A bit of a round up…

Posted in London, Rants And Rambles on September 28th, 2009 by Coffee

I think it might be stretching things just a little bit too far to call this a “news round-up”, but as we’ve been a bit quiet lately I thought I may as well chuck up a few little bits and pieces of stuff, just so you don’t think we’ve fallen off the planet.

First up. Some rude people came and parked their boats in our back yard the other week.


We didn’t complain too much, however. The big guns on the front and the attack helicopters on the back made us think complaining might not be a good idea!  They only show up for a week every 2 years, so we can probably put up with that. Putting up with all the other fences that go up around the place for no apparent reason, and all the self important people in flouro jackets was a bit harder, but we managed again.

Next up, a BBQ in honour of some friends long departed these shores who came back for a flying visit.  They had a wedding over this side of the world, and managed to fit in a couple of days in London to catch up with everyone. Sounds like our normal itinerary when we trip back to NZ (except for having to fit in the nap times for the sprog)! It was made even better by the fantastic weather that we’ve been having lately. Very much an extended summer. Calm days, sunny skies, warm without being to hot… perfect!


It also gave me the chance to try out a coleslaw recipe I’d been wanting to give a go (that’s it at the front in the slightly purple bowl). Now in my experience a big bowl of coleslaw at a BBQ tends to stay a big bowl of coleslaw at the end of the event, but this one seemed to go down pretty well.  From memory it was celariac, savoy cabbage, walnuts and a secret sauce (only secret because I can’t remember it right now).

Friends, food, great weather, the wine cellar… All in all a fantastic day. (Only slightly marred by the nightmare that is weekend tube travel. But we’re almost used to that by now.)

Which leads me on nicely to item number three. Another day out with stunning weather the week before. A local premiership rugby game at the new Wembley stadium. If you have a particularly good memory you might recall that the last time we went to a local rugby game we just about caught frostbite on all extremities. A huge contrast this time! Wearing just a T-shirt to a rugby game just doesn’t seem right!


And the game itself was a much more interesting game, even for a non partisan viewer. And a great chance for us to visit the new Wembley stadium. Though the stadium management really need to start to understand that a rugby crowd just really doesn’t need a steward sitting on a small stool every 1.5 metres around the entire ground. All that does is piss people off. When was the last time there was ever any trouble at a rugby game?! Annoying and stupid of them.

So that almost brings you up to date with any goings on. As the weather has continued to be so fantastic we spent another few hours on the bikes and wandering around. We took the camera with us wherever we  went too. We just didn’t take any pictures.  That’s not unusual, but we figure that the camera likes going for walks. So you can have this last image.


That’s us spending some time on Sunday restocking the freezer with some freshly made Asian chicken stock, and a red pepper, chilli and tomato sauce made with our own balcony grown red peppers and chillies.

Oh, and one last titbit of news. Much to Bec’s relief I finally got a haircut.

With real live chariot racing!

Posted in London on September 21st, 2009 by Coffee

On Thursday night last week we took in a bit of culture for a change. As you might be able to guess from the poster above, it was Ben Hur, the live show, on opening night.

I’m not quite sure how you define what type of entertainment it was. A bit of a mix of theatre, circus, musical… All in a big arena in the middle circus like with various props and sets and animals coming and going. Entertaining enough stuff, always something going on somewhere.

And of course there was the live chariot racing! Four teams of four horses all charging around. Great fun.

Cooking mojo

Posted in Food and Drink on September 6th, 2009 by Bec

Tonight was my first attempt at cooking chicken ramen.  And my first experience of actually using oyster mushrooms in cooking (not that they are hard to cook, it was just the first time we had purchased them and cooked with them at home).

I think I might have my cooking mojo back, though it’s coming back slowly… Some chutney last weekend, a Thai curry the week before… And yep that’s about my cooking spurt lately!  Other than that I have been summoned to help Mike with prepping or watching most nights to help here and there. So to Mike’s delight he is secretly excited that I might be keen to get back in the kitchen.  However, he might like to note that it was the weekend and when I get home during the week after work I just can’t be bothered (and the fact that he is quite happy to cook most of the time – who am I to fight with that. Hmmm, “dinner is served, my lady”. Sounds good!)

Anyway, how was the chicken ramen?  I would cook it again, it was nice for a change.  What would I do differently?

  • Not overcook the chicken, by flattening the breast to make it more even
  • Try to have more soup mix with a less salty stock
  • Not sure it needs the egg (perhaps Jo you can tell us if this is a normal Japanese thing in ramen?)

You might be thinking we didn’t like it, but I think we did, well I did anyway.  And I am sure Mike did just for the fact that I could actually be bothered cooking.

Now all that is left, is for Mike to do the dishes.  And if you know him you will know how he loves to do dishes,  NOT!

Look a bush with berries on it!

Posted in London, Plants and Gardens, Rants And Rambles on September 6th, 2009 by Bec

Today we went for a walk in what was  a nice sunny day at the time, we are trying to make the most of the end of summer (we’ve really notice how much shorter the days are getting already)!

So we toddled over to the local ecological park, which is about a 30 minute walk from here and on the way home we stopped off at the local basin which is apparently a bird sanctuary.  The park would be even more peaceful if it wasn’t right beside the train line.  But its nice enough.

Today’s theme for pictures was apparently berries…  so we walked and stopped and took a pic of some berry tree/shrub/bush, oh look then another type and then some more… and so on. It kept Mike entertained, got us both out of the house, gave us some exercise and we got to enjoy the sunny weather.


[Hi, it’s Mike here.  Just a note to say that the reason today’s theme was berries is that within a very short time on the walk I noticed that there were soooo many berries around. It reminded me that one of the women at work that lives in the Countryside (she does seem to manage to say it like it’s got a capital C) and goes horse riding was saying that all the blackberries and apples around the place have got ripe so much earlier than usual this year.

There were also a lot more types of berries that I took photos of, but I got pretty bored cutting them out and sticking them together… Sorry!]

Is it fillet or filet?

Posted in Food and Drink on September 6th, 2009 by Coffee

The local Asian food place we found the other day has some fantastic sea bass and sea bream for less than half the price of our usual supermarket, so we’ll be making some use of that as we like both fish. We’ve been getting a bit stuck in a rut though and normally have it baked whole with something like chilli,  ginger and lemon grass stuffed inside, with some lime juice in a paper parcel.

But last night we decided to try to do something different, and opted for sea bream fillets with warm salsa verde potatoes. Great! Except we had whole sea bream, not fillets.  Gulp! I can’t remember the last time I even had to fillet a fish!  I’m sure there must have been one.  I think. Maybe?…

With the help of a couple of video clips on the net, and a pull out guide we’d saved  from an old Olive mag I don’t think I did too badly! By the forth one I was definitely getting the hang of it. Nowhere near as good as the guys in the videos, but ok!  Helped having a really sharp, flexible knife on hand though. We’ll just have to keep buying fish so we* can practice.


(* I say we, but I think it’s going to take a lot  to get Bec to have a go. She was “eeew”ing a “blech”ing all over the place…)