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    An Unexpected Birthday Present

    London based Kiwis get 36 hour long birthday days. At the strike of midnight KST (Kiwi Standard Time) the day of our birth, it’s officially our birthday as the Earth begins it’s slow rotation of the day.

    The upside is 36 hours of messages, cards, birthday cake, toasting, merry making and catching up with friends.

    The downside is that a lot of the people you love are pretty far away. But it makes you appreciate a hundred times more the family you make over here on this side of the world.

    (Fyi, I haven’t been drinking at 8am this morning, it was a birthday drink last night (KST)

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    London Living: Kings Cross/St Pancras

    It occured to me the other day, train stations are interesting creatures. They aren’t places that you’d normally go for a visit (unless a trainspotter), they are gateways for large numbers of people walking in, waiting, perhaps browsing then dashing off to their exotic/fun/work destinations. But we rush through them so quickly, and when we do stand there, we are generally staring at the boards wishing away our waiting time that we don’t always get a chance to appreciate the sheer beauty of the buildings holding up the boards.

    London has some of the best, and certainly infamous Train Stations. Kings Cross has recently undergone a major revamp, but most importantly, the Hogwarts 9 and 3/4 has been returned to it’s proper home (it had been stuck on an external corner whilst the works were completing.

    I quite like the new station, the architectural style of the new overarching waiting area contrasting then with the stunning St Pancras Station across the way..

    It’s a lovely place to stand & wait for your train – especially when shooting over to the continent! If  really bored and musically inclined, I spotted this sweet piano!

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    Kiwi Cooking: Ginger Slice Recipe

    At the moment I’m having a love affair with Ginger, and making this Ginger Slice recipe is my absolute favourite way to eat it. It’s not particularly healthy, but it’s scrumptious and really easy to make.

    On reflection, I think I know why I have been into Ginger – it’s so autumnal: soft, spicy, dancing on the palate. Combine this with a biscuit base, golden syrup and icing sugar. Warms the cockles of your heart.

    I remember making this when I was 12, in the ‘home economics’ class at primary school, and it hasn’t ever lost it’s place in my heart. The recipe is found in the Kiwi Cooking bible, the Edmonds cooking book, found in almost every Kiwi’s home. Originally made as a marketing tool for Baking Powder, according to Wikipedia “it remains New Zealand’s fastest selling book with over 200,000 copies sold in one year.”

    Such a great cookbook; nothing particularly fancy, it’s a small wire-bound book, smaller than A5; and contains almost every day-to-day cooking recipes you can think of.

    A lovely slice of childhood, perfect with a cup of Tea or Coffee.

    Ginger Crunch Slice

    Ingredients:

    Slice:
    125 g Butter, softened
    1/2 cup Sugar
    1 1/2 cups standard Plain Flour
    1 teaspoon Baking Powder
    1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
    Icing:
    75 g Butter
    3/4 cup Icing Sugar
    2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
    3 teaspoons Ground Ginger

    1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
    2. Sift flour, baking powder and ginger together.
    3. Mix into creamed mixture.
    4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead well.
    5. Press dough into a greased 20x30cm sponge roll tin.
    6. Bake at 190C (375F) for 20-25 minutes or until light brown.
    7. When there is about 5 minutes of cooking time left, combine butter, icing sugar, golden syrup and ginger.
    8. Heat until butter is melted, stirring constantly.
    9. Pour hot ginger icing over base while hot and cut into squares before it gets cold.

    * I decorated mine with Dark Chocolate melted & drizzled over it. If you love Ginger, you can double both quantities of Ground Ginger in the recipe. Ginger heaven.

    What do you think of Ginger as a sweet – like it or loathe it?

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    Foodie-in-Training: Pomegranate

    An ancient Egyptian symbol prosperity and ambition, pomegranates have recently made a comeback as a superfood. Consisting of small jewel-like seeds (arils) full of liquid, encased in pith and a glossy outer skin, they chock are full of antioxidant vitamins.

    Apparently aril juice (the seeds) provides about 16% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving, and is a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), potassium and natural phenols, such as ellagitannins and flavonoids (Source).

    I’ve been seeing them everywhere, and so bought them to enjoy at home, and at work on my breakfast. The juice stains really badly, but they are so lovely and tart it’s worth the cleaning & prep. Apparently when buying them, choose fruit with glossy skin that are heavy for their size.

    I’ve been eating them on top of my normal brekkie of yoghurt, wheatgerm & fruit; in couple of my salads and smoothies (great tip for making these on the 5dollardinners website). I really like the various pomegranate drinks that are popping up and I think I’d like to try the pomegranate syrup one day – not sure what I’d use it for though.

    I’ve been opening the by cutting them in half, then bashing the seeds out with a rolling pin. Whilst this is a quick method, it’s definately not the cleanest. See below a really handy YouTube video;
                                                                                                           

    What is your favourite fruit? Have you tried Pomegranates before?

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    London Living: Ghost Tours

    There is macbre side to any City & Town, and London, due to the size and importance, is no exception to this. We love the chance to explore London in new and unusual ways, so when a good friend of mine was given a birthday present of Ghost Bus Tours, we thought it’d be a scream to join her (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

    So yesterday, on a verrry wet Saturday evening we lined up in the pouring rain to board the ‘Ghost Bus’. It was halarious.

     

    With a loop starting near Trafalar Circus, taking in St Pauls, and Southwark; it was the funniest, ahem, scariest bus tour I’ve ever taken.

     

    “The Necropolis Bus Company began in the 19th century as a private funeral bus service. The Necropolis vehicles or ‘Carcass Coaches’ as they were known to Londoners were able to convey the deceased, pall bearers and up to 50 mourners (no standing) to the final resting place. Each bus had an onboard conductor/chief mourner and a special siren or ‘mourning whistle’ to warn pedestrians of the bus’s approach. The sound of the whistle prompted gentlemen to remove their hats and bow their heads as a mark of passing respect.”

    They give a really interesting gory history of the London sights & sounds along the 1hr and 15minute route, accompanied by a the conductor & guest, with a host of sounds, video effects and spooky goings on.

    It is really funny, the actors certainly give it their all. We weren’t very scared but boy we laughed. Certainly worth going once, and seeing an alternative history of London. We are thinking to do a few of the haunted walking tours as well.

    London is just so interesting!

     

    We weren’t comped in anyway for this, but enjoyed it. Check out The Ghost Bus Tours for further information.

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