Le Pain Quotidien @ Tottenham Court Road

Oh well, I am off to Paris tomorrow.
My Eurostar will be departing from St Pancras at an eye-watering early hour of 05:45!
I would have liked it infinitely more if my collaborator and his girlfriend coming to London than me, having to drag myself (& my wheelie case) to Paris. Apparently, a pair of Eurostar returns was prohibitively expensive (it was well over 800 euro). So instead, he offered to pay my rail fare. And the cheapest return was leaving from both ends the earliest and the last… Bu**er.
We could have had a meeting via Skype as a last resort. However, I wanted him to check an actual garment – feeling the texture, trying for the fit…etc.
Anyway, I will take it easy today and recharge myself for a punishing day tomorrow…

I have a few food outlets I frequent in London. And Le Pain Quotidien is one of them.
One cold & wet Sunday evening, Hubbie & I had an early dinner at their Tottenham Court Road branch…

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We had a successful mission at Heal’s that evening.
A pile of new cups & dishes we found in there brightened up our kitchen cupboard! (^-^)
The same pleasure is eyeing those pretty looking cakes in their display case, don’t you agree?

I ordered Organic Quinoa & Roasted Vegetables with artichokes, courgettes and aubergine & tomato

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Didn’t fancy any meat or fish. I just wanted some simple dish.
It was free from any sauce or spice. However, oven-cooking brought out the sweetness of the vegetables. It was very tasty and soothing.

Hubbie ordered Herb crusted Sea Bass with olive risotto, roasted tomatoes and green asparagus

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It looks delicious, doesn’t it? I must try it next time. I like fish with rice than with potato.
Hubbie offered me some risotto to taste and I really liked it too. Mmmm…

Then, a time for satisfying my craving for sugar. Since the weather outside was so miserable. We needed something colourful to cheer ourselves up.
Ta-dah! My Pavlova with berries & cream

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The same about Eton mess, I loved the combination of meringue, berries and cream.
It was so bland yet so moreish. This kind of particular blandness was so comforting. I could eat it forever…
Hubbie was really taken by it too. It was very hard to fend off his probing fork.
‘Keep hands off from my dessert! You have your own, don’t you?’
Well, he ordered one of those “breakfast type” dessert, Granola Parfait with organic yogurt & fresh fruits…*sigh*

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Why? Why? WHY?
I don’t really understand him when it comes to his choice of sweets in general. Why does he choose a flapjacks when a selection of gorgeous looking cakes are available? Does he do so because he is more conscientious about his health? Since he nicks my full-fat cake at every opportunity, it really doesn’t ring true, does it? And on contrary, I am never tempted to sample his fibre laden desserts ever. Oh well, may be it is his crafty tactics for keeping all of his dessert to himself…

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Sushi rolls @ LIFE, Old Street

Have you ever heard of 寿司ケーキ (sushi cake)?
It was unarguably one of my vivid food memories from my childhood.
If I google it now, my eyes are treated with beautifully adorned sushi cakes which imitate round layered cakes with lots of decorations.
Well, the one in my childhood memory was not as elaborate nor beautiful as them. It was just a pile of sushi rolls being sliced & stuck up as pyramid, displaying dark 海苔 (seaweed paper) on the side. The filling of tuna & cucumber alternated in tiers. And on top, a single candle was placed while a row of parsley surrounded the base of the cake.
I am jiggling my memory now but can’t remember if we had one for my 
birthday. Or was it for my dad who was not at all keen on sugary 
treats? Anyway, I felt rather cheated and indignant when my mom 
suggested it as an alternative to a conventional celebratory cake. Did
 I dare expressing my disapproval to her? Again, I am not sure. 
Since she was not a kind of mother to be messed with, I probably kept
 my mouth shut.
The point I wanted (but daren’t) to make it to her was that sushi was
 a dinner not a dessert.
No matter how much I liked sushi, I didn’t
like the idea of “2 in 1”. I also resented the stupid sushi chef who invented this sad sushi cake…

Nowadays, I prefer 巻き物 (maki) to 握り(nigiri) when it comes to sushi. I 
am sure that those sushi connoisseurs must be shaking their heads in
 disapproval. They would denounce these rolls, like of California roll
 & Spider roll, as heretic concoctions, I can imagine. However I am not a food fascist and love 
those reinvented sushi rolls from the States so much I order them whenever any 
opportunity arises.
Last weekend, Hubbie and I decided to have dinner at LIFE on Old Street.
 We pay an homage to this restaurant whenever we fancy Japanese food 
since they are the nearest one in our neighbourhood.

As for starters, we shared Tofu crouquetto with onion soy sauce

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The deep-fried croquettos were served piping hot. The breadcrumb was crispy and made a perfect contrast with soft tofu filling.

Another starter was Shrimp paste stuffed deep-fried wonton with shiso sauce

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I really loved their Japanese style onion dressing on salad.
It was a full of onion & ginger flavour with a hint of soy sauce. The salad became even more moreish.
About the wonton, it was on a tad bland side. It could have benefited from more tweaking?…
Some of you may agree with me but I am always slightly annoyed by the way some of the foods are served in Oriental eateries. Don’t you think that they should come in even numbers? Any food which may be shared amongst diners, such as dim sum especially, it should not be given in odd numbers as those left overs only cause a needless dilemma. I had to give up the last crouquetto as well as the last wonton for Hubbie and was rather annoyed by that…

Anyway, the starters were followed by sushi rolls…

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They were just a part of the sushi rolls we ordered.
I had a bowl of miso soup as well. In the end we were too stuffed to enjoy their famed Matcha tea brulee with vanilla ice cream.
Oh, by just looking at the photos, I crave for another sushi rolls!

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Slurrrrpy lunch @ Itsu, Broadgate

Don’t I have anything else to write about other than my daily (rather boring) nosh?
I was going to blog about my new project – a knitwear collection for men.
However, a designer who I am collaborating with has specifically forbidden me to do so. Therefore, I have nothing else to blog about other than my mundane life. Well, at least until the mid January, I am gagged. Once all this secrecy is over, I will share all my journey and experience with bloggers and readers a like…

Anyway, Itsu is one of London’s fast food outlets I frequent when I am up & about in Central London.
You may realise by now that I am not a food snob. I am not a gourmet or a wannabe restaurant critic. As long as I have a dining experience which suits my requirement then, I am happy.
At Itsu, I normally go for a bowl of noodle. LIke their vegetable dumpling udon noodle…

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I know, I know, this is not an authentic Japanese noodle.
Any sane Japanese chef wouldn’t ever dream of putting dumpling and udon in miso based soup with pumpkin seeds on top. This bowl is a definite hybrid created by non-Oriental. However, I kind of appreciate these hybrids since I am not a culinary purist. As long as it is tasty, I am just happy to slurp.
One time when I suggested my companion a quick bite at Itsu, she made such a face which shocked me.
She exclaimed “You must be kidding me!” with her eyes rolling skyward. Then, we ended up eating sandwich at EAT…
Everyone knows (well, almost) that the sushi made by a proper sushi chef at a Japanese restaurant will far surpass the counterpart at Itsu. However, Itsu’s offering fits the bill perfectly if I am alone & running errands in the city. Their sushi and noodle are perfect low-fat alternatives to more conventional sandwiches.
Some food fascists may very much frown upon all those newcomers and usurpers as they perceive them as an invaders to their tradition. Still, even if they approve it or not, the world changes and so are our stomachs…

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Apple pie & custard @ Shepherdess Cafe

I have been busy with knitting all week.
Now, I am infected with cold (>.<)
Oh dear, I can not be falling ill since my trip to Paris (again) is imminent.
On Wednesday, I will have to catch Eurostar at insanely and cruelly early 5:45AM!

Anyway, Hubbie & I had a leisurely brunch at Shepherdess this morning…

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Our customary fry up.
We share one sausage amongst us. It is not because of a financial reason but for our health…

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Because of my cold, I needed something to soothe my rather cranky mood.
So Hubbie suggested a secret weapon…

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A slice of apple pie submerging in a pool of piping hot custard.
Who can say no to that?

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A spoonful of warmth for a winter’s day!
I always end up burning my mouth by being too eager…

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Now, I shall cuddle up to my hot water bottle and be buried beneath a thick fluffy duvet…

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