Monthly Archives: January 2010

Hawkins\Brown architects refurbish Stoke Newington Town Hall

First of all, lets raise a glass to the wonderful JD Salinger. I can’t believe he was 91. And I’m not alone in wondering what will happen to all those novels he has supposedly been stashing in a vault since he went into hiding in 1953.

Speaking of intriguing things stashed in vaults, I visited Stoke Newington Town Hall on Wednesday night to listen to a talk by the architects from Hawkins\Brown, who were responsible for its £8 million overhaul. And they had just two original drawings to work from when they began planning, which meant an awful lot of digging around to find out exactly how the joint was put together. Continue reading

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Hackney embraces the Tories… not

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A Chinese fish soup, cooked in East London

I know, I know. I hastily called this blog East London Local I’ve been putting up more recipes and book reviews than anything else. Well, it’s cold outside, so I’m reading and cooking a lot these days. But I will be out soon.

In the meantime, however, I’ll be eating this Chinese Fish Soup. It’s surprisingly filling and warming, yet doesn’t leave you feeling poleaxed like lots of ‘comfort food’.

I had a strange experience buying the fish. I was in Waitrose – I don’t normally shop there, but I was at the Barbican to see Avatar and popped in – and the woman at the fish counter refused to cut me a 450g piece from a cod fillet, saying ‘it will only leave a little piece and I won’t be able to sell it.’

It was a fish-fillet standoff, and it ended with me just walking away and buying a pack of fish out of the fridge and her, hopefully, reflecting on the fact that if you fish-fillet standoff your customers you won’t end up with little unsold pieces, but you might end up with large ones. Honestly. More disappointed than angry.

For those who want to just get out of the house, I’ve put a couple of suggestions at the end of the recipe. Otherwise, here it is: Continue reading

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Filed under Somewhere to eat

This is what’s wrong with the world (or maybe just the Metro)

As seen on London Fields the other day. It reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s quote – nowadays people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing, and made me feel rather depressed.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m reading The Golden Notebook

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Get some TLC at Holistic Health at Broadway Market

It has been remarked, somewhat sarcastically, that I am Holistic Health’s best customer. And I am very fond of the place. But I certainly don’t avail myself of all their services – the prospect of colonic irrigation doesn’t thrill me, somehow, and although I’ve found acupuncture good for hayfever I’d go to a Chinese doctor for that, if I could just find a good one (any recommendations?).

There used to be a nice man on Bethnal Green Road – he had a makeshift consulting room with a shower curtain instead of a fabric one next to the bed, and once when I was lying there, face full of needles, I suddenly realised water was pouring through the ceiling from the upstairs neighbour’s bathtub. He just came in, set up a bucket and left me to it.

He also mixed up some incredibly pungent hayfever-curing remedy that I was supposed to boil and drink, but my flatmate (at that time) complained about the smell and banned me from using it. He used to sit and read, apart from when his wife came in and got him cleaning, and one time he told me he was working in a nearby hospital during the Tiananmen Square massacre and treated some of the protesters. But when I went past a few months ago a halal butcher had replaced his surgery, and they told me he’d moved to Peckham. Sigh. Continue reading

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Even Graham Road has its charms on a snowy evening…


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