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Philip and Jackie returned from France with all the food we…

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Philip and Jackie returned from France with all the food we requested (and then some). It felt like christmas opening up the boxes on Saturday.

Our booty:

1 jar Mogettes de Vendée (mogettes are a broad white bean which is a Vendée regional specialty).
2 packs Jambon de Vendée (a sweetly smoked ham that is also a Vendée specialty)
4 packs of chorizo - 2 hot, 2 extra hot (chorizo is much cheaper in France).
2 kg shallots
2 kg garlic (both bought in farmer's markets and are also cheaper in France).
4 bars chocolate, Milka and Poulain (we didn't request these, but we happily accepted them).
2 packs of Danette (crème fraîche chocolate pudding, Max's favorite).
3 cans stock - 2 chicken 1 veal (it's very difficult to find plain unsalted and unflavored stock in the UK).
1 pack saffron (also cheaper).


Chèvretine (one of my favorite goat's cheese).
Société Roquefort (you can actually buy this in the UK, but once again it's cheaper in France).
Port Salut
Chaussée aux Moines (real Port Salut - what the monks make now that they've sold the name Port Salut).
Coriscan cheese
Lou Pérac (we haven't tried either of these before).


We asked them to just pick up everyday drinking wine, but they ended up getting some really nice bottles. Not that we're complaining.

6 bottles of red (2000 and 2001 Bordeaux, and 2002 Saumur Champigny)
6 bottles of white (all 2002 Muscadet, aged in oak barrels).
2 bottles of rosé

(We've already tucked into the roquefort and the chaussée aux moines, as you can see from the photo.)

It was only a flying visit from Philip and Jackie, I cooked everyone a stir fry and they drove back home. On Sunday it was gorgeous sunny weather so Max and I took a long walk through Richmond Park. At times we couldn't even hear cars or planes, only the grasshoppers. We might take a picnic dinner out to the park sometime this week if the weather holds up.

My zoom isn't good enough to show this adequately, but I took this photo as a point of reference for those who have never been to Richmond park. In the distance is central London. The buildings are Kew Gardens (to the left), the London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral, Swiss Re tower "the erotic gherkin", etc.

That evening Max cooked me a recipe I liked the sound of. It was a puff pastry tart with slow roasted tomatoes, danish blue cheese (the recipe calls for `blue vinny' which is like a mild stilton, but any crumbly blue cheese will do), fresh thyme, olive oil, and rocket. It was really tasty and the rocket kept it from being too rich. With it we drank a bottle of the Muscadet, which had a good oak-y taste to it.

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On August 4th, 2003 10:49 am (UTC), heuteistmeintag commented:
ooh! more food porn!

hey i can go those milka bars at the german store here. i feel special now.

that swiss re tower looks like a...mmm...yeah...nevermind

food porn food porn food porn
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On August 4th, 2003 11:11 am (UTC), nomi replied:
queen of food porn
I noticed on the back of the Milka bar it said "Kraft", apparently they've been bought too. Evil.

Yes, the Swiss Re is amusingly phallic. :)
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On August 4th, 2003 11:16 am (UTC), heuteistmeintag replied:
Re: queen of food porn
yes, the swedish chocolates my friend send me are also kraft products. it is quite amusing, really
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On August 4th, 2003 11:19 am (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: queen of food porn
our favorite hot chocolate, Van Houten, is also under under the Kraft brand now.
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On August 4th, 2003 11:20 am (UTC), heuteistmeintag replied:
Re: queen of food porn
even in britain you can't escape the evil clutch of American MNCs
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On August 4th, 2003 11:17 am (UTC), socialismnow commented:
Excellent food (although I hope you don't mind me telling you you have the accent the wrong way round on Vendée).
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On August 4th, 2003 11:21 am (UTC), nomi replied:
oops, thanks. it's corrected, my mother-in-law wouldn't have approved. ;)
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On August 4th, 2003 12:00 pm (UTC), tsumik commented:
Your photography and food culture is wonderfully sophisticated.
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On August 4th, 2003 04:24 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: *sigh*
thanks, I certainly have a passion for both. :)
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On August 4th, 2003 12:14 pm (UTC), keith_london commented:
Mmmm what a feast! Such beautiful shallots, especially! And it looks like you're getting a proper Summer at the moment.
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On August 4th, 2003 04:32 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
I'm really happy to have good quality shallots again. We ran out of our last batch several months ago.

Yes, we are.. on the news they were saying it may get up to 100 F this summer, which will be the hottest day on record for Britain. I hope it doesn't get that hot, the UK doesn't have the ability to cope with such heat.
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On August 4th, 2003 12:26 pm (UTC), celie commented:
can I come to dinner?
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On August 4th, 2003 12:32 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
we'd be happy to have you. :)
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On August 4th, 2003 12:51 pm (UTC), celie replied:
thank you :)
We really should... an art gallery, even.

I'm not in London for a while, and have so few free days at the moment, but would love to meet you both when convenient.
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On August 4th, 2003 04:20 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: thank you :)
I'd love to. My list of gallery exhibits is only getting longer, I haven't crossed many off yet.

Just let me know when you're in town next and have some free time. :)
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On August 4th, 2003 04:18 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
You should. :) How long will you be in London for?
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On August 4th, 2003 04:43 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Wonderful.. I'm sure you already have a huge list of things you plan to do while you're here, but if you'd like any recommendations let me know.
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On August 4th, 2003 02:09 pm (UTC), womanonfire commented:
hey nomi,
michael and i are coming to london 25-29 of august (for a conference)
if you are around (and not flying off to some more exotic location) it be ever so nice to meet you!
but we could also use your advice on what might be a good place to stay while in london.

please email us ! two@e8z.org
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On August 4th, 2003 04:41 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
hi Auriea, we'd love to meet up with you both! :) We will be in London those days, but if anything changes I'll let you know.

I will email you about a place to stay tomorrow after I talk to Macsen about it, he's more familiar with that than I am.
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On August 5th, 2003 02:56 am (UTC), mrbad commented:
You have some of the most amazing posts and pictures.
You rock.
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On August 5th, 2003 05:01 am (UTC), nomi replied:
wow, thanks Mr. Bad. :) I think we both drool over each other's meals, that mozzarella salad you had last week looked amazing.
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On August 5th, 2003 03:44 am (UTC), opalfruit commented:
As I sit here in a hot office, on a diet... I want to cry! Well not really... but you have made me very hungry. But I'm going to be strong. Oh yes. !!!
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On August 5th, 2003 04:58 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I'm sorry, my journal is probably a dieter's nightmare.

Would you believe that I'm actually trying to lose weight? The last thing I need is a house full of chocolate and cheese. I'm going to give away some of the chocolate.. but um, the cheese stays. :)
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On August 5th, 2003 05:50 am (UTC), atlaz replied:
I'll take all the cheese and chocolate to work with me. Problem solved :)
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On August 13th, 2003 02:19 am (UTC), gulch commented:
Ohmigod Ohmigod Ohmigod! PUT THE PHOTO AWAY! Quick, before I ruin another keyboard by dribbling all over it.

Mmm, Milka, I think that's one of the many chocolates we used to eat when visiting Switzerland when I was a kid.

Here's a picture of St Paul's from Richmond Park for you (no, not very clear - hard to get St Paul's and the park in the same photo).
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On August 13th, 2003 02:52 am (UTC), nomi replied:
haha sorry, I've been known to ruin people's diets, now it's keyboards. ;)

The Milka is tasty, but I've been addicted to the Poulain. I love dark chocolate.. I love espresso.. put them together = Naomi in heaven.

Oh awesome photo, that's much better than I or my camera with no zoom whatsoever could do. :)
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On August 13th, 2003 03:03 am (UTC), gulch replied:
It took me about 5 or 6 attempts to get that photo right - the one before shows the framing of the view better, but there's not a hope in hell of you spotting St Paul's in there.
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On August 13th, 2003 03:04 am (UTC), gulch replied:
Also, the fact that it was taken in December must've helped - less leaves to get in the way.
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On August 13th, 2003 02:53 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I just looked at the rest of the photos. Is that lake in Richmond Park as well? Max told me there was a lake there, but I haven't seen it yet.
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On August 13th, 2003 03:11 am (UTC), gulch replied:
No, the lake is in Bushy Park (the woodland gardens) although I think there is a similar one in Richmond Park, in the Isabella Plantation. Some of the Bushy Park ones are beautiful, with the most amazing kind of root formations sticking out of the ground on the perimiter - you can see them in the front of this photo.

Photos 1-20 are in Bushy Park (mainly the Woodland Gardens), 21 is outside my parents' house, 21-27 are on the towpath between Teddington Lock and Richmond, 28-36 are Richmond Park and the last two are walking back from the park through Ham, towards Teddington Lock.
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On August 13th, 2003 04:36 am (UTC), nomi replied:
ah okay, we've only driven through Bushy Park. I really want to explore it before summer is over (especially after seeing that photo, what cool trees!) Then again, it looks like it's beautiful in winter too.

Is this really a wild parrot?

Your photos are making me look forward to autumn. I've always loved London in autumn and winter, summer is actually my least favorite season here, mainly due to the muggy heat.

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On August 13th, 2003 05:47 am (UTC), gulch replied:
Spring is my favourite season in the UK, the incredible freshness of the air and the aroma of plants coming to life. I like summer lots too, because of the flowers and again the aroma, but then I've always preferred being hot to being cold. Autumn and winter tend to make me depressed.

Yes, it is a wild parrot and if you go to Bushy Park you're likely to see lots of them. They're well established in that part of London, since I think the late 60's, and if you do a search like
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=green+parrots+teddington then you'll find lots more about them :)

Funny, there is a website where a guy is doing research on parrot populations in the UK. I mailed him about one of my sightings a couple of years ago. Then three months ago I got an email from my mum saying "I accidentally found this web site and wondered if you could be the DS mentioned at the bottom of the page. I presume it is purely coincidental!". It was me and it's not purely coincidental :)
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On August 15th, 2003 04:22 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I like the last half of spring, but not the first half. Usually the first half is still too wintery at a time when I'm ready for winter to be over. It's the first part of autumn/winter that I enjoy most. I love summer if I'm not in London. It's just too darn hot and muggy in the city. I also get seasonal depression, it seems too much of one kind of weather is what gets me down for the most part.

Bizarre, I had no idea there were parrots in Bushy Park. I figured they must have been escapees, although usually escapees quickly die off. Interesting!

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On August 18th, 2003 03:37 am (UTC), gulch replied:
Yeah, the parrots were escapees, but ones that survived.

I realised after posting about summer & Bushy Park - you really oughta get to the Woodland Gardens soon! I think it's possibly a bit late, May/June is probably the best time, but I remember going there when the flowers are all in bloom and there's amazing exotic smells in the air and it's just beautiful in there.
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On August 22nd, 2003 03:02 am (UTC), nomi replied:
Maybe we'll go this weekend, we don't have any plans except to get out in the sun as much as possible. :)
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