Cooking Experience on the go: London Calling
I have always loved to travel: born and raised under the sign of travel, assisted by my parents since I was a child; the memories I have of our travels are often connected to food: a bridge into new lands and people. Remember that I ate grilled mackerel on the beach of "Fiume", the salt in my hair, and my nostrils filled with the particular smell of the oil that dripped on the grill.
I have great memories of the mussels, fatty, boiled and served with lemon and pepper that I relished in a small Normandy restaurant run by a grumpy "sea wolf" who took a liking to me because of my openness to eating a mussel!
Prague, Winter 1999 - I tasted horseradish for the first time by default - unbeknownst to me its an important part of Prague ham rolls and so when I took an enthusiastic bite I almost died from the sensation of asphyxiation!!!!!
I have always tasted everything, and I still like to try but now I am a bit more selective!
Memories resurface during the flight to Great Britain where I am going to visit my friend Shaiva, a great raw food vegetarian cook. But first I will make a visit to the English countryside around Totness and then I will have a full immersion in London life! I have recently landed in England after 10 years ... UNBELIEVABLE and I admit that I like the English: they are very polite and friendly but at the same time they possess a type of "dark humour"; they compete with us from Tuscany for irreverence but they are more royal.
I found out that the town I'm going to, Totness, is in Devon near Plymouth.
Totnes is a very quiet town although full of artists and intellectuals, it is called the Boho Town and it is twinned with Narnia the fantasy world where the novel "The Chronicles of Narnia” is set. It is known throughout England for its "Green" movement : the new houses are all built in an eco-friendly way complete with solar panels; practically all the locals serve only local and organic food with a very high percentage of vegetarian and vegan food - here there is not much longing for the traditional Sunday roast!
Since I arrived, thanks also to my friends Shavia and Monika, who are veg-crudist cooks, I appreciate the green diet.
The Hairy Barista www.facebook.com/thehairybarista/ has become my cafè of choice these days, Roy the Israeli owner, is a fan and connoisseur of coffee - just seeing him prepare it is a mystical experience; the cup is placed on a precision scale where the "black gold" is weighed while the coffee fall time is timed so as to extract the best flavor for each type of coffee.
You will also find delicious smoothies, soups, desserts and snacks with a middle-eastern touch in this lovely cafe.
In London I spent only one night and so decided to visit Camden Town, a historic district chosen since 1800 by writers and artists as a place of refuge: the writer Mary Shelley, the poets Arthur Rimbaud and Dylan Thomas, the author George Orwell and , above all, the great Charles Dickens who, in his refuge at Bayham Street, gave shape to the Camden that we find in Oliver Twist. I discovered that Amy Winehouse also lived here, when I came across a bronze statue erected in her honor.
Camden is also known for its ethnic clothing, craft and food markets. I enjoyed a very good falafel burger with a high quality pint of London beer. https://vburger.co.uk/
Camden"s appeal is such that it becomes very crowded and a bit chaotic so to relax I went down to the canals and walked in the silence of the city to Regents' Park.Here"s a last little gem for you: did you know that English swans are the property of the Queen ?! I didn't and it seemed like a funny, quirky English thing!