Sometimes, a little ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds of studying. Every so often, the endless hamster wheel of studying and working and volunteering, I get a little break. Along with all the anatomy and pathophysiology and all the other ologies that an aspiring doctor has to get to grips with, there's one more ology: sociology.
Yep, along with all the hard science, the last couple of weeks has been a bit of gentle artsy noodling and all sorts of theories about society and its effect on your health. Apart from being all sorts of interesting, the workload that goes with sociology is waaaaaay smaller than for most bits of the medical syllabus.
So, just what have I been doing with my free time? Getting out into London again and reminding myself of all the good bits of the city.
But you want to see the food, right? All the glorious vegan scran I've been shoving down my face? Coming right up.
On my way to calling by the Tate to see the Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition at the Tate Modern (tl;dr: didn't expect to love it, did love it - if you're nearby, go!) me and Mr Flicking the Vs stopped for breakfast at Cupcakes and Shhht.
Cupcakes and Shhht is a tiny little place in a container, Boxpark style, in Elephant and Castle. It's about the size of a postage stamp - you could probably fit about six to eight people in there at one time, tops. (Maybe more if you were doing some sort of Guinness world record attempt thing - like how many rugby players can you fit in a Mini, only with vegans and a shipping container.)
You know I've got time on my hands if I can get out for breakfast. Only if I'm getting out for breakfast, I'm going to make sure I'm getting a good feed.
I decided to relieve Cupcakes and Shhht of one portion of matcha waffles. Check it out:
In my imaginary fictional life, this is the sort of breakfast I eat every day while lounging in bed, reading the papers and not worrying about when to get up. Not only are there matcha waffles, there's fruit, ice cream (I reckon Swedish Glace), maple syrup and nuts. It's also gluten free, if that's your jam too.
Both of these were fabulous breakfasts, the gluten-free-ness was pretty much undetectable - no chalky aftertaste or weird texture, just lovely puffy pancakes and crisp waffles. I love the luxury of cream and ice-cream for breakfast, offset with some fruit for restoring that virtuous breakfast feeling.
But that wasn't our only foray into enjoy new, vegan gluten free pancakes in South London of late. We also found our way down to the excellently named Where the Pancakes Are near London Bridge.
Where the Pancakes Are is somewhere you might easily walk past and not notice - it's in a newish development called Flat Iron Yard full of foodie places and drinking spots including WTPA.
WTPA (a great name, but one too long to write out more than twice, I reckon) is bright and inviting and has a couple of seats outside for enjoying al fresco pancakes in London's warmer weather. When we got there mid morning on a Saturday, it was already full and people were leaving their details to get the next available table. We gave our names, and only had a five minute wait on those chairs until we got our chance to sit down.
There are both sweet and savoury vegan options, all made with a gluten free batter with oat milk, chia seeds, and coconut yoghurt.
I surprised myself by choosing a savoury breakfast, the 1000 greens pancakes:
Under all that foliage, there's baby leaves, cumin, spring onions, green chilli, lime and coriander.
It was a bit of a curate's egg, alas. The batter wasn't quite there: maybe it wasn't cooked through enough, maybe it was the gluten-free flour, or maybe the leaves in the batter had thrown something off, but the taste and texture were a touch dry and chalky. The flavours though were great: the Mexicanesque combo of lime, coriander, green chilli was always going to be a winner.
The real star of the show, though, was Mr FlickingtheVs' Hummingbird pancakes.
The Hummingbird is flavoured with cinnamon and topped with poached pineapple, vegan (coconut I reckon) cream, pomegranate, and toasted coconut flakes. There was also a little jug of lime syrup on the side.
Apart from the fact that the pancakes were delicious, with none of that wonky batter I'd had in my 1000 greens in evidence, the cream was softer than clouds made by unicorns. Also, how pretty is it? I've seen plant set-ups at the Chelsea Flower Show that weren't as eye-catching.
I would say something about it being too pretty to eat, but that would be a lie. There's never been a tasty vegan dish I couldn't bring myself to despoil by eating it. I liberally helped myself to much of Mr Flicking the Vs' plate. The Hummingbird was a triumph.
If you're looking for some good vegan pancakes, London's really upping its game at the moment.
Cupcakes and Shhht
Unit 10, Elephant Road
Elephant and Castle
Where the Pancakes Are
85a Southwark Bridge Road