Monday, 24 May 2010

combat baby!!!

Just came back from an amazing show by one of my favourite bands - Metric.

I went armed and ready with my 3-inch heels that are actually comfy and closed toe to protect my poor feet from possible mosh-pit enthusiasts.

Jess was in flip flops.

At any rate we inadvertently pushed our way up to the front, and were about 4 or 5 people away from centre stage.

It's rare that I'll go to a concert where I know literally every single song and can sing along, albeit slightly off key. When 'Gold Gun Girls' came on, I flipped out, when 'Gimme Sympathy' was playing, I belted out the chorus... same with 'Help I'm alive'... but it was this last song, the encore set that really blew me away. It was the acoustic version of 'Combat Baby', probably the first song that drew me to Metric a few years ago.

Did a little search on trusty YouTube and found this video - amazing quality and really just captures how in synch Emily is with James Shaw, that they've finally gotten to a place where they can play an entirely different version of a fan favourite and the crowd just goes wild. I know I did.

.....strange, just looked at the published post and part of the video is cut off, check it out in full here:

Monday, 17 May 2010

chocolate cures all

I've been on a cooking kick.

I think it's partly due to my procrastination from other parts of my life, but lately, I've been doing quite a bit of cooking.

After a particularly harrowing day at work, I decided to try my hand at the classic British concoction called 'Fridge Cake'. I'd never heard of this until moving to London, and it's a treat that one of my co-workers sometimes brought into the office.

So I looked up a recipe from Britain's beloved Jamie Oliver, and stopped by the local Sainsbury's to buy the essential ingredients.

Making Chocolate Fridge Cake is my new way of de-stressing...keep reading and you'll find out why.

- 200g of chocolate
- 150g of unsalted butter, cubed into 1 inch pieces approx
- 8-10 Digestive biscuits
- a bag of dried fruit and nut trail mix
- 1 tablespoon of honey

Step One:

Put the biscuits into a ziplock bag, seal it and proceed to batter it with a blunt object. Try not to get too 'Office Space' style on it, you still want some good-sized cookie chunks in there

Step Two:

Add a handful or so of the fruit and nut mixture to the ziplock bag and set it aside.

Step Three:

Set a heat-proof bowl on top of a pot of simmering water and add the chocolate and butter in stages, melting and stirring until it's all gone.

Typically it goes something like this:
- Add a few chunks of butter and some pieces
- Stare off into space and stir
- Eat a piece of chocolate, then add some into mixture with butter
- Stir absently until done

Step Four:

Take the bowl off the pot and add in the mixture from the ziplock bag. If it seems too dry, don't add the entire contents of the bag, you can always save it for another fridge cake concoction.

Step Five:

Pour the mixture into a grease-paper lined tin and press down so that it settles into the tin

Step Six:

Put into the fridge overnight and cut into slices to enjoy!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

at work and I can't stop thinking about this....

chocolate fridge cake

wonderfully chocolately, divine, goes straight to your hips, chocolate fridge cake... and it's super easy to make

I've already made my grocery list and this time tomorrow will have a chocolate-ty treat for my co-workers.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

AAAARRRRRGGHH!!! My Viking Dinner

A trip to Sweden isn't complete without a meal of meatballs.

And with that rule in hand, I set about researching the best place to indulge in a plate of traditional meatballs without blowing my weekend budget. I wanted somewhere with atmosphere, some place more Swedish than Ikea with prices that weren't much higher.

Countless hours spent on google, lonely planet, trip advisor and forums lead myself and Tracey to Pelikan - a restaurant not only rated #17 out of 688 dining establishments on Trip Advisor, but also promised classic Swedish fare at a price that wouldn't burn a hole in my debit card.

It was a Sunday evening, and the restaurant was buzzing with diners, people waiting by the bar and waiters whizzing around - it's the kind of atmosphere that I adore when going out to eat, low candle light, tables haphazardly arranged in an intimate and comfortable setting, a constant hum of laughter and conversation and best of all - the aroma of really, really good food in the air.

We had to wait about 10 minutes for a table, so Tracey and I ordered drinks at the bar before being led to our table. Luckily Tracey was raised on the traditional Chinese diet of "we'll eat anything, especially if it's weird and really hard to get", so she was anything but a picky eater. Which was good, because I couldn't decide on an appetizer or entree.

For appetizers, we opted for a Swedish charcuterie plate and 'SOS' - a platter of pickled herring, one boiled potato and Swedish cheeses. The charcuterie had a cured ham, similar to prosciutto but slightly gamier, elk which was very gamey and one other cured meat that I can't remember.

Entrees consisted of the obligatory meal of Swedish meatballs, which came with lingonberry sauce, gravy and mashed potatoes. For those of you who've enjoyed this exact meal at Ikea in between browsing the living rooms sets and selecting shelving units, let me tell you right now, the real thing is so much better. It's like spending your life eating that really cheap ice cream we used to get in middle school (you know, the one with the wooden spoons) and then suddenly getting a pint of really good Haagen Daz ice cream. Suddenly the whole world is a different place.

Our selection for a second entree to share was boiled pork knuckle with three kinds of mustard and mashed sweet potato.

Yes, it sounds a bit disgusting, and when it arrived, it looked just like it should have, a large boiled knuckle sitting in the middle of a white plate.

But the meat just slid off the bone and melted right in your mouth. Combined with the mustard - a selection ranging from the sweet Swedish variety to the fiery hot French version, it was probably one of the best meals I've ever had. And I eat. A lot.

Somehow we rolled ourselves out of our chairs and headed back to the hostel, but not before the waiter joked that they had wheelchairs in the back in case we couldn't get up. I think he was joking at least...

Not ready to sleep, we opted to sit outside in the hostel's courtyard cafe and sip herbal tea, while eavesdropping on the other hostel guests' conversations until the food coma was too much and we staggered back to our rooms, clambered up the ladders to our respective bunk beds and passed out.