Saturday, July 31, 2010

Prost!

Neil (my BF's last name is Theise) it's not so common so when I saw this sign it made me smile (even though yes it's Theiss close enough!) and it seemed a fitting image as I go off to the opening (where lots of beer will be drunk) of my friend's gallery Exile where the infamous gay magazine Straight To Hell and it's brilliant editor Billy Miller have curated what I can only imagine will be a very exciting show.

Prost!

The Best Falafel in Berlin

They put all their falafel and shawarma in a sandwich press! This was my hang over breakfast this morning along with a cappuccino. Cheap too I think it cost 3 euro.

Shopping for Food at Heathrow

I left from terminal 1 and have to say was very impressed by the vast amount of options available to distract yourself while you wait for your plane. The terminal feels more like a shopping mall with a lot of seats than a airport. Of course I never buy anything at airports, but it's nice to have something to do while you wait, it's also nice to have some good food options and there are several here, some of which are very upscale. The Caviar House fascinated, who buys caviar and foie gras at an airport? Apparently a lot of people! They also had a Caviar and Champagne bar aptly called Caviar House/restaurant with oysters and smoked fish.

My other favorite was the very large Harrods outlet.




Thursday, July 29, 2010

2 Days in London

Two days in London is not enough. We were super busy and I wasn't feeling so good, but now I'm in Berlin feeling much better and running a round like mad man. I made the mistake of having Mexican food as my first meal in Berlin at a trendy new restaurant around the corner from my hotel and well.... that motivated me to spend the next day shopping at the amazing Turkish Market in Kreuzberg and making dinner at my friend Keith's house. Lots of pictures and a recipe (of sorts) from those to experiences coming soon, but for now here are some random London pictures of places and things that struck my fancy.
I have to say the best of British baking I experienced was at a French chain called Pauls (I actually took pictures of it in the Paris airport) a heavenly rhubarb tart - a custard tart with a puff pastry shell topped with tart roasted rhubarb. I inhaled it. Euphorium bakery was in Hampstead and looked quite nice, "new" British cuisine is all the rage in London. My only real experience of it was a lunch I had my first day at Hereford Roadwhere I had a lovely lunch with my friend Gouri. The room is splendid and considering how posh it is, in a kind of comfortable understated design way, lunch wasn't too crazy expensive. The two things that most stand out for me about this lunch was a side salad that came with Gouri's fish made from crunchy samphire and cherry tomatoes it was great. The other thing was their Eton Mess which is in the states made with whipped cream but here was made from clotted cream making for a very rich dessert.
This crazy frozen yogurt shop called Snog (which is British for making out/kissing) near Covent Garden. I loved the acid trip design.

I really want to go here and try out my first Jamie Oliver Restaurant, but there was no time so instead I just took a lot of pictures! Next time....
I loved this picture of some bloke having a beer and a cigarette, reading his book, standing outside a pub with the sign proudly declaring: Traditional Home Cooked Food. Welcome to London!
This is a sign from Pret a Manger which used to be a very cool local chain, but now are part owned by MacDonalds, they do however have a commitment to quality organic and local ingredients so I eat there as they are also a bargain, a rarity in expensive London. I just love the "of course" it's so British somehow to me....oh and the coffee was really good.
The obligatory picture of a double decker bus, no photo essay of London would be complete without it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marks and Spencers




I'm in London for two days then off to Berlin to visit my friends Keith and Malka.

Neil's mom (who is British) has a thing for toffee and Marks and Spencers has a great selection. What amazes me about their stores is how everything is in plastic! Everything. It seems to me that even thought marks and Spencers has a very local, healthy, organic patina it is demininshed by what I see as the excessive use of plastic wrap. I mean do Bananas and Apples really need to be wrapped in plastic?

Apparently my misgivings are rare as this Covent Garden location was packed this afternoon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chilled Red of the Week

$12.99 at my favorite local wine store September.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

This is my first ever Ice Cream recipe it was a real hardship having to make it over and over again until I got it right. After all the pizza recipes I figured I had to give you the perfect way to cleanse your pizza palate.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

In a heavy sauce pan add 2 1/4 cups heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups whole milk and bring just to a boil. The minute it starts to boil turn the heat off.

While the milk/cream mixture is heating up, place 6 egg yolks and 1 cup light brown sugar in a bowl and whisk until the mixture looks like a thick mayonnaise (I use a standing mixer with the whisk attachment and mix it for about 3 minutes).
Very slowly add the warm milk mixture to the egg sugar mixture, once fully incorporated return the mixture to the sauce pan over medium low heat until it reaches 160 on a candy or instant read thermometer, stirring constantly. Add 1 Tablespoon of good quality amber rum.

Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Cover and place into the fridge until completely chilled 4 hours or overnight. (In truth often if I decide in the morning I want to have ice cream at dinner I place this mixture into my freezer, stirring every 10 minutes and in about 45 minutes it completely chilled. I'm sure this breeches some culinary etiquette but, it works for me and saves you having to wait. Just make sure you stir it often).

Place the chilled mixture into what ever ice cream maker you have and process accordingly.

While your ice cream maker is working, toast 2 cups of pecans in a 350F preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until just lightly toasted, scoop into a bowl while still warm and add 3 Tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter and a generous 1/4 teaspoon of fleur de sel.

Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter is completely melted. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then roughly chop and place back into the bowl. Don't over process the pecans! The joy of this ice cream is biting into a buttery, salty, pecan!

When the ice cream has finished in your machine slowly stir in the Pecans in 1/2 cup increments.
Place in the freezer until the ice cream hard firmed up, anywhere from 2-4 hours.

This to me is a perfect summer dessert cool, sweet and salty. Perfectly elegant served in a nice bowl just as it is.

If, however, you wanted to gild the lily I think serving pecan shortbread, caramel sauce and unsweetened whip cream with this makes for a killer sundae, lay all the components out on the table and let your guest make their own.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Keeping Chickens by Ashley English

Keeping Chickens is the companion book to the wonderful Canning and Preserving which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, it's also written by the prolific Ashley English. These are first of what I hope is a long series of DIY books from Sterling Publishing.

I believe in the Spring we have Keeping Bees and Home Dairy to look forward to!
This post is going to be like a Proustian flashback only instead of Madelines it's chickens. After looking through Keeping Chickens it got me thinking about my relationship with chickens. Given that I live on the 14th floor of a huge high rise complex the idea of me ever owning chickens seems remote. Which isn't to say I wouldn't like them, or the life in the city that would allow me to have them. It's a testament to Ms. English's book that after looking through it I had chicken longing.

When I first moved to NYC many, many years ago I first lived with my friend Elisabeth in her small, cockroach and mouse infested, seriously slopped floor one bedroom on Monroe street in a remote part of Chinatown.

My second temporary home was at 148 Forsyth street on the Lower East Side, sleeping on a futon on the floor of my friend Ansell's railroad apartment. It was a much bigger apartment than Elisabeths, but shared the angled floor. I love living at Ansell's place, but there were certain things about it that were a tad unnerving. The rats running in the ceiling above the bed, I lived in fear that one day the plaster would give and I'd wake in a cloud of dust and a bed alive with scurrying rats. Then there was the drugs deals in the stairwell, the needles in the snow banks out side the door and the general feeling of danger that clung to the streets like a wet noodle.
Despite all this we had a lot of fun. Ah youth. The thing that most sticks in my mind about Ansell's place his street in those days was how no matter what time of day or night you would often seen a family of chickens walk up the street with a matter of fact casualness that made it seem perfectly normal that someone amongst all this urban decay was keeping chickens. urban chickens without a curfew, Ma, Pa and the kids walking up the street oblivious to the drug dealer, crack heads, muggers and homeless people. One minute they were there and the next they had disappeared off into the ruins of an abandoned ruined tenement. Depending on the amount of beer drunk and pot smoked this was often either uproariously funny or surreal and vaguely disturbing.
Now this same boulevard park is home to a lush community garden called the M'Finda Kalunga Garden.On Thursday this is where members of the Stanton Street CSA come to pickup their goodies.
A while back, I think it was early Spring, I was walking to Union Square and passed by the M'Finda and heard clucking. I stopped and looked around and there were several chickens walking abround the garden. I was so delighted I immediately called Neil so he could here them. Well, him, him who shall not be named because Roosters are, I believe, technically, illegal to own in NYC.
This is Lauren who seems to be the chicken point person at M'Finda. She's great and let me come in and do a chicken photo shoot. She also gave me a tour of their very fancy digs that one of the other gardeners built.
Hen's lay 1 egg every two days. Sometimes the eggs get stuck and you need to massage them out. Hen's lay eggs for about 2 years, then, in most cases, become chicken soup.
Such focus. It's nice to see that the chickens have returned to the Lower East Side. Actually Chickens seem to be all over town now adays. Just Food NYC even has a project called City Chickens run by expert chicken owners in order to provide a resource to gardeners and, well anyone, who might be interested in learning how to keep chickens.

Keeping Chickens shares the same great look and design as Canning and Preserving. It is indefatigable in its information and it includes, like Canning and Preserving, throughout the book, Portraits of Chicken Owners. Which I love. It makes it very real, accessible and for someone consider having chickens for the first time it gives you real life insights into the tirals and tribulations of what it is like to keep your flock happy and healthy.

Of course my favorite part are the recipes, I can't wait until the fall to make the Pumpkin Crème Brûlée.

It's nice to know that where ever you live you too can keep chickens and that Ashley English has written the perfect primer to get you on your way!

These are just some pictures from the Stanton Street CSA pick up.

Oh look, eggs!





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