This week we crossed the Atlantic to Merrie Olde England for a trip to London. We had been thinking that we may have a stopover in London on our trip this summer. This looks a bit less likely now when we look at available flights, but a city like London still gives us a lot of material to explore as a family.
We started by watching a few short video clips about London and making a simple double decker bus craft. When I suggested they draw someone riding the bus my daughter proceeded to draw every girl in her class in the windows and my son drew himself and no one else. I had a few other London activities in mind, but my daughter was uncharacteristically tired from a long day at school while fighting a cold, so I let them have the rare treat of a mid-week movie night instead. For the movie I chose Mary Poppins and it was quite funny when the opening scenes came on and my daughter said, “Wait a minute, that’s London!” Hah, serves them right for trying to avoid learning something in my house!
For our London dinner I decided to go with a pub theme. I rarely do any deep frying, but I decided to attempt fish and chips from scratch. On the side I made a modern version a traditional ploughman’s lunch by turning it into a salad. Instead of crusty bread with English cheese and pickles I tore the bread into chunky croutons and served it on a bed of lettuce with crumbled sharp Leicester cheese, pickles, apple slices and a dressing made with English mustard. I had purchased some imported peas to serve with the meal, but I mis-read the instructions. I thought it said you had to soak the peas for 1-2 hours. Turns out it was 12 hours. So unless we wanted to eat our London meal at 4 am, there would be no authentic English peas for us. Good thing I had regular garden peas in the freezer. We had quite a few choices of imported British beers at the local store, but I chose a couple of ales from a brewery in South London.
The verdict? The fish and chips were very good and I’m quite happy with how they turned out, although the chips could have been a bit crisper. The ploughman’s salad was excellent and I’ll be remembering that combination of ingredients for the future. My daughter ate quite well but as usual my son was the picky one. What was odd, though, was that he ate all his peas and kept going back for more. I’ve served him peas many times before and he’s never been keen on them but for some reason for this meal he rejected the fried stuff and went for the veggies. I guess I’ll never figure him out.
For dessert I took a look through my list of English desserts to find something that sounded “London-ish”. While there were a lot of regional desserts, the most London sounding one I could find was Chelsea buns. They are very similar to cinnamon buns but with currents instead of raisins and without the gooey, “sticky bun” aspect; a sort of neater, more refined version of a North American cinnamon bun. We had them with tea, which both of my children like as long as it has lots of milk and sugar in it.
All in all it was a lovely end to a lovely day. Tune in next week when we go down memory land for the letter M.