2016…Happy New Year… happy mid-January…happy resolutions…and happy detoxing!?!? But how many of us really, REALLY feel like detoxing or dieting in January? Hmmm… Read more
Archive for Food&Drink
Robert (Robbie, ‘Rabbie’) Burns is the National Poet of Scotland and known as ‘The Bard’ of Scotland. Every year he is celebrated around the time of his birthday, which happens to coincide around the time of CSr’s (Daaad) birthday. So, this year we decided to combine CSr’s (Daaad) celebration with an Address to the Haggis… Read more
I had a dream about THAT dad last night. I don’t know why…seriously. I haven’t seen him on the pitch in weeks…in fact, since C1’s football team won their division cup final, we have taken a break from football this term (it’s SUMMER term now over here… see TERMinal leave if you’re confused), and moved to the baseball fields. Read more
I had every intention of writing while away but somehow it just never happened. I could tell you that it was because we had problems with our internet connection…which is true. Or I could explain how most of the island shut for a good part of each week, due to the Easter holidays…which is also true. But, the real reason… Read more
I have just returned from what was supposed to be a glorious week away skiing during the kids’ Winter Half Term. Francophile husband (CSr), decided to try something new this year so we headed to Italy. The plan was to fly to Venice and drive north to the Dolomites, a mountain range in northeastern Italy in the South Tyrol province. Except I didn’t ski… Read more
Going to Paris for dinner may seem a bit extravagant…okay it is REALLY extravagant…but it’s not every day that your brother-in-law (BIL), turns 40 so we organized a surprise dinner for him…and since he lives in Paris, well, dinner is in Paris!
We arrive at Gare du Nord on the Eurostar and are hoping to walk around a bit before dinner. Unfortunately, the windy, wet downpour we left 2 hours and 15 minutes ago in London, has also arrived with us.
The restaurant, is located on I’le Saint Louis, which is one of two natural islands in the middle of Paris, the other one being I’le de la Cite.
So much for walking through the streets to soak in the city. Never mind, we head straight to the restaurant, Le Sergent Recruteur and order some champagne…to toast BIL’s big birthday and pending arrival…of course.
I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if we had just a little glass…while we wait…
After another glass…we are in Paris after all, BIL arrives, is genuinely surprised and was not at all expecting us. Well done to sister-in-law (SIL) for keeping it a secret.
We dine on 10 gorgeously exquisite dishes from the evening’s tasting menu. I couldn’t possibly do Le Chef, Antonin Bonnet, justice with my feeble attempts at describing the food or the presentation, so I will just show you a picture of dessert.
First, I must add that my favorite dish was a plump piece of lieu noir, which I think is hake, on a bed of chickpeas with a leek and parsley jus and I think a bit of saffron. But the ‘piece de resistance’ was Le Chef’s dessert. Half snickers, half twix…called a ‘SNIX’…seriously.
After dinner, the rain stopped so we walked across Le Marais near where BIL and SIL live, and popped into a dark, smoky, rustic bar for a nightcap.
I’ve been going to France with CSr and his family for over 10 years now and it’s shameful that I still can’t speak French. But at 11:30pm on a Wednesday night in a Parisian bar, I feel oddly redeemed as I am the only one that knows all the words to the song currently playing…
‘And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinkin’ alone
Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum…’
You can take the girl out of Long Island, but you can’t take Billy Joel or the rest of Long Island out of the girl…even in Paris.
Joyeux Anniversaire to my 40 year old BIL!
Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day! Wishing you all some chocolate, champagne and sweet thoughts of Paris…or Long Island.
Long Island Iced Tea:
I’ve trimmed a bit of the fat…YAY! The 6 weeks of indulgence from Thanksgiving to New Years is pretty much gone. Whoo hoo! And it has not been very difficult. Well, we all know that not drinking at all is somewhat of a challenge…especially when I host a dinner party for my mother in law’s birthday…but I did it…by choice even…since ‘no drinking’ was not officially part of this diet plan.
I am not usually one to advocate any sort of a diet plan because it just makes people grumpy, edgy and fairly miserable. So it’s not so much a diet as simply sensible eating. Dr. Michelle Harvie, award winning research dietician and Prof Tony Howell, Professor of Medical Oncology, have been advocating their 2 day diet, ‘The original 5:2 diet’ and the tremendous health benefits that are associated with their approach.
Since all proceeds of the book go to supporting their work at Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention, I wanted to see for myself what it was all about.
No doubt you’ve heard about low carb ‘fast’ dieting or 5:2 diet plans with 2 days of low carb, reduced calorie meals followed by 5 days of ‘normal, sensible’ healthy eating. At first it sounds like you may be eating cardboard or salted paper for two days but the recipes are fantastic, generous in their portions and there really is no calorie counting at all, once you get the hang of recommended ‘serving sizes’. Unfortunately I have discovered that half a tray of CSr’s award winning lasagna is NOT a recommended portion size…so it does take SOME getting used to.
After 20 days, I feel great…and I’ve lost 7 lbs and more importantly 2 inches around my waist.
Of course you could probably do that in a week but this really is easy to stick with for more than a week.
I know, I know…the challenge is always keeping it off. But it wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place so how hard can it be? Just to prove how resolute I am, my sister in law was here from Paris this week and while walking around Westbourne Grove, I manged to resist Ottolenghi’s treats,
and Daylesford Organic’s bread and cheeses
AND Gail’s Bakery muffins. In the cold, wet wintry rain. Which is VERY tempting!
SO…I am pretty sure that my steely resolve will get me through even more rainy, wet, and wintry, want to eat pasta every night, weeks. Right? Right????
By the way, as it so happens, I am not the only one with unwavering tenacity this winter to trim some fat. As I focus on getting just a wee bit more healthy and fit, CSr has been getting our finances fighting fit and tightening the belt on unnecessary spending. So while I cut carbs, CSr cuts expenses.
So far, thankfully this has also been a fairly painless exercise as he has managed to eliminate unnecessary subscriptions and memberships and cleared out a storage unit which we don’t really need anymore.
BUT… I’m suddenly more than slightly alarmed that one of CSr’s initiatives is going to wreak complete and utter havoc on my own efforts.
CSr has decided to take delivery of wine that he has had ‘in bond’, which is basically cellared or in storage somewhere else, and has been for 10 years.
Apparently the wine “is drinking now” and yes it is an opportune time so that we save hundreds of pounds by taking it out of storage, and I suppose it is also reasonable to save even more on the foregone expense of what the wine would cost us now. As CSr reminds me with such enthusiasm that, “we can’t buy it now” but also how convenient that apparently, “we can’t sell it either”, despite CSr deeming all of his wine “priceless”. Uh huh.
As far as I’m concerned now, this wine is FREE so how on earth am I supposed to resist any of the 13 cases that were just delivered and are now sitting on my living room floor?
What would you do? Hide them under the bed? Put them in the closet for a rainy day, which is every day these days? Have an open house for broken hearts on Valentine’s Day? Seriously CSr?!?!?! Geesh…
Well, so much for will power. We cracked a small crate open last night (better than one of the big ones I told myself), and tucked into a gorgeous full bodied Spanish 2001 Neo, Punta Esencia.
Rich and fruity with a subtle spicy finish…hints of a few different flavours that need another glass to clarify. Plum, chocolate, subtle spicy finish…yep, the old palette is waking up. It has been a few weeks after all. So maybe just one more glass.
I’m sure that Dr. Harvie would not recommend using up all my ‘alcohol units’ in one evening, but I’m also sure that Dr. Harvie would not possibly resist with 13 cases just sitting there glaring at her…taunting her…nah, I think she’d pop a cork as well and enjoy a beautiful glass of wine.
So today, I had that Ottolenghi cookie with my coffee. I’ll get back on track again next week.
Now, which case to open tonight…hmmm…
Happy Friday everyone!!!
When I was C1’s age (8ish), I distinctly remember going into NYC with my Nan to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Centre and then to Macy’s where we would stand in line waiting to see Santa Claus. There wasn’t anything to entertain us while we stood on line (in the queue). It was part of the experience. You waited. And waited. Then, when it was your turn to sit on Santa’s lap – yes! Remember those days? Anyway, the wait was entirely forgotten and you walked away smiling from head to toe… Read more