Boxing Day 2016

So my post-Christmas 2016 – 2017 went like this. Christmas Day was a quiet affair. I cooked fish pie and Hubbie opened a bottle of vintage white wine. After the dinner, we carried on grazing on Christmas cake and cheese while we kept on topping up each other’s glass. By the end of the night, I was properly drank, drank, drank. God knows how I managed to tuck Bella and myself in beds without any accident!

On Boxing Day, I woke up with no headache but felt lots of booze still left in my system. Oh dear, I’m gonna stick to non-alcohol drink for the foreseeable future, I thought with my fuzzy head as I sipped a mug of tea. Then, Hubbie declared that he needed some fig leaves for a photo shoot. Finding fresh fig leaves at this time of the year?! ‘I’m not 100% sure but there might be one along Goldsmith’s Row.’ So we were off to Broadway Market for lunch, a stroll to burn off calories and harvesting fig leaves.

‘Enjoy your lunch, you lucky people!’

A six months old bulldog pup we met at Market Cafe. Our Bella had also become six months old on Boxing Day too!

Our Boxing Day outing plan fell apart as soon as we arrived at Market Cafe. The pub was fully booked, and we walked out of the place, crestfallen.

It’s so cold! What we gonna do now?

No place except Artwords Bookshop and Market Cafe was open for business, and we were forced to move on because it was too cold to just stand and ponder.

About the fig leaves, we didn’t find any fig tree along Goldsmith’s Row. We craned our necks right & left and up & down in an attempt to locate one along the street, but the effort was futile. We then crossed Mare Street and continued our hunt on eerily quiet Columbia Street. ‘Where is everybody?’ Sadly, there was no fig tree there either. We were starving by then yet there was no restaurant or cafe open in Hoxton. ‘Let’s catch cab and go home. I can’t feel anything on my toe anymore!’

Later on, we decided to have dinner at the Eagle. Who said no more booze this morning?

Their mulled cider with brandy was crazy moreish.

Bella was fast asleep on a pile of cushions…

For food, I opted for chicken katsu curry burger. Yup, you heard it right, katsu curry burger!

Ta-dah! The burger was eye-popping huge. Instead of mayo or BBQ sauce, curry sauce was drizzled over the meat.

The chicken was more like fried chicken than a traditional breadcrumbed one, but it was tasty and succulent. The size of my burger made Hubbie, who ordered a normal beef burger, very envious. ‘You see. Who dares win!’ I teased him as I munched on the katsu.

The atmosphere at the pub was chilled and at home. It’s so nice to have a cozy pub at a stone’s throw distance, Hubbie and I agreed as we rubbed our full bellies.

It’s time to go home, princess…

Bella being so relaxed, she refused to get up voluntarily…

*A quick recap on the fig leaves. We located them in the square near Euston Station. Phew!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Homing instinct

After taking a gulp of cider at my local pub, the Eagle, I uttered with a sigh, ‘This was what I needed the most!’ The time was around 9pm and I had just arrived back home from a very long weekend. 

My past two days were spent in Sheffield, a city in South Yorkshire, participating in a sporting event. Driving between two cities with a distance of over 320 miles (515km) did not go so smoothly as this particular weekend being a bank holiday weekend. The journey was riddled with long bottle necks and sections of much slower speed-limit which did wear me out a little, especially on my way back to London. Even though the landscape spread in front of me on M11 during I was passing through Cambridgeshire was idyllic and even picturesque, I was overjoyed when I spotted the Shard in the distance with another high-rises of Docklands. Yipee! I am coming home!!

The tournament was exciting and we came home with medals…

Despite our fridge being well stocked up by Hubbie during my absence, I fancied a glass of cider and a burger so asked Hubbie if we could eat out at a local pub.

My chicken burger and chips…

My homing instinct becomes intensified when I think of these two very important men of my life…

I missed you two very much even though I was away only for a night…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

P.S. This was taken after the match!

Sunday roast at Eagle N1

What a difference a mere week makes!  

The temperature felt like it had stepped back to the March’s and I ended up donning my oversized Uniqlo fleece jacket all last week. To make the matter worse, the work on my walk-in shower room ran on much longer and while the builders were working in there, they preferred to have the space well ventilated. Therefore, the French doors had to be kept wide-open despite plunging temperature and infrequent rain which left my flat very draughty. Time to time, there was a moment I just hated all the noise, the smell and the dust. Especially the dust, it went everywhere. I wouldn’t know how I could have dealt with them if I didn’t have well supplied Pledge’s Fluffy Dusters. 

Anyway, the end is in sight at last. Once a broken macerator is replaced tomorrow morning, my brand new shower room will be up and running. And the first person to enjoy it will be Mr.B. He might not welcome it but the matter is very urgent because his coat has lost its lustre for quite sometime.

It’s Sumday and the sun is shining…

Hubbie had been snowed under with designing e-book for a poet this weekend. ‘Sorry for being holed up’, he apologised. Oh well, how could I get annoyed with him since he was earning the dough. So I suggested Sunday roast at our pub. The idea cheered him up greatly and once the clock hit 2 o’clock, we headed to our local pub. 

The first pub, William IV, we tried didn’t have Sunday roast. ‘Sorry guys. Our chef left recently and we haven’t found a replacement yet’. What a shame. So we walked to another pub at the opposite end of the street. 

Please bring my roast chicken soon because I am STARVING…

There are a few pubs named “The Eagle” in London. However, this is the only pub whose name is included in a nursery rhyme: Up and down the City road, in and out The Eagle. That’s the way the money goes. Pop goes the weasel… The actual pub stands next to Shoreditch Police Station and therefore here must be a waterhole for local bobbies too?

Yippee, my Sunday feast!!

Behold my roast Shropshire half chicken, gingerbread stuffing and chicken gravy!  Hubbie had roast pork loin with red wine jus. Both dishes were accompanied by Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and cooked greens. The chicken was very moist and tender. The stuffing was tasty and the vegs were done perfectly. It was 10/10.
When we left the pub, we noticed the sun had definitely took the edge off from the chilly weather we had been experiencing since last Monday. Let’s hope the weather will continue to improve and we can ditch coats and bomber jackets for good…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Lazy Sunday Nosh…

Hubbie came back from his China trip last Friday.
Together with a customary pile of dirty laundry, he also brought back a cold. Oh what a duty-free to pick up, I moaned. So far, I am still holding it off. Maybe the cold I have just shaken off, is also helping me to generate some antibody? I seriously hope so…

Anyway, last Sunday was decidedly a lazy affair. Apart from going out for a film in the afternoon, nothing was planned. While I was sipping a cup of tea, sporting an accidental Harry Style-like coif and browsing a blogosphere with my new iPad Air, Hubbie suggested, ‘Do you fancy Sunday roast at The Eagle?’ Oh yes, pleeeeeease! We hadn’t been there for a while, had we?

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What shall we drink? Then I saw an electric soup tureen marked as “Warm Spiced Cider”. Mmmm…, that sounds interesting. So we ordered two glasses of warm cider and for lunch, we opted for roast pork.
With our glasses in our hands, we settled into one of well-padded leather benches…

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The warm cider tasted interesting…

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It was not full-bodied as mulled wine but with a strong hint of wintery spice, it made the beverage very moreish.
Shortly afterward, steaming plates of roast were brought out to our table…

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Apart from a crackling which I found too tough to handle, the pork was very scrumptious. Underneath the Yorkshire pudding, there was a generous serving of roast pork bathing in the gravy. It was a joy to mop up this meaty juice with Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes.

For pudding, we decided to have them at the Barbican Centre…

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At their ground floor cafe, we were spoiled by choice…

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Therefore, my index finger took quite a while until it pointed at a slice of cheese cake finally…

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With a mug of skinny latte, we took up the seatings by the window.
The scene outside looked distinctly autumn-like…

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‘Let’s hope there will be no more firework tonight for Mr.B’s sake’, Hubbie remarked. Sipping my latte slowly, I nodded in full agreement…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Urban Villages

The tranquil expanse of Grey’s Inn Fields greets me as I walk down Theobold’s Road.
For a long time, I believed that the garden was closed to the public.
Every time I passed there, on foot or on bus, I never saw a living soul except daffodils in the spring or mournful looking plane trees in the winter.
So I assumed the place was out-of-bounds to general public…

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Then, I googled about the garden and discovered that they were open to public!
The opening time is rather brief, between 12:00 – 14:30, Monday to Friday. Still, I CAN go in.
Once, I’ve been given a green light from my surgeon, I shall visit the garden and let you know how I find it.

At the junction with Grey’s Inn Road, Clerkenwell Road starts and it dips gradually towards Farringdon Road.
When will the road blocks around Farringdon be removed? It must be to do with the Crossrail project.
Every night after the London rush hour dies down, the area becomes full of workmen in identical orange overalls with reflective strips. As some of you know, I studied architecture. And the sight of men working in construction sites excites me (kind of). I do like to see humans working against the elements, let me put it this way. I find it heroic.

Anyway, I carry on sauntering along Clerkenwell Road for a short while and turn left into Aylesbury Street.
In the background, a spire of St James’s Church towers over Clerkenwell Green…

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I love the fact that London is full of these charming squares with a villagy atmosphere if I care to look for it.

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Open fields or woods which distinguished the boundaries between parishes have long gone as the city grew.
Yet, those churches which are dotted all over London are discreet backbones of the communities as a magnet to pull the people around it.

Seeing the church on the left, I walk up Sekforde Street.
On this street, there is a pub I have been intrigued for a quite sometimes…

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Sekforde Arms.
The reviews of this water hole are a mixed bag – 50/50 positive & negative.
For example, the food doesn’t sound like their strong point. However, all the reviewers praise the pub for not following the trend and refusing to turn itself to another gastro pub or smarting up for yuppies (aka tossers).

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Oh, I wish Hubbie was with me.
I would have gone inside if I were not alone. I am not a timid kind (far from it).
However, I am not comfortable with the idea of walking into a pub alone – I am ok with a bar but not a pub.

When I mentioned about the pub to Hubbie a while ago, he told me that he had been there already.
“Oh, it’s just an ordinary pub. Nothing special”, he replied.
But darling, all I want is a traditional pub where they have a dart board on the wall and a roaring fireplace in the winter! The pubs with small windows are endangered species in modern London. And I feel a certain nostalgia for it.
Therefore, I shall persuade Hubbie to accompany me in near future…

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