Copenhagen Adventures

My recent adventures to Copenhagen were short and sweet with a cheeky outing on the water after all the racing was done and a tour around thee beautiful city.

Thanks Copenhagen, you did not disappoint! 

Market Meals

On a little excursion to find some salad stuffs I ended up going a little further than expected. Taking a detour to Borough Market I feel drawn there like a mouse to cheese. It’s an amazing place, full of life, sounds, smells and inspiration. It's always so wonderful to meet all of the amazing food suppliers, who are so passionate about their produce.

It's wonderful just to stand and chat to them about their journey in life, what brought them here, why borough market, why farming, why food? I am so interested in how people get to where they are and how our paths cross, it’s facinating.

For what was meant to be a simple salad for a weeks-worth of lunch, ended up being a week’s worth of everything and anything that caught my attention! Making presents out of the cheeses and meats that I won’t eat myself but look too good to walk past and not take home!

With a few additional tips and suggestions from a very interested Greengrocer here are a few of the main dishes I walked away with. #UnleashTheFoodie

Beef and shiitake mushroom stir-fry - By Michael Caines

Ingredients - 1 tbsp. sesame oil - 300g/10½oz beef shoulder steak, thinly sliced - 1 garlic clove, crushed - 10g/¾oz ginger, grated - 100g/3½oz shiitake mushrooms sliced - 100g/3½oz spring cabbage sliced - 50g/2oz red onion, sliced - 50g/2oz bean sprouts - 50g/2oz mange-tout- 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder - 1 tbsp. sesame seeds - 1 lime, juice only

Method - Heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the beef to the pan and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until coloured on all sides. Add the garlic and ginger and stir well. Add the vegetables and stir fry for another minute or until the beef is cooked to your liking. As soon as the beef is cooked, add the five-spice powder, sesame seeds and lime juice, stir and remove from the heat. To serve, season with salt and/or soy sauce and divide among four plates.

Avocado and bacon salad - By James Martin

Ingredients - 2 back bacon slices, fat trimmed - 1 Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated, chopped - 1 avocado, peeled, stone removed, chopped - Squeeze of lemon juice - 2 tbsp. olive oil - ¼ garlic clove, crushed - ¼ tsp Dijon mustard – Croutons

Method - Heat a large frying pan and fry the bacon until it is crisp and browned on both sides. When the bacon is cool enough to handle slice into thin pieces, trimming any visible fat off.  Put all of the salad ingredients in a bowl and set aside. For the dressing, put all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and combine thoroughly to form a smooth dressing. Add the croutons to the salad bowl and drizzle over the salad dressing.

Pan-fried balsamic pear salad with pancetta, gorgonzola and a warm honey dressing - By Lorraine Pascale 

Ingredients - 2 x 120g/4oz packets rocket - handful pine nuts- 16 slices pancetta - 2 knobs of butter - 1 tsp olive oil- 4 pears, peeled, cored, quartered - 1 tsp honey,, plus extra for the dressing - 1 tsp balsamic, plus 2 tbsp. for the dressing - ½ tsp Dijon Mustard 150g/5oz gorgonzola, ripped into chunk - salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method - Toast the pine nuts until golden-brown.  Heat the pancetta in a frying pan until crispy. Remove and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Place a knob of butter and the oil into a clean frying pan set over a low heat. Once the butter melts, add the pears, salt, pepper and honey. Turn up the heat and cook for a further five minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute, then take the pan off the heat. Remove the pears from the pan, reserving any juice that may be left. Arrange on the rocket leaves.

For the dressing - Put the pan containing the pear juices back on the heat and add the remaining knob of butter, a dash of honey, the mustard, salt and pepper and the pine nuts. Cook the mixture until warmed through and pour the dressing over the pears and the rocket. Scatter over the gorgonzola and serve.

Copenhagen World Masters

Rowing with Sons has taken me to places I never thought I would visit. After the emotional high of Henley 2016 we decided to reward ourselves with a trip to Copenhagen, and yes, while we are there, why don’t we compete in the World Masters!

It would mark a full year’s rowing for me and I was stoked at the prospect of traveling to a remote area of Copenhagen with some of the best ladies I know to compete in, let’s face it, a pretty darn awesome event. 

With 11 of us traveling, we had our 8 rowers, our half pint sized cox, our coach and our tirelessly supportive mascot, Lorena. Coordinated outfits packed, stripy socks cleaned and neatly folded with the Sons onesie, tickets and passports at the ready and off we go.

With the full complement of ladies, coach and mascot, we had a wonder down through what I can only describe as a magical woodland, similar to that of Kevin Costner’s Prince of Thieves hide out as Robin Hood! The 20 minute stroll, gave me plenty of time to imagine, plan and decorate my woodland tree house when we arrived at the lake. It was breathtaking!

The air was still and the water like glass reflecting the surrounding trees, a multitude of greens lining the water at the end of the season. Dragging myself back to the reality of rigging boats, we located the trailer and got to work. With three 8+ between the clubs that were on the trailer and a complement of two crews, it didn’t take us long. 

With the jobs done and the checklist ticked, we put our minds to investigating the area. I could see some of the ladies getting anxious … merchandise store located!  What a relief!

With our first race the next day, we were early to bed to get well rested before the warm up session. Best laid plans and all that. Five out of the 8 didn’t sleep at all, with Coopsie having spent the night with a movement sensitive light illuminating the room whenever she turned over, creating a disco like environment not desperately indicative to a good night’s sleep. 

We can laugh about it now … just. 

Bleary eyed but excited to race, we all walked down to the lake, some focused on their next coffee, some on the race ahead and others on the logistics of that treehouse. As we approached the boats, we immediately forgot all our worries and sleepless nights. The morning sun rising over the mirror like lake was filmic in its beauty. 

All the late nights training and juggling family, work, rowing and a feeble attempt at a social life seem to fade into insignificance when gliding across the glass like water with nothing but the sound of the blades in the water and the trickle under the boat. 

The first day of racing went … let’s just say it went. 

We had entered a fair few races, and wanted to try out a few new approaches to the race as a team, under pressure, we (by we, I mean our coach) asked us to experiment with different rates at the beginning, settling in different places and approaching our sprints. As it was 1K, it would be interesting to see what we could do on race day.

We all understood what we were doing as we had been trialing and testing in practice pieces, on camp and throughout erg pieces so … you know … confidence up, let’s see what works when we’re feeling the race day jitters. 

The first race was a disaster. The idea was to go all out and get the lead straight away and tap it along, applying more and more power depending on our opponent. Yeah …. so with all the nerves and excitement and our beloved half pint yelling motivational orders down the speakers, the envisaged rate 36 became a rate 44 and 90% became 200% and we blew out at 500m!

Contrary to what it may seem … this was not our first rodeo!  

Feeling the weight of total failure crush every and any rowing related dream, we got out of the rather subdued boat. Not brave enough to look the other girls in the eyes as the crippling feeling that you, single-handedly, ruined the race by blowing out too soon and not managing your energy levels the way you know you should! You have never been so undeserving of a seat in a boat of such dedicated rowers! 

A comforting arm goes around a slumped shoulder and the chat starts ... quickly silencing the self-depreciating internal monologue and realising that we were all feeling exactly the same. We had all collectively, gloriously messed up what should have been a perfectly good race. Sharing the burden of all the emotions as a crew, we carried each other through the initial disappointment and laughed off all the less positive thoughts, bringing us as a team to the lessons learned and how to grow from it. The total and unconditional support we all provided for each other is most definitely a team moment you can’t replicate.  

Win as a team, loose as a team!

Living and eating together always provides a few laughs and that night, for one night only, JoJo became ‘JoJo the BBQ Master’ a well-earned title! Fed and watered and feeling a bit more human, we all toddled off to bed to rest up for the next day of racing.

Day two proved to be much better, throwing in a couple of near wins and some great runs in a mixed 8+, and two 4+ we had a thoroughly fun day.  Rounding up the weekend with an all-out -battle for our masters 4+ with a disappointing loss by half a second and a very tearful crew, comforted only by the merchandise store and the promise of an espresso martini later on. 

With the boats ready to trailer, spirits back on top form and all our kit and equipment packed, all there was to do was eat everything in the fridge, survive the next day’s hangover and hop on our flight home. 

The traditional boomerangs made their appearance into our afternoon festivities and we celebrated a fantastic year of rowing with an amazing group of friends that I have been blessed to have in my life. 

Thanks Copenhagen, you did not disappoint! 

A Grand Day Out

As we know, I love markets, there is always so much to see and do. It’s a sensory overload with the smells, sights and sounds of all the people and shops.

On this adventure I took David, my step dad. As one of my closest friends, we share very similar interests such as sports and food, but more importantly, wine.

While mum was lunching with friends in central, I led David on a wine trail. Starting in Borough market at the mulled wine stand, working our way passed all the stalls and testing some, if not all of the produce. We wondered down to Tower Bridge, popping in to responsibly test the wine list of every bar on the way. It always reminds me of how wonderful this city is and how much life there is here.