101 Ways To Use A Blackcurrant - Pâte de Fruit

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Blackcurrant Pâte de Fruit

Jon Stewart, Do The Decent Thing!

http://www.hasjonstewartshavedhisgoatee.com

101 Ways To Use A Blackcurrant - Blackcurrant Vodka

When all else fails, turn it into alcohol.

Blackcurrant Vodka

London Village - It's Not Blood, It's Cherryade

I may have made two mistakes. The first (in fact, the second, chronologically-speaking, but I didn’t discover the first until after the real first, so it comes first. Okay? I can draw a diagram if needed…) was that I stopped moving. Having been up since 6am, walking all over London for five hours getting through my list of things to do, I thought I’d reward myself by checking in shortly after two. Yes, that was a mistake. After falling asleep, I didn’t drag myself out of bed until five, requiring a short trip to Waitrose to pick up a few things for a quick dinner.

(they have borage leaves! I can make a real proper authentic Pimm’s! But I’m getting ahead of myself)

The second mistake was bringing my iPad charger instead of my iPhone one. “I can charge both, if necessary!” Well, my iPhone has been sitting on charge for about an hour now, and the battery indicator hasn’t moved at all. And of course, knowing that I could charge it up in the hotel, I’ve been using it today with impunity, meaning that I currently only have enough power to last me to the Garage and back. Luckily, my plans for tomorrow mean that I don’t really have to use it for navigation, but still, I wanted to take pictures and things! Pointless Twitter updates!

Anyway, today. After getting into London, I decided to head to Buen Provecho, as I’d been reading that they often run out of certain items during the lunch rush. It was supposed to open at 11am, so I, being fashionably late, sauntered up at 11:05…

…and then spent the next forty minutes wandering up and down Lower Marsh market waiting for it to open. I should have gone to the South Bank, I suppose, but I didn’t want to run the gauntlet of the charity debit debit task force out on the streets, so I wandered, explored a park, came back, wandered some more, went into a rather bleak second-hand bookstore, came back, wandered some more, until at last I got to sample what’s been called the best Mexican in London.

I really have been spoiled by America. It was good, yes, and better than anything else I’ve had in Britain, but you could pick any taco truck in Durham and get something that would outclass it considerably. Yes, I’ve turned into one of those people. I’m sorry.

Then, back to Oxford Street to do a little bit of shopping. Or rather, trying desperately to hold onto my willpower in the Apple Store. The iPhone 4 was screaming to be bought, but I was strong. It hurt putting it back in the holder, mind you. So shiny. So bright, such a wonderful display, and luckily for Apple, you can’t make any calls on it inside the shop, so you can’t try and short out the aerial.

Running away from shiny pieces of technology, I turned to another of the reasons for coming to London: checking out a few of the chocolatiers in the area. I had three on my list, and made it to two: Rococo and L’Artisan Du Chocolat (but, given the giant reset button that got pushed on my visa application yesterday, I’ll be back to cover the one I missed and perhaps a few others another time).

Rococo’s design draws on the classic British sweet shop style, with lots of different sweets on offer as well as just their organic chocolate bars (chocolate coins, boiled sweet roses, etc.). I left with six 20g sampler bars (hey, it was buy 5 and get 1 free!), of which I can already tell you that the Earl Grey bar is pretty tasty. I’m also curious about how their violet and blackcurrant bonbon tastes…

L’Artisan Du Chocolat, on the other hand, is all white and modernist. And located in an even more expensive part of London (Sloane Square!). I’m guessing that they enrobe their chocolates rather than using a mold - they’re so tiny! Their presentation boxes need a bit of work, though - by the time you got to the 50 piece box in the shop, they were just filled with chocolates in a rather unattractive higgly-piggly fashion. I got two fusion bars: white chocolate with lumis, and a dark chocolate bar with orange blossom & orchid. I should have got some of the sea salt caramel balls too. Still, there’s always next time.

And now, I should probably make a start to get to the Garage. Los Campesinos! awaits!

You! Me! Dancing!

See you in Carrboro, LC! Promise I won’t ask for either of those two songs again. Not that I did anyway, but it was good to hear them live!

More, much more later. About a band I love almost more than any other (and I’m sure Gareth won’t mind too much coming in behind Kenickie)

You could never kiss a Tory.

101 Ways To Use A Blackcurrant - Blackcurrant Bars

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Blackcurrant chocolate bars

101 Ways To Use A Blackcurrant - Blackcurrant Ice Cream

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Blackcurrant Ice-Cream

101 Ways To Use A Blackcurrant *

(* or at least five)

Did you know that blackcurrants are banned almost throughout the entire United States of America (if you’ve been near me at all in the past six months, you probably do, and my audience isn’t all that big, but anyway, for future Googlers who get here trying to find the lyrics of You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve it might be new trivia!)? The currant family was blamed at the start of the 20th century for a disease called ‘white pine blister rust’ and was exiled by the Federal government. In recent years, some states have begun lifting the ban (thank you, New York!), but the chances of it being lifted in North Carolina are somewhat remote at the moment.

This is a bit of a problem. I am going to be moving to a place that has a Prohibition on blackcurrants. While I’m envisaging Ribena speakeasies in backalleys of Durham populated with blackcurrant-addicted flappers and supplied by British bootleggers (hello!), I’m planning on making the most of this last Summer with easy access to the currants.

Which means: prepare yourself for a lot of blackcurrant recipes throughout July and August.

I Wear A Fez Now

Bow Ties Are Cool.

I was a bit worried about Matt Smith. After two young Doctors, I was hoping for someone a bit older, and the ‘new unknown’ angle did seem to suggest that budget cuts meant they couldn’t secure the services of Chiwetel Ejiofor. Plus, come on, that forehead. So, I approached the new series with a little trepidation, my fears somewhat salved by the hoots of from Doctor/Rose ‘shippers whining about the evil Moffat replacing their beloved Doctor (and not being too keen on the relationship either).

Of course, my personal life intervened with the first episode; when it aired in Britain, I was on my honeymoon donning a cape in Brooklyn’s Superhero Supply Store and eating The Greatest Sandwich Known To Mankind. But I downloaded a copy of The Eleventh Hour and it sat on my MacBook, and then my iPad, waiting until the flight back to Britain to actually watch it.

About an hour into flight AA174, I watched the beginning of the Moffat Era. An hour later, I had a huge grin on my face - all my worries about Smith faded away within the first five minutes; a strange, ambling, gangly, cranky, goofy boy that somehow manages to look nine hundred years old despite being the youngest actor to play The Doctor. And Amelia Pond! The duck pond without any ducks! “Basically…run.” Let me tell you, there’s no better way to come back to Britain.

And now, in a few hours, I’ll be watching what’s quite possibly the last episode of Doctor Who I’ll see in this country for quite a while. Next year, I’ll be fiddling with VPNs and attempting to get iPlayer working from American shores, but tonight, it’s the last time on the sofa. It’s been a very different series from the last four years, an emphasis on plots over Russell’s insistence of character beats, which has led to claims that Amy is little more than a cipher. Still, I’d say Amy’s Choice was more affecting than any of Rose’s overwrought emotional arcs, and The Lodger managed to make me stop wanting to punch James Cordon’s face for 50 minutes, a feat previously thought impossible by modern science.

Having said all that, Chris Chibnall needs to be sent to the moon and only let out to write Law & Order UK episodes. How he managed to make the return of the Silurians boring, I still don’t know. And yes, Victory of The Daleks was a bit underwhelming, but was completely redeemed by “WOULD-YOU-LIKE-A-CUP-OF-TEA?”.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight; The Pandorica Opens was everything a RTD finale was not; slow-building, intricately-plotted, and leaving us all with the sense of “how on earth is he going to get out of that?” in the finale minute. We’ve spent all week talking about the final episode tonight - just who or what is Amy Pond? Why are there no ducks? Are there really two Doctors floating in time, or was it just a silly continuity error? What did the Doctor say to Amelia Pond when she was seven years old? Is it important that we’ve never seen any of her relatives this series, in sharp contrast to the past four years? Where can I get a bow-tie like that?

So, tonight: another good-bye to Britain. With a mad old man and his impossible box. I can only hope for a few shots of the TARDIS flying through a gasometer!