend my Sunday, with a good friend. There is an actual flower market where you can buy fresh cut flowers and live plants for very cheap. There are also lots of quaint shops selling vintage things, food and artwork.

After fighting our way through the markets, we were drained and in desperate need of a sit down and nibble. We came across Stingray Globe Café & Pizzeria, where we refuelled on fries, tea, rosé wine and of course, tiramisu for £3.50. The layers of lightly-coffee-soaked savoiardi were perfect, yet the filling was wrong – mascarpone mixed with sweet whipped cream, which made for a very rich tiramisu. This was not balanced out by bitter cocoa on the top either, instead there was sugary hot chocolate sparingly sprinkled over it. Too sweet and too creamy for me, I couldn’t finish it. 

My Sunday friend enlisted my help, following the markets, to bake a lemon cake to take to her work. So we spent the rest of the afternoon baking and laughing together, me pretending to be a baking teacher-of-wisdom and directing the process. We used the recipe I posted in my last blog entry, Lemon Drizzle Cake. And, if you’re still not convinced about giving that cake a go, this was the state of the lemon cake she took to her office, at exactly 9.36AM:

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