I love telling people I live in Brixton and seeing their reaction. When looking for flats I was told Brixton was either not somewhere to live (Brixton riots a few years ago give it a bad rep) or that it would be great as it’s really up and coming, trendy. I love it though, despite all comments and judgements!

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Brixton Market and Brixton Village are two indoor markets across the street from each other that have small restaurants throughout. I have been to quite a few so far but definitely want to cover all before I move out of Brixton. The ones I’ve been to are:

Franco Manca
Seven
Okan
KaoSarn
Happy dumplings
Champagne + Fromage
Focaccia GB

There are also some other fun places outside the market and village: the Prince Regent, the Florence, Brixton Lido, POW (Prince of Wales), Duck Egg, Boqueria… Lots to try!

I live on a tree-lined residential street between Brixton and Herne Hill. We are right next to Brockwell Park, which is an old estate that was turned into a massive park. You can see all of London from the top of the park. It’s a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon after a trip to the farmer’s market.

Herne Hill is a little further out, but I love the quaint feel of downtown. Every Sunday there is a farmers market, that one day I came home and told mom and dad that it may be my favorite part of the city. Fresh pies, cakes, cheese, bread, crafts, and this fab vegetarian/vegan stand-the honest carrot-where I’ll stock up on veggie burgers.

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It really annoys me watching cooking shows and they say to add whatever is in the fridge, and they happen to have lots of fresh fruit and veg in the fridge…

Sometimes when I’m trying to save money, I’m forced to be creative. One staple food to always have is a loaf of nice grainy bread. I always keep mine in the freezer as I don’t eat enough myself to keep it fresh. An open face sandwich is a great cheap option for a meal.

This week I had two meals with literally all I had in the flat. The other night I made toast with Branston pickle, blue vein cheddar (from the Glastonbury dairy farm stall at Herne Hill farmers market), a fried egg with salt, pepper, and chili powder on top. Would try with a mature cheddar next time, instead of the blue – but could make with whatever cheese I have in the fridge.

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Today, I had a store bought olive and feta mixture and salsa. I decided to make a hard boiled egg mixed with the two to make an open face sandwich for lunch. I made toast with a layer of Dijon mustard topped with chopped egg, olive, feta, fresh tomato salsa, and salt and chili flakes. Wouldn’t have changed a thing- it was delicious!

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I don’t always know how all the ingredients will taste together but am often pleasantly surprised! I’ve realized always having eggs available is great as an easy option for protein that can be prepared different every time so you don’t get bored!

I also love going to the Herne Hill farmers market on Sunday to stock up of some fresh food that I know will last through the week. Today I got three sausages – one ginger, one sweet chili, and one spicy, Brussels sprouts, and half dozen eggs. I paid £1.50 at each stall so only £4.50 for my trip to the farmers market.

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20131203-073716.jpg Finished off the holiday weekend with mimosas! 20131203-073735.jpg It wouldn’t be thanksgiving without some leftovers for breakfast, however all we had left was lots of stuffing!! 20131203-073743.jpg Love adding different cordials to champagne instead of orange juice. We went with elderflower for our second glass! 20131203-073751.jpg

So I’ve been in London since September 10th, started work on the 11th… Have been in a whirlwind since then trying to balance work with trying to make the most of this amazing city! Moved here after working in fashion in NYC for 3 years. I wanted a change and took  a chance with a new job in a new city. I figure if not now, when?

I’m now working in a beauty startup as a logistics exec and really enjoying the fast paced nature of a startup, yet can be exhausting. Working in a small office of 12 people, but exciting to be at the start of it and is such a difference from working in a massive corporation. Almost here 3 months, and I can’t believe it. Mom has been to visit twice, Shauna once, and I’ve been to Ireland twice! Katie and her mom stopped off in London on her way back from her year at UNISG in Italy. Living with Beccie who is a friend of a friend through Chloe. Could not have asked for a better transition, flatmate, or flat! I know that if work or my flatmate were awful, I’d be back in NY by now. Lots to look forward to and feel like I’ve done quite a lot!

Going to use this blog to document my time here through food, beauty, and living life.

Having just moved to London in September, I knew I would miss the Thanksgiving holiday. Shauna suggested coming to Dublin and having a Thanksgiving celebration this weekend. Still adjusting to London and having no money, Shauna booked my flight and I was all set for my trip! Having Saturday to look forward to, really made Thanksgiving easier knowing everyone at home was with their families for the long weekend.

I arrived in at 11pm on Friday night after a long week of work and being sick to a “Welcome Jess!” sign from Shauna and Rory! We then headed to The Blue Light for a couple of drinks. It was a beautiful night and we could see all of Dublin city lights from up there. We then made it home where we continued to chat and catch up with a bottle of wine until 4am.

Welcome Jess!

Saturday was a slow start, even though we knew we had to start cooking! Woke up to coffee and a bagel with cream cheese and lox – an absolute surprise from Rory after I had said how much I missed it the night before!

After months of planning our menu and pinning to our Thanksgiving Pinterest board, it was time to finally start cooking and hope it all turned out well – we had to show the Irish what a true Thanksgiving meal was. Our Menu was as follows:

With Cocktails:
Veggies & Homemade Sweet Potato Hummus
Mom’s Famous Mushroom Tarts
Kale Chips
Brie & Cream Crackers
To Start:
Courgette & Stilton Soup with Garlic Parmesan Croutons
Main:
Roast Turkey & Gravy
Spinach, Artichoke & Brie Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Roast Potatoes
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roast Broccoli
Butternut Squash & Red Onion
Sweets: 
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Honey Comb Ice Cream
 

First things first, I had to get the ice cream made and turkey in the oven. Homemade Ice Cream is the simplest thing to make – just whip 1 pint of cream and add a tin of condensed milk and continue to whip until it holds shape (don’t over whip!). Then add any flavors you fancy and pop in the freezer! Shauna thought honeycomb ice cream would go well with the Apple Pie.

For the turkey, I think the most important thing is to order your turkey well in advance and ensure you know where it’s coming from – fresh and organic. First, set the oven and prep the pan. Oven temp/time depends on the turkey. Oven was set to 190 for 220 minutes for our. Prep the pan by putting two long bits of tin foil cross ways so you can cover the turkey completely. Then add the turkey to the pan. I mixed EVOO, Rosemary, Dill, and S&P together and coated the entire turkey with it. You can add any herbs you like and try to get the mixture under the skin to ensure moisture throughout. Then add streaky bacon all over the turkey, cover up with the tin foil, and pop in the hour for about 2 and a half hours. Take out the turkey, uncover the turkey and remove the bacon. Baste the turkey with all the juices from the pan and put back in the oven for an hour, basting every 20 min or so.

Turkey

A day of cooking in the Ryan family is not without some music playing and a drink in hand. Rory had our G&Ts topped up all day while we had some Mumford & Sons and Beatles iTunes Radio playing.

The dressing that we made was Brie, Artichoke, and Spinach from Emerile. Shauna has made it before – but it was delicious! It’s a nice alternative to the traditional sausage stuffing. Shauna had already made the soup, cranberry sauce, mushroom tarts (although we had to make more!), and hummus the day before – so just had to reheat and serve.

I’m not a huge fan of the classic Thanksgiving Desserts, so I think I would have tried something different if we hadn’t been cooking a traditional Thanksgiving for our Irish guests. I made an Apple Pie adaptation from Martha Stewart and Pumpkin Pie – which is almost impossible to make due to lack of pumpkin puree in Ireland. The pies were ready to bake along with our last-minute additional mushroom tarts!

Pies and Mushrooms

Rory was in charge of the potatoes – Goose Fat Roasted Potatoes and Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Both were delish! Shauna decided to do roast broccoli instead of green beans as a last minute decision.

So with all of that we were ready to eat! We had the turkey, gravy, stuffing, and potatoes all our buffet style and the rest on the table.

Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, Potato, Sweet Potato


Croutons and Cranberry Sauce

We set the table and Shauna had made cards with Thanksgiving jokes inside all of them! Such a cute idea.

“Why did the Turkey cross the Road?

It was the Chicken’s day off!”

Table Set

Everything turned out great and as we sat down to eat our Irish guests raised their glasses and cheered “Slainte!”.

Shauna and I

The day was a massive success and the McCarthy’s really enjoyed all the food! We didn’t even have the normal leftovers – hardly any turkey and just some stuffing and mashed potatoes! After dinner we did the Thanksgiving stretch which highly entertained everyone – and I don’t recommend doing on a hardwood floor. Followed by Guesstures and Catch Phrase with dessert.

Now to start planning for Christmas – there is a lot of pinning and planning to do!