Tuesday, December 26, 2006

1st freelance gig in London

Although things have been very hectic with work, I submitted my first freelance piece for the website, All in London. "First rate" was the response and here's how you get paid. I won't be going anywhere on the proceeds but it's a beginning.

It's a piece on how to keep your New Year's resolutons in London.

So you’ve survived the silly season. You bargain shopped at the post-Christmas sales, you’re back on speaking terms with your family and your work mates have stopped ribbing you about that unfortunate incident with your boss. With 2007 in sight, you’ve been planning your New Year’s Eve, juggling invitations, and hoping that this year’s party will be better than last’s.

When the clock climes midnight, most of us will make some type of New Year’s resolution, fuelled by some bubbly and the euphoria of the moment. The passing of one year to the next only occurs once a year, so why not celebrate. The revellers among us will come up with some of the tried and true resolutions, those that make the following top ten list. Others armed with a bottle of vintage bubbles, pen and paper, will scribe their reflections into the night.

Such heady optimism rarely translates into reality. Our resolutions are often forgotten or dismissed as too hard in the light of New Year’s Day. So if you want to get over the 02 January hump, here are some suggestions that will take your resolutions well into the New Year.

Go to www.allinlondon.co.uk/life (for the full text).

As for my own resolutions for 2007, well top of the list is to do more writing.

The festive season: Christmas 2006

A Boxing Day recovery after a fabulous meal by first time Christmas cooks – Juliet and Ian.

With no public transport in London, I walked from Kensington to Battersea, stopping off to admire the Thames on what was a very mild winter’s day.

On arrival, I was promptly given a glass of champagne and the day only got better from there. I inspected the turkey that had been lovingly dressed in stripy bacon and then happily settled into the role of guest.

Presents had arrived from Australia – a smashing Helen Kaminski hat from Kate, some beautiful earrings from Chris and Gerard, and even a Santa sack full of games and Australia fare. I was touched and overwhelmed.

Lunch was a leisurely affair – a day of eating and drinking.

The turkey was presented with roast potatoes and parsnips (cooked in goose fat), brussel sprouts and carrots. There was bread sauce as well as cranberry. The wine was from Coonawarra from the Majella winery – a very nice, peppery shiraz. We followed with a piece of pud (well two servicings actually) served with brandy butter and cream. Very extravagant but delicious.

It was such a wonderful family day. One that began with a call to Melbourne where I spoke to my Mum and Dad, Finn, Stephanie and Andrew, my grandmother, John and Sue and then another call to Joan and Brian.

Here's me looking a little festive.
It's been a big year. Next stop on the food tour will be Venice.

London foodblog

So, what’s a girl to do when she arrives in London and wants to find like-minded foodies to discover her new city with. Well, she sets up a food group doesn’t she!

The idea for the London food blog started with an idea back in Melbourne. The dilemma of any self-respecting foodie is finding out where to eat. You’ve arrived, found your hotel and unpacked. Next item on the agenda is: where do the locals eat? Thus starts your epicurious adventure.

The tourist menus, including those two for the price of one, hold no interest. Nor do we feel inclined to book into a Michelin star restaurant, however tempting. We aren’t denying that a world trip exclusively devoted to eating at the world’s top 100 restaurants wouldn’t be a good thing. No, the joy of travelling is discovering local places – a fantastic deli, a specialist food store or restaurant much loved and frequented.

So who are we? The London food blog is a group of hungry writers, wine enthusiasts and the food curious that like the idea of exploring the city they live in. Some of us are from the Isles and others of us are foreigners who arrived and just want to stay. Our quest is to produce a local local’s guide to London eating as we follow our noses and our stomachs to explore the celebrated, hidden and recognised food haunts of London.

Stay tuned in 2007 for a new horizon of culinary adventures.

Eating London: my first visitor

My dear friend Jane arrived from the Netherlands several weeks ago to spend her first weekend in London. Her arrival gave me my first opportunity to play tour guide. I picked her up at Liverpool Station with the inspired idea of taking her to the Spitalfields organic market. I had vision of cooking an organic dinner to share with my friend, Lani. Unfortunately, the market was closed for renovations. Not deterred by this first setback as a tour guide, I embraced the role with enthusiasm.

A ride through London on a double-decked bus offered a view of London not normally seen on my daily meanders. Although cold (and I stress cold), it was a real highlight of the trip.

We took a boat down the Thames and lunched courtesy of Harrods food hall – a delicious omelette filled with salmon dressed with dill accompanied by a mushroom and green bean and a chicken and mango salad.

Dessert was courtesy of the Queen’s chocolatiers – Charbonnel & Walker.

A trip to Liberty proved another opportunity to lunch as well as do some wedding dress research for Jane. My roast vegetable salad was all elegance – beautiful presented and served with a chestnut salad with maple cider dressing. Jane ordered a duck salad.

To continue the indulgence of the previous day, scones were ordered with a selection of specialist jams - rose petal jam, organic gooseberry and strawberry preserves, and clotted cream (my first taste of this celebrated English produce).