london1967: (knocker)
The first outing of the month was on the first Friday; in the evening after dinner at Vico's we went to the Royal Academy to see "Painting the Modern Garden:Monet to Matisse".



It was our first visit to the Royal Academy! We really loved the exhibition: there were some great paintings.

On the Sunday I made some bugie - traditional Italian fried-pastries for the Carnival. I took some into work the following day, and on the Tuesday I used the other half of the dough to make more for Adrian's Italian class.


The following Friday it was the long awaited trip to the Menier Chocolate Factory to see Sheridan Smith in "Funny Girl". The show sold out in a matter of hours when I booked it back in August.
We had the meal deal: dinner followed by the show.


I must say that the show was absolutely brilliant!
And being in such a small and intimate space is always a bonus.


Then of course there was Valentine's Day, celebrated at home.


3 days later it was my birthday.
Adrian surprised me the night before with a yummy cake, decorated for a disco diva! LOL



I had booked the afternoon off work on my birthday, and I met Adrian at Hammersmith tube station to go to the the River Cafe



where we had the most beautiful meal! It was great to see that the 'hype' that has surrounded this restaurant in the almost 30 years of activity was well deserved.


The food was delicious and the service very attentive.
Adrian mentioned to a waitress that it was my birthday and my dessert arrived suitably adorned!


After lunch we travelled to Victoria, to catch the end of the RHS "London Early Spring Show". We got there at 4:35 pm but most of it had already been dismantled! (it closed at 5 pm).
Luckily the tickets were free (thanks to Richard, who had gifted us an RHS membership for Christmas) but we were a bit disappointed.


Nevertheless, we bought a little something: 2 bulbs of Sparkling Striped Gloriosa Lilies.

We hung around near Victoria after the show, since we had booked tickets to see "A Bigger Splash", at the Curzon.
The film, by Italian director Luca Guadagnino, features Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson and is set on the Italian island of Pantelleria.
It's beautifully shot and, erm, there is lot of nudity, full-frontal! LOL
The cinema opened almost 2 years ago and is very comfortable (and expensive!), and we had never been before.


(Sadly I don't have any of the pictures I took on my birthday as my PC decided to fry the camera's memory card.)

As it was my birthday, I thought it would be fun to cook a Piemontese meal at the week-end. We invited Chris and Michael to join us.

I suppose I was a bit over-ambitious at cooking 9 courses (and making bread, and filled pasta) but I managed to do it. I cooked all day on Saturday (and a bit on Friday evening) and I have to confess that I was utterly exhausted.
It took me the whole day on Sunday to recover! I guess I am no spring chicken any longer. LOL



Bread making:











A bit more baking the following week: Adrian went up to Leeds for a couple of night mid-week, and I thought I'd bake him a coffee and walnut cake (his favourite!) as a welcome home surprise.
I'd never baked it before because I don't like coffee.

(The pretty plate is a birthday present from Michael and Chris)

Surprisingly, I didn't mind the taste of coffee at all in the cake and had a couple of slices.

And the month ended with another meal at Vico's on Friday (probably the last one for a while now that my 25% discount card has run out!)



followed by theatre




(the play was great fun! we enjoyed having a box to ourselves although it meant leaning over to be able to see the stage)

and some more baking on the Saturday.

We had invited a new acquaintance/friend for tea. Adrian baked scones and made sandwiches, and I tried a new cake which required quite a lot of work.



A choko-berry fraisier (cocoa Genoise sponge, filled with berries and a very sinful crème de cassis crème mousseline, topped by a thin disc of marzipan stuck with blackcurrant jam, and a chocolate mirror glaze).
I dread to think about the calories!

london1967: (knocker)
Every year, GetIntoLondonTheatre offers promotions on many West End shows in January/early February.

This years we booked to go to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
I met Adrian at Fire and Stone on Maiden Lane for an early dinner: starter, a pizza and a glass of Prosecco for £15.

(Mushrooms in a very spicy batter)

The pizza were 'world-inspired'. I had a London (Cumberland sausage, smoky bacon, mushrooms - inspired by a full English breakfast) while Adrian had a Peking (shredded duck, hoisin sauce, cucumber strips). They were both very tasty.


We really enjoyed the show!


The staging, the costumes and the 'effects' were phenomenal. Perhaps we were a tad too old for it? No, extra cushion for us to sit on! LOL

The Theatre Royal is a lovely building.


I recall going to see My Fair Lady there many years ago.


(Wonka bars anyone?)

Yesterday I spend a sizeable part of the day cooking.
Michael and Christopher were coming for dinner. Chris is on a very strict diet: no alcohol, no gluten, no cow's milk products, no sugar... so cooking was a tad more challenging.


In the end I prepared:

Polenta bruschetta with porcini mushroom topping

Prawn, prosciutto and rosemary skewers on an avocado, ginger and lime salsa:

Turkey saltimbocca (with an experimental sauce made of grape suice, balsamic vinegar and honey to replace the Marsala):

and Nigella's Venetian carrot cake (but made with rum flavouring and orange juice instead of rum, and xylitol to replace the caster sugar):

They all seem to enjoy the food, and the cake especially. There wasn't much of left of it!
london1967: (knocker)
I've been doing quite a bit of baking/cooking in the last few weeks and it's been fun (everything was edible and was well received).

Two Saturdays ago I baked some little Chantilly cream pastries

and some Ricciarelli

to take to Jill and David's house-warming tea party (they have moved from one of the cottages on our road to a much larger house, 10 minutes away).
The Chantilly cream pasticcini reminded me so much of home where they would be part of a large tray of dainty pastries for special occasions.

That batch of choux pastry didn't puff up as expected but I did much better when I baked the profiteroles for the individual croquembouches that were part of the 'Papal lunch' the following day.

We had invited Michael and Chris for lunch on the Sunday. Inspired by both a TV programme and a book we have at home, I designed this Papal menu

and cooked all the food (I also made some 'carta di musica' - a very thin flour and semolina Sardinian bread - using a new manual pasta machine I had bought a couple of weeks before).

Adrian set the table beautifully as always

(this bouquet had been sent to Adrian by an 'admirer' for Valentine's day)

(4 glasses for the aperitivo and the different wines for 3 the courses).

The lunch turned out really well and it was great fun. Our guests were not poisoned and were very appreciative of the food and the 'concept'.

On Tuesday evening I used the new pasta machine (an Imperia) to make what we call bugie in Torino, fried Carnival pastries.
I made some plain ones and some filled with my mother's cherry jam (they looked like fried ravioli)

We kept a tray for ourselves and one was taken by Adrian to his Italian class.
Roberta - the teacher - said that the bugie were 'fantastiche'. Maybe Adrian was teacher's pet for one night! LOL

Our lovely friend Ricardo is visiting for a few days and yesterday I decided to make a small croquembouche again.
He was very impressed and loved the white chocolate and limoncello creme patissiere/whipped cream filling.

Needless to say all this food is not doing my figure any favour... I guess I'll just have to go on a slimming diet at some stage before the beach holiday at the end of June. Or perhaps not: I'm too old to care! LOL!


Jun. 16th, 2012 07:08 pm
london1967: (Default)
John and Sarah are coming to dinner tonight. 
They are the couple who took over the old 'estate house' - which had been empty and neglected since the 70s - and turned it into a small and lovely gardening centre with cafe'.

These are a couple of things I made.

A basket of bread sticks (sea salt/sesame seeds/poppy seeds)
to go with a very green pesto and pea soup.

And for dessert, bonèt a traditional Piedmontese amaretto pudding which I chose to decorate with cream and raspberries
london1967: (Default)

Tomato and almond soup:


Cumin roast chicken:

Cherry and raspberry pavlova:

Vin santo ice-cream:

The aftermath.

A full Adrian:

Stuff to put away:
london1967: (Default)
We hadn't seen Mike and Alex for about 3 months, and it was lovely to have them around this evening for dinner.

A good time was had by all.


Bruschetta al pomodoro

Risotto primavera

Lamb chops alla Calabrese

Panna cotta

Cheese and biscuits
london1967: (Default)
Well it's the end of the 4-day Easter week-end for this year too.

I didn't leave Penge for the whole 4 days: I didn't leave home at all on Good Friday, and didn't go out of the estate today; but nevertheless, I had a great time!

Friday was tidying up day.
Saturday was cooking day as we had a few friends (Martin & Utku, and another Martin) round for dinner.

I did most of the cooking and rather enjoyed it as when all our guests arrived, everything was under control  and only the main course was left.

Adrian's bread to go with creamy almond and tomato soup.

A new recipe found in a Sicilian cookbook: "Black chicken".
The sauce is made of dark chocolate, onions, fennel seeds, chilli, cloves and vinegar and the chicken marinated in wine for 2 hours. 
Wonderful flavour, I must say!

Dessert was boozy zabaglione cups with strawberry, served with walnut shortbread biscuits.

Sunday: a quick trip down to the allotment with Lynne and Miranda, then Easter afternoon tea at Bobby's (cheese scones, homemade hot cross buns, chocolate cake and simnel cake, all very good). 

Monday: big dinner at Lynne's!

I've also spent quite a lot time last night and today working on the residents' association's "magazine" and I'm sure it'll require quite a few more hours.
Now if only I didn't have to go to work tomorrow!
london1967: (Default)
My week-end flew in a whirlwind of social activities.

The lovely Richard/aka Ricardo/aka [ profile] bazanges  arrived on Friday afternoon; later we were joined by our neighbours Sim and Peter for dinner.

Adrian ([ profile] london1952 ) cooked a fantastic meal: retro prawn cocktail, followed by an Indian main course (bengali-style fish with warm sweetcorn and mustard and watercress and... salad) and an exotic dessert (kulfi - sort of Indian ice-cream/pannacotta).
It was all delicious, and so was the company.

Lazy morning on Saturday, followed by some shopping in Bromley.
Later, Miranda and Lynne came round for dinner. It was my turn to cook.

Sadly. my focaccia which I have successfully baked for years didn't rise for the second time in a row and I had to throw it away.
At least penne alla carbonara turned out just fine, and dessert (cherry meringue pots) was a success too.

Dinner was followed by sinful chocolates and a round of Sybarit.

Yesterday the three of us spent a fun afternoon in Ealing, at David and Robert's. Lunch was had and the 5 of us lost count of the numbers of bottle of wine that were emptied (my estimate is 9).

It's somewhat hard to be back at work today after such a busy and fun week-end (no, not because I have a hangover - saint Franco of Penge only had a couple of glasses of wine yesterday)

Still I can daydream, cannot I?

Plus in a few hours I'll see Adrian's sweet face again (and Ricardo too! - as he extended his London sojour till Wednesday). Yay!
london1967: (Frangella)
Sunday has gone in a flash!
It was spent cooking, eating, chatting and laughing.

I was going to take and post pictures of the food but I think you must all be bored to death with photos of food!
We had:
- pea and pesto soup, with home made focaccia
- mushroom and mozzarella gratin
- Moroccan chicken pie with tomato salad and new potatoes
- Pesche ripiene with New Orleans praline ice-cream
- Cheese, biscuits and grapes

Our guests (Martin and Utku, Severine, Lynne) stayed for 6 hours - as Adrian said, it was a sign that they had a good time too.

I'm already thinking about work now: this week I really have to make an effort to finish some stuff but daydreaming is much more enticing!


Apr. 9th, 2008 10:40 pm
london1967: (Frangella)
Tonight I made one of Adrian favourite dishes, Italian meatballs with peperonata and 3 potato mashes (plain, parsley and mustard).

Very filling!
london1967: (Default)
I gave in, got some double cream on the way home... et voila'

Nigella's Amaretto Syllabub for pudding.
And now off to the meeting with a spring in my step (thanks to a small glass of Amaretto!)
london1967: (brindisi)
My poor husband ([personal profile] london1952) is a very busy man these days with his new job. So apologies if he hasn't posted or indeed replied and/or friend-ed any of you back.

This morning he had to be at work by 7 am to wait for a delivery of wallpaper (it arrived closer to 10 am, naturally) and he's going work 9 days on the trot... all of this because of an event at the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre that runs from Sunday till Wednesday: all the showrooms are getting all spruced up, trying to lure the interior designers in.
It appears that Princess Michael of Kent (one of the least popular royals, aka as "Princess Pushy") will also be at the Centre next week as she has an interior designer company... Adrian and I agreed that she shouldn't bother as she''ll be outranked by throngs of queens!


Our TV love affair with Nigella continues. Her "Nigella Express" is quite a joy to watch, and she has some great recipes too (sadly, everything is full fat!! In these health conscious and government-wants-you-thin days, you wouldn't get many TV chefs to propose Croissant bread and butter pudding made with full-fat croissants, double cream, full-fat milk and caramel for supper).
Last night I tried one of her slimmer dishes: Calabrian lamb cutlets and it was divine. The combination of chilli flakes, lemon, oregano and garlic was simply delicious.

Adrian was slightly disappointed I didn't do her Amaretto Syllabub but it required thick double-cream. 
Maybe I should get some cream on the way home and make it tonight for him? (before heading to the residents' association committee meeting)
london1967: (Default)
The weather forecast was right and today the sun's shining, and it's warm too. 
It's going to be a lazy, long week-end (Monday is a Bank Holiday).
The lovely Richard (or as we often call him Ricardo) is stopping for a couple of nights here on his way home from his farm in France; so earlier today we discussed food and menu for the next few days.

Adrian ([personal profile] london1952) in "decisions, decisions, decisions..."! LOL!

And now that the shopping's done, it's time for a sit in the garden, to read the paper.
Have a  great week-end, you all!
london1967: (Default)

The weather has been simply marvellous: cloudless sky and rather warm with a lovely breeze. It hadn't been this nice and hot since April.

Saturday was mainly spent getting ready for a dinner party: we invited 2 couples (one straight: Peter and Sim, one gay: Bobby and Neil) of "neighbours" (they live 2 roads up from us) with whom we had spent a lovely evening a few weeks ago on the open garden day.

The menu was all vegetarian:
- gazpacho w/ rosemary focaccia
- potato and pea frittata
- insalata di peperoni arrosto (roast pepper salad)
- summer vegetable risotto w/ rocket and roast tomatoes
- creamy apple pie
- red fruit salad

Adrian's creamy apple pie 

was once again superb, and I was very pleased with my risotto.

Dinner and the evening were great! Our guests got here just after 7 pm and they left at 2:45 am!!
There were a few empties: 2 bottle of ready-made sangria and 8 bottles of wine! 

Some sangria was left in the jug and I thought it was a good idea to drink it, just before bed.

Adrian was a sweetheart and did the washing up: so we ended up going to bed at 4 am. As we both said, we cannot remember when we have been up so late, I think probably not in the last 9 years!

I didn't wake up with a hangover because I didn't really drink much but I've felt tired all day long (and so has poor Adrian). It's been a rather subdued day for both of us, but we managed to go up to Crystal Palace to a junk shop to buy an old desk for the PC and it was delivered this evening.

And now off to bed!

london1967: (Default)
Sunday was spent cooking, eating, drinking, chatting and laughing. 
Gary & Ron, Sam (a former colleague of mine), and Wills (aka [profile] williamthebruce) came round for lunch.
The menu was:
- tomato and onion tarts
- sweetcorn fritters with grilled pancetta and rocket
- Italian meatballs with peperonata and minty green been salad served with homemade focaccia
- creamy apple pie
- red fruit salad

Adrian and I shared the cooking; I must say that Adrian's creamy apple pie was to die for!!
Unfortunately Sam had to leave soon after eating as he was going to trapeze rehearsals: oh to be 26 again, sweet, slim and supple!! (Not that I never did trapezing when I was young, of course!!)

And here is the table set in green and blue by my talented and gorgeous husband!

Unfortunately some time during lunch, Adrian noticed that the tooth that had been hurting on and off for weeks and had been temporarily patched by the dentist (root canal was due on Thu week), has disappeared! He swallowed it! Despite that, he - and we all - had a great time.
london1967: (Default)
Sunday evening, the end of another quiet but very enjoyable week-end.
After the wedding, we were both exhausted and it took us most week to recover from all that excitement!

So I didn't do much at all this week-end! Went food shopping yesterday and that was as much going out as I could manage.
I spent time in the garden and at my PC, and did more baking!

Yesterday I made a pie for dinner: the rather hot "Cornmeal Crust Chilli Pie" from the great Pie (by Angela Boggiano)

and today something sweet: a healthier version of Bakewell Tart (that uses filo pastry and sunflower oil), a recipe that Adrian found in the BBC Homes & Antiques magazine

(delicious but the filo pastry base is rather difficult to break with a fork; it's best to bite into it)


Oct. 15th, 2006 08:54 pm
london1967: (Default)
9 pm and we have just finished washing up.

Lunch was a success: Carlos, Jim, Ross, Wills had a good time and enjoyed the food and drinks (almost 6 bottles - average of 1 each). And so did Adrian and myself.

This was the menu:
Peppers and prawns in creamy spicy sauce (my own recipe, created after eating somthing similar at Mamma Amalfi a few years back) with potato bread (from Nigella Lawson's "How to be a domestic goddess").
Tomato, onion and cheese tarts (10 out of 10 to Adrian for these)
Chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and tomato served with French bean salad (from Carluccio's "Italian feast")
Rhubarb and orange crumble
Honey chocolate cake (from Nigella Lawson's "Feast").

The cake turned out really lovely: I wasn't sure yesterday when I was making it but it was yummy.

The marzipan and almond bees looked great - and the bee/honey theme was very fitting for a bear picnic! (well lunch).


london1967: (Default)

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