Saturday, August 14, 2010

I cook 2

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Imagine having to make a batch of homemade pierogi in someone else's kitchen?  This was what I faced when I read the Daring Cook challenge recipe about a month ago, sitting in my North American home.  Knowing that I couldn't complete the recipe before we left for London, making the recipe in the London flat kitchen was my only option.  I stared at the recipe, as it called for a pierogi form.  A pierogi form, I asked myself.  Hmm.  After staring mutely (still dumbfounded that I had to make something I could pick up at the store for about $3 and toss into boiling water and be on the couch with, within 5 minutes) at the photos given in the recipe, I realize that I had what Anula was calling a pierogi form.  Indeed, I found the little gem hidden in the dark crevices of the top shelf in the kitchen.  Again, thank you Mom.  Never used, could come in handy.  The recipe also called for the contraption that separated the egg yolk from the rest of the egg -- check.  I found that little gem in our kitchen and tossed it into the 'to pack' pile beginning to accumulate in the middle of our living room floor.

Fast forward to 2 days before the challenge due date.  London flat.  I'd forgotten the pierogi form (note that I had just stared at it and yelled to Mr. Fine that we had one earlier in the month and did not, in fact, add it to the 'to pack' pile). 

I made the potato mixture, smelling it and oohing over the fact that it smelled like the pierogis we bought at home:

I made the dough (and a mess on the counter, of course) and let it sit for 20 minutes:

Then, I rolled the dough and cut out circles using the only circle we could find in the flat: the top lip of a preserve jar (note again that I didn't bring the actual pierogi form):

I filled the pierogi, boiled them, fried them, and ate them!  The inside was delicious but the dough was a bit tough to get through.  


An interesting experience!

Should you wish to also try homemade pierogis you can find the recipe here.

Fine Divider Owl

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TDIs and 'A' Roads

Mr. Fine and I have just returned from a week long trip of toodling (if that's what you call rockin' out the Golf TDI around curvy roads at 70) around the English countryside.  We were off to get out of the city and see a few sites that we'd missed on previous trips.

You know when you rent a car and you're worried about which car goes with the set of keys that get handed to you over the counter...that feeling you have as you gaze out into the parking lot trying to match the number on the key ring with a car in the lot?  Typically when we rent cars in new cities at home we get a bigger car...more room to stow our goodies and more safe on roads (I'm typically the navigator and can *sometimes* get a wee bit mixed up).  Not this time (at least on the car size...not so much on the mix up part)!

Mr. Fine preempted these thoughts with a question to the clerk when he was retrieving the keys...and was told that we had a *good* car.  I'd say so!  We got a VW Golf TDI!  Not only would we save a boatload of money tripping around, but we'd look super cool in the English countryside.  [sure enough...we got checked out every time we parked...too bad we had to give it back after the trip!]

With the help of our fine automobile, we were able to take in lots of sites:

Highlights of our trip:

-free kit kats in the B&B fridge (it's the small things that seem to make me happy)
-the 'bah'ing sheep that serenaded us each night after returning from the pub -- completely surreal
-the best pub I've been to lately -- the Red Hart which had a mix of funk (evidenced by the Christmas lights and flowers on tables...although Mr. Fine tried to tell me that Christmas lights were not funk) and laid back (evidenced by the high number of locals and the century old wooden beams)

 And now, I'm off to review an email from Mr. Fine -- apparently he's returned to the flat, checked out the VW site in North America, and emailed us a summary of the 'car he's built for us."

Fine Divider Owl

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The one still in pajamas

Mr. Fine: What time do you want to meet?
Mrs. Fine: It doesn't matter to me.  What time is good for you?
Mr. Fine: This is for you.  So what time do you want to meet?
Mrs. Fine: Look.  You're the one working all day.  I'm the one still in my pajamas.  So what time works for you?

Yes, that is the actual conversation early this morning in our flat.  It is now approximately 4 hours later and I'm happy to report that I've changed into 'lounging and blogging' clothes and will (hopefully) change into 'other people will see me' clothes in a bit, ready for my excursion.

You see, I headed to one of London's famous markets yesterday.  After bypassing hoards of tourists who seemed to like the stores around the market better than the actual market (inept tourists!) I enjoyed a leisurely anxiety-filled 2 hour stroll through the market stalls.  Anxiety?  Yes!  You see, there was sooo much that I wanted to buy that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed!

And so, Mr. Fine has agreed to take a few hours off from working to accompany me to the market, such that I may relax enough to shop!  I'm like a kid in a candy shop when I see items that I like.  I have my eye on a few pieces of jewelery, a special notebook, and a funky pair of cuff links for Mr. Fine.

But until then, I find myself watching Deal or No Deal reruns where all characters are dressed as Alice in Wonderland characters.  Which brings me to a personal quandary: Is sitting around reading blogs and watching television a bad use of vacation time?  I've been labeled as a work-a-holic by perhaps a lounge day (or two or three) are in order.  I know that I will be swamped and working, working come the return of school.  But then, is lounging really what vacations are for?  Ahh, the guilt has set in.  Guilt over relaxing.  Better shop to ease the guilt feelings! ;)

Fine Divider Owl

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back to the haunts

Yesterday was a brilliant day!  Mr. Fine and I spent an entire day (such that we hit the max daily rate on our Oyster transit card) doing up our old haunts from when we'd lived here in London.

Mr. Fine had spent some time planning out our transit routes so that we could hit up 3 (!) branches of our favorite shop in the East end of the city.  Then, given that we maxed out our daily Oyster we bussed it over to our neighborhood home away from home for a night at one of our favorite pubs.  It's amazing what the mind remembers, as we each remembered which buses we needed to take and which stops to get off at. Overlooking the canal, Mr. Fine and I enjoyed Sunday roast and reminisced while enjoying a drink (or two).

When asked if I wanted to go see our old flat, I replied, "I'm not sure...I may cry."  Noting that he could handle the tears, Mr. Fine encouraged me and we set off for our flat.  When we lived in the flat a few years ago, there was a movement to get new windows in the entire building with the building ultimately deciding to have new windows put in within a year.  As we rounded the corner, we came upon the flat and saw no new windows.  Gazing up in silence we both took in the view.  Before walking to the river (THE favorite part of the flat was that we overlooked the Thames), Mr. Fine asked if I was okay.  "Yeah, no tears.  If there had been new windows, now that would've been a different story," I replied.  After a few quiet moments at the Thames we returned to the tube to trek back to the flat we're in this summer.

Fine Divider Owl
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