#London Adventures… Art, Decorations, Curry and Beer…

Enjoyed a busy weekend which included a trip to London and a sunny and cold walk on Sunday. The decision was made. Go to London for a day trip, but what to do?

The website https://www.timeout.com/london is an excellent source of inspiration and I soon spotted an art exhibition that will interest us… Dali Duchamp at the Royal Academy of Arts.

After suffering the train journey which was expensive, late and crowded, a soup and sandwich had to be consumed in Pret. Ok, I’m well aware the skeptical could go on about a marketing ploy, but I love the way they care and don’t waste food at the end of the day. See the pics at the end of this post!

After relaxing with my warming soup and sandwich, we ventured forth to the exhibition which was very interesting and informative on a variety of art movements (Dada, Surrealism, Readymade, The Surrealist Object, Eroticism and Paranoiac-Critical Theory). My only complaint was that it only kept us quiet for about two hours and unlike other exhibitions you pay for, there weren’t any free exhibitions in the same facility. Never mind, it was a magnificent glimpse into the legendary Dali and included paintings, drawings, book illustrations, prints, sculpture, photographs and historical film. You can submerge yourself in their subversive work and satisfy your curiosity about Dali’s friendship with Duchamp.

Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp maintained a bond of mutual admiration despite having different artistic endeavours. Ultimately, it is clear, from this fascinating display of their work, that they shared absurdity and cynicism which subsequently led them to challenge conventional art. Duchamp’s legacy was often hailed as the father of conceptual art and his friendship with Dali, who was flamboyant and dramatic, puzzled Duchamp’s admirers. However, upon examining the juxtaposition of their work, you can see common ground because of their experimental and philosophical associations. Both are quite bizarre but absolutely fascinating. Highly recommended.

Afterwards, we wandered over the road towards Fortnum and Mason to gaze at the glorious, colourful window displays. Then, of course, I could not resist a look around the store. It was packed full of shoppers, mingling amongst the impressive Christmas decorations. Good grief, bit early, isn’t it? Not even December yet. They do this, in case you are wondering, because everybody shops in November now, to miss the crowds (hahaha). If you go up the magnificent staircase, you can visit the cook shop, ladies department and the posh men’s accessories too. Lots and lots of leather. The food hall is downstairs where you can by miniature bananas and other stupid things, normal people don’t want. The glamour and grandeur may be over the top, but it is London and amusing to visit.

Upon arrival at Kings Cross we popped in a pub called The Betjeman Arms for a quick glass of Beavertown IPA. Delicious! We sat outside overlooking the amazing arches of St Pancras. Yes, there was heating, thank goodness and it was a relief to sit down. Next time, we will go to London during the week. What was I thinking?

Next stop, was Kings Cross for the curry. Although not a big curry fan, I had heard about the restaurant, Dishoom, and wanted to visit. The restaurant at Kings Cross, was featured on Tricks of the Restaurant Trade, Channel 4, UK. We arrived at about 4.30 pm and it was packed. There was me thinking the place will be empty! Nobody eats curry at that time, right? Wrong!

It is based on:

“THE OLD IRANI CAFÉS of Bombay have almost all disappeared. Their faded elegance welcomed all: rich businessmen, sweaty taxi-wallas and courting couples. Fans turned slowly. Bentwood chairs were reflected in stained mirrors, next to sepia family portraits. Students had breakfast. Families dined. Lawyers read briefs. Writers found their characters.

Opened early last century by Zoroastrian immigrants from Iran, there were almost four hundred cafés at their peak in the 1960s. Now, fewer than thirty remain. Their loss is much mourned by Bombayites.”

So the food is traditional curry and encapsulates quality food without fuss. The service was excellent as the waitress skilfully guided us through the menu which was useful because it is quite different from your usual curry establishment. Again, I can recommend this immersive experience. Be warned though, it is very popular. As we left we passed a long queue outside! Everyone must have been freezing.

Overall, a great day out viewing superb art, shopping (although I didn’t buy anything), eating and drinking. Oh, the beer was good too! Dishoom IPA, oh yes.

 

 

Other photos of bits which I found interesting. Good intentions from Pret and art on a building (Kings Cross)…

 

Hearty Lunches

As a lot of people are trying to focus on health and fitness, I’ve devised some nutritious recipes which are healthy and filling…

Breakfast – Fruit and Nut Porridge

So you could have this for breakfast or even lunch. It is really filling and keeps you full until lunch time. Porridge, milk, protein powder (optional), peaches (any fruit) plus a sprinkle of nuts. Delicious. Also, you can make with half milk and half water to cut down on calories and it is surprising how little difference it makes to the taste. A tip is to soak the oats for at least five minutes before you cook. This makes the porridge creamy and substantial.

Simple Omelette

Fry some new potatoes or sweet potatoes and courgettes in a pan with a tiny splash of coconut oil and water. When cooked, throw in three beaten eggs, season and enjoy. This is a good, quick lunch and is incredibly filling. Eggs always fill me up.

Roast Veggie Couscous

Another quick, simple recipe. Roast some vegetables in the oven. Whatever you like. Courgettes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and olives are in this bowl of delight. Make loads of couscous by pouring in a bowl and add the boiling hot water. Mix until soft which takes about a minute or two. My goodness it is quick! Throw in the veggies, some herbs and a little spice if you wish and serve. When I had this at work I served it in an attractive bowl and got some envious looks and comments. Cheap, quick and easy to prepare. I usually box up for about three days.

Spinach Pasta

Another quick one! Boil your penne pasta, cook some spinach and mushrooms. Make the dressing of olive oil, lemon, pepper and herbs and mix all together. I usually box up for about three days and pop in the fridge.

Hope you like my simple recipes which can be prepared in a matter of minutes.

 

Being a foody and losing weight… Tips

Well, the plan is to develop new recipes which fill  up the stomach without getting fat. Yes, the scales in the gym, record my fat content. Oh joy! No starving myself at the last minute, then.

At this time of year, it is easy to over eat and odd how simple it is to eat what you enjoy even though you feel so much better when you eat healthily and can fit into your clothes. Who doesn’t feel so tired when they eat well?

The plan is to consume more couscous, beans. sweet potatoes, swede, carrots with copious amounts of tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and eggs. Eggs are so filling. Porridge is great for breakfast too. A few nuts are ok for a snack. 

My aim is to eat well, but similar to how I normally eat. Just not quite so much beer! Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables which will fill me up, so plenty of fibre and filling nutrients.

Extras like bread and wine will have to be eradicated or at least reduced, which is really hard. Portions need to be controlled and recorded if one can be bothered. Apparently, we are all eating far more than twenty years ago. Portion sizes in restaurants and ready meals have risen exponentially.

“Whether you’re eating at home or in a restaurant, your meal should include a mix of non-starchy veggies (like broccoli, spinach or courgette), lean protein (like chicken, fish, beans or lean red meat), complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, sweet potato or wholewheat pasta) and healthy fat (like olive oil, avocado or nuts).”

Read: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/how-to-eat-healthy-at-a-restaurant#ixzz4z3xE5A31

Ok, you may think, this is a bit boring but actually having these foods on your plate, often provides an interesting meal. For example, sea bass with fresh herbs, mushroom/onion, etc., tomato sauce is delicious rather than a calorie laden creamy, but bland sauce. Often, when I go for a so called healthier option, in a restaurant, I end up really enjoying it and do not feel like a blown up balloon afterwards! Recently, I eat a so called Hong Kong chicken meal with rice and salad. It was rubbish. I’m sure the sauce was ketchup with a bit of vinegar in it. Yuk! The rice was good though with prawns and peas. But it all felt rather insipid and crappy. Sometimes you feel places have not moved with the times and their choices.

Another top tip when cooking at home, is, cook enough to last for two days which saves time too. Today’s shepherd’s pie, will last for two days and will be a filling meal with lots of veggies.

To sum up, try to vary your food. Potatoes, pasta, rice or cous cous with a variety of veggies are all tasty if you add some herbs/spices. If you have some of the dried things in your pantry, you don’t have to think about it too much! Meals with pasta/rice are quick to prepare. Just throw together some ingredients into a pan (mushrooms, peppers, onion, chicken, fish, broccoli) with tomato puree (and even a splash of wine or a tiny bit of cream cheese) and it makes a super, delicious meal. Simple, quick and cheap.

Porridge is great for breakfast with some nuts and fruit. Eggs are filling and good for snacks as are nuts too. Make enough for two (or more days). I’ve been known to cook three casseroles, at a time. All were quick and cheap to prepare. See previous blog: Three Day Stews

Good luck everyone. It is not easy, especially when it is so cold and dark but it is worth the effort and doesn’t take much time.

The Ivy, Tower Bridge – Part 2

After the blogging event, we jumped on the Tube and went to The Ivy, London Bridge. It is near the station and the bridge so easy to find. The restaurant has a large glass window front with a magnificent view of London Bridge. We crossed the bridge to reach the restaurant and was able to take some wonderful night time views.

When we located the place we had trouble finding the entrance as you have to walk around the corner to actually find it. We arrived and was taken to our table. A lovely place which was exceedingly busy with lots of people having animated conversations about life and enjoying the delicious food.  We were asked if we would like still or sparkling water and my daughter firmly said ‘tap please’. I love the way she doesn’t worry about what people think, although nor do I nowadays.

The staff were friendly and told us all about the menu, but we couldn’t hear because it was soooo noisy. Unfortunately, this does seem to be a problem, but I could see that the problem would not last and many people were finishing their meals and had come from work so would probably depart which is, exactly what happened.

I had duck pate to start, lamb for my main course and then this most amazing chocolate bomb. I decided to have a beer because I had to drive home from the station, in a few hours time. Unfortunately, the glass was completely inappropriate for a female as it was large with a handle and the rime was about half an inch thick. I tweeted them about it, but was positive apart from complaining about the glass. The food and service were superb. The chocolate bomb was incredible and the highlight of the meal.  The waiter poured hot caramel sauce over the smooth mound and it all collapsed into a kaleidoscope of beauty and gorgeousness.  Oh, the  decadence of it! Yum! We are still dreaming about it. Quite sublime.

Can recommend the experience and it wasn’t too pricey. Not really. It is what life is all about really, isn’t it?

#Juneathon, update plus a lunch recipe…

Ingredients for the stir fry…

The above means you are supposed to exercise every single day and blog, tweet of FB about it. Nowadays, however, most people just tweet or comment on FB rather than blog. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to blog about my progress, until now, but have been doing the exercise which is my main aim.

Day 1 – 3 Gym
Day 4 – Sunday run – (Did 6 k along local roads and country lanes.)
Day 5 – Short walk
Day 6 – Gym
Day 7 – Gym
Day 8 – A long walk

Sunday run – (Did 6 k along local roads and country lanes.)

Also, I’ve written two posts about sleep and energy as I seem to be lacking on both counts at the moment.  These posts are out this weekend, so I hope you enjoy them.

Last weekend, I decided you use up the oldish veg and do a stir fry for lunch.  Here is the recipe…

Impromptu Veggie Stir Fry

Left over veg – I used cabbage and leeks

Onions

Chopped garlic

Mushrooms

Seasoning, including herbs

Smoked Mackerel

Hoisin sauce (about tablespoon)

Sesame oil

3 Eggs, beaten

Fry in sesame oil, the onions, garlic, mushrooms, seasoning and add the beaten eggs to form an omelette. Remove the omelette from the pan and cook the vegetables and add the sauce. When cooked, serve up with the chopped omelette and add the smoked mackerel. Lovely.

A great lunch, which was exceedingly tasty.

Veggie Stir Fry

Mushroom Risotto

This is a delicious quick lunch which uses up the old mushrooms you may have lying about.

Chop the mushrooms, onions, garlic, bacon (if want to include) and get a litre of chicken/veggie stock ready plus 200g of risotto rice.

Throw the chopped bits into a pan with a splash of oil and cook. After a few minutes throw in the rice and add liquid. You may want to add peas and or spinach or whatever you jolly well like. Leave for a few minutes to simmer. Add Parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Tip: This could be boxed up for tomorrow’s lunch too.

Bacon

Mushrooms

Onion

Garlic

1 litre of Chicken/Veggie stock

200 grams Risotto rice

Peas or spinach, etc.

Seasoning and mixed herbs

Easter prep, gym, cooking and a flat tyre…

Had a good week. Was invited to a family meal 🥘 . It was a lovingly home cooked Spanish tapas and absolutely delicious. We had bruschetta (as photo), meat balls, tortilla, olives, veggies, canary potatoes, prawns and manchego cheese. The pud was homemade brownie with ice cream and was absolutely amazing. The beer was Punk IPA by BrewDog which is my all time favourite beer, at the moment. Must say, tapas is a great way to entertain because you can pick what you like which, in my case, is most of it. Oops.

Been to the gym three times and been on a couple of walks. Tried to go on about 1200 calories and some days have been ok but others, as above, not great. However, feel more in control as not stuffing chocs and biscuits so feel a lot better. With Easter Sunday looming this is my main aim. Upwards and onwards. Really aiming to start properly after Easter.

On Saturday, did the booze and bits top up shopping and discovered a flat tyre when we returned to our car. Luckily, handy husband was with me and put the spare tyre on. This seemed to fascinate the local shopping population. Looked a fairly simple operation but I probably wouldn’t have the strength for the nuts. We then had to rush to the tyre shop and the man insisted I stayed in the car, like lady muck, while he jacked the car up! So I carried on nonchalantly writing this blog post! All part of life’s rich tapestry! Can you change a tyre?

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I’m looking forward to a jolly family day of roast lamb and all the trimmings including homemade Yorkshire puddings, chocolate pudding and cake. Then I’m back on the running, gym and healthy diet routine. I promise.

The obligatory Easter chocolate cake is a simple affair…

8oz marg

8oz caster sugar

8oz self raising flour

4 eggs

Chocolate drops

Splash of treacle and or milk (makes it fudgy and yummy)

2 oz Chocolate powder

Mix together and put into two 8 inch tins.

Icing is 2oz butter with around 3oz icing sugar and 1oz chocolate powder. Mix with a tiny drop of boiling water. To be honest, you don’t have to be too careful about measurements for the icing.

Enjoy and have a wonderful Easter.

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