The view from the Victoria sponge

This blog covers a multitude of recent popular subjects. Baking being one of them. The drawing (it’s not a sketch for crying out loud ) is a first idea put down on paper very quickly and I just hope that I can get the same feeling onto the final as happened in this. It’s part of a series on the British which was somewhat interrupted by the Brexit shenanigans, and has caused me to think a little more about the project. We are not quite what I thought we were before the vote. Anyhow, politics aside, and that’s where they are best left for the time being, this is a drawing of a typical Summer fete day somewhere in the British Isles.

the-view-from-the-sponge205

 

The word fete is almost guaranteed a day of dark clouds and some teeming rain.Ladies of a certain age will have spent some time baking the obligatory Victoria Sponges for the teas which of course is the highlight of a local fete. The sweet peas will have been through the judging at the plant and produce table, and at least one of the gardeners entering the competition will grumble about the size of someone else’s onions.

Some of the ladies there will be wearing what we used to call pacamacs, which were basically plastic bags pretending to be coats, and will also have smaller plastic bags on their heads to prevent dampness getting to the ‘blue rinse’.

Dogs will be in evidence as will be the odd harrumphing retired colonel who, no doubt will be chewing on a pipe.Inevitably fetes happen only in villages, it’s rare to find them in towns ( they are then referred to as “street parties” and only happen when HRH reaches a significant milestone ). These days villages are mainly populated by incomers and people who can afford the massive prices for peasant cottages that are the norm these days.

So there you have it, Summer’s gone now and the village will be gathering large amounts of wood to burn an effigy on November the 5th to celebrate someone who tried to burn down the Houses of Parliament. Oh crikey! Back to politics.


 

 

Five star bread and a five star Sainsbury Store.Go and try them both.No one’s paying for this ad.

My new best friends in London are the bakers at the Pavilion bread shop in Hackney and the Sainsbury mini store on Mare Street. First of all the bread, here’s what it looks like. Now we are talking pricey bread here but it really is worth it.

£3-50 for a loaf of bread?

pavbread2

pavbread

They do coffee too and if the bread’s anything to go by then that will be good too. There are also a range of eyewateringly priced cakes that make the bread seem cheap by comparison. I’ve yet to try them, I’ll need a win on the horses before I can afford them. You can find them on Broadway Market. Take a look at them ever though their website is still in the oven being baked…The cafe bit where they do the baking is here

Seek it out and try it for yourself.

I was there to help look after my twin grandchildren, and have persuaded my daughter to write about it on her own blog. Take a look sometime, it’s worth reading. She’s a witty one! daughterblog  She manages to keep her sense of humour despite spending many hours awake and very few asleep.

Take a look at this too, this is close to her place and is an area that many years ago was just falling to bits. The street was populated by artists and these days it’s coming up in the world, but it seems to have kept it’s character.That’s a busy overground railway on the bridge. The area buzzes with life and activity.

One place that really is never quiet is the little Sainsbury store on Mare Street. It stocks the usual stuff that Sainsbury’s do, but the difference is the staff. They make you feel like an old friend and nothing seems to dull their day. Always smiling and helpful. Give them a big star, they must be the friendliest mini store I’ve ever been into. I don’t often give a link to a corporate being but in this case the Mare Street Store deserve recognition, they show how a shop should run. #Sainsbury Find them here

Back to drawings for the next blog and please don’t call them sketches, it’s like talking to a Chinese athlete and calling table tennis ping pong. Just not done.

Thanks for listening.

beckrd

To Sheffield, studying the northern diet?

sheffieldfood

They like good coffee in Sheffield, there are loads of great places to find it and with it comes some exceptional food.

There are still places to get a bacon sandwich on gluey white bread but Sheffield seems to me to be going through a food revolution, with smart tiny places producing great stuff. One such that you should seek out as soon as possible is Joni which can be found right next to the traffic lights on South Road in Walkey. Tiny inside and not over furnished this place specialises in macarons, which are just sensational melt in the mouth offerings. The coffee is great and the little lemon meringue pie, which my son had and  let me taste, was equally so. I had a cooked breakfast there which was so good that it would not wait for a photograph. I had the Classic: two poached eggs on toast does not sound that great but with a béchamel sauce and the addition of tiny cubes of garlicky sweet potato and bacon strips it was a small haven of fine dining in a tiny diner. Seek this place out and buy their stuff, they deserve success.

This blog seems to be turning into a travel and food thingy, but it’s really just a diversion. I’m back at the drawing board and plans are afoot to get the results on here when I’ve stopped going hither and yon. Next trip? London. In search of the £3.50 loaf again, it was worth it, honestly.

£3-50 for a loaf of bread?

“…a corrupt policeman prodded my biscuits…”

Smile2

Driving along listening to one of those morning programmes on Radio 4 that are described as ‘magazines’, I heard a radio presenter describe a television presenter/judge on a famous baking programme as “looking like a corrupt policeman with a swimming pool he had not properly earned”. It was a description that made me laugh because it seemed to describe the chap perfectly, and I cannot put my finger on quite why it was so accurate.Not only that but this presenter had actually been on the ‘Bake-off’ programme and had suffered having his biscuits prodded by this erstwhile arm of the law, who to my knowledge has never been with the boys in blue.

I hope they meet again soon and that our ‘baking man with a tan’ remembers his colleagues colourful description of him.

Meanwhile if anyone can think of a caption for this drawing then please let me know, it has to be about company morale building.I have one, but yours might be better than mine. I pay nothing.