Peppery Lemon Tart

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me getting excited about moving into a new flat back in June. Amongst many other more serious reasons for wanting to be out of the old one, I had another more personal, somewhat frivolous reason: my new flat had a brand spanking new kitchen. OH, what a kitchen! It had a shiny glass hob, smooth stone counters, spacious and clean cabinets, and the mother of all kitchen amenities (in England at least)… a dishwasher. If you’re a reader in America, you might not realize why this is such a big deal. Well, one thing I’ve learned from living as a student in England is that most flats don’t have the luxury of a dishwasher. I’ve gotten used to hand-washing my dishes–perhaps a bit too much.

The last time I went home, my parents and I cooked a big roast meal together. I’m used to cleaning up around the house when I visit so that I’m more of a help than a burden. After dinner I started in washing the dishes, scrubbing hard at the pan that the roast potatoes had been in. After about 20 minutes my mom wandered back in from the living room. “What are you doing? We’re waiting on you to start the movie.”

“I’m washing the dishes, mom, I’ll be there in a minute.”

“You can just put them in the dishwasher, you know.”

I looked over at the dishwasher, directly to the right of the sink, underneath the heaving drying rack where I’d been precariously piling roast pans, utensils, plates, and pots. Yes, I’d gotten so used to hand-washing the dishes that I literally forgot my parents had such a thing as a dishwasher.

So, yes, I’m a bit excited to have a dishwasher for times when I’ve dirtied a lot of dishes. And baking is certainly one of those times! I’ve been using my kitchen quite a bit to cook and bake, with the hopes of putting more recipes on the blog. However, as I’m sure seasoned recipe bloggers will know, most recipes take a few tries and tests to get right for public consumption. I haven’t found the time for most of them; luckily, though, this lemon tart turned out pretty spiffy on my first try. See?

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The Mince Pie Project

The Mince Pie Project is returning for its third year with an exciting new line-up of chefs, a delicious array of one-off mince pies, and two wonderful new charities (Foodcycle and Kids Company) that will be benefiting from their efforts. Foodcycle seeks to use some of the 400,000 tonnes of edible food that is wasted in the UK each year. Using volunteers, spare kitchens, and surplus food that is donated, Foodcycle brings nutritious, fresh meals to people at risk of food poverty and social isolation. Since their inception in 2009, they’ve served over 80,000 meals to people in need. Kids Company provides practical, emotional, and educational support to 36,000 vulnerable kids in London. With their four centres, outreach work, and services in 46 schools, they seek to support kids who face challenges in their family homes and neighbourhoods.

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The Ape and Bird

If I told you that a new pub was being opened by a highly successful restauranteur, one of the last places you would think of it being is Cambridge Circus. Straddling the border between touristy Covent Garden/Leicester Square and the dining goldmine of Soho, it sits unused and unloved except by Pizza Hut and Leon de Bruxelles. For months and months the former site of the Marquis of Granby, the pub that once graced the circus, sat empty; I’m sure people wondered which brightly lit chain with tourist-friendly express menus might take over the site next.

Most people I follow on Twitter, who have a better pulse on the restaurant openings than I do, probably knew a while ago about the impending opening of Russell Norman’s new venture. His other restaurants, Polpo (“a Venetian bacaro in Soho“), Spuntino (“London’s best Brooklyn diner“), and Mishkin’s (“a kind of Jewish deli with cocktails“), all probably have a pile of press clippings a few feet high, showering them with praise. Despite this, I’ve never been to any of them yet. I know! Horrible. Please don’t close this tab in disgust. Luckily for me, Wilkes secured a spot for lunch on the first of their two soft launch days and invited me along.

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A Very Civilized Breakfast

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, then you might have noticed that Dishoom is fast becoming one of my favourite haunts in London. I’m not sure why it took me so long to make it to the restaurant for breakfast. I’ve heard tales of their legendary breakfast rolls for a long time, seen many a filtered photo of them and drooled over the lightly toasted, soft bread embracing a few rashers of tantalizingly crisped bacon. Once I had a taste of it for myself, there was no going back. And by that I mean no going back to a life before the bacon naan cravings – because once you taste it, you will most certainly be going back to Dishoom.

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Looking Back: Italy

After a 9-day journey, starting out in Oslo and then ending with a whirlwind tour through Florence and Venice, I think it’s safe to say I’m pretty beat. Early mornings, late nights, many airports, long train rides, and a slowly creeping cold have all taken their toll; but nothing could bring me down too much after the amazing things I’ve seen and experienced this trip. I’m still trying to slog through the jetlag and thousands of photos I’ve taken, propping up my tired eyelids with endless cups of coffee from Norway, trying to process it and let it all sink in. It will be a few days yet before I am all caught up with everything and can properly devote time to writing about my experiences and share bunches of photos with you. I do want to share just a few, though, as a sort of a preview, and as a way for myself to take a small break from the “work” side of things for my own sanity. View Post

One Night in Malmö – A Journey Begins

On the heels of my jaunt to Eastbourne, my wanderlust was somewhat satisfied – but not for long. The trip was a soothing, temporary relief, but it didn’t address the root of the problem. Besides the occasional trip home for some Christmases and Easters, I had not left England since moving here in 2010. The whole of Europe was on my doorstep — just a short flight or even a train ride away — and despite this, I always had excuses that kept me from going. One of the biggest of these excuses was, of course, money. Travel is expensive — there’s no denying that. But it came to a point where I sat down and reasoned with myself: travelling Europe is a lot less expensive for someone based in the UK than someone based in America; there was no guarantee that, when my time in university is over in two years, that I will be able to renew my visa and stay here. Suddenly, two years seemed like a very short time to fit all the European travels I dreamed of into.

My wistful pasttime of browsing budget airline sites took on a new, intent fervor. Where did I want to go that I could go for cheap? When would I go? I wanted to eschew touristy places that would be packed during the summer months. I took a look at the week I had set aside as my travel week, and noticed that it would encompass the summer solstice. In that moment, I knew where I had to go – Sweden. View Post

Skate KX

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, there is a great new pop-up running at King’s Cross at the moment. I know, I know – pop-ups. They’ve become a bit of a dirty word for Twitter’s cynics, sneering at every new food pop-up that appears in London like trendy daises. This one, however, is bringing something to London that I have seldom seen in the city: roller skating.

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Lucky Chip at The Grafton (Burger Away Day #2)

Burger Away Day, the brainchild of Chris and organized by Camilla, is a “burger social” for burger lovers who want to meet, eat, and tweet about burgers. You may have noticed there has been no blog about BAD #1, which was held at Disco Bistro. All I can say for myself is that, while the food was definitely something to shout about, my pictures were very poor quality, and I did not want to put them on the blog. Alas. But on to BAD #2.

The venue decided upon was The Grafton in Kentish Town, a cozy pub with a bit more polish than your average London boozer. Hidden away upstairs is a lovely, well-lit dining room. View Post