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Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Feature: Sunday's Supper

Yes, Supper. In England, supper is a late night snack, or maybe a small meal depending on the region. The word supper in my mother's household was strictly forbidden. We ate dinner, only. No supper. Only Southerner's ate supper, she claimed. We lived in Michigan. Yet, a delicious Sunday meal, eaten mid-day is neither lunch or dinner. To me, it is supper. Sorry, mom- but maybe the South got a few things right. The Sunday's Supper series will feature my recipes. Lovingly created by me; enthusiastically taste tested by Mr. Radar. No calls to poison control have been made thus far. Without further ado, my beloved pesto recipe.

Fusilli with warm Arugula Pesto

Serves 4 dinner portions; 6-8 side portions

1 16 oz box of dry Fusilli
4 cups fresh Arugula
1/2-3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 cup grated parmesan, divided
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon course sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, fresh if possible
black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups sweet grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, diced


First, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Dice the mozzarella and halve the tomatoes, reserve for later. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet on medium to high heat. Watch them like a hawk! They will burn. Put the arugula, olive oil, pine nuts, lemon juice, 1/2 cup of parmesan, garlic, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until creamy. This may take a while- stir everything up with a spatula if necessary. Add more olive oil if the mixture looks course, not creamy. Taste the mixture to ensure the salt and pepper levels are to your liking. Mix the cooked pasta, pesto, tomatoes, and mozzarella in a large bowl. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Today, we enjoyed this meal with a fresh fruit salad. It was a delicious, healthy meal enjoyed by the both of us. In my opinion, the arugula pesto is both healthier for you (more nutrients) and better tasting than a traditional pesto made with basil. You can experiment with other nuts, like walnuts or pistachios. I have tried both, and in the end, prefer the pine nuts. I have also tried this recipe with spinach (curly, not baby) and it worked. Not as peppery- but still good.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bring on the Wellies!

Yep, I've always harvested an inner desire to look like the Morton Salt girl. London is finally my excuse to buy Wellies, raincoat, and matching umbrella. I really do think it's necessary. One problem: I hate yellow. It has to be my least favorite color. So, here is my take on rainy day attire.

Raincoat by Boden UK

Hunter Wellies in Turqoise

Lindy Lou Domed Umbrella

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bittersweet Morning

I woke up thinking of all the friends and neighbors we will leave behind in August. I went to my favorite coffee shop and ordered my usual capuccino, hoping to drive the thoughts out of my mind. Saying goodbye is difficult, daunting. We're not just saying goodbye to our friends and family, we are saying goodbye to our lifestyle- our home. Fear bubbled up inside me as I envision our house empty- or worse, filled with new owners who might enjoy it more. Though we will be back- and this is but another chapter in our lives- I have a strong friend base and a lovely "chosen" family here in Ohio. I was raised in Michigan, and though I have lived in Ohio for seven years, I never felt truly at home until we purchased our first home in Historic South Park. It is a beloved neighborhood, where I can honestly say that my neighbors are friends. Here is a little animoto about South Park, for those interested.

Historic South Park

We made a hard decision to sell our house. We could keep it, perhaps rent it out while we are away, but it seems like a lot of responsibility. Selling it leaves room for new owners to create the bonds that we created in South Park. I look at our house differently now, like it is no longer our home. I've rearranged the furniture, taken down our pictures- to be replaced by staged neutrality. Hopefully, when we return, we will find another house that we love just as much as this one. But I can't help but feel a little bittersweet about the process. With light, there is always dark. Hopefully our time in London will be an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both of us.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mind the Gap

Mind the language gap, that is. I'm currently searching for books to help us adjust to the Queen's English. I don't want to accidently insult someone's grandmother. My goal is to brush up on the Brits before taking off for Old Blighty. Here are a few books I think might help. I will review the books in a later post.

I'm definitely getting "Rules, Britannia" by Tony Summers Hargis.

I'm also considering an anthropology text, "Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour" by Kate Fox

"Brittania in Brief" looks like it would be good for someone going on holiday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

New city, new neighborhood

We put together a little wish list for our new neighborhood in London. Finding a neighborhood that fits is a tall order. We value civic engagement, green space, transportation links, and friendliness. Finding a neighborhood in London with these qualities will be difficult, but we're up for the challenge.

Here is our wish list, in order of importance.

1) Price is very important. We have a budget specified by Mr. Radar's employer. Although this budget is generous, London is expensive and some areas are simply out of our price range. Adorable Notting HIll, trendy SoHo, and posh Chelsea are out of the picture.
2) Proximity to Mr. Radar's office. We would like to find something within a 1.5 mile radius of his office, located in Camden Town, North London.
3) We need at least two bedrooms and a decent sized kitchen.
4) Neighborhood character. We want something with access to pubs, markets, and a park to walk our dog.
5) Modest garden for our dog, Buddy.

University College London, where Mr. Radar will work.

*image courtesy of

Our wish list is pretty big, I know. From scoping out online lettings sights, I know that there are flats & terrace homes available in our price range that satisfy all of our criteria.

Neighborhoods in consideration: Islington, Kings Cross, Canonbury, Kentish Town, Tuffnell Park, and Holloway. We also like Swiss Cottage and St. John's Wood, but they are a little farther from Mr. Radar's office than we would prefer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

And so it begins...

Beginnings and ends always seem to be filled with boxes. Fragile ones, heavy ones, dreaded ones. Some boxes-filled with pictures and memories-bring delight. Others contain unwanted items never to be seen again. Today, there are boxes everywhere, imposing order on chaos.

I am moving. In fact, we are moving across the pond. I'm following my husband, Mr. Radar to the land of fish and chips. I have about 7 weeks to grab all my stuff, my dog, and my husband- and hop a plane to another world. I'm not really the expatriate or adventuresome type. I'm a wife, writer, and urban advocate. Mr. Radar is a bit of a mad-scientist, and is taking a three year research assignment in London. Many friends have asked me to chronicle our time in London.

This blog is my attempt. In the next weeks, I anticipate struggles as we say goodbye to our beloved home, bid our friends farewell for now, and try to navigate through our new world- sans a few boxes, of course.