Monday, July 12, 2010

British Summer

Well.. I would want to call it London summer than British summer....but I tend to like titles which are standard it a mind-block to creativity!

This is my third summer in the UK, but I suppose this has been the true 'British Summer' experience I have had. I would like to pen down a few thoughts about the same, some things that we have done to enjoy the sun which is such a rarity and some general things that people here tend to do.

The clocks were set forward by an hour on the 28th March this year, however the 'Summer' took it's own sweet time and arrived late June - early July (where we stand now). The days are long - its daylight almost until 10:00pm which gives us ample time to do stuff, the night just doesn't seem to start and it also ends quickly...however, the party is on all day.

For starters, the first thing we notice is the change in clothing, people get less formal, less of 'all black' clothing, sun glasses - all sizes and shapes, colours - in clothing, women tend to sport the 'Gladiator sandals' which mainly is open footwear in a roman style (which you get to see in movies showing that era), lots of linen clothing, camis, shorts, skirts.... varied ranges, sales everywhere!

It's the time for sports, Wimbledon comes with its old glory, it's time for enjoying it at the venue if you are lucky enough to have tickets, the less lucky ones end up either queuing for ground tickets/re-sales ( I spotted people carrying flyers of 'tips on queuing for Wimbledon' or just settle for Murray mount to watch the game on a big screen. It's the time to enjoy fizzy and Strawberries and Cream. One can typically see the women dressed in pastel shade dresses with straw hats, men in their finest linen suits - it's all about class.

It's also the time for the Royal Ascot- the horse race, the British Grand Prix, many get into playing Golf too. This time it came with the added bonus of the World Cup Football - though London and the country was disappointed with the early exit of their team, the atmosphere was brialliant.

It's those times when there are concerts everywhere, in parks, in the squares in the city, screening of films in places like somerset house, theatre - it's back to the shakespeare's world at the Open air theatre and the Globe Theatre.

It's ideal to make a trip to the beach towns - We took a trip to Brighton, being closest to London, It's got a pebble beach - perhaps the first one that I saw! The pier has games which take you back to your school days, the cafes, pubs and bars are full of life. The 'Lanes' of Brighton are just so mesmerizing.

We also have spent time playing tennis - Thanks to the free courts - we dont need to play to pick the ball more than hitting it! We also had been cycling around Richmond Park - imagine spotting 100+ deer at a time while you are biking in the park. It was very peaceful.

Food is different now - it's all about healthy food - salads with various dressings, summer berries, smoothies and juices. There's a lot on the other end too - Ice creams - literally everywhere! Pimms cocktail - looks so pretty with all the fruits and tastes great too! And when you have had enough of this there's Sangria anyways.

It's the time for Barbeques- wait for that weekend which is hot!!! , house parties, water fights at the parties and lots of fun!

Overall, this is a time when people get out in the open, plan stuff, do stuff and generally it's a happy mood, a 'feel-good' day everyday!

Cheat's Cookery - Pita Bread with Sides

I do enjoy different cuisines and though many of them seem bland when compared to the masalas which make a big part of the spicy Indian food, I enjoy trying and tasting food from different places. However, when I give it a go in my workshop, it does have an Indianized feel to it.

Moroccon/Mediterranean food is something which caught onto me, mainly for the reason of trying something different and secondly that it is definitely healthy. I tried the same at home and the result is what you see here - try it when you can on a day when you are not in mood to eat too much or when you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen

Pita Bread/ Flat bread
Hummus - Plain would do, I used Caramelised Onion Hummus
Peppers - red and green
Sweet Corn
Green Chillies
Crushed Red Chillies
Parsley - dried too can do
Butter/ Margerine
Extra Virgin olive oil
Coriander - Of course - nothing is complete without this!

Steps to prepare:

Step 1 - Side dish
- slice onions and peppers length wise
- Steam/ microwave the sweet corn
- Chop green chillies and ginger
- In a pan, add some oil, add the ginger and green chillies, then add onions and brown it.
- Add the peppers and sweet corn and saute it for a while until cooked
- Sprinkle some crushed red chillies and saute it for a couple of minutes
- Garnish with freshly chopped coriander

Step 2- Hummus
- Add the Hummus on a plate
- Add a splash of olive oil on it
- Sprinkle some Parsley and Crushed Red chillies

Step 3 - Pita bread
- Smear butter/margerine on the pita bread and toast it on a flat pan until warm/cooked

Serve the side dish along side the hummus and the hot pita bread.