Monthly Archives: March 2013

Do Brits color eggs for Easter?

Easter coloring kit

If you ever wondered if Brits colored eggs in the PAAS style that is so popular in U.S. during Easter, well not so much.

You can buy the kits, but British eggs are brown, which presents its own challenges. It might be the reason for the lagging sales in egg coloring kits.

At any rate, have a wonderful Easter weekend! See you back on Monday!

Advertisements

18 weird and wonderful British foods you need to try

Cranachan: Whiskey, cream, raspberries and toasted oatmeal are layered in a tall glass.

Cranachan: Whiskey, cream, raspberries and toasted oatmeal are layered in a tall glass.

Thanks, Buzzfeed, for this entertaining list! I’ve  only had #13 before, and will never ever ever eat #7!

What to bring back from the U.S.?

If you are a Brit, what would you most like me to bring you from the U.S.?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this since we’ll be visiting and want to have hostess gifts at the ready (yes, I said hostess gifts, not Hostess gifts, people!). Here’s what I’ve settled on:
Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter
1. See’s candy. I clearly don’t understand this when Brits have much better chocolate than we do, but it’s been requested before.
2. Ziplock bags. They’ve got nothing over there like Ziplock.
3. Covermate Food Covers. So much better than Saran Wrap.
4. Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter. I have no idea if Brits like this, but I like this and mentally thank its inventor every day.
5. Clothing. Shoes, jeans, whatever! I take requests!

What am I missing? What would you most want from the U.S.?

Banana bread and the Brits

Banana breadLast week, I blogged about a new banana bread recipe I tried, which got me thinking … do Brits eat banana bread? Did it originate in America? And is this one our American culinary contributions that Brits have embraced like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

After doing a little research, I found a Guardian article that answered all of my questions and more. It did, in fact, originate stateside.

“Banana bread as we know it doesn’t appear in cookbooks until the 1930s. Food history website foodtimeline.org suggests that although it’s sometimes attributed to thrifty housewives looking to use up overripe fruit, all evidence points to the fact it was developed by banana companies to promote their wares – indeed ‘in the 1950s banana bread was actively promoted in nationally syndicated television cooking shows.’ Jane Grigson writes in her Fruit Book that it appeared in [the U.K.] after the war, when West Indian bananas returned to the shops – presumably once everyone had gorged themselves on the fruit in its natural state, they began to seek other ways to make the most of it.

Also it’s interesting to note that British recipes for banana bread usually includes baking powder, instead of baking soda (the recipe I tried last week was very American and included baking soda), which usually lends to a lighter, fluffier cake.

Banana bread serendipity

This week, I had an excess of slightly over ripe bananas and the desire to do some baking. What to do?

IMG_0415

That same day, Ally from A Girl and Her Fork blogged about a recipe for banana bread that she had tried and loved. Simple ingredients, straightforward instructions. Bingo! I was sold. I made it the very next day.

The banana bread was legendary. Super moist, lots of depth of flavor, crispy on the edges, just delicious! If you’re in search for a go-to easy banana bread recipe, here’s the one!

Julia’s Best Banana Bread (Bon Appetit, March 2013)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

3. Bake until a knife inserted into the center of bread comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around inside of pan to release the bread. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely.

Paris? Oui!

Before Sunset

So, we’ve added a few days in beautiful Paris to our upcoming European holiday!

We’ve been to Paris a couple of times (most notably, our honeymoon! Miel du lune!) I’m so looking forward to some amazing sights and even more amazing eats!

We’re getting into the French state of mind by watching a lot of Julie Delpy movies – especially Before Sunset, one of my all-time favorites.

(Check out the “Before Sunset” map of Paris! I will absolutely be adding some of these to our itinerary!)

Do you have a favorite spot in Paris? Any must-sees? I’m all ears!

Best shoes for traveling

I’m giving some serious thought about what shoes I should take on our upcoming trip to the U.K.

I was in complete spring mode, until I realized that the weather actually could still be wet and cold – particularly considering that they are getting fresh snow falling this week.

Read the rest of this entry

The secret to cheap rail travel

In my younger days traveling around the U.K. for fun, I relied heavily on the Young Persons Railcard (now called the 16-25 Railcard) to get the best train fares.

Fast forward quite a few years and I’m scoping out rail travel for our upcoming trip and holy bejeezus is it expensive to take the train! Our last trip out, we opted for renting a car (which believe me, is NO big discount considering the cost of gasoline in the U.K. but it certainly fared better than the cost for our family of four). It made sense at the time and we had a LOT of luggage.

Family & Friends RailcardBut this trip, we’ve bought our Family & Friends Railcard, which provides 1/3 off adult fares and 60 percent off kids’ fares for a family of two adults, two children. All this for £28! There are a few restrictions – notably, you can’t travel during peak rush hour times (but why would you want to?) and it’s always advisable to book tickets in advance in case seats get sold out.

I’m looking forward to seeing the U.K. by train – it will certainly bring back a lot of great memories! Beautiful patchwork countryside, perfect little villages and when that gets dull, I’ve heard that some of the new trains even have individual TVs on the back of each seat! All aboard!

The Gruffalo now at Target

I was at Target this weekend and ran into a couple of old friends!

Gruffalo
Gruffalo's Child

Yes! The Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child on DVD, based on the books by Julia Donaldson! If you haven’t seen these, they’re definitely worth watching and keeping! They feature the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, John Hurt, James Cordon and Tom Wilkinson. I’d venture to say they are modern classics. Check them out – now on sale at Target for $7.50!

Top 10 baby names – U.S. vs. U.K.

Amelia Earheart

Amelia tops the list of British baby names in 2013. (Amelia Earheart shown here).

So what names are most popular in the U.K. and the U.S.? Surely Kate after Kate Middleton has to top the list, right? Babycentre.co.uk and Babycenter.com have unveiled their top 10 most popular baby names in 2013 and the results may surprise you!

The top 10 girls’ names in the U.K.
1. Amelia
2. Lily
3. Emily
4. Sophia
5. Isabelle
6. Sophie
7. Olivia
8. Jessica
9. Chloe
10. Mia

The top 10 girls’ names in the U.S.
1. Emma
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Isabella
5. Ava
6. Mia
7. Emily
8. Charlotte
9. Ella
10. Lily

The top 10 boys’ names in the U.K.
1. Harry
2. Jack
3. Oliver
4. Charlie
5. James
6. George
7. Thomas
8. Ethan
9. Jacob
10. William

The top 10 boys’ names in the U.S.
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Mason
4. Ethan
5. Jack
6. Jackson
7. Jacob
8. Lucas
9. Aiden
10. Logan