Monday, October 20, 2014




St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel. 
Truly awesome and amazing architecture... and it is so huge.   The hotel is the frontage of the St. Pancras Railway Station.   It was opened in 2011,  138 years after it was first constructed.  It was formerly used as railway office known as the St. Pancras Chambers (1935-2011) and before that the Midland Grand Hotel (1873-1935) under the Midland Railway. 

The hotel architect George Gilbert Scott and constructed during the times of social and industrial revolution . During those days it was known as "the cathedral of railway" and featured many innovation of that time: hydraulic lift; electric bell, flush toilet and Britain first revolving door!  The signature red bricks used was manufactured in the Midlands and its famous Grand Staircase.
the Hogwarts-style Gothic spires and gargoyles are prominent everywhere.

We went in to have a quick look around but no photographs was allowed.  So we walked toward the St. Pancras Railway Station itself and since 2007 now known as St. Pancras International.  This railway was opened by the Midlands Railway in 1868 as the southern terminus connecting London with the east Midland and Yorkshire.  It was renovated to a whopping GPB800 million and was reopened by the Queen in 2007 and included a tight security terminal area for the Eurostar services to Europe via the Channel Tunnel. 

The ironwork lattice ceiling of the station aka  "Barlow train shed" by William Henry Barlow was the largest single span roof at that time. By the way the atrium of the hotel also look something like this.    

The Meeting Place statue by Paul Day. 
This statue is 29.5 ft tall and weigh 20 tonnes.  It was intended to evoke the romance of train travel. Can you recall this film location in one of the TVB drama?  To me, this evoke a sense of sad farewell between the lovers!  There are more statue in the frieze beneath the sculpture and this is how I looked at them.....    

a scene commonly seen, is it a joyous reunion on arrival or sad farewell ?    

the workers at the underground 

The hordes of  immigrants arriving... see the expression of their faces....  

"this is all my possession... including the doggie?"

reflections of the train platform in a giant pair of sunglasses. 

Besides this, there is also a sculpture of Sir John Benjamin (Poet) ... he seems to looking up at the roof of the Barlow shed. 

photo from wiki
According to Wiki, there is another interesting feature to look out for outside St. Pancras... one of the "London Noses".  Never heard of it? me too, so if you are in London, do look out for them and let me know.
It is good to check the station as we will be taking the Eurostar to Paris tomorrow. 

The spacious, busy concourse of the King Cross Station. This tube station is just next to the St Pancras and we were here to check out the Platform 9 3/4 of course....  

You wanna fly? 
See the  guy on the right?  He will help you with the effect.... he will hold the scarf and when you ready to take the photo, he will toss it up! This is the station where the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry student board the Hogwarts Express to attend school.

The shop is just  beside the site so that you can get more souvenirs.

As this was the last night in London, we have arrange to meet the rest in Chinatown for a farewell dinner with Diana and husband.  We wanted to thank them for their gracious offer to stay at their house and also to cook us those wonderful meals and take us on those trips.  So we went to a Chinese restaurant (cannot recall the name) recommended by them.   Some of the dishes which we ordered:-

Vegetarian Hotpot 

Stir fry spinach 

Pork patties with salted fish.

Half Steamed chicken- can't see the chicken with the overcrowding of the spring onions!

Steamed Turbot... one of the expensive gourmet flatfish prized for its delicate taste and firm white flesh.  

Thus our London Trip has come to an end. We went home to finish packing as we are taking the early Eurostar train to Paris.

I was happy with the trip so far. Managed to see most of the places on my itinerary and learn so much about its history and some quirky features; tasted the best fish and chips and the turbot. Of course, most important the time spend together with my daughter and sisters.  Hopefully I will be back for more... till then goodbye Mr. Chips and all.   

Thursday, October 16, 2014



This was our last day in London.  So both me and Sarah made our way to the last destination of our itinerary in the UK.   Today was also Diana's medical check up  and both my sisters decided to go with her  as she had problems communicating with the doctor. Besides both of them had already visited the lavender fields in Australia.

This is the best time to see the lavender fields..... 
This is an organic lavender farm without use of chemicals and pesticides.  This family-run farm  is started by Brendan and wife Lorna.  This 25 acre farm is the exact site where lavender were grown during the 18th and 19th century.

As we near the destination, we can smell the heavenly fragrance of the lavender.

it was rather scary to walk along the paths as there are bees buzzing around!

cannot find the words to describe .....

The little shoppe with all things lavender!

bunches of fresh lavender, dried lavender in sachets, tea,, diffuser, essential oils, lotions etc

cold refreshing and thirst quenching lavender lemonade!

back to civilisation......another Globe? 

long queue ..... 

to go inside the museum, so we went into the shop..

crammed inside as well.. just browsing through the memorabilia for sale

Sherlock Homes lived here? But isn't he  a fictitious character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  
Some said it was based on a real man Dr Joseph Bell, a renown forensic scientist whom he studied under while some claimed that a real-life investigator Jerome Caminada was the real inspiration. 

Opposite the road is Beatles store... 

we crossed over and browsed inside..

all things beatlemania..... yes just got myself a bookmark of this picture

After a brief lunch break at Pret-A-Manger, we crossed over to ...

The British Library 

Statue of Isaac Newton by Eduardo Paolozzi...
- immediately thought of another sculpture .. The Thinker by Rodin in Paris. 
Nothing to do with the  latest app the Last Word  where you leave your messages before you meet your Maker (the Sunday Star 28/9/2014 page 24), but it is name of the Caferia outside the library

The King's Library  Tower 
This 6-storey tall glass tower is in the heart of library.  It housed the vast collection of books around 65,000 volumes on all subjects including books on Jews, Muslim Catholics and Protestants by King George III during the period of The Age of Enlightenment (15th to 19th Century), a time of great collectors, explorers and discoveries, including a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. The tower is built with UV filtered glass and together with a environment system which helps to maintain the appropriate light, temperature and humidity level to ensure the volumes in a good condition.     

"Sitting on History"
No, this is not one of the Books About Town bench. This bronze statue by Bill Woodrow, a British sculptor in 1995. The ball and chain refers to the book as the captor of information from which we cannot escape. He also designed the statue for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.. "Regardless of History" (Spring 2000 to Summer 2001). very interesting sculpture...   

What are those spires overlooking the library?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014




I had bought back 2 tubs of chocolate spread from Paris and still trying to use them up.  So when I saw the picture on Lilybest blogspot, I immediately bookmarked the recipe.  She refer the twisting and shaping of this bread to a Steve's Kitchen. After watching the video twice, before I attempted to make this bread last weekend.

This is sweet bread dough.
After 1st proof,  divide into 4 pieces (it was approx 205 gm each).

Roll out the 1st piece of dough to around 10" circle.  Gently lift the dough onto parchment paper on baking tray.  Place a 10" plate on dough and gently press to make a depression.

Spread a thin layer of the nutella around the inside of the circle  (This was too thick, as the nutella squeeze out later). Put aside. 

Roll out the 2nd piece of dough to the same width. Gently lift the dough and place it over the 1st layer. 

Again use the plate to help make a visible circle and spread the nutella around the circle.

Do the same for the 3rd layer.  Top with the 4th layer (no need to spread any nutella on top).

Place plate on top of stack and use a sharp knife to cut around the plate and remove the excess dough.

Place a small cup in the center of the circle and using a sharp knife make cuts at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock. Remove cup.

Using sharp knife, cut the quarters into eighths

 and then again into half, so you have 16 cuts altogether.

Take 2 pieces each of the cut dough and do a double twist outwards. Seal the ends tightly. 
(remember to spread only a thin layer of the nutella!)
The excess dough can be shaped and bake too.

Let proof 2nd time till double in size.  Bake at 180C for 15 -20 minutes.

October is the month for pumpkins and they are cheap at the market too.

Last week, I bought half a pumpkin and it was delectable and nourishing Dried Scallop and Pumpkin Porridge and another tasty delicious dish of Fried Pumpkin with Dried Prawns.

This weekend I bought another half pumpkin for these:-

Pumpkin Mantou
Plain dough over pumpkin dough rolled together and cut 

before steaming.
I find that there is not much pumpkin flavour but they did remain soft the next day.    

With the remaining steamed  pumpkin, I made Pumpkin Soup since I had some chicken stock in the fridge.  Added some alphabet pasta and we had a wholesome hearty pasta soup for our lunch.

Last but not least some of the pumpkin were cooked with Rice, Char siew and Chinese waxed sausage in a one pot meal for our dinner.

Mamakaries for Deepavali