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Victoria Sponge

O.k.. so I might have gone a bit crazy with the cream, and quite possibly plonked on a few too many berries, but heck, spring is here, and I’m in a celebratory mood: Easter Sunday, a Royal wedding next week, and 3 day weekends abound. Whoo hoo, whoop whoop, whatever you say, I feel like I’m on a holiday when I have a slice of Victoria Sponge. My Mother in Law Norma refers to it as “Vicky Sponge,” a nickname which I adore, and always makes me giggle.   This cake is light and fruity, and perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, or tea time…and it doesn’t hurt that it’s cute as a button. I wish I could have perfected the look of my cake, but the minute I sandwiched it together today, my son Jake started groaning over and over again, “Oh, Mommy makes the best cake! Oh, Mommy, my body needs cake! I need to have some cake!”  Needless to say, I took a few snaps and we all dug in.  Victoria Sponge 8 oz butter at room temperature 8 oz unbleached caster sugar 4 medium free range eggs 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (no alcohol brand) 8 [...]

Sauteed Rainbow Chard and Carrots with Red Quinoa

I flew back to Los Angeles this week, and with another bout of jet lag, I determined to make another quick and easy dish that is bursting with flavor. Rainbow chard is so beautiful, so tasty, and takes minutes to prepare. Ginger and nama shoyu (naturally brewed soy sauce) give the dish an asian twist without overpowering the earthy sweetness of the red, golden, and Swiss chard. Red quinoa has a subtle nutty flavor, is incredibly nutritious, and cooks in 15 minutes. Whip this recipe out when you’re feeling tired or lazy, but still motivated to feed your soul with a beautifully simple and organic meal in minutes.  Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to sleep myself back into the right time zone. Zzzzzzzzz. Sauteed Rainbow Chard and Carrots with Red Quinoa 2 bunches rainbow chard, rinsed well and chopped 3 medium sized carrots, chopped 2 tbl olive oil half an onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced thumb size piece of ginger, chopped nama shoyu to season 2 cups cooked red quinoa (try cooking the grain with vegetable stock. It’s much more flavorful than plain water). 1. On medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until [...]

Vegetarian Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

There has been a heatwave in England this week, and London is swinging. Prince William and Kate Middleton comemorative wedding gear is on sale everywhere: Carrier bags, wedding mugs, Union Jack flags, “Catherine and William” biscuit tins (I bought mine from Fortnum and Mason. Helleur.). You name it, it’s out there.  My Royal reusable shopping bag. Class. Girls are swishing around in floral maxi dresses and neon brights, and the boys are rocking their trendy T’s, shorts with attitude, and cool pumps (that’s sneakers to you and I). The energy on the streets is incredibly high, with pub patrons flowing out onto the streets drinking pints, people sunning themselves in deckchairs, and picnicing in Hyde Park. The standard issue British Reserve has been exchanged for sweet smiles. When the sun is shining in London, you really feel like you’re in the center of the universe. The sun and culture can be an intoxicating combination. Here are a few snaps from London on Wednesday. Patriotic peddler in Piccadilly. Trendy on the Tube. All or nothing at The Tate Modern. Stairway to heaven at The Tate Modern. Rain or shine, Bangers and Mash is to England what Burgers and Fries is to America: The ultimate comfort food. Unless you [...]

Cream of Leek and Potato Soup

I flew into London this Friday, and excitment aside, I’m feeling a little dazed and confused from jet lag. Lacking in the energy department, my objective today was to make a delicicously satisfying, yet simple dish. It doesn’t get more English, or easy, than Cream of Leek and Potato Soup. My first idea was to make another thoroughly English favorite, Veggie Bangers and Mash, but when I saw the incredible leeks on display, I had to go for the soup idea. This recipe is actually vegan if you leave out the dairy garnish. The “cream” comes from the silky texture, so you don’t have to worry about extra fat calories. Bangers and Mash, is on the menu for next week. If you are wondering what Bangers and Mash are, they are veggie sausages and mashed potatoes. Pure comfort food.  Here are some photos taken at Virginia Woolf’s Sussex cottage, Monk’s House. Click to enlarge for a nicer look.     Cream of Leek and Potato Soup 4 medium sizd leeks, cleaned and sliced into rounds 4 medium sized potaoes, boiled, peeled., and cut into quarters 4 tablespons good quality olive oil 1 onion, roughly chopped 3 cloves of garlic, minced 4 heaping tablespoons of vegetable stock [...]