Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Raspberry and Almond Upside-Down Cake

I often find Facebook intrusive, with it throwing up ads, "suggesting" friends and pages, and showing me old posts in case I want to repost them.  If I wanted help, I'd ask!   However, every now and again, one of their suggestions is worthwhile, and so it was with "suggesting" that I like Donna Hay's Facebook site.

Recently in my news feed, a recipe popped up from the Donna Hay Facebook page suggesting that I make their raspberry and almond upside-down cake for the weekend.  Why not, I thought - it looks delicious!!!

Ad so it was:

I used less raspberries - just a normal 300g bag from the supermarket, rather than 1kg.  Sure, I had less raspberries on top of my cake than Donna's version, but given the price of raspberries, this was fine by me! 

I served my cake with a dollop of Greek yoghurt:

Super delish!!!  Definitely a "make again" recipe.

Monday, June 29, 2015

New York, New York Day 7 - Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and National September 11 Memorial and Museum

Our third and final day of our New York Pass was flagged for the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.  It was a particularly apt time to be visiting the museum, as it was Fleet Week, and the city was awash with marines, sailors and coastguards.  I loved all the uniforms - the young men (the vast majority were men) looked so handsome and neatly pressed.  Even the Rockefeller Centre joined in, hence the flags in the Plaza at the top of this post.

Tim and I started the day with breakfast at one of our favourite discoveries - Café Metro, in the bottom of an office building near our hotel.  Café Metro sells oatmeal with two toppings in a large size for around $4 (including tax).  They also have a wide array of cooked breakfasts, pastries and beverages.  Here is Tim striding purposefully towards Café Metro:  

On this morning, I decided to go the cooked breakfast - bacon, scrambled eggs and home style potatoes (~$9):

It was a very satisfying way to start the day.

Back at the hotel, I discovered a vending machine that sold Cracker Jack:

Cracker Jack was immortalised in Breakfast at Tiffanys, so being in New York, I had to try some.  The prize was definitely a let-down - a baseball sticker:

However, the cracker jack itself was quite nice - a bit like Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs.

After the cracker jack adventure, we headed off for the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, passing the New York Times building on the way:

The Intrepid is a former aircraft carrier that houses the museum.  The line to get into the museum was very long and the day was very hot, so we were glad that our New York Pass got us into a priority line, so that our wait was much shorter.
At the Intrepid, as part of Fleet Week, there were lots of uniformed servicemen and women to add to the atmosphere:

It reminded me of Top Gun, which incidentally was going to be screened at the Intrepid at 7pm that evening:

We bought a ticket to the Space Shuttle Pavillion as an add-on so that Tim could see the space shuttle, Enterprise:

It was named Enterprise when fans of Star Trek lobbied for their favourite TV series to be honoured:

The Enterprise was a prototype only and never went into space.  However, the museum has a history of all the space shuttles and their missions.

For Fleet Week, there were lots of school groups performing.  Here are members of an elaborately dressed school band:

On the deck of the Intrepid, there are lots of former military aircraft to view.  However, you get a fantastic view of all of them from the upper deck of the Intrepid, which the public can climb up to and talk with people who served on the Intrepid:

Inside the lower decks of the Intrepid are a series of museum exhibits.  This one is a space capsule like the one in the opening shots of I Dream of Jeannie - Major Nelson, are you in there?

The  Intrepid's decommissioning bell is behind glass in the museum:

Fittingly, we ate lunch nearby at the Galaxy Diner:

It is pretty much what it says on the tin - an old-fashioned diner with stickers of the universe on the ceiling:

We ordered the lunch special - soup and a sandwich for ~$12.  This was a spicy vegetable soup, with the crackers endearingly on the side (we love the practice of serving crackers with soup in the US):

I accompanied this with an egg salad sandwich, complete with slaw on the side:

It was old-fashioned food with old-fashioned service - not fancy, but solid and dependable.  We liked it.

After lunch, we visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.  As you can imagine, this is a thought-provoking, sombre place.  What really struck me was the ordinariness of many of the artifacts - possessions of ordinary people going about their business on what they thought would be an ordinary day - but it wasn't.

Where the two towers of the World Trade Centre were, they have installed bottomless pools of water with the names of the people who perished there around the sides:

For dinner that evening, we went to Roast Kitchen on the edge of Times Square:

This is a bowl place, like Supercharger but with the option of having meat in your bowl.  Here is my yummy pork bowl with pearl barley (~$12):

I also chose a local diet cola to accompany my meal: 

You can eat in or take away.  The hardest part was working out what to do, because the staff weren't going to help us and we had no other customers to copy from.

On the way home, we stopped off at Duane Reed, where Tim bought this cool can of Budweiser:

We also stopped off at Magnolia Bakery - Tim got a chocolate cupcake and I got a vanilla vanilla cupcake:

1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
United States
Ph: +1 212 391 7800
665 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10036
United States
Phone: +1 212 586 4885

Corner of 49th Street & 7th Ave
New York, NY
United States
Ph: +1 212-399-9100

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Toasted Muesli

I like having a variety of different things for breakfast to mix things up and keep it interesting.  I am a fan of porridge on cold mornings, but sometimes, I want something with a little more pep.  For that reason, I was keenly interested in a recipe for toasted muesli that I saw on The Mindful Foodie.  It featured oats, but with a whole lot of other ingredients to make things a little more interesting.  Even better, I had all of those ingredients in the house.

I duly made the toasted muesli, and I really enjoy it with warm milk on cold mornings.  It is also good to eat as a snack straight out of the jar.

I just use skim milk on my muesli, as I am not a fan of almond milk.  You can put whatever fruits you like with the muesli, and I think a splodge of Greek yoghurt on top would also be great.

What is your favourite breakfast food?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

New York, New York Day 6 - Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO, Liberty Cruise and Madame Tussauds

Day two of our New York Pass session saw us take Inside Out Tour's Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO walking tour.  We started our tour at the Tweed Courthouse to learn a little about the history of the suburb of Brooklyn and how the Brooklyn Bridge became a reality.  Our tour had a bit of a wonky start because our guide, Marcos, got into trouble from a supporter of a news conference being held at the same time at the Tweed Courthouse by Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer, objecting to a proposed marine transfer station for garbage. A red haired lady with an equally red face chided Marcos for interrupting the news conference by talking to us.  Marcos very graciously turned off his mike and did his best to oblige them and their "stonewashed jeans" elephant mascot.

After a brief rundown on the area and the Roebling family, the designers and engineers behind the Brooklyn Bridge, we set off to cross the Bridge itself.  Marcos continued with the history lesson along the way, pointing out the sights from the Bridge:

and explained the acronym for the three bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn (BMW - Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg).  Here I am, enjoying the "balmy" weather on the Brooklyn Bridge:

On the way over the Bridge, close to the Brooklyn side, I spotted this very impressive building, formerly occupied by the Eagle Warehouse and Storage Company, but now made into apartments:

Here is a view of the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge:

Marcos then took us around DUMBO (down under the Manhattan Bridge), telling us a little more history of the area, and showing us some of the sites of interest, including the gym where the Million Dollar Baby movie story came from.  We also had a very welcome stop at Jacques Torres, where we each received a free cookie sample (I tried the double chocolate).

At the end of the tour, Marcos gave us some tips on where to eat and how to get back to Manhattan, and took our photographs against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline: 

See the Statue of Liberty as a little dot out to the left?

Tim and I decided to go to Shake Shack for lunch.  I kinda liked that the name reminded me of the end of Grease

The menu at Shake Shack features burgers, sides, shakes and custards:

Your order, get a buzzer, and when your buzzer goes off, you collect your food:

Tim and I both ordered a single SmokeShack Burger - a cheeseburger topped with applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and shack sauce ($6.69) with crinkle cut fries ($2.95):

It all tasted pretty good - no complaints here.

Then, being unfamiliar with Brooklyn and sans map, we decided to go back to Manhattan on a water taxi, also included in our New York Pass:

Sights included Lady Liberty:

the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum:

the Empire State Building:


the new World Trade Centre:

the Jersey City Colgate Clock:

and the building where I believe the first mobile antennae is located:

Being fond of the water and finding that Circle Line Cruises were included in our New York Pass, we took a Liberty Cruise (it being the next one available), where we had more stunning views of the Manhattan skyline:

and once again got up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty (the cruise doesn't stop there and Tim and I had both been to Liberty Island before):

On the way, we passed the Staten Island ferry:

and a pier where they informed us that Law and Order was filmed:

Definitely not wanting to waste our New York passes, when we left the cruise, we hot-footed it to Madame Tussauds, where I got up close with Don Draper (whose hair looks like he had a rough night):

and Bon Jovi (with an inexplicable backdrop of OJ): 

After finishing with the selfie city that is Madame Tussauds, we headed off for dinner at Bombay Masala Indian Restaurant, supposedly the oldest Indian restaurant in New York:

Certainly, they have not redecorated in a long time.  The service was indifferent, at best.

In the end, the food was OK.  There was a dinner special for around ~$12.95 with soup and a main.  I ordered the fresh vegetable soup:

and what I believe to be the mixed vegetable curry:

We also got rice on the side:

The food was OK, but after our Shake Shack adventure, I wasn't that hungry.  I think Tim finished off some of mine.  However, I won't be running back to Bombay Masala - I think there are better, reasonably priced places in the same area.

And so ended Day 6 of our New York adventure.

1 Old Fulton Street
Broklyn, NY 11201
United States
Ph: +1 347 435 2676
148 W 49th St
New York, NY
United States
Ph: +1 212 302 8150