I’ve been somewhat of a social hermit, usually I’m seeing friends at least a couple of times a week, but I deliberately didn’t make any plans so that I could concentrate on getting lots done and have early nights, but I can only do that for so long before I really need to get out and be with people. I’m a social animal. A good friend of mine loves coffee. She really loves it. I’ve always tended to see it as a functional drink, but that’s changing. I’m starting to see it the way I see cheese and wine and appreciate really good coffee. She invited me to the London Coffee Festival. There’s a festival for everything these days, and why not? Let’s get together and celebrate what we like, we are tribal beings after all, and we’re meant to do this right? So, I was game for a learning experience and some quality time with someone I hold dear.
Being a social day, there was no reason not to meet up with another close friend for breakfast. There are ample options for a good café breakfast in Tooting, many of them are wonderful but a bit cool for school. For me, there needs to be the perfect balance of smart, with a menu that has a hint of hipster style eating, a good old-fashioned greasy spoon and a generous nod to modern European culture. Not too much to ask then… Nope, not too much at all because a few minutes’ walk away from my house is the new and brilliant Café Ole. English breakfasts, eggs benedict, paste del nata, good coffee, smashed avocado and the lunch menu has chicken escalope and jacket potatoes. Nailed it. I ordered the veggie breakfast, no eggs, no beans but smashed avocado instead, and it was brilliant. The service was lovely too. There wasn’t overpowering silly music, just a hubbub of happy Tooting-ites enjoying their morning. I’ve found my new weekend morning happy place.
After breakfast I was off to Brick Lane. I’m fond of the East End. When my ancestors first came to London from Europe they settled there. I worked on Brick Lane for a couple of years and I love to go back and visit, though I don’t get there often. This time I got out at Bank tube station and walked there. London is always changing, and this part of the city has been a building site for at least the last 5 years, constant construction, roads closed, a crane party in the sky above you. Luckily though, all of the building is sympathetic to the older buildings, I know many of them are protected and there is a lovely contrast with old and new. It makes me realise how lucky we are to live in an area of the world that doesn’t see natural disasters on a scale that mean and full facelift. Our historical buildings are still there, intact, you can see London’s architectural family tree all around you.
The coffee festival turned out to be like a trade show but way friendlier, a lot less salesy and just a lot of fun. Weirdly, we had trouble finding coffee to buy, but we tasted lost. And lots. And also lots of booze, including a slightly dodgy alcohol free larger…turns out there’d been ‘mindful drinking festival’ there which might be the worst festival I’ve heard of since Fyre, but finally, totally tanked on caffeine, and talking far too quickly, I did buy some coffee. But they couldn’t grind it for my French press, so I’ve got to do that myself but that’s no bother. It was slightly over the usual amount that I’d be looking to pay for coffee…well, a lot over what I was looking to pay, It was £10 for 100g. But its really good coffee. That’s a significant wedge out of my remaining budget but, its worth it. I’ll keep it for weekends and amend what I’ll be eating at the weekend. I did purchase some excellent liquers, Conker Cold Brew Liqeur, which isn’t too sweet, perfect for a tiramisu next time I have friends over for dinner and for a coffee walnut cake that I’m planning on making very soon. Also, two flavours of Yorkshire Gin Cream Liqeur by Carthy and Black. The original flavour will be epic with a rick fruit cake, and the lemon flavour I’ll be pairing with Caerphilly cheese and some thyme cream crackers whilst on holiday with friends this summer. It was good to see discarded grinds being put to good use to make a spirit, and also skin care products (I already take my grinds into the shower), and I had my forune told, rather dubiously, by a man in a booth who told me that I had a decision to make, and that if I was considering not drinking coffee liqeur at 4pm on a friday afternoon, I was to change my mind immediately! The kind folks at Nespresso gave me a can of their old brew and I’ll be cooking that with some cod next time I can get to the fish mongers in the market.
I got home at 7:30pm, feeling slightly squiffy but very alert. i had no intention to cook when there was still lasagne in the fridge. I checked I’d locked the door three times before I went to bed, then got up again to check that I’d turned the iron off. I had strange dreams.
|Day||£ spent||£ of £25 remaining|
|Sunday||£3.99 Planet Organic on Too Good To |
|Sunday||£1.99 Almond milk from my local shop||£19.02|
|Monday||£1 spend on choy sum from Tooting |
|Wednesday||£3.49 Dynamo on Too Good To Go||£14.53|
|Wednesday||£0.99 Savoy cabbage at Daily Fresh||£13.54|
|Friday||£10 coffee at London Coffee Festival||£3.54|
So the grocery budget is low now, but I can still manage that roast for one this weekend if I can be bothered…