Tag Archives: culture

>Golden Onion and cider soup with roquefort toast for Book Night


When was the last time I saw dawn break over the last pages of a book?!…

A year ago, I posted about the pile of books I keep by my bedside and today, in advance of World book night , I would like to go through my list -I LOVE lists- and then give you a  great onion soup recipe to go with  your all-night reading spree ! 
I remember going through the night with a book for the first time aged 14 and seeing the first flashes of light coming below the shutters at about 4pm… Great feeling! Later, I remember the nights after exams when we danced till dawn and that’s pretty good too… That’s when you need the onion soup at midnight to keep you going. 
I have a large mahogany butler’s tray by my bed and this is what’s on it today:
  • A large diary where I keep all the funny stories about the children – I’m on volume 4!
  • The Children’s Book by A.S Byatt – love the style but not sure about the story
  • Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass destruction by Sue townsend – my teenage nostalgia author! Lots of giggles in promised book form.
  • A huge hairy spider I have adopted since Halloween – don’t ask me why!
  • A small stuffed beaver from my father’s old university, gifted by him
  • Through the language glass, why the world looks different in other languages by Guy Deutscher
  • A book of poems by Don Paterson- Rain – because I love reading his poetry
  • Portrait du soleil by Helene Cixou – more of a painting than a book but I keep looking
  • A lovely cookery book called Délices et coeurs brûlé, food diary of Miss K- designed like a love letter and full of crazy French recipes. The sort of book you want to give all your girlfriends!
  • Some foot cream and a couple of favourite, quirky postcards for inspiration…
  • Ah, and also a picture of my newest little niece sleeping slouched over my shoulder…
Looking at this helps me get up in the morning and calms me down at night – so I never need to pop a pill! I want to hear YOUR list now, by the end of the month please, and the best and most personal will win a box of homemade shortbread. Yippii!
Now for the onion soup recipe I promised:
Ingredients list:
Cider 1 large glass
Onions, 3 large diced
Chicken stock, 1 litre (or a quick version with Maggi cubes)
Thyme and parsley 1 Tbsp of dry mix
Creme fraiche
Big knob of butter 
Olive oil 1Tbsp
Slices of wholemeal bread
Some roquefort cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
Brown the chopped onions in a mix of olive oil and butter in a thick bottomed pan until they get see-through. Add the stock and the herbs and seasoning. 
Let it bubble away for a good 30 min., adding a bit of cider towards the end. 
Stir in the creme fraiche and check the seasoning: a good onion soup shall not be bland!
Blitz with a hand held blender but only a few seconds so it remains chunky and rustic in aspect.
Spread some thick toasts with the Roquefort – thinly so as not to overpower the sweetness of the onions.
Transfer in large oven-proof bowls, top with the cheese toast and put under the grill for a few minutes to brown.
Serve in the pipping hot bowls  and enjoy a truly French treat!
In France, onion soup is served to wedding guests at midnight to keep them warm and awake. 
It tastes really good after you’ve been dancing or reading until exhaustion, take my word for it.
 Kenza and Valerie, get your dancing shoes ready my darlings!

Happy reading tonight and let me know if you see dawn break?! 

>Forever London


I love living in London because..
…I can walk into a Michelin starred restaurant for lunch and get an unforgettable meal for under £35 !
…I can dress up one morning in a black bin bag and high heels and nobody will bat an eyelid (witnessed recently!)
….I can grab designer clothes for the price of a croissant at DWS sales or TKMaxx
…I can browse the best cookery books from all over the world at Books for Cooks in Portobello,
…I can pick unusual presents in silverware at Bermondsey square any Friday morn,
…I can travel from China to India or Japan just by changing postcode,
…I can walk with the squirrels at Kew garden tree top walkway and admire the giant sequoia from above!
…I can enjoy Lord Leighton’s moorish patio at Leighton House near Holland Park,
…I can have a cocktail in summer on the Roof Garden over Kensington High street,
…I can sunbathe (wishing…) in the Lido deck over the Serpentine,
…I can pop in to Borough market great food stalls and sample the best and the rarest!
…I can loose myself in Daunt Books panelled rooms in Marylebone…
…Or find a gem of a heirloom in the vintage stalls in camden market.
…I can gasp at Harrods Food halls as if I was still discovering them aged 13,
…I can climb on a horse to try and touch “Napoleon’s nose” under the archway of Pall Mall,
…I can go to the theatre on a whim and have to choose from 50 west end shows and 70 Fringe plays!
…I can hear Shakespeare outdoor in the original roof-less Globe theatre,
…I see the oldest door in England, next to the entrance to the Chapter house at Westminster Abbey,
…I can enjoy the beautiful solitude of the Ironwork gallery first floor of the V&A,
…I can meet a friend for high tea at Browns by the cosy fireplace on a cold day,
…I can enjoy boating on one of the most famous river in the world and moor on a heron infested island,
…I can go all emotional, coming across Lawrence of Arabia unassuming town house in Cowley street, Westminter,
…I can go back and again to feast my eyes on Velazquez Rockeby Venus in the National Gallery,
…I can watch “Bright Star” then plan to visit Keats and Fanny’s house in Hampstead next week-end!
…I can shiver in the War room Cabinet in St James, imagining London under the Blitz,
…I can have a movie star moment having tea in the grand William Morris period rooms of the V&A canteen,
…I can picnic on the lawns at Bishop Park (or anywhere else) and nobody kicks me out,
…I can decide to stay in and do nothing of the above : “because it’ll all still be there tomorrow”…

…I can do … pretty much anything I please! …That’s why I LOVE London