As a lark, I'd rather do a breakfast meeting any day but an 8pm one following four hours driving on M4, M40, M25 and M11 and then country roads was made a little better by an early supper
The small village of Belchamp St Paul is picturesque but looked completely deserted when I arrived at 6pm, frazzled from the journey . Feeling dismal about how I was to kill two hours, I was more than relieved to spot that the only pub was not only open but was serving food. The tiny Half Moon Inn turned out to be a tardis of all that's good in country pubs.
Sixteenth century, thatched with a log fire and warren of rooms with comfy tables and chairs and a brilliant menu - the kitchen opened at 6. Their old fashioned suet steak and kidney pudding tempted me but my chicken choice was the regulars' favourite. Diet police - notice the sauce on the side!
Cooking on the boat has restricted my cooking repertoire for the moment so getting food fixes are all the more special and when the hour long meeting in Essex, meant to be a four hour return trip, turned into a 24 overnight pass of a treat to see Mike Bartlett's new play at Islington's Almeida Theatre, arriving early had more foodie fall-out.
I've read the books, tried the recipes but not eaten the man's food - until now. Yotam Ottolenghi's Islington canteen was opposite the theatre and I had several hours to kill before the play started!
An unprepossessing shop front - amazing food!
Lucky then I had two tiny 0.80 pence Penguin Little Black classics to while away some time.