I know I have been lost to the world lately but with good reason: last week my nephew came to visit from Buenos Aires so I decided it was time to take a few days off (from both work and PC) and have my long-overdue mini-holidays and show him and his girlfriend around.
London really is a fascinating city. It’s a shame that most of us who live here only get the chance to see it properly when someone else comes for a visit. There is so much to see and do and it never ceases to surprise.
In my case it helped to see it through “new eyes”, from a different point of view since you tend to take most for granted in the city where you live. Unsurprisingly it happens to me every time I visit Buenos Aires.
We were a bit pressed for time but all things considered, I think we managed quite well and they saw quite a lot.
We went to Abbey Road to see the album cover crossing right next to the Recording Studios of the same name. (I swear that I didn’t drag them!)
It so happens that Anabela, Federico’s girlfriend, turned out to be a Beatles’ fan like me and it was at her request that we went.
Sadly, the Beatles’ Museum is not in London but in Liverpool so we had to leave that for next time.
Crossing the street at Abbey Road is one of the most hilarious experiences you can ever have, especially if you go with friends (we were three so our photo turned out to be one of the most accurate pictures taken that day).
Besides, I could also fill him in on some Beatle folklore (he was puzzled as to why everyone was crossing the street barefooted until I pointed out that McCartney wasn’t wearing shoes in the picture).
Between avoiding being run over, getting a good photo, the honks of the various cars and buses unfortunate enough to transit that particular road and the curious, amused looks of passers-by and fans-waiting-for-their-turn alike a good laugh is guaranteed!
As Federico had confessed his “addiction” to Caesar salad to me a few days before, I couldn’t help but cooking it for their “Last Supper” with me.
I’d like to think I sent him back with a full tummy and something nice to remember.
Caesar Salad (the one that Federico likes)
(adapted from a recipe from the Athenaeum Hotel in London)
Serves 3 or 4 (depending on how hungry you are)
Romaine lettuce (about a heap per person)
For the Caesar dressing:
3 generous tbsp mayonnaise
generous heap grated Parmesan cheese (I mean REALLY generous)
1 head of finely chopped or grated garlic
splash of white whine vinegar
single cream (optional)
Parmesan cheese shavings (we used Cheddar)
For the Parmesan croutons:
sliced white bread (about 1 slice per person)
vegetable oil to fry
grated Parmesan and/or poppy seeds
To top it up:
1 grilled chicken breast per person
anchovies in olive oil
First do the croutons:
Cut each slice of bread into 3 or 4 batons and then across again into 3 or 4 slices so that you get bread squares (it’s easier to do than it is to explain but you understand what I mean, right?)
Place the oil into a frying pan and when it’s hot fry the croutons (if you want a healthier version you can always bake them in the oven but you have to be careful they don’t burn!)
Once they are golden, dry on kitchen paper and while still hot toss them in both poppy seeds and Parmesan cheese (as you can see from the picture I dispensed with both but nobody seemed to mind…).
Set aside and carry on with the salad.
For the dressing:
Mix the mayonnaise, the chopped garlic and the Parmesan and season GENEROUSLY with loads and loads of black pepper (despite the protests of my nephew that I was putting in too much it turned out not to be the case).
Add the vinegar slowly. If after mixing you think that the dressing is still too thick and does not have a “dressing” consistency, add some single cream (not strictly an ingredient of the classic salad but it did the trick).
Mix the leaves with about a spoonful of dressing (use your hands!). I find it better to do one portion at a time.
Scatter on the plate and get the topping ready.
Heat your grill or (if you’re lucky enough to have one) your outdoors parrilla (buaaaaaaa!!!).
Once it’s really hot, throw your chicken breasts and while they are cooking squeeze some lemon juice over them. If you’re grilling shrimps, they go quite well with lime juice instead.
Once cooked, cut the breast into three or four pieces and scatter evenly over the salad leaves.
On top of that scatter the croutons.
Finish off with some Parmesan shavings (get a chunk of cheese and shave it directly over the salad).
As Jamie O would say: “Tuck in!”