Day 1 out of 88 | London
As many of you know, last fall I went on a 3-month, 11 country solo tour around Europe and fell in love with the world. I encountered so many amazing and eye opening experiences they have turned into memories: the people, the food, the culture, the buildings, the history, the trains, did I mention the food? Up first is London and The Scotch Egg!
I can’t tell you all how excited I am to get this series started. When I left for the trip, I wanted to bring something home with me that would continue to inspire and give me an avenue to relive the memories that have become so incredibly special to me. I don’t know how many people will see this or if you’ll follow but trust me! Sign up for email alerts (bottom of page) as you won’t want to miss what I’ll be brining to the BLOG.
Stories, pictures, people, but most importantly I am taking all the food, flavors, and experiences I had and bringing them to your kitchen. I’ll be sharing things not only about recipes but about flavors, history of cuisines, and the culture that comes with those traditions across the world. I was inspired by the history and food culture of the places that I visited I have been chomping at the bit to bring them to you! Like, share, and subscribe so you don’t miss anything. OK, that’s all on that for now 🤗
“I am so full of positive, nervous, anxious, excited energy I’ve been fighting back tears ever since I closed the door to my house and it hit me that I would not be coming back for 3 whole months. This journey is officially real and I am overwhelmed with an amazing feeling I cant quite describe.” I wrote that on the first of what turned out to be MANY train rides. I was on a train leaving Baltimore heading to DC, to fly to NY, to then fly to London. That same excited, nervous, positive energy hit me many times along the way as I pinched myself that this dream was coming true. I hope one day you can experience that feeling, it is truly amazing.
London, Day #1
Fun Fact, I flew into London on the exact same day one year prior. August 26th 2016 my mother and I flew into London for a vacation and now I was doing it again, it was a little different this time but just as exciting! My passport now has two stamps from London: Aug 26th 2016, and now Aug 26th 2017!
2 trains and 2 flights later I was lost finding the hostel but finally made it to destination no. 1, Astor Queensway Hostel. Once I dropped my bags I headed out for food. I found the tube station and made a direct line straight for Borough Market. You will see some themes throughout these stories, my ability to seek out food markets is one of them. Getting lost is another, I got lost so many times it became comical. No seriously… SO MANY TIMES.
“Borough market (as I wrote in HUGE letters in my journal) is my favorite market in the world!” That still holds true today. London has some great markets for food and shopping but as we did not visit Borough Market the year prior, it was my first stop this time around! I was jet lagged and cranky but if there is one thing that truly makes me smile, its walking into a food market! Anyone who knows me well will attest to that. I walked around a bit but could not resist stopping for the traditional English food of fish and chips and a scotch egg. I grabbed a pint and a bench and had my first meal in London.
I have only eaten a scotch egg once before, at Harry Potter land, and this was way better! The creamy egg inside is coated in crispy sausage that is then breaded and fried. It sounds very heavy but is so worth it! I sat on the curb as I watched people go by. People playing tourist, people working, people socializing, other people watching the all the people and a favorite trip past time was born: sitting, eating, and people watching.
A note on solo travel: When you are traveling alone, you have to realize you don’t have another person to distract you. I fell in love with the no-distraction aspect of solo travel as it opened up my eyes to so many things I would have missed otherwise. “I have already heard Arabic, Italian, Spanish, and another language I didn’t recognize and its only day one! Ive noticed peoples actions/ clothing/ smells/ and interactions with so much more detail than normal”. This continued for 3 months, I noticed so many details I would have missed traveling with others.
Also I 100% started taking pictures of tourists taking pictures, because when they look like this guy, it deserves a snap!
Ill spare you the play by play of the next few days in London but I will share some of my favorite highlights and some fun facts:
Shakespeare’s Globe – If you have been to London and have not experienced this, GO BACK NOW and buy a ticket. This theatre is on the London Bridge area of town on the river Thames and is a replica of the exact theatre that Shakespeare made a name for himself all those years ago. You think that’s cool, then you will love that for 5 pounds you can get a ticket to the show. The catch is you have to stand, for 3 hours, but as that’s how the peasants use to do it I was in. Standing turned out to be the highlight of the show and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I highly recommend this!
At the show I met the first of many travel companions, a young woman Marybel, and we decided to go for dinner after. She was working in London on her masters and was also at the show alone. We bonded over standing for 3 hours and went for some Indian food, another London specialty. “I have been hesitant about being alone for 3 months but meeting people like Marybel tonight makes me know that it will all be ok”.
Indian food in London is a must. Indian cuisine is raved to be better in London then the middle east and has made a name for itself for over 40 years now. The spice trade brought the flavors to England in the 1800s. Additionally, the British who’d been enjoying spicy food in 19th century India attempted to recreate the dishes in their own homes when they returned. Thus Indian food was born in London.
The Natural History Museum holds the largest collection of bugs and insects in the WORLD. Also, it is where you can find Cleopatra’s mummy so that’s just neat
Fortnum and Mason have these adorable woven “hampers” full of goodies that I couldn’t get over. The good news is that you can order online and have them delivered! Perfect England tea in a basket filled with biscuits, tea, and other delicious things. I paced with the decision and decided not to buy anything but a cookie and a smile for the time being. There was no space for anything but memories in my backpack!
Be sure to check out all the posts about Europe here!
Now, I told you I would also be sharing recipes that I have adapted for our home kitchens. The first one I’m sharing will be that delicious first meal of the trip, the Scotch Egg! Instead of frying the whole thing, I lightly pan fried them for color and then finished the cooking in the oven making a no mess, delicious meal perfect for any time of the day. You’ll get your hand dirty but be gentle, the eggs are very fragile before they cook.
To serve, I tossed some spinach with a light vinaigrette (apple cider vinegar, a dab of dijon mustard, and some oil) and had that alongside the eggs to cut the fat and add more to the meal. This would be amazing for brunch with some hash browns or for dinner with a baked potato and salad!
Check out the other places I visited in my Europe Series
- English Countryside and Blackberry Scones
- Edinburgh Scotland and Shepherds Pie
- Ireland: Dublin, Kilkenny and Guinness Beef Stew
- Ireland: Galway, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher and Fish Stew
A perfect meal for any time of the day, the Scotch Egg is making a comeback to your weekend lineup!
- 2 links of sweet Italian sausage
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Chopped parsley
- 2 soft boiled eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1 egg beaten
- Oil and an oven safe frying pan
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- To Soft Boil Eggs: Bring water to a boil on stove. Once boiling bring water temp down to simmer and place eggs in pot. Boil for 6 minutes for soft egg. Place in ice water to cool down and GENTLY peel the eggs once cool.
- In large bowl, mix sausage, mustard and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 2 equal patties.
- Roll each soft-cooked egg in flour to coat; place on sausage patty and shape sausage around egg. Dip each into flour again, then the beaten egg; coat with bread crumbs to cover completely.
Cooking option no. 1: Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 35 minutes or until sausage is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink near egg.
Cooking option no. 2: Pan fry in some oil to brown the sausage first, then place in oven for 25 minutes to finish cooking.
love, The Cook Nook
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