Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Need I say more? Look at the phone and key that you get at Fritzy's hotel. Omg what century are the Swiss-Germans operating in? Seriously it was like going back to the 80s at some points, it was even worse in Prague. Anyhow at least our dinner at the fancy restaurant, am too tired to remember the name of it, was delicious. One of our customers couldn't make it and for us be able to book a table there again we had to keep the reservation.

It was divine, will post more later but for now have a look at Fritzy's gf who was enjoying the decadence before retiring to Room no. 4 to hear the trams whizzing around the roundabout all night and have her deluxe breakfast consisting of apples, served on an odd clay tray.
You can't see the table full of fat, ugly men behind Fritzy's gal who were with their young pretty things. This past week has shown me that if you are an ugly dude, get yourself to a Eastern European country and you can get the hottest girl (looking for a passport and some ££) on your arm.

The same doesn't apply for women as Eastern European men stink like garlic and are somewhat grotesque. More on the overdose of garlic in the Czech Republic, I thought dinner at Ramsa's was the garlicy-est you could ever get!?
Mmm, I love a bit of cake!
As Marjorie from Little Britain says, ‘Mmm I love a bit of cake’, as she is telling everyone in her Fat Fighters class that they are all morbidly obese. You should watch the DVDs if you can as that character is hilarious.

It has been a hectic week with work and have been in Switzerland and Prague in the last few days. I have loads of pictures to upload and lots of food stories to write about. I need to show you ‘Fritzy’s' phone and hotel room that my colleagues enjoyed, while we luckily (yay!) got upgraded to the Hilton. We had the most delightful fruit juices after our early morning trek to Basel, mixed by the most detail oriented bartender ever; watching him make our juices was like watching a master chef.

More to follow... and since it was my birthday too, I am trying to fill up on cake before the next round of cake comes along with the Dolce’s next week. Happy Birthday to all the Aries born in the last few days – best wishes to my favourite Godson Prince James-y in particular!

The cake in the photo is from Marks and Spencer, isn't it lovely? For 40quid, it can be yours.

Friday, March 27, 2009

For the cousinsFor the Pal-zolo sisters does this remind you of your Nonno? It did for me, and I had to buy a case for you. Don't you love when something so simple brings back such nice memories. He always had a package in his suit jacket ready for his grandkids (and their bratty Dolce cousins).

I saw this at the Dubai airport - not even sure if they sell this gum in the UK?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fake weinersI thought these looked really funny and fake like something from a kids toy chest. But this is what was in the local shop under the World Trade Towers in Dubai, where the lovely Amal hosted us. The orange-y ones are most intriguing, non?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Plane foodNot looking forward to the plane food or shall I say 'plain' food I will be served in the next few days. And tomorrow I have a middle seat, which I hate! I hope BA steps up their food and that I don't get that oily carrot muffin in my little box tomorrow morning.

Have 4 flights in 5 days to look forward to (at least the Burger won't be sitting next to me having a panic/crying/Rain Man attack during take off and landing and then saying 'I wasn't that bad, was I?" To which we replied, mouth agape, 'really?? the whole section were staring and the crew came over as soon as they could after take off to see if they could give you a horse tranquiliser, you need serious medical attention for this fear my dear!')

Our plane food from Dubai was shocking (see pic) I had to just eat load of those nice Worcester sauce flavoured nuts and my non-plane food. I now buy my food before I board at a restaurant so I don't have to endure the lasagna surprise or beef barfignon! The only thing I ate was the stick of pineapple in the little baggy, that was actually the best thing on the flight. Don't you like how on the box it is written - Enjoy! - are they taunting us?

Oh and the hotel that I am staying at tomorrow surely won't provide many opportunities to rectify the food malady of BA; it has been described to me as 'worse than the pictures on the internet and it smells like old men, beer and fustiness.' I almost fell over in my chair and then thought, wtf - what is fustiness??!!

The hotel looks pub-like so I think we will just drink lots of Swiss beer to blank out the senses. Will try and post from Switzerland but am quite sure that our 'hotel' might not have wi-fi or big fluffy bathrobes or even a little mini bar with those salty almonds. Oh the joy of business travel! Isn't it so glamorous? At least my favourite T5 (Terminal 5) will bring me some joy, it is a pleasure flying out of there and there are lots of places to stock up on smoothies and sarnies for the journey.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Frozen rice??
You can now buy frozen rice in little bags, pop them in the microwave and you have rice in 4minutes! I don't like the idea but it tasted ok and is really convenient when you are working late. The Onion served this with her delicious chick-pea curry with spinach the other night.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Foodie artThis amazing installation at the Saatchi gallery in London was made using large sheets of foil paper. This was such a treat as we were in the largest mosque (in the world?) in Abu Dhabi the day before. I want to try this at home with some foil paper, maybe will try it out on my nephews. I really wanted to touch this exhibit as these sculptures looked so sturdy - may have to google the artist as am intrigued, it was impressive to enter the room and see all these figures so perfectly aligned and formed.

In other parts of the gorgeous gallery, there were some interesting lady-like sculptures, this one had two cantaloupes in her bra, and pearls in the pouch between her legs. The gallery is a must visit. At the event we had the loveliest berry cocktails. Thanks to the lovely KC for the invite - we met while sipping Fijian cava on the Yasawa islands not so long ago.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

And the winner isThe strawberry marshmallow Haribos - much to Paul's dismay. He was taking an informal vote to see who preferred the strawberry marshmallows or these soft banana candies (which tasted like the banana flavoured penicillin we used to have as kids).

At the end of the week, plenty of bananas remained on Paul's desk while the strawberries were nowhere to be seen. The packaging is all en Francais as the Candyman picked these up on holiday in the Pyrenees, France.
The Candyman hoping people would vote for the little banay-nays.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Flower Menu!Do you not love this flower menu from Tom Aikens! I am heading to the garden centre this weekend to buy some flowers to cook up, anyone want to come for din din? It was lovely Lara's birthday yesterday so perhaps she can be my tasting guinea pig. Happy Birthday again Cara!

I thought the flowers on the menu would be simple like, courgette flowers but there some I have not heard of, what are nasturtium flowers?? (Just googled it, its a type of watercress flower)

May have to go for lunch for my bday here, have been meaning to go to Tom's Kitchen for brunch the last few weekends but have gotten lazy and just stayed local. Will have to make a plan to get there soon! Wills and Kate ate there recently so if its good enough for the Royals then I can give it a try.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My new favourite drink - Mint LemonadeThis drink is to die for and I stress, is only made well with fresh ingredients!

In Dubai it is a specialty and found everywhere, a few places use syrups instead of the fresh ingredients to make it cheaper for them, but they do not taste half as good. For a small dinner gathering at the Onion's house the other night I brought all the ingredients and made some, although mine were a little too sour and the mint was ground so coarsely, it was like eating some freshly mown grass. Luckily the guests were gracious and spit out the extra grass, erm..mint into the sink. Next time I will blend the mint longer and skim a layer of it off so only very fine bits are left. It was a trial session so no complaints please.

For you to try it at home - get a few lemons, a few limes, some brown sugar and a handful of fresh mint with some ice and cold water (squeeze the juice though-don't throw the whole lemons and limes in the blender and it would be good to peel the mint leaves off their stem).

Whiz it all in the blender for a few minutes and voila you have a healthy & refreshing drink.

Since I don't know the exact measurements of each you need to test out the sugar levels as I didn't use any measuring spoons. After my first few sips when I thought my cheeks would remain in a permanent pucker I added a few more generous scoops of sugar. If you can make lemonade you are halfway there - just add lime and mint!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Strawberry Fields Forever
The Beatles song says, 'Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about' - I think the strawberry juice in this bottle was real and it was nothing to get hung about indeed - unless you wanted the biggest sugar high in your life.

Omylordly! It was super, super sweet and almost like eating strawberry jam out of the jar - there was nothing to protect you from the extreme sugar taste. I can't remember the ingredients but I think it was pure strawberries with lots of sugar mixed in (Ranoush can you verify?).

Ranoush buys this juice for one of the students she tutors but my advice would be to give it to him after his lesson, so his parents have to deal with him climbing the walls. Below, I know it's not food related but I had to post a picture of Jumeirah beach, a reminder of the holiday which feels oh so long ago...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Argentinian Feast
Yes this was a £40 steak! Omg - Dubai is expensive. But, it was eaten at one of the best hotels with live dancers and at the top floor of the 5 * Jumeirah Beach Hotel's restaurant, so I guess you pay a little more for: the atmosphere, the view and the sound of Argentinian music and songs coming from a young Arabic chanteuse, he was lovely and mesmerizingly good.

The beef came from Argentina, therefore some transport costs must be factored into the cost, non? It was great food but warning - the Indo-Mexi-Vega-Dabi-Dubi is not cheap!

Pic: Ranoush eating her steak, which unfortunately was not served with Fatoush -my favourite salad. Ah just found the business card, the restaurant is called La Parilla Argentina - I recommend going with a rich Emirate - who can pick up the bill while you enjoy the live dancers, they are wonderful! Will try and post some pictures of them and my lovely steak, which came from Australia. Nothing really comes from the UAE, everything is imported as beyond the city's limits it is a dusty, barren desert. Luckily we missed the sandstorm, a Londoner can only handle so much bad weather!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh the garlic!
Pure whipped garlic, yum-yum, it is divine when you eat it with your meal. Devour it on top of your perfectly cooked rib-eye steak - it is all wonderful until you start burping it up in a fancy sports car and the driver has to roll down both windows as it is such a powerful smell!

Yes the embarrassment continues. And the ride home from the lovely country pub was about 1.5hrs - sports cars are sexy, cool and all but I think they need more space! Apologies to Mr. D!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wanna date?I have to do my research but these babies were absolutely moist and delicious, unlike the dry and hard ones here, I think they also have magic powers to keep your bowels moving like clockwork (too much info?) and they are most filling.

I have been having a few for breakfast each morning since the return to Londontown and it is such a nice treat - I should've bought more. Mrs. Chandler at work has been single-handedly scoffing the whole tray that I brought for the team, which is ok as she needs to power up for her imminent backpacking adventures. Her assistance in eating them also saves me from any future shock when I read somewhere how bad or fattening these are for you.

Well, while on the topic of dates, if anyone wants a real female date I know a few single ladies - enquire within - they are passionate about food so at least you have one thing in common!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ranoush Fatoush
Fatoush, it is my all time favourite salad, well, after my Aunt Susan's white vinegar one. Mrs. D makes it the best but I think she may be in a tie with some of the Lebanese restaurants that we ate it at in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I could eat it every day and may get some for lunch tomorrow on Edgware Road.

Will post more UAE photos and some recipes soon. Just back and enjoying the rain and grey skies in Londontown, funnily enough we didn't miss this weather, we basked in the 36degree sunshine and swam in the aquamarine blue waters instead.

Friday, March 06, 2009

UAE - food exploration tripWell not really, it is more to get some sunshine on this translucent skin before people think I am from a Ghostbuster's movie. It is also a trip to see the Banana who has been there teaching little rascals for the last year, we may venture into the desert and eat lunch with camels - will post if I can from my sun lounger, otherwise it will have to be when I return.

It is apparently the Vegas of the Middle East so am looking forward to it; I hope there is not a tacky £5 buffet on each corner though.

Enjoy the rain and snow friends! xo

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Jasmine surpriseWhen you order the Jasmine flower tea at Whole Foods, you get exotic flowers wrapped in green tea leaves. Once the hot water is poured over the tightly wrapped ball, the leaves unravel to display the beautiful flowers inside.

It is quite a beautiful thing to order and drink, although am not sure why it is called Jasmine Flower tea when that is not what a Jasmine flower looks like. Well, unless you read the fine print you will never know - ignorance is bliss!

Dio asked the cute American next to us if we could take a photo, we were eating next to him at the sushi bar and am sure he was loving our lunch gossip. The interruption of his meal and photo was payment for the free entertainment we provided. Dio likes to make fun of my Canadian accent, especially when I try and say Irish words - Kurrah, Currah?! Am sure he was chuckling inside.
Get to High Street Ken's Whole Foods - it is a lovely place to shop, eat and browse in - but bring your American Express Gold card as it ain't cheap!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Oh the choices nowadays in crisps!Not sure if i liked these but they were interesting, I still harp on about my favourite, ketchup flavoured crisps (chips for the Canuckers) which are not popular here! These were from good ol' Marks and Sparks. And for the record, these were eaten long before the bathing suit bod diet began.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

London Arancini Balls

Mine and the 'award winner' D's rice balls. Unfortunately we didn't add salt to the rice and didn't know how to turn the inside yellow like it is when you buy it in Italy but they weren't too bad for a first go! I also realised that in my original recipe I forgot about the beaten egg to mix in with the rice which keeps the balls intact (oops-but I fixed it now -thanks Sal for pointing it out).

D's winning an award this week (no cash accompanies it -there's a credit crunch you know) but she is a wonderful soul and a great sous chef. She makes a great breadcrumb mixture with a mortar and pestle. I don't know anyone who actually has a M&P and uses it, most people have them in their kitchens as decorative pieces, non?

Anyhoo to compensate for the lack of salt we used the tomato sauce and peas as garnish and sprinkled it all with salt and pepper from their AUTOMATIC salt and pepper grinder. A big no-no as the thing broke several times during dinner -that is a gadget that our parents would look at and it would reinforce their sentiment that our generation is lazy.

I actually like the sound and action of grinding your own pepper. This automatic one sounded like a kids toy stalling or chugging in overdrive for only a microscopic piece of pepper-too noisy. Sorry M, I know you like it but I think you should return it before it breaks open into your pasta carbonara dish this week. The unsalted balls with the home made bread crumbs - we toasted a lot of slice bread for them!
We burned the bottoms of the first ones as the oil was too hot, but got the hang of it with the rest. See recipe in my original post, will try it again and try and make it just like they do in Sicilia, practice makes perfect - D's kept the oil for our next attempt.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Asian ExtravaganzaBronnie is the funniest chef du jour ever! Her dinner party on Saturday was great but her preparation skills and kitchen mannerisms would most likely get her kicked out of cooking school in the first week! Serving my dessert with a plastic cover still on it (see above), but with garnish on top was my favourite part - we had a good laugh and it was a great evening with lovely people, lovely wine and an errant shisha pipe - which was such a challenge for 6 intelligent people - even the magic of google couldn't help. Read here for more.

Well done Bronnie! Am up for an Italian Stallion Cooking night and you will definiteily be my assistant chef.

B & her valentine date, right before she yelled at some Aussie tourists at the Auschwitz snack bar in Poland.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Morning gloryThe good peeps at Kellogg's sent me a lovely (and large) package the other day. It was a large tea crate-like box which contained cereal and a lovely wooden bowl and spoon. I think there were 4 different flavours to taste, which hasn't been too hard of a task. I have shared the cereal with my work colleagues and we are all munching on it dry in the afternoons and eating it with our milk in the morning. The consensus is that the raspberry and cherry is too sweet for all of us, am sure we will eat it when times are desperate but for now it is on the shelf, we can't seem to pawn it off to anyone.

The almond, pecan and raisin flavour is my second favourite because of the raisins and I think my first favourite is the blueberry and apple one as it doesn't have raisins. I gave Carol the raisin one! I think it is toasted so it has a nice texture and taste. It feels very hearty and warm and it fills the morning hunger gap quite nicely. The freeze dried apples don't go well when I eat it as a dry snack in the afternoon but with my (lactose free!) milk in the morning it is quite nice.

Oh what a joy it is to eat cereal again - love the Lactofree products! I have to now try their cheese that they just launched, maybe a veggie burger with some 'fake cheese' (as B calls it) is in order.

I think there is one box left to sample and it is has cashews in it which will be interesting as I love cashews. Our French colleague said she wanted to buy a box to take back to Paris as she loves granola but not sure if this can be classified as granola, what is granola anyway?

One more week til Dubai, so might have the cereal for breakfast and dinner to prepare for the bathing suit! A girl at my old work used to to this and it seemed to work. Well off to bed dear diary, am in need of a rest - am very sore from an intense Pilates session, was walking funny today!