Tuesday 27 July 2010

Great Meal....

at Great Queen Street...

We went to the theatre on Saturday afternoon ( you can read about that here if you want!) and walked to Covent Garden from Marylebone - a gorgeous thing to do in the sunshine. We arrived about 90 minutes before the performance...just enough time to find a little place for a bite to eat and a glass of something refreshing. We've been to Great Queen Street (which, handily, is in Great Queen Street....) a few times and always enjoyed it. The cooking is rustic and beautifully thought out....fresh, unusual ingredient combinations, shared slow-cooked dishes on Sundays, wines served in chic unfussy french tumblers, efficient but informal staff....all the things we love really. We never thought we'd get a table (all the chain restaurants were packed) but, happily (for us) there was no problem at all. We could hardly believe our luck!

As we had a tight schedule, we had a combination of small plates and asked for them all at once. I had a Ticklemore (a hard goat cheese) Peashoot, Mint,& Lemon Salad with fried crunchy breadcrumbs AND a plate of cheese & biscuits (well, I didn't have dessert & shared the cheeses with Paul!) which came with home made oatcakes and a wonderful pile of sharp/sweet chutney. I also treated myself to a Margarita - still served in a tumbler, beautifully rimmed in salt (several I've had lately have omitted that - to me-essential step!) All just gorgeous. I could have stayed there all afternoon had Jeff Goldblum not been calling me from the Vaudeville Theatre (and you just CAN'T ignore Jeff!)

I'd highly recommend Great Queen Street or it's sister restaurant The Anchor & Hope in Waterloo (if you can ever get a table!) Particularly wonderful when shared with good friends, they are London eating at it's best....and London eating, I'm pleased to say, is very, very good!

Monday 19 July 2010

Comfort over style....

I woke up this morning at 2.15am....that dark, lonely time of night when it seems you're the only one awake in the world. I have a really bad cough at the moment, the kind that sort of strangles your throat at intervals and makes you cough until your neck & stomach muscles hurt & your eyes run and sting. I went downstairs and took some medicine, had a glass of water...but when I went back to bed it all started again. I knew that Paul had a really busy day today, so I took my pillow and went to sleep on the sofa downstairs (the upstairs bed is covered in books and I didn't have the energy to move them about!) Alice was pleased to have a companion and I slept until 5, propped up with cushions....

Of course, I had to bake this morning but when the first deliveries were over I came home, walked Alice & then decided what to have for lunch. It was a really hot & humid day today....little knots of gnats buzz in patches over the water butt...a day for salads and cool cucumber sandwiches. But I was tired, my eyes swollen, my throat sore. I just didn't feel like anything beautiful, pure and summery. Actually there was only one thing I did feel like, and it's what I had in the end:

baked beans on hot, brown, buttered toast. Perfect. Comforting, warming and nostalgic all at once.
It may not have cured me, but I certainly felt better.

I now have a pot of Beetroot & Tomato Soup with Preserved Lemon bubbling gently on the hob. My dad gave me a bag of his wonderful homegrown vegetables yesterday, and this seemed a good way of utilising some of them (we had his roasted new potatoes, cabbage with cumin seeds & garlic & more beetroot baked with feta & a little pomegranate molasses drizzled over last night)

Style reigns in our kitchen once more....but, every now and again, there's nothing like a bit of comfort eating to give your soul a little hug.