Tuesday, July 19, 2011

London Christmas 2010

We have now been back just 2 days. The weather has been just great. Wonderfully cool and thankfully dry. The one thing thats most upsetting is rain. Its not rained yet. Cold we can handle but wet is an issue.

I have not seen as much shopping been done ever before. All the shops are very very busy. People are just buying things. Men walking about looking lost in cookstores looking for things to get their wife. Clothes buying food buying wine buying. 

We had to buy our meat. We went to the Jack OShea outlet at Selfridges. God the line was huge. They had lots of meat on the counter and lots of hams and game. Despite having lots of guys behind the counter there was a line. In fact O Shea himself was serving people.

Then we went to the cheese shop. This is the season for Brie with Truffles and aged Gruyere. The Cheese room is temperature controlled so the number of people in the room is controlled. The line of people wanting to buy cheese snaked around the shop onto the road. Arti stood patiently as I dashed into the apartment to drop of some shopping.

Then we went to another butcher H G Walter where we normally shop. Here the line extended out of the shop onto the road. Since they knew us we were allowed to place an order, have it vac packed while we went down to the pub for lunch. Then we got back and collected the stuff. The line was unending. Their credit card machine had run out of battery!!!

Next we had to go to the wine shop. This was astounding. People were buying champagne like no tomorrow. Orders on the phone, recommendations advise and sale. The cycle never ended.

Restaurants are full. Pubs are bursting with people.Oxford street is one seething snaking throbbing mass of people walking about from shop to shop. We have to absolutely avoid walking on Oxford street whenever we have to walk and take one of the side or alternate streets.   
However the mood of the sales persons and their enthusiasm was never flagging. Everybody is patient and pleasant.

Artis birthday celebrations are a problem as all restaurants are in Christmas mode. Mine is a problem in India as its a dry day. So we have to celebrate otherwise. We got ourselves some really good wine and some delicious aged rib eye steaks from O Shea. Some fresh baby spinach, mushroom stock.  So dinner was a cheese selection of Truffle Brie, Epoisses, Aged Gruyere, Mature Comte in a cheese plate. Rib Eye steak with a red wine and mushroom sauce, Baby spinach simply dressed with olive oil and lemon and thick cut chips made in the oven, chocolates. All washed down with a bottle of Brouilly and some beer. Sensational. Eating this kind of food freshly cooked and more importantly freshly bought is just not possible in Mumbai. We have become big fans of frozen chips. We often buy them in Mumbai and use just as much as we need. So convenient and so tasty.

Today we went to Soho for  a walk and to look at the Kitchen store. On the way back the mens shop at Jermyn Street had started their sales.

Tom for lunch/brunch we have bought some good quality eggs. The ones with the really yellow yolks and some taste. Some thick sliced English Ham and a few chips with home made tomato sauce and lashings of mustard.

Our friend Marco and his sister arrive on Sunday for 3 nights. We have them over for dinner. Freshly bought smoked salmon [not out of a packet but `fresh', some San Daniele ham, some Salami  fresh bread salad and white wine for him. Should be fun. Marco is a delightful gentleman.  
Now we are off for a Christmas dinner. Our hostess normally has a good table and takes lots of care in her food and house. So its pleasant going to her house for dinner. We have to cook the duck with orange sauce and Spinach Catalan.

Merrrrrrry christmas

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