Y'know, this no-kitchen thing is a bit weird, in more ways than one.
For instance, I didn't expect ever to wail at having to go out to eat. After all, I love eating out. I mean, who wouldn't?
But when you've got no cooking facilities at all, and you can't face yet another salad or ready meal (more on those in another post), then the only alternative is to go out. And that's where it gets weird.
When you don't have the option, it palls, it really does. Because, let's face it, if - like me - you can't afford to eat out at Michelin-starred restaurants all the time, and have to make do with whatever the neighbourhood has to offer, the attraction really isn't so great after a while. And then there's the cost. It's amazing how it all adds up. Paying £30 or £40 a throw for what would cost me about £5 or less to make at home kind of rankles.
As it happens, I'm reasonably lucky. There are a few ok, and not-too-spenny places to go in my area, and I don't have to travel too far. But still. Sometimes (most times?), particularly during the working week, you just want to crash at home in front of the telly. Or get those boring domestic tasks done. So having to go out is getting to be a bit of a drag.
But needs must and all that, so what to do? One place we hadn't been to since the whole kitchen thang started was our 'local' (as in about 3 miles' drive) fish 'n' chippie.
It's a bit of an institution, this place. Open for nearly 20 years, it's run by an improbably posh-sounding but very jolly bloke who takes a huge amount of pride in the place. It has tables and chairs, for a start. And they serve wine. (Wine goes with fish and chips, by the way. If you've not tried it before, do it now.) The fish is - quite rightly - bought fresh every morning, and the chips are old-skool fat, chunky, oh-so-potatoey things. Bliss. Oh, and they have a condiments tray to die for: tartare sauce, dill mayo, tarragon mayo, marie-rose sauce, ordinary mayo, and tomato ketchup. Not to forget the salt and malt vinegar.
I didn't take my camera. I know. And I'm sorry. I was just too focussed on getting some decent nosh down me. Imagine deep golden-brown crispy batter covering moist, flaky, succulent fish (haddock) served up with a very generous portion of those scrummy chips. That was it. I don't know if a photo would really have done it justice. But it tasted just perfect, as the fish and chips always does there.
So, if you're ever in south London, go to Wandsworth Old Town, pop into Brady's, and say hallo. And eat the fish and chips, obviously.
Petula Clark? Oh yes. She was there, too. Eating her fish and chips just like the rest of us. Looking good on it, too. In fact, Brady's could use her as their 'face' if ever they needed to advertise. Which they don't. Apparently, she's been going there for about 15 years. What's good enough for 'our Pet' is good enough for me, I reckon.
And no, I didn't get her autograph. I'm sorry about that, too. Blame it on my lack of kitchen. It's seriously messing with my head.