Friday, November 30, 2007
I haven't cut it open or peeled it yes as I don't know if it is ripe or what to do with it so will consult Mrs. Lau and ask her what to do with it. The note was lovely and surprises are always fun! Thanks BH.
Today I am home from work putting finishing touches on the cookbook proposal and am going to be printing and sending it out 1st week of December! Hmm...or should I wait until the new year as publishers may spill their holiday champagne and soil it with Christmas cake and mince pie crumbs?! It is that time of year.... only 24 days, 12 hours, 56 minutes, 53 seconds to go!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Again no time for pics as we just devoured our food and ran off to see some fab live acts at the Soho Revue Bar which is also another wonderful venue.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I have to say that I have not had a Chinese or Vietnamese experience that I have enjoyed unless it was at an extremely expensive restaurant. Tonight I went to a Christmas party at a Vietnamese restaurant and it was cheap and cheerful but nothing else - the tastes don't impress and the food always seems so greasy. I ordered the tofu vegetarian option as I always find the quality of the meat to be suspicious.
Along the Kingsland Road in Shoreditch there are several Vietnamese restaurants and the strip is nicknamed Little Hanoi - it was also BYOB which was nice. The service was excellent and the staff super nice but the food to me is always lacking...is it just me or unless you go to the likes of the Prince Hotel for Chinese or Vietnamese you don't get the greatest meal?! Maybe I just don't like Vietnamese or maybe I haven't found a cheap and cheerful restaurant that is actually fabulous quality like Street Hawker in Maida Vale is for Thai food.
Oh well...am sure I will survive this dilemma.
Monday, November 26, 2007
For £425 you can buy a Brigg umbrella. You can also buy an umbrella for £2 at Primark or £5 at Boots but do they come with a flask inside should you wish to have a tipple?
Swaine Adeney Brigg makes a quirky and luxurious Brigg umbrella which features a Malacca (which is a bad word in Greek, non?) cane two-piece handle with a fitted screw-in drinking flask....
Am sure members of the Royal family have this brolly, especially since the company are approved retailers to the Royal Family. Swaine Adeney Brigg have been crafting traditional equestrian and country clothing, leather goods and umbrellas since 1750. Canada wasn't even founded until 1867.
Maybe the Queen puts tea in hers? The shop is located in St. James' street - close to the site of yesterday's tea drinking overdose!
Merci Nathalie pour le email tip!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
So you toss and turn and think crazy caffeine filled thoughts until about 1:30am. At this point you have burned off those finger sarnies and your stomach is empty. So you creep to the kitchen to eat half a pomegranate and some pesto pasta a few glasses of water to try and flush out that bloody tea and try to get back to bed.
On the way back to the bedroom you forget about the two stupid Ikea boxes of shelves that no one wants to embark on putting together and in the dark you trip over them and go flying onto your knees! I had a glass of water in my hand and managed to save that albeit my pjs are a little wet. So you hobble back to bed and feel the throbbing and check out the knees which are both scraped and bloody - lovely! I feel like I am 6 years old again with this sensation - I can't recall the last time I scraped my knees?!
I digress from the subject of the posting- afternoon Tea at the Wolosley was lovely - we had a lovely waiter and Dustin Hoffman, bless his soul he looks fabulous, was there with his family enjoying afternoon tea too. Rexi seems to always be bumping into celebs everywhere she goes so it was fitting that on her bday one the greatest actors was there laughing and having a great time next to us.
The Wolseley was lovely and I recommend you going there as the atmosphere and the Venetian & Florentine influenced decor is just fabulous - it was originally a car showroom in the 1920s. Next time I will order a meal and leave afternoon tea to it's proper time - in the afternoon around 2pm non? Or I will order decaf!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY REXI! luv Sands
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I am usually unimpressed by Sainsbury's selection and quality of fruit so this was a treat. The only thing that annoys me is that they sell some fruit and veg and now their grapes in tiny bags, why not do what they do in Canada and put heaps of grapes out for people to choose how much they want?! All this packaging is driving me crazy. I am going to take a pic of the only way you can buy fresh snow peas and beans here - it is mad.
I miss Canadian supermarkets where you can buy what you need! Central London supermarkets need to step up - are they like this all over the UK?
Friday, November 23, 2007
Unfortunately the Gerry at the market series is coming to an end as he is leaving ol' Blighty for a 3 month holiday in sunnier climes. LA, Australia and Thailand to name a few of the lovely spots he will visit. Today is his last day in the office so I thought I would post pics from the last outing we had to Borough Market. As usual Gerry is a stage hound so posed appropriately for the pics. I am trying to figure out how to post a pic of him in his fluorescent green, Borat man-kini on the blog?! It is hilarious. Maybe will have to write about food in Kazakhstan and slip the pic into the story.
At our last outing to the Market I opted for the scallop wrap again as I couldn't resist and Gerry diversified and got the fish and chips from the FishKitchen!
Fish! restaurant located in the market also have a standalone take away stand. Owner of the Fish! group of companies Tony Allan started with the fish restaurant at Borough in 1999 and now has this little fish and chip shop and owns Jarvis The Fishmonger in Kingston which sells fish to wholesale and retail customers. Fresh, sustainable and good quality fish is part of their mantra. And only fish. Their restaurant menu is 99% fish and their Fish! stand sells only fish and chips. Specialize and you will become an expert!
If Gerry goes to the market today will get him to take a farewell pic for the readers. The Cottle family are born entertainers (they had the largest circus in the UK at one point) so am sure I will have more Gerry news in the future! Have a great trip Geronimo! x
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
You can get this 'rainforest box' at Spitafields Market. Will have to Google the stall and find out exactly what it is. Their rainforest stall had a booming trade the Sunday we visited.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The cutest Dane in south London making traditional Danish pancakes.
After this picture he took out a chocolate lollipop from the cupboard just in front of him and ate it happily while pushing all of the blenders' buttons. Kids love buttons!
In the background you can see a little snowman advent calendar that I brought them so they can have a chocolate every day starting in December. Now I not am not sure they will share that one little chocolate - should've got two calendars.
Will try and get the recipe for the pancakes from B. We had a lovely lunch that day and a trip to the local park with the little munchkin and his cute as pie sister.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Article below about Brazil which features my friend Patsy - who is a great music PR in London and has a great Brazilian personality - she also has about 10 names, as you do when you are Latin American. I wish I had a few more maiden and surnames after my already lengthy surname - will have to make some up.
The article, published a few years ago (2004), focuses on Brazilian food habits (they eat a lot of meat!) and it reminds me of the Brazilian restaurant Ms. Norris (PIC) and I went to called Rodizio Rico on Westbourne Grove -where we were bombarded with meat skewers for hours!
Every time we looked up another sword of meat was hovering over our shoulders - we also drank v.strong and sweet caipirinhas that night. A good place to bring a very hungry man as you can feed for hours.
from The Observer (shortened version)
As appealing, sexy, sun-drenched and decadent as the Brazilian lifestyle might seem from a distance, embracing the eating and drinking habits of the average Brazilian is a complicated business. Brazilians suffer from what you might call lifestyle dissonance. They are a nation of supremely beautiful, beach-dwelling, body fascists, who are madly in love with high-fat food and booze-laden drinks. They wear skimpy bikinis, while snacking on deep-fried cheese balls and enormous pork scratchings. Their day is structured round multiple visits to the gym, and the ritual downing of cachaça-based caipirinhas. Brazilians like their bodies lithe and pert, and their meat sun-dried and plentiful; their hair glossy and their skin clear, and their cassava (the root vegetable which Brazilians deep fry and eat like chips) doused in melted butter. It's not an easy combination of cultural obligations to fulfil. But they do it.
Patsy Lima is 26 years old, and daughter of the Brazilian ambassador for Tel Aviv. She's unremittingly fabulous, a London-based PR and part-time DJ, who leads a double life as one of Rio de Janeiro's It girls. Patsy Lima knows her stuff. She knows the best restaurants and hippest bars. She knows which beaches to visit, at what time, for maximum social impact, and she knows what to wear while she's there. Most significantly, she knows how to eat and drink like a Brazilian, while maintaining a perpetually bikini-ready body.
'The basic principle is like Atkins,' she says. We are sitting in Porcao Rios, the Rio outpost of a traditional Brazilian churrascaria. It's a kind of very upscale carvery in which you seat yourself, and then watch in awe as a vast selection of meats on a variety of different shaped skewers is paraded in front of you. Waiters carve, you eat, meat flies in all directions, vegetarians cower, and diners eventually exhibit giggly symptoms of a meat-induced high. Patsy Lima is attacking what is probably her seventh cut of fantastically tender Brazilian beef. 'Yeah,' she says, in between mouthfuls. 'Yeah, Atkins. High protein, very nutritious, very low carb.'
Apart from the cheese bread and the rice and the fried cassava, oh, and the profiteroles that are being served for pudding? 'Oh. Well, apart from them. OK, I'm not really sure how we do it. Maybe because we all take artificial sweetener in our coffee? And we love sushi! That's low fat!
In this, and just about every other respect, Patsy Lima explains, Rio de Janeiro is a town of muted excess. Everyone parties a lot, but no one smokes. No one even really gets violently drunk. The Cariocas (the inhabitants of Rio) have an iron constitution, incredible levels of alcohol tolerance, and an entrenched snack culture, which means they never booze on an empty stomach. They hit the bars late, and pace themselves through to the early hours. No one but tourists are ever sick in a gutter. 'Hell, no!' says Patsy, horrified. 'Why would we get drunk?'
'Daytime in Rio is all about juice, and the beach, ' Patsy Lima explains, as she lures me out of my hotel suite at 9am the following day, with promises of miracle hangover cures. The morning starts, apparently, at Polios Suco in Ipanema, the city's oldest juice bar. It's the prototype of the juice-peddling joints that line the streets of the city - an open-fronted, walk-in, stand-up affair, with a counter, and shelves lined with obscure fruit varieties. Polios Suco's juices are ranged on a menu alphabetically, but Patsy Lima, along with the rest of Rio, categorises them in terms of how fat, or gorgeous, they'll make you.
'Açaí is wonderful. Straight from the Amazon. Anti-cancer, stabilises blood sugar levels in diabetics, good for sex, everything. When the boats bring the frozen pulp of the berries in, there's a biiiiiiiiig party. But it's very, very calorific. I was a really skinny kid so my mum gave it to me every day and bouf! I turned into a woman. If you work it off, you'll get the most beautiful muscles. But if you don't...' she shakes her head in contemplation of the catastrophic consequences.
'Acerola, that's good,' she continues. 'Not calorific at all, though it's very sour, so you should sweeten it. One acerola berry has, like, 10 times the vitamin C of an orange. And Fruta de Conde, which means Fruit of the Count, that's so calorific that no one drinks it. Well, maybe old people, if they're very frail...'
After the juice, we take to the sand. ...Once you have chosen your spot, you hire a chair, and you lounge. You wear a minuscule (though, contrary to popular belief, not noticeably thong-ish) bikini if you're a girl; and very short, very tight Speedo-style trunks if you're a boy. You drink the juice of an unripened coconut, direct from the fruit through a hole bored in the husk. Alternatively, you drink caipirinhas. 'Barmen' stalk the beaches with a mobile cocktail bar dangling from their shoulders, and he'll mix one for you as you sunbathe, for about £1.50.
Then it's time for more deep-fried snacks and caipirinhas at a ramshackle and fabulously authentic café of the Bar do Arnaudo variety. And so it goes on. After five days and nights touring Rio de Janeiro, I am no clearer on how, exactly, you get a Brazilian body while enjoying a Brazilian diet. If anything, I'm more confused.
(I want to go to Brazil now for some sun!) x
Sunday, November 18, 2007
DJ joined and the talk was of travel and adventures we had all had in the past year. KC's evening started at an event at the London Eye and somehow the night came full circle with the London Eye brochures turning into a source of entertainment for us. A random punter decided to use the oval shaped, flapped brochure to animate different animals (bunny ears, birds' wings) and organs of the body...use your imagination!
We had some lovely Concha y Toro CyT Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile which is a solid red and some fresh crusty bread and the salad selection which was delicious....
Gordon's was established in 1890 by Arthur Gordon one of the last 'free vintners' (he could sell wine anywhere without applying for a license from King Edward III) and is thought to be the oldest wine bar in London. It was once the home of the famous diarist Samuel Pepys in the 1680s - and coincidentally the current owners are also called Gordon. When they took over in 1975 there was no need to change the name - how convenient.
The candle lit bar and wine cellar is a hidden gem - I walked by it for years before knowing it was there. One must go to Gordon's for the atmosphere and if you have the right company you have a recipe for a great evening. Thx DJ & KC - see you soon!
Old newspaper clippings that are all around Gordon's
Our salad and crusty bread platter
Saturday, November 17, 2007
All feedback is in from my trusted sources on the cookbook...THANK YOU! Now, I need a graphic designer to help me with layout and adding pictures to the currently boring looking word document. Any volunteers??? Please let me know.
Thanks again - I will bring you some Sicilian treats from my next trip. I am not sure fresh cannoli transport well...it will have to be boxed amaretti or else I will have to whip up a meal for all.
Friday, November 16, 2007
...at the Wolseley, there’s no chance of being served by 50 year-old mafia-types, lip syncing Greek rock classics, while sporting killer camel toes. Yes, Sands, ANOTHER dig at your bday, an endless source of material for me.
Don't you just love your friends?? I do.
Now I need to think of a suitably embarrassing gift for her to unwrap at our posh afternoon tea session :)
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I received a sherry wine book entitled, The Perfect Marriage - The art of matching food and sherry wines from Jerez from some contacts at a PR agency. One of their clients is the sherry producers of Jerez. In an hour I learned quite a bit about sherry wines and how it is not a drink just for your gran anymore - it is a versatile wine for us to pair with fabulous food dishes. Here is a recipe from the book. Enjoy!
Chocolate Delice With Sherry Prunes & Vanilla Cream
Best paired with: Cream, Moscatel, Pedro Ximénez Sherry
Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes, plus 8 hours chilling
- 12 prunes, stoned and halved
- 150 ml cold water
- 4 tablespoons PX sherry
- 2 handfuls of Raspberries
For the delice
- 75 g free range egg yolks
- 100 g caster sugar
- 300 g full fat milk
- 250 g double cream
- 200 g dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons PX sherry
For the vanilla cream
- 200 ml double cream
- 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or 2 tablespoons caster sugar and 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
Place the prunes in a small pan with the cold water. bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, gently stirring twice. add the sherry and simmer for 2–3 minutes, until the cooking liquid thickens, then leave to cool. Chill, covered, in the fridge.
Meanwhile to make the delice, whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until pale in colour. Place the remaining sugar in a pan with the milk and cream and bring to a simmer.
Pour the hot cream over the egg yolks, whisking continuously, then return to the pan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
Place the chocolate and sherry into a metal bowl, pour the hot custard mixture over and gently mix it together until the chocolate melts. Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl. Press some baking parchment on to the surface of the delice and leave to cool. Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours to set.
To make the vanilla cream whisk the double cream and sugar until it forms soft peaks. Chill in the fridge.
To assemble, use 6 small glass bowls or martini glasses and place a raspberry or a few raspberries in the bottom of each. divide the vanilla cream amongst them. top each with a spoonful of cooked prunes and then a quenelle of the delice. drizzle each dessert with a few teaspoons of the prune liquid.
Tip to quenelle the delice, half fill a heatproof jug with very hot water. sit a dessertspoon in it to warm up – ideally a spoon with a half egg-shaped hollow. run the hot and still slightly damp spoon across the top of the delice, slightly digging it in as you drag it along. the delice should roll up into the spoon and give you an egg-shaped quenelle.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
funny article below- I am always GROSSED out by people who eat on the tube, lick their fingers after being on the tube or while on the tube - those poles have been touched by millions of sweaty hands people!?! (or people that lick their fingers in general-I think there is never a need to lick your fingers in public)
From the London Paper today...
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
I sat musing on the Tube the other morning, listening to my iPod. Nowadays I have to jack the volume up so high to hear anything over the almighty clattering of the rolling stock that the incipient hearing loss is hardly worth it any more. Plus, the so-called “shuffle” on my iPod has decided that if it has to play The Clash, it will only ever play Lost in the Supermarket, because that’s the only Clash song it likes. I, on the other hand, despite being a devoted fan, am getting tired of hearing it every single time I “shuffle”. I don’t envy Apple and Steve Jobs their money, it’s just, you know, they make such an inferior quality product.
Anyhow, without so much as a by-your-leave, the woman sitting next to me suddenly proceeded to have her breakfast. She munched, slurped, scraped and licked her way though: an Actimel, a banana, two pots of yoghurt and an orange. The latter was peeled inside a Sainsbury’s plastic bag, presumably for health and safety reasons. There really aren’t many things more irritating than someone else eating a pot of yoghurt next to you – particularly if they lick the pulled-off foil lid, and then do that annoying little scraping motion at the bottom of the pot with their idiot spoon.
I sat there wondering what else she would pull out. Maybe a medium-rare steak sandwich, or a moist, warmed croissant from her armpit? If she had got so far as shucking a few oysters, I was sure I had some Tabasco sauce in my bag.
Not content with her sumptuous repast on a 9.05am Jubilee line train to North Greenwich, she then had the temerity to proceed to apply what I’m guessing was a full make-up barrage to her face. What next? A sponge bath?
It hit me that London Underground is missing out on a business opportunity: a dedicated “breakfast carriage”. The wide Jubilee line trains are ideally suited to a unique buffet-bar breakfasting experience. Not to mention special make-up-application carriages on gimbals (to prevent jerking and smearing of lipstick). What about gym and spa carriages? For a fair fare, you could avail yourself of the facilities and arrive at work fed, watered, exercised, manicured, made-up, suited and booted.
Or you could get up a bit bloody earlier and do it at home. Just a suggestion.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
A lovely box of macaroons is the perfect gift to bring to a dinner party. Forget the flowers, these amazing little packages of deliciousness are better than flowers which will only turn brown as they they sit all by their lonesome on your coffee table while you are at work.
The ingredients: almonds, egg whites and sugar - simple is always best.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Early afternoon drinks at Claridges...the bar was ok, it is your average posh hotel bar, the julep drink was a bit too strong but the hot chocolate was perfectly choco-liscious. There were bottles of champane and wine on the menu for £4,000-£12,000+ now if you are spending that much on wine/champagne surely you are too rich and hopefully you are supporting tonnes of charities in third world countries, non? (I hope so!)
Anyhow...the best part about the Claridges experience is the grand, art deco staircase in the lobby and the ladies room which brought you to another era - absolutely beautiful - the staff are also quintessentially polite and make you feel at home.
Dinner was at the wonderful fish restaurant in Soho called Randall and Aubin, we had the cutest waiter - Roberto who was superb and recommended the best starter and Argentinian wine - he took very good care of us and was so cute!
Starters - scallops with a caper and garlic sauce. Mains - I had the crab salad and DJ had the langoustines which were fab - but so small - I am used to big fat lobsters from The Lobster Trap - like Dorothy said, 'Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore...'
The gay friendly establishment had the best looking waiters and they played classic Madonna which made the meal and atmosphere even better. Of course, my handsome dinner partner got lots of stares from the men ! Thx for din din DJ.
I was spoiled Saturday & Sunday evening with some fine food and drink....what a lovely weekend - my kitchen did not see me at all :)
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Deepika's Diwali party extravaganza was filled with fun, laughter, fireworks and Bollywood dancing in her living room.
Now it wasn't fireworks like her brother in law did last year in India, those are illegal in the UK and probably only used at Olympic ceremonies (they were enormous! And we set them off on a rooftop terrace with no bucket of water or anything to protect us if any of them went awry! He also thought as I was a guest, that I should be the one to light them with a teeny match - as you can imagine I gave him a big thanks but NO thanks) it was fireworks from the surrounding neighbors in St. Johns Wood. Perhaps Paul McCartney was having a little Diwali party in his garden...
The Indian food was also slightly unlike her mother's feast in Delhi... Mexican fajitas were served, she is into the Mexican fajita thing lately! She served Indian street mix (Bombay mix) in newspaper - as it is served in India, made the chick pea dish in the pic which she described as, 'chick peas with Indian stuff' and some Indian potato balls (not sure what they were called).
The cookies on the top of the tiered tray (see pic) are Indian sweets (but she didn't make those) she did bake the chocolate ones on the second tier which aren't Indian :)
It was a great Diwali celebration and I teased her all night about how great her mother's food was last year compared to her hybrid-Mexican-British-Indian one this year. But that's what friends are for right?
The wine was flowing, the Bollywood music going, Nab was putting beautiful bindi designs on our foreheads and there was a great mix of people so it didn't really matter in the end...
Happy Diwali and Happy New Year
Friday, November 09, 2007
Rexi saw the Queen in the flesh during the time of the Saudi King's visit. They had a large banquet that evening - most likely a state dinner. I wonder what they ate???
Apparently the Queen eats corn flakes for breakfast - just like my gran! Her official butcher is in our neighbourhood, located on Clifton Road -they are called Cobb of Knightsbridge.
And the original Queen Elizabeth, the one Cate Blanchett plays in that fantastic movie, apparently had for breakfast - ale, beer, wine & bread with a pottage(soup) of mutton or beef. Maybe that is why she remained the virgin queen!
Here is video of the Queen's horses getting their daily exercise in my neighborhood. This is what I saw the day I arrived back in the Vale. Loved it.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Paul has been around since 1889 and is still family run. The shop and tea room are lovely, you feel like you have been transported across the Channel for brief moment. A lot of the staff are French so you do get that je ne sais quois, Parisian feeling....
I love the wording on their website - some of their "ephemerals" of the moment
The others "ephemerals"*
*available according to the season and available only for a short time
Monday, November 05, 2007
I am not going to add much more description as it is best to go there and experience it yourself. You must go to enjoy the authentic German food, the entertainment, ambiance and vibe of the place.
A few more pics below.
Lovely cabbage rolls...(I need to figure out how to take photos indoors when there is low lighting)Traditional and yummy apple strudel...
LJ dancing with Ricardo...
Joseph and the ladies...
CB and the Austrian beer...
And the pink ride home...love this car!
Will write more and post more pics too. Am trying to get the cow bell performance on video uploaded.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Raclette is a specialty that comes from France/Switzerland. At Borough Market they sell raclette (see pics)and for £5 you get a plate of potatoes with the melted milky traditional cheese on top -served with a gherkin (pickle) or two.
I went to a few parties where raclette was served and at these parties the cheese was ladled over cured and cooked meats - like ham, chicken, beef, fish along with all types of vegetables like onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and more... in addition to roasted potatoes.
At work on Friday, British members of the team were baffled at the cost and desire for raclette as they argued, 'Isn't it just jacket potato and cheese?' which is standard British fare that you can get on any corner for £2 for double the portion. I never thought of it that way and laughed...I actually agree and think that stall is puling a fast one on visitors. It is essentially baked potatoes (cut up into cubes) and cheese.
At least they scrape the cheese from the large traditional cheese wheel. To scrape is where the word raclette comes from...but they give you nothing else?! The guy even sells olives on the side. Maybe a piece of crusty bread would be nice? For £5 that is a lot to pay for a French version of jacket potatoes and cheese, non?
Am sure the French man who wears his fancy apron and speaks in his French accent is scratching or scraping his head all the way to the bank in wonder how people would pay that much for some cheese and potatoes!
Pic of a traditional raclette spread.
Friday, November 02, 2007
It looked like standard bad British lunch fare - mayonnaise-y salads from Tesco, cheap sandwiches from the supermarkets and the only healthy option was a soup with a bread roll.
Will write more on this later on today.... thought I would post the pics for some eye candy for those who like the muscle-y hot, gym bod - I wonder what they eat to get like that?