To Walthamstow…and beyond

Fair warning….this is a LONG post. I’m trying to write shorter posts, break things up into manageable (for the less than truly dedicated reader) chunks but, that’s not what I’ve done here!

Oh, what a good weekend that was (last weekend). The weekend started properly on Friday evening (which, I believe, is often the case) with H, D and I heading to the Southwark Playhouse to watch Superior Donuts. I’d not even heard of the theatre before H suggested that we go and it turns out to be a real gem of a place (though, I do prefer allocated seating) with a couple of performance spaces (The Large and The Little) and ample seating for early-comers to sit and enjoy a drink or a bite to eat. If Superior Donuts is anything to go by, and from a quick browse of their programme for the season, the Southwark Playhouse is somewhere that I’ll be returning to.

H being amazed by the doughnuts

Rather than ice-cream they were serving DOUGHNUTS!!! during the interval. These Glazed and Confused goodies were in gorgeous flavours, mine was sticky toffee and H’s was lemon meringue. Ahh…take a look at their Facebook page – YUM.

Saturday saw me heading to Walthamstow (which I can’t stop calling Awesomestow), stopping first to buy a bunch of flowers from Flowers and Gifts which is a relatively new shop on Stroud Green Road. The tied bouquets were just lovely and the bouquet that the shop keeper (who was an absolute sweetie) made up for me was just right (though my photo of it doesn’t do it justice – as per) and the flowers are absolutely not too costly. It was all that I could do not to buy a bunch for myself too!

Stroud Green flowers Stroud Green bouquets Mothers Hub bouquet

A delightful springtime bouquet for A.

I was heading east to check out  Mothers Hub, a brilliant new ‘concept’ shop (sorry, but it kind of is – it looks more like an art gallery than a shop selling clothes and toys for children, plus, the idea is that A is giving a platform to local makers – a place to sell their wares that works for them (aka, she isn’t greedy) and as a result the stock is a really interesting edit of beautiful little collections) on Wood Street, E17. Less than a year ago I met up with the gorgeous and supremely talented A for coffee and a picnic in the park and she told me about this idea that she’d had for a shop that would be more than a shop, it would be a space for parents and children to come and do activities (and she has more plans afoot) as well as a creative outlet for her (she is a photographer). Mothers Hub is already (and only) in its fourth month (A doesn’t hang about) and seems to be going strong, it’s a beautiful shop and it feels so welcoming (which is no less than I’d expect from an A project). It’ll be my go to shop for gifts for children from now own. And…there’s something for everyone with a brilliant collection of alphabet cards, designed by A’s husband S, that is totally cross-generational.

Wood Street map

Shame I didn’t notice this map before I went off in the wrong direction for a time!

Exterior of Mothers Hub

Ooooo…exciting, my first sighting of Mothers Hub.

Toys and books A playing shopkeeper

A playing shopkeeper. Actually, I think she was attending to my purchase.

Mothers Hub tote

As a little thanks for visiting, I got one of their lovely canvas totes thrown in – normal price £5 (bargainous).

Walthamstow is interesting, there’s such a mix of people there and it’s honestly bustling and vibrant and the council seems to be really encouraging start-ups that have some sort of community involvement/benefit. I love it. I didn’t manage to make it to the main market this time (which is no bad thing as I had on my mind to buy more fabric but I’ve got loads and loads in my stash with seemingly no time to make it into anything….although, I am determined to join in with Me-Made-May this year, if it’s running – that links to last year’s MMM, so…I’d best get on with it) but heading to Wood Street showed me a side of Walthamstow that I’ve not seen before.

Quaint Walthamstow village

How amazing is this? A gorgeous little village, slap bang in the middle of E17.

I didn’t get a chance to really explore Wood Street and the indoor market but I did stay long enough to….oh dear, buy a few things – a little taster (literally) of what’s on offer….mmm mmm mmm.

Scrumptious in a box A cutting the cakes Passion fruit meringue pieUp close with the stunningly gorgeous passion fruit curd meringue tart – Oh My. And that dark slice at the top? That’s a Guinness and pear cake which was out of this world delicious.

These Aura Rosa cakes were faultless, my only gripe was with myself – that I was silly enough to buy an Oreo cupcake (can never resist them though) when so many other cakes and patisserie were on offer.  I’m sure I saw somewhere that they offer cookery lessons!!…I’m after finding out how to make that devilishly good Guinness cake.

Mother's Ruin blackboard The Mother The ruins

Didn’t manage to walk away empty handed from this cute unit. Well, who could resist a tiny little bottle of Mother’s Bitter Helper, a bitters tincture made in tiny batches, to bring out the oomph in any cocktail – particularly good with citrus drinks I suspect.

I definitely need to go back to Wood Street and to the market, not least to buy more Mother’s Ruin concoctions, I’m after the sloe and damson gins, but also, to rifle through the vintage shops and to find out more about Significant Seams which is a really interesting community enterprise in the unit next to Mothers Hub.

Waving a sad goodbye to A and her beautiful family and armed my lovely new tote,  I started back home, via the rather excellent butcher by Crouch Hill station, for an evening of cooking and TV watching.

I began by making Mimi Thorisson from Manger’s milky chicken with butternut squash pancakes, I found that I needed to add a little more liquid than stated for the pancakes (as I did with her galette recipe) but apart from that….heaven! Mimi’s blog is SO beautiful so, check out the recipe in her own words and then…make it. Do save the poaching broth, then you too can make a disgusting looking but lovely tasting soup by caramelising sliced onion and leek to which you could add any mixture of ingredients, I put the leftover butternut squash, carrots, potatoes and a chicken stock cube and ended up with a souped up leek and potato soup..

Milk poached chicken stock soup

Simple, nutritious, filling and a hundred leagues more tasty than it is beautiful.

After our simple but splendid supper, D and I sat down to our Saturday night (for the past month or so) ritual of a double bill of the brilliant Salamander, a Belgian political thriller. The last two episodes aired last night but if you do come across it, it’s definitely worth a watch (as I write, all twelve episodes are available on the BBC iplayer but not for long). I got drawn in by the language, the show is set in and around Brussels and is spoken in a mixture of Dutch (technically Flemish, I think) and French and, by Jove, Dutch is such an odd language, there were often times when I’d realise (subtitles essential) that what had just been said was almost exactly the same as if it had been said in English or French and yet, without the subtitles, I’d have not understood anything.

Sunday morning began with a mid-morning brunch of butternut squash pancakes (waste not want not, and all that) with bacon and a fried egg – such a beautiful combination of sweet and salty topped off with the depth and richness of a half set yolk.

Butternut squash bacon brunch

In the evening D and I headed out, but not before I’d whipped up a batch of Mary Berry Lemon Drizzle slices, to watch Ángel Múñoz who was performing at Sadler’s Wells as part of their annual Flamenco Festival. D and I know nothing about flamenco but we’re both trying to get out and about, to see and do more things and, in previous years I’ve been interested in going but never got off my bum and gone. I chose Ángel because he is part of the new generation of flamenco dancers and I thought that it might be more powerful and edgy. I think I was hoping for a Strictly Ballroom moment but it was quite different to that. Ángel was the only dancer but he had on stage with him, at various times, a couple of singers and three musicians (one of whom played three or four wind instruments including my favourite – the oboe). Although there were costume changes, interesting use of shadows, arms that moved in ways it felt they oughtn’t to and an aural feast, by about half way through I was starting to feel that whilst the dancing had been impressive, I’d probably seen enough. But, by the end of the performance I realised that I’d really loved the show and, I wasn’t the only one as there was an incredibly long standing ovation. It did leave me wanting to check out other performers (online) as, with nothing to compare him to, I don’t think that I appreciated just how good Ángel Múñoz was.

Lemon drizzle squares

Beautifully tangy and moist little squares of goodness ready for a post performance snack.

One response to “To Walthamstow…and beyond

  1. Pingback: Drrrumroll please….ta daaa! My new blog, Sosusie in the City, is up and running. | Sosusie: The Midlife Ramblings of a Teenage Mother

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