Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Friday, 2 June 2017

So long, Frank Lloyd Wright


We just had a few days staying with friends in the home of the cheeseheads. Yes, that's what people in Wisconsin are proud to call themselves.  So proud, they wear foam wedges of cheese on their heads.  Who are we to judge?
The h-g discovering his inner cheesehead



Aside from spending time with old friends, one of the highlights of the stay is a trip out west of Milwaukee to Taliesin, the home, studio and school of Frank Lloyd Wright.  We'd been to his Oak Park home in Chicago a few years ago so it was a real treat to visit Taliesin, his primary home from 1911 to 1959, which Frank viewed as a work in progress.  So he had no compunction about changing or adding aspects of the property.  


I'm a bit of a fan of the Prairie style architecture so I loved the buildings which represent several decades of his design style, but through which themes are constant:  a low ceiling in the entrance to move you through to where you were meant to be in the space;  open plan spaces;  integration of the landscape; recessed or indirect lighting.  


Every room looks out to the river



An example of the low ceiling concept


High windows on the non view side

And I really want one of these lamps.


Indirect light extends to the design of the lamps

So, now I have to get to Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's so called comeback design, in rural Pennsylvania.  Another trip, another time!




Monday, 29 May 2017

A Rainy Day in New York

May 18th 2017, the hottest May 18th in New York City on record at 91 degrees F (or about 33 Celsius in real temperatures). And the Summer months are yet to come.  The thing about this temperature in the city is the heat is amplified by the concrete and the high rise buildings.   So hot feels hotter.


Cut to May 22nd.  It's 65 F and an unrelenting downpour. By the time the hunter-gatherer and I get out of the subway and walk a couple of blocks we're wet, despite jackets and hunching beneath a shared umbrella. 


What to do?  Galleries and museum will be overrun.  I know - eating and drinking, one of our favourite pastimes.  And I know just the perfect place.  It combines siteseeing and delicious food.  Grand Central Terminal and the Oyster Bar. 


The h-g in his happy place

The terminal, one of the busiest stations in the world, is a beautiful labyrinth with soaring celestial ceilings.  And huge: nearly 20 hectares with 44 platforms. 


The h-g and oysters are, he would say, a match made in heaven.  With multiple types to choose from it takes some time to decide.  Not being a fan of the raw mollusc I ask our companions at the bar what they recommend. Those on either side are having the the pan roast seafood, which is really a kind of soup prepared in a steam pot.  These pans sit on a hinged pipe.  Steam passes under the pot and cooks the delicious concoction of butter, cream, seasonings and your chosen seafood.  


Cooking over steam

The charm of the waiters is only exceeded by that of New York cabbies.  No niceties accompany the delivery of the food and there's definitely no fussy presentation.  Any queries are met with a sneer.  The local sitting next to us apologises for the "famously rude service" and she's embarrassed by it, but for us It's all part of New York.  You won't get far in this city if you are a sensitive soul!


My seafood pan roast - no focus on presentation


Don't you dare forget to tip