Sunday, 11 August 2013

Summer happiness at a place called The Pig

Because I rattled on for so long about travel, this blog is dedicated to the bits I missed out - life, love and food. Lots, and lots of food.


To get this blog started, I’m going to answer something. Something that I seem to get asked almost weekly. The answer is, “I don’t know”. The question is, “When are you coming home.” Trust me, when we know, I’ll tell you but for the time being… I just don’t know! Maybe when we get sick of travelling (HA!) Or maybe when we get sick of the weather (but we’ve had four whole weeks of PROPER summer this year so I’m feeling pretty positive about little old London-town).

I’m predicting a new question will start soon, as we reach 12 months since the wedding. So in case you're wondering, the answer to this question is the same as the first. No, I don’t know when we’ll be having a baby. I promise when that day comes, I'll announce it to the blog world.

And when that day DOES come and if I manage to find the time to blog, my ‘life’ and ‘love’ sections might be a lot fuller than the ‘travel’ bit… ‘food’ will always be the longest though, who am I kidding?!

So now to be properly English and talk about the weather some more. While the rest of the country whinges that it's now TOO hot (come on people, we barely get two weeks a year, how can you complain?) I am enjoying every single sunshine-y ray. And, for the first time in about three years, I’ve been told that I look tanned. It's an exciting time in my life! This was helped along nicely when B and I managed to score tickets to the home of cricket, for a day at the pinnacle of cricket... the Ashes.

Summer loving at Lord's
July 2013

Lord's Cricket Ground
July 2013

My first ever cricket experience was so respectable! Even though we got completely flogged and our batting was appalling, I had the day off work, the sun was blazing, the Poms were nice (!) and you can take your own booze into the grounds! Happy days - London at its absolute best. Now, if we ever go to a game back in Aus, I will expect the men to be polite gentlemen who allow ladies to go first, wicker picnic baskets filled with strawberries and champagne at lunchtime and polite clapping when the visitors get bowled out. In Australia? I don’t think so. More like bogan, drunk men (and women) stumbling around in singlets and giant sombreros. A VB and a lukewarm pie. Deafening applause and jeering when a wicket is taken. Thanks a lot Lord’s you’ve left me with impossible expectations for any future games of cricket.

Cool sign at Lord's
July 2013

A day at Lord's
July 2013

Of course, the love of my life needs to get a mention here. In June this year, B and I celebrated ten years together. Ten! It just blows me away that we've already been together that long. We met at work at Woolworths, moved to Canberra together, bought our first house, moved to London, got engaged in New York, traveled (and continue to travel) the world, got married in Australia and it just keeps getting better and better. I'm not going to go all gushy on you but I just have to say, love you B x

On the way to dinner... and home!
June 2013

From mushy, to footy. Yep, I'm going completely bogan now with another love which is State of Origin! For game three this year – the decider – J & L and my lovely friends B & S joined us at the classiest of venues, The Walkabout, to watch the replay with hoardes of other Aussie bogans. We managed to go the entire day without finding out the score so we were ready to go. We drank VB (don't judge me despite what I said about bogans and VB in this exact same blog, just a few paragraphs earlier) we screamed at the ref, we mocked the Blues supporters. Ok, maybe this last one was just me. L still reckons that if I was a guy, I would have a) got into a fight and b) got kicked out of the bar. Whatever. I was perfectly polite. No, actually I wasn’t. But anyway, we had a BRILLIANT time AND we won. Eight in a row. This definitely deserve their spot in the ‘love’ section. Queenslander!!

Walkabout + crazy crowds + VB = Maccas on the
train home...
July 2013 - Temple Walkabout

Oh, and just one more thing. By reader request, I've been asked to put up a photo of our magnet covered fridge. I think you'll agree, it deserves it's place in the 'love' section too!

Top section of the fridge

Bottom section of the fridge


This is the section that really makes my heart sing. We had a new starter in our team recently and he seemed pretty shy at first but it was food that broke the ice. When he mentioned that he was in search of the best burrito in London, I said, “Oh we’re going to get on JUST fine!” and a friendship was born.

For our special ten year dinner, I took B to Hawksmoor Air Street. A restaurant famous for its steak so of course, it sounded perfect. We started with chilli and bay mussels which were so delicious, followed by roasted bone marrow. I knew the bone marrow was meant to be delicious but the idea of it freaked me out a little but B told me not to be a wuss and to order it anyway. I’m so glad I kept my cool because it was melt in your mouth delicious. We both had steak for main with a side of beef dripping fries and buttered greens. But the sauces are what tipped me over the edge. Anchovy hollandaise and stilton hollandaise. I usually hate anchovies but this sauce… oh my! It was simply divine.

Deliciousness at Hawksmoor Air Street
June 2013

As if that wasn’t enough, we decided to try the sticky toffee pudding for dessert because it’s B’s favourite and I’d read a review that said it was one of the best ever. It did NOT disappoint. B’s face was one of pure joy. We took home some of the salted caramel chocolate rolos because I was dying to try them but the thought of eating them straight away made me feel very, very ill. A day later, I was back to my usual perky, hungry self and the chocolates were some of the best I’d ever tasted in my life. Bravo Hawksmoor, you get 9.5/10!

Delicious AND sweet!
Sticky toffee pudding
Hawksmoor Air Street
June 2013

Most incredible chocolates EVER
Hawksmoor Air Street - June 2013

From the posh to the not so posh. J and I plus two of our friends F and E, took a trip to Soho for a girly catch up and to experience one of many pop-ups that are littered around the city. I love a good pop-up and this one was totally worth breaking my wheat-free for. Mac ‘n’ cheese, made three different ways (I had mine with broccoli so I could pretend it felt a little healthy) served in cardboard takeaway boxes and eaten with plastic forks in a dingy Soho pub. It. Was. Awesome. 7.5/10!

When mac met cheese - pop-up delights!
Soho, London
June 2013

For months on end, my brother in law L has been banging on about the perfect burger. Every time we taste a burger, it’s always met with, “It’s ok. But it’s no Motherflipper.” Motherflipper is a little burger van that pops up at Brockley markets every Saturday. It took us about six months but we finally made it down there to give one a go. Expectations were extremely high. Was it going to be the perfect burger? I’d already tasted what I thought to be one of the best burgers and a few days later, L was all over it. I got a text that night from J saying, “Luke said it was good. But not as good as Motherflipper.”

And so, the moment of truth… my verdict – the burger patty was seriously good. Juicy, delicious, a little bit pink, everything a burger should be (without saying the ‘M’ word). I enjoyed every last bit – burgers always taste better when the juice is dribbling down your arm. But (yep, sorry L, there’s a ‘but’) for me, it just needed a little something. If you took Motherflipper and just added the sauce from my favourite burger, I reckon you’d have the perfect burger. Motherflipper, I give you 8/10

Ready to taste... mother flippin' Motherflipper!
B, D & L
Brockley Markets, July 2013

Last but certainly not least, The Pig. From my previous post I talked about our trip to The New Forest. A trip we took for the sole purpose of going the restaurant called The Pig. Famed for its menu which only sources produce from local farmers within a 25 mile radius, they also grow a lot of their own fruit, vege and rear many of their own animals. It was love at first sight when we drove in and saw the giant gold pig on the sign. It is such a popular place that despite booking months in advance, we were still only able to get a reservation for lunch on the weekend.

The gold sign that captured my heart; outside
The Pig; a pig at The Pig; inside the cool
bar - LOVE!
The Pig, New Forest
July 2013

We started in the bar with a delicious g&t for me and a local beer for B. When we arrived at our table, we took a moment to look over the menu before devouring the fresh bread which we dipped in rosemary and garlic oil, smoked sea salt, and locally made butter. It was all so delicious, I couldn’t decide which one I liked the most so I am ashamed to admit I was dipping my bread in the oil, butter and salt… all in one go.

G&T, 'Piggy bits' and that bread... oh that bread!
The Pig, New Forest
July 2013

For entrĂ©e, we shared two things from the ‘Piggy bits’ menu. Pork croquettes with wild garlic mayo (these were only ok, they were just missing something to make them really yum); and chorizo and pork chipolatas with onion jam and edible petals. Yum!

For main, Ben had homemade squid ink pasta with chorizo, greens, squid and chilli oil. Some of the little green things in the dish were something neither of us had ever seen or tasted before. When we took a walk through the cottage gardens after lunch, I think we discovered that they were a type of baby onion. I think.

Ben's main - amazing flavours
The Pig, New Forest
July 2013

My main was a roasted pork chop with herbed mash, greens (and some purple stuff too) with fried apple sauce and a mustard and cider sauce. Every mouthful was delicious. It was made with such care and with the best possible ingredients. I just loved knowing that everything we were eating was in season and locally sourced. It’s enough to make a food geek like me just about the happiest she can be!

My amazing main - how cute is the plate?!
The Pig, New Forest
July 2013

We had absolutely no room for dessert (damn you bread!) despite my desperate efforts to find more room for the chocolate mint mousse with fresh mint icecream. By this stage, I had officially fallen in love with the place. It is such a brilliant concept, the staff were lovely, the setting was idyllic (and ridiculously instragrammable!) and the food was perfect. Because I rated all the others, I give The Pig 9.5/10

We took a walk through the cottage garden after lunch to see everything they grow, much of which included varieties I’d never heard of before. We also saw their chickens and my favourite, the pigs...

The kitchen garden
The Pig, New Forest
July 2013

Bee hives and the ponds at The Pig
July 2013

Piggies at The Pig
July 2013

I am extremely glad we saw these guys after lunch because I’m not sure I’d have been able to have pork if I’d seen them first. The one at the top of the picture was asleep and oinking in his sleep! So cute – I really should be a vegetarian…

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