Thursday, January 31, 2008

Edmonds & Dee's scones
Dee made these scones from a recipe from the biggest selling book ever in New Zealand, no not the Da Vinci Code or the Guide to Counting Sheep, but Edmonds cookbook. They were delicious! She made plain ones and ones with bacon and onion...yum! Everyone in New Zealand (and those Kiwis in London) have this cookbook.

Edmonds started in the early part of the 1900s by a retailer who decided to make a better quality baking powder as his customers complained about the various types he sold in his shop. From his better quality powder, the business blossomed from there into more cookery products and became a large Kiwi empire, which still continues today.
Way back then, when couples got engaged they received a free copy of the cookbook as a gift (this has stopped now).
The history of the company is very interesting, the intro to the cookbook is an interesting read. The book has the basic recipes to the main foods a 'housewife' back then should know how to cook for her working husband. Recipes are still relevant today and made by both male and females!


  • 1 breakfastcup flour (piled up)
  • 1½ teaspoons Edmonds' Baking Powder
  • 1 oz. butter (or lard)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg

Rub butter (or lard) into flour, then add other dry ingredients, beat egg with little water, mix all into dough. Bake as usual, quick oven. If made without the egg, use milk in place of water.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Home made pizza for Frenchy's farewell dinnerPics of the pizza I made for Frenchy's farewell dinner Sunday night. She is moving back home to Paris after 6 or so years in London so we had a little dinner for her. I think she may be back sooner than we think so it wasn't a big farewell....If she does go back we are going to go visit her in France and do a culinary tour of the region around Biarritz which is situated on the Atlantic coast (and I will get to try surfing again!).The pizza bases were from Alimentari, where I got a ready made mix and all you have to do is mix the flour, water and yeast - let the dough rise and voila! - fresh pizza dough in 25min.
I think I need a rolling pin now as had to use the end of a wooden spoon to spread it out, which wasn't too flash.

We had lovely prosecco that 'the little purse' brought over when she was in town and some lovely Marks and Sparks apple puddings...mmmm. I think the 5lbs that I gained over Christmas is enjoying itself and not wanting to leave me!

Yogalates and more Pilates is on the menu for this week.

Monday, January 28, 2008

How welcoming ?Pic of a sandwich board taken at a tea house near New Forest, England.

It is outrageous, hilarious and subtly rude but people who dislike children probably love it....not mentioning any names (the person who sent me the pic!).

Was the person who thought of the wording never a child that went to a public space-what does spoil the comfort mean!?

I guess kids are getting out of control these days if signs like this need to be erected.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Prova - ProvidoresTurkish eggs from changa restaurant in Istanbul - two poached eggs with whipped yoghurt and hot chilli butter.
This is what I had for breakfast today at The Providores! It was divine and we were very pleased to get a table as the queue is always very long to get inside. Once inside it was lovely and the service was fabulous - you can tell Kiwis own it as customer service is a priority as opposed to some British establishments who put that very low on the list.

In Italian prova means - try - so - you must try this place - I will definitely go back for other menu items and to try some of their New Zealand wines - my brunch parter was kiwi and was admiring their wine collection.

The three owners of The Providores created a unique dining experience in the heart of London’s Marylebone Village - the union of an award winning relaxed fine dining restaurant, and an all-day cafe and wine bar with one of the best breakfast offerings in London and the most delicious coffee. (from their website - am still on a mini typing ban!)

Get there for some great food and great service and to hear a lot of kiwi accents around you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mulberry and berry red bottoms
Pics from last week's outing with the Notting Hill set - they like their Euro-trash red trousers (B & J are twins with matching leg warmers!), champagne, fast cars and fast food - well the good stuff at least.

After a night out which started at the Prince Alfred pub in Little Venice (not the Prince Bonaparte in Notting Hill as I mistakenly had thought-sorry for the diversion B!) they ordered some very large pizzas from Mulberry Street Pizza on Westbourne Grove.

After a few drinks, some competitive tennis games on the Wii (which is my new fave - minus watching B&J play the air guitar game which is no fun for the spectator!) pizza was in order.

The two 'New York style' 20inch pizzas arrived and were eaten very quickly. They were good but could've been better - when you are hungry after a night out everything is really good, non?

I think they could've used a little more flavour/salt or something, can't quite recall what was lacking...I would definitely try them again and their restaurant also looks like a fun place to go with cute booths and a New York diner style feel. I can see how kids of today can easily get fat - why play tennis outside anymore when you can eat pizza and play tennis in your living room!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

(Is this the nanny state or something we should say finally!! to?)

-maybe I should apply to be one of the 800 cookery teachers ;)

(story from
Cookery classes to be compulsory
Fresh vegetables
Some children are said to have trouble identifying vegetables

Cookery lessons are to be compulsory in England's secondary schools for children aged 11 to 14.

Pupils will learn to cook for an hour a week for one term. Poorer pupils' ingredients will be subsidised.

Cookery is a ministerial "expectation" but, as an optional part of the design and technology curriculum, is not currently taught in all schools.

The move is part of the strategy to tackle obesity, as experts believe 1m children will be obese in a decade.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families says that about 85% of secondary schools do offer cookery in some form.

It wants those schools to make the change immediately, and the rest by 2011.

I think it is important to act now and maybe we should have acted earlier
Ed Balls MP
Schools Secretary

The aim is to train higher level teaching assistants to do some of the teaching and to recruit more food technology teachers.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls wants to see 800 cookery teachers trained.

Speaking on BBC One's Breakfast programme, Mr Balls said the plan was tied in with the government's strategy to tackle obesity and improve people's health.

"I think it is important to act now and maybe we should have acted earlier," he said.

"It's not going to be just the technology of food, it will be how you can use simple ingredients, simple recipes, so that children and young people can be prepared for adult life."

He is promising to give schools £2.5m a year to help children from poor homes to pay for ingredients.

But critics have expressed concern about the practicalities of the idea.

Clarissa Williams of the National Association of Head Teachers said the training of food technology teachers had been neglected for so long it would be difficult to see the strategy through.

This is an excellent idea! Most people don't have any idea how to cook even basic meals.
Chris, Salford, UK

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme Ms Williams said she was concerned about how schools would get all the resources needed.

"Cookers, microwaves, all of the utensils, all of that costs a lot of money. There's also the expectation that the children will bring the ingredients and for some ... that could be difficult."

The subject has suffered in recent years, according to the inspectorate, Ofsted, which traced the problem back to the introduction of the national curriculum in 1992.

This put food in with design and technology - alongside resistant materials, systems and textiles.

Shortage of teachers

Ofsted said pupils were often taught "trivia" such as "arranging toppings decoratively on a pizza" or using complex engineering computer-aided design software to produce simple drawings of icing on cakes.

Schools have been built or refurbished without practical cookery rooms
John Dunford
Association of School and College Leaders

Timetabling was made awkward by larger class sizes and a shortage of specialist teachers.

The "unique" way the subject was funded - with parents supplying or paying for ingredients - was also a fundamental problem, the inspectors said.

But officials at the schools department say it is a myth that there was once a "golden age" when everyone learnt to cook at school. This was never the case, they say.

  • The government is inviting people to send suggested recipes to:
  • Monday, January 21, 2008

    Alimentari Alimentari is a new deli/café in Queen’s Park, London. My friend Clara and her two partners set up shop in December - it is a quaint and fabulous little place to pop in for an espresso, cappuccino or a latte, a light sandwich or some freshly made lasagne or gnocchi. They also sell salumi e formaggi (deli meats and cheese) and some great food products direct from Italy to take home. I bought some traditional northern Italian pasta for dinner –and Guido, who works there, gave me a recipe on how to make it- he was very helpful as we walked through the shop he would say, ‘oh that is good if made with a little olive oil and chilli’ or ‘that is my favourite, all you need to do is boil some pasta and add those spices’ it was like a personal shopper for food! And the lovely Italian accent made it even better (I wish I had one). With Clara’s style and dedication to quality the shop has every detail right. I met up with the Kirsten’s there and we all chatted to the main ‘supporter’ while Clara busily served the incoming and outgoing customers with cute kids and dogs in tow.

    Alimentari’s website is great with tips on how to cook pasta, how to order Italian coffee and more on Italian life and eating habits. I love the design – great work Andrea!

    I recommend popping in for some traditional Italian hospitality and food if you are in the neighbourhood! Auguri on the new shop opening, it looks wonderful.

    Baci x (and they sell my fave Baci chocolates too)

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Le DolciAt dinner with my two favourite Milanese brothers....Le Dolci.
    At Wagamama's they ordered the chicken katsu curry - no.101 on the menu - they ALWAYS order that!

    One of them was a chef once upon a time with two restaurants in Italy, can you guess which one? The other is in fashion - perhaps the bow tie gives you a big hint. (But don't they look like babies? It must be the Italian genes!)

    I may not be posting much this week as have a hand injury and if I can't type I can't work! So am resting the hands for the week to make them better so I can type away more food stories for you!

    Sunday am in Richmond for some home cooking so will take some pics of the fashion Dolci's delicacies. Not riso bollito (boiled rice) Mr. Watercolour!

    Saturday, January 12, 2008

    I love this greeting card I got from my co-workers!

    You know you've made it when they put your name on a greeting card. I wonder if Gordon Ramsay even knows this is circulating? Today is Day 1 of to do pilates to get rid of the Christmas muffin top. But, tonight we are going to replicate a recipe from Jamie Oliver's latest cookbook Jamie at Home...the muffin top continues to prosper.

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Ancient cooking utensils found in southern Italy
    Pics from an exhibit entitled, The Greeks in Southern Italy at the British Museum which features ancient cooking utensils, amongst other things, that were excavated from the period around 730BC (I never tire of the history of Italy).
    (Bronze shell shaped serving dish, Roman 1st century AD)

    I have been here for almost 6 years and never been properly inside the museum which is wonderful. In my first few months here I met someone there to buy a mobile phone for Rexi but that was it. I think since I went inside the main lobby back then my mind registered it as a visit. But, when I did wander around last week I was definitely seeing the museum for the first time. Another head wound-y moment! I definitely need memory activities as going at this rate my kids will need to wear name tags in 10 years time...

    (Bronze food strainer, 1st century AD)
    From the museum:

    • Cooking was done on iron grills over charcoal and wood and in clay or brick ovens.
    • Cooking utensils were made of copper or bronze.
    • The rich ate off silver plates on special occasions but most people used bronze and glass vessels and pottery plates and cups.
    • Wooden plates and utensils were common but not many have survived.
    • Back then, most people’s days begun at dawn, as there were no electricity -oil lamps and candles were the main source of artificial light.
    (Wooden spoon, 1st-5th century AD) The traditional tool that Sicilian mothers discipline their children with!

    (Bread pan for cakes and bread rolls & bronze frying pan, Roman 1st Century AD)

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Food Envy Futterneid is German for 'food envy' - the feeling you get when you wish you'd ordered what your friend ordered.

    This happens to me all the time along with another disease which is ordering more than I can eat as my eyes are bigger than my stomach - will have to make up a word for that. My sister always bets me $100 I can't finish all that is on my plate and usually wins. Luckily she never collects...

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    Fuel for the fire
    The Great Fire of London took on a culinary theme when it was alleged to have started in Master Farriner's bakery in Pudding Lane. It began Sunday morning, 2 September 1666, (I think this relates to why people think 666 is the devil's number) and within five days had destroyed property over 460acres, including 86 churches.

    The fire was finally brought to a halt by the blowing up of houses at Pie Corner in Smithfield (the meat market where my partner used to buy fresh meat in vast quantities on Saturday mornings).(Smithfield market)

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    The Carlton TavernPub landlord Ed keeps hounding me about when I would be posting about the newly refurbished Carlton Tavern in Maida voila Mr.P!

    Well the pub is looking good, much better than the old version which had awful carpet, smoky couches and some undesirable design elements. It has undergone a major overhaul since Ed and his partners Soma and Adam took over in July.It needs a few more cosy touches for the ladies (like comfy couches), some artwork and perhaps some mouldings around the ceiling to bring it back to its Victorian glory but it is still a work in progress and a great place for a quick pint.
    (Pub landlord Ed - working hard)

    Located a few steps from Paddington Recreation Ground - the largest park in Maida Vale, it now has a new deck in the back garden which we will definitely frequent when the sun shines. The pub was bombed in 1918. According to Ed the story goes that the park used to house searchlights looking for airships - German zepplins - and the bomb that was supposed to destroy the search light landed on the pub instead and sadly the landlord and his son were killed in the attack.(The 'secretary's' beginners luck at darts)

    The pub is getting a proper kitchen and has a sweet little coal fireplace. Am sure with all the hard work and investment, it will be attracting lots of new business. Congratulations! Hmm...was there a grand opening party?


    Monday, January 07, 2008

    She's baaackThe straw drinking coffee gal...remember this post in 2006? The straw drinking trend never emerged, I guess teeth whitening kits are becoming cheaper so people don't have to be soooo careful with their pearly whites...

    Saturday, January 05, 2008

    Good & bad at Belgo'sEvery woman dreams of dating a man like this - plump, red faced, with a fashionable hat and and with a string of sausages around his neck....ahh the romance that must ooze out of this type of man.

    I think the man in the photo is Belgian as the pic comes from the backside of the Belgo's menu which is a Belgian restaurant. We went there the other night and I have mixed reviews - the food was great - I had a half chicken with a red wine and chestnut sauce and my friends had the traditional mussels in white wine and garlic -yum and a braised beef in a plum and pear sauce -also very good!

    But... the service was terrible. I won't go into details as I just erased a big rant that I had written but think that it could've been a new server or a lazy server that ruined my experience there. I will definitely go again and if you want some good Belgian food and some great Belgian beer (the list is extensive) then you must try it out.

    Friday, January 04, 2008

    Itsu for sushi
    Had a great fast and friendly sushi dinner at Itsu the other night with my Canadian visitors, the fashion-pharmacist is a sushi freak. The one we went to is located on Wardour Street in the heart of Soho. There we had spicy tuna and salmon sushi, sashimi, grilled chicken teriyaki, a fabulous chicken and coconut soup with ginger and I had a lovely pineapple zinger juice. Their website is funny as it has some interesting copy - I italicized the parts I think are funny/odd:

    'because Itsu food is light, full of goodness and won't make you fat.'

    'because it tastes amazing. You can eat lots without guilt, sorrow and pain.'

    I am typing in the dark as the girls are still dreaming...they are 'carpe diem' each morning sleeping til 11am- but that is the way to do it when you are on holiday. Shopping, sightseeing and walking makes one very tired! (Carpe diem - phrase from a Latin poem by Horace. It is popularly translated as "seize the day")

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Linuzza's Torrone
    Linuzza - that for some reason is what we called my cousin Lina growing up. I guess that is a Sicilian version of her name? Trust me, we have a lot of Sicilian-Canadian versions of our names - thankfully my mother did not allow my dad to name me Calogera!! Bless you Momma Dolce. Anyway, here is a pic of Linuzza's homemade torrone that she made for Christmas Eve.

    Turrón (Spanish), torró (Catalan), or torrone (Italian) is a nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. It is delicious and usually emerges around Christmastime.

    Oddly I think she said she put marshmallows in her recipe but will verify that - maybe she is making a new North American/Sicilian version. Perhaps the recipe is from her mother in law who I recall makes some great sweets.

    Her husband tried to pass it off as store bought but she scolded him a few times for the joke he kept making - saying to everyone, 'and the bakery just brought it out fresh from the oven this morning.' It was funny as she was getting quite frustrated but it was just the way married couples tease each other lovingly.

    The picture isn't the greatest but it was the only one I took (the Rice Krispie squares are my mom's festive favourite- easy to make as the recipe is on the back of the Kellogg's Rice Krispie box). The festivities then took over and the family consumed lots of lobster, crab, calamari, shrimp, pasta and more!

    Oh Italians do love to eat...I think I gained a nice little muffin top in the last two weeks.