Monthly Archives: February 2013

100 most powerful women in the U.K.

The QueenIf you’ve wondered who are the real movers and shakers in the U.K., look no further than the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List.

Topping the list is the Queen, with other notables including J.K. Rowling, Adele and Victoria Beckham (AKA Posh Spice). Kate Middleton is noticeably absent from the top 100, which has created a bit of controversy since she is nothing if not influential.

Take a look at the list! What do you think?

What is love?

Happy Valentine’s Day! I had to share this video that I watched this morning – a tremendous reminder of the power of love. *Sigh*

Snow! Then rain! Then sun!

snow in UK

Snow has hit the U.K. big time this week, with as much as six inches in some parts, creating traffic gridlock.

Heavy rains are expected to follow this evening (with flood warnings in effect in the Midlands, the South West and East Anglia), followed then by uncharacteristically warm weather by Thursday. Temperatures are predicted to reach 54 F in the South West, 52 F in London and 48 F in the North, Midlands and Scotland.

Talk about temperamental weather. The only thing missing is the heat wave! Maybe next week?

Happy Pancake Day!

Did you read this book as a child? This cover brings back so many memories!

Did you read this book as a child? This cover brings back so many memories!

It’s that time again! Pancake Day (AKA Shrove Tuesday)! Last year, I shared our go-to crepe recipe, courtesy of Chocolate & Zucchini. This year, I’m tempted to try this fool-proof (well, we’ll just see about that!) recipe from The Guardian.

Makes about 8

125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
225ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
Small knob of butter

1. Sift the flour in a large mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre, and pour the egg and the yolk into it. Mix the milk with 2 tbsp water and then pour a little in with the egg and beat together.

2. Whisk the flour into the liquid ingredients, drawing it gradually into the middle until you have a smooth paste the consistency of double cream. Whisk the rest of the milk in until the batter is more like single cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

3. Heat the butter in a frying pan on a medium-high heat – you only need enough fat to just grease the bottom of the pan. It should be hot enough that the batter sizzles when it hits it.

4. Spread a small ladleful of batter across the bottom of the pan, quickly swirling to coat. Tip any excess away. When it begins to set, loosen the edges with a thin spatula or palette knife, and when it begins to colour on the bottom, flip it over with the same instrument and cook for another 30 seconds. (If you’re feeling cocky, you can also toss the pancake after loosening it: grasp the handle firmly with both hands, then jerk the pan up and slightly towards you.)

Horsing around

AP Photo/Scott Heppell

Findus Beef Lasagne now with 100 percent more horse. AP Photo/Scott Heppell

Imagine tucking into a frozen lasagne, only to discover later that the 100 percent beef you were eating had trace amounts of horse meat.

And then imagine finding out even later that the so-called trace amount was actually more like 100 percent horse meat.

Such is the scandal that is rocking the U.K. in a country of horse lovers, and it doesn’t stop there. The horse meat that was labelled as beef has also appeared on other products made by Findus and Comigel, which have also been pulled from shelves across France. Investigations into the supply chain have found that the horse meat originated in Romania.

Here’s what I’ve learned since this story broke:

1. This is what horse meat looks like.
2. This is what horse meat tastes like.
3. These are the countries who like horse meat.
4. These are the health risks of eating horse meat.

I don’t know about you, but this story has really put me off lasagne. 🙂

(What’s the story) Morning Glory?

Oasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory?On a recent episode of “Girls,” “Wonderwall” by Oasis was played and it immediately brought back a flood of memories from my time at uni (translation: university).

If you haven’t heard the album “(What’s the story) Morning Glory?”, check it out. (I’m listening to it on Spotify today.) Oasis is an amazing band and this album is legendary in my mind.

Favorite tracks include “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” “Champagne Supernova” and “She’s Electric.”

Return to sender

Royal Mail

This week, a Christmas card reappeared in my mailbox – a card I had sent on Dec. 3 to friends in the U.K.

Nearly two months later to the day, it was sent back with a simple “Addressee unknown,” even though the address was technically correct. The only things missing were the post code and county (but honestly, Royal Mail workers are usually amazing super sleuths. I’ve heard stories of mail getting to its correct location in the U.K. with little more than the person’s name, the house name (Brits love to name their house! Things like “Woodlynch” and “Swallow’s Peak” and really anyone can name their house anything in the world they like! Imagine that!) and the post code.

Not sure what happened this time around, but disappointing nonetheless!

Take the new U.K. citizenship test

Life in the UKHave you heard that the British government is its “Life in the U.K.” handbook and test for those seeking to become British citizens or settle in the U.K. permanently?

The new handbook and test focuses on British history and culture, with questions about sports, music, humor and historical figures.

Try taking a sample test and see how you do! (I got 10 out of 10!)

New music: The Intermission Project

A friend in the U.K. posted about this new British band from Kent called The Intermission Project. I like their sound. It’s been described as a little Mumford & Sons with soul and I think that’s spot on.

Candy Review of Marvellous Creations: Jelly Popping Candy and Beanies

Marvellous Creations

A few weeks ago, I did a candy review of Marvellous Creations: Jelly Popping Candy and Beanies, a Pop Rocks-infused milk chocolate from New Zealand, made by the British chocolate giant Cadbury. This weekend, I tried the second in the collection. Marvellous Creations: Jelly and Crunchie Bits. This one is similar to the previous iteration, with the exception of shards of honeycomb bits, like a Cadbury Crunchie Bar, in lieu of the Pop Rocks. It has a crunchy crisp rice texture you might get in a Nestle Crunch, but a little more crunchy and sweet.

I’ve always been a little fascinated by the use of said honeycomb and chocolate in the U.K., an ingredient absent from the U.S. candy market. If you haven’t tried it, it’s interesting, light and airy, but satisfyingly crunchy.

A big thanks again to my sister-in-law for sending the candy!