Monthly Archives: April 2012

Guacamole? No, roquamole!

Yesterday, we had friends over for a lazy afternoon and an early dinner. The emphasis was on simple, and so I rolled out Nigella Lawson’s roquamole.

Roquamole is her luscious blend of roquefort and avocado – certainly not traditional by a long shot, but a delicious variation on the usual. What I like about this recipe is the customization factor – in this case, I went with a gorgonzola, instead of a sharper roquefort and then subbed out the jalapeños for Ortega green chilies (since we had kids to feed and wanted to keep things on the mild side). I served this with thick tortilla chips (Casa Sanchez gruesos), along with sliced radishes and carrot sticks for dipping. Delish!

Here’s the original recipe – again, feel free to change it up a bit to make it your own. It’s very forgiving!


1 cup crumbled Roquefort or Saint Agur blue cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup sliced pickled green jalapeños from a jar
2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
1/4 teaspoon paprika
large bag of blue corn tortilla chips

1. Crumble or mash the blue cheese with the sour cream in a bowl.
2. Mash in the avocados. If they are ripe, a fork should be all you need.
3. Roughly chop the sliced jalapeños and stir them into the mixtrue along with the finely sliced scallions.
4. Arrange in the center of a plate or dish, dust with paprika, and surround with tortilla chips. Dive in.

Serves 4-6.


Happy anniversary, Will and Kate

Who can resist the Will and Kate anniversary Barbies, with presumably ambiguous anatomies?!

This Sunday, Will and Kate will celebrate their first wedding anniversary. *Collective sigh*

In celebration of this momentous occasion, Royal Wedding anniversary souvenirs are flooding the web.

You can see the tasteful selection, which include celebratory iPhone cases, pet T-shirts and Will and Kate anniversary Barbies, which I will admit to crushing on just a bit.

Shirt tale

So my husband and I have an ongoing debate over the definition of shirts. Specifically, the button-down shirt.

As an American, button-down shirts apply to anything that, well, has buttons down the front. Simple as that.

In Britain, that’s just called a “shirt” (In America, I think we think more broadly and anything that covers one’s torso falls under the “shirt” umbrella – even a shirt that resembles an umbrella). To him, a button-down shirt is a shirt that has a button-down collar.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think most Americans think this much about button-down collars. Are they popular? Does the average American give them much thought? Are they readily available? Do Americans ask for them by name?

Inquiring minds want to know – I want to know!

Brits’ favorite brands

I’ve known Brits to be pretty obsessed with Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Cadbury chocolate and Coca-Cola.

Now a marketing research agency has confirmed it.

Read the full story and see the top 20 brands that Brits can’t live without.

Home sweet Haringey

It’s been over a decade since we were living in North London, off the Green Lanes, in the Turkish neighborhood of Haringey.

It used to feel like a place you’d need a passport to get to – the antithesis of what outsiders think of traditional British – but it was an interesting place to hang a hat for a few years. Back then, it was “up-and-coming.” A little rough, yes. Colorful, certainly. But a great spot to get a kebab and homemade baklava at any time of the day or night.

I recently was Google searching to see what the neighborhood was like now. House prices have risen significantly since we were there – now a three-bedroom terraced house will sell for £380,000 (That’s $612,000!).

But I also found a little write-up on Time Out’s website, which completely captures the essence of that place when we were there.

Maybe the more things change, the more they stay the same. It was actually comforting to know it still really is “a place where you can buy offal, electrical equipment, exotic fruits and elaborate wedding cakes, often in the one shop.”

PG Tips tea advert

My MIL sent me this link to the latest PG Tips advert (translation: commercial), starring Al and Monkey. So fresh and funny!

World Book Night

Mark your calendars! Next Monday, April 23, is World Book Night.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an annual celebration to promote the value of reading and a campaign to give out free books across America! It launched last year in the U.K. for the first time and this year, they’ve expanded it to the U.S.!

See the 30 books that are this year’s picks!

I’m a little late to the party here so won’t be able to help distribute the books this year. However, I do have the evening of the 23rd set aside for reading! I’m going to dive into The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. How about you?

Good times …

Last week, a British friend took a trip up to Scotland and actually went by our old flat in Edinburgh. He was kind enough to snap a picture (we lived above the bookshops!).

What a special place it was!

We were located right in West Port, a stone’s throw from the famous Grassmarket, surrounded by plenty of independent shops, pubs and restaurants and some tremendously tasteless strip bars. Our flat was on the top floor (I feel out of breath just thinking about it! No elevators!) with a view of Edinburgh Castle (via a very small window). We opened the flat with a big, old-fashioned skeleton key.

Ah, good times …

The hunt for granary loaf

Finding granary bread is a Holy Grail kind of search in the U.S.

As I understand it, the flour can’t be sourced in the U.S. and the secret is deeply guarded in the U.K. There are plenty of imposters, but nothing like a hearty granary loaf with a crisp crust and a complex, malty, nutty and duvet-soft interior. It will literally revolutionize your idea of wheat bread, if you’re a white-bread-is-always-better believer.

I’m definitely going to buy some granary flour the next time we’re in the U.K.!

Quick translation guide

This graphic has been making the rounds online … some of it is true, some of it is pure bollocks. Guess which ones are which!