Monday, 28 February 2011

This half-term .....


I fell in love with a pork pie

crocheted by Kate Jenkins and , appropriately enough , in Melton Mowbray's Museum .

Braved the seething masses in the Natural History Museum to buy dinosaur tattoos , a wind-up torch and a green lizard .

Didn't eat this

though I may have partaken of the odd other little something or two . Cigala in Lamb's Conduit Street comes to mind , for some reason .....

Didn't bid on any clocks , however tempting and decoratorish

Was briefly tempted to take up riding again but it rained

and , declining the offer to sky dive , even Wii-fully ,

settled on cheering on the table tennis enthusiasts from the sidelines , instead .

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

On tasty morsels....


Partner and I treated ourselves to a meal at Viajante in Bethnall Green. We did not arrive in enough time for the 9 or 6 course meal (fortunately!), so had the so called 3 course meal - but what with amusing starters, palate cleansers and petit fours...

The menu started with something called a Thai Explosion, a spicy chicken confit nibble, and the that was followed by very fancy bread and butter (flavoured brown butters).

Ready for some pics?

It may look messy, and when I tell you that the skin is actually milk skin, some of you may go yeuch... but it wasn't at all. This dish of charred leeks, lobster, hazlenut and milk skin managed to be both sweet and salty at once.

Then again, I love milk skin. When I lived in Spain, and was between 12 and 17 years old, I had friends whose mother kept a large pan of milk on the stove. It must have been milk from her family's farm, I guess. It was boiled every day, and if I was around I got to eat the skin! At Viajante, the kitchen is open, so it was possible to see the complexity behind making these little slim sheets of milk... don't think I will try at home!

Then there was a more conventional duck to follow:

To cleanse the palate: frozen maple pannacotta and suchi granita with green apple:

And then the most amazing dessert I have ever eaten: sea buckthorn with burnt meringue and youghurt sorbet: Sea Buckthorn is so rich and flavoursome.

And, should you need a last shot of something spectacular, here is a pic of the petit fours:

There was real truffle in that chocolate truffle, and it tasted lovely and earthy. Sigh, ameal to remember... but now off to the kitchen to make a more ordinary salmon supper.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Some Days Out Are Better Than Others

You know how some days are perfect ? You come across something new , talk to someone fascinating , eat something delicious and it all adds up to a memorable day out .

Yesterday was not one of those days .

I love a day out and have a train discount pass which , now I'm ancient , entitles me to seven days a year free travel anywhere in Holland . I like a ride in the train ,comfortable seat , book and coffee in hand , nice scenery .... what's not to like ?

Well .... It turned out that repair work , long overdue , had been scheduled for this Saturday on the line I needed to take to get to an Antique and Curiosa Fair I was looking forward to . The train website warned of an extra half hour's travel time .

So I took an extra apple and set off . We seasoned travellers are like that .... intrepid .

It was a bit busy and it turned out that re-routing meant four different trains rather than one . But it went reasonably well till train number three . By this stage , every inhabitant of Holland and their visiting cousins from Iowa , were being funnelled along one single line south .This led to overcrowding .

"We're standing like herrings in a barrel " , boomed a man behind me on the little swaying platform - bit between two carriages , where we were wedged with twenty other people . And we all laughed . Which turned out to be unwise . Suddenly a little voice piped up , "Mama ! Mama! I need to pee , I need to pee NOW !!!". General consternation .

We couldn't even see the child , let move aside to let them both walk down the train . In fact , moving in general wasn't an option . Short of crowd-surfing the child over our heads to the loo , two carriages further along , he had to wait . He wasn't the only one to sigh with relief when we finally arrived .

When I got to the Fair and , having seen a beautiful stall of gorgeously displayed vintage bobbins , ribbons and wool , I'd asked the stallholder if I could please take a photo and he'd smilingly agreed , I discovered I'd forgotten to put the memory card back in my camera .

So you won't get to see the tottering pile of 1950s hats , the rows of glittering chandeliers , the piles of old French blue enamel ware , the Art Deco china ..... Sorry .

Never mind , the trip back only took an extra forty minutes and a touch of glamour was thrown in by finding that the planners , in a moment of rescheduling desperation , had turned the hi-speed International train to Berlin into a local branch-line stop train for one leg of the trip . The German passengers looked slightly askance at us all as we travel-weary natives all swarmed onto their snazzy express , clutching our C&A bags , big bunches of flowers , sausage rolls and baby buggies . Lucky , really , that no one felt the need to inspect the toilet facilities .

Since it wouldn't be a blog entry without a photo or two , I'll show you what I bought

and the wonderful sunset I caught sight of this evening when I took the weekend papers to the recycling bin ( a case of virtue rewarded ? ) .

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A peek and open again


Because Marcheline was curious, I am going to give you a sneek peek of the kitchen... but there is now so much stuff back in place, it is hard to see the paint for the ornaments.

This is the kind of household where every inch is covered, and any kind of kitsch finds a home - and we love bright colours, look at the bathroom:

If I could, I would share this bottle with you all, because - apart from a redecoration housewarming -

SmitoniusandSonata's Etsy shop has re-opened again. Sonata sold a quilt within hours, so that is worth raising a glass to!