A Saturday in London

Ask me if I’m having fun.  We’re in London for a long weekend.  It’s been about 10 years since I’ve been to London, but now, I’m realizing that I wasn’t really even here, before.  Previously, we stayed with our friend in the outer suburbs, hopped on the Tube, reemerged at specific tourist sites in the city center, then Tubed it back home again.  We didn’t get a feel for the neighborhoods of the inner city and I’m finding them pretty inviting.

Saturday morning, we followed the meanderers down Portobello Road and through the sections of the street market:  antiques, produce and food, then second hand and artisan. Despite the drizzle, the vendors were all set up and committed to their products.

The Cloth Shop was my favorite find.  This store’s owner has an eye for all kinds of fabric, from around the world and Europe, that are authentic and beautiful for the characteristics of their fibers.  She was chatty and witty and we soon knew all about each others adult sons in addition to other interests.  She made me want to buy a sewing machine and start sewing again and maybe I will.  I bought a set of 12 antique French linen napkins, with monograms, that will remind how much fun it is to create something unique from beautiful fabric.

Then it was time to make our way toward the theater district for a matinee performance of War Horse.  War Horse is a feat of illusion, by the way.  I was completely willing to suspend my disbelief and several times, with tears streaming down my cheeks, wanted to cheer for that equine protagonist.

But first, there was lunch a Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant.  It was a comfortable and also hip place.  The comfortable and hip both felt a little contrived by a stylist, but it was still a great place to have lunch and the food was good, without being a bit pretentious.  I had the blackboard special:  Gorgonzola Bruschetta.  Since I’m in a hotel and can’t cook, it’s fitting that I post a no-cooking recipe, unless you consider toasting bread, cooking, which I at times do.

Gorgonzola Bruschetta

Serves

  • 4 slices of excellent quality artisan bread
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese or make your own
  • 2 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons fragrant honey, such as thyme
  • Good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper

Toast the bread slices on a grill or grill pan and set aside.

In a saute pan, toast the walnuts until beginning to brown, then drizzle with the honey.  When honey has melted and reduced slightly, set pan aside to cool.

Combine ricotta and gorgonzola cheeses in a bowl.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

Thinly slice the pear.

Assemble the bruschetta:  Spoon dollops of the cheese blend onto each toast.  Stud the cheese with the honeyed walnuts and pear slices.  Top with arugula leaves.  Arrange two toasts on each plate, then finish with drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

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