Welcome to my world!

The reflections and comments of a resident in Southsea, Portsmouth, England.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Check out these 5 places for an afternoon tea in Southsea

Southsea is a lovely part of the big city of Portsmouth. It sits on the southern tip of the island and that’s where you should come down for a lovely day on the coast. There are lovely shops along Palmerston and Albert Roads and a nice walk along the pebble beach from historic Old Portsmouth to Eastney. 

It’s also wheelchair and pushchair accessible, so the whole family can enjoy a walk on the seafront. And once you’ve done that, what else to do but to sample some of the delightful cafes Southsea has to offer.

The Tenth Hole (023 9283 0009) 
Eastern Parade, Southsea PO4 9RF
If you start in Eastney, you will see a well-known establishment in Southsea, whose name is synonymous with cake. It’s cakes galore! The portions are large and the prices economical. The only problem is choosing one! Find out what Southsea has been talking about all these years.

Casa de Castro (023 9281 1883) 
96a Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SN
I was wondering why a friend kept insisting I go with her to this cafe. Well, now I know. It’s a bijoux cafe with delightful cakes and quiches. An elegant little place with equally elegant offering it really is Southsea’s best kept secret. Just as well as I want to make sure to have a seat whenever I visit and have one of their Portuguese egg custards!

Garage Lounge (023 9282 8432) 
1 Albert Rd Buildings, Southsea PO5 2SP
The latest buzz in town and a beautiful setting in a place used to be a car garage. Trendy looking crowds usually hang out there. I like the free wi-fi and the million-to-choose-from varieties of tea and I do love their rolls filled with sausages or roast beef for lunch, elegantly served on a wooden board. Don’t walk away without sampling one of the many cakes in their cupboard.

Like A Tea Tray In The Sky (023 9273 1903) 
31 Osborne Road, Southsea PO5 3LR
Vintage chic like no other and Nicky and her staff at the Tea Tray know how to have fun. Along with the delicious cakes she bakes with fairy tale looking fruit toppings, you will find some eclectic mix of art and craft. Their food menu is simple but very tasty. Even a simple egg sandwich looks absolutely scrumptious. It’s also so lovely to sit down and have tea in a variety of vintage china. Just what you need for both body and soul refresher! Psst...don’t forget to ask for ‘Maricar’s Choice’

Twigs The Cafe (023 9282 8316) 
39 High Street, Southsea PO1 2LU
If you’ve walked all the way to Old Portsmouth or starting your walk from there, go visit the Twigs.  They serve delicious coffee with gorgeous looking cakes; you would want to invent any excuse to go in after a visit to the Cathedral of St Thomas.

These are just five to start with, but you will find that Southsea is full of lovely cafes in which you will want to sit back and relax, whether after shopping or after a long walk. 

If you have a pooch companion, you might just want to socialise in the only place we have to cater especially for dog owners – Sellers Coffee House, 1 Kent Road, Southsea PO5 3EG (07834 526443)

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Different ways with Pimms

Different ways with Pimms

A. Mix 1 part Pimms with 3 parts pomegranate juice. Add a slice of orange and garnish with fresh basil.
B. Mix 1 part of Pimms with 3 parts ginger ale. Add a slice of lemon and garnish with a sprig of mint.

What a lovely start to the summer!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Delicious Szechuan Liver

Hello all,

Someone asked on Twitter today what food could you eat every day for a month. Well, I thought the Szechuan liver I cooked tonight was one good candidate. It's so delicious and I love it so much.

Here's the recipe for 2 people:

250-300 grams lamb's liver
1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoon sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove of garlic crushed
2 cm of ginger, chopped
a bunch of spring onions
a small can of bamboo shoots
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Slice the liver to about 1 cm thickness and 3 cm length. Mix with the cornflour and add sugar, salt, soy sauce, sherry and ginger and let it marinade.

In the mean time cut the green onions to about 3 cm long. Heat the oil in a wok or cooking pan, add the onion and bamboo shoots and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and the pieces of lamb. Stir fry for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoonful of water into the pan and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes or until the liver is cooked. Add the sesame seed oil and heat for another 3 minutes.

Serve with fluffy white rice.

Use good quality soy sauce like Kikkoman is you can because the flavour is really different. Sesame oil also tends to vary in intensity with different brands. Be careful because too much sesame oil doesn't taste good. I use Tesco brand sesame oil for this.

I hope you will enjoy cooking and eating this dish.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

When in doubt have noodles!

That I'm obsessed with noodles, it's true. I love noodles and have done so since a tiny tot. So I have noodles at least once a week and sometimes I get away with more!

My noodles obsession has also inspired other people such as John the papercut artist and Matt the radio man. So I thought I'd share with you my simple, fail-safe recipe.

A round of dried noodles, about 75 grams,
softened in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp malt vinegar

Heat the oil in a frying pan or a wok and fry the onions for 10 minutes on medium heat until slightly browned and caramelised. Add the soften noodles and the rest of the ingredients, fry for another 5 minutes. As I like mine rather crispy, let it cook on high heat until you get some of the noodles crisp.

I usually add in any vegetables I might have in the fridge; pieces of broccoli, carrots or spinach. Add this with the onions half way through its caramelising.

And almost always I like my noodles with a fried egg, which I add when the noodles are crisping. You may need to add more oil to the pan to help the noodles crisp and the egg frying.


Noodles with spinach and bacon

Happy New Year

I hope this year is full of possibilities for you!

We have started the year well with some amazing Stargazing events at the Spinnaker Tower. Cosmologists from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation were showing sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for astronomy, alongside members of the Hampshire Astronomical Group, the British Science Association and Astrium.

Next month we will host the biggest Dickens birthday celebration, marking the bicentenary of his birth. All eyes will be on his birth place Portsmouth. I will be telling you more about what will be happening for this Dickens year.

As on Monday 23 January we are also going to celebrate Chinese New Year, I wish you all double happiness.

Here are some photos from the Spinnaker Stargazing event on 17 January.

Building a planisphere

A telescope waiting for the stars

Simon and the comet he created
Getting excited about astronomy!