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My four favourite things, all in one day

According to Mr Flicking the Vs, there are four things I like to do with my free time:

  1. Sitting down
  2. Reading
  3. Eating and drinking
  4. Going to museums
I found myself with a spare half-day off from work the other day, so I thought I'd see if I could cram them all into a handful of hours.

After a short shift in the morning, I headed off to a museum I'd never visited before: the Wallace Collection. It's one of those place where some rich folk spend their lives spending money on arts and objects, then decides to leave it all to the nation when they shuffle off their mortal coil. The nation duly opens it as a museum, so everyone can go and marvel at said rich person's good taste, doffing their collective caps at the posh nob's generosity.

It's also one of those places that's entirely staffed by superannuated old gents that loathe visitors for disturbing the silence and tranquility of their museum, and aren't shy of letting those poor tourists know, usually in the most passive aggressive way possible.

Then there's the exhibits. It's a lot of late 17th, early 18th century art, furniture and sculpture. It's all a bit samey - lots of pale heaving bosoms in the art, furniture where everything that can be gilded is covered in eye-watering amounts of gold. It's like someone transported the interior decor taste of a Russian oligarch 200 years into the past.

I feel a bit weird complaining about a museum, given how much I love them, but the Wallace Collection isn't one of my favourites. That said, if you can brave the downstairs - where they chippy museum staff and one-note collection lurk - then you can explore the upper levels, where there's some much more interesting pictures to be viewed, then the Wallace Collection can still be worth the trip.

So, that was number four on the list ticket off, onto number three.

About 10 to 15 minutes walk away is the Kin Cafe, a veggie place that I've been meaning to go to for years, and finally decided to get myself in gear after being reminded of it by this list of vegan brunch places in London.

There's a goodly amount of vegan dishes in Kin, but the one that called my name was this quiche:


I haven't had vegan quiche for far too long. My own efforts at homemade quiche have been fairly bum, and you rarely see it on menus these days (at least in London you don't). I think that's because quiche was one of those foods that was such a hot food in the past that making in the present always feels old-fashioned.

When I was a kid, quiche was very on trend. I think it was because it was French, and sort of made people from England feel a bit continental. It was about the time that British people realised that food could be more than nutrition, and could actually taste good as well (trust me, I've lived through it. It was grim. There was a lot of mince.)

So, whenever I see quiche on a menu, I have to get involved. It takes me back to being a kid. And Kin Cafe's quiche was a great example of the form - crisp pastry, vegetables and tofu, all with the requisite wobble that an English quiche should have (any French vegans, you may want to look away now.)

Kin Cafe does three salads a day, and when I dropped in, there was potato salad, coleslaw, and a beetroot panzanella. While beetroot panzanella might have been a bit beyond the pale for the quiche eaters of yore, they'd definitely have been au fait with potato salad and coleslaw. Both were becoming popular about the same time as quiche did, as supermarkets began to sell them in plastic pots.

So, give me a quiche, coleslaw and potato salad, and I'm all at once transported back to being a kid and the food I remember eating at the time. Only back then, it wasn't half as nice as Kin's.

That's three and four ticked off - what about one and two?

Yep, I got them ticket off too, at Amanzi Tea.

Amanzi Tea is, as the name rather implies, a tea shop. I love tea. I've said it before, I'll say it again - I love tea. I can't function without it. I can't leave the house without a cup, and there's no meal that doesn't taste better with a brew.

Give me a tea shop, and I'm happy - especially one with all these brews to choose from:


There must be north of a hundred brews in there. I opted for Russian Caravan, as it's one of my favourite teas of all time (yep, it's a crowded list).

Happily, Amanzi tea does not just do a boatload of tea: it also does all sorts of snacks too, several of which are vegan. If you're in a grab-and-go mood, there are things like Inspiral's kale chips, Snact's dried fruit, or Squirrel Sisters bars. If you're of a mood to, oh, I don't know, do some sitting down and reading, you can get yourself a more substantial bit of sweet treat.

I counted three vegan cake option: a flapjack, which wasn't very exciting, a slice of pistachio cake, which was, and a dark chocolate and coconut slice that looked extremely inviting.

I took my Russian Caravan, my cake, and sat down with a good book for an hour or so. And with that, my friends, I ticket off both one and two in one fell swoop. What a day.


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5 comments

  1. Some of my favorite things too! Although I'll admit I usually only go to museums with exhibits I'm interested in. But I will go if there's quiche involved. :-)

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  2. Those are four of my favourite things! I squeezed in a lot of them today (museum, reading, tea, sitting about, eating) but my eating was less exciting then yours. I did eat some shredded cheese out of a bag and have an excellent slice of chocolate cake though so I'm calling it a win despite the lack of quiche / potato salad / coleslaw which I would love to be eating right now.

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  3. What an afternoon! I think I like (1) and (2) the best, but the whole package sounds fantastic :-)

    We liked the Wallace Collection when we visited, but it was soon after we moved to London and I think the novelty of all that historical poshness was still new to us (Australian museums don't compare!).

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  4. What a great day! I like your theory on why quiche became popular. Surprisingly, vegan quiche is very easy to come by in Prague and I'm always disappointed when I go back to the UK and there's none to be found.

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  5. your thoughts on the museum are very amusing but I am sure I would still enjoy it - thought i would probably enough more having enough money to buy stuff that I could leave to a museum!!!! And your quiche sounds wonderful - I had had success with a quiche using a combo of tofu and besan at home but rarely eat quiches out because the egg ones are usually too much egg and there are not many vegan ones. I quite like the old fashioned feel of quiches - Quiche Lorraine was quite fancy in my childhood.

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