12 November 2012

Seeking Art - Tate Modern

Living in a big city always seems to be a gateway to becoming an 'artsy' type. You know, you become one of those people that frequent the theatre for a night out or you keep your eye out for the latest street art on the scene.  It's not to say it's a bad thing, this part of our culture is a dying, errm, art to say the least but you can't help but feel like you're becoming 'one of those guys' when you join in.

A friend of mine that works in the art industry invited me along to the Tate Modern recently. In the 3 years that I have lived here, I had never stepped foot into this building. Don't judge me.  Stranger still, we went to the museum for the start of our Big Saturday Night Out of celebrating.  Museums on a Saturday night, is not in my usual lineup but I liked a bit of change.

As this isn't normally my scene, I couldn't help but feel like the gang in Ferris Buller's Day Off when they went to visit the museum.



That song was totally playing in my head for most of my visit.

In short, it was very enjoyable to exercise my brain in a way that I haven't in quite some time. I can almost certainly conclude that I am not a fan of sculptures but I do like landscape photography and abstract art.  

One of my favourite pieces, (which I'm not really sure what you would classify this under), was titled 'Air Pollution of Iran 2004-6. Eight Flags' by Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar.   It was presented in a room that had 8 different Iranian flags, each from a different year in the Iran-Iraq war.  Each flag had been raised for only one year and each flag had acquired varying levels of soil and damage depending on the year.  It was some powerful stuff that had me reaching for my inhaler just looking at them.

Another good'un was 'Lament of the Images 2002' by Alfredo Jaar. When you approach the room, it may seem like nothing is or will happen.  The best way of seeing this installation is if the room is dark at first.  There's a thin white light that cuts the room in half horizontally and it stays this way for about 2 minutes. Suddenly, the thin white light grows into a large glowing light that fills the room and you realise this light was coming from two steel tables with their tops meeting in the middle - one suspended from the ceiling. I liked Jaar's message of becoming blind to everyday things in life, just as we focused on the thin white light when the room was dark rather than the two tables that were in the centre of the room.

I'm kicking myself because I didn't take any photos. I don't know what it is, but I'm always afraid they're going to tell me off and say no photos allowed - so I don't. Is that a myth?

Also, I always assumed you had to pay to go to the Tate Modern, but I only saw the free galleries. There are different exhibitions that have a fee attached or if you're a paying member you can have unlimited access.  From Wednesday, 14 November for £10 you can see their new exhibition 'A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance' featuring key paintings by Jackson Pollock and David Hockney.

I'd certainly go on a late night adventure again as the museum stays open until 22.00 on Fridays and Saturdays - if not for a bit of culture before drinking my cares away, at least for the phenomenal view.

The moon above London

St. Paul's Cathedral

19 September 2012

Seeking London - What's Cool 19SEP

I never realised how many London event things I read on a weekly, if not daily basis - but it's quite a lot.  So much so, that I plan my weeks around some of the cool things that I see.

Here are a few:



If you haven't had enough of the pop-up bar, the pop-up restaurant and the pop-up theatre trends that cover London then get your fix with the Street Feast crew.  It's been running since the summer and after being kicked out of a few locations by jealous establishments, they've now found a home in Hackney (where else really).  Meant to have some of the best street food we'll find in these here parts.


Image from the Londonist review of this tour

I didn't even know this was a thing!  You can go on tour with actors, musicians and the whole shebang and tour some of London's original coffee spots.The history geek in me thinks this is pretty awesome, and for the coffee lovers out there (I'm not really one of them) you can get your caffeine fix while learning a bit about London.  The tour runs every third Saturday of the month and is £13.50 + bf. 




Shutthefrontdoor!! Wait, no, really. Apparently, going out to a bar and getting pissed is just not enough for us Londoners on a Friday night.  Now we want to be purposely locked in a basement room and have to crack codes and find clues on how to break out of the room in 60 minutes. Crap, maybe when I put it that way it doesn't sound nearly as exciting as it should be. I love puzzles, but this is just insane that it even exists. Nonetheless it sounds really interesting if not at least a bit different. Tickets are £16 + bf and must be booked in advance.

What cool things have you seen happening in London lately?

17 September 2012

Seeking Routine

Last week I had a disappointing realisation.  My fridge shelf was beginning to look more like someone on You Are What You Eat and I hadn't cooked a decent meal in at least 2 months.



This is not like me at all.  I love being in the kitchen, keeping it clean and fully stocked with things to prepare.  It's my place of serenity and a reminder that I am in control of what I cook if at least nothing else in my life at times.

Living and working in London can put the average Londoner into the eating routine of takeaways and ready meals from the supermarket and very little exercise in between. While it is convenient, I think we all need to take time to make our own dinners. In the end, it's heaps cheaper and to be honest once you get used to doing a certain dish it doesn't take that much time out of your day.

I've made a concious decision (and I'm trying really hard to stick to it) to change my habit of waking up, taking the tube, going to work, eating a ready meal, leaving work, taking the tube, and ordering a takeaway. As well as changing my eating habits, I'm trying to include exercise in that routine.  It's hard, and it's particularly harder when no one around you is making the change to their routine either. But I'm stubborn, and if I want to do something I'll keep trying at it!

I've ordered a massive selection of meats and fish from the shop (online shopping is the way forward in big cities), wrapped them individually and frozen each bit of chicken and fillet of salmon so I can always have food in the house. I've even gone so far as to plan out my meals for each day.

Today was veggie lunch and I was craving courgette (zucchini).  Here's the recipe I found to make my lunch (sans lima beans, I've got childhood nightmares about those).

How have you had to manage your eat/work/exercise routine?




Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen lima beans, blanched
  • 1/2 cup drained canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 romaine leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, broken into small chunks (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus small sprigs for garnish
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine lima beans, chickpeas, zucchini, onion, romaine, Parmesan, and chopped basil. Add lemon juice, oil, red-pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and toss to combine. Garnish with basil sprigs.

16 September 2012

Seeking London Life

Three years ago I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I decided I had had enough of Ohio and America(ns) and I was tired of saying 'I want to live abroad'.  I applied to a few Universities in London, sold my everything and put my United Airline miles that I had racked up over 5 years of travelling the world to good use - a one way ticket to London.

The day I moved to the UK


Since moving here I've done something that many people aren't able to do: pick up and start again in life. I went back to school for my Masters, I gained new circles of friends, I travelled even more, I discovered an undying love for festivals, I started a new career path, and I found love again. Maybe these things could've happened in the States as well, but I don't feel that it would have.  My life may have different priorities than the average 29 year old woman, but I'm feeling pretty accomplished!

London, I love you and you have me under your spell. Here's to another 3 years of magical bliss and opportunities. 


25 July 2012

Seeking America - MEATliquor

Sometimes it happens and there's just nothing you can do about it.  A new club, restaurant or venue opens and everyone proclaims it to be the greatest of its kind, ever. It's happened before while I've been here and no matter how much I and others have said the other location is by far more superior and more authentic, the establishment with all the marketing money comes off as being the better venue of its trade.

This, I feel, is the story of MEATliquor.

I went during a weeknight, immediately after work - no problem with the queues that everyone keeps going on about. Don't show up past 7, or don't leave it to be a Friday night meal.  Obviously that's when all the eager trendy people start flocking to what they only heard was the next best thing.  I got there around 6.30 or so and it was fine.  Get in, have a few drinks (and by few I mean 1 - £4 for a small can of beer, £9 for a mason jar of what was effectively a margarita) and browse over the menu.

Don't be upset that you can't see the menu on the website, that's just part of MEATliquor's disappointing charm to get people wanting more.  They have 4 or 5 different burgers and a few other American type sandwiches.  I went for a Philly Cheesesteak, because again, I'm craving all things that I never ate that often at home, and as always the boyfriend went for the thing that I would otherwise get if I wasn't skeptical of the place (a burger).  We also had wings as a starter.

MEATliquor - Hot Wings

MEATliquor - Philly Cheesesteak, burger, fries

The Good: those hot wings were pushing on hot, so that was good.  French fries were pretty tasty.

The Bad: I have never, in my life, seen a Philly Cheesesteak look like that. I didn't realise it was OK to just pass off steak as mince meat (ground beef).  I must have missed that memo. And FFS that's an ungodly amount of green peppers. I pulled about 1/3 of them out but there were still too many to find the actual meat section of this sandwich, making the peppers really over powering.  

With the wings, though it was labelled as bleu cheese dip, I know they just went out and bought some ranch dressing. Don't mess with me and these wings, world!

So I feel the cheesesteak served is one of those 'Expectation/Reality' moments. I was expecting something closer to below
mmmmm I miss steak-umms
Notice the thin slices, not chuck ground beef.


The Interesting: All this being said, it is an interesting venue to look at inside. I'm not really sure why they painted it the way they did. It looks like a cross between a slaughter house, and the house of someone that wants to slaughter people.  Weird scribbles on the wall, red drips of paint everywhere, very odd.

The Worse: Normally if I have a part of my meal that I didn't enjoy, at least I know the bf has enjoyed his. In his words, 'It was alright, but nothing worth queuing for'.

And there you have it. 

As we left the building, a queue that did not exist only 2 hours prior was indeed wrapping around the block on a weeknight and we were half tempted to tell them it wasn't worth it.  But there wouldn't be any point, the media monkey has turned his tricks and enough people are intrigued by the place to keep it in business for a while.  Maybe that'll give them enough time to suss out what American food is, and I'll try the standard any-country burger instead of the American 'delicacy' next time.

MEATliquor can be found at:

74 Welbeck Street
W1G 0BA

Nearest Tube: 
Bond Street

MEATliquor on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

24 July 2012

Seeking America - The Diner

I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I went to Bdubs to eat some hot wings back in Ohio.  I actually really hate them. I'm far too OCD to want to have a meal that constantly requires you to wipe your hands and face - or so I thought.

With it being Freedom Month July and me being homesick, I've turned to craving something I didn't even eat that often at home.  I'm not sure how this works! Who would have thought that those sauces I once dished out to wing-hungry patrons would be all I could ever ask for?

Buffalo Wild Wings' delicious range of sauces

I've realised, that even while some places claim to sell 'hot wings' they're really offering mild wings.  I've even found myself pouring tabasco sauce hoping they'll at least smell like they're hot! I don't know where this wing monster inside of me has come from, but it's been on a mission.

I went to the The Diner not once, but TWICE in one week to get my American fix.  Day 1 I tested out their hot wings, which came with the ever essential bleu cheese dip, and also ordered - get this, a chilli cheese dog.  HAHAHA!! ME? Eating a whole chilli cheese dog?  Yes, I damn well did! The amount of times I complained to people for liking Skyline Chili and I turn around and eat this beast? It's insane.

The Diner - Hot Wings

The Diner - Chili Cheese and Bacon Dog

The Good: FINALLY a real hot dog bun!! So soft and sweet, I've missed you.  Also, crispy bacon on a chili dog? That's some Man v Food action there.  Also, the bleu cheese dip was to die for.
The Bad: Who in their right mind breads hot wings? I was so disappointed as I have no bigger food phobia of eating things that make a mess, than I do of things that are breaded and then made soggy by a sauce.  They also weren't hot (as in spicy). But I ate them and I was satisfied enough from the seriously OTT hot dog in front of me.

The second time around, I figured I could trust the place for breakfast.  

The Diner - Lumberjack Breakfast

Fluffy pancakes: check
Served with heaps of bacon and scrambled eggs: check
Powdered sugar: sweet check
Filtered Coffee: check
Maple Syrup: served in a small pot that you pump fastfood ketchup in to - fail!

Once I was able to get the staff's attention again I did get more syrup, but honestly, you can't serve me pancakes that look like that and then syrup that I can lap up with one lick.  That being said, The Diner gets the biggest points from me for being as close to home as the so-called American chains in London get.  I was very impressed, very full and always left with a very happy taste in my mouth.

The Diner - Camden can be found at:

2 Jamestown Road
Camden Town
NW1 7BY
http://www.goodlifediner.com/

Nearest Tube: Camden Town

The Diner (Camden) on Urbanspoon
Square Meal




23 July 2012

Seeking Dance - Swing Dancing at Stern Hall

There's only one thing I miss from home as much as I miss the food, and it's dancing.  I spent my last few years in Ohio learning and teaching ballroom dance.  Some of my friends have even gone on to be dance teachers, and I envy that they're able to do what we all love so much, every day.

Super awesome UK visa laws say that I'm only allowed to work in my main profession so I can't work my 9 - 5 and then teach dance on the weekends in a local gym. Irritating, but I suppose I shouldn't be trying to 'take' anyone's job that they're definitely 'qualified' for. 

Taking jobs. Yea, OK.

Anyhow, occasionally I do find small ways to feel closer to home.  One way was when a friend from work invited me to a swing dance night!

Jitterbugs at Stern Hall

I imagine it's the same in every city. There's a group of dancers and once you know them, they seem to be the only group you see.  It was so much easier at home because most of my friends were dance friends, whilst I only know 2 dancers here.  It seemed no different with the Jitterbug bunch, most of whom seemed to know each other quite well!

If you're a first time dancer they do lessons at both beginner and intermediate levels every Wednesday from 7pm.   It's definitely worth a go, if not for the dancing at least for the very retro atmosphere and interesting people that you can meet.  The woman in the image below is a 'couture milliner'! piphackett.co.uk 


After all of the lessons have ended, the grand dancehall becomes an open dance session where you can try out your new moves with anyone you choose to lead you.  It's amazing how universal the language of dance is. While I may have learned how to Lindy in a small dark room in Columbus, Ohio, the 65+ year old man in London was twirling and whirling me as if we'd been dance partners for years.  Dance is a beautiful thing.




My only bit of advice: bring a spare top and prepare to sweat.  It is insanely hot in this room, and kicking up a few steps does not help at all. 


Stern Hall can be found out:

West London Synagogue
33 Seymour Place
W1H 5AU

Nearest Tube: Marble Arch

Class prices vary, from £6


Seeking America - The Breakfast Club


It should be no surprise to most of my readers that I'm getting a bit homesick this year. I've hinted at the fact that I'm in a bit of limbo with being able to go home, and made it a mission to find as many milkshake, burger and breakfast joints I could it seems.  I suppose it's only natural. The end of August marks the last time I saw my family in 3 years, and 09SEP marks the last time I was on American soil in 3 years.  Even I, the least American, American on this side of the pond, crave some of the simpler things from back home.

One sunny Sunday afternoon, I made my way over to Angel in hopes of finding a little slice of home at The Breakfast Club.  Nicely tucked away just behind the high street and on a narrow alley of boutique shops, I found a queue stretching the length of the alley and then some.  I'd finally arrived to one of the most talked about breakfast stops in London.

Wait time was about 30 - 45 minutes, which probably could have been cut down if the waiting staff had a better seating system.  But to expect customer service like that, I would really need to head back to the States as I'm more likely to discover a new element than receive decent customer service here.

Oddly enough, once seated I didn't ask for a plate of pancakes, smothered in maple syrup and at least 6 strips of bacon on the side.  My boyfriend did however, which left me to judge them without being disappointed that the pancakes weren't prepared in a way that any John Hughes character would have expected.

The good news: the pancakes and the bacon were right on target - fluffy pancakes, crispy bacon.
The bad news: it wasn't nearly enough.  At about £8, for 2 things on the plate, it left a lot to be desired. Why this country doesn't understand the beauty of sides, I will never understand.  If there were some eggs, and a small pot(bowl) of summer fruit as well, we'd be in business.

I was hardcore craving some eggs, so I went for Eggs Florentine and a cup of tea. Not very American after all but very nice all the same.

The Breakfast Club - Eggs Florentine

The Breakfast Club - a cuppa

The eggs were more than filling (I couldn't finish them!), which is what I was going for, and cost about the same price as the pancakes - which I would've finished, and would've wanted more to go with it.  I definitely recommend heading to the Breakfast Club, as it makes for a perfect Sunday brunch location.   Just be prepared to shell out a few more ££ if you were looking for a real American breakfast experience.

The Breakfast Club - Angel can be found at:

31 Camden Passage
Angel
N1 8EA
http://www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com

Nearest Tube: Angel

Breakfast Club on Urbanspoon
Square Meal



22 July 2012

London 2012 - The home stretch

We've tried to hide from it and we've taken a 'wait until it happens' approach in preparing for it, but this week, there's no denying it:  The Olympics are definitely coming, and for the most part are here.

I participated in my first Olympic Event this Saturday as I watched the torch run through Stoke Newington.  In true British fashion, few people knew what was happening at Clissold Park that day and of those that did, no one knew from which direction the torch would come - not even the organisers.  Standard.

The planned Olympic Torch Hackney route - day 64

The path in Clissold Park, moments before the torch was meant to arrive.

Nonetheless, I had a 6 second window, where I was able to see what people around the world will symbolise as the light of the Games and triumph for their countries. And I suppose that's pretty cool.

The Olympic Torch on Green Lanes

The parade of official Olympic money-givers


As this is the first work week with the torch in London, I'll be preparing myself for the herds of tourists and ticket holders aimlessly roaming my streets. Early morning rises, long walks home - mostly all transport related really. With some luck I'll be able to catch the Opening Ceremony at one of London's open parks, capacity permitting. But that's it, this is the Great British Summer we've all been asked to partake in - Ready. Steady. Go.

02 July 2012

Seeking Music - Converse Represent

You ever have one of those days where something you knew nothing about just keeps popping up everywhere? That's what happened to me on my way home today when all of a sudden everything I saw was telling me about Converse Represent.



It seems that despite the ridiculous amount of Olympic themed things dominating London for the rest of the 'summer', Converse have managed to knock out a mini festivals of sorts in a venue I've been meaning to tick off my gig list, the 100 Club.

Much like the iTunes festival, it's free - so you select which artists you'd like to see, you're put into a drawing and notified if you snapped up a pair of tickets 2 weeks before the event.  I've already put in my entry so fingers crossed, but I doubt I'll be so lucky!  With artists like SBTRKT, Santigold, Django Django, Best Coast, Paul Weller etc etc, I think they'll be hard to win.

See the full lineup and enter here:

http://play.converse.co.uk/2012/06/represent-lineup/

01 July 2012

Seeking Markets - Angel and Whitechapel

*This post is about 2 months delayed due to some very bad relationship management from a sponsor.  Therefore, this post is not sponsored.* 

What happens to the streets of London that are normally filled with commuters making their way into Central London or The City on the weekend? Markets, that's what.

I finally walked through Chapel Market in Angel in my beautiful borough of Islington (I don't think I will ever live in another borough!!).  Chapel Market has beautiful fruits and veg, various bits and bobs of jewellery, shoes, clothes and...bed mattresses? It's borderline car boot sale mixed with a farmers' market and simply good for a wander. What's even better is that this is a short walk, bus or tube ride away from King's Cross.





Sometimes I get a bit sad when I walk through King's Cross or anywhere else in Central and realise that this is the only London that most tourists get to know. There is SO MUCH outside of Zone 1 to see.  When I came here as a tourist I hated London, it seemed like any other big city.  But after living here, I've discovered that there are so many mini-cities in London - it's not what a tourist sees at all.

I like to play a game when I walk/take the bus through London where I 'unlock' levels on the map (hint at my geeky gamer girl past). There's a fork in the road at King's Cross where Caledonian Road takes you North and Pentonville Road takes you North East and straight to Angel.  Once I connected those points, I realised London was a lot easier to navigate without the restrictions of the Tube map.

I later travelled on to Whitechapel to visit some friends, which required me unlocking the Angel to Old Street and Old Street/Liverpool St/Brick Lane (thanks to many a drunken night) to Whitechapel portions of the map. :)

As I normally only go there at night before heading out, I'd never seen the high street at full force. It's decorated with a massive street market in what appears to not even be London anymore save for the shiny Gherkin poking its head above the street signs.



What about you - how do you like to discover cities you visit? 

For the Londoners - which levels of the map have you unlocked? :) 

21 June 2012

Seeking History - The Secret History of Our Streets: Caledonian Road

BBC iPlayer - The Secret History of Our Streets: Caledonian Road:

If you haven't started watching this series, please do start. I was ridiculously excited to see the history of the street that I use to commute into London every.single.day. and never realised that so much has happened on this road over the years.

Some of my favourite bits were learning about the market behind Cally station, discovering Thornhill Square and understanding just how big of an impact the rail station had to this area.

What are your thoughts on Caledonian Road - is it a 'rough' neighbourhood or just rough around the edges?

'via Blog this'

08 June 2012

Jubilee Extravaganza Day 4 - English Roast

After our lovely curry the night before, we finally reached the end of the Jubilee Weekend and I celebrated by randomly cooking a dinner for my friends!



Sunday Roast - There's not much for me to say on this weekly English dish.  Although, as someone who likes to cook, improvise recipes and present visually pleasing and tasty meals, I've always got to put my own twist on things!

As I was trying to do only British themed activities this weekend, my roast (which is basically a lightweight Thanksgiving dinner to my American readers) couldn't include my staples of mac n' cheese, some form of green veg in pork and vinegar and cornbread. Tragic, I know.

I did make a roast chicken that was meant for 2-3 but fed 5 in the end!

Orange and Herb Roasted Chicken

Orange and Herb Roasted Chicken

I'm not very good at recipes but here goes

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 orange cut into quarters
  • 1 onion cut into quarters
  • 1 sliced clove of garlic
  • fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 2 tablespoons of softened butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (I think I use EVOO)
  • Dried mixed/italian herbs if you want
Pre-heat oven to 210ºC. Run the chicken under cold water, plucking any extra bits that are still on it and rinsing out the cavity completely. If there are any necks or giblet type thingies get rid of that. If you know how to make gravy with it, go for it but I normally have these already removed.


Place chicken on its back on a clean surface or even in the pan you'll be cooking this in.  At this point, I start thinking of the chicken as a little person that's getting a massage and going in the sauna for a bit. (Don't judge me, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen by myself - gotta stay entertained!)

In a small bowl mix the butter, salt, pepper and dried herbs (if you're using them) together. With the cavity facing you, just at the top you should be able to lift up a bit of the skin and fit most of your hand underneath the skin over the breast. (If you're squeamish about touching meat, imagining this as a massage helps!) The slit between the skin should go down to the legs as well. Keep using the butter mix and massaging the chicken under and over the skin, front and back, until you're happy with the seasoning. This butter mix will also help the chicken have nice and crispy skin.

Transfer the chicken to the pan if it's not already there and top with more salt, pepper and dried herbs if you wish.

Take one orange quarter and squeeze over the chicken. Put one quarter inside the chicken, another quarter behind a wing, and the last quarter behind a leg diagonal from the orange wing.

Take one onion quarter and put inside the chicken, use the other 3 to put around the chicken behind the wing and leg with no orange and peel the last quarter to sprinkle around the chicken.

Put several slices of the garlic inside the chicken and sprinkle the rest around him er her er it. :) See, it becomes my little friend before I send it off to the nice warm sauna. 

Decorate it with the fresh herbs as you wish. I normally tuck rosemary sprigs on its legs, and put a mix of the herbs inside the chicken.  Finally prop the wings behind its neck like it's lying back and kicking up its legs to relax (this helps the wing tips not to burn). People wrap up the legs with poultry string for the same reason, but I never have a problem with them burning. 

Drizzle a bit of oil at the bottom of the pan.  Set in the oven, on the middle rack, for however long the pack tells you since it depends on the size. I think this bird took about 30 - 45 minutes but you want it to look like the second picture up there (obvs). If you see it turning brown too fast, turn down the heat. If by 30 minutes it's not brown enough, turn it up to 220ºC for the last 10 minutes or so and it should be good. 

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I also had my first stab at Yorkshire Puddings, which must've been created when someone didn't know what to do with their excessively soupy bread mixture. I found this recipe online, followed it to.a.T. and created these bad boys as my cornbread replacement!

Best Yorkshire pudding recipe evar

Gorgeous yorkshire puds on the first try!
I'm stil amazed by how they work, how do they grow like that?!!? Apparently the trick is heating the pan to cooking temp with vegetable oil before adding the batter. The more oil, the more they rise. The hotter the pan, the better they rise.  Give it a try!

Here's the final dinner feast!

Orange and Herb Roasted Chicken, steamed broccoli, roasted carrots and potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy


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And finally, I may have broken my 'no American' things rule a bit with dessert. Well technically it's Sicilian, but who cares - it's my beloved Cassata Cake that I blogged about over a year ago.  I haven't made it since moving to England, and to be honest it's a bitch of a cake to make. It takes up your life, but it is WELL worth it once it's done. I normally try to save it as a summer weather cake as it's heavy in fruit and cream ingredients, but, well, like I said I haven't made it since moving to England. (Will it EVER be summer here!?)

I wanted to make a Jubilee themed cake so here are the results.

Cassata Cake



Click here for the recipe: http://arielcking.blogspot.com/2011/03/cassata-cake.html

This was my first time making everything, even the cake from scratch (I normally use box cake)! Very pleased with the results!

Building a Cassata Cake 

So that's that for my English Roast and Jubilee Weekend.

If you have any questions, have tried these recipes before, or have similar dishes to share let me know in the comments!

07 June 2012

Jubilee Extravaganza Day 3 - Lahore Kebab House

So far, we've ticked off festivals/drinking and how we spend our downtime nursing hangovers with some primetime telly.  Now it's time to move on to what we're eating.


Curry - right then.  This should be a known fact for most of you out there, but for those that don't know - Indian food is more popular than fish n'chips here in the UK.  So on Bank Holiday Monday, whilst Tom Jones took the stage outside of Buckingham Palace, I took a seat in a Whitechapel restaurant called Lahore.

A few things; as much as I've embraced British culture since moving here I still can't get that excited about curry.  I'll have it, but I won't crave it the way some people seem to.  Also, I use the term 'restaurant' quite loosely. It looks a bit more like a cafeteria you would've had your lunches in around age 10.  That being said, this seems to be one of East London's gems with people proclaiming their love for the cuisine. Not to mention, it's BYOB so drink up!

We have some friends that live out this way so we've been here before, but I think this is the first time I had eaten there. As they were quite clued up on what to eat and how to order it, someone shouted for mixed starters and papadums and our waiter returned to the table with about 8 plates of food.

While I don't go for curries that often, hands down my favourite part is the papadums and the 'lil dips you get with it. There was heaps of mint sauce on the table but he didn't bring out the mango chutney, I nearly cried inside.  If finally arrived and I tore into the crispy treat and had a few bits of chicken kebab that was mixed with lamb kebab.  Now World, I'm quite terrified of eating lamb - and I'm not one to say no to trying different food.  I normally cant even bring myself to swallow it, but this place managed to keep the little lamb chops in my belly.  Success - but I probably still won't eat the lambykins in the future.

Bottom line is we had a delicious meal, but I won't bang on about the food much as I didn't take any pictures (was having a 2 hour asthma attack without my inhalers on hand - stupid!). I will say however, that this adventure sparked a new treat for my fellow Seekers out there.

Now I know many of you don't use Foursquare in the UK but there are some really handy features for those that do!


New look on Foursquare

I've created lists of some of my favourite places to help you through London

Follow me and check-in to a place I've been before or a place near to where I've been before and my tips about the location will appear on your phone!

This post is releasing just in time for Foursquare's new look so if you don't have it or you haven't used it in a while, download it and follow me to get tips and suggestions while you're out seeking London.

Lahore Kebab House can be found at:

2-10 Umberston Street
London
E1 1PY
http://www.lahore-kebabhouse.com/
Nearest Tube: Whitechapel, Aldgate East, Shadwell (DLR/Overground)

Lahore Kebab House on Urbanspoon

Swimming with this Mermaid