COVID-19 Journal: Day 234

Last week I had a singular fantasy. I wanted to be wandering along the chilly streets of London, to stumble on a not busy cosy cafe, find that there was a perfect and delicious Black Forest Gateau on the counter, and to eat a slice of it, with a black coffee, looking at the window at the city.

I looked. There isn't one. I've found a gap.

Ever since then, I'd harboured a gentle humming desire for this. I fucking love BFG. It's the best cake. Sure, orange cake is pretty good. I found a cheeky little French ginger cake at La Fromage one day which was delicious. But no cake has the grandiosity and pomp of a BFG. It's second to none.

I just heard on the radio, too, that we have all been seeking more comfort in food during the lockdown. For me, it's swings and roundabouts. One day I'm fine with brawny juliennes of carrot with hummus from the shop, the next, it's CHAMPAGNE AND COMTÉ BECAUSE THE FASCIST THRASHING CHEETO IS FUCKED.

I hadn't forgotten my fantasy. I'd looked online. You can only really order cakes for a minimum of six people, and I'm not that person. OK. I'll wait. Maybe I could make one, but, there's a reason it's grand. Because it's a flinty beast. (Some guy on some conference I have playing in the background said something was flinty today. He was, in fact, the head of the BBC. I thought he's probably got that high because he describes hard things with flair and admits when things are hard.) Perhaps I could buy tiny cake tins and adjust all the recipes to just be for one tiny cake. I have no patience for that.

On my sanctioned exercise today, my feet took me to Upper Street. I'd actually thought to myself I'd try to buy a loaf tin. Cakes you make in loaf tins are more healthy than round cakes. Americans call cakes made in loaf tins "bread". They think if you call something Banana Bread or Zucchini Bread it isn't cake. It is cake. It's cake. I was thinking exactly these thoughts as I wandered and even thought well maybe I could try to make savoury bread and that might be nice? and then I came around the corner and there was Belle Époque. And there it was. Or there six of them were.

It was a bit mousse-y, but, also the closest I'd come so far to my dream slice, so I got one. And a small square of Quiche Lorraine. (I had that for lunch with a lentil salad I whipped up - fry a small red onion slowly with bay leaf, add garlic, a bit of chard, lentils, loads of dill (if you like dill), add roasted beetroot and feta on top. Yum!)

I waited until it got dark to try the treat. It was really good. The fourth bite revealed its secret! I actually gasped.

As the late and great Iris Murdoch once said, “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” I'd say a happy life is an essential, wouldn't you?