Soho is one of my favourite places in London. Berwick Street market has been around ever since I started dieting. I once got a job in Harley Street to pay for my habit - I sorted files so that I could buy bags of mangoes and grapes from the stalls. Some of the geezers still remember me. At least I think they do. Either that or they think I am a pole dancer from one of the bars. The only pole I have swung on is the white one on a double decker bus, although unfortunately I lost my footing on the 306 when I was 16 and slid down the greasy pole holding on for dear life until we reached All Saints Church hall. The skin off my knees remains forever ingrained in Borehamwood High Street.
I lost loads of weight on the 'Beverly Hills' diet along with all my hard-earned cash but the diet came to an abrupt end when one of the mangoes started writhing around on my draining board. It was full of maggots. You could hear my screams from Wapping to Winnipeg.
I drove from Sarf Lundon to Soho to take daughter B into an interview. We parked the car in Brewer Street car park, which for two hours, costs twice as much as a trip to Dubai. Then I packed the kid off and treated myself to a coffee at Flat White, the simple creation of Cameron McClure BA.
Cam is a tall New Zealander with big biceps and a mother 'back hoam'. Gentle and direct, he told me about the barista Championships that have just taken place in Japan.
If you don't know what a barista is, it's not a legal bod in a wig with only one 'r'. It's a fancy way of saying coffee-barman. I don't know whether it is a sexist term or not but at any rate this year a Brit won the barista comp. His signature coffee was a delicious brew infused with tobacco. Cameron is hoping to slay the Soho residents with his signature dish (although he doesn't care for competitions) and is thinking about creating a coffee with just a hint of liver.
I wasn't sure that liver in my coffee was quite my cup of tea so I thought I would investigate. 'Liver?', I said wrinkling my nose. 'Nouw', said Cam, 'Lither.'
'Ah! lither, that's better,' I said smiling, not having a clue what lither was. 'l-i-t-h-e-r,' he said slowly. I watched his mouth form the word, translated it from New Zealand to Blighty and realised what he meant.
'Ah! Leather!' I beamed, clapping my hands, although I'm not sure who for... 'Exactly,' said the Kiwi, 'Coffee with jist a hint of lither and tobacco'. By which time, my bagel and Vegemite had gone cold.
The secret to Flat White's success is the simplicity of the place. They want to create a family atmosphere so there are a load of baristas, newspapers on shelves and free water jugs on the counter for anybody to pour. Their loyalty card promises a free cup after ten coffees and their selection of fresh bagels bought from the all night bagel bake in Brick Lane are delicious. A few little tables line one wall, the bar another. The place is dark, so even when the sun is very bright, as it was today, it's still feels like a subterranean dive from the 60's.
A flat white is a Kiwi version of a cappuccino. It's a strong espresso with just a splurt of milk. The foamy coffee is then completed with a chocolate design that's hand sprinkled. I think it's a Christmas tree but I could never make hide nor hair of those ink tests when I was young. So for all I know it could be a butterfly wearing a flack jacket.
I called my agent, who jumped on the tube and sat next to me for just long enough to share the gossip to keep me going until next week. No, I cannot, nay, will not, share it with you but suffice to say I was really pleased to hear someone is getting his cum uppance!
B and I drove back through Belgravia and discussed the classlessness of the artiste, collected the dog and gently cajoled him down the stairs into the park. His back legs are practically giving out now so we take him out for a shuffle as walking isn't an option. I have sent off for some arthritis stuff from the States. I just hope it works. His quality of life has gone right down hill very quickly and there are a lot of hills to traverse where we live.
I made a supper from all the stuff left in the fridge; lentils and broccoli in chilli, trout pate with mustard and dill sauce, buttery green beans, corn on the cob and a huge green salad with avocado and feta cheese. Clarence, our beautiful pretend son, joined us so we cracked open two bottles of champagne, toasted life, listened to B's songs and then gently cajoled Jackson down the stairs for his evening shuffle.
It's now 12 minutes past midnight and it falls on me to thank you all for St. Gabriel the patron Saint of Radio. I shall call on him to help me with Saturday's show, which is all about vegetables. No, it has nothing to do with politicians! I bet there's a patron saint for veg. I can't wait for you to tell me.
That's it. Sleep well and I hope you waken feeling as light as a fither, sorry feather. Night night and cusoon.
Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes
Could'nt resist trying to find you the patron saint of vegetables. Not too much luck, but did find...
St Bernardo Abad..Patron Saint of beekeeping, flowers and veg.
Our Lady of Coromoto...Patron Saint of Vegitarians..Close.
And had to stick this one in, just in case you need it at any time!!!!...
St Notkat Bulbulus... Patron Saint of Stuttering Chickens!!! (Never heard one stutter. Must be one somewhere for them to have Saint!!!)
Hope that helps! Better get some work done now and stop trawling the internet :-)
I was fascinated to find out who the patron saint of vegetables might be and googled up the following. San Bernardo Abad - patron saint of beekeepers and gardeners, specialising in veg. And let's not forget St Fiacre who is the patron saint of herb and vegetable gardens (including men who like to garden). I'm always interested to hear what you've eaten (how weird am I?) on the basis that I keep wondering how engrained your new eating habits have become and whether you ever crave the rich fare of GFL days? There must be a potential book to be written there. Take care and keep it coming.
loved the blog today, particularly the down under references. I loved New Zealand - had a lovely "sayvory munce" there once. By the way, vegemite tastes a bit like "lither" if you put it on thuck enough.
Keep smiling, lovely lady and good luck for Staurday. From what I've read you must be doing so well. Unfortunately that swedish group calls so I can't be listening. I hope you got my mail to the studio 2 weeks ago.
Come to visit soon:-)
luv from Hamburg,
After not getting a blog for a few days I was pleasantly surprised to get two in a row! Welcome back. Now what I want to know has Jim seen the holes in the wall yet or have you had it re-plastered? Oh you do make me laugh!! Another thing is when are we going to see the new you? Questions questions. Do you know reading between the lines of your blog gets quite dangerous sometimes, you know when you start to tell us something and then leave us imagining allsorts ( go on who got there cum uppence)? I wrote to UK TV Foooooooooood a couple of weeks ago asking them when GFL was coming back and do you know what they didn't even reply. Now what does that tell you I ask!!
Be safe out there.
This will sound pedantic, I know, but Gabriel was never an archangel. Read the Bible, my dears, not the internet or Church legends. And he certainly isn't a saint. He's a messenger. Thats all. There were only ever two arch angels. Michael and Lucifer. Yes, that Lucifer.
Hi again Jeni, I missed you. Hope you're feeling a bit better, remember us lot love you very much and still miss you. It was lovely to have 2 bloggs in a row, keep it up pleeeeeease. I to have similar questions to Jane - when are we going to see the new you, please post a photo, who, who who got their cumuppence, and has Jim seen the wall yet? Don't leave us hanging on with these vital questions!!! (I'm thinking of you with Jackson,hope he gets better) Lots a luv xx
Just saw a repeat of GFL and thought you were back on TV. I so miss watching you every day. You saw me through two maternity leaves (I even enjoyed the breastfeeding because it was an excuse to watch your show!) I fought my partner to keep my TV package so I could carry on viewing! But today I discovered your blog which made me laugh a lot. I hope very much that we will see you again soon. Take care.