The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Xochi Balfour Headshot

Autumn Begins: Goodwood Revival, KERB Street Food Collective and a Compulsive Addiction to Knitting

Posted: Updated:

With our first summer season done and dusted, we have finally come up for air and got ourselves back on track since launching the van in the spring. We have slept, eaten and tidied like never before and now we are ripe and ready for autumn in the city and beyond.

Our final festival, the Goodwood Revival, was a blast. I grew up down the road and have often gone with my dad for the day but nothing could prepare me for the full blown retro madness that comes with spending three days on site from dawn till dusk. Everywhere we looked we saw beautiful vintage offerings from all decades, from Bugattis and Astons alongside burly old Bobbies in their smart siren cars, to luscious leggy dancers, half the crew of dad's army and hunky men in old-school overalls covered in grease and the dirt of their motoring toils. A team of five, we based ourselves at my parents' house down the road, where my mother had thoughtfully left a fridge full of cottage pies, fish fingers and other homely treats for us to feast on when we returned at 11pm each night. Up at five ready to serve bacon rolls for breakfast, we were delirious with exhaustion by the Sunday and very sad to leave and re-enter the bustling modern world. Of all the festivals we have done, Goodwood was so brilliantly organised and so thoughtfully put together, with such attention to detail, we felt very lucky to be part of the revival. Our power went at one point, and within two minutes a kind and capable looking gentleman in pristine vintage overalls appeared and fixed the generator on the spot. Never have we known such service! The customers were all lovely - not your usual other-side-of-sober crowd but borne along by a deep love of cars, vintage and the general allure of bygone glamour. My only regret was not to see any actual racing, but to hear the engines roar form the circuit is almost as good.

Returning to London exhilarated but steeped in that deep, heavy exhaustion which leaves you half mad, we took some time to properly rest and get our lives in general back on track. Starting a street food business really is all-consuming - it is no cliche and anyone thinking of making the leap should know this. (Or perhaps we are just a little more chaotic than most). With our regular pitches in London sorted, and the festival fear well behind us, we slept, tidied, laundered, ate and remembered how to socialise properly. It feels great to have made it through the first summer and still be standing. And still have friends.

And then the week before last saw an important turning point for street food in Britain: the launch of KERB. Formerly Eat Street, the street food collective was renamed and re-celebrated with a day of foodie celebrations including a rather haphazard street crawl of London's finest vans (rainbo was sandwiched between he esteemed Bleecker Burger and Spit & Roast) followed by a massive and suitably delectable street feast under the canopy at Granary Square, Kings Cross. We ate yum buns, Luardos tacos and Sorbitium ice cream before returning home too full to do anything except lie down and groan.

The new season is certainly a turning point for us. We are working on new recipes for the colder months, continuing to trade at KERB at Kings Cross, and are settling very happily into the new home of weekly Friday night market Street Feast - a wonderful warehouse where some of London's best foodies, artists, singers and creatives conglomerate and generally let their juices flow. Both Dom Cools-lartigue, the brains behind the event, and Petra Barran, of Kerb, are doing amazing things for London's street food scene, opening up spaces to traders desperate to sell their food but struggling harder every day to find somewhere to do it. More on their invaluable work next week...

In the meantime, we are trying to mentally and physically gear up for cold, frosty mornings and long, dark evenings. Only one thing will get me through and it always costs a fortune but is worth every penny: cashmere. Setting my newly frugal ways aside, I have ebayed half my wardrobe to invest in a beautiful lichen green Brora cashmere jumper. It is soft, warm and wonderful and a lifelong friend already. I have also taken up knitting and find it compulsively addictive, and a brilliant excuse not to wash up. Ben is shortly to receive a berry purple scarf, but I have to go to tea with my granny first because she knows how to cast off and I just can't get the hang of it.