Perfect Pancakes!

This Tuesday is Pancake Day and LoveClapham has put together a little simple recipe for you to get flipping with!  

Preparation is everything…

Pour 300ml of milk into a jug and beat 2 large eggs in, place 125g plain flour into a bowl and make a hollow in the centre, then slowly pour the egg and milk mixture into the centre of the flour, whisking as you pour. Keep pulling flour in from the edges so that you don’t end up with a lumpy mixture. Once all the flour is incorporated, whisk 25g melted butter into the batter, cover with cling film and place in the fridge.

Cooking and Flipping…

Use a non-stick frying pan for best results and heat it on medium until there’s a slight haze coming from it. Add a small scoop of butter and let it melt, moving the pan around so it covers the base. Whisk the batter once more before using it. Ladle 70ml of batter into the pan – rotating the pan as you go so that it covers the bottom. Leave to cook for no longer than 1-2 minutes. To check if the pancake is ready to be turned, loosen the edges with a spatula then give it a little shake – it should come loose and move in the pan. If you’re feeling brave, grab the handle with both hands and step away from the stove. ‘It’s all in the wrist action’ so flip it quickly and confidently inwardly. Place back on the heat, cook for another minute and slide out onto a plate.

Toppings…

If plain and simples your thing then lemon and sugar is the way forward. For those of you with a sweet tooth nutella with sliced banana or ice-cream with chocolate drops. A personal favourite is maple syrup with chopped strawberries. But there’s no limits to the list of toppings so get creative Clapham and enjoy flipping this Tuesday!

Protests Against Lambeth Cuts

Last night over 300 protesters lobbied Lambeth Councillors in a bid to vote against the Labour group budget. Security and Police gathered quickly in an attempt to keep them away with no entry to the galleries, however a fight broke out in the coucil lobby and protesters forced their way into the Council Chamber.  Concillors were quickly moved to a side room and a decision was made to vote through the budget quite hastily. Meanwhile in the council chamber Lambeth SOS chaired a people’s council where members of the community, anti-cuts movement and trade unions spoke about how the cuts will affect them and where the movement will go next.

The group was an organised protest who are committed to ‘resisting every single cut to services, jobs, pay benefits and pensions and every single rise in rents, tuition fees and taxes for working class people’ – as said on their website.

So what are the cuts that they were protesting against?

  • The park ranger service
  • The school crossing patrol service which serves 24 schools
  • More cuts in Children’s Services
  • Libraries budget slashed and staff cut
  • Discretionary freedom passes for adults with mental health problems
  • Regeneration schemes on housing estates
  • Cuts and privatisation in adult social care
  • Lambeth and Lewisham Colleges to merge – massive cuts to local education
  • Reduction in highway maintenance levels and potholes
  • Maintenance of the borough’s parks, cemeteries and crematoria is to be scaled back.
  • Street cleaning levels reduced
  • Were you there last night? Or do you have an opionion? – let us know by leaving your comments below.

    Brasserie James

    On Thursday I walked over to Clapham South for dinner with my friend Ellie at Brasserie James. I’d read positive reviews about its talented young chef Craig James and was excited about the prospect of sampling his new menu. Inside the dining area is modern yet warm and deceptively spacious, with soft lighting and table candles it allows for a relaxing dining experience. It appears to attract couples and small groups which means it would never feel too noisy even when full.

    We were greeted by the Manager and shown to our table in the window. At a glance the menu appeared full of sumptuous, mouth-watering dishes and each and everyone had their own individual culinary twist creatively injected by Craig. The wine list was bountiful and there was the option of by the glass, carafe or bottle. We opted for a velvety mid range San Rafael Merlot, however for those feeling a little more adventurous there was a classic cocktail list and a small selection of champagnes.

    To start with we were treated to an amuse bouche in the form of a pastry beetroot and stilton tartlet which was shortly followed by a basket of homemade chunky slices of warm bread with red pesto and basil cream dips which were divine and surprisingly light. As a starter I chose pan fried scallops which were bouncy and seared to perfection, teamed with able companions in the form small rounds of pork and dashes of Bois Boudran sauce, the dish was delicate and thoughtfully flavoursome. Ellie had the squid and chorizo salad, it had a rugged charm in its presentation and whilst the squid was golden and very crispy the chorizo was slightly too oily.

    For the main course we both plumped for the waiter’s suggestion of roast breasts of poussin and the Assiette of Denham Castle lamb. Ellie commented that the lamb was wonderfully tender and the best she’s eaten, which rather speaks for itself! The poussin was stuffed with sage and chestnut which could have been slightly too rich and filling were it not for the fact that it was cleverly put together with a simple side of squash and spring onion croquette potato.

    It’s surprising I know but we just about had room to try one of the puddings from their modest dessert list. The obvious choice for us both was the valhrona chocolate fondant, salt caramel and honey comb ice cream, which was melt in the mouth delicious and rounded off a scrumptious meal perfectly. The staff were attentive, friendly and made the overall experience very pleasurable – I would definitely recommend Brasserie James. I hope to be making a return trip to try their breakfast menu!

    Acoustic Clapham

    Starting this Wednesday 16th February, The Bread and Roses pub on Clapham Manor Street will be hosting its first Acoustic Session, which is set to become a regular fixture, where the South London musicians will aim to offer listeners a varied and exciting night of live music.

    The 4 musicians will play a range of acoustic, funk, indie and rock based sets entertaining the audience from 7 to 11pm. There aren’t a great deal of opportunities to see live music in the Clapham area, so if you want some authentic sounds from some talented and creative people on your doorstep, then head to the Bread and Roses after work mid week and lets rival all those North London gigs!

     The pub is run by the Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union council and they are a worthy organisation so being involved in events here is going towards a good cause. Also if you’re a musician and you want to share your talents and passion with the community please let the organisers know by contacting them through flomproductions08@gmail.com

    Luuurve is in the Air

     

    Second only to New Years Eve, Valentines Day has the tendency to be one of the years greatest and most expensive anti climaxes. But if you want impress and treat a loved one, this Monday 14th to something other than last minute petrol station flowers and a cheap bottle of plonk, then we have some cunning little suggestions up our sleeves and all within half an hour of Clapham.

     Taking ‘the plunge’ at Tower Bridge  The metaphor for ‘getting hitched’—not plunging into the icy Thames—is being used to promote an evening of romance, bubbly and live music on the high-level walkways 140ft above the river –organisers are hoping the Big Question will be popped and are offering a chance to win Tower Bridge as a free venue hire for their wedding. Tickets are £15

     Love is Change exhibition If you are looking for something a little different with a cultural angle visit Love is Change. A charming exhibit that explores the diversity and power that love ignites through photography, art and music. Free admission

    Charlotte Street Hotel Enjoy a sumptuous four course dinner with a glass of champagne and canapés, followed by a screening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in this hotel’s luxurious private cinema for £60 per person

    Valentine’s Masquerade Ball The historic banquet hall in St. Katharine Docks provides the setting for a one-off special event which will offer guests a blend of romantic dining, dance, revelry and entertainment played out against the carnivalesque backdrop

    In the Mood for Love at the Jazz Cafe Saxophonist YolanDa Brown returns to the Jazz Cafe with her In the Mood for Love concert featuring full Live Band and Special Guests covering a range of musical genres.

    Ever felt like you’d quite like to join a choir but never have for fear of ‘not being good enough’ or embarrassed of singing in public? Well perhaps this is the answer for you. Vocality Clapham is a fun and friendly singing group led by an experienced musical director. Their unusual repertoire of songs from around the world includes traditional folk, spiritual, pop, gospel and ethnic tunes, from as far afield as Eastern Europe and Africa as well as the home nations. Vocality founder Catherine Dyson commented: “Our approach is rather different from many choirs: there are no auditions, we don’t use sheet music and it doesn’t matter if your voice is a little rusty. It’s all about giving people a chance to experience how fantastic it feels to sing beautiful songs in harmony with others. And if you’re having a bad week, it’s just the ticket – people go away feeling uplifted and energised.” If you’d like to find out a little bit more about it click here which will take you to their webpage. Happy singing!

    Bright Pink Racing For Life!

    Friday 11th February is Cancer Research Race for Life’s official Clapham launch date, with members of the team out and about at commuter times kicking off the 6 month build up to what they hope to be an epic fundraising day on July 30th. Last year Clapham Common was transformed in to a sea of pink with women of all ages taking part in the 5 and 10k runs raising a fantastic combined total of over £350,000! This year it’s going to be BIGGER and BETTER with target totals amounting to £700,000, Race For Life are encouraging all women to don their trainers and walk, jog or run their way round the Common to help fight the disease that touches one in three of us at some stage in our lives. So if you’re thinking of doing an event close to home this year, on your own, with friends or family, have a look at this link and sign up to be part of something great with one million other women across the UK. I’m doing the 10K – so see you there!

    Our Top 5 Roads to Live on in Clapham

    Are you moving in the Clapham area? Well LoveClapham has put together, with the help of our Twitter followers, a list of where we think the Top 5 roads are to live in and what makes them so good!

    Venn Street

    An edgy little street right at the heart of Clapham that offers The Picture House, Venn Street Records bar and once a month the awesome farmers market. It’s a 3 minute walk from just about everything – the tube, the common, the old town, Sainsbury and Infernos (should you be that way inclined!). Ideal for those wanting to ‘get involved’ in Clapham’s bustling life – if a little too involved on a Friday and Saturday night! Slightly steering towards the expensive side but totally worth it for such a prime location.

    Northcote Road

    Ah the heart of nappy valley! The bustling market stall lined street brimming with ladies that lunch, mummies that are yummy and young business men spilling out of lush little boutique shops and cafés. Not the cheapest street on our list with a 2 bed flat coming in at anywhere between £1350 and £2200 a month, but trendy, charming and very appealing to couples and young families. Situated at only a short walk from both Clapham and Wandsworth Commons – nicely placed in the Wandsworth Council tax zone – it offers a lot to do and see for residents with restaurants, bars, antiques shops, galleries on the door step. Transport links are great with Clapham Junction station 5 minutes away

    Stormont Road

    The underdog of LoveClapham’s top 5 roads – but give or take a metre it’s the closest to the Common, ASDA and all the bars Lavender Hill, quiet parking and close to both the overland and the tube– what more could you want?! And out of the 5 it’s the best in terms of rent prices – woohoo!

    Crescent Grove

    This came up a number of times with our twitter followers as one of the most desired locations in Clapham. It’s an exclusive private road at a stone’s throw from the common, that has just over 70 residential properties some of which are touching the million pound plus price tag – wowzers! But it’s quiet, beautiful, slightly like the Desperate Housewives street and ideal for those wanting a little corner of luxury at the centre of Clapham

    High Street

    We couldn’t possibly miss out Clapham’s heart and soul, with tubes at both ends its vibrant atmosphere, ‘plethora’ of bars and restaurants and quirky shops. We found that rent prices fluctuated a great deal with some bargains and other extortionate fees for properties not a great deal bigger than a garden shed! It positively buzzes from early morning to late at night, which for a lot of you sounds like hell but for those wanting to be right in it with everything within rolling distance then this is the street.

     Your street not here? – let us know if you think it should be and why!

    Love on the Grapevine?

    The beginning of a new year tends to be time for resolutions, trying new things and meeting making new friends. If you’re single and thinking about socialising with a fresh group of Clapham people in a pressure free environment then a Grapevine event might just be for you.

    An evening of wine tasting, tapas, dancing and getting to know other single Clapham residents at the Flame Bar on the High Street awaits you. These are monthly events that blend together the best bits of dating, socialising and exciting your palate through sampling a variety of wines and h’orderves. The night also includes a quiz about the wines with prizes issued for the winning team.

    Guest are given dating cards at the start of the evening  which are handed back before they leave with all the people they want to keep in touch with listed. The hosts then send all guests an email on Monday. Anyone that you ticked will get your email address, and you will get the email address of anyone that ticked you. The rest is up you!

    For more information and to book yourself a place click here

    Gyms – The Good, The Bad and The Sweaty

    So you’ve kept to the New Year’s resolution and you’re religiously attending your pre/post work gym session, body pump, jump, rock/roll, slide, bend and/or stretch classes and even though you’re perhaps not feeling completely elated everytime you darken the doors of your fitness haven, you’re sticking to your guns and doing it for the greater good! However… how are you feeling about the gym you’ve joined or classes you’re taking? Are there plenty of new, clean, state of the art machines to use? Is there a wide selection of classes catering for all abilities, do you have your own space a in a sparkling clear pool and most importantly…are you getting value for money?

    I surveyed a group of people at random who are members of 3 particular gyms; Esporta, Fitness First and Virgin Active and this is what I found….

    Esporta (Clapham’s closest site is Wandsworth Riverside, Smugglers Way) 
    These clubs offer their members a rather luxurious training experience, with high quality gym and studio facilities, 20m pools and indoor tennis courts on almost every site. Many of their clubs have an adults only policy which creates a relaxed atmosphere allowing for people to focus solely on training. Contract prices tended to be at the higher end of the scale with the average membership at £80pcm, however they can offer good student and off peak reductions. Changing rooms are said to be of a very good standard. Esporta have been offering 3 free personal training sessions when you sign up and free day passes to test out the facilities. Some people surveyed have found difficulty in getting out of contracts having to sometimes give between 1 and 4 months notice. Check before you sign up! Esporta came in with an overall rating of 7 out of 10.

    Fitness First (Clapham’s closest site is Clapham Junction Station)
    Perhaps rather unsurprisingly this club faired best in the ‘price of contract category’ with some people paying as little as £25 pcm. As the largest gym chain with over 170 facilities up and down the country, it offers a ‘what you see is what you get’ structure with every location providing its members with treadmills, cross trainers, exercise & spinning bikes plus weights areas and PT only zones. Some people said that in peak hours there was often a small queue for treadmills, but appeared not to be too much of a problem. Many gyms offered saunas, steam rooms and beauty treatments but sites with pools were less than other chains. Classes generally run 7 days a week and long term members of Fitness First have said the variety has gradually improved with ever popular classes such as Zumba and Pole Dancing joining the weekly agenda. Most people were happy with the shower and changing facilities and said that the swipe card system for the lockers was a great deal better than the coin or padlock system adopted by other gyms. Fitness First came in with an overall rating of 7 out of 10.

    Virgin Active (Clapham’s closest site is 4-20 North Street, Clapham) 
    Richard Branson’s gyms are one of the fastest growing chains in the country with over 600,00 members worldwide. They offer pristine gym facilities in spacious locations, with an extensive range of classes that run 7 days a week such as Gymnastics , Hulaerobics , Kettlebells and Powerplate to name only a few. There are experts on site who can advise on training and fitness. Most VA clubs have laned pools and at certain times the have kids hour, perfect for members with young children. Contracts do tend to be on the pricey side coming in between £80 and £100 with little room for negotiation. Virgin Active came in with an overall rating of 8 out of 10.

     

    Oooh You Foxy Ladies…!

    Looking for a certain something to spice up your Monday nights? Then look no further. London’s finest Burlesque classes have arrived on your door step. Gwendoline Lamour, one of the UK’s most exclusive and celebrated performers of High End Burlesque will guide you through a 6 week course of learning to dance, shimmy and shake like the Neo-Burlesque queen Dita Von Tease.

    The Peacock Bar in Clapham Junction plays host to Gwendoline’s classes which teach you to dance, pose, use props and strut your way through the classic strip tease! They are open to all ages and abilities and such fun to take part in with a group of friends.

    By the 6th week you will have learnt a whole routine and feel like true burlesque performer, so why not let loose and explore your inner show girl this month! You can also book special nights for Hen Parties and Birthdays.

    Click here to sign up and for more class details http://www.polepeople.co.uk/burlesque-classes.php

    Running in the Dark

    It occurred to me recently when accompanying my extremely enthusiastic partner on an evening run around Clapham, how many people are out running on their own through the dimly lit, tree lined paths of the Common. I’ve never really considered the area a dangerous or threatening place and I’ll quite happily walk home alone after an evening out. However having observed the jogging members of the Clapham community, I noticed how many people were blending in to the shadowy surroundings by wearing dark colours, taking short cuts through paths with no street lamps and somewhat unaware of what or who was approaching them as they appeared lost in the music pumping through their headphones.

    With busy schedules and limited hours of day light a lot of us only find the time to run in the early morning or at night. So listen up … if you are intent on going it alone – make sure you’re visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing, stick to lit paths, try and ditch the music and most importantly let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back.

    For more guidelines or information about running with a group, please visit http://www.pioneersrunning.com/ – Clapham’s biggest running club who take people of varied abilities on group routes in and around Clapham.

    What do you think about running after dark on your own?