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Saturday, 30 January 2010

Tea at Mandarin Oriental/ マンダリン・オリエンタルでアフタヌーン・ティー

I know that I will get some criticism, especially from my family and my girl friends.
I went for another Afternoon Tea today...  at The Mandarin Oriental.

It was for work..!! (and yes, I think I can be excused as long it is for work)

I quite liked their scones.
I am actually impressed by myself that I could still eat scones with clotted cream, after that trip to Devon and Cornwall (this morning, I even did a clotted cream tasting, trying three different brands).
At Mandarin Oriental, they serve both strawberry jam and rose petal jam.  I think it's a nice touch for those who like rose-flavoured foods and drinks.  Sadly, I am not one of them, so I stuck to good old strawberry jam.

First they brought three pastries to share between two of us.  However, seeing that there were more, I asked for the entire selection...

The pastries were pretty and delicately made, but were slightly over-inventive to my taste (mascarpone cream with plum compote infused with lavender encased in white chocolate, with a base of shortbread..).  I did try all of them.. and felt sick afterwards.
So did my husband.

We skipped dinner that night..









Friday, 29 January 2010

Devon & Cornwall 3: The end of the road trip/ 減速最終日

When we woke up in the morning, it was dark, wet and windy outside.  Our B&B was in Truro, and the owner lady told us that it would be blustery in Lizard, where we were going to go.  Brrrr.

However, we set off to Lizard - towards the end of the peninsula.  We were visiting Gwavas Jersey Farm, where they make clotted cream and milk.  I was expecting to see something a bit more automated than the previous day's farm, but I was wrong.  At Gwavas, they make clotted cream in an even more traditional way.

Here are the young cows- they were so cute!  The grown ones looked indifferent to people, but the babies were curious, and loved to come and lick our hands.

(I have a restriction to what I can show- since what will be in the magazine article cannot be posted here before the next issue comes out.  That's why I cannot post the photos of the clotted cream making.  sorry!!)

We then headed back to Exeter.  The drive was pretty long, and we didn't have time to stop for lunch.  It actually felt almost good to starve myself a bit, after overstuffing myself with cream and sugar for two days.

At one point, we stopped at a farm shop, where I saw some cute piggies..

I sometimes dream of having a little pig for a pet, but perhaps that will be the day I will never touch bacon or sausages again.  Not sure if I have the strength of will (yet).

We then carried on to Exeter, went back to Georgian Tearoom and had quick lunch at 3pm.  I had vegetable soup: anything veggy sounded good.  I must have been having 1/10 of my normal vegetable intake during  these three days.

We then headed for the station - where we nearly missed the train, but caught it just in time by running... Phew!

That night, I had a near-vegetarian dinner from our neighbouring Lebanese restaurant.  It felt soooo good..












Thursday, 28 January 2010

Devon & Cornwall 2:Surf and Turf and Clotted Cream/ 偏食グルメツアー続行

The second day of our journey..
We started with a good breakfast - there were many choices, but Miss Photographer and I went for kipper fillet with poached egg, while M. Editor ordered porridge.

  • I don't know when I'm going to have lunch - I want to have something substantial
  • I DO KNOW that I will have lots of carb and sugar today - I want to have savoury protein-rich breakfast
.. were the thoughts that I went through my mind.
Little did I know what awaited me.

When we finished the breakfast, we set off to the town of Padstow, to visit Chough's Bakery.
There, they were baking their award-winning pasties, and a wonderful aroma filled the entire shop, as we walked in.  Even after such a hearty breakfast, it made my mouth water.

So, we couldn't say NO, when Elaine, the shop owner offered us three small (yeah, small..) pasties.  We ate them in the car - just an hour after our breakfast.
We then visited the factory where the Bakery bake their saffron bread, and tasted their scones - needless to say, with lots of clotted cream and jam.  We decided that our lunch was already finished, by 9.30 am.

We then headed over to a small farm called Hellsett Farm.  They make ice cream, yoghurt, and clotted cream, all organic.  It was fascinating to see how clotted cream is made.  I just love seeing things being produced (especially food).
They kindly gave us some freshly-made clotted cream and drinking yoghurt (yummy), and we moved on to our next destination.

Our final stop that day was Charlotte's Tea Room in Truro.  Charlotte's is a Victorian-style tearoom, old-fashioned but in an elegant way.  We tried another scone with clotted cream and jam..  well, it was only our third scone in two days.

When we got to the B&B after Charlotte's, we discussed where we should go for dinner, and M. Editor said he wanted to go back to Padstow, to try the Fish & Chips at Rick Stein's chippy.  He recently learned how to make "professional" fish & chips, and wanted to try Rick Stein's.  So, we drove for about 45min back to the seaside town of Padstow.

This was what it looked like..

It was good.  I had cod, and I think it was the best fish & chips I have ever had (not that I have tried that many in my life though).  I could tell that the cod was fresh and good quality, but M. Editor was not too satisfied with the chips, and said his own were better.

So, on day two, I had two meals consisting of fish, and one with meat, and even had sweet treats... I shouldn't complain..  or should I...



  • いつお昼が食べられるか分からない→ ちゃんとしっかりと朝ごはんを食べとかないと
  • 炭水化物・糖分過多は必須 → 糖分は控えて、たんぱく質を摂っておかなきゃ










Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Devon & Cornwall 1: The sweet beginning of the journey/甘い旅の始まり

I left Paddington station at 7.30 this morning.  I took the train with a lady photographer, heading for Exeter, Devon.  It was my first business trip as a journalist..

We were going to travel through Devon and Cornwall, visiting tearooms and bakeries looking for regional sweet treats, as well as farms to observe clotted cream-making.  I have been working on the research since December, and was looking forward to the trip.
Luckily, the clouds cleared as we approached Exeter, where we were picked up by the Editor of the magazine, who flew in from Japan a few days ago.

These are the scones from our first stop, Georgian Tearoom.  These were home-made by Heather, the owner lady, and were very good.  As you can see, they were so big - compared to the ones I had at Lanesborough Hotel's Afternoon Tea a few days ago, they were about three times bigger.
Served with a cloud of Devonshire clotted cream and Heather's home-made strawberry jam, it became my lunch, and kept my hunger until about 6pm.

Having driven many many miles and eaten just scones for lunch, we decided to have something healthy and hearty for dinner.  We were already in Cornwall, and so decided to have fish.  It's Cornwall, there must be good seafood.

...Yes, we did have fish for dinner, which was not too exciting but not bad.
What I did not expect was that dessert was compulsory..  but after all, we were after sweet treats, weren't we?

I ordered Sticky Toffee Pudding, perhaps because I haven't had it for a long time.  I think I won't have another STP for at least three years..  No, it wasn't bad.  It was just gigantic.

Of course, I did not (could not) finish it.  Monsieur Editor struggled with his huge slab of black treacle sponge, and Miss photographer could not demolish her block of caramel, sitting on cooked apple either.

That was the end of day one of our sweet journey...











Monday, 25 January 2010

Tea at Lanesborough/ レーンズボローホテルでアフタヌーン・ティー

Today, I went to have afternoon tea at The Lanesborough Hotel with my good friend, Momo.  We studied at Cordon Bleu together, and she is.. the pastry chef at Berkeley Hotel who makes the world-famous (I'm sure I can say this) Pret-a-Portea.

It was fun to have afternoon tea with someone who shares the same kind of passion - i.e. someone who wouldn't mind breaking down all the pastries in pieces trying to identify whether the "berry-ish stuff" is blueberry, cherry or black currant, and asking for more pastries.  Chatting with your girl friend, listening to the piano in the beautiful room..  It really was fun.

We ordered Afternoon Blend and Breakfast blend, and after a short while, the pre-dessert (apricot compote with milk chocolate ganache)  arrived, followed by the three-tiered stand.  From the bottom: sandwiches and quiche, butter cakes in the middle, and small pastries on the top.  Yum.

These are their scones.  Small, light, crusty, melt-in-the-mouth.  Love it.

I liked that the scones come with lemon curd, as well as with strawberry jam.  I really enjoy the tang of lemon curd, which cuts the richness of the clotted cream.  Strawberry jam is the classic match, but I like this twist.

I think my favourite was the petit mont-blanc, which was using half (or one) macaroon.  It was very delicate and cute, and tasted very nice too.  The other patisseries were all very delicate, inventive and creative- I have met the pastry chef, Tal, and I can tell that she is a very talented patissiere!

At The Lanesborough afternoon tea is served only from 4pm. I felt it was rather late, and also short, as it only runs until 6pm.  However, at least I could use my time rather efficiently that way.  The only thing is that you get really hungry, so it is difficult to skip lunch, and of course you'll end up skipping dinner!  I just had salad this evening.. 

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今日はコルドン・ブルーで同級生だった、Momo とレーンズボロー・ホテルでアフタヌーン・ティーを楽しんできました。
Momo は、あの有名な(!)バークレイ・ホテルのアフタヌーン・ティー、「プレタ・ポルティー」を手がけているパティシエです。同じ情熱というかこだわりというか、を持つ相手とアフタヌーン・ティーに行くのは楽しいものです。二人で思う存分、ケーキをつついて材料やら構造やらを分析しました。「このゼリーはチェリーか、ブルーベリーか、それともカシスか?」とか言いながら。追加もたくさんお願いしてしまいました。





Sunday, 24 January 2010

週末ランチ/Sunday Lunch (NOT roast..)






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We had guests for lunch (kind of... at 4pm..) today.

I am not really used to inviting people - because we/ I have been living in places where I could hardly invite people over (in most cases I had a tiny kitchen with little storage, so I didn't have enough plates and glasses..).
Do people normally cook something they are used to cooking, for dinner/ lunch parties?  Hmmm, in my case, I take advantage of the occasion, and cook something I've been wanting to try.
Above is a Sardine Tart (more like savoury cake)- from a wonderful restaurant recipe website, SOU.  This site has helped me so much for Confit de Canard too.  I wish I had a smaller tin, so that the end result was a bit thicker.

This is the chicken terrine I made.  It took some time, but it was not difficult, and tasted good.
Perhaps it would have tasted even nicer if I used better chicken - next time, I shall get some from the butcher, not the supermarket...  This also is from SOU's recipe!  It really is a wonderful website :)

I actually made some grilled chicory and tarte tatin, but we demolished them all before I remembered to take pictures..  Well, good proof that it was not bad, I suppose?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Guilty Apple Crumble/ 禁断のアップル・クランブル

Today I made apple crumble - with some feeling of guilt...

I had one afternoon tea last week, and another this week.  Four more are lined up in the coming weeks, not to mention some cream teas as well (and these are all for work).
Putting on weight is not something that might happen - it is something that WILL happen - if I don't try to stop it from happening...
(For non-UK residents: Afternoon Tea consists of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and some pastries.  Cream Tea is tea and scones only).

Therefore, I am on a strict - well, kinda -  "don't bake any cake or cookies" scheme right now.
It's really hard..  :(

So...  I was making rhubarb jam, and baking quiche for dinner, and was trying to convince myself that it was just like making pastries..  didn't work.

And, before I even realised it, apple crumble was in the oven.  Well... apple crumble isn't really a cake.. is it??
I use brown sugar for the crumble, add some walnuts, and serve with greek yhoghurt, instead of custard or creme fraiche (ok, because I couldn't find creme fraiche at Tesco Metro..)
So..  even if this is against my scheme.. I think I can call it a healthy dessert...  I think..

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(* クリーム・ティーとは: アフタヌーン・ティーはお茶・サンドイッチ・スコーン・プチケーキから成りますが、クリーム・ティーはお茶とスコーンのみ。クロテッドクリームとジャムが付いてきます)


しかし...何か作りたい!! 何か焼きたい!!!!! (←ちょっと危険)






Sunday, 17 January 2010

Madly in love with rhubarb/ 熱愛ルバーブ

Since I started writing this blog, I realised that I have more "obsessions" than I thought...
And rhubarb is definitely one of them.

This is forced rhubarb from Yorkshire, which is grown in the dark- and harvested by candle light.

I used to think that rhubarb was a summer thing (vegetable, strictly speaking).  Then after a while, I realised that there was something called "forced rhubarb" that starts appearing from early spring.  They are pink- not like the summer ones that are slightly red towards the root, and mainly green.

And, there is also ruby-red rhubarb.  Just like asparagus, apparently rhubarb gets green when the stems are exposed to sunlight.  One day, someone found out that rhubarb that grew under the chimney pot left up-side-down was very red, tender, and tasted less acidic.  That is how they came to start growing rhubarb in the dark.

I really really love this rhubarb.  When I see it in the market at the beginning of the season, ..  I HAVE TO HAVE IT.

It is so brightly red that you almost cannot believe that it is a natural colour.  Your disbelief grows even more when you cook it- it becomes electric pink..

This is my home-made forced rhubarb jam- which we enjoy with yoghurt.  It looks like this...  quite spooky.. very inedible-looking, I must say..

BUT, it is really good!!

Great info on forced rhubarb in Yorkshire..  I don't mind paying a premium price for something as special as this..

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英語ですが、促成ルバーブに興味のある方はこちらを ↓↓