Saturday, December 20, 2014

Zumba OCD

I'm OCD about things. Like going to seven Zumba/Bokwa classes a week. Or  staying up past 2.30 am to type this post about a normal Saturday. But it was a good one and if I don't blog now, it will be a lost memory. 

 At this hour I might not be able to garner your full interest about my day. If you choose to read on, you may need to indulge me.

It's 10.50am and I arrive into my Zumba class 5 minutes late with my jacket, handbag and backpack. They should be put into a locker first but I don't want to lose more class time.

I love Zumba but my achilles tendons are screaming at me to stop. The tendonitis is painful and annoying. I chalk it down to the latter and keep going because I'm basically obsessed. It's the perfect dancing activity because I don't have the discipline to learn choreography but I can mimic well. 

In the next class Bokwa, we had to do the move "C" and my instructor shouts: "follow these two!" She was pointing a me and another girl. I was chuffed. Individual praise in a gym class is rare so I took that as validation that I was doing something right.

After class I stretched my tendons and laid in the steam room. I overdid it and come out with red blotches. Not nice as I had to meet a friend for lunch.

We had bratwurst from the Christmas markets and coffee and cheesecake at Pain De Quotidien. I left the Wharf at 4.30pm and decided to visit my girlfriend Kim. I hadn't seen her in ages.

Came home at 11pm and listened to Zumba songs. My tendons are aching. Realised I can dance with my arms while lying down. A new Zumba OCD symptom.

Now it's 3.45 am. Tomorrow's another busy day.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Royal Observatory's Meridian Line

We went to the Royal Observatory today to see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibit and a film at the Planetarium. Our screening was the last of the day and when it finished, the Observatory had closed. 

It was cold and the sky was dark as night. But we got to see a laser projected along from the Meridian line. It goes all the way towards the o2.

There were a two Paddington bears at the observatory. This was outside the Planetarium. 

 And this one was floating above the reception. So cute!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Christmas Badger Is On The Tree

Silly season has started and next week is going to be a merry go round of eating and drinking. On Saturday I came back from a day in Paris and went straight to a party at a friend's house.

I slept in until nearly midday and didn't have a hangover. Perhaps it's true what they say about drinking champagne. I hadn't slept in for so long and felt pretty good aside from my shoulders after lugging four bottles of champagne on one arm and the rest of my shopping on the other.

Feeling a cold coming on, I needed pomegranate. The best place for fruit and vegetables is in Tuffnel Park. I went all the way there and bought six huge pomegranates for 79p each, that's almost half the price that my local supermarket charges. Who said you needed to pay a premium for good produce in London? You just need dedication to travel for it.

With the shopping done, I retreated home and by then it was dark. I ate goodies from Paris and put up the Christmas lights and decorations. And most importantly, finally got to blog again!

Oyster Season In Paris

It's early December and I'm back in Paris for a day. 

Being in Paris on a Saturday meant that I miss the Richard Lenoir market but now I've found its Saturday counterpart. Avenue de Saxe is my new favourite market!

Avenue de Saxe is big, busy and enjoys a superb view of the Effiel Tower. The closest metro is Segur. Aside from the cornucopia of meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, there is rotisserie chicken, bbq ribs, and confit potatoes bubbling in butter. I salivated over the aroma of Moroccan dishes. Each stall has a vast range seasonal food. There were also homemade preserves, prepared escargot, and any kind of French cheese imaginable. 

Where else will you find live prawns, skipping around in their basket? Or game birds, truffles and a stall selling nothing but the oysters of France?

I saw crates piled high with oysters of all shapes and sizes from 6 EUR a dozen. Customers buy to shuck at home but the stall keeper can do it if you can't resist them on the spot. 

I waited patiently to be served, watching mainly older customers buy oysters and missing my turn because I was a bit shy of the language barrier. Finally I made eye contact with the stall keeper who happened to speak good English. She said I needed to wait 5 minutes to serve a few more customers before she could shuck oysters. 

There were two gentlemen eating oysters and they brought white wine with them. They poured a cup for the stall keeper who took sips between customers. When it was my turn to be served she placed a crate lid down and scattered seaweed on top. With greedy eyes, I choose the largest oysters. 

They were delicious but not as creamy as I prefer. Perhaps I should have chosen the smaller oysters.

The gentlemen even offered me and my friend wine. I love the French kindness I often see when eating. The actual enjoyment of eating is paramount to the French. And that apparently means offering to help fellow diners enjoy their meal too! 

I bought girolle and chanterelle mushrooms, live prawns (expensive and not worth it unless you're keeping them as pets), sea urchins, and oranges. As with the other foods, good oranges are hard to find in London.

Throughout the day I noticed restaurants in Paris selling oysters from several regions in France. They were advertised on chalkboard menu signs and window posters. 

We walked to St Germain and stopped randomly at Les Mouchettes for lunch. There were locals inside and it was so busy we had to wait 10 minutes for a table. The service was abrupt but efficient. We had entrecote steak with kir chardonnay. The cut of meat was excellent and was expertly cooked.

The next stop was Rue Moufettard. As quaint as it is, I might not go there anymore because the shops and restaurants are overpriced. There is however there's a patisserie at the Les Goblins end of the street where I always buy a slice of flan. It's custardy with the right thinness in the crust-I could eat it all day!

We get to the shopping mall at Place d'Italie and I picked up more Bioderma skincare and went mental buying cheese and champagne at Carrefour. I shouted to my friend before we separated to shop: "find me at the booze!" Embarrassingly un-French.

There were champagnes that were 2 for 1. Malard NV was less than 15 EUR a bottle so I grabbed four. It's cheaper than any champagne you can buy in supermarkets at home and this was Malard! 

Then my friend and I played cat and mouse trying to find each other. There was "booze" placed in all parts of the store.

I didn't bring a suitcase for my French haul. So i had to carry four bottles on one shoulder and everything else on the other arm. After going to Belleville for Vietnamese dinner and back to Gare Du Nord, I thought my arms were going to drop off.

The day after I opened the sea urchins and served crackers with this young raw goats cheese and Tasmanian honey. The cheese had a thin rind and was creamy soft. It will be hard not to eat the whole pack by the end of the week.