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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Make Bradford British

What does it mean to be British?

This is the subject of the Channel 4‘s cracking new two-part series starting Thursday, which explores the very notion of British culture through the lens of Bradford, a diverse Northern English town and its residents.

I’m excited that it’s already trending big globally on Twitter and is shedding light on this national debate.

Watch the preview, take the citizenship test and see how well you fare. Post your score and I’ll share mine, too, in a bit!

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Oscars dish


Was it just me or were the Oscars more tame (and more snooze-worthy than usual) this year?

But a big congrats to Christopher Plummer for his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. I haven’t seen “Beginners” but it’s moved up my short list of films to watch pronto.
Read the rest of this entry

‘English Lit’

Have you heard of 20×200?

It’s a site which supports artists and provides affordable art in limited editions. I’ve already made one purchase and it won’t be my last!

Check out artist Jane Mount’s “English Lit,” which is the artist’s rendition of a bookshelf consisting of classic English literature including works by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.

Upstairs, Downstairs

Move over, Downton Abbey.

There’s a new (old) period drama in town: Upstairs, Downstairs.

This 1970s show has been revamped with new faces, hotter story lines and still all of the juicy class warfare that we’ve come to expect from the original.

It’s a bonafide hit in the U.K. on BBC One and one can only hope that we’ll see it via PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre before too long.

Read more about it.

Flipping the bird

Photo credit: PA

Congrats to Adele for winning two BRIT Awards Tuesday night and boldly flipping the bird, when her acceptance speech was preemptively cut short.

It does beg the question though – why did she chose her (nicely manicured) middle finger versus two fingers up, which I’ve always thought was the British way? Maybe she’s been spending too much time on our shores?!

Pancake Day Part Deux: Electric Boogaloo

Every Pancake Day, I completely forget the one sticking point to making good crepes: refrigerating the batter for two hours (or overnight). Sure, the crepes are delish but we end up late, the kitchen’s a mess, my evening downtime is wiped and so am I.

Not this year!

I did a Google search for “crepe recipe without refrigeration” and alakazam! There it was! A recipe from The Inadvertant Gardener for immediate satisfaction crepes, no refrigeration required.

It worked like a charm, crepes were on the table in less than a half hour, and I had my evening free to catch up on American Idol. All was right in the world. Props to The Inadvertant Gardener for giving me my time and life back on Pancake Day/Night. I owe you!

Basic crepes
(Based on the recipe from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything)
(Makes 10-12 crepes, depending on the size of your pan)

1 c. flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 c. milk (I used nonfat)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

Whisk the flour, salt and milk together until the mixture is bubbly. Whisk in the eggs, and then the cooled butter.

Heat a nonstick skillet (I used an 8-inch skillet) until drops of water tossed in the pan skitter across the surface. You’ll probably want to adjust the heat as you go, because you want to keep the pan very hot, but not so hot as to burn the crepes.

Using a small ladle, add somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 of a cup of batter to the pan. Swirl it so it covers the bottom. You’ll need to work quickly, because the batter should start to cook immediately, and if you don’t swirl fast, you won’t get it to cover the whole bottom of the pan. Let it cook about a minute, until the top of the crepe is starting to dry but hasn’t yet bubbled, then flip the crepe over.

Cook the second side for about 20 to 30 seconds, then remove the finished crepe to a plate. You don’t want them to be as brown as pancakes would be – just slightly golden.

Top with whatever you fancy and serve! Enjoy with American Idol!

Happy Pancake Day!

Photo credit: Chocolate & Zucchini

In honor of Shrove Tuesday, we will be dusting off the crepe pan and celebrating Pancake Day with a big stack of French-style crepes tonight. There will be lemon ones with sugar and Nutella ones.

Here’s some history of the origins of Pancake Day in the United Kingdom along with a link to the crepe recipe that we’ve used for years now, courtesy of Clotilde Dusoulier from Chocolate & Zucchini.

Happy flipping!

21st century telegrams

When I was living in the U.K., I was very surprised to hear that people were still sending telegrams.

Telegrams!?!?!!

At our wedding, they even read some telegrams out loud. Who knew this “technology” was still alive and well?! Not me …

I’ve just located a company called Red Bike Telegrams that’s taking a luxury approach to this tried and true communication – they deliver them on heavyweight card with embossed gold and red foil finish with your personal message.

This romantic correspondence can be sent in the U.K. or internationally – wherever your heart desires. Stop. Room for up to 500 characters. Stop. That’s more than a Tweet. Stop. Brilliant!

Roald Dahl stamps

The Royal Mail has just unveiled their latest tribute to children’s author Roald Dahl in a “gloriumptiously collectable” set of stamps. See them all!

I’m also loving the other accoutrements they are offering – stamp books, stamp cards, framed stamps, pin badges … everything that a Roald Dahl fan would eat up with a fork and knife (and maybe a spoon)!

Speaking of Roald Dahl, I might need to revisit some of these books from my childhood (and others that I’ve never read like “Matilda” and “The BFG”!)

Thanks to A Cup of Jo for bringing this to my attention!

I don’t like tea. I like gin.

American supermarkets would never do an advert (translation: commercial) like this, which is a shame. Aldi rules!