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As  a school holiday, extra long weekend fun time, I took the boys bowling. It was Zac’s first time, but he soon got the hang of it, even if the balls were just a bit heavy.

Sebastian ended up triumphing, and even gave up using the device of assistance (although we did keep the bumpers up). I completely failed to convert and mostly couldn’t hit a pin with my second ball. There was much hilarity as I basically came last.

One game was not enough…so it was onto a second. And there was also much delight when we switched to UV and disco lights.

All in all it was fun – even if my shoulder ended up stiff the next day. Clearly I’m getting too old for these things.

Pudding Creation Time: Queen of Darkness pudding

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Sebastian was desperate to invent our own pudding recipe, so we finally gave it a go. We decided to go for a chocolate version of the Queen of Puddings recipe.

We decided that that the approach to achieving a chocolated version of the Queen of Puddings was two-fold. Firstly, in the pudding base, we would add choc-chips to the recipe. We had both dark and milk to hand, so we threw in a couple of tablespoons of both.

So the base got added chocolate, along wiht the usual ingredients. We decided that the chocolate replaced the lemon juice in the original recipe.

We decided to convert the meringue topping to chocolate meringue, by adding cocoa powder to the meringue. We agreed that raspberry would still work as the join between the pudding and meringue, but as we had a plethora of frozen raspberries, decided some mashed raspberries, along with a tiny bit of jam, was the best combination.

With the chocolate meringue topping, the puddings were ready to bake. They came out looking fantastic.

And they tasted pretty good as well.

Pudding invention success declared.

Random New York

I spent a total of 8 days in New York, for 2 of which James joined me (we had three nights on the town). This is us in Times Square after our very swish dinner at Le Bernadin where we were startled by just how many people you can have working in a place when there is no minimum wage – we dealt with four different people before we even got to our table! The food was fabulous though, and there is nothing like sitting under a gigantic genuine Modgliani to remind you this isn’t a normal restaurant.

James and I were staying down on the lower west side, just next to the former World Trade Centre site, so we spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the West Village at night, discovering a fabulous Cuban restaurant as well as a brilliant little underground beer bar.

We had a Sunday brunch at Pastis in the Meat Packing District before our visit to the Met. I also took the chance to give James a truncated tour of the Highline Park while we were waiting for our table.

On Monday we spent most of the day shopping and wandering about. Traversed Fith Ave from the Apple store on the corner opposite the bottom of Central Park, all the way back to Soho, passing the skaters at the Rockefeller Centre, the New York Public Library and the Empire State Building en route.

And this of course.

There was much walking, some shopping and even a hot chocolate.Who could ask for more?

And here is the shopping…

A boy and his Dalek

For Jude’s birthday he was lucky enough to once again benefit from Rachel’s skills to now possess a knitted Dalek.

His Dalek gets to sleep with him and engage in all sorts of activities, including, of course, slaying droids on the Wii. Which is a little strange, if you think about it.

Iron Chef: Pomegranate

The next installment in the Iron Chef series – pomegranate. We were a little sceptical about this one, and then slightly worried about being able to find ingredients. But, as usual, the food ended up being completely delicious.

On arrival at Nick and Catherine’s, we started with vodka, appletiser and pomegranate shots.  Nick had utilised his fancy new cooking equipment to de-constitute and then reconstitute the pomegranate.

Clearly pomegranate is a winner when it comes to drinks. Jasmin also whipped us up pomegranate syrup and champagne cocktails.

But no, the whole day did not just entail drinking. There was actually food consumed as well. We started with two lamb based entrees – pomegranate lamb in puff pastry with hommous made by Catherine and Lebanese lamb and pomegranate pizzas which I produced. Tasty and delicious start.

The main course was extensive.It included pomegranate marinated roast pork belly,  similarly marinated salmon, pomgranate and walnut chicken on pilaf with pomegranate seeds and pumpkin, feta and pomegranate salad.

And as usual, despite the fact we were running out of room to fit it in, every good Iron Chef event finishes with dessert. Today there were rich pickings.

Yoghurt and pomegranate

Pomegranate flan…

Pomegranate icecream and…

pomegranate cake! We really didn’t eat much for dinner that night.

So another afternoon of culinary delights, which proved that pomegranate is a much more versatile ingredient than expected – and also delicious.

An afternoon at the Met

A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is pretty much a compulsory element of any trip to New York. I think I have only failed to go on one visit – eight years ago when I went there, but they wouldn’t let me in because I had a too-big bag (and these were the very paranoid years immediately after 9/11). But on all my other trips I have made the pilgrimage and this time was no different – I just waited til James had arrived to do it.

Being us, and somewhat predictable, we headed straight for the arms and armour section. Nothing like a bit of medieval plate to get the day going. I particularly love the samurai area though – the swords are things of exiquisite beauty.

Our taste for ancient weaponry and armour satisfied, we could then take in the rest of the Met. Well, let’s be honest, not quite the rest as we only had about 4 hours, but certainly chunks of it.
There was the American hall, which is a beautiful place just of itself.

I was also quite taken with this sculpture….

The classical sculpture and art section was also pretty impressive. The sculpture at the top of this post was one of my favourites, but there were lots of wonderful sculptures, and the area is beautiful as well.

That’s Hadrian’s head by the way.

The Roman mosaic found in Israel (I think) was very impressive. Must admit we didn’t have time to watch the video on its excavation.

We also looked at medieval art and a quick wander through the Pacific gallery and Asian galleries as well as some time amongst the paintings. I think that 4-5 hours is about museum-limit, so we gave up about that point and enjoyed the walk back along Fifth Avenue by the park, replete with culture.