Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mrs. Ferrari's Fish Pie
The gorgeous fish pie that Mrs. Ferrari made. Her recipe:

  • Cook loads of lovely fish - she used salmon, sole & prawns - you can use whatever you like.
  • Layer the cooked fish at the bottom of a baking dish
  • Grate some vegetables like carrots, celery and anything else that tickles your fancy over it - drizzle the base with olive oil
  • Cover with freshly mashed potatoes and if you'd like to- add cream or milk to make them more yummy
  • Season with herbs and spices and then bake in the oven for 20minutes or until it all gels together and in the last 5 minutes put it under the grill to brown the top of the pie
  • Serve with a salad or some roasted vegetables drizzled in olive oil, like Mrs. F did
It was divine! I have never had such a great fish pie. I event took some home the next day for lunch and dinner. Mrs. Ferrari gets lunch at work so she passed on all the leftovers. I do love leftovers -the flavours can sometimes be so much more intense than the day before.

Doesn't she look lovely? Completely cool as a cucumber after slaving over our lovely dinner. She even served Prosecco to accompany the fishy dinner.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Push the buttonIn a small restaurant in Soho where you can see the waitresses, although they most likely hide to avoid working, there was this small call button. We needed something and D decided to push it to get the server's attention. I thought it was rude but it was a great way to get their attention - from their hiding spot they emerged and helped us.

It is funny how in the credit crunch we have experienced consistently bad service at the last 3 establishments we visited. Each time D and I take off the service charge and when arrogantly questioned as to why we do it, he goes into a mini lecture about how 'in a credit crunch, wouldn't you want to look after your customers?' We are not in busy restaurants and we have to wait an extreme amount of time for menus, drinks, the bill and more - it is not like we ordered a bespoke souffle or some exotic fish that takes time to be fetched from the sea?!

And in the last three instances, we looked over and there is the wait staff staring into space or chatting with other wait staff. I want to own a restaurant in the UK to show how it should be done. The customers pay your salaries people, let's try not forget this minor point!

I think wait staff don't care as they are only getting 5quid an hour so they are complacent and are not bothered if the business folds as they will find another crappy job at another restaurant! There is no ownership or pride of place or even consideration for the business owner - it seems to be plain selfishness and laziness.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bari, Italy
Simple pizza with black olives and tomato for lunch combined with warm weather and glorious sunshine made this business trip a nice treat away from the grey, grey and dreary weather in Londontown. I actually had an delicious octopus salad to accompany this slice of goodness.

And, the team at Bari airport in Puglia were oh so lovely. A nice part of Italy to visit, well - that's what they told me as all I saw was the airport and hotel. At least all the food was great!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ms B is ~ so very EnglishMs.B is oh so very English (sometimes very Northern too). To me, she does a lot of 'very English' things, this is probably since I work and play in a United Nations type of circle with English people being the minority of the group. At work and at home I am part of a multicultural 'tossed salad', that was the term we were taught as youngsters at St. Chuckleberry. We kept our ancestral identities and worked well in this salad bowl unlike the US where everyone throws their cultures away at the door and jumps into the melting pot of America.

Anyhoo, I digress...Ms.B does some particularly English things and the other day she said she was making a very English dinner that evening. When asked to guess I instantly said 'bangers and mash' which was correct! First guess and I got that she was eating the typically English/Northern meal of sausages and mashed potato. She bought the posh ones at Waitrose which have tomato inside. That said with an English accent is -tom-ah-toe - dahhling.

Lots of love Ms. B! Am off to make a cuppa Yorkshire tea and have a biscuit... xx

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What is Paul eating? Part 2 Candyman a.k.a Paul was eating these last week 'Millions,' which are candy bits that taste like strawberries. They looked a bit retro and on the tube it said that there was real fruit juice inside. I think he thought that this would contribute to one of his 5 a day requirements. There was in fact, fruit juice inside but the strawberry juice was very far down on the ingredient list. The main ingredients was, you guessed it sugar! Oh how he loves his sugar fix; he even donated his real strawberries to me as he said they were not good anymore. I think buying those real berries was an attempt to look healthy, I bet he was one of those kids who never ate his veggies. Well look forward to another week of candy adventures with the Candyman. And these little millions were tasty!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bronnie's food blog

She is single white female starting a food blog, and I think she bought the same dress as me last week!

She is making lunch today and hopefully it will be a good one, am going for a run now to prepare for it. Now you can follow her musings in the virtual world. Will post photos if I am not poisoned :) Just kidding, love you Bronnie.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Churchill ArmsWinnie Churchill stares at you when you go to the toilet and he keeps watch over the fireplace area. They apparently serve the best Thai around but we were very disappointed by our meals. It was more interesting looking at all the bed pans (yes that is what is hanging from the ceiling) and people watching, it is a mix of young and old.

The only minus was hearing the threesome next to us have a very loud and obnoxious conversation about antiques and animation and how they all didn't know what they were doing in their jobs; basically slagging each other off quite drunkenly for an early hour of the evening.

When the one guy's girlfriend went to the toilet the other scraggy woman was bad mouthing the sweet girlfriend and trying to pawn off the poncy (and ugly) antique dealer onto us asking if we fancied the skinny toff. We told her honestly that he was 'definitely not our type, drunky!' She was shocked we weren't grappling for his telephone number - she obviously fancied him and said she was trying to break up that couple for a year. Get over it lady!

I would go again for the drink, people and atmosphere but definitely not the Thai, unless we went on an off night. And if the fireplace is too hot, you can ask them to turn it off - how modern for such an old pub!

GO to 119 Kensington Church St., Kensington, London, W8 7LN to see for yourself.
Our Thai looked good but wasn't tasty
Winnie staring at us!
The walls are full of knick knacks, posters and general old old crap, but that's what gives it its character.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Sex Life of Food

"Nothin' says lovin' like something from the oven," Pillsbury Flour

Food is loving, cooking is foreplay and eating is making love. What are the logical results 9 months later? What is it you said little girls are made of? Oh yes sugar and spice...

Another excerpt from the Bunny Crumpacker book called, The Sex Life of Food, p.79. Skimming through it again as I put it down for quite a while and I keep losing books on the tube and in taxis! Am book-less again this week so doing some food reading.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Salsiccia con rapiniMy mother makes this and everyone seems to love it but I hate the sourness of the rapini. It is easy to make - cook some Italian sausages and at the same time lightly steam some rapini. Once the sausages are done throw them together in a fry pan with some olive oil and seasoning and then serve over freshly boiled white pasta.

Everyone seems to love it but I can't stand it - especially sausages from unknown butchers. Ground meat is to be avoided at all costs in my books! You never really know what goes into it. It is like wearing polyester, never really a need for it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Without Betty & blenderThe first chocolate cake I made without Betty Crocker! All ingredients were individually mixed, with no blender (my arm was hurting) and some Kiwis were laughing at me that I never made a cake from scratch. Who needs to make one from scratch when Betty Crocker's takes 3 minutes to blend and all you have to do is add 2 eggs and some water!? My mother was a working woman!

No ingredients came from a box and luckily there was baking powder or baking soda in the cupboard. It took WAY more time than using a ready mix but was interesting to try. It was delicious but am not sure it came out exactly right as it felt really heavy, not 'moist and delicious' like Miss Crocker promises. (Betty Crocker is a brand of cake mixes in America for all those peeps that don't know who I am referring to)
Stellina and the heckler (BH) enjoyed decorating it and eating it and it was worth all the hard work in the end. I think my next purchase is a blender. I probably have one arm muscle bigger than the other as this weekend I made a banana cake sans blender too. All these cakes are not good for my preparation for the beach in March but I guess that is what flowy sarongs are for.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lucky 7I ate a beef burger here, for the first time in years, some people know my strict avoidance to ground beef for various reasons. The reasons why I ate one is a) the meat is all organic and b) the restaurant is owned by Conran's son Tom who has a great reputation in the restaurant industry. It didn't disappoint!

Check our more info no
Lucky Seven on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What is Paul eating?There is always a string of candy on Paul's desk. There are lollies, gumdrops, wine gums, gummy bears, sour keys, cola bottles and then there are token grapes (for some healthy, natural sugar). This man has a sweet tooth! So this week he pulled out Turkish delight, which was not even close to what real Turkish delight is like. This one was covered in chocolate. It looked interesting and the packaging looked like it was fake, it says on the package, 'Full of Eastern Promise" sounds like a bad movie title. Anyhow Paul enjoyed it but am sure it doesn't beat real Turkish delight.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

AlitaliaMore pathetic airline food last week. I was starving but so rushed to catch my flight I didn't have a chance to eat properly so I had to suffer through this horrid little thing they call a sandwich. I thought the Italians could do better but am not surprised as Alitalia has been having a lot of trouble lately. So after a disgusting walk through Milan's Linate airport which should be burned to the ground as it is so grey and depresssing, they serve this fake toasted panini which has bresaola inside a sliver of butter and a sliver of ricotta inside it. Not even spread evenly, just in these two hard lumpy lines. It was gross but I had no alternative so ate it. The other options were biscuits but not sure what those would've been like.

Lucky me, I sat beside a troll who snarled at me behind her bifocals. Why can I not sit beside a socialble and mildly attractive person who doesn't get the pillow stuck in their arse crack due to their fatness? This happend on my last flight to Toronto! This pre-Christmas troll had scary facial hair, a big gut and clothes that were too snug and too short which meant that the blub was hanging out! I know I am going to rot in hell but people, when you are that fat a little extra material goes a LONG way! You are not a size 8 anymore.

And if you are so fat that you don't notice a pillow stuck between your ass crack then you need to cut down on something. Maybe start with that bag of candy she scoffed on the flight - pre her two glasses of wine and Coke and her meal. Seriously I wanted to crawl into the barf bag!

Can someone from BA read this and put me in a seat at Easter next to a normal person? I should be flying privately, non?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

£2The credit crunch is biting as you can buy this Pizza Express margherita pizza at Sainsburys for only £2. I can't remember what price it was selling for before, but this is really cheap! Made one yesterday for little Estellina and she loved it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Churros and coconut cookies made on the streets of Geneva before Christmas. It smelled absolutely gorgeous.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2tsp baking powder

Mix all ingredients together and spread dough into paper thin strips (like lasagna sheets). Cut 4x5 inch strips and then braid one at a time. Try and find a fancy cutter like my Aunt Eleanor uses - see the above picture. She assured me that I could find one at most grocery stores but I have yet to find one in the UK, maybe she could buy me one for my bday (is that a big enough hint?)

Once you have made your Goldilocks braids (trechate means braids in Italian), deep fry and when cool, sprinkle with icing sugar.

I think I would alter the recipe a little and add a bit of vanilla essence or some cinnamon but the traditional way is plain. They are lovely to serve and lovely to eat! Big hugs to my favourite Dolce Aunty for the recipe.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Baked vegetable lasagna and a yummy and simple vegetable soup served at Nuria's on a cold winter's night. The chef in blue and her assistants behind her. I need to have her over my house now for my version of lasagna. Her's had a bechamel sauce and some butter which mine have neither of. Am making it tomorrow for some friends and a special chocolate cake for a cute 5 year old. I also use no-bake pasta while she did it the old fashioned way and cooked hers. It was delicious! Grazias painting partner.

Friday, February 06, 2009

TAP that

Finally home after 2 days, 4 flights, 3 cities and horrible airplane food and treatment. I need to download my food photos from Alitalia but in the meantime have a look at the quality food you get on TAP Portugal. I didn't even take a picture of my strange scrambled egg panini - it was like glue! This chicken sandwich was falling apart as soon as I opened it. Maybe they were using it as a football in the galley before it arrived on my tray.

Seriously this is why people hate flying these days, you are treated so poorly and have to eat so horribly.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Don't waste your food!

Posted by Tony Naylor Tuesday 3 February 2009 09.02 GMT on the Observer's Word of Mouth - Food Blog.

.....Michel Roux Jr has joined the fray, explaining in his new book, A Life in the Kitchen, how he hates waste.

The majority of restaurants that aren't achieving their margins are failing because of waste. Look in their dustbins. Do they use the tops of the leeks? You certainly don't put them in the bin. You can use them in stocks and soups and sauces, or staff food. Peelings and scraps of meat are always recycled and re-used. For example, when you peel your potato and cut it into a fondant shape, you don't just throw away the rest of the potato. It can be used for mash. Potato peelings can be fried and eaten like French fries. We have them [at Le Gavroche] for staff lunch. They're wonderful crunchy and tasty. When you peel oranges ... cook the peel in sugar and you've got yourself a petit four.

And so he goes laudably on, putting langoustine heads and lobster shells to work in a bisque; using retained pork fat for pâtés and mousses; and pork skin boiled up in a ragout: "It's delicious but you have to cook it properly. It is a question of knowledge ... It's all part of the tradition of good housekeeping which has been lost."

I like to think, as a household, the occupants of Naylor Towers pay something between token and genuine interest in this kind of thing. It's a matter of saving money, but also a growing sense that we are all obliged to tread as lightly as we can on this planet, and that wasting food, of all things, is morally indefensible. Old wine is frozen to use in sauces; meat bones are (sometimes) turned into stock; old vegetables are used up rather than buying new; plastic takeaway cartons are washed and re-used during batch cooking; odds and ends of herbs and cheeses are frozen. the rest here.

So many Brits are so wasteful with their food, they throw away perfectly good food instead of using it for another meal. The statistic from the government is that we throw away 30% of our food, too high I think! Visit the Love Food, Hate Waste website for more info and for some interesting tips, it is funded by the government's WRAP project which provided the 30% figure above. I am going to go shine my shoes with old banana peels (that's what the website said you could do with them!).

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Rose Roast
A delicious lamb roast bought at Waitrose, the sauce that it cooked in was just delightful. It was a sweet redcurrant and rosemary glaze that was a perfect match for the juicy lamb joint. This meal was definitely restaurant quality - shockingly out of a box and only took about 45 min in the oven. Will be definitely buying that again. Thanks for making it Bronnie!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Take me to Sunday tea
I love this idea and wish I had a car! Since their campaign started in December on London Underground, 137 people have filled in an online application form to become a volunteer for the UK charity called Contact the Elderly.

The poster asks for volunteers to either bring some lonely elderly people to tea or to host a tea party. I volunteered once long ago at an old age home and many of the residents there were super lonely and so grateful for anyone to chat to them. Some had no friends or family ever visiting them - it was heartbreaking.

Over a cup of tea, you learned so much from them; some were fascinating and full of historic and entertaining information, many could tell some great stories too, it was like a talking history book. In that short time, you felt as if you made such a difference in their lives. I would host one but I live on the top floor (with no lift) and have no car, boo - will see if they have some sprightly elders who could brave trekking to the top floor!

If you want to know more or volunteer in any way visit their site, am sure you can host a tea party - a pot of tea and some biscuits and you are on your way!
Contact the Elderly