To bring back this puppy.
Getting those feathers off was a bitch.
Actually, as my sword and archery collections are safely back in Texas, I’m pretty useless for bringing down my own game. But I do have the legs my hunter-gather ancestors endowed me with, so I can toddle down to Borough Market and buy me one. Along with fig-infused balsamic vinegar and flax–uh, I mean linseed. But first my three friends and I stopped for lunch. This was Saturday afternoon.
Long line = good omen?
That cheese on the left is Halloumi--it's a tad like paneer, and quite yummy
Venison and Wild Boar, topped with salsa verde and sweet chili. The meat and filling were delish. The bread was blah but made a good trencher.
I saw these as I was walking by. Kawaii, ne?
London is such a lovely city, with so many great people. I won’t lie though…perhaps it’s the season, or just my whacky mind, but I have been fighting a few black moods. Random moments were things set me off way more than they should. Nothing like the summer before last though, no worries.
I’m looking into a few possible supplements, but in the meantime, I keep myself distracted by not sitting still.
I’ve been exploring these past few days. I should have been mucking around Paris and eating crêpes, but a few buddies forgot to tell me about it until the last minute, and the hostel was full. Luckily, I found some other peeps who want to go to Paris, so I’ll hop on their train. At the end of the month I’m going to Edinburgh, as well as Durham/Newcastle. Edinburgh is to visit my best friend from high school, and Durham is to visit Jess @ Almost Over Now. Can’t wait!
The night before my Borough Market jaunt, I celebrated my flat mate’s birthday. She wanted legit Mexican food.
Yes, it does exist in London. Even if our homemade guacamole is better.
We (sort of) found it at Cafe Pacifico, a restaurant in Covent Garden.
Hardly sketchy enough to be a LEGIT Mexican food stop!
Upon sitting, a pitcher of margarita graced the table. I hadn’t had one in years, but it was fruity (aka sugary) enough to taste pretty good. Oh, tequila–I sober up quickly, but tequila gets me buzzed faster than almost anything.
Cheers to finding salsa and tacos?
Me: “I haven’t had a margarita in five years.”
Flat Mate: “But didn’t you have a tequila shot at the Super Bowl?”
Me: “NOT the same thing!”
Pretty good, but blander than what I'm used to. And tucked in the corner was the strangest quesadilla ever. It was like...a quesadilla ragoon.
Aw hell, who invited you guys?
Overall, while Pacifico does good sauces, it doesn’t flavor the meat as well as it should. I wrote more about in my review for Editorial class.
On Thursday, thankfully not hung over, I got my first taste of Portobello Market. Anyone remember that Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks? Yeah, that Portobello Road. It’s winding and huge…luckily, I had a guide! Aisha @ Aisha Gets Cooking!
We hit it off right away–I stumbled off the Tube, flustered at train delays, only to be given homemade cupcakes.
Using part of an egg carton to transfer minimuffins? This girl's a genius!
“Oh no, they got a little squished,” she said.
Pfft, if odd-looking food was a turn-off to me, I wouldn’t be able to eat my own grub.
As it turns out, these little jewels were delicious–perfectly fluffy and sweet. And I’m not even a big cupcake person! I enjoyed them much more than I do a lot of cupcakes (ahem, Sprinkles).
Aisha wanted to try a falafel place she’d heard about. Confession: I’ve never had legit falafels. I’ve baked something falafelesque. I’ve had raw vegan falafels. But never real ones. In steps Falafel King.
I like the no-nonsense menu
The master at work
According to Aisha, these were definitely legit falafels. And they were yummy. The tahini, pickles, and hummus were the perfect accompaniments. They were sort of like hearty hushpuppies.
100% Legit Falafel
After our lunch, we explored. It was rainy, but tons of fun. We roved spice shops, Hummingbird Bakery, clothing boutiques, knickknack shops, and even a bookstore dedicated to cookbooks. Then we encountered my long-lost lover. We met at Bee Me.
Chocolate with pralines and white chocolate. Nomfest.
This was really good fro-yo.
Bee Me was a lovely counterpoint to yogurt places like Yogurtland that try to overwhelm you with all the self-serve and bazillion toppings. There is a wide variety of toppings, but only three fro-yo flavors. And it’s not self serve…good for Mimi the Free Samples Whore. The yogurt a really nice blend of sweet and tart. I’m a fan.
Aisha is now my go-to for all cool foodie events in London. In March, we’re hitting up the International Food & Drink Event! Apparently it’s like an international version of FoodBuzz Fest. Score!
I was so happy to meet up with Aisha–it’s crazy how the internet can bring people together (sans dark alleys and Silence of the Lambs scenarios).
On Friday I took a day trip with the Comm and PR kids to Windsor and Hampton Court Palace. Windsor is where the Queen likes to hang out and Hampton was Henry VIII’s stomping ground.
Judging by Henry's girth, that's pretty loud stomping.
By the way, the above painting features Henry, Elizabeth, Edward, Mary, and Jane Seymour. Anyone who can answer why this portrait is historically impossible gets a gold star!
So, the English liked having big castles...
And huge clocks
And epic ceilings
And way cool paintings
London actually decided to follow the stereotype of rainy, overcast weather…but I think it added to the ambiance.
Misty Eton, where I'll send Little Mimi if I seduce Harry.
This look familiar? It should if you watch The Tudors.
Some of my explorations have been a bit more domestic in nature. Like raw dairy!
I saw some for sale at the Borough and Islington markets and had to taste it. It was delicious. I’ve done some reading– apparently raw dairy, when taken from clean conditions, is a healing food. I just think it tastes really good. At first I just purchased some crème fraîche from Hurdlebrook Dairy. Then the guy gave me a free pint of milk to try! It’s top-grade stuff: it comes from old-breed Guernsey cows, which produce a very rich, golden milk. It’s also an A2 casein milk, so it digests better.
Apparently I can still put the charm on when need be
Crème Fraîche is a mild sour cream. It's delicious on berries.
And on top of eggs, apples, and (wild boar) bacon!
I don’t actually drink much milk, but it was fun to try. I’m really loving the crème fraîche. At Borough, I also bought some raw butter from Hook & Son. It’s some of the purest stuff I’ve ever tasted.
One reason (besides digestive upset) I don’t buy much dairy is because I really despise the conditions of dairy cows (or any conventional cattle in the U.S.). Ok, the Fage that occasionally pops up in my shopping cart is a moment of hypocracy, but I own up to it.
These cows, however, are treated very well. I don’t see using milk as robbing the calf of nutrition…cows have been bred for thousands of years to produce more milk than is necessary to feed a calf.
I’ve also been exploring game meat. It’s delicious.
Like balsamic blackcurrant-glazed venison (that set the fire alarm off >_<)
Oh, and remember that pheasant? I was kidding about the feathers. Well, most of them. I really wanted to roast a pheasant, and as the season is over, this would be my last chance.
I chose this recipe…though I had to make a few substitutions. In my version, I used a mix of raspberry jam, balsamic vinegar, and apple cider vinegar in place of the marsala wine, and a “forest mix” of berries instead of grapes. Oh, and walnuts became pepitas. I make do with what I got.
That puppy was not 4 pounds...but it got done in half the time!
This sauce was aaaamazing.
All together now!
The thing about wild game is that you can’t snarf it down. You have to chew with purpose and savor it. Partially to enjoy the taste, but also because…
Yup, that's buckshot.
But you know? I liken it to finding a bug in your produce. To me, it shows that this animal wasn’t stuffed in a cage all of its miserable life and thrown into some boiling vat. It was a wild, free animal. And it tasted yummy. Pheasant meat is quite dark and delicate. Definitely not chicken. I like it, but some might find it strange.
I’m having another blogger meetup soon, with Caitlin @ Cake Addict Will Travel. Again, I can’t wait!