Monday, October 24, 2011

Merton Abbey Mills

The other weekend it was such a lovely day Mary and I went for a wander along the Wandle. I have a soft spot for this river. We currently live very close to where it debouches into the Thames. Previously I lived in South Wimbledon and walked along Wandle Bank every day to get to Colliers Wood tube.

We walked as far as Merton Abbey Mills and had a mooch around the various market stalls.

Merton Abbey Mills - water wheel interior
Merton Abbey Mills - water wheel interior

There is a certain symmetry with our London Open House 2011 walk when we visited William Morris's Kelmscott House. It was Merton Abbey Mills that in June 1881 became the new home of Morris & Co.'s workshops. Morris refused to destroy existing buildings, and adapted them or built new ones. Learn more at

Merton Abbey Mills - water wheel exterior
Merton Abbey Mills - water wheel exterior

After a sandwich and an ice cream we walked on to Wimbledon town centre by which time our feet told us to catch the 156 bus back.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Enoteca Turi Wine Tasting Dinner - Valpolicella: The Road to Perfection

Tuesday 27th September 2011

Yet another fine wine dinner at Enoteca Turi from Giuseppe and his chef, this time with added amplification. Giuseppe is very softly spoken and can be hard to hear over the happy chatter of the diners in the main restaurant. On this occasion he was miked up with a small speaker to help us all heard more clearly - it worked very well.


As always it was a menu of regional dishes from the corresponding wine area. The wines were presented in increasing order of intensity:
  • normale - typically made from three grape varietals: Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara
  • ripasso - where leftover grape skins and seeds from the fermentation of recioto and Amarone are added to the batch of Valpolicella wines for a period of extended maceration.
  • amarone - a strong wine made from dried grapes
  • recioto - dessert wine made from grapes that have been dried to concentrate their juice
All the wines were excellent with the low being the Amarone - somewhat murky - and the high being the Recioto - absolutely fabulous, nectar, a joy to drink. Almost port-like and an excellent pairing with the chocolate cake although it would be equally at home with cheese.

Traditional Venetian antipasti
Valpolicella Rio Albo DOC 2009 Ca’ Rugate
Insalata tiepida di borlotti e porcini

Warm salad of fresh borlotti beans and porcini mushrooms
Valpolicella Classico Superiore I Progni DOC 2008 Le Salette
Risotto con zucca, prosciutto e ricotta affumicata
Risotto with pumpkin, prosciutto and smoked ricotta
Valpolicella Superiore Marion DOC 2004 Fam. Campedelli
Petto d’anatra con peverada, verza sofegata e polenta
Breast of duck with peverada, braised savoy cabbage and polenta
Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta DOC 2002 Romano dal Forno
Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC 2002 Giuseppe Quintarelli

Formaggi regionali
Selection of the region’s cheeses: piave, asiago and embriago
Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Allegrini 2000
Torta di cioccolato
Venetian chocolate cake
Recioto della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2006 Nicolis

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Clootie Dumpling

Whenever there is a birthday in the family Mary's mum, May, makes a clootie dumpling to celebrate. Since it was my birthday in the week preceding our last visit I got the traditional alternative to a birthday cake.

Clootie dumpling in the pan
Clootie dumpling in the pan

Clootie dumpling out of the pan
Clootie dumpling out of the pan

Clootie dumpling unwrapped
Clootie dumpling unwrapped

There are many variations on the Clootie Dumpling recipe - this is May's version.

Clootie Dumpling recipe

1 1/2 lb Self Raising Flour
6oz Currants
6oz Sultanas
3 teaspoons Cinnamon
3 teaspoons Ground Ginger
3 teaspoons Mixed Spice
3 dessertspoons Treacle
3 dessertspoons Syrup
3oz vegetable suet
3oz caster sugar
1/2 pint milk (approx)

Mix dry ingredients, add treacle and syrup.
Mix until moist with milk.
Add fruit and stir through
Scald cloth with boiling water, sprinkle with SR flour
Place dumpling mixture in centre of cloth
Tie cloth with string leaving room for expansion

Steam for 3 hours.
Remove cloth, place dumpling on plate and dry in oven (100C for 15 minutes)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fairy rings in Battersea Park

On our way back from Battersea Park during the London Open House 2011 I saw what had to be a fairy ring. Closer inspection revealed the fungi responsible.

Fairy ring in Battersea park 1
Fairy ring in Battersea park 1

According to wikipedia they can grow to be several hundred years old.

Fairy ring in Battersea park 2
Fairy ring in Battersea park 2

Easy to spot if you know what they are. We saw several more last weekend on our way through King George's Park when we went for a wander down the Wandle to Merton Abbey Mills. Isn't nature wonderful!