I don’t have a problem, but sometimes I long for a night on the lash. One of those brash drinking sessions, with sloppy kebabs and raucous bus rides and a blurry 3am trip to the cash point that has you declaring a week later that your card has been cloned. Not to mention the savage hangover that necessitates an entire day on the couch watching the top 50 power ballads of all time, before going out for a curry. I’ve always enjoyed a spot of binge drinking – I don’t much bother with the after-work wine or the Sunday pint, it’s all or nothing as far as I’m concerned, and lately it’s just been nothing. Pre-dawn nappy changes are quite enough sober, doing them hungover – or still drunk – would be unwise.
It’s been this way for a while, obviously. At my work leaving drinks I did have a glass of champagne, and the young beauty intern, who was sweetly clueless about the politics surrounding childbirth and its many rules, said to me, ‘But are you allowed?’
Before I could say a word the editor turned to her and said flatly, ‘Shut up. I’m sick to death of no one being allowed to drink when they’re pregnant. Just shut up.’ Continue reading
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Sometimes I get annoyed when Prince Charles bangs on about how everyone should eat properly. It’s easy for him to say, isn’t it? I’d eat pretty well too if I owned half the bloody West Country. And don’t get me started on Poundbury.
Yes, yes, I know I should only shop at local organic butchers and fishmongers, and only buy seasonal veggies, and Tesco is the root of all evil. But sometimes I don’t have time to go to the local butcher and I’m still scarred by the experience of being charged 11 quid for some bacon and a few sausages at an organic butcher. I asked him to check and he said, oh, yes, my mistake, that should be six pounds*. And some of them only take cash. And quite frankly the checkout staff at Sainsbury’s are often a lot friendlier than some of these local organic our-chickens-are-freerange-and-have-half-an-hour-of-internet-access-a-day butchers. Having said that, some are excellent, like the Ginger Pig in Victoria Park and the ones at Broadway Market who sell pork & apple cider brandy sausages.
But… supermarkets are convenient. You can get everything you need for dinner in ten minutes with no cash, something that cannot be underestimated when blood sugars are plummeting and you’ve forgotten your umbrella. I don’t go to Sainsbury’s to hang out or anything – well, not very often – but you have to be realistic. And everyone loves a bit of shopping-basket observation, don’t they?
However, I also like going to TFC, which is a Turkish supermarket just off Ridley Road market.
Here, the meat comes as lamb shoulders, whole corn-fed chickens, trays of delicate chops and buckets of chicken livers. The ricotta is wrapped only in paper and there are about fifty yogurt varieties, and least ten tahinis and more halloumi than you could poke a hot tong at. The fruit and veggie section is full of dark red vine tomatoes and unwaxed lemons and rocket and quinces and sorrel and clementines still with the leaves on. There are no farmers’ names on anything. Continue reading
So much on this weekend, and so many people hit the road to leave London, giving the rest of us a bit of breathing space. Here are some suggestions…..
You’re probably way too late to book a table at Moro, but that’s alright, because the recipes have no waiting list. Here are a few. My favourite is the lemon yogurt cake, which is surprisingly easy to make – the last time I made it I had the diligent help of a four-year-old boy, whose verdict was ‘this is better than ice cream.’ There can be no higher praise. Continue reading