Tag Archives: Richmond Park

Pembroke Lodge in all its May glory

The Pembroke Lodge garden is looking better and better, I went for a quick visit last week and it was stunning with wisteria, irises and elder in full bloom. Some parts of the garden are still work in progress, part of it was closed for some tree pruning and large part of it are roses which will look beautiful this summer. Can’t wait to have tea on the terrace but this will only happen when the boy is a bit smarter as the end of it is a large slope, I can just see the poor mite tumbling down.

 

The Queen visits Richmond Park

 

On Tuesday the Queen came to visit Richmond Park as a part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations so the bug and I hotfooted it to see her. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with much excitement even though we got showered and hailed on. Local businesses displayed their goods, the deer keepers talked about the park’s beloved inhabitants, beekeepers told us about Richmond Park honey and gardening specialists sold wonderful plants. The crowd was small so we easily squeezed to the front and barricaded ourselves with prams. Fun day altogether and such a once in a lifetime opportunity!

A great little funfair, a beautiful merry-go-round, sadly Freddie went to sleep so no rides.

If you missed the Queen’s portraits by Cecil Beaton at V&A this wonderful exhibition at The Royal Collection called  Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration will be as exciting.

 

Discovering Richmond Park and views from Pembroke Lodge

Being fully mobile on my bike is such a treat. After 1 year + in my new house I finally started to discover Richmond Park beyond a walk to Sheen Gate and Isabella Plantation.

I was actually cycling to the Petersham Gate playground with the bubs when I took a wrong turn and ended up at the top of the park and entered the beautiful garden of Pembroke Lodge. It’s a beautiful Georgian mansion where you can have high tea and admire the views.

That’s Ham House in the distance.

I can’t wait to see the garden transforming throughout the year, so far we have some early spring flowers and some hellebores (which are on my front garden list).

 

Well, hello there snow

After a very long wait we have snow in London and I am so glad I bought the sledge. I really started to doubt that it will happen this winter but last night everything turned white and this morning we wrapped warm (I am not sure why snow makes us put on so many layers given that the few preceding days were much colder!), wax the sledge and went for a smooth ride to Richmond Park.

Freddie was very excited smiling all the way and complaining when we took him out. We climbed up a baby hill and slid down with the babe to much laughter.

Dorich House from the park side.

After coming home we had a reward in a shape of a chocolate mousse. Well, hardly a reward since we had so much fun! It is really rich and delicious and perfect with a cup of coffee.

Ingredients:

200 g the best quality chocolate you can afford/get your hands on; 70% cocoa solids

a knob of butter

2 tbsp caster sugar

300ml double cream

1tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, separated

a splash of Amaretto

a little bit of good cocoa powder for dusting

shortbread biscuits, ideally home made as the shop bought are usually pale and floury.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over hot water. Beat cream, sugar and vanilla into soft peaks. Add the egg yolks to the cream and combine, in a separate bowl beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt into stiff peaks. Fold the melted chocolate, Amaretto and gently fold in the egg whites with a metal spoon. Out to the fridge for a couple of hours. Dust with cocoa before serving. Enjoy!

This is another chocolate mousse recipe if you only have 5 minutes, a bar of chocolate and a splash of water. Great for Valentines Day if you celebrate.

 

Living in the sticks part 1

The weather has been fantastic, life looks much better after the dreary winter. I went out without a jacket, that’s something!

Walking around my neighborhood I felt inspired to take some pictures.

We start our tour in my street aka Wisteria Lane. It is a very quiet street where everyone knows everyone else, even if you don’t (like me) you still say hello.

Then we cross the road and enter Richmond Park, there is a long wait at the crossing and usually someone starts a chat. I met two people this way.

In the park you see bunnies.

Pass by the Beverly River.

Run into some deer.

You take a long nap.

Maybe hard to believe but it is still a London postcode.

 

Picnic and more struggle with short crust pastry

Picnic with friends in Richmond Park sounded like a great idea for a hot Sunday afternoon. I decided to contribute with individual fruit tarts.

The pastry recipe was from Jamie Oliver’s first book, I always get bit scared not to overwork it so usually it comes out too crumbly. I think this time I came pretty close to the real deal. My little tart shells baked and got decorated with  fruit and jelly. I never poured jelly into pastry cases before so obviously I didn’t think about putting a layer of egg white on top. The jelly set beautifully overnight but it also soaked through the shells so the tarts became soggy and definitely not picnic worthy.

I had plan B, as I made a lot of pastry I had enough for a whole fruit tart so I set to work. I almost got it rolled out in one piece and it almost landed perfectly in the baking tin. I think I am close to getting it right, just need to practice a bit more. It is a very satisfying thing.

This time I sealed the pastry, whipped some cream and arranged summer berries. It looked very pretty. It lacked few mint leaves but I could not find any in the supermarket (damn you Pimms drinkers!).

The next challenge was the packing and wrapping. Cling film was used heavily and the tart landed in my basket. We set off to Richmond. But 20 minutes into the ride the cream started to melt and as the tart was right in front of me I was getting more and more stressed about it. In despair we stopped to buy some ice, the tart was placed on top of it and somehow we made it to the park. It wasn’t as spectacular as the original but it tasted very good indeed.

Day in Richmond

I woke up to an overcast sky but fortunately the day turned out to be very sunny and hot. The summer is back for a day I think.

We decided to go to Richmond Park on our bikes. It is my favorite royal park, it dates back to the 13th century and was loved by the Tudors, Henry VIII frequently went hunting in the park and Elizabeth I lived and died in Richmond Palace.

We entered through the Roehampton Gate and the first thing we saw was deer, a lot of them. No surprise really as the park is home to about 600 red and fallow deer. They are such nice creatures, so graceful and pretty.

We headed toward Ham Gate and saw more deer…

I wasn’t fast enough to snap them surrounded by ferns, it looked magical.

Feeling very hungry we decided to grab some lunch at Petersham Nurseries.

Good bread, chicken salad, cheddar tomato sandwich and lovely almond, polenta and lemon cake.

I really want Skye Gyngell’s cook books!

There is a restaurant within the nursery ground, it is amazing.

Being a nursery you can buy plants and seeds, and really good quality gardening tools, accessories, wellies, rain coats and interior bits.

We purchased some seeds, these will be given away as we don’t have a garden. I would love to have one.

On the way back we went down The Thames Path. It’s so nice, like a holiday resort but instead of the sea there is river. It took us ages to get back but it was worth it, we cycled through Richmond, Kew and Barnes and eventually got to Putney were we had to go back on the road.

Twickenham Bridge – a fantastic Art Deco creation.

There are a whole bunch of things to do in this area: Ham House in Ham on …..Ham Street, Hampton Court, Kingstone, Kew Gardens, Petersham, Barnes with its Georgian houses and the London Wetland Centre not to mention hundreds of good restaurants, cafes and delis.

A great place for a day out of town.

Warsaw part 1

We arrived in Warsaw on a sunny Saturday morning and after a short bus ride we got to our hotel. Unfortunately our room wasn’t ready yet (a couple of hours before the check in time) and we wandered through Krakowskie Przedmieście. Equipped in a map we marked all the places we wanted to visit/eat at, while drinking cold beer. Before we headed back to the hotel we popped to Zakąski Przekąski, part of the Gessler empire (the Conrans of Warsaw according to Wallpaper*) located at the old Europejski Hotel, conveniently just opposite our hotel. Zakąski Przekąski is a great snack bar, zakąski meaning snacks to go with vodka or simply starters and przekąski meaning snacks in general. All the food is PLN8/€2 and all the drinks are PLN4/€1 including vodka shots! The food it very simple and served with a roll, all very meaty, for someone like me the choice was limited to potatoes with sour cream or herring, went for the latter, M had pate with cranberry sauce and horseradish relish. This place is open 24h a day and gets packed with young fashion crowd in evening for a cheeky shot of vodka before or after a night out.

When we got to the hotel after the check in time our room still wasn’t ready and we got immediately upgraded to a suite, yay!

Later on we had coffee at the very quirky café Kafka. A fab little place near our hotel but off the beaten track where we would eat our breakfast every day.

The café is at the bottom of old building with tables and chairs outside, it also has got a grassy bit with deck chairs and blankets. The interior is pretty wacky with lots of books they saved from a skip, these can be bought now for PLN10/€2.50 per kilo.

At dinner time it was back to Hotel Europejski, restaurant U Kucharek which is one of the Gessler places. We dined outside on a chilled beetroot soup for me and wild mushroom broth for M. The nice thing about Warsaw is that the pavements are wide so every restaurant and bar have outside areas which with the 30 degrees temperatures where blissful and reminiscent of southern Europe.The food was absolutely delicious and I couldn’t stop staring at the color of my soup.

On Sunday we had a breakfast at the oldest patisserie in Warsaw, Blikle, the breakfast was ok but massively overpriced. The cakes and doughnuts are fantastic though.

The day was hot and we decided to spend it in Łazienki Park – The Royal Baths Park. The park is beautiful with a number of palaces like the neoclassical Palace on Water or The Ujazdowski Castle, the latter is a home to a modern art gallery and a restaurant.

Palace on Water

The other spots worth visiting in the park are the Old Orangery, Little White House, Mysliwiecki Palace, Belvedere and the statue of Fryderyk Chopin. We headed to the Roman Theater near the Palace on Water to listen to a classical music concert. We were hoping to see the Chopin piano concert (played near his statue every Sunday between May and September at 12.00 and 16.00) but the heat chased us away – the weird thing about Polish parks is that people don’t sit on the grass only on benches. There is yet another concert played behind the Old Orangery, all concerts are free and performed by the best musicians in the country and beyond.

For lunch we headed to Ujazdowski Castle to Qchnia Artystyczna, a trendy Warsaw restaurant, found out later that it’s also owned by one of the Gesslers! The interior is simple and the food tasty, I settled for potato cakes with wild mushroom sauce and M for a simple pasta dish, and beer of course.

We had a quick look at the Centre for Contemporary Art at the castle and walked back to the town center and walked passed the Polish Parliament and Senate back to the hotel.

The evening was spent on a walk to the Old Town centre, dinner under a starry sky at Pierrogeria where we stuffed ourselves silly with delicious dumplings.

We finished the evening walking to the New Town centre (don’t be fooled by the name, it’s an old part of Warsaw too but was named New some time ago! ). We had tea at Belle Epoque, an eclectic and wacky looking café in belle epoque style where a man played piano – more Woody Allen than Chopin, and drank tea with rum.

Richmond Park

Last Sunday I cycled to Richmond Park. Quiet and blissful with pretty deer passing by, it was the perfect spot for a summer picnic.