Monday, May 25, 2009

A Recipe for Joy

This may be a slightly misleading title. Decide for yourself after reading this post and the recipe itself.

The title refers to a recipe especially developed for Ms. Joy T. She was our HR manager in London MOO offices up until she moved backed to the US in February. It was a sad, joyless day when she left. (we love our puns at MOO).

As a going away present we all contributed (except me) our favourite recipe for Joy's cook book. Now if you know me, you will understand why that has taken a few months for me to complete. I just don't cook and I wasn't about to put a recipe in there for peanut butter and banana toast. Also, when I do attempt to cook I follow the recipe to every last pinch of salt. I never stray as I'm worried what will happen if I do. I couldn't very well plagiarize a recipe for dear Joy.

Now, a funny thing happened on Saturday....

J and I decided to have Nick (J's cousin) and Mark (our Filmmaker/Musician friend - also Canadian) over for a BBQ. It was forecast to be nice weather and I was keen to eat outside. I was in charge of the table and ambiance (I think I did quite well on that front).
You'll see I kept it low key but funky with our map placements, chinese lanterns and cool new coasters brought to me from Boris of Prague.

I realized while J had a perfect meal we needed some low key appies. After looking through the aforementioned cook books I found what looked like a good recipe for guacamole.

Now, what happened next was created completely by accident. I soon realized we were missing a few key ingredients so I improvised. The results were scrumptious and I declared I had a recipe for Joy! All of you (my millions of readers) can try it out here but Joy you'll get it printed and ready to insert in your MOO cookbook when I come to Providence next month.

Sweet Joy Guacamole*
2-3 avocadoes (make sure they are ripe)
2 tomatoes seeded and diced
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 red onion - chopped finely
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fresh cilantro or coriander (depending on what continent you live in)

2-3 drops of Tabasco sauce
2 tbsps Mandarin Yogurt**
pinch of salt and pepper

*Joy is one of the sunniest people I have encountered so I think it is fitting this guacamole is actually sweet
**The mandarin yogurt add the sweetness and creaminess to the guacamole

Basically you crush/mush up the avocadoes, then add the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Stir in the Yoghurt, the tobasco, cilantro and a bit of salt and pepper. Yum Yum Yum. This is really a sweet spin on typical guacamole. EnJOY!

Ooooooo soooo good.You can see from Nick's face how enjoyable the guac is.

The guac was a sweet start to an all and all enjoyable evening. Here are a few more photos from the evening on my flickr account.

Monday, May 04, 2009

J and L's Big Adventure to Kent

I've been a bit remiss about posting any of our London adventures lately. I think that is not because we haven't been having fun, but more that I have started another blog which is also nagging to be updated. The new one is easier to update as I always know the topic - fashion. E and I started it to recreate our high school and post-university days of swapping clothes. Since I've moved across the ocean it's been more difficult to share in the real world, so we've opted for the virtual world. I digress, but now you know that I have been posting just not here.

This past weekend was a bank holiday here in Jolly Old** and that meant time for an excursion from the big smoke. We decided last minute to take a trip to the country side. So, what did I do, i asked my twitter followers. I must admit this was better than
Yahoo! Answers as the recommendations were from people I knew and knew me. Sweet.

We ended up choosing Whitstable in Kent which by the way is the setting for Tipping the Velvet. As usual, I waited until Friday night to secure a place to stay and it appeared to be too late. I didn't tell J that we were landing in Whitstable stableless until we arrived. We really did feel like Mary and Joseph wondering in to little inns and B&Bs asking if they had room and they all said "no room at the inn" and sent us on our way.

By luck (longer story) we ended up finding a Bed & Breakfast that had room for us. It was WAY better than a stable; in fact, it was perfect. I'll write a full recommendation on the Gallery House later on Qype but Gary and Penny were great hosts and we loved our room - so clean and bright. Penny really did think of everything from a toaster and tea to filtered water.

Now on to the activities of the weekend. It was jam-packed with what we love most: eating, walking, drinking, eating, drinking, listening to music and shopping (in that order)

After some fish & chips at the local Harbour Street shop,
we walked the coast from Whitstable to Herne Bay. Along the way, we passed hundreds of colourful beach huts which were mostly boarded up waiting for the real summer to begin.
As you can tell they are quite small. They are only big enough for a little day-bed, changing area and kitchen. Each one was painted and decorated to suit the owner's style. I loved the green and pink one the best as it reminded me of Pippi Longstocking's home in Gotland, Sweden. (I was lucky enough to visit Gotland years ago on a cycling weekend with friends) I wonder if the owner is also a fan of Pippi who I secretly still want to be.
Later we had dinner at an Oyster restaurant right on the water (The Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company) . You can see from some of the shots that we were treated to an amazing sunset. Oh bliss.
The food was nice and I even had a go at Oysters (when in Whitstable!)but not as wonderful as the spot and the company (awww! gag!)

After dinner, we wondered down the beach capturing images as dusk fell. We were going to have an early evening until the sounds of live music drew us in to the Old Neptune.

Bonanza! We hit gold. The Old Neptune was definitely the place to be. The pub was heaving with locals, weekenders and tourists. Not only did we enjoy the actual entertainment - a wonderful blues guitarist with a drummer and base player - but loved the people watching this place had to offer. What a diverse crew all with the same goal -- having a good time. We found ourselves giving them names. Here were a few of our faves:
  • Reboot: The guy who kept stalling. He clearly had smoked more than a few joints
  • Work the Room: The 40-something pick-up man who was busy chatting every lady in the house. He even asked me if I was French (that was before he saw J)
  • Mr. Guiness No Rhythm.: The name says it all. He tried so hard to find the beat but in the end was only able to find the bottom of many glasses of Guiness
Seriously, everyone was groovin to the music and seemed to be happy that it was a long weekend. The Old Neptune was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Sunday was spent doing more eating, walking and some shopping. I won't describe in detail, but here are a few shots to capture the walk that day.
I also would be remiss if I didn't call out an adorable shop called FRANK on Harbour Street. It sold a collection of incredibly sweet hand-made goods and prints from the UK. She seemed to have a special liking for birds. As you can imagine I kept thinking of Tania and Steve.

All in all a wonderful 24 hours out of London. Thank goodness we can still be spontaneous in our older age ;)

** Jolly Old was what my Aunt Barb & Uncle Ken always called England. Frankly, I can't think of something more incongruous when I think of my East End London neighbourhood -- Jolly is NOT what comes to mind.