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Borough Market

Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London. London Bridge attracted traders since the 11th century. Borough Market was a very popular place to buy and sell gran, fish, vegetables and livestock. In fact, it was so popular that in 1755 it was closed by Parliament, due to enourmous traffic congestion it was causing. However, a group of locals raised enough money to buy a patch of land, once the churchyard of St Margaret’s, and reopened the market in 1756.

Today the market is a popular foodie destination, frequented by chefs, amatour cooks and all types of gluttons, such as myself. It has everything, from variety of vegetables and cheeses to kangaroo burgers and scallops with bacon. Some of my favourite stalls sell seafood paella, fresh oysters, new potatoes with melted raclette cheese and freshly squeezed juices in all coulours of the rainbow.

Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, London

(closed on Sundays)

Cycling in Amsterdam

Of course it’s not me cycling, it’s other people. I took pictures.

Yes, I can ride a bike, thank you for asking. Am I the best cyclist in the world? Probably not. I have never fully learnt to tell left from right, which is why I don’t feel comfortable in certain situations. This includes any circumstances in which my confusion can result in being hit by a speeding tram. I don’t have a driving licence either (I make a great passenger though, I’m always in charge of snacks and drinks, not so helpful when it comes to navigating, for obvious reasons).

A few years back, I wasn’t even able to take my right hand off the steering wheel and was therefore forced to use the left hand to indicate all my turns. I figured it was better if others thought I was going to turn left even if I was actually going to turn right than to give no signal at all, but feel free to question my logic. Luckily for us all, I am now capable of taking both hands off the steering wheel (but NOT at the same time).

In spite of the success story I just told you, I still don’t feel particularly confident on a bicycle, especially when I am not the only road user in the city. People on the pictures, on the other hand, all look young, strong, happy and bike literate. And this is how I’m going to be when I grow up.

Duck and waffle

Hot, cripsy waffles, duck leg marinated in maple syrup and fried egg with a perfectly runny yolk - can you imagine a better way to celebrate the upcoming weekend? Being a fanatic lover of all things brunch, I acknowledge many dishes that combine breakfast and lunch, but this particular one is by far my favourite.

The combination of sweet waffles and meat comes with, as you can easily guess, a "made in the USA" label. Chicken and waffles have been paired up by American diners for a while now. I mean American "while", which is closer to 100 and not 1000 years ago. Sadly, the exact origins of this delicious dish remain unknown. It could have been created anytime between the end of the 18th century, when Thomas Jefferson purchased the first waffle iron from France and the 1930s, when chicken and waffles became available in several places around New York's Harlem. There are two traditional versions of the dish - one with fried chicken, served with butter and syrop, the other one with stewed pulled chicken topped with gravy.

My recipe wasn't inspired by the heritage of the Founding Fathers, but by London's Duck and Waffle, with a finger-licking menu by Daniel Doherty. The flagship dish, duck and waffle, is not even the only reason to visit this place. The restaurant is situated on 40th floor, which reportedly guarantees unforgettable views of the London skyline. Reportedly, because upon my visit, all there was to see was a really thick fog. But fog doesn't really matter when you can sample spicy ox cheek doughnuts and crispy duck leg confit with perfectly fried duck egg and a comforting waffle. The place is open 24/7, so next time you have the midnigh munchies, you don't have to rely on what the nearest gas station has to offer.

If London is not on your way at the moment, make this deliciousess at home. There's no better way to start the weekend.

Recipe: Duck and Waffle

Serves: 2

Recipe: Duck legs

Ingredients
  • 2 duck legs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. coarse mustard
  • 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • a pinch of coarse salt
Method
  • Combine all the ingredients of the marinade.
  • Carefully coat duck legs with marinade and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours (preferably even 24 hours, so if you have more time, let them marinate longer).
  • Remove the meat from the fridge at least half an hour before roasting. Preheat the oven to 170C. Place duck legs in an ovenproof dish and top with remaining marinade.
  • Roast for 2-2,5 hours, until the meat falls from the bone.

Recipe: WAFFLES

Ingredients
  • one cup flour
  • one tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs (yolks and whites separate)
  • 85 ml vegetable oil
  • 225 ml milk
Method
  • Sieve flour into a bowl, add baking powder, sugar and salt. Combine.
  • Add whisked yolks, oil and milk. Combine until smooth using a mixer or a whisker.
  • Beat the egg whites and delicately combine with the batter.
  • Preheat a waffle maker and cook each waffle for 3-4 minutes (or accordingly to the waffle maker manual).
  • Serve waffles with duck legs, fried egg and some maple syrup mixed with coarse mustard.

paris

A trip to Paris doesn't have to be planned. Of course you can plan your stay minute-by-minute, but you can also skip a few touristy attractions and stroll around the city instead.

Getting lost in the streets of Paris gives you more opportunities to talk to strangers (even when they don't speak English) and to explore the unexplored. How about pretending to be a French woman/men for just one day?

There are a few things you need to remember when in Paris:

1. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Disneyland are all lovely places, but keep in mind that Paris is so much more than that.

2. The City of Love is beautiful regardless of whether you are in love at the moment.

3. A baguette (at least one each day) is a must! It doesn’t make sense to worry about side effects of white bread in Paris.

4. Don't forget to drink a glass (but not a bottle) of wine with every meal.

5. Eat cheese! Before, after and with each meal! The stinkier the better.

6. You can’t go to Paris and resist shopping at flea markets and chic boutiques

7. Pack nice clothes. Slippers (unless they are Givenchy) are forbidden!

8. Don’t assume that restaurants are extremely expensive and that you can only afford McDonald’s & Starbucks.

9. Be prepared to speak some French, even if it's all you can say is croissant, fromage and restaurant (but with the correct pronunciation!).

10. If it's your first time in Paris, feel free to explore the touristy side of the city. Every single corner is worth visiting.

You probably won’t have time to do all things in one trip, so buy another ticket and enjoy!

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