So ages ago, I had a Starbucks account. I need to create one again.
But is it straightforward? Of course not? Apparently, I’ve tried to create an account several times already.
And have I?
Nope. First time today!
That being said, I had a lovely mocha from a local cafe this morning whilst I was running errands. It was made from Perky Blenders beans! Perky Blenders are an East London coffee roasting company. Now it makes sense that there are so many local cafes and stores that carry their grounds and beans!
It’s quite the slow Saturday. I’m allowing myself time to recover from all the goings on during the week. I’m taking today and tomorrow as recharge days. Next week will be busy again.
I kept seeing posts from friends in the Philippines talking about it. Apart from knowing it was called “dalgona” coffee, I had absolutely no idea what it was about.
So what does a person do these days when they don’t know what something is? Of course! You google it! So after googling it (and after Alan later tells me that he knew about it), I find out that the coffee fluffiness was a craze that began in South Korea.
I wasn’t that surprised about this because K-Pop is everywhere (one of my friends flew to London, from the Philippines, to watch the K-Pop phenomenon that is BTS when they had their 2-day London concert at Wembley). I once caught the Korean telenovela bug and absolutely loved Full House and Kim San Soon. One of my best friends was completely obsessed with Korean drama series and K-pop. It was great because I could get to dip my toes into the craze, without going all pruney. I think I loved the quirky cuteness of the storylines, but I don’t think I drank the Korean telenovela kool-aid enough to be completely drawn in. I did love that the obsession included all things Korean…because the food (of course!) was what I loved the most. I fell in love with kimchee, kimbap, bulgogi, chapchae and bibimbap (Note to self: when this lockdown finishes, find a Korean restaurant and indulge!).
But I digress! The craze apparently started when Jung Il-Woo (who is apparently a Korean megastar, yes folks, I have been hiding under a rock for years!) made the coffee on live TV. I can’t recall the actual circumstances. But after googling dalgona coffee, I decided it would be a Saturday morning treat. As it was coffee, I was definitely up for trying it.
It was actually so very easy to make. Basically, it was 2 tablespoons each of your choice of instant coffee, sugar and hot water. You used either a whisk (if you have the patience and the stamina – this would probably a great workout for bingo wings) or an electric whisk to whip the sugar-coffee-water mixture into a heavy froth. The coffee turns thick, fluffy and light coloured. The delicious (and very strong) coffee fluff is then spooned over iced milk (yep, iced, literally ice cubes into a glass, milk over the ice cubes). I flavoured my milk with hazelnut syrup. I loved it…mostly because I love strong-enough-to-stand-your-spoon-in coffee. Although I think I would probably make a smaller batch of the coffee cloud. If you go by the premise that the ratio of sugar to coffee to hot water is 1:1:1, then you’ll be okay.
My friends have tried various iterations of the froth: one has tried matcha, another has tried hot chocolate, another has tried Milo. I think I’m going to look for strawberry and chocolate Nesquick to see if I can’t whip it up as well.
I think this will be a good distraction from the pressures of the current lockdown.
I would love to write something witty or something smart or useful or write up a recipe for something yummy today. But I’m coming up with a blank. I am driven to type because I feel the need to write…something. But I know that none of the words I actually type can be threaded together into something life-changingly brilliant. So this post is all about the nothingness that I feel compelled to share with you.
It’s a Thursday and…well, it’s nearly the weekend. I am on my couch watching Pointless and wishing I had bought myself a lottery ticket for tomorrow’s roll over. Maybe I will.
Tomorrow is Friday and tomorrow is market day. Maybe I’ll find something to write about tomorrow!
Oh, did you know that today is National Coffee Day…somewhere in the world?
We came across this lovely café quite by accident. We were exploring Lower Marsh and the rain started to come down quite heavily. We were also looking for a place to have breakfast because our usual cheap eat favourite Marie’s on the same street was closed.
We took shelter and the smell of coffee wafting from the beautifully gleaming vintage espresso machine was amazing! We were greeted with a really welcome “Hello guys!” so we went further in and looked at the menu. We were intending to be polite and just have coffee and possibly cake. But they served Staffordshire oatcakes or “oaties” and there was quite a choice from sweet to savoury fillings for the oat pancakes. We’d never had oaties before so our curiousity was piqued! We chose to have bacon and stewed tomatoes. The aroma of cooking bacon was amazing, and boy were the oaties oh-so-fabulously good! It rated an “oh-my-God-this-is-amazing!” with my mouth full of oatie-bacon-tomato goodness! The oaties were light but surprisingly filling. I expected to feel full and bloated after, but I didn’t. It was heaven on a plate.
Now. let’s get to the lovely brew! I opted for drip coffee because it’s what I do when trying out a new coffee place (my better-safe-than-sorry coffee measure). I was offered a choice between the Guatemalan and another blend (I think it was Costa Rican blend) and I chose the Guatemalan. It was very nostalgic for me because it was served on a Duralex looking cup, which reminded me so much of the French coffee cups that my father favoured. At first I was worried because the drip coffee looked light and watery. But oh no, was I VERY wrong! The coffee was rich, comforting and oh-so-flavourful.
The staff are lovely, very friendly, so very helpful and they know their products. They’re happy to explain what they sell, what you’re options are and they give you lovely recommendations. They also love what they’re selling. That’s key!
This isn’t quite on the main road from Waterloo Station, but this is definitely worth a visit. The space is small and there are only a few seats, but that’s part of the charm. If you have the opportunity to wander around Lower Marsh, pay the lovely folks at Coleman Coffee Roasters a visit. It is DEFINITELY worth it!
There are a lot of reasons why I’d love to live in London. There’s something about the frenetic activity of a world-class city that makes one feel alive. For one, the shops don’t close at 5 or 6PM. There’s always something to do and there’s always something to happen. What I love about my London trips is that you literally walk in history. Each corner and cobblestone may have had a place in history!
And the food! London is such a cultural melting pot that one is spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing where and what to eat. You have a choice of going to a restaurant chain or going to an independent one-of-a-kind shop.
I love my coffee strong (some might say strong enough to stand one’s spoon in!) and while I will always somehow feel a certain loyalty to Starbucks (sometimes Starbucks coffee can leave me wanting more), London offers a wide variety of choice when it comes to places where one can get a brilliant cuppa.
One of my favourite street food purveyors of great coffee is Bean About Town. Their coffee is strong and robust and you get the perfect caffeine hit. I’ve been known to head to South Bank when a headache rears its ugly head just to stop a migraine from coming (obviously only when I’m actually IN London)! I remember once my migraine really was starting and we were in South Bank I was very disappointed that they’d run out of beans and I couldn’t get my caffeine fix.
One of my favourite coffee places of all time though is Flat White. It’s this little coffee shop nestled in between vegetable stalls and fabric shops on Berwick Street in Soho. It serves, well, flat whites (of course!), cappuccino, lattes, and a selection of other coffee based drinks. They also offer a great selection of teas. If you’re feeling peckish and need a little something to have with your cuppa, they’ve got a selection of bread-based eats and baked goodies as well.
I love Flat White. Mostly because they make a good flat white – strong and not at all too watery or milky. For those who haven’t had a flat white, a flat white is a coffee drink developed in Australia in the 1970s and further developed in New Zealand in the 80s. It’s prepared by preparing steamed milk with small, fine bubbles into a shot or a double shot of espresso. Flat White a smallish narrow restaurant that has a long L-shaped banquette. But what I appreciate most about this little gem of a coffee shop is that even though seating is limited, the atmosphere is very laid back and no one rushes you to gulp down your drink, inhale your food and free up seating space. You’re allowed to chill out and linger over your coffee. The staff are wonderfully friendly (no question too silly!) and you are served with an amazing efficiency (the music is not too loud and brilliant to listen to!)!
If you’re ever in Soho, and you’re dying for a cup of coffee, mosey on along to Flat White. It will definitely be worth it!
Our office is doing a week-long bake sale to raise money for Comic Relief. Comic Relief is a charity based in the UK that was set up in 1985 that aims to raise money to tackle the root causes of poverty and social injustice. The money that gets raised each year helps so many people and I enjoy doing my bit to contribute, albeit in a very small way.
I’m going to bring coffee and walnut brownies tomorrow. It’s still chocolate but it’s got a distinct coffee taste that cuts through the chocolate quite nicely, or at least, I think so! I love the recipe enough to share it. I think this would be great with a cup of milky tea or, what else, coffee! If you try the recipe, please tell me what you think! I’d love the feedback.
Prepare a baking tray by greasing and lining with parchment paper and set aside. I learned that when you grease the baking tin that you plan to use, it’s a good thing to also grease the parchment paper you line the baking tin with. It prevents the parchment from sticking to the cakes and makes for easy removal.
In a bowl, mix flour and choppped walnuts together, making sure that the walnuts are completely coated in flour.
Place chocolate, butter and instant coffee granules in a heat-proof bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water. Leave until melted completely but making sure you stir once or twice to make sure that everything is combined properly. Remove from the heat once everything is melted completely and well-incorporated.
In a free-standing mixer (this can also be done by hand or a hand-held mixer), mix sugars and egg and beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy-looking. I read somewhere that this usually takes about 5 minutes, but what I look out for is a change in colour, the batter becomes a paler shade of what you when you started to cream the sugars. Pour chocolate mixture slowly into egg and sugar mixture and mix until everything is well-combined. Add the flour and walnut mixture and mix until the batter is thick and smooth.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. The top will look shiny and flaky. Be careful not to over cook as the brownie can become hard and very chewy.
This can make up to 24 squares, depending on how large your slices are.