On Sunday, I got the best gift any mother could wish for on Mother's Day - a day of no tantrums. It was delightful. It was actually more than delightful. It was a miracle. To make the day even better, we went out for a delicious lunch at Bao Bao London. I feel like we're constantly going out for pizza or burgers, so I was excited to be trying out Taiwanese cuisine.
Taiwan is known for their street food, and Bao Bao delivers fresh, tasty food in a cool environment (imagine a gorgeous floral wall made for Instagram). Husband and I were initially excited to try Bubble Tea. We watch My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix and they are always drinking bubble tea. There are loads of flavours - so it was a bit overwhelming. Luckily the waitress was understanding and quite helpful. I was pleased with my choice - the passion fruit tea, with aloe vera bubbles, green tea, some ice and a little sweetness. Husband ordered a green tea as he couldn't handle all the choices. Haha.
I am not the best cook. I make about 10 meals which I rotate over a couple of weeks (luckily Husband cooks on the weekends). I can probably cook about 20 things, but a few of them are special occasion dishes that don't get made often. I've been wanting to add to my repertoire for ages, so last week I dragged one of my friends along to a Mexican street food cooking class at The Jamie Oliver Cookery School in London.
I love Mexican food, but other than cheese quesadillas, I would never dream of trying to make any. So it was a treat to have a professional chef, the lovely Gaby, show me how to cook. I say me, but there were eight of us in the class. We cooked in groups of two, which meant that we were able to take turns with chopping, etc. I chopped my first onion, which was very exciting (it's the kind of thing that I normally make Husband do). We made a chipotle chicken, various salsas and guacamole. And if that wasn't enough, we also made our own corn tortillas.
Cheers to dining out as a family! Eating out used to be quite tough, but the boy has mellowed quite a bit in the past few months. And now our weekly trips to restaurants are no longer limited to pizza and burgers (yessss!). Last weekend we tested this further by going to Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co in central London.
If the name sounds familiar, it is because it is a tribute to the Forrest Gump film. I vaguely remember Forrest and his friend discussing a million types of ways to cook shrimp. And then Forrest made loads of money fishing shrimp. To tell you the truth, I probably would never have gone to this restaurant if they hadn't invited me and my family. The truth is, it sounded really touristy. And it is. But, in a way that my family enjoyed.
Did I ever mention that my family and I love an American diner? Many years ago, when I first moved to the UK, I would drag Husband around London looking for acceptable American fare. I needed to know where I could get burgers, milkshakes and pancakes if I had an urgent craving. Fourteen years ago, there were only a handful of places to get American-style food. Nowadays, they are everywhere. There are now more American restaurants and diners in London than I have fingers and toes. One place we have frequented a few times is Ed's Easy Diner.
If you're not familiar with Ed's, it is a chain of 1950s-style American diners. They have booths, as well as tables, cute jukeboxes and My family and I last went about five months ago. My son has recently become obsessed with cheeseburgers, and we're all fans, so it makes life easier to eat at restaurants where they serve cheeseburgers. Recently, the people from Ed's invited us for a family meal to check out their new junior menu.
Dining out with kids is made so much easier with a great children's menu. Ed's Junior Bites is made for kids 10 and under. For £5.95, you get a main, side and a drink. One issue I have with many children's menus is that there is enough food for my 4-year old, but my 8-year old ends up still hungry. I would rather the kids had more proper food and less dessert. At Ed's, my 8-year old was properly full while my 4-year old had food remaining. Take note other restaurants!
We love desserts in my house. But recently I have been trying to get us to eat more healthily. My children ate a ridiculous amount of ice cream this summer and I am trying to get them excited again about fruit. Namely frozen fruit. So, I thought I would share three super easy, and very fast, recipes for frozen fruit that will make your little one exclaim 'ooh!' and they won't even notice that they're having a healthy dessert.
I love dining out. And even more, I love dining out with a view. We are so lucky in London to have the lovely Thames running through the city. Scenic river views are not just for those in central London. Come a bit further south to Kingston-upon-Thames, and you can enjoy a riverside view whilst enjoying some delicious food.
If you're not familiar with Kingston, it is a town in the Royal Borough of Kingston. And though it has a Surrey post code, it is a borough of London. Kingston is known for its great shopping (an indoor mall called The Bentalls Centre as well as a great variety of shops along and near the pedestrian-only area. And recently, Kingston has become known for its wide range of restaurants. I was recently invited to an event thrown by the RiverSide Walk Kingston to show off some of its wonderful dining options.
Dining with views of London is kind of having a moment isn't it? Especially in London. Why have a boring meal looking at your partner/friends when you can be looking at gorgeous views of the city?! So when my chef friend Omar Romero Quezada told me he was opening up a restaurant on the 23rd floor of the Hilton London Metropole, I couldn't wait to try it out. A couple of weeks ago, when the kids were staying with my in-laws for the weekend, Husband and I headed to Kojawan for a long, boozy lunch.
Kojawan is a futuristic restaurant that serves Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese fusion. I love Japanese food, but am new to Korean and have no idea about Taiwanese cuisine. So I was a bit nervous about the menu. Not for me, but for Husband who prefers a roast dinner to sushi any day of the week (in fact, he doesn't eat any fish whether it is cooked or raw). It turns out that I needn't have worried. There is loads of delicious food, no matter what tickles your taste buds.
First of all, we did not eat any of the mains. We shared booze food, starters and desserts. Booze food is basically the snacks you would get if you are just going to Kojawan for drinks. But they also make a great compliment to the starters. We enjoyed the crunchy cabbage, crispy chicken, zucchini fries (which are courgette chips, and they are amazing) and hot cricket bombs. Yes, those kinds of crickets. The cricket bombs are basically fried cheese balls with crickets inside, plus there are some crickets on the side that you can sprinkle on top.
Life is so hectic. I spend the weekdays rushing around after the kids. And even if I have free time, it is spent on errands and laundry (apart from the occasional break to watch The Real Housewives, heehee). The meals that I cook for my children are made quickly, and easily. Then on Saturdays we normally have a family outing and eat out. Sundays are my favourite day. It is the day we try not to make plans. We have a slow day, where we have fun at home. We play puzzles and Lego, Moozles does her homework, we watch an afternoon movie. And then, oh then, we eat.
One of my favourite British traditions is that of a Sunday Roast. Meat (usually lamb, but sometimes beef or pork in our house), potatoes (roasted or mashed), some kind of green vegetable and Yorkshire puddings (even though they are traditionally served with beef, my family loves them, especially my son who demands them with every roast).
This weekend we had a family lunch in east London to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. I love trying out new restaurants so I was eager to visit Formans Restaurant in Hackney Wick. The restaurant is located in the H. Forman factory (they are the oldest curers of salmon in Britain). The factory was designed into a salmon-like shape (see my last photo).
Ooh, I love Mother's Day. It is the day that Husband really steps up his game. The kids, well Moozles anyway, is thinking about all the presents she would like to 'buy' for me. And Dubz, well, Dubz is trying to figure out how he can get some more superhero toys. But anyway, I don't require diamonds or a Michelin-starred restaurant. But it makes me happy that my family make a little fuss over me. So I thought I would share some things that will be making my Mother's Day a bit special.