Tuesday, June 30, 2009

D&M wedding cake trialPics from the wedding cupcake trial this weekend. I got the thumbs up from the bride and groom to be, phew! I ordered a tray from Ebay over the weekend and am going to buy some more utensils to make the cupcake assembly line a little easier. Can't wait for the wedding!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Beer trickDrink half a can of beer, add to the second half remaining in the can lots of spices like garlic, parsley, chili, paprika or make up your own favourite combo (garlic, lemon, olive oil etc.). Place your chicky on top of the can and place in the oven or on the bbq. The beer and juices will infuse your chicken while it cooks.

I think Ranoush's mother did this once when we were youngins. The guy at the Weber BBQ stand reminded me of this last weekend at Taste. If you don't want to use a beer can you can buy a fancy Weber product which mimics the beer can. I now need to get to the garden and try this out.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Strawberry mutantThis poor mutant strawberry still tasted good! R left it on my desk with this little note.

Cooking update: I actually baked yesterday afternoon, I made chocolate cupcakes, coconut and pineapple cupcakes and strawberry shortcake cupcakes with cream cheese and regular frosting, yum! It was a test run for D's wedding cake; they got the thumbs up from the crowd last night and the only thing left this morning was the crumbs and the mess from the party.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Truffle's 'n garlic
Two delicious foods which came direct from a farmers' field and some dark and danky forest; this garlic and truffle were purchased by the lovely Em at Taste of London. We went to the festival in Regent's Park where we sampled great food from some of the city's top chefs. We stumbled upon Em at the end of the day and he displayed his purchases. He had a very smelly but plump truffle (£10quid) and he bought a ginormous head of garlic, which is probably the largest one can purchase in this metropolis!

There are a few restaurants on my list after visiting the festival, I must re-visit Tom's Kitchen as grumpy Bunky and I only went there for breakfast and I would love to try their lunch and dinner menu. I would also love to go to the Boxwood Cafe as we had the most divine dessert (see below) from that stall. Have you ever had home made marshmallows? They were extraordinary! And Stellina licked the chocolate pot with extreme delight.

There were so many great restaurants selling samples of their specialties, so many places to try; will write up my wish list and try and check them all off before the end of the year!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The revival!
My mini vegetable garden in its present state, don't you love the pink string! And below some photos from the day Mother Nature killed a few weak tomato seedlings with hail. Yes, hail in June! All part of the 'Great British Summer'.

The Wahaca chilis are coming along.Fresh mint for summer mohitos!
And the evil hail that killed a few of my offspring.
The destruction :(
I hope to be able to have a tomato salad by September but fingers crossed as the wind killed another plant today! And who is going to water my little farm when I am on holidays?? Dee may be in charge but she has been known to kill cactus plants! Any other volunteers? I will reward you with any tomatoes that sprout from these little stalks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The saltiest bacon known to mankind
Bergy's gift to us from Wales was a lovely hamper of bacon, eggs, cheese (which I re-gifted to Andy) and chutney. How sweet! But look closely at the photo above - do you see any meat on these strips of heart attack bacon? I think he was trying to raise our blood pressure as this was the saltiest thing ever; it was almost inedible. Juicy was the only one who may have eaten a whole piece.

Bergy, next time you can skip the bacon and keep the chutney, cheese (for re-gifting), duck, guinea fowl and regular chicks' eggs in our gift hamper! And you should've given me a warning as cracking the guinea fowl eggs was probably the toughest thing I did this week! Those little browny eggs are so tough. I didn't really know what guinea fowls were but Berg sent the eggs and said we could eat them and he is the farmer, so I trust the expert. A pic below for those who do not know what a GF looks like :) All the various coloured eggs in their different shapes and sizes were delicious!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Say Jamie!

This is how the kids view their menu at Jamie's Kitchen in Brighton - they loved it and we adults also had a go. We had a fantastic meal there and I think we had the best service that I have ever had in England! After 7 years in this country, I thought I would never see the day.

I think Mr. Oliver is doing something right as the restaurant looks great, the staff are all happy there is great customer service and the food is outstanding. Why are there not more of these restaurants around? And when is Jamie's Kitchen coming to London?

I will post more about our eating experience shortly - we went there for lunch and then again for a pre-dinner snack that is how impressed we were. The Dolce's and the Quinn's are usually a tough crowd to please so twice in one day is impressive. Above is a pic of PM enjoying his 'menu' and below is one of my favourite parts of the restaurant, gorgeous pink booths with views into the kitchen and another snap of the main dining area on the main floor. The interior design of the place is just perfect.

Get there to try some of their amazing food. Visit the website to find out more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ksh's potatoes

The KOD's handbag with a few potatoes for her to take home to make for her new hubby. Only the K-girl goes out for dinner with a few spuds in her tiny handbag!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kiddie cerealThey didn't believe me in the office when I said this is how we used to eat our cereal as kids in Canada. There were even perforations for you to cut along in case you couldn't figure out this pattern on your own. Yum, yum, no need for a bowl! All you need is some milk, scissors and a spoon to have your cereal. You can even do these with regular sized boxes if you are really hungry! So I showed the disbelievers and enjoyed my Kellogg's coco puffs a la carton.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Best Pavlova?
Highly endorsed by Dee, this looks delicious! I wish Mel wasn't in chilly NZ making and eating pavlova but at our place trying out her recipe as am sure Dee and I would be excellent taste testers. Not sure if it is the best pavlova as Pat may have been already nominated with that award. Will check the archives.
"Mel is the best pavlova maker ever and has this really nice cake mixer at home in NZ that helps a lot too." DK, June 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Un chewy steak frites si vous plaitI love steak frites but at this joint right in Le Marais, my steak wasn't fit for a dog. My chips were also stock standard cheapies, the ketchup was odd and I made the mistake of going to the toilets and viewing the second floor of the restaurant's mess!

We had walked by a few times during my visit with Mme. Andre and it was always bustling with a bohemian looking clientele. I should've not tried it for myself as it was truly disappointing experience - and the menus were so dirty, ew!

The best part of my visit was sitting next to an elderly French woman and conversing with her in French about how long she had lived in the area, her time as a psychologist and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her slurp her moules and frites with delight. At least those looked better than my steak. She then spent the time before and after her lunch pruning the little pots of flowers on her and my table and then paid her bill and said she was off to do her daily chores of reading and painting with a spot of grocery shopping. I loved her!

I didn't get the place's name but if you recognise it from the pictures than stay clear. Will ask Madame Andre what it is called too.
My steak, and the restaurant from across the road.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Travessa, Lisbon

Jochem outside the entrance
A must, must, must go! If you are in Lisbon you must visit this converted convent (founded in 1653) and have the most divine food and wine. I had green wine for the first time and ate the most delicious meal consisting of fresh fish appetizers and a main of fresh octopus grilled to perfection. All of it served by the nicest and most professional staff (UK restaurants should take note).

It was our only night in Lisbon and we all piled into the hard to find restaurant after a long day at work. The interior and decor alongside the convent's original features make it absolutely splendid (I didn't have my camera so these Blackberry pics will have to do until you visit their site). There is also a fantastic courtyard which you can eat on during the warmer months.

Bernardo was complaining that this weekend it was too hot in Lisbon - 35degrees (boo hoo it is still hovering around 20degrees here). I can't say enough good things about this place except that you must eat here if you are in Lisbon. View their website as there are some great photographs which will give you a greater feel for the place and you can read up on their history, enjoy!
The restaurant is nestled in a quiet residential area with the lovliest mosaiced/tiled exteriors.

Cobble stoned streets leading up the little hill to A Travessa

Friday, June 12, 2009

Coopy so sweet!Cooper sent me a box of chocolates - he found this box of Quality Street that were all the same flavour! I like the blue coconut flavoured ones the best (Coconut Eclair) and in the past, I have had to fight Rexi for the long thin ones which are the Toffee Fingers. With this box you only get your favourites which is one flavour, but CP didn't know that I am a big fan of the coconut and took a very British guess, they love their chocolates mixed with orange here.

Here's an idea, they should do a half and half box, like the chocolate and vanilla ice cream cones from the trucks!

Anyhoo, I like my whole box of orange creme flavour as they are yumm - I especially like how they arrived by post - many thanks to the chocolate fairy! Would it be really cheesy to send Coopy a box back for his bday? Not very original eh? Maybe Rexi will get a Toffee box when she arrives along with her Turning Leaf bottle of red vino (don't worry it is waiting for you my darling!)

There is a countdown to beach holiday where there will be daily bikini wearing so may have to share these with some peeps at work. Keeping these in the house can be dangerous. I just Googled these and found out that you can only order them online so visit the Quality Street site to get a box for your Granny or Mammy.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

One must take afternoon tea...or coffeeWhen visiting London or when one wants to relax in the afternoon with some lady friends, one goes to take tea at a posh London establishment. When the Dolce's were in town we went for afternoon tea at The Wolseley in Piccadilly for a belated Mother's Day celebration. Joined by Madeline and the Rabbit we had a girly afternoon sipping tea (or coffee as Momma Dolce did) and champagne.

I know it sounds odd to have tea and champagne but the Brits take any opportunity to integrate alcohol with every meal or ritual. I highly recommend The Wolseley as the service is superior and the decor is grand and elegant. It was once a showroom for the Wolseley car, then the home of Barclay's Bank and is now the home of a great culinary establishment.

We ordered the Afternoon Tea which comes with lovely patisserie, finger sandwiches and a lovely pot of our choice of tea - Ms. Madeline ordered the Batenburg cake which looked interesting but reminds me of something an old granny would order (but she is a lovely spritely young thing!). Am too tired to type any more (it has been a busy day) but if you want to learn more about how to get to the Wolseley to eat your own Batenburg cake or some lovely scones with jam and clotted cream - visit their website here.

The Wolseley on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 08, 2009

Cotton Candy
I love cotton candy or candy floss as they say here in the UK. This one was purchased on the boardwalk in Brighton and was consumed quite quickly with the assistance of the 4 sticky little hands of my cute nephews. I think the allure of cotton candy as a child is not only the taste but watching the man spin the candy from that big machine that magically breathes out hot air and then spits out the wonderful and woolly like creation which is twirled so gracefully around a paper cone. That would've been a fun summer job, non?

I wish they didn’t come in bags like they do now but have someone actually doing it fresh for each customer; just like they used to do at Crystal Beach Park (the fairground near the beach where we grew up). And I prefer the pink candy floss, the blue is not real cotton candy it was probably created for whiney little boys that didn’t want to have the pink color.

It was invented in 1897 in St. Louis by two dudes and am sure someone like Johan can explain in intricate detail how plain sugar can come out in such a wonderful shape, he is the physics geek!

I think I might buy the home machine that I saw at Selfridges but am sure it will not be the same. I wonder if you can return a cotton candy machine if it spits out a crappy product? Stay tuned, I might try. Some random image I found on the net from Disney Land Hong Kong.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Am bacck!(Mr. Freeze - freezies)

Apologies bloggies, I had the Dolce family in town this week and it was a full on week of eating, drinking, sightseeing and enjoying the glorious London sunshine. Not London Ontario, London England! Yes, that is correct Mother Nature was very kind to bring sunny and warm weather for almost the whole week! I was as shocked as you probably are reading this. One day it rained and was like 'proper' British summer so they did get the full London experience.

Lots to blog about foodie wise - one observation: having little kiddies around means you need to feed them constantly and their eating habits are sometimes peculiar. I think the highlight for them was the copious amounts of ice cream we had each day in various formats. Luckily I had a box of freezies, the Canadian term for an ice lolly, in the freezer which kept them calm for at least 3 minutes each day. The rest of the day from 7am til their bedtime of 9pm (it really should be 7.30-8pm, but they were too excited to sleep) was filled with constant action and they both didn't take naps! Again, much respect goes to parents everywhere. It is tough work!

I never bought so much milk in my life, these kids drink a lot of milk in the morning and at bed time. Well am going to miss them dearly but it was fantastic and will cherish all the fun we had, there are some great memories to stash away (and lots of photos!).

So back on track this week with blogging and foodie-stuffs!


Monday, June 01, 2009

ElectroAnother interesting chewing gum called Electro; I didn't like the flavour of this one. It was a bit soapy tasting. I thought the packaging looked like a deodorant can. Of course the Candyman brought this to my attention!