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liuzhou

Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted (edited)

It is possible that I may have escaped on the odd occasion for a pint or three of

 

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With a sister, two nieces, three great-nieces and two great-nephews in the house, I need the odd break - I'm too used to living alone, as is my mother.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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We recently celebrated the 91st birthday of one of the ladies who's a regular at my cooking classes. Your mom definitely looks younger and fitter. :)

 

I hope the rest of your visit is equally enjoyable. I live much, much closer to my extended family/childhood home, and visit far less often than I should.


"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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I like smoked fish in general but am particularly fond of smoked salmon. Mackerel I've never had. Does its reputed oiliness come through after the smoking? What was the texture like?

 

All those cheeses sound lovely. I had a wonderful time exploring the local cheese selection when I spent 6 weeks living in Yorkshire. Will you be able to take cheese home with you?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I like smoked fish in general but am particularly fond of smoked salmon. Mackerel I've never had. Does its reputed oiliness come through after the smoking? What was the texture like?

 

All those cheeses sound lovely. I had a wonderful time exploring the local cheese selection when I spent 6 weeks living in Yorkshire. Will you be able to take cheese home with you?

 

The smoked mackerel isn't so oily as the fresh version, not that I mind fresh mackerel. I would describe the texture as firm and flaky without being dry or hard. The ones I bought were simply fish, salt, black pepper and smoke. Some contain colouring and preservatives, so it's worth being careful.

 

Sadly, I can't take cheese home to China. I could barely take it home from the cheese shop to my mother's place 10 minutes away without eating it all,  never mind 8000 miles!


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Posted (edited)

I've been a bit tied up in family stuff with little of culinary interest going on. Sister continues to "cook".

 

This was all made elsewhere and heated up rather than cooked at home. except the boiled potatoes. That said it was good!

 

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The steak pie was made in-store by a local independent butcher and was lovely. The peas and cabbage were frozen.

 

I was offered a "dessert" from a local bakery - a classic strawberry tart. I passed. Far too sweet for me.

 

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Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Posted (edited)

I have uncovered a bizarre custom among the natives. But first I have to explain a peculiar anthropological oddity. And an economic one.

 

A) Founded 75 years ago, Greggs is described by Wikinonsense as "the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom", which may be technically correct but a bit misleading. They don't sell cakes and bread like a normal bakery shop might. In fact, it's more like a café, selling pies, sandwiches etc. and  especially sausage rolls.  They sell over two million sausage rolls a year.

 

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In 2012, ""Pasty Gate" erupted when the Conservatve government decided to start taxing the take away products. This prompted a nationwide near-revolution and the tax threat withdrawn. That is democracy! Hands off our pies!

 

B) Scotland and England have different banknotes. English banknotes are accepted all over, but Scotland bank notes are often refused in England. It is an odd situation in that technically Scottish notes aren't legal tender in England. In fact, they aren't even legal tender in Scotland! The term "legal tender" is almost meaningless in UK law.

 

Scottish banknotes are accepted in very few overseas banks. I can't change them in China. Only Bank of England notes are accepted.

 

Anyway, I decided to take one for eG and sample this unique, exotic foodstuff - the Gregg's sausage roll. I strolled in and asked for two to take away (eating them on premises attract VAT at 20%). I brandished the only currency I had (apart from some Chinese renminbi and Hong Kong dollars), a £50 note.  The woman looked concerned, wandered away behind the scenes and returned to apologise, but they couldn't accept my money (despite being an English company). I explained that I had no other method of payment (after decades abroad, I have no UK cards or anything else. She sympathised but her hands were tied. First time I've had English money refused.

 

I handed her back my two rolls which she had already wrapped. "No", she explained, "We can't accept the cash, but you can take the sausage rolls anyway!"

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Free sausage roll!

 

The rolls were good (free stuff always tastes best!). Nice flaky pastry, well spiced filling and not at all greasy as some can be. 

 

I then felt thirsty. Fortunately I spotted a nearby pub I've never visited. That'll do. The barman looked vaguely familiar, but I dismissed that. I ordered my statutory Guinness. When it was handed over, I made to pay (with a Scottish  note. My £50 note had been accepted in a book shop where I had made a purchase).

 

"No. This one is on me," the barman said!

 

I was beginning to think I was stuck in some prank for a reality television show, when he reminded me that we had met a week ago in the hotel where I was hiding from my mother. He was bar minding there as a second job. We had conversed in the hotel about why I was in Scotland and he had been entertained by the story and wanted to buy me my pint in thanks.

 

Still. An odd day!

 

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Free Beer

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Posted (edited)

Yesterday, I visited a historical landmark 4 miles from my mother's home.

 

Falkland Palace was home to the Scottish royal family, particularly James IV then James V, the latter being father to Mary Queen of Scots. She certainly visited the palace, but never lived there. Same with her son, James VI who became King James I of England on the death of Elizabeth I in 1603.

 

I was lucky in that, as only happens occasionally, a local society were staging historical re-enactment day. This included an element of culinary history, so I'm posting it here.

 

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Falkland village square with the royal palace in the distance (centre)

 

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Ruins

 

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Mary, Queen of Scots' death mask

 

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Kitchen

 

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Cooker

 

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Resting Cooks

 

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Lunchtime

 

 

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Happy and Full

 

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The Bar

 

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Edited by liuzhou (log)
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What a great trip. Many of my ancestors were Scots. I will go one day soon.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

I finally managed to post the video showing my mother spotting me at her surprise 90th birthday party in Scotland. She thought I was in China.

 

 

Wonderful! thanks for posting it.

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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I finally managed to post the video showing my mother spotting me at her surprise 90th birthday party in Scotland. She thought I was in China.

 

Lovely indeed!

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💗

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And this old porch is like a steaming greasy plate of enchiladas,With lots of cheese and onions and a guacamole salad ...This Old Porch...Lyle Lovett

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Posted (edited)
On 7/7/2019 at 8:08 PM, liuzhou said:

I have uncovered a bizarre custom among the natives. 

20190706_105030.thumb.jpg.e5491e2fc26943e99710dad3ef1f428b.jpg

 

 

I am only mildly ashamed to say its one of the first places I head when on home soil and wanting nostalgia. 2 Sausage Rolls, 25 mins of flaky Bliss. 45 minutes picking crumbs out of my décolletage and the rest of the evening explaining to my husband why I "don't look at him like that". 😂🤷‍♀️


Edited by CantCookStillTry (log)
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Posted (edited)

I'm posting this from a train from Scotland to London. Entering phase 2 of my UK visit.

 

Last night, I had my last supper in Scotland, at least for this trip. I had very consciously saved the best for last.

 

A short way north of my mother's home is the small fishing town of Arbroath, which I visited. This is, of course, famous for Arbroath smokies. These are smoked haddock, but raised to the heights of grandeur. The smoking process means that they are sold ready to eat, so they only require heating up under a grill/broiler with a bit of butter and pepper.

 

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These are amost the ony thing that would induce me to live in the UK again.

 

Heaven on a plate!

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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You are killing me Liuzhou! Brown bread, Smoked haddock, bit of butter and Pepper. After school snack presented weekdays by my Grandmother. 

As an aside, I paid my way through Uni as a Bookie, and £50 notes were treated with much suspicion. I had to scribble on each one with a fraud pen infront of the punter. They weren't that common even in England. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, CantCookStillTry said:

"punter"

 

 

I love British slang.  (or jargon, whichever)

 


Edited by lindag (log)
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Posted (edited)

I'm in that London. Been lying low. We're having an unexpected heatwave and I'm just sitting in my daughter's garden catchng up on 12 years.

 

Not much happening on a culinary front. Lots of salads. Last night she did what I think are burritos of some sort. Very tasty. I know nothing about Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisines; there were no such thing in London when I left 25 years ago, but they are everywhere now. None in China outside of Shanghai.

 

Yesterday, I went on a tour of my old haunts. Didnt 'eat anything, but some things of associated interest. At random.

 

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This was a small "farmer's market" near my old home. Not a farmer in sight, but obviously popular food place near London University

 

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Legendary Hungarian restaurant which closed a few years back. Terrible food, but the centre of left wing politics in London in its day.

 

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My Favourite Whisky Shop Anywhere.

 

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Cutting to the Chase

 

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Wicked Window

 

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Great French restaurant, Soho, London

 

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My Favourite Coffee Shop

 

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I guess this is not well known outside the UK, but this is where pre-Beatles British Rock 'n Roll began. I'm sure the Chinese tourists I met there had no idea what the siginificance was.

 

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This shop has more spitits/hard liquor from around the world than anywhere else, I'd wager. Another London legend.

 

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No Caption Necessary

 

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The only remaining vegetable stall in the famous, wonderful Berwick Street Market, London. Killed by property developers. The stall holder is involved in a huge legal case, claiming rights going back centuries.

 

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London's Best Oyster Bar. Been there decades. Still No. 1

 

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London's Best Italian Deli. Once threatened; now protected by law! A venerable institution still in the same family, but older than anything in the street.

 

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Soho Michelin Star

 

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Happy Hour

 

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Finally, I get a star. I'm going to print this out and hang it in my kitchen!

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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I'm loving this walk down your memory lane.  

 

Gosh, 12 years since you've seen your daughter.  I get it--I live one state over from my mom and only see her once a year (all my fault--she's the one that comes to me).  You guys must be having such great talks.

 

Tell us that you bought something from Enrique Tomas.  Or at least lie to us.

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39 minutes ago, Shelby said:

 

Tell us that you bought something from Enrique Tomas.  Or at least lie to us.

I would pitch a tent and live in that store...

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1 hour ago, Shelby said:

Tell us that you bought something from Enrique Tomas.  Or at least lie to us.

 

I bought that barrel sitting outside the shop. It's home to a live pig and acorns, but I'll try to roll it past Chinese customs. They'll never notice.

 

This may be a lie.

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Lunch today with a very old and dear friend I haven't seen for about 20 years. I don't mean she's very old. Just our friendship.

 

We went to an old haunt. I lived nearby for longer than I've ever lived in any one house.

 

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Jai Krishna, 161 Stroud Green Road, London N4, United Kingdom. Last time I was there was about 30 years ago and Annie Lennox was sitting at the next table.

 

We ate:

 

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"Papri Chaat - Papri refers to crispy dough wafers served with potatoes, chillies, yoghurt and tamarind chutney, topped with pomegranate seeds."

 

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My favourite!  Kachories. Lightly spiced lentils in pastry, deep fried and served with tamarind sauce.

 

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Thali - Papadam (not pictured), Mixed Vegetable Curry, Tarka Dal, Chickpea (Garbanzo) Curry, Boiled Rice, 3 Poori, Yogurt, Mango Chutney and Sweet.

 

Like idiots who had never been there before, we ordered one thali each (as they were advertised in terms of serving size). Each could easily feed two to three people, so friend went home with more food than we ate.

 

Good day.

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Yesterday (Sunday) was a family day. I'm staying with my daughter and her partner and her daughter, my eldest granddaughter visited. Her younger sister couldn't make it as she lives 400 miles away. Also, my son, his wife and two kids came. I'd never met my grandson before.

 

Lunch time in the garden.

 

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Son, Wife and Family

 

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Two youngest grandchildren

 

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Daughter (right), Son (Centre), Daughter's partner (Left)

 

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Eldest Granddaughter

 

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My daughter cooked enough food for twenty! Good day!

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