Showing posts with label Winchester. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winchester. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 January 2010

My Trip to Winchester over the New Year Part 2: Gloriuos Food

New Years Eve is time to celebrate with great food and good friends
Party just a bit, so you don't seem like an old fart, but not too
much as to have a miserable bloody hang over.Be festive and happy,
another year's over and and a new one will begin. It's a time of reflection and debauchery, and a bittersweet mix of both is jolly good fun!!



Since I arrived in Winchester a bit late, we ate dinner practically
at the stroke of midnight. He said he didn't want to make the veggies
until I got there, because he was afraid the trains would stall. Fair
enough. Poor Sir John had been slaving away all day long to cook a proper English Roast for his new guest,me,Sabrina,or as he calls me, Lady Sabrina.



New Year's Eve Dinner was Chicken Roast,(which was made in a slow cooker)with English Potatoes.Stuffing Balls,Carrots,Turnips and Goosed Potatoes.




Potatoes made with whisked goose fat, which is great for your arteries.



My sojourn to Sir John's was absolutely exciting!!I was very so HAPPY, because it was my first time being a guest in a big English house. His house is a two story gorgeous Victorian, that he spent the last six months decorating and furnishing.Apparently,I was his first honored guest since he bought it to stay with him.He was such a gracious host, he even let me sleep in his master bedroom on his new mattress called " The Princess", while he slept in the smaller room.What a perfect English gentleman.


This is what an English Breakfast looks like. There have been a great many poems and odes in honor of the English Breakfast. It's very hearty and it's perfect before a day of walking around and site seeing in Winchester.



English Breakfast is very similar to an American breakfast, but look at the portions of the bacon, it looks more like strips of ham and mostly fat. Also, the English Breakfast has tomatoes,mushrooms,beans, and of course, no meal would be complete without tea. English Tea is usually straight black tea or commonly called in England, builder's tea. I opted for the double cream instead of milk,which is great, because it makes me fatter. My New Year's resolution to gain a bit more weight and go from size 10 to size 14.



On Saturday, I made my signature dish, ZUPPA DI QUATRO FUNGHI(4 Mushroom Soup).



It's made with four types of mushrooms: Portobello, Porcini, Shitake, and then
your common chestnut mushroom.

You make the chicken soup first. And,then use the broth from the chicken soup. That's the key to flavorful cooking, always use chicken broth in everything!! Now that's a million dollar tip!



When we weren't site seeing and watching movies.We sat around drinking whiskey sours,(Winston Churchill's favorite cocktail in between his 2 bottles of champagne he drank every day) and listening to old Led Zeppelin.I felt so enriched, because he educated me on a myriad of topics, I personally knew very little about. I love acquiring more knowledge for the sake of it, so he was absolutely a scintillating gem to be around.

Sir John is a master of the Hard Rock genre. He gave me a lecture on Hard Rock 101.I didn't know that Jethro Tull is the name of the lead singer,who also plays the flute and is supposed to be a striking entertainer. I thought he was just someone that sang,"Bungle in the Jungle." Hard rock is not my favorite type of music, but being a big music lover I love hearing about different genres so was quite pleased. Our conversations seemed to overlap, and the only thing we disagreed on for the four whole days was who was going to talk and when, and were we going to interrupt,as we simultaneously spoke on everything: from guitar riffs, to jazz, to how to make beer, women,Italians, Winchester, Da Vinci Code, The Free Masons, World War II,(he regaled me with stories of his Father's stories of being in the Great War).He's also a wordsmith and walking dictionary.I never met anybody who could talk as much as me, so needless to say I think I found my intellectual soul mate.(Lol !)



My clever friend Sir John, not only does he cook and clean,play the electric guitar and wax poetic on everything under the sun. He even makes his own beer!!

Anyone fancy a pint?



Beer is made from firstly steeping crushed malted barley in hot water. This is done to convert the starch in the grain into fermentable sugars. The sweet wort (pronounced wirt as in shirt) is then run off into a boiler where it is boiled with with hops for bittering and aroma. The boiled wort is then cooled and transferred into a fermentation vessel where yeast is added for fermentation to take place. Fermentation is where yeast consumes the sugars and the bi-product is alcohol.You now have beer! Enjoy.



Needless to say, I had a fantastic time in Winchester. Winchester is a heritage
city and replete with history and charm. Seeing Winchester and sharing my impressions with my friend Sir John was so much fun. I am very happy I met Sir John, he's a wonderful companion. I'll never forget my stay with him and his lovely English hospitality. He's coming to visit me this weekend and I'll show him the London I know and make him whiskey sours and will frolic and make mischief. I can't wait!






I remember growing up in San Diego and my Mom used to sing this song
Winchester Cathedral around the house, I had no idea what she was singing.






For Recipes please comment or send me an email:sabrinabravissimo@gmail.com

More TALES and ADVENTURES in Sabrina's London Diaries

Sunday, 10 January 2010

My Trip to Winchester over the New Year Part 1

Over the New Year holiday, I went to visit my friend Sir John in Winchester.
On New Years eve, I boarded a train from Waterloo station in London, heading South towards Winchester.Winchester is in Hampshire county and is about 1 hour London. I love riding trains and it was the perfect train ride because it was nearly empty and very quiet so it allowed me to be pensive and self reflect about the wonderful year that was coming to it's close, 2009, and to think about my goals in the year 2010 to come!!



My friend Sir John,who is a wonderful host,just had renovated his big Victorian house and I felt honored to be his first guest.We ate typical English fare of Roast chicken potatoes,parsnips and carrots (and some other English vegetable with a very weird name, sorry I'll get back to you).



On Saturday after a big hearty English Breakfast, that he made for us.We journeyed like tourist to Winchester. Also, because Sir John has lived in Winchester all his life, he was the perfect tour guide.



First we hit the Great town hall, and according to Sir John it was part of the Winchester Castle, until Oliver Cromwell destroyed it because he was against anything that had to do with Royalty or the old regime. Apparently,during the English Civil War the Castle was held by the Royalists until its capture by the Parliamentary Forces in 1646. Oliver Cromwell ordered the demolition of the Castle, but the Great Hall was kept as a venue for assemblies and the County Assizes.





Winchester Castlebuilt in 1067.Only the Great Hall exists now; it houses a museum of the history of Winchester.Winchester Castle holds a prominent position in English history. It was built in 1067, within a year of the Norman Conquest. At the time, it was one of the greatest strongholds in England, and for over a century it served as the seat of government, before that position was taken by London.




The Great Hall is all that is left of the Winchester Castle



The first and finest of all 13th century halls, with the greatest symbol of medieval mythology, 'The Round Table of King Arthur'.Winchester Castle dates from the reign of William the Conqueror (1066-1087).





The Castle was made of Purbeck limestone




Tucked neatly in a narrow space behind the Great Hall of Winchester Castle is a quiet gem, Queen Eleanor's Gardens. This peaceful oasis is an accurate recreation of an early medieval garden, complete with many features that would have been present during the 13th century, and all the plants are known to have been grown in that period.





Winchester Cathedralis the Mother Church of the Diocese of Winchester, which is part of the Church of England. The Cathedral has its origins in the 7th century, when a Christian Church was first built on this site. Since then, it has played a fundamental part in the life of this ancient City and a significant role in the history of our nation.







Winchester Cathedral at Winchester in Hampshire is one of the largest cathedrals in England, with the longest nave(architectural-the middle or body of a church, extending from the transepts to the principal entrances and overall length)of any Gothic cathedral in Europe.





In 2005, the cathedral was used as a film set for the The Da Vinci Code with the north transept used as the Vatican. Following this the cathedral hosted discussions and displays to debunk the book.




I saw choral evensong and heard beautiful angels singing.
It's a combined sensual treat to hear gorgeous music and be amidst
such splendid architecture.




Me, visiting Jane Austen apparently she wasn't at home.
My timing was off about 175 years. Oh well, next life Jane. Jane died in this house and she was about 41 years old on July 18,1817 and is buried in Winchester Cathedral. It is said she came to Hampshire county and took this house in her last remaining days so she could be close to the hospital. Janewas smart to do so,because unlike London, the air in Winchester is fresh.




This is an old Gothic entrance to a street.


I love this photo of Winchester Cathedral at dusk.It feels like something out of a Dracula movie.Very Gothic and spooky in an old world way. It inspires me to don a black velvet cape, a candelabra and howl at the moon.




Someone once told me,the best time to take photos is at both dawn and dusk.
Something about the lighting and it's a very spiritual time where the
universe is in the in between.England,has unearthly feel at this time,
you can just feel the faeries and sprites. The wall that you see is a wall of Wolvesly Castle. I am standing on a path and to my right is the
River Itchen which is famous for fly-fishing.Winchester is very idyllic and fairytale like.





This is another cute side street in Winchester. It's filled with charming
shops and pubs and unique and posh art galleries. I was quite impressed by the array of beautiful luminous Christmas lights.




Since there is just way to much see I went back the next day.I was happy to see idyllic Winchester from the vantage point of St. Giles Hill.I must admit,both the scenery and the 30 minute climb up took my breath away. Sigh!




More about Winchester in Sabrina's London Diaries

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