Archive for August, 2010

The wheels on the bus go round and round

26 July 2010 – part 1

Touring around the traps in London

We hopped out of bed bright and early to go on an organised bus tour. The tour travelled around all the famous sights of London: Big Ben, Westminster abbey, Houses of Parliament, the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace and various other palaces, Trafalgar Square, a traditional English pub lunch, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and a cruise down the Thames. We met a couple of Aussies on the bus (of course!) and had a great day out and about in old London town.

This post is made up of pics as I reckon you’re probably tired of reading all my text (and it takes a long time to write!)

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All aboard! Mr L and me on the bus

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Mr L – exhausted from all the touring!

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The stunning Westminster Abbey

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Raining in London – who’da thunkit!

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Big Ben / clock tower against a grey London backdrop

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People walk to work across Westminster Bridge

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Nelson Mandela and Sir Robert Peel across from Houses of Parliament in London

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Horse (not lion!) in Trafalgar Square

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Masses of people outside Buckingham Palace – on a Monday morning!

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Victoria Memorial in the Queen’s Gardens at Buckingham Palace

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Guards marching into Buckingham Palace with band

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Guard and Bobby on Stable Yard Road

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Mr L’s meat pie, chips and peas with gravy at an English pub

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My massive fish, chips and peas with Tartare

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Tower of London (camera died – taken on iphone!)

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Double decker with a war horse

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The beautiful London Bridge

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Mmmm… ice cream!

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August 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Portobello Road, Notting Hill and a tasty nut roast

25 July 2010

Portobello Road, Notting Hill, via Oxford Circus

Stretch, yawn, smile – another beautiful day in London. We decide to hook up with PC who is also here – along with her cuz’s – A & S, and A’s girlfriend D – as well as Riss and Chello, who have been living in London for years. After a proper english breakfast, we head off to Notting Hill, via a quick stop at Oxford Circus, where Mr L’s found a Mac shop. I’m not complaining – shops mean shopping, so we hop on the tube and head to Oxford Circus. Mr L’s so excited to be on the tube, and we agree just how efficient the British public transport system is. Everywhere we turn, we see buses, trains, the underground, etc and it seems pretty inexpensive to get around.

Sadly, apart from Mac accessories, our shopping time eventuates in no spoils as we’ve got to zip if we’re going to meet the other kids in time. I figure there will be time later. Mr L hopes there’s not!

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Ahhhh Topshop – if only we had time…

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Mr L at one with the Mac shop

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Even Quicksilver is fancy!

When we arrived at Portobello Road, PC and the others were running late, so while I stopped in at a few little shops, Mr L stopped in at the Sun in Splendour – a(nother) cute little pub at the top end of the road. Turns out that was fortunate, because PC was out with Riss and Chello for a big one the night before and was in need of a cheeky burger from their “Burger Boutique” to tie her over. So we headed out the back and found the perfect table to sit at for lunch.

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The menu from the Sun in Splendour, Notting Hill

PC’s cousin S mentioned that she was well and truly in love with the nut roast. This was not an experience I’d been privy to previously, so I decided to check it out. PC ordered a beef burger, Mr L went in for the lamb burger. S ordered a goats cheese salad with roasted red peppers, toasted nuts and seeds and added chicken to it. The kids all enjoyed their meals – and the burger (complete with bloody mary ketchup) seemed to assist PC with her recovery.

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Mr L’s lamb burger, seasoned with Moroccan spices, with chips and tzatziki

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S’s salad with chicken included

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PC’s handmade British beef burger, with mature cheddar and bacon, served with chips and bloody mary ketchup

The nut roast

I’ll be listening to S again. The nut roast, simple as it was, was one of the best kinds of roast I’ve ever had! It came with all sorts of sides, including a Yorkshire Pudding, gravy and lots of veggies, which I was in dire need of after the long flight from Sydney. The nut roast was quite a thing to behold – it’s made up of nuts mixed with something that resembled stuffing in consistency, but was not as heavy. The other veggies were extremely good too and everyone ummed and ahhhed as they tried the nut roast.

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I will definitely be making a nut roast when I get back to Australia as I really loved the one I had in Notting Hill. I’ve included a recipe below that I found through Googling – it’s a vegan version and you could probably use gluten free breadcrumbs, flour and stock if that’s your preference. Recipe below sourced from this link: http://www.veg-world.com/recipes/nutroast.htm and was originally one of Rose Elliot’s recipes.

Classic Nut Roast recipe

  • Oil for frying
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 – 6 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups (10 fl oz, 300 ml) vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1½ cups (6 oz, 175 g) finely chopped nuts
  • 3 cups (6 oz, 175 g) breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. dried herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Flour for coating
  • Oil for roasting

Oven: Pre-heat to 375F, 190C.
Stew the onion in the oil for about five minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook for a few more minutes.
Sprinkle the flour on top. Stir well. Add the stock or water, stirring all the time. Bring the mixture to the boil, and simmer slowly for two or three minutes. Stir in the nuts, breadcrumbs, soy sauce, herbs and seasoning.
Turn the mixture on to a floured board, and form a loaf shape with your hands. Coat evenly with flour on all sides.
Heat the oil in a roasting tin. Place the loaf in the tin. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, basting occasionally.
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The inside of the nut roast

Beers @ probably the best pub in all of London!

I don’t recall what it was called, but after a stroll down thriving Portobello Road, we stopped at (another!) pub to meet Riss and Chello. By this stage, the sun was really beating down, so it was good to seek refuge inside the pub that referred to itself as “Probably the best pub in all of London”! I gotta say, Mr L and I spent a lot of time laughing at the caution that the Brits exercise with regards to their claims. At another pub close to where we were staying, there was a sign out front that said “probably the best fish and chips in all of London”! Probably? We found later that when we arrived in Greece, the Greeks had no trouble pointing out that their thing was the best. “The best moussaka”; “The best view” and simply “The best” were all signs that we saw on our travels! Putting the probably in front (we felt) was a bit of insurance – protection against false advertising perhaps?

Anyway – I don’t need to bore you with the detail of what we did for the rest of the day, but it was great to catch up with all the kids. A couple of pics below.

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Mr L and me (couples dressing somehow!) at Sun in Splendour with my nut roast

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Riss and Chello – at “probably the best pub in London”!

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PC and Sarah at the Sun in Splendour

August 6, 2010 at 11:40 am 1 comment


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