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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Boston Tea Party

 Welcome to Boston and a tea party of sorts. Here there were no dainty sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and copious cups of tea. No. Here we were to learn how the Americans relish their independence from we Brits and how it all came about.

Boston is also known as Beantown which refers to the regional dish of baked beans (cooked in molasses back in colonial days). I have to say we didn't find anywhere serving this dish. The Boston cream pie is a favourite sweet treat but the city seems most famous for its lobster rolls; obviously not a vegetarian option! Whilst the family tucked in to lobby rolls I enjoyed another American favourite - Mac 'n' cheese cooked right in front of me in Quincy Market. Rich and Delish. My worst meal in Boston was a veggie burger made from beans, rice and beetroot. It was the colour of pink flesh and looked like raw mincemeat. Ew! I asked the waiter if I could offer some feedback and said the colour was particularly off putting for vegetarians. He thanked me and took away my barely touched food and then proceeded to charge me for it! I guess there was nothing really wrong with it in their eyes.

Boston is home to the TV show Cheers and a popular drink here is a pint of Samuel Adams ( the namesake being one of the sons of Liberty). I enjoyed the light summer variety. 

Cheers indeed!

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Big Apple

All aboard the Amtrak destined for Boston and leaving behind The City of Dreams. 

I had researched popular New York food and the list was mainly sugar-high, fat-loaded carbs. Yes I enjoyed some fabulous breakfasts; stack of pancakes - tick; cream cheese bagel - tick, but also steel-milled oats with banana and walnuts and Greek yogurt with honey and muesli, not to mention a Starbucks almond croissant!

The best discovery has been the small health food supermarkets with self-serve salad and fruit bars, cooked dishes and ingredients which can be stir-fried to order. Coming off the High Line we grabbed a salad box each and set off for a picnic on Governors Island with views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Skyline. Another time we ate inside; a well deserved brunch after a run around Central Park.

For dinner I have to confess we ate Italian on two occasions and enjoyed veggie chilli at Hartland Brewery as we came down the Empire State Building. Whilst the family tucked in to burgers and hotdogs at the Mets game I was pleased to see veggie dogs were an option. For me though, a box of nachos knocked it out of the park!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Going Stateside

Seat belt fastened and bound for New York. This week's blog is postponed until mid week when hopefully I shall have Big Apple stories to share. Watch this space y'all! 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Carpe diem

Only last week we were remembering those killed in the Manchester bombing. Today our minds are with those affected by the London terror attack. The world has gone crazy.

We stand together, united in the belief that the terrorists will not stop us from going about our daily lives and, what's more, enjoying our lives. Both these attacks have been targeted at innocent people out having fun.

A week ago the forecast was good and I invited lots of friends around for drinks and nibbles alfresco. They were from different friendship groups and did not all know one another. What a great group of people! Everyone mixed and mingled and made friends. Perhaps we all need to do that on a larger scale. It's a naive thought and isn't going to bring about world peace but it is a start. We could start by learning to love thy neighbour (or at least getting to know them). Seize the day! 

Our impromptu party was washed down with drinks and helped by friends taking round the plates of nibbles I had provided. The following day these crudités and dips were staring at me from the fridge as I had forgotten to put them out. 

I ended up having a very healthy snacking weekend. I wonder if these particular veggies are good for memory? Maybe next time I'll remember to share them.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

A Piece of Peace

Spring Bank Holiday in the UK is a Bank Holiday and this year falls on May 29th. It may be celebrated with family and friends, holidays, carnivals and fetes. There are local customs and traditions around the country. In Gloucestershire people chase after a rolling cheese down a steep hill with the aim of winning an 8lb Double Gloucester cheese - madness!

Ramadan began yesterday, 27th May, and many Muslims in the UK fast during the daylight hours for the next month.

This week also sees the Jewish festival of Shavuot. During this period dairy foods are eaten including cheese pancakes known as blintzes. 

So, whilst some people are chasing cheese, some eating cheese and some fasting, we also have International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on May 29th, where people serving in UN peacekeeping operations and those who died in the name of peace are remembered and honoured. In this week of the Manchester bombing it's a time for people of all faiths to show support and solidarity. Love and peace will conquer evil and hatred. 

No matter what our Faith; may we all be Peacekeepers.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Healthy Options

The family are on a health kick; each of us wanting a strong, toned body for the summer months. I made chicken Caesar salad for the troops and a goat's cheese salad for me.

- Roast beetroot and carrots
- Cook goat's cheese in the oven
- Serve on a bed of watercress and rocket leaves
- Add dressing of your choice (I used balsamic with chilli) 
- Sprinkle with chopped, toasted almonds
- Can be served warm or cold

In the time it takes to dangle a carrot, go red as a beetroot, get dressed, say cheese and yes, act nuts, you've got yourself a tasty meal.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Pronto Pasta

So, post Italy I am still feeling the need (or possibly the desire) for some italian cuisine. No time to shop and stock up on goods from the deli counter so, what could I make?

Well luckily I always have some store-cupboard goodies to rustle up an impromptu meal. These include jars of sun dried tomatoes, olives and peppers but this time I resorted to the spice rack. Luckily all my herbs and spices were in date after the recent cull (Taste not waste 19/3/17) so I set to work.

5g dried parsley
5g garlic granules
10g dried chilli flakes
10g sea salt flakes

Add the above to a drop of hot olive oil in a pan and add the cooked pasta (linguine in my case). Toss the drained pasta in the oil and then pop back a little starchy cooking water from the pasta. You're aiming to coat the pasta rather than make a sauce.

Within ten minutes I had an Italian inspired meal in front of me. Probably not quite what mamma used to make but tasty nonetheless.