Sunday, January 29, 2012

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

As a belated Christmas present, I was taken to lunch by a lovely friend. It was at L'Atelier in Covent Garden, a two Michelin star French restaurant.

The food is culinary precision to an art form. Over the Japanese sushi-counter style setting, we watched chefs prepare dishes with intricacy and a fervent eye for detail.

Le Fois Gras Terrine-garnished with tangy apricot and pear to help cut through the richness. 

L’oeuf Coque Sans Coque-Egg cocotte topped with light wild mushrooms cream. The bed of mushroom infused foam as light as a cloud.

L'Agneau Du Limousin-Confit saddle of lamb served with white beans from Tarbes. Exquisitely tender and the lamb had a feather thin crust. (Perhaps flashed by a blowtorch?)

Untitled cabbage accompaniment. The creation of it's delicate flavour and softness shall remain a mystery.

La Joue De Boeuf-Ox cheek braised in black grenache grapes then served with celeriac mousseline. Can't remember how many hours the waiter said the beef was cooked, but as you can imagine, it's done very slowly.

La Mango-Mango-Coulis mousse of mango, Joconde biscuit and exotic sorbet. A multi-layer dessert that's decadently presented.

Even the Japanese lacquered spoon is dusted with gold.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What I Ate Today

Homemade scotch Egg from The Hampstead Butchery. Perfect with sriracha sauce.

Pumpkin pie from Lanka, Primrose Hill. OMG this was devine. The crust was thin and the filling was delicately fluffy. Really tasted like pumpkin. 

Braised pork belly with "mui choy" (preserved radish) and rice. It took almost 2 hours to make but the pork was meltingly soft.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My First Pantomime

Ironic that on Australia Day, I spent the evening watching a British theatre production rather than partaking in a piss up.

PWC runs an annual performance and this year it's Aladdin. I've never been to a panto before and it was hilarious fun. The audience is supposed to boo and hiss at the villians, cheer on the good guys and shout: "look behind you!" when the hero's about to be sprung upon.

The songs were popular new tunes and even the the kids in the audience (and only the kids) sang along to Justin Beiber's Baby.

After the show, I went to the Walkabout in Temple to check out the festivities. There was a massive queue to get in. Since I could'nt be arsed listening to inane Aussie twanged chatter and breathing second hand smoke, I just went home instead.

So that was Australia Day. Another year, another non-event.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chinese New Year Prep

This weekend I got the flat to myself because my flatmates are on holidays. I'm loving the quietness and free reign!

However in preparation for Chinese New Year, I did a shiteload of cleaning, grocery shopping and laundry.

You see, I was brought up with Chinese traditions (ie, superstitions).

Its bad luck on CNY day to:
1) Fight or argue.
2) Break anything.
3) Wash your hair (as it means to wash away your good luck)
4) Eat fried squid (because directly translated in chinese, it means to "get fired")
5) Do cleaning or heavy exercise.
6) Run out of food.

You're supposed to live a good day that's meant to reflect the rest of the year. Superstitious Chinese people are paranoid about jinxes, usually derived by negative sounding words and symbolic experiences.

This weekend I indulged with a dinner feast in Royal Albert Docks, Yum Cha in Mayfair and steamboat at a friend's. All for CNY.

Suckling pig with flashing cherry eyeballs. How peculiar looking is this?

Easy and Perfectly Moist Banana Bread

The yummiest fluke ever. I worked without a recipe and turned the oven off early because I had to leave the flat. When I got back hours later, I had slightly undercooked banana bread but it was perfectly moist and soft.

Won't post a pic because it's so ugly but after a taste, you'd wanna make love to it!!!

2 overripe bananas coarsely mashed
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp bicarb soda
30g melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
(Optional: dark choc chunks or chopped walnuts)

Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir until just combined. It should be thick and lumpy. Let mixture stand for 5 mins.

Line loaf tin with foil, pour in and bake in preheated oven at gas mark 5 (or 180 degrees) for 40 mins. Turn off heat and leave in oven for 20 mins.

Keep the bread in it's foil until it's served. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Old Lady At The Bus Stop

It was a bitterly cold afternoon and I was at the bus stop, getting blasted by the wind. An old lady was also waiting, not enjoying the weather either.

She and I exchanged glances as we shivered, recoiled in our coats and tried to keep warm. I even chuckled knowingly as this was no place to be waiting around.

The bus finally turned up and as I would for elderly passengers, I let her get on first. She just shook her head, grabbed my arm, and hustled me on so I would’nt have to spend another second in the cold.

I was gobsmacked by her kindness. What a wonderfully funny gesture and I did’nt see it coming!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kitty-Sitting Ammu and Appu

How adorable are Ammu and Appu? I've taken a hundred photos already, they're that cute!

"Now let's talk business."

"I have your tail. Bwaa hah hah!!!"




Christmas 2011

It was a memorable month of December. I saw snow in London (albeit for 10 mins) and took weekend getaways to Paris and Switzerland.

The Friday night before Christmas, I flew to Sydney to surprise Mum as planned months ago.

My sister picked me up from the airport Christmas morning and I was embraced by warmth and sunshine. Thank goodness to be home. You could'nt imagine the joy of seeing familiar places again and RBT police wearing Santa hats.

Mum and my brother showed up for lunch at my sister's and I opened the door. Mum was stunned, then cross: "You told me you weren't coming!"

Mum's never affectionate as she's a toughened traditional Chinese lady. Her response was exactly what I was expecting but I could tell she was happy. The family together again was all she could have wanted for Christmas!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Night In Seoul

My Oz trip came to an end and as a final taste of freedom, I spent a night in Korea.

I returned to Incheon airport where I fearlessly pushed the etiquette button for kicks. I was then herded onto a bus with sunburnt Brits and Aussies in flip flops. After an hour we got off the motorway and pulled into an enormous bustling city.

It looked like rush hour at 9pm. The city roads were 4 lanes wide in each direction and bright lights were everywhere.

Was delighted to finally check into the Seoul Royal Hotel. My room was nice for airline funded but there wasn't much time to enjoy it. Fortunately we were in a shopping district with street markets. I explored the area and tasted the strangest looking street food on offer.

Travelling with class. Fancy lights, plush furnishings and errhhh toilet roll?

The busy night markets.

Tempted by these chunky sea snails.

They were chewy and served on plastic bags for hygiene. (As in a “lack of” since there was no running water.)

Live seafood on display. These looked like writhing male-bits. Sorry but I really think they do!

Barbecued white corn. The kernels were fat, sweet, chewy and falls off the cob. I also tried fish jerky which was amber coloured, resembling a flattened conglomerate of fish scales. It was flash grilled and served in an envelope made from scrap paper.

The streets were buzzing and I loved the atmosphere. Shops stayed open until 11pm and by then my hands were numb.

The electronic toilet in my hotel room. Yup, I just had to show you.

The next morning I did some last minute shopping and missed the bus to the airport. So the hotel staff put me in their airport shuttle. No one spoke English and the bus was nearly empty. Bliss!

I watched the scenic hills in the distance and a massive river which took ages to drive across Some parts were frozen and people were ice fishing.

And after a 12 hour flight, it's back to life in Europe.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Burning Rubber in Oz

Like the wheels on my beloved rollarblades, I'm having a meltdown. Not only because it's hot, I'm flat out busy. My head is spinning, doing proverbial burnouts!

I woke up one morning and realised too much is changing. I'm missing out on the big stuff. Babies (not mine), buying a flat, riding my bike, driving, and being there for family and friends.

Well people, playtime is over and 2012 is going to be different!

At Clovelly. This guy knows how to do the business.

PS-My "neck marbles" are gone and it's thanks to my hard mattress. You could crack nuts on it. I'm sleeping on planks of wood when I get back to London.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Song Everyone Knows The Words To

This is an instant mood lifter. It makes me sway my head and smile.

Power to you Patti-you are a soul goddess!!!