Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Banana Bread

Mash 2-3 ripe bananas...tip if you have some wax paper tear a piece and fold around the bananas for easy clean up

Banana a slice of this with a glass of milk!  I tried this recipe because of the new twist on banana bread.....dark chocolate.  Basically you could use the recipe you already have for banana bread (and you know you have one hidden away somewhere or just ask your mom for one,) and add bits of dark chocolate or even semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I even find I can eat a slice of this for breakfast as the chocolate marries well with a cup of coffee.

I prefer to cut up a dark chocolate bar as opposed to using chocolate chips due to variation in size, sometimes you get a big bite of chocolate other times just a hint, lovely!

Ahhh our transformer, never thought I would say I loved having one of these in my kitchen, but due to our recent relocation from the US to the UK this makes all my appliances dual voltage
Creamed butter and sugar
Adding the bananas, vanilla and a bit of sour cream to keep the cake moist

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Lambs

Driving around the English countryside during Easter time is lovely (especially if the sun is out!)  I love seeing all the sheep and their lambs.  I don't eat lamb, and since seeing how incredibly cute they are, and seeing as how they resemble my dog (to me,) this will never change.  While my mom was visiting we stopped near a sheep farm and as luck would have it saw a sheep off from the herd giving birth!  (No photos of this experience as to not further disturb her, but it was incredible.)

Cuteness abounds!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

London Day Out

Harrods famous high end department store

During my excursion to London with my Mom we hit a lot of hot touristy spots.  My Mom and I had visited London about 27 years ago together, (obviously we were both much younger!)  But some things never change, and parts of our trip my Mom was guiding me around the city.

Liberty of London, I love how they kept the buildings character and history

The quintessential London photo, taken from a tour bus mind you....btw the Big Red Bus tour is a great way to get around the city as an alternative to the Underground
Photo taken from London Bridge of the Tower Bridge (apparently Americans always confuse the two)

Entrance to the Tower of London 
The green grass is where the original moat would have been

Where traitors were brought into the tower by boat

A guard outside the building where the crown jewels are kept

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Afternoon Tea

While in London with my 'Mum,' we stopped for high tea at Fortnum & Mason.  It was such a lovely experience I would recommend it to anyone visiting London (especially with their mom, sister or friends.)  Fortnum & Mason have been selling teas in London since the 1700's, so this is a very established place.  We had a tasting of different teas from light and floral jasmine to the more traditional tasting darjeeling.  Funny tea tasting is much like wine tasting where you sip, take in air, slosh it about your mouth and then swallow.  And of course do not put sugar in before tasting, as this will cover all the nuanced flavors.  Selecting the tea we wanted to drink was difficult as the tea room (recently renovated and renamed in honor of the Queen's Jubilee this year,) offered like 170 different teas.  We selected afternoon tea with sandwiches and tea cakes, but you could select a high tea menu that was more like meal.  Even with just the tea sandwiches and cakes we were quite full.  As I continue to live in England I do find there is a big difference in teas and my palette continues to grow more and more discerning!

Entrance to Fortnum & Mason

Inside as you enter from the street, this was Good Friday so it was busy with people buying for the Easter holiday
Here you might make out the difference between Afternoon tea and High tea

The distinctive teal color used as the accent is stunning
Sandwiches and cakes (more of what I would call a biscuit)
Delicious and beautiful sweets!
The sterling silver tea strainer

All the packaging is so lovely, and so much more then just tea is sold here

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shakespeare Country

My mom recently came over from "across the pond" for a visit.  Taking advantage of living so close to Stratford Upon Avon, we visited numerous houses part of the William Shakespeare Trust.  Here you see the house of Shakespeare's birth.  He grew up in this house and even spent the first five years of his married life here.  Visiting historical buildings here in England really makes you realize how far we have come.  Putting food into perspective, during these times Shakespeare would not have yet tasted chocolate, sugar or even tea (as these products came to England later once the shipping trade "went global" from South America, the Caribbean and China respectively.)

Front of the Birthplace

Back of the house

Rooms inside as they might have been in Elizabethan times

Shakespeare's father made his fortune as a glove maker (he later had numerous sour business deals)

You will notice the short wooden 'poles' on the side of the bed, these were to keep one from falling out of bed as bedding used to be made of sheets stuffed with hay and animal fur, with numerous coverings of animal pelts, thus it was quite lumpy.  As well Elizabethan's slept sitting up rather then lying down as to not confuse the spirit of death into thinking they were dead!