Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Slow down...

Each day that I go to the train station I pass by these trees. Most days I am in a rush and on my bike so just zoom right by. But the other day I was walking by. I always notice these trees - they are coming straight out of the side walk and have increasingly been changing colours the last few weeks. I finally had the time to take their picture.

As I was taking the picture so many autumnal coloured things started passing by. Someone walked by in a bright orange jacket and this yellow cab was waiting at the stoplight. Jackets and cabs around here are normally black...

You notice all kinds of nice things when you slow down, and get off your bike.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Freddy's (jenny's favourite) oriental salmon

This is a recipe I've adapted from my mother, so perhaps it should be called her salmon. But I think Ive improvised the recipe enough to call it my own. Over the summer we would eat this at least once a week (sometimes twice... if jenny could convince me, she loves it!!!).


Salmon filets (1 for each person... but the rest of the recipe is based on two people)
2 lemons
soy sauce
fresh ginger (the end of the your thumbs worth)
dried or fresh chili peppers
fresh coriander or coriander seeds (whatever you can find)
1 avocado
sweet chili sauce
basmati rice (or any rice you want... but lets be honest basmati is the best)
frozen or fresh peas and sweet corn (loose, not corn on the cob)

First we make a marinade for the salmon. Very simple. Just add the juice of one lemon, and equal amount of soy sauce and a table spoon of honey to a bowl and mix around. Then add the ginger (finely grated... we use a parmesan grater). Chilis... well thats up to you, depending on how spicy you like it. A bunch of fresh coriander. If you are using seeds make sure to grind them up with a pestle and mortar. Add the salmon filets. Obviously the longer you marinade them the better they taste... but lets be realistic 20 mins is fine.

Once the salmon is soaking up those amazing flavours I would start with the rice. Add a cup of rice (for the europeans c. one decilitre) to a non-stick saucepan. Cover with cold water so that there is a cm above the rice (for the americans that is 1/2 of an inch). Put on medium heat with the lid on the saucepan. It will be done in thirty to forty mins.

Turn oven to 200C. Peel avocado and de-seed. Mash with fork or small potato masher. Add the juice of half a lemon. Then add a table spoon of sweet chili sauce. Mix together. This is the gaucamole that we eat with the salmon.

Once the rice looks like it has 15 mins or so left put the salmon in tin foil packets. Add the marinade to the packets as well. Put in oven for 15 mins. Boil some water in a sauce pan.

5 mintues before the everything will be done. Add peas and sweet corn to boiling water. Then it gets kinda hectic because everything will be done simultaneously. Drain the sweet corn peas, add the rice to them and mix. Place salmon on top and enjoy with the gaucamole.


price 4/10 (good salmon can be expensive)
difficulty 3/10 (easy peasy)
tastiness 8/10 (delish)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Baked Potato with Chili

Ok another quick food post. I know baked potatoes aren't perhaps the most exciting food but it is the last in a progression of food dishes we do. So normally we start by making spaghetti bolognaise and then that turns into chili and then we have a little bit of chili left normally and a great way to use it is to add it to a potato.


Potato (big ones)

Turn oven to 200+C. Puncture potato with a fork several times. Place in oven for at least 1hr. I never really know how long to put them in, but once the skin has gone a nice golden brown and the inside is mushy, you know they are ready. Heat up left over chili. Place chili over baked potato. Add cheese (butter and sour cream are also good additions). Eat.

Price 1/10 (cheap as chips!)
Difficulty 2/10 (bc the oven takes a long time so you have to plan ahead)
Tastiness 7/10

One last thing. There will be some of you who are tempted to put it into the microwave. No! and I refer you to this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ycSY7tHSdU


Jenny's favourite cheesecake

Hi Everyone,

Made a cheesecake last week from Jamie's new book where he travels around america. Jenny reckons its the best cheesecake she has ever eaten. It is pretty delicious and isn't as stodgy as normal cheesecake, and there is still a piece left in our fridge (most of it disappeared when I was away in Genoa).


350g digestive biscuits
120g unsalted butter, melted
900g light or low-fat cream cheese, softened (important that its light or low fat)
150g caster sugar
5 large eggs
juice of 6 limes (c. 125 ml)
finely grated zest of lime

for meringue topping
3 large egg whites
110g caster sugar
40g desiccated coconut

Preheat oven to 160C and grease 24cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Put biscuits into a food processor and whiz until they are fine crumbs. Mix in melted butter. Spread biscuit mixture around the base of greased tin and press it with your hands to pack it down. Place the tin on a baking sheet and op it into the fridge while you make the filling.

Whiz the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth. Then gradually add sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Pour in the lime juice and whiz again until just combined (mixture might be quite thin, but thats the way its supposed to be). Tip it over your chilled biscuit base, spread it evenly and bake for 45 to 55 minutes (you want the cheesecake to have a slight loose wobble). Remove from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Turn the oven up to 220C.

To make the meringue topping, put your egg whites into a clean bowl and beat until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until thick and glossy. Finally, fold in the coconut. Spoon meringue mixture on to the middle of the cooled cheesecake and spread it to the edges. Bake in oven for 5 mins (until meringue is golden and crisp).

Let it cool down, then place it in the fridge for a few hours to chill before serving. We also added whipped cream to the top (I agree this is pretty decadent... but it was good!).


Price 5/10 (0 being cheap and 10 being expensive)
Difficulty 5/10 (0 being easy and 10 being difficult)
Tastiness 10/10 (0 being disgusting and 10 being tasty)


Friday, 23 October 2009

Come on a walk with me...

So my Thursday started off in Notting Hill... and I woke up early to try to get some reading done before my class (on the Begriffsgeschichte and German linguistic philosophers - fascinating, right?) So coffee was definitely needed. I felt a bit sleepy and kind of mumbled out my order. Next thing I knew I was getting some sort of 'wet' latte... I had no idea what that meant, but I certainly didn't ask for my latte wet! I really was panicking and worrying that I was only going to get 1 shot of espresso instead of 2... oh the misery would be unbearable. Luckily, I got on wiki as quick as I could and found out it just means less foam. Phew... I still got my 2 shots, but I thought my coffee cup made me look like a pretty picky coffee drinker.

I headed off to class and spent a painful 2 hours discussing philosophy and there were all sorts of words I didn't understand because I didn't get enough reading done for the class, and all sorts of things were in German.

Anyway, I thought a bit of photography along the way to the tube would help relieve my mind of all that confusion...
So, here are the things and places I pass on my way to the tube after class.

My class is just around the corner there.

The gate at the end leads onto campus (where the photo is taken) from the main road. It is so noisy and busy out there - with buses, cars, and loads of people. Then you come through the gate and it is so quiet.

Just walking along...

Lots of little restaurants... none of which I have tried yet.

The starbucks I normally go to.

Fruit and veg stands just before I reach Holborn station.

A night in Notting Hill...

I spent Wednesday night in Notting Hill at my friend's house. We ate Indian food, watched Gossip Girl & Trinity, and got an early night. It was lovely. I got to wake up and only be 20 min from LSE as opposed to 2 hours away... which was pretty fabulous, and meant I didn't have to get the bus at 7am. Ah... heaven, right?

The view out the front window in the morning.

Walking past antique shops on the way to the tube.

Glorious... sunshine in the morning.

The rice I got with my dinner: for some reason they thought it was a good idea to put fluorescent food colouring in it? Ah, of course, because that is the epitome of chic.

Mmmm... curry.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Currently addicted...

So, I'm currently addicted to a few things:

1. Blogs - of all sorts and sizes. Mine, yours, anyone's that i can find. As a sort of small and painless way to distract my self from reading anything of monumental importance... you know, that might actually help me pass my masters.

2. Paddington station fast-food joints - I'll divulge a little secret, today I had 6 chicken nuggets from mcdonalds and a donut from krispy kreme and a lemonade (which, by the way, can I say I was very upset to have paid 2.35 for a small cup of lemonade that came out of a carton! uh... have you not heard of freshly squeezed??). Anyway. This new addiction to fast-food at Paddington is not only bad for my wallet, but also my waistline. I'm having dinner in 2 hours when I get home... these snacks seriously need to stop.

3. Fires - not in a scary pyromaniac sort of way, but in the fireplace in my living room sort of way. In the way that it is currently the only source of heat in my poorly insulated little flat. The room seems dead when we don't have one going. Yes, officially no night is complete without a fire. Poor Fred: he is designated wood chopper (he might tire of this trend quicker than I will).

Those are all my current addictions... I will keep you posted as more develop.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Beautiful courgette carbonara...

We have decided to start a little collection of the recipes we are cooking. This is for a couple reasons. First of all, sometimes we go through a cooking drought - we can't think or remember anything we can cook or anything we like to eat (so we are left eating soup and salad or takeaway...). This way, we'll be able to look back through things we've eaten - and remember if we liked them or not, and how easy they were to cook. Also, maybe we will be able to inspire you to try to make something new. If so, that would be pretty special.

So this is the first of our cooking entries. We hope you enjoy it.

I (Jenny) really do not cook that often. I am certainly getting better... Fred actually mentioned today that I've cooked more in the last month than in the last four years. While I think that is a slight exaggeration, there surely is a grain of truth within that claim. So, bare with me, I am just starting to get the hang of this cooking thing.

We were given a courgette. That is how this recipe started. A courgette from our very own garden and picked by our very own 85 year old landlord (sweet, right?). So, we thought we should try to make something with it.

We found this recipe in 'Jamie at home' a great little book that takes you through various recipes for different ingredients you might have in your garden (ie. courgettes) - or if you don't have a garden then in your local grocery store!

It was really easy to make, pretty darn cheap (you probably have a lot of the ingredients already), and got rave reviews from both the critics on the first attempt of making it - which means it's pretty fool proof. Oh, and we halved the recipe - as there are only 2 of us (and as presented bellow it serves 4), and it made plenty of food for us.

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium green & yellow courgettes (we used 1 large green one and that was plenty)
500g penne
4 large eggs
100ml double cream
2 good handfulls of parmesan
olive oil
12 thick slices of pancetta or streaky bacon
a small bunch of fresh thyme (we used dried)

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Halve and then quarter any larger courgettes lengthways. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the courgettes at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne. Smaller courgettes can simply be sliced finely. Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to packet instructions.

To make your creamy cabonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly and put to one side.

Heat a very large frying pan, add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until dark brown and crisp. Add the courgette slices and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the courgettes become coated with all the lovely bacon-flavoured oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.

It's very important to get this next bit right or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the courgettes, bacon and lovely flavours, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you'll scramble the eggs.)

Get everyone around the table, ready to eat straight away. While your tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Serve immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long.

Final Verdict
Highly recommended.
Expense: 2/10
Difficulty Level: 3/10
Tastiness: 7/10

p.s. the photo is a bit wonky because the battery on the camera was dead and so I ate most of it before it charged enough to take a photo.

oh, and if you are left scratching your head and wondering what a courgette is - it translates to zucchini in America.

Friday, 16 October 2009



I love, love, these little caramel wafer bad boys. They are so good. You've got to dip them in a hot drink and they get all warm and gooey on the inside. De-lic-ious.

I've started listening to the audio version of the Economist. It's so great for the long journeys into London... it's no effort and you get clued up on all the current events.

I fell asleep while listening to it yesterday on the bus, and in my dream I kept thinking that the person I was talking to was so rude and wouldn't let me get a word in...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Autumn is here.

This is the view out our front window.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


I've been feeling a bit like a zombie lately. I've had the cold that seems to be getting everybody this time of year. Plus commuting into London is enough to make anyone feel a little off, not to mention spending the commute attempting to make it through hundreds of pages of political theory text... ah, the joy of doing a masters.

This weekend I attempted to do some laundry, because the piles are just really getting out of control. So I took some over to our beautiful laundry building and went to starbucks to wait for the 38 minutes to pass before I could switch it over to the dryer. While I was there an adorable tiny little neon yellow bug decided to walk around my table. He was exactly the same colour as my highlighter (rule #32 of z.land: enjoy the little things).

Anyway... I managed to make it through 130 pages of John Rawls before my class yesterday. That' a serious accomplishment.

I got a new bag last week - which helped make my weekend a little more fabulous. Getting a new bag is always exciting (especially when it's Alexander McQueen).

Oh! And if you haven't seen it already - seriously go see Zombieland. You'll learn all about the rules to survive Z.land (#1 is cardio - because it's the fatties that go first). It is hilarious and so well done. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The rest of our Trip

Ok... so at some point in the distant past we went on a road trip. Only part of it got documented. As I realise many of the people who check out this site aren't on the book (facebook), where all of our pictures are posted so I figured I would try to put some more up here. It may take two entries, we will see how it goes (turn out I did it in one).

Jenny in Newquay, after driving down from Ilfracombe. We got a fountain drink from Subway... it was gooood.

So I havent been to many English beaches (been to a couple in wales and was very impressed). But yet again I was absolutely blown away by how beautiful the beaches are here!!!! Why dont people here want to go more often?? Even if its not that warm, the scenery is stunning and you can always go swimming (the sea never freezes!!!). And also a beach is never more than a couple hours drive away as we are on a tiny island!!!

Why is there no one here? Do they not know how good the beach is?
Could almost be the caribbean if it was 20 degrees warmer! The feeling of sand between your toes... priceless.

So Newquay is the surf capital of the UK. Jenny and I thought it was pretty funny as they all take themselves very seriously but the waves are so small and its definitely not as cool as Huntington Beach.

Rock pools... hours of fun!

Trousers were a mistake! It turned out to be pretty warm, and would have been truly tropical had it not been so windy.

I ate seafood for every meal all week (except for breakfast, as that was a full english every day)
For people who have never been to the beach in the UK... you have to protect yourself from the wind. Also these are taken at Perranporth (another beach on the north coast of Cornwall).

We ended up that evening in Falmouth. A port town on the southcoast of Cornwall. Angus (my supervisor) almost took a job here when I first started my PhD. Turns out it wouldn't have been that bad if we had moved out here. Really beautiful and good beaches, but a bit isolated.

The next day we woke up early and went on a run on the beach and then decided we would jump in the sea in our running clothes. It was cold but really good fun, and then had to sneak back into our room as we were dripping water and sand everywhere.
Then after breakfast we drove along the south coast some more and took a ferry over the river. We didn't really know where we were going until our satnav told us "in 200 yards take ferry over river". So we did.

After checking out the coastal scenery we drove in land to the Eden Project. Its a massive eco-park in an old quarry. Its like disney for environmentalists. It was actually really cool and looked very impressive with the massive biodomes.

We went to the rainforest dome and it was absolutely boiling. I was sweaty and lightheaded by the end of exploring it. Jenny was much better dressed.

The stress of driving, when you don't really know where your going. Compounded when we decided to drive through Dartmoor (a national park) and within minutes of entering it we almost drove into a horse! There were sheep and horses everywhere just walking all over the road. Which was a shame as the roads are perfectly suited for driving fast!

The horse we almost hit.
Stopped off to enjoy the views and practice our jumping.

So yes thats it really. It was an amazing trip.