Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Were You Invited to Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s Wedding?

Gourmet Living News

It you haven’t received one of the 600 “Royal” invitations, you probably were not invited to Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s wedding. I too failed to receive an invitation, but Lord Cheseline of Maiden Lot Farm invited us to celebrate the wedding at his palatial estate along the banks of the Chester River in Maryland.

A complete English breakfast will be served at Maiden Lot Farm as we watch the events unfold at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Ladies in attendance will wear their best frocks and we all stand to sing “God Save the Queen.” I don’t know about you, but I often tear-up at Royal Weddings.

As the Blog post from our sister website suggests, I have been covering Royal weddings for quite some time and have become quite an authority on the English breakfast. Read on . . .


For those who follow the Royal Family seriously, April 29th is a special day:  The Wedding of Prince William and Catherine (“Kate”) Middleton.    I don’t know about you, but I will be up at 4 a.m. (New York time) watching the ceremonies live.  I haven’t been this excited since Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married in 1981.    Prince Charles’ wedding to Lady Camilla in 2005 didn’t pack the same punch.  Unfortunately, seeing a ceremony of old people getting married for a second  time seems a bit ludicrous even for a Royal Family, much less THE Royal Family.

Whenever I think of England, I get hungry.  It’s not because I haven’t had a good meal in the UK; –  the Standard Indian restaurant in Westbourne Grove (London) is one of my favorites – it’s that thinking of London triggers Pavlovian hunger pains after watching Breakfast at Wimbledon with Sheila for so many years.

There is nothing like sitting down in front of the Boob Tube with a cup of tea and listening to the late Budd Collins ruminate about tennis and chuckle quietly at John McEnroe’s misogynistic comments about women’s tennis.   With the exception of BBC2’s brilliant coverage of  English Sheepdog Herding, the Wimbledon Men’s Final is simply the finest sporting event on TV.

While strawberries and cream and the occasional Pimm’s cup are suitable for Wimbledon, a proper English breakfast is required to fully indulge oneself in the pomp and circumstance of a Royal Wedding.  (Note:  For those Gourmay readers who wear a calorie-counting watch, nutritionists and vegans, I suggest that you read no further as the following meal has not been officially rated by the PC police.  It contains scenes of gratuitous fat, offal meat selections and enough grease to oil the hand of most any politician in DC.  Reader discretion is advised.

The Proper English Breakfast for Royal Occasions

A proper English breakfast consists of two fried eggs, a couple of bangers (sausage), black pudding (blood sausage), roasted tomatoes, baked beans (preferably warmed in the can and not drained), sauteed mushrooms and toasted bread covered in suet.    Personally, I prefer to lead off with kippers and perhaps a scone or two covered in double clotted cream from Devonshire (yummy!).    No less than an authority as The Sunday Times suggests that a “proper” English Breakfast  may have as many as 3,000 calories and argues quite persuasively that unless you can work those calories off by noon, the English Breakfast will kill you.   Discretion and the sensibilities of our readers prevents me from rendering a picture of the traditional English breakfast on Gourmay.     Nevertheless, for those who wish to indulge themselves I provide this link to a proper English breakfast.

At my age, I can no longer stomach a large breakfast and, as such, the English Breakfast is a tradition that will be missed as I watch the Royal Wedding with my muesli and skim milk.  Nevertheless, in the great tradition of Upstairs Downstairs we will rise with fellow Englishmen and women around the globe and cross our heart as we sing God Save the Queen.   Pure theater.  Even Lady Gaga can’t match the spectacle.


Enjoy the festivities.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Chile Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes via Food52

Gourmet Living News

Maybe it is the colder weather, but this year I have found that the rich flavor of sweet potatoes adds a new dimension to enjoying food.

sweet potatoes

It has long been acknowledged that sweet potatoes are very healthy.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper,pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassiumdietary fiber,niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

While white potatoes and sweet potatoes have roughly the same amount of carbs, sweet potatoes have more fiber and appear to be slightly lower on the glycemic index.    Rather than load up a baked or mashed potato with all kinds of unneeded calories, I prefer the rich natural flavors of sweet potatoes with just a bit of salt and pepper and, perhaps, a few drops of olive oil.

This recipe for Chile Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes from Food52, was a Wildcard Contest Winner from Sarah in Wisconsin in 2015.

The acidity of the cilantro rice and delicious combination of the chicken thigh with sweet potatoes makes this a real winner.  Thank you Sarah from Wisconsin for this delicious recipe.

Chile Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Yield 4 servings

Comfort food from Sarah of Wisconsin.  Love the flavors in this great chicken and sweet potato dish.  The cilantro rice adds a nice acidic kicker.  


  • 2medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs)
  • 1/2medium red onion, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 3tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/2teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2cups loosely-packed cilantro
  • 3scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2garlic cloves
  • 4tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes), divided
  • 1jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped and seeded if less heat is desired
  • 1cup uncooked white rice
  • Oneounce 14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth (or homemade broth)
  • 1/2cup sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped sweet potatoes, chicken thighs, and red onion. In a smaller bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with the chile powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Stir until well combined. Pour over the chicken and vegetables and mix until everything is well coated with the oil and spice mixture.
  3. Spread the chicken and vegetables in an even layer on a baking sheet, and bake until the potatoes are crispy on the edges and the chicken is juicy and cooked through, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. While the chicken and vegetables are baking, start the rice. Combine the cilantro, scallions, garlic, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, jalapeño, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a food processor or blender. Blend until a smooth paste is formed.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Add the cilantro purée and continue to cook for an additional 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, covered, until the rice is tender and no extra liquid remains, about 20 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice until well mixed.
  7. When the rice is cooked and the chicken and vegetables are finished roasting, chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Divide the cilantro rice evenly between 4 bowls, along with equal amounts of chicken and roasted vegetables. Top each bowl with a dollop of lime-sour cream.

Courses Fowl

Cuisine International

Looking for more great recipes where chicken is the highlight? Try some of the ones below:

Paleo Skillet Chicken for the Mediterranean Diet

Parmesan Chicken Lite

Chicken Tenders with Rosemary or Sage

Chicken and Dumplings from Bon Appetit


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Visit to the Churchill Rooms in London and The Mayflower

Gourmet Living News

Editor’s Note:   This is a reprint of a Blog Post published a year ago on the Mayflower and a visit to the Churchill Rooms on a sister site,, which documents one of our trips to Great Britain.  Slightly irreverent,  this blog post is pitched more to our family than readers of Gourmet Living.  Nevertheless, it has some useful suggestions for those travelling to the UK, particularly London.


Over the last 20 years or so, I have been dabbling about in crafting a family tree.  Mind you, I am not a genealogist and could care less whether our relatives were descended from Charlemagne or Jack the Ripper (wasn’t he a member of the Royal family?)

The Mayflower Pub

A couple of weeks before our visit to London, I discovered that one of my distant relatives (Constance Hopkins – Age 14) came over on the Mayflower to the “New World” in 1620.   As things go, one can never be entirely sure that one’s family tree is 100% accurate, but then few people would have predicted that Donald Trump would be President.

Mayflower Pub

As we finished our Brunel, London Walk, we popped over to the Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe for lunch.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Mayflower was moored immediately below the pub (it had a different name then) in the Thames, before sailing with 65 passengers to rendezvous with the smaller Speedwell that was bringing Puritans from Leiden, Holland.

The Speedwell sprang a leak and all settlers eventually sailed together on the Mayflower, departing from Plymouth in late 1620.

On the wall of the pub was a picture featuring the silhouettes of the 102 settlers and of the 1620 Plymouth voyage of the Mayflower.  Immediately below, was another picture showing those settlers who made it through the first year in Plymouth.  Roughly 50% had perished!

Our lunch was rather pedestrian, but it was thrilling to share in a piece of history with distant relatives.

The Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are NOT part of London Walks.  Surprisingly, I don’t recall visiting them during previous visits to London.  Nevertheless, it is a useful visit for those who wish to visit an “active war room” exposed to great danger during the bombing of London in WWII.

A Churchill Museum was added to the bunker complex in 2005. In under two hours, one can gain a great appreciation for the brave men and women who lived under most dangerous conditions to help direct the Allied war effort. Also, the exhibit helps highlight Churchill’s irascible personality and energy during that period.

Certainly worth a visit. Get to the War Rooms early (they open at 9:30 a.m.) to avoid queueing.


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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Balsamic Vinegar

Gourmet Living News

asparagus and mushrooms with balsamic vinegarSpring is a wonderful time to enjoy fresh asparagus, particularly with aged balsamic vinegar.  In a recent Food and Wine magazine, I discovered a wonderful recipe for roasted asparagus and mushrooms from Sarah Grueneberg.

We had an opportunity to sample this delicious recipe this Easter and plan on making it a regular “side” for future meals.  Furthermore, it gave us a great opportunity to feature our Goccia d’Oro balsamic vinegar which is drizzled over the top.  It’s like putting icing on a cake, the balsamic vinegar adds definition and “gravitas” to most any dish.  This proved to be no exception.

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Balsamic Vinegar

A delightful recipe from Sarah Grueneberg for asparagus and mushrooms which allows us to feature Gourmet Living’s exceptional balsamic vinegar of Modena


  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and halved crosswise

  • 1 pound hen-of-the-woods or oyster mushrooms, or 8 ounces morel mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 cup loosely packed watercress or arugula (about 1/4 ounce)

  • Flaky sea salt (preferably Maldon)

  • Premium balsamic vinegar/ (Gourmet Living Goccia d’Oro), for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Arrange asparagus and mushrooms in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, and toss to coat. Roast in preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until charred and tender, about 15 minutes. Add butter and thyme leaves. Once butter is melted, toss vegetables to coat, and roast until glazed, about 5 minutes.

  2. Arrange roasted vegetables on a platter, top with watercress, and season with flaky sea salt to taste. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. 

Courses Vegetables

Cuisine American

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