Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Holiday in the city 2

Sunday began in the gym for M while I blogged yesterday's post. He returned with a bag full of lovely sea bream, king prawns and mackerel from our local fishmonger. We lingered over a long breakfast and the weekend papers and I read a few short stories from my Japanese women by Japanese women story collection.

Then we went to the Southbank to check out the members' bar in the Royal Festival Hall as we are both members, hoping to enjoy a few beers overlooking the Thames. But we were disappointed. Not only was there no outdoor members' area, but the place was deserted and the furnishings were institutional and uninviting. The Tate Modern's members' bar is much more comfortable and has more personality - as does the BFI's Benugo bar, where we went to instead.

No Mike Leigh this time, but we sank into Benugo's comfy sofas and sipped Erdinger Weissbräu and Fruli strawberry beer, and munched on salted almonds while chatting, reading and trying not to eavesdrop on a conversation between two women in their late twenties or early thirties about how they wish their families didn't push them all the time and how the families didn't appreciate "the journey" they were on.

At the BFI, we watched Pablo Trapero's 2002 feature El Bonaerense. The witless Zapa is an unworldly locksmith in a sleepy, provincial town who becomes an unwilling accomplice in a crime. His uncle pulls some strings to get him out of the provinces and into the Buenos Aires police force, where he soon impassively becomes embroiled in police bribery and racketeering. Unlike yesterday's film by Pablo Trapero that we saw, this depiction of a blank, malleable fool stumbling from one mishap to another was much stronger and engaging. The filming took place on location in the city's seedier locales during the early stages of the Argentinian financial crisis and production had to shut down while they sought a stable banking system to put their funding into. A brilliant film.

We headed home and M made whole sea bream roasted on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes and tomatoes and covered with a delicious sauce of chermoula, made with fresh coriander, crushed garlic, ground cumin, paprika, chilli pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.

On our way to Hampstead Heath on Monday, we passed by the house we got married in earlier this year (right). Then we spent most of the day on the Heath, picnicking on quiche lorraine and salami baguettes from the Paul Bakery, reading, sleeping, chatting, people watching and trying to avoid competitive dads who wouldn't leave their kids to play but insisted on showing them the "correct" way to kick a ball or throw a frisbee, often in our direction. Poor kids! I'm glad my parents left me alone to do things my way (well, aside from education that is - then they butted in every opportunity they got!).

After several hours chilling in the sunshine, we headed back to Crouch End for coffee and cake in Coffee Cake patisserie on the Broadway. M's blueberry crumble and my chocolate and beetroot cake looked far better than they tasted, which was a shame, but we had dinner to look forward to and a curl up on the sofa with a funny movie.

At home, I stewed diced lamb and chickpeas with cumin seeds, garlic, red chilli flakes, plum tomatoes and pomegranate molasses and served it with lightly toasted Turkish flat bread and a bottle of hearty red Cahors. M prepared a tangy fruit salad of pomegranate seeds and diced oranges. Then we settled in to watch the highly kitsch and camp musical comedy Adventures Of Iron Pussy by director Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul, about a transvestite secret agent who is sent on a mission to the Thai countryside. We bought this movie back on our first trip to Thailand together in 2005, but have only now gotten round to watching it.

What a great Bank Holiday weekend this has been. We didn't feel like going away and instead we enjoyed our own little holiday in our beloved city.


Silent One said...

Your dinners look so yummy. Always makes me hungry !!!

Planethalder said...

I know - I get hungry looking back on my food posts!