I wanna be a …..

Mall Rat!!

Popped into Westfield Mall today with MIL FIL and DH. DP at home snoozing away. This place is deelovely, deeliteful in so many ways. Crowded, but in a nice shiny place so it isn't as dire as braving oxford street- and the Village bit is AWESOME. Love the mall- like the posh ones in Vegas. Just needs a Sugar and Bittersweet Bakers (the buttercup place is passable… But the cake was stodgy and dry and the icing too sweet!

Love the natural light and the crazy choice. And the fuel stops- like the shake it up place- choose a candy bar and they mix it up in a milk shake. for you. London's first proper mall. So who wants to be a mall rat with me? Those armchairs and watering holes are just screaming out for some knitters…..

The day after….

Ooof, so much food. Deuce has developped a huge love of roast beef. He sat in the kitchen whining up at the carving board for an hour after we left the table. watched the queen’s speech, extraordinary the iron mask she wears. The sun is out today, so we’re heading out shortly to enjoy it.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas! And will post piccies J as soon as I find the charger for my camera battery. 🙂

Christmas Eve

Tonight we are spending the evening with Lukola and the SP clan (including my deeeelightful goddaughter Sophia)m.

Woke late today. Poor Deuce woke us up at 4am being sick. I think the goose heart david fed him ws prob waaay too rich. There is such thing as too much of a good thing.

David continues his DIY industriousness and has retouched the walls of the spare room after having painted the walls yesterday. The colour is a sort of hot chocolate ovaltine colour, very cozy.

we've done a few last minute errands- picked up the rib of beef for xmas day from deuce's sometime walker- he owns a posh butcher on fulham road. Goose came yesterday. All set on the food front. We could survive a siege for quite some time.

We meant to go for vietnamese but alas they are not open so are enjoying a portuguese perimas at Nandos, complete with yummy sangria.

Happy Christma Eve!

Sunday is for….

Lazy weekends are my favourite thing in the world… and sleeping in. Though somehow I am good at sleeping in only when I have to wake up early, and am unable to sleep in when I actually am at leisure to do so. This weekend was no different – 7 am start both days. Sigh.

Friday night as I mentioned (or maybe shrieked…) David took me to see Twilight. We had burgers at the Real Burger Company (well, the burger place at Fulham Broadway. Not sure of the name) and had real proper skinny fries. Love them fries. Then off to the movie. I have been on tenterhooks waiting for this movie to come out – it’s been out a month already in the US and various other places. I think it important to admit that I love the books. Crazed might not be too strong a term… In particular Twilight and the not-yet-ever-maybe-to-be published Midnight Sun. And I had a very pre-teen crush (which has thankfully waned slightly in the last month) on the main (might I add underage and fictional) character of the book, so like a teenybopper I was giggling like a schoolgirl in anticipation of this film.

In case you think i’ve totally lost it, let me assure you there was indeed a slightly exasperated, muffled adult voice in my head that lectured me to avoid expecting too much… after all Cedric Diggory was the lead, and having seen the chap in interviews talking about how he portrayed Edward Cullen (the object of my schoolgirl fantasy) I had an inkling that he wouldn’t really be the Edward of my imagination. Apparently he was so serious on set that the script writers took to following him around with highlighted bits of the book to prove to him that Edward was not doom and gloom, that he did in fact have a sense of humour and smiled from time to time. But like any good adolescent I completely ignored the adult voice, and forged ahead! Yay! Edward! Swoon

I enjoyed the movie. How could I not? I enjoyed all the Harry Potter movies, even the ones that are a little clunky and suffer in plot development and from er, “acting”. So as a crazed fan there wasn’t much chance I would not enjoy it. David on the other hand, found lots of it cringeworthy and unbearably sappy. Shrugs shoulders In my heart of hearts I know this is True.

Poor Robert Pattison suffers from overseriousness. And make-up used on the Cullen vamps was silly. The foundation was caked on and obvious, and they all had weird dark lipstick a la Bela Lugosi in Dracula. (why not the nomad vamps? They looked so much better. Maybe it was the human blood diet. Better pallor?) And i think Robert was wearing fake eyelashes or had them curled. Very distracting in an unsettling way. And Jasper and Edward constantly looked like they were suffering from severe wind or constipation – jasper especially. I think it was because they were supposed to be suffering from the desire and torment of the blood around them (all people in jasper’s case, and only bella in Edward’s). But had I not read the books and Midnight Sun I wouldn’t have known this and would have just assumed set food didn’t agree with them. Sigh. I wish they had thought to include more from the Cullen’s perspective – it would have made for a richer experience. Eg Alice’s visions of Bella, why Edward leaves and why he returns, why he suddenly decides to be nice to Bella…. why they look constipated…

But having the books in mind the thing that made the movie so wonderful was the setting. I had an idea of what Forks might look like, but had no idea that it would be so stunning. The movie is mainly filmed in Oregan and Washington and oooooh man is it beautiful. I love the rockies, having grown up there, and for the most part think nothing can beat their beauty and majesty… but the PNW is starting to change my mind….

So the verdict? For devoted fans you’ll get a kick out of it, and for the uninitiated… well, the scenery at least will wow you.

A chef, a rat, a hit

We went out last night to Helene Darroze’s new restaurant at the Connaught. A little background is required to paint the scene: Helene Darroze trained under the legendary Alain Ducasse, is widely acknowledged as one of the top-ranking female chefs in the world, and her cooking at her Parisian restaurant won 2 michelin stars. And the was the lady in charge of cooking our dinner last night. Excited? Oh you bet!! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! No rats in the kitchen, at least not in real life. You see, Helene Darroze was also the inspiration for Colette in Ratatouille. We were definitely in for a great night.

The dinner was a celebration for a friend – she ended 10 months of gruelling radio and chemotherapy 2 months ago – and journeyed through it with dignity humour and determination. And come out the other end very hungry.

We toasted to her health and to the fact she can enjoy all her favourite foods again (not to mention lovely wine!).

The restaurant itself was beautiful – grand old english manor of deep red mahogany, but with modern colours and touches, uncluttered yet cozy and welcoming. Rich woods, clean vanilla colours and irridecent glass vases. buttery velvet armchairs and red baubles here and there hanging on cotton bud branches added a touch of festive spirit.

Service was impeccible right from entering the hotel. 3 staff offered to assist me, the front desk whisked my coat away and showed me to the table, and the maitre’d came to offer me a drink. the waiters all had the requisite french accents, young and ready with a smile. Sometimes this level of service can be a little stiff – unsmiling, terribly formal – but the team we had was ready to laugh with us, and offer words of courage when we quailed at the never ending trays of food that arrived at our table.

So on to the food – we started out with a veloute of artichoke served in glass cones. Creamy – a nice little kick start to the palette. We had finger food – parma ham (jamon iberica? serrano? something yummy) shaved at the table on a huge red machine, served on slate squares. Some kind of cheese cracker straw with chorizo and slow roasted tomato in the middle, and corn bread with chorizo and herbs on top. The ham was gorgeous and the the sticks were yummy. They brought us salted and unsalted butter, cut in pie slices – we thought it was brie! The bread was gorgeous, of course. But having learned from experience, bread is a stomach filler… best to be avoided on marathon dinners. I couldn’t help it though and had to have a very crunchy looking roll, it looked too yummy and of course it was.

We then had our starters – I had artichaut epineux (thorny artichoke) which was part of the heart quartered on a ravioli of a soft ewes cheese and herbs. Nice layer of flavours and textures for the ravioli. the hearts yummy but the weird tentacle things on them rubbery. David had squid on rice cooked in squid ink. Looked very cool, though I can’t remember how it tasted. Maybe he might pop in with a comment…

We had another amuse bouche – something peanutty and cheesy with cereal flakes and foie gras at the bottom. This one came in a squat test tube perspex glass. Quite nice but a little too rich and gloopy (very much like peanut butter – but maybe that was the point?)

My main was palombe (pigeon) & foie gras with caramelised pumpkin. Gorgeous. Really pink, rich meat, the foie gras was delicious with the pigeon, but also nicely offset by the sweetness of the pumpkin. A crunchy long cracker with pate or something on it was presented on top. This combo is an old french favourite – pigeon and foie gras – but this one didn’t feel overly rich or heavy. Yummmm!

Oh I’ve forgotten the wines – we started with a Kabinett Riesling – 2005 – “Scharzhofberger” from Egon Müller. Very balanced, acidic wine with a good amount of sweetness. A little too sweet though for my artichoke dish, I think an Alsatian Riesling would have been better as they are generally quite dry, but still, lovely to drink. For the mains we had a Bergerac Moulin des Dames 1999 from Chateau Tour des Gendres, half merlot half cab sauv. The wine was rich and berry like, not at all dissimilar to bordeaux, and perfect foil for the meat.

After the main we had another amuse bouche to refresh our palette – I liked this one the best. It had lime granite on top, vanilla and pineapple pieces with lime zest and black pepper. gorgeous, and yup, very refreshing! Then came dessert…

The pannacotta had space dust in it (the candy that pops in your mouth!), but I opted for marron d’ardeche.. a sugared chestnut and two flutes with cream and green apple sorbet and a couple long biscuit sticks. Mmmm! This was followed by a plate of petit fours (chocolates – with more space dust) and then tea. Bursting bursting like a cream filled donut by this stage. Some tea to finish off, and then they presented us with a little take home goody origami box. I groaned when I saw it. By this point I was about to crawl under the table for a nap. I peeked inside the pretty blue box…to find another little chocolate cake! A little traditional french cake thingie to take home. Very thoughtful touch, particularly since none of use could contemplate another bite.

All in all a fab dinner and evening. And tonight! oooh !

Tonight David is taking me to see

TWILIGHT

I am crazy excited to see it. Have been waiting since coming home from Vegas in September for this movie. Yay!