Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Long WeekendScrambled eggs on a patio with a favourite friend, a large discount at a shop that was only negotiated with a smile, a random sighting of the Queen's horses, a lovely garden centre with great customer service (Clifton Nurseries - I had someone accompany me home with my heavy bag of compost), inspecting my first few red tomatoes (this means that they will actually be edible before frost!), a gorgeous delivery of flowers from lovely PR peeps - it's been a great day so far!

The evening will be spent along the canal and it is a long weekend, what more could one ask for. Am sure there will be some good food and wine this weekend too; wishing you all a great lonnnng weekend!

Let's hope Mother Nature shines some sun on us. xx

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Burgers Kiwi style…Pics from the Inside Runner and his blurb:

"Loaded to the rafters just the way I like it! Hard to eat but who really cares! Chicken, avocado, bacon, fried egg, lettuce, beetroot, tomato, chutney, relish etc etc"
I will never understand the crazy Kiwis and their obsession with a fried egg on their burgers but will have to give it a try someday. I think that burger is a tad too big and condiment-filled for me (beetroot and avocado?), but oddly it peaks my interest!

Thanks KH for sending the snap!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Festival food
Great food, great music and a sunny weekend - what more could you ask for? Here is a sampling of some of my food finds at the Big Chill Festival.
A couple of posh sausages.A drink from the trolley dolly and the pilots at Eastnor Airways?
Some honey?

A burger (veggie!) at Debbie's Diner

A singing banana?
Chefs to fry you up a meal
A few more dancing bananas in case one wasn't enough

My favourite name for a restaurant. Sometimes I feel like I can hear Rexi saying this over my shoulder.And last but not least, a germaphobe food (and toilet) inspector! Armed with lots of antibacterial hand gel and wet wipes, good for pre-meal cleansing.

Get to the Big Chill festival to sample some of their food next year!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cupcake heavenAfter many sleepless nights of dreaming about how many cupcakes are enough the final result ended up pretty well; minus a few funny kitchen stories with G & I wiping a layer of icing sugar off our whole body and a last minute dash to buy every box of icing sugar in Tesco; I think the cupcake wedding cake went down well.

More pics to come from the professional photographer, I figured out only after the wedding my camera was on the wrong setting! The only thing in the house to eat this weekend is cupcakes - need to get to the grocery store to get some real food as there is no more 'taste testing' excuses.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This is why you're fat!

A website sent to me by Rexi - it is a bit scary but addictive to see what people eat!

The above is called The Spanky Cristo

A peanut butter, banana, honey and bacon sandwich on potato bread, dipped in egg batter then fried in bacon fat, topped with butter and blueberry syrup. Check out the site for more fatty boom boom foods.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nero di SeppiaLooks gross (to some) but it is delicious. It is spaghetti with squid ink. It is lovely and has a slightly salty taste that is hard to describe - you must try it for yourself. If you are brave enough, get to the fishmonger and have him sell you fresh squid with the ink sacks still attached and follow the recipe below. This dish was served to me on a sunny terrace in Sicily. Mmmm!

Nero di Seppia Pasta
  • 1 1/4 pounds (600 g) extremely fresh squid, uncleaned
  • 3/4 pound (320 g) spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste diluted in a little water, or 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • A small bunch parsley, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Peppercorns


Begin by cleaning the squid: carefully separate the heads with their tentacles, then remove the guts, setting aside the ink sacks (be careful not to break them). Wash the squid well under cold water, dice the bodies, and chop the tentacles.

Open the ink sacks and collect the ink in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a pot and wilt the garlic without letting it brown. Add the squid, the minced parsley, and a generous dusting of freshly ground pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, checking every now and then to make sure it's not sticking (if it does add a little hot water). Once it has simmered, mix the tomato sauce or paste with the white wine and add it to the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes more, uncovered, then dilute the sauce with a little hot water and simmer for a half hour more, covered. At this point the sauce should be neither soupy nor too dry.

Half an hour before mealtime bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, salt them, and add the pasta. At the same time stir the squid ink into the sauce, adding the amount that suits your taste. Drain the pasta, season it with the sauce, and serve. The wine? The remainder of the white you used in cooking it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Babushka Miracles
My Babushka from Russia won't open, maybe I was conned into buying a faulty one? So it is in the fridge as maybe the wood will contract to allow my teeny muscles to twist it open. Or we will ask Chad to open Babushka. As you can see the fridge needs filling but it is T-4 sleeps before the wedding cake experiment so will need to fill it with milk and eggs before then and make sure the swine germs are out so I don't make the whole wedding party ill! Am praying to the saint of baking -St. Honore (that's what Wikipedia said) to make it all go ok.

But miracles can happen, or a little creative scraping can turn this almost disaster (a little butter burning the tops of these pressies) into the lovely gifts that were given out below. The receiver didn't even notice, let's hope she never reads this blog post.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tea and ToastSometimes all you want is a little tea and toast. Since there was no milk it had to be OJ. Which is ok as vitamins are needed. It has been 3 days of sore throat and fever, luckily not the swine that is infesting everyone around me. My toast even arrived with a little heart shaped muffin, sweet.

And like the Burger says, 'a cuppa tea solves everything' and the Buns also then pipes in, 'England wouldn't have won the war without tea.' Tea and sympathy and some drugs is what cures the sick. Thanks to the drug provider and tea maker / nurse extraordinnare Dee. She should get a medal for coming so close to the sick, maybe I should start calling her Florence.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Granita breaksOur daily routine in Sicily included a cup of icy granita. I was a fan of the lemon one as the coffee one was a bit too strong; I think there is about 3 shots of espresso in one!

Granita is pretty simple to make although you need to be by your freezer to stir the mixture every twenty minutes to ensure that the mixture does not freeze into a solid block. A good task for young kids!

For coffee or lemon granita

250g/9oz freshly squeezed lemon juice or espresso coffee
120g/4oz sugar
100g/3½oz water

For the granita, place the lemon or espresso, sugar and water into a pan over a medium heat and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.

Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve into a large deep-sided tray.
Place the tray into the freezer. At 20 minute intervals, stir the mixture with a fork until the granita is set.

Eat on a warm and sunny day! I think these are numbered in the UK :(

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scratched breadAnother Italian sign that was entertaining: scratched bread = bread crumbs. Translated from the Italian pane grattato.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bread stopper?

Someone put my loaf of bread in the kitchen as a door stopper! It was a shock at first but then hilarious as since it was freshly baked with no additives it gets hard very quickly.

And for some reason it is as heavy as a brick! I kinda like the homely touch and the rustic-ness it adds to the kitchen. It will also be used as a weapon for any intruders. If you want to have your own loaf-weapon/doorstopper I can bake them upon request!!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Food Delivery -Dubai style
Step 1: Order at the pool bar, don't forget the refreshing fruit smoothies!

Step 2: Back to sun lounger -front row of the beach - as you don't want to see people in front of you, all you want to see is the ocean

Step 3: Have a swim and while drying off, wait for said ordered food to arrive via golf cart, one time the cart got stuck and we had to push it out of the sand, but that's all part of the fun!

Step 4: Eat, relax and enjoy the wonderful sunset!
Uploading some sunny pictures as it is another grey week in Londontown :(
Photos from the Hilton in Dubai.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

La Grande Bouffe -highly recommended by the Serpentine's curator Went to the Serpentine today and saw the latest amazing pavilion designed by SANAA and got some inside tips on the Park Nights series of events. This one came highly recommended and is rumored to have a cool Italian catering company sponsoring the evening with food...will have to check it out.

Park Nights:

La Grande Bouffe
Friday 21 August


Directed by Marco Ferreri
(1973, 130 mins, colour DVD)

Four world-weary middle-aged men decide to gorge themselves to death in one final, orgiastic weekend of sex and gourmet food. Described by The New York Times as ‘vulgar vaudeville on an epic scale... a mordant, chilling, hilarious, dirty movie’, Ferreri’s blackly-comic satire of modern consumer society provided actor Marcello Mastroianni with a perfect opportunity to send up his ‘Latin Lover’ persona.

Park Nights 2009
Park Nights is an annual series of events staged every Friday night in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. This year’s programme includes music, theatre, performances, talks and film screenings. The website gives details of the events that run over the summer until September. The season culminates in October with Poetry Marathon, the latest in the Gallery’s acclaimed series of Marathons, conceived by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Gallery Co-Director.

All events are held in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009
Designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA

All Park Nights tickets £5/£4
Available from the Gallery Lobby Desk or Ticketweb: 08700 600 100

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Am very proud!

My friend Rahul's drink -Prometheus is getting lots of attention! Check out their posting on one of my new favourite sites. It is a great spread and even links to a video. I will need to get to NYC soon to taste some! I love their product shots, very creative but I would expect nothing less from Mr. P who is an art director extraordinaire!


visit their site

Monday, August 03, 2009

Fiery nights & MalvasiaThat is my attempt at using my fancy SLR to take a snap of Stromboli volcano erupting. I still haven't mastered how to use it in the dark but you get the picture of what a volcano erupting would look like right? You've seen it in text books and it is the exact same, except my photo looks like it is a flaming horse shoe and a campfire in some national park but those are really two eruptions. They happen all day long! During the day Stromboli puffs out smoke from its crater and in the evening you can actually see the lava spurting out -truly amazing!

If you choose to climb up for 3 hours (and down in 2) in the scorching heat you get to see it up close and you see many more eruptions as only a quarter of the eruptions make it out of the top. Considering the 35+degree heat we chose to do the lazy man's visit which was via a boat, swimming along the way and then sitting on the roof of the boat gazing out and cheering at each eruption and sipping the local Malavisa wine. It was exciting and we could've stayed there all night but our captain probably wanted to go home and most likely has heard the tourist yelps and clapping every night so might not wanted to have lingered for another few hours like we did. Now to the wine…. the Malvasia was offered to us at many local restaurants in Lipari and at our favourite Italian Nonno coffee bar - it is sweet and lovely but only a small bit is needed.

The wine is firmly placed in the hearts and minds of the residents of the Aeolian islands and for tourists it is a local specialty that is shared with pride. The delicately sweet wine is made in Lipari and comes in varying sweetness but it is made by leaving ripe grapes on bamboo mats in the sun for nearly 2 weeks and allowing the sugars to concentrate before pressing them and leaving them to slowly ferment in casks. Result - a sweet, refreshing wine with a golden or amber color. Perfect for being awestruck by a volcano that has been around for thousands of years! Stromboli is a must visit location!

One type of wine Malvasia di Vigona - you can read more on their site here

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Russian treats

Back from Russia and my favourite food that I ate in Russia was Canadian lobster! Strange but true, the Ruskis like to import a lot of food from elsewhere. More to follow... just de-constructing my Babushka doll into its 30 smaller dolls! Also known as the Matryoshka or nestling doll.