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Monday, January 30, 2006
Soothing London - Day TWO - Chinese New Year and cottage pie

Today we woke up very early and decided to have lunch in town. But what we did not realize is that D.'s laptop watch was still set on French time so we had breakfast lunch at 10.30PM!
When it comes to a light lunch I always enjoy a wrap from Caffè Castello, a small place located on a side alley.
The owner is quite funny – he can speak English, French, Italian, Turkish…
I always have either a Haloumi cheese and tomato wrap or a hummus and salad wrap.
Price – 2£70
Caffè Castello
19 castle street

After this early lunch we went to the new Sainsbury's where we bought plenty of things – to bake, to cook, to simmer…

Then we headed off to London to see the Chinese New Year celebrations. China town was packed and I was only able to see the head of the dragon.
There were stands selling food and it must have been quite good because everyone had a something in the hands and eventually I the mouth.

As we were close to Tottenham court road we went to Foyles the greatest book shop in London.
The food section provides nearly as much cookbooks as in Books for Cooks (where I don't want to go anymore because you can't make a single step as it's always full of people).
There I bought a nice ring book simply called cupcakes! and written by Elinor Klivans.
My eyes have immediately been caught by the nice cover.
113-119 charing cross road

Then we went to our favourite place ever in London – Knightsbridge.
It's so cosy.
I wanted to find a professional piping bag with fitted nozzles. So though that Divertimenti would be the great place but decided to have a look at Harrods first.
I love the cook shop in Harrods. There are so many items from Rosle tool range to Le Creuset cookware.
I finally found great piping bags and nozzles: a 14-inches and a 16-inches piping bags and n°1, 3, 5 and 22-star-shaped nozzles.
I think I might have to go to Jane Asher to find a bigger nozzle used for icing cupcakes.

After so much excitement we were happy to be back home and I prepared a comforting dinner – best cottage pie and pecan and milk chocolate chunks cookies.

Cottage pie
Serves 4

I made a small cottage pie for just the two of us and reserved the prepared meat to make some delicious meat fritters tomorrow)
This cottage pie is adapted from Just like my mother used to make by Tom Norrington-Davies.
We didn't have any vegetables at home so I made a very simple preparation for the meat.

1tsp oil
750g minced meat
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 OXO cubes
200ml water from a recently boiled kettle
1tsp tomato purée
750g potatoes boiled and then mashed with 4tbsp milk and 2tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
First, heat a wide-bottomed pan with the oil. Fry the mince hard in this – it will seem very dry at first, but the meat will let go plenty of fat and juices, which will be used to cook the onion in a minute. When it has browned well, rain the meat over a large bowl trough a colander, catching all the juices.

Keep the meat to one side, but return the juices to the pan. Bubble them fiercely for about a minute before throwing in the onion. Crumble two OXO cubes over the onion and when it begins to get brown, add 100ml of water. When it has softened (10 minutes), return the beef to the pan with the tomato purée and the remaining 100ml water in which you have dissolved the last OXO cube. Now simmer for 10 minutes or so.
Season to taste.

Transfer to a baking dish and over with the puréed potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes and eat. Make sure you allow the cottage pie to cool a little when out of the oven or you'll burn your tongue.

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5 sweets:
Anonymous vici said something sweet:

I have been dreaming of going to Knightsbridge and Notting Hill. Just a big shopping trip with "Books for Cooks" at the top of my list. I have tried to imagine "Books for Cooks" in my mind as I've never been there. I like to think it is big and open with brick walls and lots of big comfy chairs...It never occurred to me that it would be crowded...
"Cupcakes" is my favorite book on the subject. I have made the "Easy-Mix Yellow Cupcakes", the "Lemon Angel Cupcakes" (without the glaze), and the "Banana Butterscotch Cupcakes"...all GOOD. Have fun with the book and your new piping bags ...vici

31 January, 2006 20:36 

Blogger Andrea said something sweet:

Hi Fanny,
Lovely pics! I love the Foyles in London and Borders too. In fact, I love all the shops that have a cookery book corner. You inspired me to hop on the train up to London again and have a browse - shops, lunch, a park, etc. How big is that 22* nozzle. I tried to look on the web, could not find anything.

01 February, 2006 00:05 

Anonymous bea at La Tartine Gourmande said something sweet:

Lovely pictures Fanny! Have fun in London!

01 February, 2006 21:27 

Blogger Fanny said something sweet:

Hi vici, i love london. This city is so amazing but although i love cookbooks, BOOKS FOR COOKS is really not for me.
Thanx for dropping by.

09 February, 2006 20:26 

Anonymous mona said something sweet:

HI Fanny

Congrats on your piping bags! Am having my daughters Birthday party on sunday got any fun ideas for Cup cakes? I am planning to put then into the party boxes so nothing that will get too damaged?

Am think top take the basic cup cake recipe from" Domestic Godess" and then stuck for decorating ideas!!

05 February, 2007 10:44 

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