Where it all began

Matilda’s is on the site of the much-missed Heart Buchanan in Byres Road, Glasgow.  I’ve mostly visited for morning coffee, afternoon tea + cake and once had their full Scottish breakfast.  I’ve twice watched the loon having lunch in the middle of the afternoon as his meal system is a bit different from mine.  And I’ve watched Rama having breakfast pancakes with banana instead of bacon when he first turned vegetarian, at an hour I considered well past breakfast time.  The breakfast I did eat was with my favourite niece but I had to stave off hunger pangs for four hours after getting up.  Is it me that’s out of step: do mealtimes not exist any more?

What I remember most about that breakfast plateful was the chopped scrambled egg; how on earth was it produced?  Any time I’ve made scrambled egg, it’s formed clumps so how and why did they chop it up?  Can it be ‘machine made’ in some way?  Next time, I’m going to ask but only if I’m not with a teenager as I don’t want them passing out with the shame of it all.

Their flat white coffee is very good and I’ve enjoyed an individual lemon tart.  It was maybe not the freshest as the pastry was a wee bit soggy but it must be hard to keep them fresh and crisp, even over the course of a day.

They really need to do something about their toilet.  Yes, it’s unisex so that’ll keep the West End folk happy but it needs a good clean, a coat of fresh paint and a new bin for the paper towels as you can’t open the teeny one they’ve got with your foot.  Downstairs smells very strongly of damp but I don’t see how they’re going to get fresh air in that corridor.  Nor can they do much about the steepness of their stairs – ca canny when you’re going down and up.

I’m now fonder of it than ever before as it’s here that “Splendid, Bella!” was born.  I know the loon suggested it in desperation when we were in here one day to save himself from having to listen to me commenting  or complaining live, as it were.  Now I think he was inspired.

 Jessie Biscuit in Milngavie is becoming a favourite.  It’s small, independent, decorated in cream and grey, tastefully bedecked but with maybe a few too many motivational sayings.  Their flat white coffee is excellent and they have a fine-looking array of cakes, including fly cemeteries which you don’t often see nowadays.  I was severely tempted by their Victoria sponge but then I remembered a saying of my Aunt Jeanie: “a moment on your lips, forever on your hips”.

They do have artificial flowers on their tables but they’re at the tasteful end of the scale.  There’s a radio on but it’s not overwhelming and is on a speech station.  They seem to have regulars coming in although there’s quite a choice of places in Milngavie now.  The toilet is clean and well-kept and has a couple of boards with biblical quotes so they’re catering for body and soul.

Enough of these witterings.  I’m supposed to be making leek and potato soup.  I wish I could remember whose advice it was to put in your leeks in three different stages; it has made all the difference to my life.  However, you need to seek out leeks with dark green tops for the third and final stage.  Don’t liquidise, though you can press on your tatties a bit with a masher.  And do not add cream as this is basic, healthy cooking.  Full recipe available on request.

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