Saturday, September 22, 2012

England-Hong Kong...where do I begin?

Let me start out by telling you- All I ever wanted was to live in England and have a happy family and travel the world. I guess it's a lot to ask, but in a sense this vacation was like all of my wildest dreams coming true for 2 weeks. The trip was perfection to me- the girls did awesome and were so pleasant, Brad loved it- the musicals, the golf, the accents, the beauty of the land- he really seemed to take it all in which really pleased me, it was fun being with my parents, we had perfect weather and I couldn't have imagined it going any better.  Even though we were traveling with babies it felt like a vacation in the truest sense of the word- which was a pleasant surprise. I got full nights of sleep and had 3 extra sets of hands with the girls that I don't normally have everyday. I was imagining China, but forgot I'm not nursing the girls and they don't wake up every couple hours anymore, plus we had my parents this time- easy peasy.
We traveled through...
and even took a day trip to Paris!
Don't hate me. ;)
I can't lie- I didn't want to leave. As we drove home from the airport late at night it felt so weird to be back. I couldn't stop thinking how weird it felt, we were just in all of these amazing places and now we were pulling in our driveway. After I got the girls changed and down for bed I just started sobbing and couldn't stop. I know I don't get any sympathy for those tears, but I just felt so sad it was over. I'd been planning and dreaming about this trip for so long, it exceeded all my expectations and suddenly it was just a memory and it was time to get back to real life. It really was a dream I didn't want to end. I'm normally at least partially relieved/happy when I return home from traveling, but for some reason I wasn't at all this time, I could have stayed there forever. I think my heart belongs in the UK.
I felt so sad for Brad leaving to work the next day. Then all of the sudden Brad had an opportunity come up to be in Hong Kong for a few literally this started happening the day we got home, and leaving 2 weeks later. So...we're moving to Hong Kong next week. Um...I said I wanted to move to England Brad.
Just Kidding...this will be quite the adventure and may open some doors for us so I'll take it. I'm missing some of my favorite time of year, but we'll be home to catch the end of the Christmas season at least. I guess somewhere inside me knew we weren't supposed to be home yet, I was just hoping it was the other side of the earth we were supposed to be on. Till later England, hello Hong Kong! 
{photos taken last year}
It shouldn't be too hard to get around this town with two toddlers on my own...right?
Er...right? Should I worry? 
OKAY. FINE. I'll hire an assistant photographer I mean nanny. 
But only because you are worried.

Friday, September 21, 2012

fish n' chips, the english way

 I've always enjoyed a good quality fish n' chips, my favorite was Annabelle's (a little restaurant in Ketchikan that puts dill in the batter and of course uses the freshest halibut)....but then on our recent trip to England I discovered the beauty and simplicity of the English way. I opted to try the malt vinegar before plunging the fish in tarter sauce, and to my surprise it was even better! The little punch really balances it out, and does anything deep fried really need more fat like mayo anyways? 
I'm not normally a big fan of deep fried food, but a few weeks back we bought a little deep fryer for Brad to make wings with.  Once we got home from our trip I knew I'd found a new use for that terrible and wonderful little thing that makes our whole home smell like McDonalds. Some really delicious stuff can come out of it, and we don't use it too often so I don't feel so bad about wasting all those fat calories on something that isn't dessert. 
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this is a pretty awesome recipe- definitely the best thing to come out of our deep fryer and even though it was my first time attempting fish n' chips they came out delicious!  I used some of our cod just in case the recipe was a failure so I wouldn't waste halibut, but now I know this is definitely no waste of fish!
It's a combination of a recipe I got from a lady in Alaska, one I found online, what I learned at Annabelles, what I learned at some of the English pubs we visited, and what felt right.  
I made this on the day of the big BYU-utah game so I went to the grocery store in my bright blue BYU shirt and hesitantly passed the beer aisle about 10 times trying to catch labels out of the corner of my eye before determining it would be misrepresenting too much and made Brad return in an unlabeled shirt to buy the beer.
Here are the girls at a pub, coloring away whilst we wait for our beloved fish n' chips:
¾ C flour                                          ½ C cornstarch                      ½ tsp soda                          
1 Tbs powdered sugar                     2 tsp salt                                 ½ tsp granulated garlic    
¼ tsp ground white pepper           ¼ tsp paprika                       ¾ tsp dill (optional)         
1 tsp grated lemon zest                    1 – 1 ½ C beer or ale           1 ½ lbs halibut or cod
3 lbs potatoes, peeled                      oil for frying                          malt vinegar, to serve.
Heat oil in a deep fryer (or heavy pan) to 375°, peel and cut potatoes into chucky-sized fries. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Fry for 3 minutes until soft. Drain, shake, and set aside. Lower the fryer temp to 320°. In a bowl mix the first ten ingredients(flour-lemon zest), then add beer till the batter has a crepe like consistency.  Add a splash of malt vinegar to the batter. Put a little flour on a plate and dredge fish pieces in it, it will help the batter stick to the fish. Take fish pieces one at a time and holding onto the thin end, swirl around in the batter till well coated. Immediately drop into the oil, cooking a few pieces at a time and making sure they don’t stick together. Cook until golden (about 4-6 min, depending on size) Drain on paper towels and place in a warm oven while cooking the rest.  Return fryer heat to 375° and return chips, fry till golden and crisp.  Sprinkle with fine salt. Serve immediately with malt vinegar and salt (the English way) or tarter sauce and lemon (the American way- it's just not as good)
Some more of us getting our English pub on:
Brad looking so legit with his beard and hat at the pub...till he asked for a still water instead of beer. :)


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