Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My life - London

I got away with my husband!!  Thanks to our village of friends and family it is all possible.  It was the best trip of my life - I am SO grateful to my husband for suggesting we do this.  I was very took a lot of planning and effort from SO many to make it happen.  But with the recent loss of our dear friend, I have been reminded how short life is and planning to do things in the future are not definite.  We must live dreams now.  We must.

I am going to just share some sights and some meals we had in London.  We were in London for 5 days and then Paris for 2 days, 1 night.  I will put those in a separate entry.  We stayed in the Wimbledon area of London, with our co-worker and his wonderful family (Hi Simon Family!!!).  They were SO generous and kind.  We felt right at home in their home - this ability is a special gift.

We all went to high tea at Canizaro Manor in Wimbledon, London.  What a treat!!!  Scones, finger sandwiches and sweets.  The sandwiches included ham and tomato (sliced super thin), cucumber and cream cheese and smoked salmon.  All delicate yet filling.  Then for the scones....much lighter than scones at home.  And it had raisins in it also.  They were warm and served with clotted cream (kind of like butter) and strawberry jam.  WOW!!!!  And the desserts included greek yogurt in a thin glass topped with charred meringue, eclairs, and little chocolate cakes with strawberry mouse.

We had dinner at the Simon's house. We taught them how to make sushi. And Loretta put out some antipasti - grilled, marinated artichokes, various olives, and something that I thought I would never try, but LOVED - sweet peppers stuffed with goat cheese.  Ok, confession here - I usually HATE peppers but these were tangy and sweet, kind of like a tomato.  I must find these at home!!

They enjoyed learning how to make sushi. It turned out delicious.  Such a easy and fun thing to do at home!  Everyone should try it!

Another night Loretta make supper....and it was SO simple and delicious.  She is from an Italian family - and this supper was (to me) the quintessential Italian meal.
Grilled steak on a bed of lettuce with olives, tomatoes and shaved pieces of simple and absolutely delicious!!  She served with the potatoes and green beans (see them on the top of the picture?)

I did some research on Time Out London website and set up reservations to one of the top "gastropubs" and to one of the top Indian restaurants.

First of all the gastropub.  Gastropubs are the English culinary world's response to the common thought that all English food is bland and gross.  They are local pubs with high end food. We went to Harwood Arms - and let me tell was TRULY amazing!!!
 This was the bread they put on the table.  The darker bread was a soda bread they made there.  It was so amazing that we bought a loaf to bring back to the Simons.  The other bread was a potato bread.  The bread was served in a little sack.  And you can see the pat of butter served on a piece of slate.
 This is what my husband ordered.  It was garlic soup with bacon cream, crisps, and mushrooms on bread.  This soup was one of the best soups I have ever had.  I am going to write them and see if they would share the recipe with me.  And you can see in the next picture of tiny these crisps were. So delicate and crunchy!! All  dishes are served on plank of natural wood.  So pretty and simple.

 This dish was rabbit shoulder with St. George mushrooms with tarragon mustard.  WOW!
 This was my dish.  It was a special of the is the exact description from the chalkboard = Grilled haunch of Berkshire Roe Deer with tarragon mustard, crispy garlic potatoes and field mushrooms.  There are two pieces of meat here - the "sirloin" was on the left with the mushrooms on it and the cube was shredded venison rolled in breadcrumbs and fried, a little green salad and the potatoes.  The potatoes were first parboiled, then fried then roasted.  What looks so simple was really more complicated that I ever thought.
This was the dessert special of the day = Mint Ice Cream with Harwood Arms Boubon Biscuits.  See the chocolate cream between the biscuits.  Putting the biscuit and the ice cream in your mouth at the same time was oral nirvana.

I am going to jump from food to sights.  Don't worry....I'll get back to the food......

This was the beautiful rainbow we were greeted with when we got to the Simon's house.
This super steep escalator was at one of the many Tube stops in London.  What an amazing system!! 
This was a food spot in Camden.  What a funky place.  It was booth after booth of stuff of sale.  A lot of the booths had the exact same stuff.....tshirts, jewlery, bags.  See the seats in the background.  Those were the seats and back wheels of scooters.  They were all set into long tables along the locks.
I love this giant horse head.  To understand the proportion - look at the person walking by it on the left.  This too was in the Camden Lock area - in the horse stable market.
This was taken at the British Museum.  It is the Rosetta Stone.  It is incredible to see something you have learned about  just right in front of you.
Yes, I walked up and down these stairs.  It was in one of the Tube stops.  Instead of waiting for a "lift" (elevator) we took these stairs.  As you can imagine, going up these was very tough.  I ending up walking with a bunch of ladies, laughing and huffing our way to the top.  PHEW!!!

Ok.....back to food......

We went to Moti Mahal 45 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AA.  Here are the descriptions from the menu - with my own comments added.
This is what our meal started with.  On this wooden platter, there was lettuce, whole tomatoes, onions, and lemons.  Also there was a little bottle of olive oil and curry powder and course sea salt and pepper.  It was AMAZING.  You just put what you wanted on your plate and it was incredible.


Black lentils slow cooked overnight on charcoal
This black lentil speciality is slow cooked for several hours, on charcoal.  
Creamy and earthy, this dal is a delicious accompaniment to tandoori dishes
This was the best dal we have ever had!!  Deep and rich.

MURGH MAKHANI ~ Moti Mahal, Delhi              
Chicken tikka simmered in a creamy tomato sauce
This butter chicken recipe was created by a chef at the first Moti Mahal restaurant 
in New Delhi. Here, we faithfully recreate our namesake’s recipe
This was fantastic - so many flavors in one bowl.

 Here's a mushroom close up!!  I wish I could eat this right now.....

Crisp fried pastry and lentil dumplings with creamy yoghurt, tamarind and mint chutney
A tea time favourite for all North Indians, this dish finds its roots in the Gallis ‘streets’ of Old Delhi
This one surprised me the was a cold dish.  And the yogurt was sweet.  I can't even tell you every taste in was SO complex and different.

WOW......I think this all summarizes our London experience pretty well.  Lots of wonderful walking and lots of wonderful people in such a great place.  Memories of a lifetime.......

My Life - Brisket = My Nemisis

My husband's aunt read about my brisket issue.  She sent me this recipe and I thought I would share it with you.  It was from my husband's grandma, Mimi.

So here is Mimi's recipe as sent to me by his Aunt Elaine -

3-5 lb brisket with some fat on it (this is what tenderizes the meat)
2-3 onions sliced
Lemon pepper seasoning
Garlic powder
Lowry's seasoned salt
1/2 cup red wine (optional, but tasty)
Tight fitting covered pan

Slice onions into bottom of pan. Season heavily with above. Season both sides of meat HEAVILY. Place fat side  down. And place in preheated 350* oven for 20 minutes uncovered. Turn meat over so fat side is  up. 20 more minutes uncovered. Gently pour wine over and around meat, cover, turn temp to 325*. Bake for two hours or so. If you want to put in carrots and potatoes do it at this point. Season vegetables lightly, and baste with pan juices. Recover and bake another hour or hour and a half. Voila! Let cool slightly and slice across the grain.

Long slow cooking is key. Check the moisture while cooking. Don't let it go dry. Add water by half cupfuls. But if lid fits properly, this won't be problem.

Moisture comes from the bed of onions, retained in meat by layer of fat which also has a tenderizing effect. Trim away fat when you serve. I know I haven't tasted this yet, but Mimi was never wrong and neither is Aunt Elaine, so this must be delicious. I vow to try this recipe sometime.  Just not right now.  My delicate foodie ego can't handle another brisket disaster.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dinner - Soup

Here is the soup I made with the broth from the fondue.  WOW....amazing!!!  I browned italian sausage, cut up zucchini and carrots.  I also added a can of diced tomatoes and frozen lima beans.  I also added chicken stock to dilute the fondue broth.  It was SOOOOOO tasty!!  I had some extra steak and chicken from the fondue that I put into the soup.