Coffee Cake

The other weekend I went in search for a satisfactory place to have a spot of brunch in Crouch End, a hub of quaint cafes and boutique shops, so you'd think I'd have no problem finding somewhere. But no, the one I selected was a bit of a disappointment. I won't dwell on it as I don't really want to waste space on this little blog with places I've not enjoyed, but serving bog-standard wholemeal sliced bread from the local supermarket with warm chargrilled veg, causing it to go soggy and limp? Doesn't cut it I'm afraid.

Afterwards however, what really rubbed it in was when I wondered past another cafe called Coffee Cake, full of promise and delightful treats from both the savoury and sweet camps. This meant only one thing, returning to Crouch End to pay this place a visit in order to make up for the lacklustre effort I'd just experienced. So this Saturday I trundled my way back to the village within London and made a b-line down Broadway Parade for Coffee Cake. Upon entering, I couldn't help but feel a little like a kid in a sweet shop, and would've quite happily run up to the counter and scoffed my face with the dangerous looking deserts, had my sensible side not kicked in and made me head for a table in a reserved manner - damn you sensible side

The menu is listed on the several blackboards on the brick walls though it's more enjoyable if you go and investigate what's on display to choose what you want. I opted for the crayfish and spinach tart with black-eye-pea, farro, spinach and garden pea salad, which came to around £6.50. Not a winner on the budget front, but so very worth it. My friend had some of the baked salmon with chili and a choice of three salads: I think sweet potato, a Bhutanese red rice one and mozzarella, spinach and fig salad. There were about ten different tarts and quiches, eight different salads, sour dough breads and pastries and that doesn't even touch upon the breakfast menu. (I spied the people next to us having generous portions of eggs Benedict). 

Pretty much everything you see on display is available for take-away, which is an added bonus as it meant I could take home a gorgeous looking sweet thing that was probably terribly bad for me. I didn't do things by halves either when ordering some of the apple and rhubarb crumble. How was I to know I'd be given a portion of epic proportions?! I'd like to think I couldn't possibly have eaten the whole thing myself had I not offered some of it...but deep down I know I would've polished the lot.

I'd recommend heading here either for brunch or a large late lunch. The staff are very welcoming, it's quite family friendly as well as an ideal place to catch up with a friend, and surprisingly it doesn't get too busy even for a Saturday. My only qualm would be that the coffee is more bland than blend, and wasn't hot enough when we received it - I probably should've gone for one of the freshly made juices or smoothies. Ah well, next time me thinks.


Beast of Burger

Having an urge for a burger usually hits me in quite an impromptu way, with a slight jab to the stomach and resulting in an uppercut to the head - which usually means I must eat a burger. Soon. This urge came across me this afternoon, which meant I had the time to go and buy ingredients for said burger rather than taking a trip to somewhere like Camden to score at Hache (which I must blog about soon)
So if you're anything like me and need a quick failsafe reliable recipe for a hearty burger to use you as a punching bag, then try this one for size...

Makes 4 beastly sized burgers

250g of beef mince
1/2 a red onion (or 1 small one) - finely diced
1 large clove of garlic - crushed
2 spring onions - chopped
A few sprigs of fresh parsley - chopped
1 large egg - beaten
Salt and pepper for seasoning
A few pinches of dried chili
Splash of red wine

How to make:
Heat a knob of butter in a pan and cook the red onion, garlic and chili until soft. Add to a bowl and mix together with the mince. 
Mix in the beaten egg a little at a time.
Add the spring onions and parsley.
Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of red wine to the mixture.
Split into 4 patties. 
Preheat the grill to 180 and cook the burgers for about 25 minutes - turning every 10 minutes or so.
Use a knife to cut into the middle to check if they're cooked. If the juices run clear and no blood escapes you're ready to serve.

(Before a good grilling)

If you so wish, serve with a bun, tomato and salad in the classic fashion. Though I just had it sans bun with salad and some flakes of melted mature cheddar.