Saturday, 2 July 2011

A Diverse Day

I love that my life is so mad, with so many things going on at the same time, sometimes I get very confused as to where I am supposed to be and with whom!
Thursday was a prime example - firstly an invitation to join the Row Zambezi team for lunch at Henley Royal Regatta, hosting His Excellency the High Commissioner of Zambia.  As always, I arrived very early, to give myself a chance to wander along the 2 km course and watch some racing (most people don't move from the first Pimms bar they come across, but for me it's all about the rowing!).  After my walk I strolled to Leander, one of the most prestigious rowing clubs in the country, and treated myself to brunch (possibly the worst hot chocolate I have ever tasted!) and then reclined in a deckchair to watch more racing.
Lunch was taken at the Mile & 1/8th Restaurant, named due to it's position along the course, and again the food and service was really disappointing - it's not as if they don't do this every year, and at £36 for three courses, it is not exactly cheap.
But what was good fun was talking to His Excellency about the foods we may be able to acquire whilst paddling down the Zambezi.  I was concerned that we would not be able to find much fresh food, but he assured me that there are lots of fresh fruits growing along the river and villagers would be happy to sell food to us.  One of the highlights is that avocado grow wild there, and taste amazing.  Another tip was that there may be 'village chicken' available - this is the Zambian's name for free-range, as the chickens really do run around the village!
Leaving Henley before afternoon tea started was tough (I can never resist cake!), but I was attending a Guild of Food Writers workshop in Central London, which took place in The Scandinavian Kitchen and was to enlighten us on the Scandinavian diet.
Ask most people what the Scandinavians eat and the answer would probably be pickled herring and meat balls, and this is certainly part of their diet, but there are other equally interesting foods on offer.  But what I love is that they have a name for traditional, home comfort food - husmanskost, which literally means 'house owner's food'.  Smorgasbord is another great staple for breakfast and lunch - open sandwiches, normally on rye bread (which is why they are open, as chewing two layers of rye bread is quite hard work!).  And then there is the oder in which foods are eaten (and we were told it would be frowned upon if we strayed from this order!) - fish, meats, cheese and sweets.  And pickled herring must be accompanied by schnapps!
There is a study presently being undertaken that is hoping to show that the Scandinavian diet is as healthy as the Mediterranean diet.  Much as I love the pickled herring, I would rather be eating them on a sunny Mediterranean beach than the banks of an icy Fjord!

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