Thursday, 27 April 2006

Bike ride

There’s nothing like a good old bike ride on your day off and one of my current favourites is cycling along the canal - from Little Venice all the way East. There’s this whole mellow scene going on that’s such a pleasant surprise after the chaos of the streets…well, it’s hardly Calcutta out there but the chance for a bit of respite from the traffic/bendy buses/militant cyclists/dangerous pedestrians is great.

My mate Alanna came by the house and together we headed off for fun and (mis)adventure. You know those friends who you can’t help but get into trouble with? Well that’s her, and as we bounced from one pub to the next, on to a club in the evening and then to this extraordinary party in Kings Cross, our encounters with various characters along the way were just as hilarious as ten years ago when I’m sure we were a lot wilder.

Some things never change and I’m glad. I’m a lot less flighty than I used to be though. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, Choc Star has honed my levels of commitment in a major way. I mean there I am, enjoying my day off, unwinding after a fairly stressful few weeks - and my mind is never far from work…when we cycled past Melrose and Morgan in Primrose Hill I dutifully leapt off my bike and headed in to purchase a variety of cakes for research. Great shop - all kind of calmly functioning and soothing colours. Had a chat with Mr M., polished off the booty (thumbs up to the cake, not overly moved by the icing) and got back on the road.

Later on we found ourselves in Camden Passage where the delightful Paul A. Young has pulled off a great little chocolate shop. I walked in and thought of Elizabeth David…if she’d ever passed a bit of time with Prince and wanted to shooszh up her pantry a little. A nice strapping blonde guy immediately offered us ceramic beakers filled with dreamy hot chocolate and we perused the blocks of Amadei and Paul’s own bars. Very interesting but I’d long ago cycled off the cupcake calories and was in need of another fix. My eyes lit up as they fell upon the table of baked goods: chocolate baguette cake, double chocolate Amadei biscuits, super-fudgey brownies and salted chocolate and caramel tarts. I went for all of them, all wonderfully simple and wonderfully delicious…but the caramel tart was seriously flicking all the right switches for me. A deep, luscious, smooth caramel, sprinkled with bits of salt that gave the sweetness a whole life of its own. If that baby could talk I’m sure it would make a great companion for a bike ride!

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