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Mushy peas: delicious British side dish or Hulk vomit?

13 Jan Mushy Peas

A few years ago I did a five month study-abroad stint in London. While they might be making great culinary strides, in general British food isn’t considered to be particularly delicious. There are, however, several things (food-wise) that I dearly miss about England.

At the top of the list is Wagamama, an “asian-inspired noodle restaurant” that makes me not feel guilty about eating at a chain. (We were supposed to get one in DC last year but it never happened; the only locations this side of the Atlantic are in Boston.) Just thinking about a steaming bowl of their noodle soup is making me want to run out and buy their cookbook.

Not far behind is the fact that British pubs always have cider on tap. I’m not a big beer drinker (I’m learning to appreciate some kinds; I can’t stand the taste of hops) but I love cider. Even better: snakebite (though apparently what I think of as a ‘snakebite’ is actually a ‘snakebite and black’).

photo from

Speaking of British pubs- there was a wonderful one around the corner from my flat. Willy IV was nothing fancy, but we could sit there on a rainy afternoon, playing games and drinking tea until it was an acceptable hour to consume other beverages. I asked for tea in a bar in Silver Spring once when I had a cold; they must have thought I was crazy.

My British food loving even extends to mushy peas. Honestly, I don’t enjoy peas. I find the way they kind of pop and squish when I bite into them to be revolting. Mushy peas solve that problem because they’re already smushed. For some reason, that little cup of peas on the side of my scampi and chips (not a huge fan of cod, huge fan of malt vinegar) just totally made the meal. I was therefore quite giddy when I discovered canned mushy peas at the British store in downtown Frederick.

I just pulled them out of the cabinet to heat up last night, thinking they would be the perfect antidote for our dreary, snowy weather.

a pot full of mushy peas

Unfortunately, these peas were not what I remembered. Instead of being puréed to perfection, these were more like peas in a green goopy sauce. As Adam so eloquently put it, “It look[ed] like the Hulk vomited… How you expected that to taste good blows my mind a little bit.” One taste was more than enough for me. I promptly put down the fork and left the rest of the pot to languish untouched on the stove.

I’m not giving up on mushy peas, however. Given all the unhealthy things I love (bacon, cheese, butter) it makes sense to try to salvage my taste for something vitamin-rich. My new mission is to redeem mushy peas in my apartment, and I think the only way to do that is to try making them myself. Luckily, there are others who share my love, and who have recipes of their own to offer. It might be more complicated than opening a can, but I have a feeling the result will be worth the effort.

A Monday Amuse-Bouche

10 Jan

Normally I would be gearing up for a Meatless Monday right now, but unfortunately there won’t be a new or interesting recipe being tried out in my kitchen tonight. My car died a little last night, so there’s no going to the market: my plans for roasted potato leek soup will have to be pushed back to next week.

Instead, I’d like to share some food articles/posts/pictures that have caught my attention over the past week or so.

Happy Monday! Enjoy!

Photo from

Baking and yoga don’t seem to go together very well, but The Nibble brought these awesome cookie cutters to my attention. I tend to be a little more consistent in my cookie baking than I am in my yoga attendance, but maybe these would be an inspiration. (The recipe for molasses honey ginger cookies might even inspire me to bake something chocolate-free!)

Burratta, photo from Huffington Post

While most of Huffington Post’s Top 10 New Foods of 2010 didn’t thrill me (though I’ll admit that a fried peanut butter banana bourbon sandwich sounds pretty delicious), one thing stuck out as something I need to track down and sample: burratta. The HuffPo description alone is enough to make my mouth water. Then again, I’m a sucker for anything cheesy.

photo from Pretty Foods and Pretty Drinks

The Candy Critic is constantly pointing out interesting links to food and candy news and trends, and his post on 2010 Food Trends is no different. The mention of Parisian macarons was enough to make me take a look at the entire list. (I can’t get macarons out of my head since I saw them mentioned on Hot Polka Dot. She’s totally right- making macarons is not rocket science.) Nothing on the list seemed particularly earth-shattering, though it did reinforce my suspicions that I need to find a Bahn Mi restaurant to try.

Photo from Pretty Foods and Pretty Drinks

Finally, since I’m on the topic of blog-inspired foodcravings… I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Pretty Foods and Pretty Drinks. Sure, I love when these little visual treats pop up in my google reader. When pictures like this come up, however, I just end up frustrated. Why is there no recipe to accompany this amazing-looking grilled mac and cheese?!?


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