Monday, October 29, 2012
Let's just get to the point with this one - my favourite bit of a chicken is the wings - not drumstick or thigh and definitely not the breast meat which I consider the most bland bit of a chicken. Shock horror but yes, too much white meat that can easily go rubbery/stringy. Brown meat all the way for me.
It always baffles me when I shop for chicken in any supermarket in the UK and you get the usual - breast meat at extortionate prices, thighs and drumsticks marginally cheaper and and and....no wings. Where are the wings?! Do they end up in some cheap sausages or exported to China? The only time I ever see wings being sold is during BBQ season but it is often the basic range that carries it. Where have all the free range wings fly to?
Ponder, ponder, ponder...
Then one fine day Arya mentioned The Orange Buffalo Wings food truck at Brick Lane and I just had to check it out. The 'Orange' must be referencing the colour of the spicy coating of these hot wings - and boy are these babies hot! I was chancing it by ordering half the wings in original sauce (which is hot enough for me!) and half in a 'back-counter' sauce which pretty much killed my tastebuds.
It was a messy affair, I had orange sauce all over my hands, my top and even in my hair (it was windy, lesson learnt) - and they cleverly provided kitchen roll and hand sanitizer, but a good one nonetheless. They serve the wings with a portion of fries that comes with blue cheese sauce and celery which in my opinion is a redundant '5-a-day' garnish (maybe because I dislike celery).
The truck is permanently set in Brick Lane and I think I am due another visit soon for my wing fix and to show some love during the cold winter months. These boys are mad...but I am glad they are mad about wings
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The garden received little love from us this summer as we got busy with the wedding. Of course the too-wet weather doesn't help either! But we did get lucky with a glut of plums that have been turned into jams and plum vodka (hell yea!), handful of chillies, salad boxes and tiny globes of kohl rabi. Surprisingly some of our tomatoes survived the summer and we recently harvested a handful of them. I am hesitant to eat them because they are so pretty but they will be chopped up into a salad sometime this week. We also have a big bowl of green tomatoes which is often the case towards the end of the season....so many never 'make it'...these will end up being roasted up for cheese/pasta
Monday, October 22, 2012
Last Friday Scott and I, alongside Arya and a mate of his went to Street Feast London for dinner. It was what I would described as a pimped out version of our Malaysian pasar malam: Street vendors selling food,a couple of stores selling homeware/clothes but without the 'wet' market element (e.g. selling fresh meat/veg). It had a great vibe and atmosphere - 16 street vendors, 2 bars serving drinks, sharing tables, reservation tables with waiting staff if you are so inclined, music and very kids friendly.
The street food scene in London has definitely grew in epic proportion in the last 2 years of so - a concept that works really well in the summer and bringing it indoors to a disused carpark (for shelter and some warmth) in the winter was a super idea! I cannot tell you how excited I was to go - I was counting down the hours on Friday, keeping up-to-date on twitter, went to the cash point at lunchtime to make sure I had enough cash in hand, I have not felt this excited for a long time!
Overall I would say my excitement was justified but some of the street food was a let down. Between the 4 of us, we did get over-excited and over-order, naturally.
Homeslide pizza: They have a custom build wood fire oven producing thin based (but not soggy!) pizza, flavourful with each bite. I had the ricotta (flavoured with lemon zest), mushroom and basil pizza and you can taste the faint hint of lemon - love!
Big Apple Hot Dogs: I didn't get a bite of this but Scott vouch for its tastiness. I will take his word for it, he knows his sausages.
Bharga Burger: Scott wolfed down his portion so I assumed it was pretty good. They had a steady flow of customers throughout the night so it can't be that bad
Sorbitium Ices: Crazy different flavours of ice cream. You can't go wrong with artisan ice cream when it is done right
Mother flipper burger: I had high expectation...it was tasty but not as tasty as Lucky Chip's burger. The bun failed to hold up to the sauce/beef and it was a soggy mess towards the end.
Rainbo: chicken and tofu dumpling - flavourful and tasty as a dumpling should be but it lacks something that I can't really put my finger on. To start with, they serve the dumplings with the wrong type of chilli sauce (a thai chilli sauce - no!) if you want to be purist about it.
Horn OK please: Love the name! Arya's friend bought a portion (not sure what it was), I liked what I had (texture similar to tiny rice krispies!) and I would give it a proper try next time
Yum Jungle: I was debating between their spicy chicken which had rave reviews or some fresh scallops from Pop up Barbados. I should have gone for the latter. The chicken was so salty I left the last piece of chicken on the plate.
Kimchi Cult: I wasn't completely sold on their burger USP just by adding kimchi, Arya tried it but ended up nicking some chilli sauce off Big Apple Hot Dog to make it more palatable...enuff said
Bar: I was disappointed with the drinks selection - esp.the beer: Either bottle of Becks or cans of Red Stripes?! Really? I thought they might be serving beers from Hackney or London Field brewery which is pretty much down the road. A shame really as it would be a great place to drink/support a local brew.
Overal, I am glad they are open every Friday for the whole winter and I know I will definitely go back for more - Homeslide pizza alone is a big enough attraction to return.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Too cute for words
More cute-ness - Best Halloween outfit seen online so far (via Beautiful Mess)
Beautiful handmade stuff, run by a daddy and daughter, beautiful stuff with one of the best looking online shop around
Nutella, sea salt, choc cookies: I need to make this soon - on my list but kept forgetting
Photograph by Laura Lee (via Poppy Talk)
This is for Scott
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The best fried chicken bap evarrrr - just the right crispiness of the skin with a hint of heat (from black peppers in the coating?), tenderness of the meat and a good chilli kick. The bread is nothing to shout about but who cares about the bread when the chick blows your tastebud.
I suggest you hunt them down here
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Ever since we got together 7 years ago, we holidayed in Paris at least once a year, sometimes twice which makes Paris our favourite and most frequently holidayed city together, well apart from Glasgow - though I am not sure if that counts as we travel to Glasgow to visit Scott's family so not technically a holiday per se.
Similar to our previous trip earlier this year for Scott's birthday, we rented an apartment in the Marais area. This is definitely my favourite district - the shops, the Jewish quarter patisseries, the proximity to St-Martins Canal, Jacques Genin chocolate shop and our new found love-Alain Roussel crepe!
Alain Roussel was a surprise find. I initially had my heart set on trying the buckwheat crepe at Breizh Cafe after reading countless reviews about their crepe online. We got there for 12pm on Saturday, the shop was jam-packed with Americans and Chinese tourists and we were told we can have a seat in 2 hours. Shiteeeee - Gutted...we should have booked but when in Paris we rarely do, esp not for crepe! So we (more me really) shuffled out of the shop reluctantly and ended up in a Brasserie nearby which was actually pretty good for lunch.
After lunch, we walked around Marais and as the rain started sputtering down we seek shelter in Marche des Enfants Rouges. We were sniffing out the cheese and fruits when I caught a queue waiting for crepe...we got closer and the guy making the crepe looked familiar and then it strikes me! He was the guy in Rachel Khoo's The Little Paris Kitchen TV series! So of course we joined the queue and while waiting, he passed round bits of crepes that he has sprinkled with sugar and lemon and it tasted good enough for us to stick around for our own! We had one crepe each (because it is cheap and I don't like sharing) - mine was with honey and Scott had his with sugar and lemon. The main difference is the texture of the crepe - soft, somewhat creamy but not in a dairy way and floppy-like unlike most crepes which tend to be on the thicker side. We had smiles between bites making it a happy-crepe-ending afterall!
We have done most of the 'must-see' tourist bits of Paris but every trip we try to see/eat/explore something new (to us). This time, we checked out Musee Carnavalet - a great museum all about Paris. Unfortunately, I can't remember the specifics of the museum as we were not allowed to take pictures and I was suffering from a lunch coma. It is larger than it looks - with rooms after rooms of amazing paintings - of the war, the revolution, Parisian in their daily life. My lack of knowledge of art meant I am not doing justice at describing the museum but please go if you are in the area, I enjoyed it and will go back again to cover the areas that were closed that day.
On Saturday night, we were also lucky enough to be in Paris for the annual Nuit Blanche event (White Night) - an annual event celebrating all things art and culture where various museums, galleries, city halls and other grand buildings open their doors for one night only, all night, free entrance for all. We didn't plan anything but as most of the events were happening around the Marais area, we just follow the crowd and saw light installations, dancing in a courtyard of a grand building, opera singing and the obligatory men being sick by the sidewalk...all part of the joys of late night entertainment. We have never see Paris that bustling around Hotel de Ville before.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Quick facts: Scott's Uncle Fred attends this horse racing event every year for the last 27 years and his dad has done is for slightly less but still an impressive streak for the last 17. It is an annual pilgrimage for them - not so much for the soul but more for the food and wine (we are talking Paris for cheese-sake) and the added thrill of potentially winning some moo-lah...which tends to go towards the weekend wine kitty, so it is a big deal!
If we stick to the comparison, Scott and I are way behind with this year's race being our 3rd. So yes...we were in Paris last weekend! We took the Friday afternoon Eurostar train to Paris, got there in time for dinner and stayed until after lunchtime on Monday. Perfect long weekend.
We (or should I say, the way the 'old men' have done it for the last 27 years) tend to attend the race on a Sunday, the big finale where the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe race is on.
The format is always the same...
We get to the race course about an hour earlier than the first race. We find a little quiet nook in the park opposite the race course and toast each other to another year of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, reminiscence about previous races, winnings/losses (these men memories of horses name and corresponding years of winning/losing blows me away - how they can remember such minute details but not where they last left their car keys are beyond me) and discuss the bets we have laid out - who manage to secure better odds - hah!
but it is not all serious business of course, we are on holiday!
but but but then of course it is serious business once we get the info sheet out and re-evaluate our bets and put new ones on!
I mean, the level of concentration for these races...
Scott did well at the race, winning just over 200 euros but the rest of the team are let down by an unexpected win at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe race. One of the Japanese horse (Orfevre) was leading and was very close to finish and the cheering crowd was going mad and the noise was deafening (no Japanese horse has ever won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe) but out of nowhere Solemia came charging by and won the very close race. Immediately you can hear the crowd went silent. But I bet the bookies must be rubbing their hands in glee. I mean the odds of Solemia winning was 33-1 - a surprise win no doubt.
Horse racing is not really my thing but I enjoy it for other reasons: the horses, the adrenaline, the men's banter, watching Scott creating memories with his dad and uncle, ogling chic French women and playing spot the English women in their too-high high heels and too-short dresses (or in one case, "gasp - is she wearing her wedding dress?!") carrying a bottle of white wine/can of beer.
Of course, my main treat for the day was this, I can't do horses all day without something to bite on
Monday, October 1, 2012
This is a lazy way to condensed 3 weeks of pictures into one post to remember the end of summer as the days slowly get darker earlier and the chill starts to set in. We have turn on our heater and I have reluctantly started wearing black tights again. But here we go as the summer draws to an end...
He doesn't let any sliver of sun rays goes to waste
home-made 'what's lurking in the fridge' pasta
Pip's dish pop-up restaurant. We were excited but left disappointed; the wait was too long between dishes and the dishes were ok - would need more staff and was expecting live cooking but everything was prep beforehand
Weekend stroll in Stoke Newington cemetery, reminds me of Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris...an unkept version but with similar abundance of charm, does that make sense?
last weekend was spent in Scotland. We must have catch the last days of summer in Aaran, the weather went back to 'normal (i.e. grey + rain)' once we were back in Glasgow