Sunday, 14 December 2008

Strolling and shopping in city centre

It was cold and dump yesterday.

I did not want to go out, but as my flat is very cold during the day time (I have central heating in the morning and in the evening only) and as I was running out of milk, I eventually went out.

On normal Saturdays I go to shop in Cape Hill, but as I am leaving for Greece in 10 days, it was unwise to buy too much food (besides, I have some plans to eat out in these days). Consequently I just went for a quick shopping in city centre.

I slightly regretted my decision seeing so many people there doing Christmas shopping. I don't like crowded places.

But, I could not resist going to see the last days of Woolworth's.


It is a historical moment in which the scenery of British high streets will change forever. Well, it might be an exaggeration. But it is still a symbolic moment of this period which will be rememberd in history as "Global Recession".

The one in the photo is the Pallasades branch of Woolworth's. There were lots of people and some of the shelves were already empty. Many of the things are getting fixed rate discount (like "20% off anything from this section"), so you might find some bargain.

But, I escaped in 5 minutes. Too many people.

Fortunately the Open Market was not too crowded, for it was still around 3 o'clock and it was very cold.

I bought some vegetables that looked to be in season.

Broccoli shoots.

I am not sure of the name. They are similar to purple sprouts, except that these are green. 3 or 4 packet of these were for £1 depending on stalls. I suppose they can be boiled like broccoli or stir-fried like Chinese Gailan. If you boild these with spaghetti in salted water, they make immediately one plate added with olive oil and Parmiggiano cheese. Fast food.

Also in season seemed are Savoy cabbages, 1 costs from 50p to 60p.

This cabbage does not exist in Japan and first I did not understand how could I eat such a hard cabbage. Apart from the tendre core, the leaves are quite tough, so they needed to be cooked until soft, more than 15 min in boiling water. As it is so hard, it can withstand long cooking like minestrone. The outer leaves are hardest, but if you cut them very small or thin, they are sill edible and I guess rich in minerals and vitamin judging from the colour.

I met savoy cabbage earlier in the week in Turners.

Just boiled cabbage, but only the inner leaves. They were soft and paler in colour.

Then I went to Marks and Spencer's to buy milk. As I wrote about my organic milk obsession several days before, I buy milk only from certain shops.

The pricing in M&S is beyond my comprehension. Some of the items are double or three times higher than the supermarkets/discounters I usually go. The broccoli shoots as above cost in M&S 99p a packet. I guess it is ok to buy ready-made foods here, as they look quite different from the ones I see in other supermarkets, but I would not buy veggies and meats here, as green grocers and butchers give me better deal (and I am not speaking only about the price).

And the cashiers were SO slow. I really missed ALDI/LIDL, even Tesco's and Asda. The woman at the till was nice and smiley, but it did not make me forget the 10 minutes waiting time in a very short queue (3 or 4 people, and only 1 of them had a basketful, the others only 3 or 4 items).

M&S FOODS business model baffled me.