Monday, 29 August 2011

Travel and Other Exciting Adventures

Miss Lizzie's wedding - something I always said I would return to England for. And on August 13, Miss Lizzie married her handsome Dean at Peterborough Townhall. I feel so privileged to have been invited to share their day - and humbled by the wonderfully warm 'welcome backs' I received.

It is such a long journey to get from New Zealand to...well anywhere really. Australia and the Pacific aren't so far, but anywhere else, we just have to grin and bear it, I've learned - take drugs. I left NZ at 5pm Monday and reckon 35 hours later, I arrived at Ali and Richard's in Thrapston - 30 minutes out of Peterborough, England. A whole day hanging round Wellington waiting to leave, one hour to Auckland, three hours hanging round the airport, twelve hours to Los Angles, then two hours plus hanging round in the disgusting transit lounge...mercifully with free coffee, salty snacks and clean loos, then another 11 hours to Heathrow. A quickish jaunt on the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, transfer to Kings Cross, then 1 hour to P'boro...and at last, a warm welcoming hug from Richard. A warm reunion with Ali and mercifully...bed!

An interesting 'adventure' with my lovely friends was the discovery of really weird pooh in their backyard...suddenly the 'pooh' started to move and I discovered that indeed it was not pooh, but 'grey (altho' they were brown) be the judge!

I ate delicious food at an Indian restaurant back in P'boro, at a 'Welcome back to Suzanne and catch up with Lizzie before she gets married' evening, and yummy risotto made by Richard. In Norwich, I ate at a delicious restaurant just down from my 9.99 pound a night room, and then back in Thrapston, I took Ali and Richard to the Bridge Hotel...a gorgeously old and full of character pub, just a short walk from their house. The theme here I guess is...there is delicious food where ever you go...make the most of it and eat as much as you can!

Then on to the USA. Mega portions, at my first restaurant I couldn't eat much more than the entree (which in the USA is a main course). I soon learned to order just appetisers - certainly not a main course. In Brigatine at 'the shore' (New Jersey) I ordered the mussel appetiser, and received the biggest bowl of delicious, tiny crustaceans ever...add some bread and I was a very fully and happy diner. We had a fantastic meal at Edie's...7 diners, 6 desserts, and an equally enjoyable dinner party at 'our place', again 7 diners, but this time only 3 desserts. I made Moroccan chicken, scalloped potatoes, salad, garlic bread, herbed carrots, riccota lasagna, chocolate mousse, fresh fruit and ice-cream...and two gorgeous cakes were brought by Marcie...the Americans sure do good cake.

The airline food on Air New Zealand was really good considering I was travelling 'cattle class'. The whole Air NZ experience was marvellous...compared to previous snooty...'we're really far too cool to be bothered with you cattle class plebs' flights. The cabin crew on all Air NZ flights were older...incredibly helpful, accommodating and a joy to spend 12 uncomfortable hours with. The new 777's and the touch screen tvs are great...just touch the screen and your drink or snack requests arrive in just a few minutes...awesome! BUT, I visited a pharmacy in Philadelphia the day before I left and asked for something to help me sleep...what a stroke of genius! After hanging around JFK and San Francisco airports for hours, it was so good to be able to eat dinner on the plane then drift off to sleep, albeit somewhat uncomfortably...and being aware that I was possibly snoring...and not even caring - how many of those 300+ people will I ever have to see again...really?

So...a recipe. My most famous and popular (and most requested) dessert is for my chocolate mousse...and it is dead easy.
Take a king size block of chocolate, around 250 grams. You can use any flavour...I've used Cadbury's Caramello. Peppermint, Black Forest...or just milk chocolate. In the USA I used Hershey's but it was VERY sweet.
Melt the chocolate with 300 mils of cream, stirring until smooth...then cool.
Whip another 300 mils of cream until stiff, then fold in the cooled chocolate/cream mix.
Pour into  a serving bowl and refrigerate until set. Or you can speed up the process by putting in the freexer for 3-4 hours...but make sure it doesn't freeze.
I serve it with fresh sliced fruit...mmm....mmmmmm.


  1. It was a pleasure to have you to stay. You might like to hear that we have unpacked some more boxes so there is more room now! Come back and see us as soon as you can and of course we'll start saving.

  2. Ali, you and Richard are the most amazing people. Thank you so much for having me to stay...I loved it so much xxx

  3. What about the Moroccan Chicken and Almond pastilla.... and the surprise Moroccan 50th birthday.... I am running for my box of tissues as we did not make the foodie story here. Oh well, not to worry, perhaps if I'd made it properly it would have made it...hee hee !!

  4. I couldn't spell pastilla....

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