It’s Morning Glory in Edgartown Anytime

Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown is a bit of an institution on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  Although billed as a humble farm stand, Morning Glory has the reputation and faithful clientele that would make any high-end gourmet food store proud.

Morning Glory farm farm stand
The barn/farm stand

The farm was started in 1975 on land owned by the Athearn family who have lived on the Vineyard since the 19th century.  Starting off with a farm stand, by 2010 business was thriving enough that a newly-built barn replaced the original structure.  They farm over 120 acres over several sites on the island.  The farm produces a wide variety of crops, herbs and cut flowers.

Morning Glory flowers
Rustic chic flowers

We are lucky we live near Morning Glory Farm and stop by the farm stand often.  I am in the habit of getting their ice tea and a muffin for breakfast after I drop my children off at horse-riding camp nearby. My favourite are the corn muffins followed closely by the peach muffins (in case you are wondering).

Martha’s Vineyard is such a small island that the farm where my children take their riding lessons is located near some of the Athearn family land in West Tisbury.  The horse farm sends off its manure to fertilise the Morning Glory farm crops.

The farm stand’s zucchini bread is deservedly famous for being delicious.  You can find the zucchini bread recipe here at Cape Cod Magazine if you feel inclined to try it out.  I heard grumbling in line in front of me the other day when one woman was complaining to another that the zucchini bread was not as good as it used to be.  Definitely, first world problems.

Morning Glory farm stand
Branded merchandise and books

I thought the best way to introduce Morning Glory Farm to you was with a vlog. It’ll give you a short tour of the farm stand and all the delicious products inside.

Morning Glory Farm is located on the corner of Meshacket Road and the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road.  It is open 7 days a week.

Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown in Martha's Vineyard sells the best farm fresh produce on the island

London Living: Gail’s Artisan Bakery

This month’s London Living theme is about best brunch places.  I remember brunch fondly. I too used to laze in a restaurant with friends on a Sunday Morning over coffee and pancakes.  But that was PK (pre-kids).  Now, those days are a distant memory.

We have not given up on our Sunday morning breakfast treats though. It’s just slightly shorter and involves no lazing.  Our favourite place for Sunday treats are Gail’s Artisan Bakeries.  We usually grab delicious baked goods, great coffee and head to a park.  Sadly, I’m pretty sure my children go to church on Sunday without a fuss because they know that there are Gail’s treats waiting for them afterwards.  I’m sure God understands.

Gails Artisan Bakery
Image credit: Chris Goldberg

Gail’s started off as a Hampstead bakery but seem to have expanded a lot recently.  I remember being excited when they showed up in Belsize Park.  I would  no longer have to walk 10 minutes to the Hampstead bakery!  Some of the newer bakeries have more seating.  The original Hampstead one has had a recent refurbish but the seating space is still tight.  It’s also across the pedestrianised street from another one of my favourite stores, Italian chocolates at Venchi.

Gails Artisan Bakery in London started in Hampstead

As per the usual bakery, Gail’s does breads and baked goods. They also do great salads, sandwiches and soups.

Gail's Artisan Bakery
Image: Brett Jordan

You can read more about the best Sunday brunches in London at The Lifestyle Diaries.

Gail's brunch
Image credit: Spektograf

Summer in London: A Taste of London

Summer in London for me invariably means going to A Taste of London in Regents Park.  My friend and I have been regular attendees at this four-day food festival since it kicked off in 2004. Usually we go to one of the evening sessions for dinner with our husbands.

This year we ditched our husbands for a lunch instead.  In all honesty, our husbands were cramping our style.  They would show up late from work and then insist on having only burgers, such as the foie gras burger from Opera Tavern.  Drinks were limited to beer and conversation to complaining about work.  Boring.

This year’s A Taste of London happened last week.  The weather was pretty good – occasional glimpses of sun were spotted.  Definitely better than previous years where on occasion it has bucketed down with rain.  It is an English summer after all.

All that intermittent sunshine called for drinks!

We skipped the Bloody Mary class at the Ketel One Vodka Bloody Mary workshop and went straight to the drink.  Who wants to learn when I’ve ditched the family and have a free sunny afternoon? Certainly not moi.

Bloody Mary

Then there was the Havana Club who wanted to teach you how to make mojitos.  What’s up with all this learning?  Just give me the drink, for heaven’s sake.

Havana Club Mojito

What would summer in England be without Pimms? Just another rainy day.

Pimms on tap

Let’s not forget Lovo – a new drink I tried for the first time which is coconut water mixed with vodka.  It was delicious and low in calories.  My kind of combination.

Lovo drink

I also loved the Lychee Cooler (Grey Goose, Lychee juice and coconut milk) from SushiSamba.

Sushi Samba Lychee cooler

Just in case you thought all we did was drink, we also nibbled our way through a delicious sampling of food from some of London’s best restaurants.  There was the pulled pork sausage roll from Chop Shop, crusted prawns from the Modern Pantry, roast duck and mantou bun from Chai Wu, and bacon-wrapped dates and manchego from Duck & Waffle.

A Taste of London

The Spanish restaurant Ametsa with Arzak Instruction loves their Iberico ham so much they gave it a bread pillow.  All ham should be so lucky, but then not all ham is served up by a one Michelin star restaurant.

Attachment-1-62

This picture I tweeted about the black cod and crayfish dumplings from Roka won a prize.  Fortune favours the tipsy and gluttonous.

Roka dumplings

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I’ve linked up with The Lifestyle Diaries for this month’s London Living blog hop.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Sacher Torte

In my family, we really appreciate a good cake.  We were definitely in our element in Vienna which has a well-deserved reputation for having lots of sweet treats on offer.  Just about everyone has heard of the Sacher Torte which was the first of the great Viennese cakes.

The Sacher Torte is a chocolate cake made with dark chocolate and a thin layer of apricot jam.  The top and sides of the cake are covered with chocolate icing. It is usually accompanied by unsweetened whipped cream on the side.  You are supposed to eat the cake with a dollop of cream with each bite.  The dryness of the chocolate cake is tempered by the cream.

sacher torte

Here are seven fun facts about this most recognised of Viennese cakes:

  • In 1832 Prince Metternich ordered his staff to create a special dessert for a banquet. He wanted something manly very unlike the fluffy cream cakes that were popular at the time. Unfortunately the chef came down with the flu.  His 16 year old apprentice, Franz Sacher, stepped into the breach and created the famous chocolate cake that would go on to bear his name.
  • Franz Sacher’s son, Eduard Sacher, went on to start the Hotel Sacher.  By the mid 19th century, the Hotel Sacher was shipping 100,000 of these cakes around the world annually.
  • Today, the Hotel Sacher ships around 360,000 of those cakes around the world.  These cakes are still hand-made by a bevy of hotel kitchen staff.  Making all these cakes requires (i) 1.2 million eggs, (ii) 80 tons of sugar, (iii) 70 tons of sugar, (iv) 37 tons of apricot jam, (v) 25 tons of butter and (vi) 30 tons of flour.  Yowza!

Hotel Sacher Torte

  • The origins of the original Sacher Torte though were subject to dispute because Eduard Sacher perfected his father’s Sacher Torte while he was working at the official Imperial bakery, Demel.  Demel claimed they had the original Sacher Torte.  The dispute between Demel and Hotel Sacher lasted until the 20th century.
  • Apparently Austria’s answer to Princess Diana, the beautiful yet unhappy Empress Sisi had a Sacher Torte sent to her every day. Despite the daily dose of chocolate cake, Empress Sisi was still fairly miserable with her lot and met a tragic end.
  • December 5th is National Sacher Torte day. Now you know!
  • The Hotel Sacher keeps its original hand-written recipe secret in a safe.  People have claimed that its the chocolate icing which makes the hotel’s version special.  The icing is supposedly made from a blend of 3 different chocolates from Belgium and Germany.

We, of course, tried several variations of the Sacher Torte throughout Vienna.  Which one did we like in our family?  Our family opinion was divided but it’s safe to say that the children didn’t really like Sacher Torte.

Esterhazy Torte

My children decided they preferred another cake created for another Austro-Hungarian aristocrat, Prince Esterhazy.  The Esterhazy torte is made of buttercream sandwiched between layers of spongecake with a white glazing on top.  I personally thought it was sickly sweet.

On the plus side, that just meant more Sacher Torte for me!

 

 

The Best Sausage Stand in Vienna

In Vienna, you have to try Kasekrainer, a Viennese hot dog that is usually sold on street stands.  An Austrian national dish originating from a type of Slovenian sausage, it is a sausage made with a blend of smoked pork and cheese.  You can choose to have mustard that is either sweet or spicy.

The Bitzinger’s hot dog stand on Albertinaplatz is supposed to be the best in Vienna.  So, of course, we had to try it.  All four of us gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.  The Bitzinger kasekrainer is wrapped in the bread which was crusty on the inside and soft on the inside.  The sausage itself wasn’t too salty and when eaten with the bread was simply delicious.

bitzingers Wurstel stand

Being a carb-fiend, I appreciated the bread as much as the sausage.  The kasekrainer bread is like a French baguette.  You cut off the top, create space for the sausage and then drop the sausage into the bread so that it is nicely enveloped.

kasekrainer sausage

You can also choose to have the kasekrainer delivered to you cut up in a bowl.  Don’t ask me why anyone would want to skip the bun. The traditional (and best in my humble opinion) way to eat the kasekrainer is in its little bun blanket.

For comparison’s sake, we did have have kasekrainer elsewhere and it was not nearly as good.  Usually the bread was not as good. Or, in one instance, the cheese was piped into the sausage and it came oozing out when you took a bite. Nein.

Details:

Bitzingers has a location at the Albertinaplatz and also at the Giant Ferris Wheel.  You can choose sausages other than the kasekrainer which is best washed-down with beer (what else?!).  In addition, near the Albertinaplatz stand, Bitzingers has an actual sit-down restaurant as well.

South African Street Food: Curry Bunnies

I accidentally stumbled across a South African national dish because I liked the sound of its name, Curry Bunny. In parenthesis, the menu said you could choose it in either beef or chicken. You would think it was curried rabbit wouldn’t you? But then what was the choice of beef or chicken?

Bunny Chow
image credit: BBC Food

I discovered that the Curry Bunny has actually nothing to do with cute little fluffy bunnies (much to the relief of my all-cuddly-animals-loving daughter). It is a South African street food made from a small hollowed out loaf of white bread filled with delicious curry inside. The originated in the city of Durban which is supposed to have the biggest South Indian population outside of the Indian subcontinent.  The curry inside can be any sort of meat (mutton is especially popular) or even vegetarian. The top of the loaf is used to spoon out the curry.

Bunny Chow

My chicken curry bunny (also known as a Bunny Chow) was delicious. The curry soaked into the bread bowl and was a treat to eat in itself. For a bread lover like me, it was heaven. The curry bunny was served with a couple of small side dishes of vegetables called sambals. Traditionally, curry bunnies are eaten with Coca-Cola (named a curry and a wash down).

No one is entirely sure how Curry Bunny got its name. Some say it’s derived from the name for traders from the state of Gujurat (banias), a take away dish for poor people who had no bowls or even as lunch-boxes for the curry leftovers for Indian labourers on the sugar-cane plantations.  In any event, the very eco-friendly bunny chow is supposed to be a full meal that doesn’t require any utensils (or for that matter, leaves no trash!).

Bunny Chow
Credit Image: Kim

If you would like to attempt a Bunny Chow at home, the BBC Good Food has a great recipe courtesy of British chef Atul Kochhar.

Curry bunnies are part of the rich multi-cultural culinary tradition of South Africa. Similar to Chicken Tikka Masala which was invented in England, Indian emigrants to South Africa created a dish that reflected their heritage and their present circumstances which ultimately became a national favourite.

If you liked this post, you will also like the related pins on my Just Go South Africa Pinterest board.

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Just Go South Africa