A Visit to St Andrew’s Street, Cambridge

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St Andrew’s Street Baptist

St Andrew’s Street runs from the end of Regent’s Street into the city centre with Christ’s College on one end, and Emmanuel on the other.  It has a mall (shopping arcade) entrance along its route, and several nice eateries.

I recently had the opportunity to use St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church as a venue to teach my students about church architecture, and the symbolism of church decoration and furnishings.  I really like this meeting place as it has a fair share of quirks as well as being a great model of a evangelical Protestant church building.


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Sunday School


The Baptist Church’s lay out is interesting as it has incorporated old passage and alley ways into the present complex.  The church provides a wing in what was a Victorian Sunday School and it has a cafe and meeting area in a converted passage way.

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The Baptist congregation dates to the end of the 17th Century, and the building has expanded from the conversion of secular buildings, to the present structure which has had periodic expansions, and remodeling over the centuries. The present interior space of the chapel is Edwardian, and has some really wonderful features, especially in the Alpine style of its ceiling and upper gallery.

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Ceiling Detail

Christian iconography is evident but not in typical ways. The only initially evident cross is on the right hand gallery as one faces the pulpit. Yet is you examine the 21st century two-tone seating, you will find that the colour pattern of the chair upholstery forms a second cross as seen from the pulpit.  Examining the windows and carving of the older woodwork reveals a large number of triangles and other Trinity symbols, however.

The stained glass at the front of the chapel area is interesting as it does not depict scenes from the scriptures or of saints.  It instead shows characters and scenes from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The Celestial City adorns the top of the window, and Christian, Faithful, and Valiant for Truth feature in the panels.

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Pilgrim’s Progress

The older wooden pews have interesting bracket and tray fixtures which are often misunderstood.  They are simply umbrella stands for the worshipers and are practical considerations not ecclesiastical ones. In a similar vein, there are a number of ornate metal boxes along the walls.  These too a thought by many to be “suggestion” or prayer request boxes, but they are actually remnants of the Victorian heating system.

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The Livingstone’s Cafe in the church. I had a coffee and later a meal here while visiting the venue. The cafe which is built alongside the church building is in a covered area in what seems to have once been an alley leading to the Victorian Sunday School annex. The area is modern and clean, and the history is clearly visible as you can see not only the flint cobbled walls of the church, but also the red stone entry of the 1880s Sunday School.  The staff are largely volunteers but are attentive, if not a little busy with a fair volume of regulars and passing trade. Orders are taken at the table and payment made at the till (no card payments by the way).  The coffee is of good quality and at a fair price. I also had a good sized jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw. This was served with a small salad (cucumber, tomato, cress and iceberg lettuce. The coleslaw was good and still had a fresh cabbage flavour. The carrot cake I had was very nicely made, but rather high priced (as opposed to a very reasonable price for the meals and coffee). There is a small play area for children, and a disabled/play area toilet convenient to the dining area, as well as other conveniences further into the complex. For those interested in such things, there are several features that show a true social concern. There are also anti-poverty goods available and a friendly attitude shown to regulars, visitors, and passing students as well.

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Livingstone’s Cafe


Not far away is another lunch spot, the St Andrews Street Wagamama. The restaurant is upstairs, but there is a lift for those with mobility issues or with pushchairs. The tables are bench style with fixed stools, and the decor is rather plain, but the food is tasty and served fairly quickly. We had shiitake donburi which was in very big portions, and this was complemented by the infused oil, and choice of soy sauces on the table. Green tea is served for free with the meal, and all in all it was a tasty affordable lunch.


For a more Latin feel there is also a Nando’s outlet nearby.  The restaurant is convenient to the city centre and the Portuguese flavour does come through in the atmosphere, even if it is a chain restaurant. The decor is bright, Latin music is in the background, and the feel as a whole is positive. The staff were friendly, and very helpful; taking time to explain the menu and ordering process. While this is a order at the counter, served at the table system, the amount of time spent explaining the system to newcomers might as well allow for table service – but this is not to detract from the quality of the service that was received.  On a previous visit, I had a portabella mushroom wrap with a medium spice marinade with a couple of sides. All were well prepared, and the portions were good value for money.

Other Foodie stops include the Castle Bar, which has a really good ice cream kiosk on the sidewalk during the summer months, and the Regal which is a Wetherspoon pub. I have eaten at the Regal on a couple of occasions. The first was for a breakfast (before visiting the church in a previous year), I found the offerings, and quality quite good. The restaurant/pub is large, yet a comfortable, and welcoming place to visit. The ordering system is the pay at bar, served at table type, but the staff were very efficient and helpful.  I had eggs royale, which was nicely prepared and the salmon very nicely complimented by the hollandaise sauce. The coffee was a bit basic, but not bad. On my recent visit, my wife and I had lunch there, and there are some very good Friday Fish deals.

If churches and colleges aren’t your thing there is always the Grand Arcade. I am not one for malls and shopping precincts, but the Grand Arcade is a well maintained, attractive centre. I was there to use the Apple Store, but found the other shops interesting as well, and the Costa Coffee hidden away under the escalators provided a nice place to wait while significant others are doing their thing.

While a little off the beaten track of King’s College, Senate House, and the Queen’s College Bridge, St Andrew’s Street has a lot to offer, and it is worth checking out if visiting the home of greatest university in the world.

Iced Cinnamon Cream Tea

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This thick and cool drink was blended as an indulgence when the idea of a creamy tea was desirable, but the mercury was breaking 30 C.  The resulting recipe was therefore born.


  • Water 400 ml
  • Cinnamon Tea Bag 1 or Chai Tea Bag 1
  • Ground Cinnamon 1 tsp rounded
  • Double Cream 200 ml
  • Stevia 2 Tbs
  • Ice 2 cups


Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, then stir in the sweetener and cinnamon.  Stir until dissolved. Reduce the heat, and then steep the tea bag in the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the teabag, and cover the pan and allow to cool.

When the mixture is room temperature add the ice to a blender, and pour the tea over the ice.  Add the cream and blitz for one minute.  Serve is large glass.



Easy Tips: Simple Syrup


photo: Daily Mail

Several desserts and mocktail recipes call for simple syrup (sometimes noted as sugar. syrup).  It is useful to have around as it speeds up other recipes as well, as there is no need to wait for the granulated sugars to dissolve. While you can but pre-made commercial syrups (Monin, and others), there really is no need as it is easy to make, and much less expensive as well.


  • White Sugar 2 1/2 cups
  • Water 2 cups


Place the water into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then add the sugar a little at a time stirring constantly. When the sugar is completely dissolve , reduce the heat. Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes (do not over cook it or it will be too thick when cooled). Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool completely.  It should have thickened. Check the consistency and when you are happy with it, store in a clean glass bottle or jar.


Mountain Tops

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We often speak of the outstanding events of our lives as mountain top experiences. We want these experiences to last for ever, and this is understandable.  They often are full of joy and exhilaration.

Often worship lifts us to these heights. We are in the presence of God, and of like minded a d purposed people.  God is in the house, and we explicably want to retain this taste of heaven.

It is interesting therefore that in scripture we find that such mountain top moments are not opportunities to stay put, but clarion calls to move on.

In Exodus 19:20, the “Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain.”  He then called Moses to climb the mountain engulfed in cloud and smoke, and the sounds of thunder and trumpets. Moses was called into God’s very presence! “Then Moses went up on the mountain, which was covered with a cloud.  The shining-greatness of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai. And the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the cloud. To the people of Israel, the shining-greatness of the Lord looked like a fire that destroys on the mountain top.  Moses went into the cloud as he went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights (24:1-18).” Yet, he was not called there to remain, but rather to receive a mission. Moses is given God’s commandments, then sent back to lead the people.

Similarly in Matthew 17 we find another mountain top moment,

 “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.  Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified.  But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead (vs 1-9).” [italics mine]

The three disciples are accompanying Jesus on a mountain top.  There they come into the presence of the great men of faith Moses and Elijah. The experience is electrifying for them.  Peter in his zeal wants to make the experience last.  Let’s build shelters her for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  In a sense he is saying, “Lord, this is great let’s just stay.” But then mission comes into play again.  The voice of the Father interrupts Peter’s planning.  And as a bright cloud falls on the mountain, God’s word, again as at His baptism, affirms Jesus’ identity.  But what’s more the disciples are given a direct command from the Father – “Listen to Him.”  And what are they told? “Get up,” and then led down the mountain.  There was work still to be done.

Should we then shun the mountain top moments? Absolutely not.  They are tastes of things to come for us.  They empower and enrich us. But, they are not the do all and end all of our walk. Once energised we too have a mission (one incidentally given on a mountain top):  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).” This is a mission difficult to complete if we build shelters on the mountain top. We need to go beyond our church doors, and into all the world to help lead others upwards!


Pineapple Lime Refresher

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Here is a sweet, yet clean tasting summer drink.  It blends pineapple and citrus with a hint of honey, and makes for a great treat after a day of gardening.


  • Pineapple Juice 500 ml
  • Lime 1
  • Honey 2 tsp
  • Soda Water 150 ml (or as needed)
  • Ice 1 1/2 cup


Juice the lime and remove any seeds.  Place juice and any bits into blender and add the honey, ice, and pineapple juice.  Blitz until ice is totally broken up and pour 1/2 each into two glasses.  Top up with the soda water.


Ocean Stuffed Peppers

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Here is a seafood/pescetarian dish which is great in the months when there is an abundance of fresh bell peppers. It is much like the meat and rice options, but links salmon and prawns to make a tasty meal.


  • Bell Peppers 2 large
  • Grilled or Poached Salmon 100 g
  • Prawns or Small Shrimp 150 g (cooked and peeled)
  • Rice 1 1/2 cups (precooked)
  • Spring Onions 3
  • Peas 1 Tbs
  • Butter 1 Tbs
  • Tomato Paste 3 Tbs
  • Ground Cumin 1 tsp
  • Garlic Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Dried Parsley 1/4 tsp
  • Ground Black Pepper large pinch

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Preheat oven to 200C/ approx 400 F. Wash peppers, and remove top section (and retain) and dispose of seeds. Place peppers into an oven dish, open side down and place in oven for 30-35 minutes. While the peppers are cooking, melt butter into a frying pan, and dice the onions.  Stir the onions into the hot butter, and allow to soften. Reduce the heat and flake the salmon into the pan, and add the prawns and peas.  Next stir in the herbs and spices. When well mixed add the rice and tomato paste and continue to stir until everything is warmed through and well mixed.  Remove the peppers from the oven, and carefully spoon the seafood mixture into the cavities. Place the pepper cap back on, and return the peppers to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes making sure the peppers have become tender.



Morir Soñando (No Added Sugar Version)

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Morir Soñando is a Caribbean drink which blends orange juice and milk to make a tasty treat.  This non-alcoholic option is similar in flavour to an orange creamsicle or solero. In the Dominican Republic it is typically made with cane sugar and evaporated milk.

This no added sugar version has the same flavour, but without the same “stickiness” on hot days.


  • Milk 400 ml
  • Orange Juice 300 ml
  • Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup (I used Crusha) 1 Tbs
  • Stevia 1 Tbs
  • Ice 1 1/2 cups


Place the ice into a blender, then add the other ingredients. Blitz for about a minute, and then serve.

As a matter of note, the traditional recipe uses a 2 to 1 ratio of milk/orange juice and a full half cup of sugar.  I prefer the slightly more orange taste of the above, though it still works well with the sweetener using the traditional ratio.




Of Evil Queens

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Photo: Once Upon A Time

Snow White was confronted of the nemesis of an evil queen.  This beautiful woman had according to some versions wiled her way into the affections of the king, only to arrange his death and take power.

While not exactly the plot of the fairy tale, Kings and Chronicles give us some fascinating real life stories of such evil queens.  In this case it is the mother/daughter pair, Jezebel and Athaliah.

Jezebel was a Phoenician (1 Kings 16), and while it was a diplomatic triumph for Ahab, King of Israel to make such a strategic alliance through marriage, it underscored his weakness as both king, and as a man of God.  He became increasingly under his foreign wife’s influence, and soon built altars to Baal. Jezebel was well versed in the art of being a despot, and her mark was to be left on Ahab’s kingship.

The extent of her despotism, and her corruption is found in I Kings 21 when she plotted for the death of Naboth in order to obtain his vineyard, for her husband to use as a vegetable field.  She used false testimony and deception to gain her ends. The result was for people (presumably in an act of religious fervour) to kill Naboth for cursing God (a crime he was innocent of).

What she ultimately caused was the downfall of her husband’s reign.  She in turn, meet a terrible end herself, as prophecised by Elijah, with her flesh eaten by dogs.

Her corruption, and its evil impact on Israel, also infected Judah through Athaliah.  Jehoshaphat’s kingdom had already had maritime setbacks because of the good king’s alliance with Ahab (2 Chronicles 20). But the marriage of his heir to Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, proved an even greater threat.

God was not pleased with King Jehoram. He had killed all of his brothers, and according to 2 Chronicles 21 he had forsaken the Lord, the God of his ancestors.  He had also built high places on the hills of Judah and had caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves and had led Judah astray.”   The result was invasions of the country from without, and a consuming disease on him personally. The invasions led the the loss of his wealth and children (say for one), and the disease eventually kills him.

On the death of Jehoram, his youngest son Ahaziah took the throne.  This weak king ruled for only one year.  He abandoned the righteousness of Judah, allies with his mother’s line of Ahab, and follows evil counsel: He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly.  He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father’s death they became his advisers, to his undoing (2 Chron 22: 3-4).”

On Ahaziah’s death (again only a year after coming to power), Athaliah took power herself.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah.  But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him.  He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land (verses 10- 12).”

To assure her own position she attempts a purge of all of the royal line of Jehoshaphat. A plan, as we see that is mostly successful, but which failed in the end. In chapter 23, the rightful king with the aid of the priests and Levites is crowned, and Athaliah (like her mother) is killed.  The new king, with the support of the priests and people brought down the evil reign, and went even further, for they tore down the temple of Baal.

And at the Temple of the Lord,  

” . . . Jehoiada [the priest]placed the oversight of the temple of the Lord in the hands of the Levitical priests, to whom David had made assignments in the temple,to present the burnt offerings of the Lord as written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and singing, as David had ordered. He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s temple so that no one who was in any way unclean might enter. . . . All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword (verses 18, 19, 21).”

The line of Jezebel was ended. God was elevated. Evil seemed powerful, but in the end “the wages of sin proved to be death.” It may not be materially so these days, but the account of the costs and consequences of the queens’ evil, are great reminders to us today.



Friday Street Farm Shop

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It has been a while since I did a farm shop review, but as I was able to visit the Friday Street Farm Shop while in the Aldeburgh/Saxmundham area, it seems a good time to post one.  This is a good, middle range farm shop with fresh veg, a butchery, and a quality fishmonger.

The farm shop itself is fairly large with a good selection of fresh veg. The displays are bright and welcoming, and the shelves are full of quirky ingredients, as well as the standards.There is a tasting bar, which on the day of our visit had some very nice humous in various flavours.

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The butchery features Suffolk local beef, free range pork, and free range chicken. Unlike many similar shops, there is not a separate cheese  counter (that we could find). All in all this is a balance somewhere between a high end farm shop and a local grocery. we did like that there was a wide assortment of frozen items from local sources, and a great idea of frozen loose fruit as a “weigh and save” option.

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The complex does have a really good quality fishmongers where we got dressed local crab, samphire, and scallops.  The service was good, and we were given a bag of ice to help get our purchase home as fresh as possible.

The farm also has a pick your own berry area, and a very nice cafe. The cafe had inside and outdoor seating and the coffee was smooth and flavourful.   The scones were large, and tasty, though the butter and jam were rather standard national brands rather than local.

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There is also a pet centre and garden shop.

The Friday Street Farm may not be “high end” or primarily “organic” but it is a good middle range place for fresh fruit and veg, and a must see (if in the area) for seafood.


Pan Fried Scallops with Samphire and Cheese Sauce

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I bought some lovely scallops and samphire at the seaside this weekend, and decided to go all out with this luscious recipe. It is full of rich flavour, colour, and texture, and proved to be a real treat.

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  • Scallops 150 g (about 6 large)
  • Samphire 150 g
  • Butter 4 Tbs
  • Gluten-free Flour 2 Tbs
  • Cheddar Cheese 100 g (mature is best)
  • Milk 200 ml
  • Double Cream 3 Tbs
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper to taste
  • Water to cover samphire

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In a sauce pan melt the 2 tablespoons of butter, and then stir in the flour until lightly browned. Grate the cheese and slowly stir it in, adding splashes of milk until the cheese melts and the mixture becomes a thick sauce. Sprinkle with pepper.

Bring about 1 litre of lightly salted water to a boil in a separate pan. Place samphire in boiling water for about 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.

In a medium frying pan heat 2 Tbs of butter, when it is very hot stir in the scallops and lightly tease them about the butter for about three minutes.

Remove the scallops and place on two plates to serve.  Then take the remaining scallop infused butter from pan, and stir it and the cheese sauce along with the cream, stir well.

Dish half the samphire next to each seafood portion, then pour 1/2 the cheese sauce over the samphire and scallops.