kay scorah.


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The Last Post. The Last Supper. The Last Stand. The Last Straw. The Last Resort.


If you’re new to Essex Road Recipes, welcome. And goodbye.

The idea was born out of the wonderful collection of independent, specialist food stores around the corner from my flat in Islington, North London. There’s Steve Hatt for your fish, James Elliott for your meat and cheese, Raab’s the baker. And then there used to be The Market Garden for your fruit and vegetables and The New Rose pub for meeting your friends and neighbours. All quality. All with minimal plastic packaging. All staffed by people who know their stuff, who know their customers. People who have supported me through some tough times with banter, genuine concern, hugs and sharing.

This is the last Essex Road Recipes blog. You can say that you were there in March 2019 when I finally admitted that the project had failed. When my recipes on essexroadrecipes and my ranting on kayscorah collided, and I realised that my well-meaning, small scale social activism was pointless.

5 years ago, I started to improvise recipes around what looked good in these shops. 2 years ago I published a set of 50 improvised recipes.  My love of food and cooking grew and grew…

…as did my love for these people, my sense of belonging and being at home after 20 years living away. The North London banter in Raab’s, James Elliot and Steve Hatt is still guaranteed to cheer me up on the darkest of days, but I miss the Market Garden Family. I miss the New Rose Family. The owners of the land on which the Emery family ran the Market Garden for 20 years decided to terminate the lease in January. Apparently they were going to develop the site; luxury flats and 2 retail units, or so we were told when we petitioned the council to keep the shop open. Our petition failed.

Even now, 2 months after the shop closed, no planning permission has been applied for, and an estate agent’s sign is advertising the site to let as a popup retail opportunity. Meanwhile, homeless people sleep under the shelter of the abandoned shop.

The New Rose went out of business and now sits empty, boarded up with an intruder alarm constantly sounding. The group  of locals who used to hang out there, listen to one another and take care of the older ones, are scattered. In what used to be the beer garden there is a tent  where homeless people live.

What now? Now that the extremes of greed and poverty that seem to characterise my country  these days stare me in the face a few yards from my door? Now that I am politically orphaned; neither represented in parliament nor by my local council? Now that I feel powerless to effect even the smallest change? Now that I feel unseen and unheard? Should I succumb gratefully to a mind-numbing diet of reality TV and supermarket shopping? Or start a revolution?

Essex Road Recipes is no more. Watch this space for Essex Road Revolution.



That friend you can depend on. For Charlie.

August 26th 2011. I’d taken a little show I’d made to New York. Cast of 3, including me.  It was the opening night and I was shitting myself, to be honest.  We were onstage as the audience walked in. A mad looking bastard with white hair strolled in and took his seat in the middle of a row half way back. I squinted into the lights. Then I mouthed. “Charlie?” I had no idea he was even in town. He just waved.

That was Charlie all over. No ceremony. He was just there for you if he thought you might need him. No fuss.

2012. I moved back to London after almost 20 years away. Saw Charlie a few times. One night my phone rang, really late. It was Charlie. He was outside. He’d had a bit of a problem and needed somewhere to stay. I let him in, we had a drink and put the world to rights before he sloped off to the spare room like my drunk brother.

That was Charlie all over. No ceremony. He had a way of making me feel useful. No fuss.

Now he’s gone. He checked out Monday evening. No ceremony. No fuss.

To his family and all his other friends, lots of love. I’m going to try my best to be a bit more Charlie.11041713_10153155534832922_6090886241022825664_n (1)


Moon and sun

The moon once said to me,

“In my light, you will always be beautiful.”

She was a slender crescent, loved by all the sparkling stars.

She was full, round and blue. She was orange.

She was everything, and she was beautiful, too.


And then the sun came up, and I forgot about the moon.


The sun said, “I will shine, but you must hide away in the shade.

He said, “Let me show you all the things that are more beautiful than you.

“Let my light make clear your flaws, your scars, your wrinkles and your weaknesses.”


His brightness burned my eyes, his heat my skin,

and when he saw that I was cold, he hid behind a cloud.


At last, the sun sliding below the horizon, I heard his harsh voice call,

“I am leaving. Without me you are invisible.”


Then at my back, I heard the moon’s fierce whisper,

“No. Be gone, sun. Without you, she is invincible.”


Kay Scorah August 2018

I see. You see.

Crying. Too much mascara.

Elephants drinking in still water lake. Reflected.

North of England industrial skyline. Inverted.

What do you see?

Different experiences, different cultures, different context, different mood. How often do you stop to ask others what they see?


Humans are so weird about food

Human A, “Aw, look at the cute little calf! It’s so adorable!”tumblr_msdoeqe14g1stlkgho1_500

Human B, “Yes, isn’t it!

Human B, “Want a beefburger?”

Human A, “Yes please!”


Human A, “Eeeek! Look! A spider. Someone kill it, please! I can’t stand spiders!”

Human B. “I’ve squashed the spider.”5-6-HOWARD-4live-spider-sample

Human A. “Thank you!”

Human B, “Want a spiderburger?”

Human A, “Yuk, Gross! Are you crazy?!”

Snow day



she came

to tell the

to buy a warm

end. And shurrup moaning about the

The Suffradeads; voting rights for dead people.

(Warning 1 – contains arithmetic and arithmetic puns)

(Warning 2 – not funny)


The EU referendum was held in the UK on 23rd June 2016.

The date on which the UK is set to leave the EU is 29th March 2019.

144 l_o_n_g weeks after the referendum.

A gross length of time in so many ways.

On 23rd June 2016, 17,410,742 people voted to leave the EU.

16,141,241 voted to remain in the EU

A majority of 1,269,501.

It’s a cheerful fact that an average of 12,000 people a week die in the UK, of whom approximately 10,000 are over 65.

That means that roughly 1,440,000 over 65s who were able to vote on 23rd June 2016 will be dead by 29th March 2019. (Sorry, friends).

64% of over 65s voted leave. So, that’s potentially 921600 dead Brexit voters between the referendum and the exit.

At the time of the referendum, the UK population of 15, 16 and 17 year-olds was approximately 2,106,000.

These people will almost all be eligible to vote by the time we leave the EU. They will be 18, 19 and 20 years old.

71% of 18-24 year-olds voted remain

So, roughly 1,495,260 18-to-20 year olds who would have voted remain will be leaving the EU.

To re-cap, on the leave date of 29th March 2019 the UK population will probably include:

17,410,742 leave voters minus 921,600 dead leave voters = 16,489,142 living leave voters, or 49%.

16,141,241 remain voters plus 1,495,260 newly eligible remain voters  = 17,636,501 living remain voters or 51%

A majority for remain of 1,147,359.

Seems fair that we leave the EU, right?

Seems fair that we don’t have a second referendum, right?


Fair to dead people.

The second and final day of this Stark Raving Sane blog.

6 more examples of the miracle by which things sensed are transformed into emotions, which in turn become drops of water which exit through my eyes and down my cheeks.


  1. I was first told that I couldn’t sing when I was about 3 years old. To this day, 60 years later, every time I start to sing I feel that I am unacceptable, unwanted and ugly. Frankie Armstrong on Radio 4 is talking about the cultural crime of robbing people of their singing voice. . and I am crying my eyes out while making the coffee. Not singing.
  2. A procession of primary school children on a London street. 2 by 2. Holding hands. The full spectrum of skin colours on those soft, small fingers.
  3. An older woman – my age – at Marylebone station greets a younger woman. They hug. My muscles remember that yesterday evening I hugged my son.
  4. The bass line on Marvin Gaye’s “I heard it through the grapevine”
  5. I help my mother with the clasp on her gold necklace.
  6. In class, G stands up, reluctantly, to give his presentation. He always looks at the floor. Never makes eye contact. Until today. Today, for a moment, he looks up, and looks straight at us. And he smiles.

Day 1 of The Stark Raving Sane Blog. Rainbows are OK. As long as they’re all green.

IMG_0517(Yes, I’m the same person that sometimes does the funny blog. But this one isn’t.)

I cry easily.

I used to blush a lot.

At school, I would get into trouble for getting uncontrollable fits of the giggles.

I sometimes lose my temper – lash out, scream.

Sometimes I can’t pick up the phone because I don’t have the courage to speak to people.

Normal people probably don’t cry several times a day.

I do.

Almost every day.

I’m crying as I write about crying. That’s how much of a crier I am.

So, you see, I have strong emotional reactions. So strong that some people say I’m crazy.

So I come up with the usual crazy-person justifications;

What if it’s not me? What if our definition of “sane” is too narrow?

So narrow that we stifle everything brilliant and different in ourselves.

So narrow that even justifiable outrage is silenced.

More drugs sold to keep us all in the middle of the spectrum.

As if we’re banning rainbows, unless they’re all green.


Here’s 8 things that made me cry today. I’ll tell you more another day.

  1. I received a sweet note from the man who is afraid that his son doesn’t love him.
  2. A mum with a little boy. She had just picked him up from nursery. He was crying. I heard her say, “Did you think Mummy wasn’t going to come back from work today? I will always come back from work to collect you. Silly sausage!” My dad used to call me sausage.
  3. Tobey reminded me that Sam died 3 years and 6 months ago.
  4. I congratulated someone on starting a big new job. They wrote back, “Oh Kay, how can I ever forget you! I have been building on those bits of training you gave me continuously all these years. You were one of my first and best teachers to help me get to where I am today.”
  5. On the street, I passed by the man who dresses like an elegant pirate every day. As we passed each other he said, “Hello, beautiful crazy lady.”
  6. A man on crutches playing football with his small child.
  7. My cousin cried as she talked about her mum’s death.
  8. A woman on the bus told her kids to be quiet. They weren’t really loud. Just little kids. I smiled at her. She spoke to me softly, “I can’t stand it when people say awful things to them.” She was wearing a headscarf. Her little boy came over and hugged her. He kissed her forehead.







Traditional gender-based workplace dress codes..

“traditional gender-based workplace dress codes [ … ] encourage a sense of professionalism in the workplace”. Teresa May 2011

Here at *Porcito we are 100% behind the Prime Minister, a position we particularly enjoy when she wears those figure-hugging skirts and leather trousers. And we are proud of our people. We want all employees to experience the dignity and confidence that comes with traditional gender-based workplace dress codes. Following today’s press coverage we want to remind our male employees of the guidelines:

Manspreading is obligatory. Any man found sitting with his knees less than 40 cm apart will be sent home without pay. Crossing your legs at work (with the exception of the aggressive ankle-on-the-opposite-knee pose) will lead to immediate dismissal. HR has arranged for lunchtime ballet-barre classes to be provided in the conference room B3 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for any man struggling with his turnout.

Trousers must be tight enough to clearly show the shape and size of your man-sausage.

The bottom button of your shirt must at all times be left open, so that your hairy lower belly is clearly visible. If you wax your belly hair, or are naturally hairless, ahem, “down there” you MUST have a 6-pack. André’s “Glutes and Abs” classes take place every morning from 7.30 to 8.30 in the park on the corner. (If you are spotted with neither belly hair nor a 6-pack for a period of more than 6 weeks, and you don’t attend André’s class this will be grounds for immediate dismissal).

Bum crack. We understand how difficult it can be for those of you who wear suits to work to expose your bum crack. For this reason we only impose the bum crack rule on maintenance staff as follows:

First, you will be graded on a scale of 1 to 10 by a panel of female staff members. (10 = Ryan Gosling and 1 = Donald Trump).

Having received your grade, you will be required to follow the natural order of things as follows:

8-10: Your choice, you can expose as much or as little of your bum crack as you like. It’s irrelevant, as all we want to do is gaze into your eyes and dream.

5-7: Between 2 and 6 cm of bum crack to be exposed when kneeling or bending

Less than 5: At least 6 cm of bum crack to be exposed at all times.

Finally, if your knuckles do not naturally drag along the ground as you walk around the office you must wear arm extensions, or reduce the length of your legs.

*Not to be confused in any way with Portico “providers of high quality, tailored front and back of house guest services.” whatever that means…