Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lovely day

I'm really beginning to love Sundays. H went to a sleepover so J + I took our time getting out of bed and chatted endlessly. We had a late brunch of J's delicious scrambled tofu and our favorite tea. When H came home, the three of us pored over old photos of trips and days gone by and marveled at how much H had grown over the past three years. In the evening I filled a jar with my homemade salsa and prepared beets and purple cabbage for tomorrow's lunch. Before we put H to bed, she + I had a nice time chatting and watching part of a movie over candlelight. Lovely day, indeed. ♥

Hope your Sunday was lovely, too. Take care and talk soon. xo

Tea Tasting

Yesterday I attended a tea tasting at Tao Tea Leaf hosted by the owner and Tea Master, Tao. It was such a comprehensive workshop as Tao delved into the many facets of green and white tea including their history, health benefits, location of crops in China, methods of harvesting and processing, how the teas are graded and about the tea culture in China. Throughout the afternoon, Tao shared pictures and stories relating to the teas, as well as introduced ways of steeping tea and the traditional equipment used. In addition to this, we tried some very special varieties of each including Tao's fresh and high grade teas sold at the tea house. I also saw my first tea cake (Pu Er variety) from Tao's own private collection and found out about this intriguing type of tea.

I learned so much from Tao - his passion and knowledge made it a very interesting session. I'm looking forward to his next tea tasting!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

'Til we meet again...

While I was on vacation, I ate meat and consumed dairy (and lots of it). It was damn good and I couldn't get enough of it. I blame it on Paris and its beautiful, tantalizing pastries that called out to me behind the glass counters, the plates of charcuterie on restaurant menus that boasted of handcrafted meats in various forms and the cheese...OH, the cheese! I couldn't escape it and for goodness sakes - why on earth would I? It would be like depriving one's self of a true taste of Paris (literally). I was in heaven.

When the vacation ended and I returned home, I decided to stop eating meat again (the haunting images came back in full force) but I thought I could re-introduce dairy into my life again since it seemed like my body had outgrown lactose intolerance (and honestly, I couldn't imagine going back to just Sheeze and soy cheddar). The thought of eating chevre with olives and a fresh baguette on a regular basis made me smile. And the prospect of exploring different and exotic new cheeses was exciting. Oh, the joy it would bring! I even obsessed about making homemade chevre and looked at videos and blogs telling me how. I imagined spreading the word of cheese to others and introducing the idea of cheesemaking to those who would listen.

Sadly, I was brought back to reality with the stabbing pains of lactose intolerance last night after eating a dairy-based dish. I tried again this evening - thinking (and hoping) that chevre would be a kinder and gentler friend...but not so. I don't know why my stomach didn't bother me on my travels. It's a mystery but I'm happy that I was able to indulge while I was there.

So, it's back to no meat or dairy for me. (Sheeze...sigh)

I feel restless

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Perfect Sunday

Today was my idea of a perfect Sunday. I spent a large part of the morning under the covers with my computer on my lap reading blogs and sorting through photos. For breakfast, I enjoyed a big pot of Yorkshire tea and a bowl of oatmeal with craisins and brown sugar and proceeded to nibble on chevre and savoury treats throughout the day. There was no agenda but I managed to watch a movie with H, read my favorite blogs, update my own blog, drink several cups of tea (including caramel honeybush Rooibos with soy milk and sugar) and bake cinnamon oatmeal scones. For dinner, J made some delicious sweet potato soup complemented by garlic toast and after H falls asleep, J & I will cozy up to watch a horror movie.

I hope wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you're enjoying yourself. Take care and talk soon. xo

It's Monday again tomorrow. (Sigh)


There's so much to say about London and yet it's difficult for me to articulate. It's an amazing place filled with such richness, diversity, history, energy and beauty that is as expansive as its city limits. It's incredibly cool but also has a really home-spun charm to its metropolitan persona. There's so much to see and do and marvel at. I feel like I've only had a little taste of what it's really about but I know we'll be back again.

Camden Market

We love our markets and Camden Market (aka Camden Lock) was another favorite. It's located in Camden Town near the Hampstead Road Lock of the Regent's Canal and is a maze of adjoining markets and shops selling vintage clothing, novelties, crafts and bric-a-brac. The covered arcades run along cobble stone streets and there are many wonderful shops and places to eat. Our tastiest vegan meal was at inSpiral Lounge where we had a great view of the canal and the most delicious food.

Portobello Market

I LOVED Portobello Market. It's one of the world's largest outdoor antique markets nestled between city blocks of mid- to late-Victorian terrace houses and shops. It was jam-packed when we went and full of energy. I could have spent the whole weekend scouring through the shops and stalls as there were so many wonderful treasures to sift through. There were also several stalls with tasty treats like cupcakes and deep-fried goodness from the sea. It was a great opportunity for people watching and taking photos, too.

The white cliffs of Dover

D+L took us to Dover Castle one afternoon and we walked around the grounds and interior. There were a lot of twists and turns and nooks and crannies to explore. We even went on a guided tour of the secret wartime tunnels. I really enjoyed that part because there was lots of vintage ephemera and interesting antiques on display.


Whitstable is a sweet little seaside town located in the district of Kent (and a short drive from Canterbury). We spent a few hours there - walking along the shore, visiting the different shops and boutiques, and stopping in at a pub. I found a cute red rain slicker with little white polka dots and a faux fur neck warmer at one of the lovely thrift shops, as well as some great postcards with sixties advertising.