Tag Archives: free


16 Jul

london 1.15pm 26C sunny tuesday 2019

such a sunny hot day today. i have just been to a free chicken burger given by meatmarket, their branch in jubilee market in covent gdn. they want to publicise their new menu, which has a caeser chicken burger, and that is what we got. a chicken breast meat with a whole huge little gem lettuce between two buns. with lots of gravy… or i should say dressing. very nice indeed. there were not that many in the queue, just our gang of 5, and maybe another 6or 7 others. 

they are giving out only 50 but i only know of it this morning, from a email from steve, who knew it because he has joined their newsletter which told him of it a few days ago.  when i heard from steve, i went to check it out in their instagram, and saw they only made the announcement yesterday. so it is very short notice. steve said it is a good idea to join their mailing list, as they give u a free meal on your birthday. i shall join even though my birthday is over for this year.

the burger,  you can see that big lettuce , and underneath it is a huge chicken breast.and also the free choc ice cream given by another place hotel chocolate in covent gdn, which we went to after the burger.

steve got a voucher from them for 4 free choc icecream, and invited me to join them. surprisingly, the shop assistant gave us 4 icecream. very creamy the icecream, and a lot of it, that cup is huge. i only managed to finish one, whilst steve and his wife finished off the other 3. it costs about £3.85p normally. it was certainly good weather for eating icecream.

life is very pleasant here in london. its warm , not hot, highest never goes higher than 26C recently…in spite of dire warnings of hot weather coming our way. and no drought, so no water rationing. we got the best of worlds really. unlike new york which have a blackout recently, and it seems it suffers these blackouts; london has not suffered anything like that within my memory of living here all these years. london utilities run well. most people dont appreciate it until it goes wrong, than they get all upset about it. but london runs well and so we dont suffer any interruption of these basic services. 



living unawares

24 Jun

london 6.56pm 24C sunny rain monday 2019.

i have just got back from another free hamburger offer , this time from burger and beyond, who are in shoreditch. they are giving out 150 free hamburgers to celebrate their success on instagram, i think i heard mention they got 150,000 followers or something. 

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its quite nice, costs normally £9. we were the first few, so were seated very quickly and were served very quickly too. that is the advantage of being the first few. you dont have to wait long for the food. its nice of them to give us free food.

its nice and hot now in london, i get the occasional sneeze and mostly itchy eyes and runny nose, but it is not too bad. so i should be grateful that it is not worse. but then they are forecasting 30C temperatures later this week, so the pollen might get to pour out then. i saw an article listing the hottest junes and it seems last year was the 3rd hottest on record. hmm, know something? i would not have known if i was not told. it is funny that i have lived through it and dont remember it was that hot.2017 was a hot june too, but i dont remember it as such. it just goes to show that you could be living it and be unaware of it all. 

7.55pm 23C rain.

i noticed it was 24C this morning when i made the first post. it has remained 24C all day, except for a jump at about 4.30pm peaking at 26C around 5pm. so while we were queueing at the restaurant waiting for it to open at 5pm it was at its hottest today. now it is raining so that has cooled things a bit. 


free food and books

20 Jun

london 17C cloudy thursday 2019

i have just been to brunswick centre, russell square, for the annual greek party there. they do it every year it seems, though this is the first time i been there.

as you can expect it is very crowded, the queue stretched 3 , 4 deep in the main concourse, and people were queue cutting, but there was so much food, with 4 separate areas dishing out the food, that everyone can get to eat. and they have a stage set up where they entertain the people with greek dancing and stuff. it is a greek affair. i heard it is paid for by greek brothers who own the freehold of the businesses there. it is rather nice of them to do it, most probably it publicises the place, and brings people into that shopping area. the food is pasta, with hommous, taramasalata , salad, a cooked chicken thigh, a kebab like sausage, a quite a lot of it. and orange juice, or coke, or beer. it is surprising that it has been going on for years and i have not known about it before.

usually summer brings on lots of these local fairs, but they dont give  free food, unlike this one. so this one must be unique.

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i thought i had other pictures of the people and the food tables but it did not come out. 

i have discovered a good read, circe, by madeline miller.  it is very well written and a enjoyable read. which is rather a compensation for some disappointing summer novels that i have been trying to get through. 

i am thinking of celia imrie’s latest book about the riviera, a nice cup of tea. its about expats living in Nice, and things that happen to them or that they make happen.  Reading them, i begin to realise that there are only a limited amount of plot and things to cook up, and in the end, it really relies on how well you can write.

alexander mccall smith does these things very well, he had two of these european novels, which i have finished and the plot is very slim but he can get away with it because of his writing style.

with celia imrie, she hasn’t got that feel- good style, where it does not matter what the plot is, because if she can evoke that feeling of europe, the sundrenched carefree feeling with hints of romance and intrigue in the air,which everyone feels  would happen when they go on holiday to europe, france or italy,  but which never tips over to being malicious, or dangerous, and everything resolved satisfactorily at the end of the book, it makes for a nice formula to these kinds of summer novels.

as it is, i find it quite a struggle to finish the novel, because i find i just could not be bothered with the things that happen to her characters. so i am real glad that there was circe, by madeline miller.

sub cult free food

19 Jun

london 5.37pm 18C been raining wednesday 2019

practically everyday we have a free meal . today is the turn for a bunch of guys who started off with a pop up, then a van now they are opening their brick and mortar eating place.

it is in the city of london, near banktube, mansion house tube. they do sandwiches , with soft 7inch batons of bread. i got their most expensive option, the submarine £8.50, consisting of scallops,calamari, pulled pork with crackling, and it was very delicious and worth the money. we got it free of course, but their prices are quite reasonable when i compared them with the vegan prices that i have been seeing lately.

they are called sub-cult.

they make it easy to eat, the sandwich is very neatly packed so that you can eat it without making a mess.  it seems they have been around for 5yrs but it is the first time i heard of them.

fortunately i went early. i got an email from steve, to remind me and he said 11ish… the notices i got said 12pm. so i decided to go early anyway, and glad i did, because i got there at about 10.20am, and they told me they open the free food at 11am. normally i would have tried to get there  about 11.30am, half hour before it starts at 12pm.

if u had come then u might have missed out as the queue was very quickly filled . they are only giving out 200 free food. i was the 4th in the queue. but my order was number 41, so it looks like there is a party of people being given priority earlier. or they were breakfast customers, which they serve earlier. 

later i saw steve and his wife join further back in the queue. this free sandwich is certainly one of the really good ones that i have tried. 

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this is just the head of it , the cross section as it were . you can see the scallop, it goes back a fair bit, 7inches long. i think. very worth it.

when i went there i took the tube as it is the quickest way to get around if you are in a hurry.  though if u change at victoria, you might have a long walk underground, changing from one line to another. unless you know the short cut like i did, haha. there is a way to get from the victoria line to the east bound district line without going the long way round.

coming back i got the bus, and ate the sandwich on board, it was very pleasant, i sat on the lower deck at the back, it was one of the new routemaster buses with the seat facing backwards so had a nice view of all the mad traffic following us as the bus make its slow way to trafalgar square.

there are lots of traffic jams and traffic was slow. this is due to the road works that narrowed the street. for some reason they all decided to repair the roads at this time. could be the rain flooded the drains, and caused all this road repairs.

well as in anything, one man’s meat is another’s poison. so the rain to me is very welcomed, but i daresay it will cause others to suffer. in fact, the bus 11 i got after my workout at the circuit training that i go to every wednesday was diverted so much that it went directly from sloane square to victoria, taking the short cut, that by -pass its usual long route. all because of road works at the junctions. two of them along that route.

its possible the roads were flooded, because when i got out of the sports centre after my session, i saw the roads were wet, and it was raining. it must have rained hard when we were inside doing the training.


breakfast at chloe

18 Jun

london 4.18pm rain 19C tuesday 2019

i am really happy to see it rain. this summer i hope will be a good one for me, with lots of rain right through till autumn. to me it is a welcome sight as i immediately bring up visions of it removing all the pollen that is flying about, and wash the air clean.

even though there have been many rainy days occasionally i still get bouts of sneezing, which suggests to me that if not for this rain,it will be a lot worst.   this summer i think,would rank as one  with the highest amount of pollen put out by far. they dont measure it, maybe because they have no means of measuring the amount of pollen per square inch, but i bet it is a lot. all they tell us is that it is high, and that have been stuck at high all the time, even through the rain. usually when it rains, i expect it to at least drop to medium or ,a hopeless wish, to low. 

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actually there is more filling than shown, as usual with burgers when u bite into it you push all the fillings back so that it protrudes out at the back and make things very messy.

this morning i got breakfast at chloe. you will remember they gave out guacomole burgers before the shop was ready to open. this time, they have got it finished and it is a very nice big space. and a big menu board above the serving counter. and i was approached straight away when i walk in given a menu and asked to chose, so i asked about the free breakfast, and he said it is on thursday. i must have looked disappointed, because he quickly said he can give me a bacon burger. vegetarian one of course. their system here is to give u a pager, and ask you to sit anywhere and wait for it to buzz. so i used the time to go downstairs to the loo. it was a long trip through twisting corriders and down stairs. haha.

it took some time to get my order. and there were a few people sitting about, but some of them seem to be staff, sitting with laptops. at least they were not being given their burgers, even though they were here before me. just a couple , man and woman, got their burgers before me, and they took theirs out rather than sit in the restaurant to eat it. i myself took mine out and went to the steps of the church nearby to eat it.

i was surprised at how long it took to make the burger. there were not many people, no queue. normally when there is something free going on you expect to see a queue. i dont see any of my freeloader friends either. so maybe they know it has been moved to the thursday perhaps. i must ask them when i next see them.

it has been advertised as starting from 7.30am, but when i went there earlier at 8am, i was told they open at 11am. that is why i went back nearer 11am, and maybe that is why there is no queue. they must have been told the free breakfast is on thursday instead. so my free food is a courtesy gift from them even though today is not a free breakfast day. it is nice of them to give it to me.

i got  a bacon cheeze burger. the bacon is just onion sauce, very nice too because it was a bit burnt and have that lovely flavour, (in fact, i am thinking i might do the same with my onions next time i cook them) the cheese was tofu i think, coloured to look yellow egg like appearance , by tumeric maybe… and does look and taste like egg. so that is a success.

its all vegan their menu.   and quite a big space, lots of seating. so people can linger if they wish. this one i got cost about £9 normally. it does seem rather high for a breakfast product. i dont know about you, but i expect vegetables  to be cheaper than meat…but maybe with all that trying to make them appear like meat,it is a costly thing to do.

but somehow to me, after all that effort, it is still a vegetable sandwich. i have tasted them now, these vegan efforts and i think so far they have not done anything remotely like meat.

maybe seitan will be more like meat, i have yet to taste seitan, or the impossible burger brand, which they seem to say is meat like.

i read of kfc having a meat -less ‘chicken ‘ burger (made from quorn)but it is only in some select outlets. in london it is the gloucester road branch.

from that article i learnt that only 1% of the population are vegan. so why are so many restaurants jumping on this vegan bandwagon? maybe the profit is high? the markup is high and they can afford to make a gamble. who knows the public might bite.

added. it seems the real beef taste and texture is in two companies, beyond burger, and impossible burger. link to comparing them. both are american companies.


17 Jun

london 1.42pm 21C sunny monday 2019

it was only this morning that i found out about a free lunch today given by SOW, to celebrate its opening at great malborough st, near the top end of carnaby st. i was exchanging email messages with steve, about a different matter and happen to click on a link he gave me that says this place is having a free lunch to the first 100 customers today. when i got there, it was exactly 12pm, and i was expecting to see a long queue, but no, no one about it seems. 

there were two men standing at the entrance, so i hesitantly asked is this the free food? and they said yes and gave me a menu and when i walked into the place i see my friends, steve and wife and all the others allready seated and eating. they said they started going in at 20mins to 12, even though it was meant to start at 12noon. 

anyway i got a nice chicken and rice thai green curry… lots of chicken breast meat, normally costs £8. its very mild curry though. i am really surprised there was not such a long queue, but then it was not publicised at all well, as i have not heard of it till this morning and only by accident. i was wondering why they call the place sow. female pig. until i came back and googled it and found it is meant to be a verb, like to sow seeds etc. haha. well it can lead to confusion i bet. 

in fact, the others were talking of a free food given by the malaysian high commission, recently, to celebrate hari raya puasa, and i had not heard of it. the others said they themselves only heard of it last minute. one went and said it was so busy she only was able to eat 3 of the foods. it was held at the high commissions house in hampstead. and it seems tun mahathir the prime minister was there, making a short 3day visit to uk. i belong to a malaysian in uk facebook site and they dont know anything about it, which is rather a disgrace really as they should know and alert us to it. but maybe it is allready so busy they just dare not make it too well known as no one checks if u are a malaysian or not. so they just try to make it known by word of mouth and only to malaysians. 

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quite a lot of chicken breasts in this dish.

they were talking of other freebies, so i was able to get info on some more free food to be given out in the near future. it is very useful this little group of regulars that we have, we keep each other informed of new offerings. 


juggernaut in london

16 Jun

london 5.34pm 19C sunday 2019

i nearly missed going to trafalgar square for this festival. they give out free food. they do it every year around this time, but i forgot and there was no notice of it happening this sunday at any of the events website that i belong to . i would expect ‘time out’ to feature it, but last i look there was no info on it. i dont know who it is in aid of , though i suspect it might be organised by the hara krishna people. there was no leaflets telling us who they are. 

luckily i was coming back from the paddington library and i had gone to the  maryelebone street festival which explains why i was  on the bus quite late in the day,  and saw their juggernaut going down the road from hyde park corner to picadilly circus. so that made me realise the festival was today. 

i decided not to go home just yet, and got off my bus at victoria and took the bus to trafalgar square. and saw the  long queues to the food stall where they were dispensing the food. but strangely, when i went to join the queue, the man in charge directed me to a empty third line, and i was able to walk by everyone to the head of the queue, and got my food very quickly. hmm, it seems lucky that. and the servers gave me double servings, i wonder why? previous years they were more careful but not this year, they were giving large servings to anyone. i was there about 1.30pm, and the cauldrons were still quite full of food. even though i could see lots of people sitting about the square, eating their food. this year there was no tea, just cold soft drinks. i found a link to the ratha yatra in odisha where they mentioned it is noted for its juggernauts

and that this festival has been popularised all over the world by the hara krishnas.

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i had allready eaten half of it before i remembered to take a picture. its a stew of chick peas, aubergine, nuts (it has cashew nuts too) over rice, and vegetables(brocolli) in batter, with a custard over something sweet for dessert.

vegan burger from chloe

14 Jun

london 3.39pm 18C cloudy friday 2019


this is the free vegan burger that we got from chloe on their new branch near oxford circus. it is a bean burger. the bun is quite nice, it got a crusty texture, and the bits of chips in it gives it some crunch. the beans are quite soft, so it doesnot have the texture of meat. it might be better if it has a more meat like texture… 

they did not have the restaurant ready to allow us inside.the front of store still have the hoarding boards hiding it, so they are still working on it, and it was takeaway only.  so we have to bring the food to the porch of the church nearby to eat it. i was hoping the burger  is made of jackfruit, as i have heard a lot of it but not tasted it. it seems the jackfruit burger has a nice texture so has mouth feel.  but in this case,it is not so. they make it out of beans. which is soft. they said it has bacon and egg and cheeze, but i did not taste any of it, so whatever they substituted for those ingredients was not very successful in invoking the taste or texture of those things. perhaps the butchers and meat eaters are right in objecting to them using meat names to describe their vegan versions. it is a bit deceptive and misleading in a way.

this is the first vegan burger i have tasted. so many of these restaurants giving away free samples, but for some reason i have not gone to them when they were giving out free food on their restaurant opening. i was expecting more meat like textures, and tastes, but no it is nothing like that. i think it is a bit deceptive to call it a burger… which seem to imply it is like a meat burger when it is not remotely like it. 

oh, before it started, they were giving out small drinks of vegetable smoothies. there was beetroot, spinach, carrot and tumeric, lemon and tumeric. there was even one that is all black which they call charcoal, it sounds and looks very un appetising, it was all black, and i cannot help thinking it will stain my teeth black… so i did not take that. i took the carrot and tumeric, and lemon and tumeric, cant really taste the carrot, or tumeric, but the colour was nice looking, one was orange, and the othert light yellow and tastes a bit tangy. 

chloe is a women fashion company, as one of the women in our group of free eaters told me,  but it seems they are also branching out into the vegan restaurant business. 

well, it was nice to meet up again with all the other freeloaders. haha.

then i went off to the pub for the ex lyc meetup of the now defunct east west gay club where we reminisced of old times. 

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added. the above is the pic of my dinner , made by simon when i got back. he had fried a pork steak in batter. very meaty and delicious.

ikea gave me a free £5 birthday voucher

11 Jun

london 4.34pm 16C cloudy tuesday 2019


these are the 3 free items i got from the birthday voucher of £5 which ikea gave me to spend. that metal object is a garlic press £2.50, and the red thing is a dish washer with a inbuilt soap dispenser £1.75. and the turquoise cup 70p is their signature cup. i have a white one , which i found long ago , and i bought this one just to bring it up to the £5 total.

the garlic press is one that i really want, because i broke mine,  which i bought cheap from a charity shop long ago. that old garlic press was actually a combined garlic press and a cherry/olive pip remover.  you can tell that it belongs to a bygone age, as no one i know removes olive/cherry pips. i broke it by trying to press ginger on it, instead of garlic. i realise now that for ginger it is best to grate it. or just use a knife to crush it, and then cut it finely.

i enjoyed choosing these items, though the journey there and back was quite a bother. the ikea i went to was near wembley, north london, and i forgot which tube station to go to, i should have got off at hallesden tube station, but instead went one station further to stonebridge park station, and that was a mistake. because  the bus 224 that i took had to go pass hallesden anyway but not before going  a long circuitous route through housing estates.

tfl told me to go to neasden and then walk 15mins to ikea. i did not fancy walking, and i know of another way using buses from a tube station. i had a vague recollection that it is hallesden, or stonebridge park and choosed stonebridge just to try something new. after this, i will not advise anyone to choose stonebridge park. haha.

i was thinking whoever uses ikea must have their own transport. there were lots of people buying huge amounts of bulky stuff, and i was thinking they must have got their own transport, as i cannot imagine anyone using public transport to carry all those things back. 


24 May

london 8.28pm 19C dry cloudy friday 2019

its the 2nd day of the free meat giveaway with bbq sauce. i had a nice time socialising with those ahead of me and behind me. ahead of me were 4 white women who work nearby, they said but able to get time off to queue. behind me were two guys , one of them chinese looking, but later told me he is french, born and bred there. he is in his 20s, studying architecture here in london . when i asked why he chose london, he said it is the international feel of it, and also english language. (perhaps also that english architectural firms are very much in demand internationally? )anyway he said it takes 8yrs to train as one. medics take only 5yrs. so it must be harder to be an architect than to be a doctor. he rents a small room , £750 a month , exclude bills, in a shared student house nearby. we were in the liverpool st area. his friend is french, here on holiday from paris where he lives, to help him celebrate end of his term. he smokes hand cigarettes. he says he gave up for 3yrs  but went back to it because of the stress of his studies. his friend has given up smoking. both have no accent when they spoke english. to me who dont speak any other language than english, i find it very admirable that they can speak more than one language and so well too. perhaps they are typical of the europeans who come here to work or study in uk.

the chinese looking guy says he found a job, working for a high end restaurant. when i mentioned do they do silver service, he said yes, and they are going to teach him, and take him on, because they said  he is so  enthusiastic and his attitude in the interview. he must have impressed them a lot… but maybe also they find it hard to get people with silver service experience and have to train them.

many years ago, i remember watching  my friend practising silver service. he was  an australian blonde guy, (this was when  i was  living in australia for about 1yr,i had intended to migrate there but i only lasted a year or so before scuttling back to good ol britain haha), practising to pick up food on a plate with fork and spoon, with one hand, whilst holding a tray with the plate on it with the other. it looks like a juggling act and not easy to do. that is silver service i told him. i can see why not many will want to go through the training, it just sound like hard work, when u could just wait at table in any ordinary restaurant, and dont have to put too much of yourself into it. 

oh, about the free meat, i found that you can ask for a beer whilst waiting for the meat to marinade and be vacuum packed. it seems before 2pm, they cannot just give it to you,(something to do with the licensing laws) so that if u want beer  you have to ask for it. haha. i did not know that yesterday, no wonder no one was drinking beer yesterday; but since i just dont like beer, i did not ask for it today. the beer would just be wasted on me as i wont appreciate it. so can u imagine it, they are generous … beer even!! 

added 9.37pm . i was making rice and was steaming a plate of celery on top of the rice, when i decided to cut some pieces of the beef i got free earlier today. i chosed another cut, called the bayette, and it looked rather thick, and i heard from steve and his wife who got that cut yesterday that it was quite dry and they burnt the outside when they cooked it to get the inside cooked. i said it would be best if u like it medium rare, than cooking the outside well, would mean the inside will be medium rare. i was wondering how to cook it, then this idea of steaming it with the celery came up and i did it. i cut a few pieces from the main beef, and it turned out quite nice. the meat was not too tough… which is something i was very aware of , if u dont cook it right. 

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the meat does make the dish much more savoury, i put in a bit of the bbq sauce to the dish to season it and provide the gravy. so quite a nice dish and another way to cook the beef.