Emmanuel Ray with Melanie Broye-Engelkes

Pick & Cook Pop-up Stall in Old Street station.

Photos by Tito Nicolau at Frog In Red Tie.

Hurry! This pop up stall only runs until Saturday 8th November. Underneath the Silcon Roundabout and Tech City, within the walls of St. Agnes’ Well, there lurks a charming French-German lady, a Halloween season (good) witch armed with a variety of treats. No tricks here. Just treats! And her goodies are sure to cast a spell on you!

Cookerista Melanie Broye-Engelkes‘ passion for fast, fresh and healthy food is very inspiring. This unique concept of Pick & Cook is a new venture and aims to give busy London professionals and city folk the ability to cook a healthy and delicious meal, on a budget, in a short time. It’s ideal for bachelors and men (like me!) who don’t like spending too much time in the kitchen. I’d rather someone else cook for me. But nothing beats the satisfaction of cooking something for yourself and enjoying it. 

Some of the portions (like the Chicken and rice dish with spinach, ginger, lemon and stock) can be shared between 2 people. I absolutely love the concept. How fabulous? This is why I love living in Shoreditch/Old Street as the neighbourhood is buzzing with new businesses and concepts. 

I absolutely loved the Vietnamese Prawn Salad that Melanie suggested I try, as I am mad about seafood and exotic flavours. It reminds me of beautiful Eastern Asian women in colourful sarongs and shiny hair, carrying exotic spices in a basket. How about toned and athletic Eastern Asian men, shirtless, downloading baskets full of spices by the floating markets of Mekong River? OK, that is the image you should think about when relishing this food. Picture them spoon feeding it to you! 

The dish was very easy to prepare. It took a total of 15 minutes to prepare but you can do it quicker as well. So here’s how it works. You pick the type of dish you want to enjoy; Vegetarian, Seafood, Poultry or Beef. Sophie then picks the ingredients (carefully sourced from top restaurants and freshlicious markets, they come neatly packed) and puts together your bag. Pay, go, cook & eat! The bag also contains the (step by step) recipe, and a lovely little hand written note on a card designed by Emily Burnigham. Melanie’s passion means she spends a lot of time putting in the little personal touches. Her friends and acquaintances have stepped in to help her too. Claudia Fava, nanny to Melanie’s sons, was also at the stall, handing out leaflets. 

Kiss kiss! Lol :) Melanie was caught by surprise! Melanie: "You know I am married, right?" Me: "That's never a problem, darling, nothing wrong in a bit of harmless flirtation!"
Kiss kiss! Lol 🙂 Melanie was caught by surprise! Melanie: “You know I am married, right?” Me: “That’s never a problem, darling, nothing wrong in a bit of harmless flirtation!”

Tell your friends. I enjoyed, very slowly… the wonderful dish I made, with noodles, prawns, carrots and cucumber (they come sliced), fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and grapefruit. I couldn’t resist adding a chopped dry red chilli! Delicious. The flavours bursting in one’s tongue is sure to tickle the taste buds of any foodie!  

 So what are you waiting for? Whether you live or work in the neighbourhood, or are just passing by, stop over at Subway 1 at Old Street underground station, Pick & Cook! Why not make a date or an evening with a friend out of it? Do mention you heard about Pick & Cook on “EmmanuelRay.com.” Melanie, extra smiles for my readers please! 

Follow Pick & Cook on Twitter @pickandcookuk and on Facebook.


Nominee, Positive Role Model 2013 (National Diversity Awards, UK). Nominee, London Personality of the Year 2012 (London Lifestyle Awards). Winner, Fashion Icon of the Year 2011 (Fashions Finest Awards, UK).

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