Category Archives: Blogworld challenges
Recently on the London Bloggers’ Meetup Group website I noticed a competition about BEANS. The prize is a lovely luxury bean bag from Ambient Lounge and all the entrants have to do is write a short (Epicurienne? Short? That’ll be the hard part…) post about BEANS. This made me think. Hard. I love beans, so I decided to create an A to Z to help me to remember how many varieties there are.
A Well, this has to be for Ambient Lounge, the supplier of the bean bag prize/s for this competition. They’re super-cool, are used to furnish Kensington Roof Gardens, a top London club with views over London, and there’s even a sun lounger bean bag – how hip is that?
B There are loads of BEANS beginning with B: Baked, Black, Broad, Butter. Beansprouts are great for salads and stir fries. The Adventures of Beans Baxter is a US TV series. Brazil is currently the biggest producer of dry beans and I come from the generation who all know what a Bean-o comic is.
C Did you know that the Chickpea is a bean? Now you do. There are Cocoa beans for hot drinks and chocolate making, Coffee beans to keep us awake, Castor beans which give a delightful flavour to sugar and the Common bean which can be used for just about anything. Coral beans and Cranberry beans are a bit more exotic. In France, Cassoulet is a wonderful meal comprising duck stewed in its own juices with fat, white beans. It’s a hearty winter meal in itself.
D stands for Designer Bean Bags upon which to launch oneself after a long day of arduous work, while watching The Food Channel. There is also a Dolichos bean which sounds delicious.
E is for Edamame, or soy bean, upon which patrons crunch in smart Asian food establishments.
F The Fava bean is another name for the Broad bean. Fagioli is the Italian word for bean. Flageolets are wonderful, juicy white beans which are popular in France (and in Epic’s London kitchen) and Fabaceae is one name for the family of plants whose seeds become BEANS on our plates at home. Flatulence can be the embarrassing result of eating too many BEANS but BEANS are too tasty for us to worry about a bit of wayward wind, no?
G The Green bean is a staple of many a mean-and-three-veg dinner, but for something a little special, you could always seek out the Goldmarie Vining Pole bean.
H Haricots Verts are the French green beans and who doesn’t know the slogan ‘Beanz Meanz HEINZ?’. Hannibal Lechter of ‘Silence of the Lambs’ is renowned for the following spine-chilling quote: “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti,” and on many an international boardwalk you will find teenagers doing unbelievable tricks with their bean-filled hacky-sacks.
I is for India, the second most prolific producer of dry beans in the world.
J is for the eponymous Jack, famed for the magic beans that grow into a giant beanstalk in one of the most popular fairy tales of all time. There is also a variety of bean called the Jack, and everyone has a favourite colour of Jelly bean, although the manufacturer, Jelly Belly, has extended the flavour options so far that having just one favourite is probably a thing of the past.
K is for Kidney beans.
L stands for Leguminosae, another family of plants responsible for giving us beans. There is also the Lima bean variety and LL Bean, the classic clothes mail-order catalogue from the States – very New England.
M Here we find Mung beans (edible) and Rowan Atkinson’s doofy character, Mr Bean (not). Monty Python sang ‘Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam and spam is delicious, trust me!’ Personally, I can’t stand Spam but will take the baked beans any day.
N is for Navy beans, and
O is for Onions. The gardener’s advice is to never grow your beans next to onions – it will end in tears. But onions as a base for bean dishes will add texture and flavour.
P Beans grow in Pods, just like Peas, which are also beans, but let’s not confuse the issue by going into that here. It’s a whole different blog post. Polyanthus beans and Pinto beans come under Beans Beginning With P.
Q Beans form a vital ingredient for the classic Mexican Quesadilla.
R is for the classic Runner bean, the Refried bean used for Nachos, the Red bean, the Rice bean and the Roman bean. Go one up on the Joneses by serving the Roc d’Or or the Royalty Purple Podded Bush beans at your dinner parties.
S Beans are seeds and when planted will grow more beans. Beans beginning with S include Soy beans, Sieva beans and Scarlet Runner beans. The Latin name for the Sword bean is GLADIATA (perfect to give you energy before taking on Russell Crowe’s mates in a Colosseum somewhere). Spilling the beans will only get you in trouble.
T is for Tepary beans, and Tavera beans, otherwise known as French green filet beans.
U finds us with the Urad bean which is black with a soft white interior and highly popular in India, and
V gives us Vanilla beans and Velvet beans – what a sumptuous name.
W stands for Wattie’s, the New Zealand company who canned the baked beans I ate during my downunder childhood and
X is a tricky one so I’ve cheated – X is for TeX-MeX, a cuisine which makes great use of the humble bean.
Y is for the Yardlong bean and
Z is for ZE end.
That’s my A-Z of beans. Now if only I had a big fat bean bag to fall into… I’d be a very happy BEAN indeed.
It’s a happy day when someone sends me something food or drink-related to play with. It’s far preferable to those depressing brown envelopes with windows that usually fill the mailbox. So it is that I am the grateful recipient of a Friday with Gordon’s pack, comprising an adult-size bottle of Gordon’s gin, 6 smart highball glasses with Gordon’s logo marked ever so discreetly on their sides and a cookbook by the F-Word man himself, Gordon Ramsay.
So to what did I owe this gin-tastic pleasure? The Telegraph is promoting its new Friday supplement, The Friday, sponsored by none other than Gordon’s itself. The Friday is filled with great ideas for how to get the most out of those two precious days we call The Weekend, from cocktail recipes (naturellement) to themed takeaway ideas, relaxation tips and that useful tool – a countdown clock telling you exactly how many days, hours and minutes you have to wait for the next weekend.
Well, I’m having fun thinking up all sorts of wicked things to do with my Gordon’s tonight, but in the meantime, we have an Epic début in the shape of a competition. That’s right, G&T lovers, if you would like to win a Friday With Gordon’s pack with which to kick on your very own gin-themed weekend, you may enter here. I’m sorry to say that I have to restrict entries to UK residents only for this one, and you must be over 18 to enter because those are the rules I’ve been given by the nice Gordon’s people.
So here’s what you do:
Tell me in any way, shape or form who is your ‘Gordon Gracious Me’?
(that means in a comment, haiku, photo, video or any other way that can appear on this blog. Points will be given for originality.)
You have until midnight on Friday 9th October to send me your entries. Then we’ll take a vote and send the winner their very own Friday With Gordon’s kit.
Viel Glück, PEEPS! Now, for a word from Mr Ramsay:
When Jaz Cummins of Londonist approached me for an interview for their London blogger series, I was naturally delighted to oblige. As usual, I’m late with posting the result, which went live on Monday 6 July. And, as usual, ‘better late than never’ is my catch phrase. Voilà – the Epic answers to some Jaz-y questions.
The London Blogger Interviews #22: Epicurienne
(Villefranche sur Mer, 1 January 2008)
If you had to describe your blog in less than 15 words how would you do it?
Tales of travel and culinary adventure in London, Paris and Auckland (and the places in between).
Why did you start blogging?
I’ve always been one of those people who suffers irrational panic attacks if I don’t have a notebook and pen with me at all times. For that reason I wouldn’t last a day in the Big Brother house. I’ve been keeping journals since I was about nine years old, mostly filled with jottings about travels and restaurants and recipe ideas and inspirational quotes… A blog seemed like the logical next step to take.
What about London inspires your blog?
London full stop inspires my blog. I love the melting-pot atmosphere and the fact that if you can’t be it/ wear it/ try it on the streets of London, then you might just say it’s impossible. I particularly appreciate the fact that it’s possible to eat a different cuisine from a different part of the world every night of the month if you were really so-inclined. And I love the parks and green spaces all over London. Come rain or shine they’re a great place to go and observe Londoners and visitors to London, undertaking all manner of activity from picnicking to roller-blading or sitting quietly under a tree with a book.
What’s been your favourite cause, series or post on the blog?
I thoroughly enjoyed writing about our travels in Malaysia, which earned me a few fans in that part of the world and an interview with the Malay Mail, and you don’t have to ask me twice to write about Italy. But my favourite ever post has to be the video entry I made for the London Bloggers’ Meetup competition stating why I deserved to win a ticket to Blog08. I promised to wear big, wooden clogs to the conference, which someone obviously decided to test, because I did in fact win. And yes, I wore big cow-pattern clogs to the conference, earning me more than my fair share of odd treatment, but I’m pleased I did it.
Tips I can share with wannabe clog- wearers are 1. take them off before taking stairs OR take out comprehensive medical insurance before attempting to go up or down any number of steps. 2. they’re very warm. 3 wear thick woollen socks to make them really comfy. 4. they’re completely waterproof and 5. they make great pot plant holders when you get home.
What are your ‘last supper’ essentials if you had one day left to eat in London?
This is a really tricky one. I think if it were my last day in London, I’d go to Borough Market for breakfast, taking whatever was seasonally available for a snack. Needless to say, I’d take a tonne of photos to remember it by, and probably splurge on a few culinary bits and pieces for my new kitchen cupboard, wherever that might be.
I’d probably lunch somewhere Asian, like LiKo in Lisle street, where the tempura noodle bowls are fantastic value and you really get the feeling of being somewhere completely different from London, which is one of the reasons I like it so much. If my bank balance was looking really healthy, I might be persuaded to go to Nobu. But the main event of the day would be dinner. I’d invite our friends over for a big raclette buffet with asparagus and new potatoes, garlic button mushrooms and sweet vine tomatoes, with some fine French charcuterie courtesy of Monsieur, Epic’s herby chicken fillets and some crusty sourdough bread from the Hammersmith Farmer’s Market. I guess my last day in London had better be in May, given how much I love asparagus! The raclette would come from La Fromagerie in Marylebone, and I’d ask the nice chap at Nicolas to supply a few bottles of his driest Provençale rose to wash it all down. I have a tendancy to make myself hungry when describing food. That would be right now.
Would you feel more or less connected to London, or missed out on things without your blog?
I’ve lived in London for 15 years now, so you might say there’d be something wrong with me if I didn’t feel connected to London by now. However, the blog has made me feel a greater connection to London through extending my London-based community.
It also makes me think twice about things we take for granted as Londoners, which can be of interest to readers elsewhere in the world.
How has your blog connected you to another community of bloggers in London? The world?
In my earliest blogging days I found out about the London Bloggers Meetup Group, run by the most welcoming self-confessed marketing blagger Andy Bargery. Through the Group I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of London-based bloggers, which is definitely helpful when most of the people you might get to know through a blog live miles away. The LBM Group gives a sense of reality to writing in the ether.
As for the rest of the world, I have had the great good fortune to ‘meet’ a group of regular readers, who give me a kick up the backside when necessary, are also funny, supportive and intelligent folk. I count them as friends and they live as far afield as the States, Japan, Australia and Paraguay.
What’s the most underrated thing about London?
It might sound crazy but in my opinion the weather is the most underrated thing about London. Why? Because when the sun shines, even if it’s just for a few hours, it transforms everyone’s demeanour from grumpy to friendly. Admittedly, it can be too grey, too cold, too wet, too depressing at times, especially in the winter, but even that’s good because it means we don’t take the good weather for granted. Ever. Even the heavy snow in January seemed to unite neighbours as they moaned about not being able to get to work, whilst secretly enjoying building their snowmen and igloos.
And for some general London chat…Where do you live and why do you love it?
I live in Maida Vale, which neither Monsieur nor I knew very well before moving here. It didn’t take long to convince us that it’s a great place to be in London, though. It’s handy for getting to the West End and has good connections to most parts of London. It’s not far from Paddington. It’s leafy in summer with hidden communal gardens where we can picnic. There’s a great sense of community. On Guy Fawke’s Day there are some fantastic fireworks displays in the area and at the end of a rough day at work, it FEELS like home. There are some great pubs in the neighbourhood and people are as friendly as I’ve ever found them to be in any part of London.
At our tube stop there is one London Underground employee whom I swear must be the happiest man in their employ, writing silly messages on the whiteboard each morning to cheer us on the way to work, and Little Venice is a picturesque place to visit – with canal cruises to take with visitors and decent eateries with water views. Right now, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in London, although now I’ve said that, we’ll probably find ourselves on the move.
What’s your favourite place in London?
My favourite place in London would have to be around the river. At lunchtime I sometimes walk down to the Thames near Hammersmith, where I work. There’s always a tonne of interest going on down there – rowers in training, people walking their dogs, runners, pub-goers, interesting places to eat, strange buildings… The river gives a sense of openness. When entertaining visitors to London, it gives a lot of options. I love walking along the various sections of the South Bank, be it in Battersea Park or past the Tate Modern, or hanging out at Butler’s Wharf, or taking photos of Tower Bridge, or having a pint by the boats at St Katherine’s Dock… There’s the wobbly bridge to cross, strange river traffic to watch, not to mention the wonderful views of the city, including St Paul’s and the Gherkin. If you want to invite me somewhere, just make sure it’s on the river and I’ll be there, bells ringing loudly.
What do you know about London that noone else does?
I once met a woman whose husband fell seriously ill quite out of the blue. He went into a coma and the doctors were quite certain he wouldn’t come out of it. The woman had heard about the Tyburn Convent at Marble Arch, going there each day to pray for her husband. He subsequently made an astonishing recovery, encouraging his doctors to write about it in medical journals. They couldn’t explain it. Everyone called it a miracle and the woman has no doubt that that’s exactly what it was. So if you’re ever in the honest need of a miracle, I would recommend visiting the Tyburn Convent, which is dedicated to the Catholic nuns who were hanged during the Reformation on the site where Marble Arch now stands.
Have you ever been sick on the tube?
No, thankfully I have never been sick on the tube, as in physically lose my lunch all over someone’s Jimmy Choos. I’ve felt faint in summer and claustrophobic on sardine days and certain armpits have made me gag at times, but luckily I’ve always made it to my stop without having an Exorcist moment. Having said that, as I was thinking about this question, I overheard a guy on the street chatting to his friend about having vomited on the tube the night before. That made me chuckle.
Anything else we should know?
Nope, I think that covers it. Thank you for asking me to do this interview.
For a link directly to the page, please click here.
Andy Bargery at Londonbloggers.net has done it again. He has secured generous sponsorship for our bloggers’ meetup tonight, from Bacardi Breezer (the 100 calorie version) and House of Fraser. Epic Brother will be joining me at the meetup because I’m encouraging him to take to his keyboard and blog. It should be interesting for him to mingle with the blog-erati of London, whilst enjoying a low-calorie Breezer or two from the folk at Bacardi.
In anticipation of tonight’s festivities at Verve on St Martin’s Lane, Andy posted a competition. This time we had to say our most enjoyable methods of losing 100 calories and needless to say, because it’s a family-rated site, no indoor games of an adult variety were appropriate, not that I’d know any.
When I racked my brain, I don’t really have FUN losing calories, especially as the Epicurienne waistline has grown since co-habiting with Monsieur, due to our shared love of all things gastronomic and therefore I’ve been working hard recently to lose those extra pounds. None of it has been particularly enjoyable, although I’m happy to say that it’s working and I’ve dropped more than a dress size. My tips? I highly recommend coordinating the move of a large office, working 12 days straight, developing a chest infection and eating sea bass for Christmas lunch in order to kick start any weight loss plan. After that, eating less in the evening and swimming three times a week should work wonders along with a bit of Wii to combat the bingo wings.
When I thought harder about fun ways to lose 100 calories, I could have said that the achievement of climbing Ben Nevis was fun, but it wasn’t. It was bl**dy hard work going up and we got lost on our way down and my group included Little Miss Moany-pants, whom I dearly wanted to kick down the side of the mountain at one point. To make it worse, once we’d checked out the summit, which was freezing and looked like the moon, we realised that going DOWN the mountain hurt our legs more than going UP. It was a complete ankle-cracker. No, it was not fun. The best part of climbing Ben Nevis was the last 200 metres when we could see the pub.
Then I thought of kayaking. I love kayaking and so does Monsieur, but there’s a good reason why they call a tandem kayak ‘the marriage wrecker’. The last time we stepped into one of these boats, Monsieur and I had been engaged for a mere 48 hours. By the end of our little trip down the Dordogne, I think we could both have burned a further 100 calories by beating each other over the head with our paddles. No, I couldn’t put that down as fun.
I don’t ‘do’ gyms, apart from swimming, which I love. I no longer have the stamina for clubbing but I do like dancing around the living room. I can do certain Wii games but I’m embarrassing at others, and when I tried to play PS3 at the weekend, Monsieur got so frustrated with my lack of skill that he had to leave the room. (I think my somewhat vigorous abuse of the console may also have contributed to his exit.) How else can we kill those calories? Well, I heard once that housework burns them off, but I’ve never enjoyed shaking a feather duster or vacuuming, so cross those off the list. However, in the course of my research I found that pretty much everything I do during a typical day contributes to burning those calories, from blogging to cooking. Yes, my friends, you can even lose weight whilst whipping up some dinner.
So that’s what I decided to write in my entry – a Day in the Life of Epicurienne. I also had fun playing around with my avatar and the Paint application. Hmmm. I may not be a whizz at Photoshop but you just may see more Paint-ed pictures here soon. Here’s my entry:
On a recent Thursday night, I welcomed some after-work distraction by joining Jason Mical and the Digital Media team at Edelman PR’s HQ in Victoria. Wow. What an experience. Jason and I got to know each other through the Stella Artois competition last year, where I wrote about my favourite local pub and won a trip in an airship that I never got to take because London’s summer weather consisted of too much wind and not enough sunshine. Airships do NOT like too much wind, apparently. Nor do they enjoy rain, so that was the end of the Epic Airship Oddysey.
Jason never got to ride in the airship, either, but he did make sure I received some great Stella glasses in distinctive retro style, and in the course of our Edelman Night Out he gave me another couple to add to my collection. FYI if you’re wondering why I’m so keen on these Stella glasses, I can be accident prone with drinking vessels on long stems, so these squat, practical, sturdy glasses are my new favourites in the Epic kitchen cupboard and I actually use them for wine. So far, not once have I knocked one over.
I digress. The Edelman office design is too cool for school. As Jason walked me in, there was an über-chic table before us, above which hung a mobile of images. (I later learned that those images were a bit um well physical, but forgot to give them a closer inspection on the way out.)
A glass-walled meeting room stood to one side, and a seating area to the other where a cosy group of black leather sofas and armchairs looked simultaneously traditional and cutting edge. So far, so funky.
A long bar surrounded by high stools is the place to grab your coffee or a baked potato for an eat-in lunch, apparently.
Then we passed through a library wall filled with Penguin classics into an open-plan space where most of the staff spend their working day, and there on Jason’s desk stood a nice, big Captain America. (He’s just informed me via e-mail that his proper full name is
Captain America – The Limited Edition Resin Statue, number 6 of 2000, signed by the artist
Now that’s what I call marking your territory.
(Big enough picture for you, Mr Mical?)
Further down the office we entered the bar, with a deep red theme and cosy chairs to sink into after a long day. A bar-babe poured me a glass of wine from a counter that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the sort of country hotel that all the cool people flock to, come the weekend. Jason then told me that the design had been to the brief of ’boutique hotel’. I’d probably say ’boutique hotel meets Google’, but the boutique hotel influence was most definitely there.
Jason kindly introduced me to the Digital Media team and other Edelman colleagues as “the blogger who won the airship prize,” and “one of London’s leading bloggers,”. That’s why he’s in P.R. – he cleverly neglected to say that there were other winners, that I never got to go up in the airship or that the word ‘leading’ might be somewhat premature. Bashful blushing aside, however, I liked his style. That man can represent me ANYtime.
Having checked out the Edelman HQ, we then went en Edel-masse to a pub called The Colonial, where I felt right at home before we even got through the door because, well, I am a colonial, at least, according to the colonists in this part of the world. We talked about blogs, digital media, stomach parasites, New Year diets, rugby injuries, surgical pinning techniques, Coen brothers films and how the various folk in the group accidentally fell into their current careers. Then we moved on to how to convince clients that working with bloggers is a good idea (this part ain’t rocket science – it’s virtually free P.R. for your brand, depending on how you do it and how much effort you put into schmoozing the bloggers at hand), Obama, travel, Mike Moore, life in Seattle, weekends in Istanbul, bloggers meet-ups and other bloggers. I think ghosts and hauntings even made it into the conversation, as did the elevators at Sea-Tac airport. It was that sort of night, but luckily not a late one.
I do hope to see more of the Edelman crew, as I have a sort of open invite to join them on another Thirsty Thursday soon. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting clip featuring the Edelman office as the state of the UK office environment comes up for discussion.
STOP PRESS! If you’re interested in the state of the nation/s, you should check out the Edelman Trust Barometer for 2009, released this week, which tells us what we trust and what we don’t in the world of business, government, media and NGOs. As Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman says:
“It has been a catastrophic year for business… Our survey confirms that it’s going to be harder to rebuild our economies because no institution has captured the trust that business has lost.”
Interesting to note that at this time last year, Edelman’s barometer showed that we trusted the banks. Now, they’re in the gutter of trust. This report is definitely worth a read if only to confirm what we already know: that we’re nowhere near the light at the end of the economic tunnel.
January has been a total twister of activity. It’s a very good thing that we had such a decent break over the silly season, because when I got back to work on 5th January, I felt like a house had landed on my head, which is actually quite an appropriate use of simile because it’s the crash of the housebuilding market in particular which is giving me grief at The Day Job. By 11am on our first day back, an announcement had been made to staff concerning future redundancies looming on the London skyline, and by the end of Tuesday, we’d made another group of people jobless.
The first month of 2009 has not been entirely doom and gloom. It’s certainly been a toughie, with long hours at work and stressful meetings aplenty, but fun has not been left entirely on the doorstep. A few days into the working year, I was invited to hang out with Jason Mical and the gang at Edelman. In case you’re not one of those dedicated Epicurienne readers who memorises my each and every post, Edelman does the PR for Stella Artois and Stella Artois had an airship over London last summer and through my blog I won a prize to go up in the airship but because the weather was so well um English and my luck was a bit um er pants, I never actually achieved the much coveted flight in the beer blimp. (you can breathe now) BUT I did get to meet Jason, and Jason is a lovely chap who gives me Stella Artois branded glasses, so we think he’s pretty cool and I’m trying to finish the post I wrote about our night out but The Day Job keeps getting in the way.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Monsieur and I went to the Ice Bar at Plateau in Canary Wharf, in order to be force-fed chocolate martinis and other vodka-licious delights with those splendid people at Splendid Communications. A post on that is on its way also. All I’ll say for now is that Smirnoff Black makes other major voddy brands taste like engine fuel.
Last week’s highlight was wedding-related. Monsieur and I are turning into Bridezilla and Groom of Doom as we kick off the New Year by trying to organise our nuptials. As I’ll explain to anyone with ears, I was born without the bride gene, but I really am trying. Honest, I am. Unfortunately, due to the closeted nature of a boom in British bureaucracy, all my careful planning to get the venue organised totally screwed up but it’s NOT MY FAULT.
Picture the following scene: Epicurienne tries to check available dates on ceremony venue. Ceremony venue tells her she can’t have dates until she registers intent with Monsieur. She calls local registry office to book a Saturday appointment to do just that but they won’t allow Saturday appointments unless there is a need for an emergency wedding. Apparently we’re not an emergency. Yet. So Monsieur and Epicurienne book a day’s leave and go to the registry office to register intent to marry. Everything’s proceeding as it should until the Nice Receptionist asks which room we’ve booked. Epic explains that no venue has been booked yet because the particular venue that has been chosen has insisted that it operates differently from other venues and therefore requires intent to be registered prior to setting a date. Nice Receptionist insists that this is not the case; that no intent can be formalised until a venue has been confirmed. Then she tells us we can always come back on a Saturday. (Receptionist immediately slides in the ratings from ‘nice’ to ‘bovine’.) Epic calls the venue people, hoping for some help from them. (Bunch of paper pushing losers springs to mind.) One venue person tells Epic that she must not register intent without a confirmed venue booking. Epic asks to confirm the booking immediately so as not to waste the day. Venue person (also of the bovine family) says she’s too busy to do that now and hangs up with a huffy sigh. Meanwhile, Monsieur thinks his future wife will never be able to organise the wedding and Epic tries in vain to convince her future husband that it really wasn’t her FAULT! The icing on the four tier wedding cake was when the Venue Person called back to say that they’re dealing with a new registrar who has been giving out misinformation and please would we accept their apologies for any inconvenience caused. Meanwhile, Epic’s Shirley Valentine fantasy of jumping on the Heathrow Express (alone – the fantasy only works with a solo traveller) and taking a plane to Wherever gathers momentum and it’s hard to keep her on London soil. Where’s that airship when it’s needed? In other words: Friday was complete and utter crap.
I have to say that staying engaged for the rest of my natural days is sounding more and more appealing, but I guess we should give it a shot, right?
So what might you be reading here soon? More about Venice, a LOT about Sicily where Monsieur and I spent New Year, some interesting facts about the Mafia, a review of Galler’s Kaori chocolate and my attempts to chase a little white ball around a golf course. In the meantime, here’s a song called Walking on Air, which is all about a creepy girl, sung by a Slovenian songstress called Kerli. When we were in Sicily, it played everywhere we went, especially on that bastion of the Italian radiowaves, RTL, where they insist on telling their listeners that they’re ‘Very Normal People’. Mmm hmm. Yep. Right you are.
(Double click twice on the You Tube to get past the embedding crash or link to the official Kerli MySpace site here
A comment from Grassroots Gourmet really got me thinking this morning. She wrote that Anthony Bourdain once stated that if he were on Death Row and had to choose his last meal, it would be Osso Bucco. That made me wonder: what would I choose as the last meal of my life? I’m still struggling to find the answer. Fresh sashimi and creamy Veneto cheese clash a bit. I’ll have to come up with a last-meal-menu from one cuisine type and one only.
While I’m pondering what that will comprise, how about telling me what YOU would feast on as your last meal on the planet? I’m intrigued to hear what you all love to eat.
My Blog Friend, Bunk Strutts of Tacky Raccoons fame, has tagged me in another meme. It’s seven things you never knew about the tagged person, and then I have to tag six more poor, unsuspecting fools to continue the Seven tradition. (Sounds like a severed head, Brad Pitt and some deadly sins should be involved, no? At the very least, I expect someone, somewhere is going to poke pins into an Epicurienne voodoo doll when they get this meme)
Here are seven things you never knew about Epicurienne:
1. My accent is so screwed up from living in New Zealand, Australia, Italy and England (with French Monsieur at home) that I have been asked at different times if I come from Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Sweden or Tasmania. It’s the Tasmanian guess that got me. Now Monsieur is getting good at mimicking my accent, which keeps me awake at night; he does my accent with an accent.
2. I make a fantastic seafood lasagne. It’s my culinary pride and joy.
3. I love bandes dessinées (graphic novels), including everything from Tintin to Persepolis.
4. I have a lot of time for Buddhism. It makes sense, hurts no one and shows kindness towards all living things.
5. I dream in technicolour every night. Some nights my dreams are so intense that I wake up completely exhausted.
6. My favourite landmark in the whole, wide world is the Eiffel Tower.
7. I speak English (mother tongue), French (with lots of mistakes), German (enough to discuss Kafka and the environment, preferably not at the same time), Italian (so that when Monsieur’s luggage went missing en route to Naples, I knew the words for contact lenses and shaving foam when we went shopping) and just enough Spanish to find me the nearest Tapas Bar. I can also say various random things in Japanese (including the numbers 1 to 99 but 100 escapes me) and Maori (welcome, white pig, and many different words beginning with WH- which you pronounce F-). Go figure.
That’s the end of my meme.
I tag the following six:
- Razzbuffnik of All The Dumb Things
- Single For a Reason
- Nathaliewithanh, although I still owe Nathalie a six-word meme from months ago; my problem is I can’t choose ONLY six words!
- Rax Lakhani, by way of revenge for his recent London meme-ing of me,
- Jim’s Muse
- Brandon of Mojitos and Burritos
Okay, kids. Put those Voodoo Stress dolls of Epicurienne to one side and get to work. Don’t forget to link back to me when you’re done, so I can learn about your own special quirks.
This week I’ve been the lucky recipient of two meme requests for the same meme, so I’m going to kill two bloggers (not literally) with one stone and post my meme answer for both here.
The meme asks for three answers to each of three questions. Here goes.
1. Name your top three non-work websites.
Hmmm. Only three? That’s tough. In the interests of being fair to all the amazing blogs I read, I decided to restrict this to non-work and non-individual blog websites.
For TRAVEL I log on to Travelblog. This is where travel enthusiasts post about their trips as they happen. It’s great for travel planning because you can read about the real experiences of real people in real places, not just hyped-up travel journalism fuelled by freebie junkets.
For FOOD I’m currently reading the Britain’s Best Dish page at ITV.com. This is a great source of real recipes cooked by real people. I think you can probably tell that I’m quite into REAL.
For a GIGGLE I check out The Darwin Awards site. It never ceases to amaze me how people can meet the grim reaper in such incredibly stupid ways. I remember one tale about a parcel bomber who had to put a return address on his parcel bomb in order for the post office to accept it. The parcel was unable to be delivered, so it was returned to him. He didn’t recognise his own handiwork, opened the box and BOOM! I think you can guess the rest. What a doof.
2. Name your top three karaoke songs.
Well, karaoke + Epicurienne = not so pretty. I do recall singing California Dreaming at karaoke once. I think that was when Take That were still together. Then I had a flatmate with a karaoke machine, so I was forced into singing a bit more often at that time. If I have to sing something, then I quite like ABC’s The Look of Love and Don McLean’s American Pie (NOT the Madonna version. That was a mistake. Mind you, I’m sure mine is far, far worse.)
3. Name your top three weekend cocktails.
Why WEEKEND cocktails? I don’t drink cocktails that often, but if it happens to be a Tuesday evening and you pour me a great cocktail, I’m hardly going to say no. That would be rude. And silly.
The Epicurienne would have to be number one. How many people can say they have their own, bespoke cocktail? Thanks to Smirnoff, quite a few of the London Bloggers’ Meetup Group can… and I’m one of them. It’s basically a Smirnoff mule (Smirnoff red + gingerale) shaken with pineapple juice, chambord and strawberries. Deeeelish.
I absolutely cannot refuse a Mississippi Mudslide – tastes like an alcoholic chocolate shake, comprising a naughty blend of kahlua, baileys and (if you really want a kick) vodka, all blended with ice. I also love lemon martinis made with limoncello.
So that’s my three for three.
Now I have to name three more unsuspecting folk to carry on the three for three. I’m asking: