Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette” – Critical Review of a Twist on the British Classic

Old Boy's Omelette




Jamie Oliver, a world-renown British chef, pieced together yet another cookbook, called Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, in year 2011. According to the cover, it contains 130 of his favorite British Recipes, which include old comfort foods and modern classics. From this cookbook did I create his version of the “Old Boy’s Omelette.”

Why the “Old Boy’s Omelette” is Ideal to Make in the USA



Old Boy's Omelette
All the ingredients I used for my own version of Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette.”

Looking through this cookbook revealed many recipes which I would find difficult to recreate, due to the unavailability of the recipes’s ingredients. However, the “Old Boy’s Omelette” contained ingredients easily obtainable within the USA. Delighted at this discovery, I took the opportunity yesterday to buy the ingredients in the dish and cook my family omelettes for dinner!

The three ingredients requiring a special run to the grocery store were a sourdough bread loaf, sea salt, and four portobello mushrooms. Luckily for me, we already had the olive oil, quality bacon, free-range eggs, ground pepper, and cheddar cheese. (Albeit, my husband reminded me later the bacon in the UK likely differed from the bacon in the USA. Oh well, everyone in my family has a great appreciation for American bacon.)

What I Added to the Classic “Old Boy’s Omelette”



Old Boy's Omelette
The Angus beef steaks which I seasoned and cooked for the omelettes.

Though I know enough about cooking to know portobello mushrooms are sometimes substituted for meat, I also know my family loves actual meat. So, in addition to the bacon which the recipe calls for, I bought a couple of well-cut Angus steaks to throw into the omelettes.

To adequately prepare the steaks, I brought out a large frying pan, placed the steaks in, and powdered on some salt, pepper, and garlic. Turning the steaks over, I spread more seasoning to the other sides. To give the steaks plenty of flavor, I then dosed the steaks in Worcestershire sauce. I then proceeded to cook them, flipping them every so often.

Once the steaks were thoroughly cooked, I turned off the heat and set them to the side. When they had reached a manageable temperature, I placed the two steaks on a cutting board and cut them into cubes. I removed most of the fat, but kept some for flavor.

Preparing to Make the “Old Boy’s Omelette”



Old Boy's Omelette
The prepared ingredients to throw into the omelettes.

What I did with the steaks, I proceeded to do for the rest of the ingredients. I fried the bacon and cut them into either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch pieces. Also, I cubed the sourdough bread, cleaned and sliced the portobello mushrooms, and grated the cheddar cheese – lots and lots of yummy cheddar cheese.

As for the free-range eggs, I took four small bowls and cracked three eggs into each. I whisked them with a small whisking utensil. Using the sea salt and ground pepper, I proceeded to pour good amounts of each into the whisked eggs. With this done and the remaining ingredients chopped and ready, all I had left to do was wait for the men to come home for dinner and begin the final step!

Making the “Old Boy’s Omelette” and How They Turned Out




Truly, truly I tried to follow Jamie Oliver’s instructions. However, what resulted ended up looking completely different than the beautiful photo for his take on the traditional Sunday morning meal. But, first, how I cooked the omelettes:

  • Poured olive oil into the skillet, a good amount.
  • Threw in the portobello mushroom slices.
  • Tossed in the sourdough bread pieces.
  • Sprinkled on a few bacon pieces.
  • Threw in plenty of cubed steak.
  • Added lots of cheddar cheese.
  • Mixed everything together with a wooden spoon and let the cheese melt!
  • Then poured in the egg mix.

 

It seemed too easy, and it was easier than it should have been. When I read the instructions, the omelette sounded more like making scrambled eggs. Moreover, the renowned chef instructed me to turn off the heat before the eggs had fully cooked. This, according to this American-born-and-bred individual, was a mistake. For everyone in my family enjoys fully-cooked eggs.

An American Verdict on Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette”



Old Boy's Omelette
Mary Truong’s version of Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette”

Even though I changed the recipe slightly, and even though the eggs ended up slightly liquidy, my family highly enjoyed Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette.” My father and my husband especially enjoyed all the meat. The cheddar cheese was probably my favorite part, for the portobello mushrooms ended up fried in the olive oil and had lost all their natural flavoring.

My family had already finished their meals by the time I remembered the HP sauce and ketchup, but I’ll try to remember for next time. For my family enjoyed the meal so much as to have it again – only this time with fully cooked eggs.

Have you ever tried “Old Boy’s Omelette?” What about trying Jamie Oliver’s version? Does the ketchup and HP sauce help to cut down the olive oil taste? I think adding tomatoes might make this a great meal too, what do the readers think?



From the Reading Room – Booming Bookazines, New Novels, and Hot-Wired Histories

Reading Room




Greetings, fellow bookworms! I have a little secret to share. It’s about “The Reading Room.” At nine-years-old, I was introduced to the first novel in a series from one of the world’s greatest thinkers and authors. The book was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the author was C.S. Lewis.

From that day until now, I have collected over 1,000 novels, histories, devotionals, biographies, and children’s books. All ultimately resulting in the creation of the Reading Room. And British authors, past and current, have written nearly half of the books included in my library. To share and review them with my friends is my intent.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce the latest category to Mary Loves the UK: The Reading Room!

What to Read for the Upcoming Quarter




To provide my readers with some topic range within my upcoming blog posts, I have chosen three different reading materials to review within the next three months. These materials include the following:

  • Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia, a historical novel
  • Roy and Lesley Adkins’s Jane Austen’s England – Daily Life in the Georgian and Regency Periods, a history book
  • BBC’s The Essential Doctor Who – Adventures in Space, a bookazine, printed in the UK

 

My Californian readers can find British reading material like these at local bookshops, such as the Avid Reader in Davis, or at club stores, such as Sam’s Club in Vacaville. If anyone has the will to join me in reading one (or all three!) of the above, please do! I would love to review these books and magazines as a group.

How to Join in the Discussions




To join in what I hope will become future book discussions, I recommend that my readers who have any interest follow these steps:

  1. Follow me! Located on the bottom right-hand corner should be buttons where my readers can follow my blog, or me, on social media.
  2. Choose the books of interest. No one needs to read every book with me. But, if any of my readers have a preference in the books listed to read, then please let me know!
  3. Read every blog post on the books. I will attempt to write a thorough review on each chapter or section in the reading materials. Hopefully they will assist my readers in the discussion.
  4. Answer the questions at the end of the blog posts. No one can have a discussion without questions! Therefore, though I cannot promise the best or most essential discussion questions, I will try to include some for every chapter to encourage discussion.

 

Have I managed to pique anyone’s interest? I hope so. Reading these British books is a treat I cannot deny myself, and one which I wish to share. But, please, if anyone has a preference as to which book or bookazine I should start reviewing in the Reading Room, let me know in the comment section below!



Yes, Honey, I’ll Eat ‘After Eight’

After Eight




Nineteenth century English gentlemen and ladies would sometimes dine after eight in the evening. (So I say based purely on Jane Austen literature!) The dining time was especially practiced if said gentleman or lady had guests over for dinner.

However, Alex doesn’t expect me to dine late into the evening. He does expect me to eat his share of savory chocolate mints. And teasing me for eating After Eight mints simply makes him laugh!

Who Makes ‘After Eight’ and Where They’re Sold



After Eight
A treat that stands above the rest.

It’s a crying disappointment how Nestle withholds these savory and mouthwatering chocolate mints from average American grocers. When searching for information on Nestle’s website, I found I had to change my country to “UK and Ireland” in order to simply find the mints!

Nevertheless, all is not lost. After some searching, I found two or three retail grocers who carried After Eight mints. This particular box I found came from – You guessed it! – Cost Plus World Market. This store had it discretely shelved on a lower shelf opposite the popular, worldwide candies. At least, so it was at this particular location in Northern California.

What Nestle Says About These Popular UK Treats



After Eight
A social treat for family and friends.

Nestle talks about the elegance and savory flavoring of the After Eight mints, of course. But what I found interesting was the predominant ingredients in the mint. These ingredients include dark chocolate, 100% natural peppermint oil, and most unexpected of them all – fondant!

Originally, when Nestle first produced these savory mints, the advertisements appeared on television early after eight o’clock. The product’s design was based on an antique baroque, silver clock, as seen currently on the individual mint covers. And according to Nestle’s statistics, 50% of the mints consumed in the UK are After Eight mints.

What Drew Me To Them – ‘After Eight’ Aesthetics




Whoever designed the packaging, both the box and the individual wrappers, must have done extensive research. Several qualities exist that draw the buyers in:

  • After Eight mints are social mints. Twenty mints are included to share among a group, whether they be family or friends.
  • The outer packaging quietly draws attention to itself, telling us to look at its savory products.
  • Nestle officially labeled the product as ‘After Eight – Mint Chocolaty Thins’ with visually appealing letters.
  • The individual wrappers are – pardon my American vocabulary – thin and crinkly with beautiful golden clock designs.

 

Need I Describe How ‘After Eight’ Mints Taste?



After Eight
As all the ladies and gentlemen say, “Yum!”

Once I learned about the 100% natural peppermint oil included in the delicacy, I was sold. To taste a smooth, creamy mint sounded like a good reason to stay at home in the evening. And as Alex and I soon learned upon purchasing the product, I was right.

The strong peppermint flavor leaves a strong, but pleasant, aftertaste. One mint satisfies me. Although, Nestle recommends five After Eight mints as a serving size. The portion is up to the consumer, as it always is. Overall, I highly recommend the product.

P.S. Don’t let the price scare you! The eight to nine dollar purchase price are dollars well spent!



HP Sauce, Mushy Peas, and Cromwell Somerdale Cheese Make for One Delicious British-Style Supper

Cromwell Somerdale cheese




Cooked and consumed before Alex’s and my wedding, this special supper included several British foods and sauces found at Northern California markets.

“Hold on. Don’t Mushy Peas belong with Bangers & Mash?” asked my loved one. “And shouldn’t we eat the Cromwell Somerdale cheese with the most common British bread?”

Cromwell Somerdale cheese
Preparing to cook.

“Yes,” I replied. “But we, as nothing but poor and unlucky Americans, need to eat the local beef and the frozen dinner rolls before they go bad.” (In this instance, I was half joking and half serious. I may not be lucky, but God provides me with many blessings.)

And so Alex, my parents, and I ate a sirloin steak dinner with British-style side dishes and sauces. Please allow me to detail the scrumptious meal.

Small Sirloin Steaks Completely Covered in HP Sauce




Sirloin steaks bought from a store fall somewhere between “tasty” and “merely acceptable” most of the time. On this night, Alex and I cooked the evening meal. Later we learned the steaks we served fell right dab in the middle.

Mushy Peas
Cooking the sirloin steaks and heating the Mushy Peas.

To help flavor everyone’s steak, I placed HP Sauce on the table. Browsing through Cost Plus World Market earlier in the week had enabled me to find this popular British sauce. Squealing with delight, I had snatched it quickly off the shelf.

Before tasting the sauce, I slathered it on my small sirloin. I was sure I would like it, and I was right. To me, who grew up with Worcestershire Sauce and A1 Sauce, it tasted like a mix between these two popular American sauces. How would my UK friends describe this sauce?

Mushy Peas Served as the Required Greens




Earlier in the year, Alex and I had cooked, eaten, and posted about home-cooked British Bangers and Mash. When Alex re-posted the blog post on Facebook, one friend said in mock-outrage, “What about the Mushy Peas?” We were confused.

Cromwell Somerdale cheese, Mushy Peas, HP Sauce
The main side dishes and sauces for the meal.

So, after a little research, we realized either Heinz Beans or Mushy Peas could serve as a side dish to the popular dish. We decided to try the Mushy Peas, and found them at both Cost Plus World Market and Nugget Markets. If I remember correctly, the product was slightly cheaper at Nugget Markets.

On the night we cooked, I heated the Mushy Peas over the stove-top until the wooden spoon glided through the mush. Serving them in a simple dish, I scooped some unto my dinner plate to try. They tasted like……peas. More accurately, they tasted like my mother’s split-pea soup. Alex enjoyed them, and I found them tolerably good.

Cromwell Somerdale Cheese because We Wanted to Cut the Cheese




Granted, serving cheese as a main side dish seems odd. However, Alex and I had found the cheese section at Nugget Markets. And among this grocer’s cheese selection were many, many imported cheeses, including French, German, Mexican, Irish, Scottish, and British! We had to try some.

Cromwell Somerdale cheese
Everything else…

After picking through the selection, we settled on the Cromwell Somerdale cheese. This looked particularly good because of the chives and onions within the cheddar cheese. According to a UK website selling the cheese, we should have grilled it. Regardless, Cromwell Somerdale cheese is good straight from the block as well.

Non-Alcoholic British Drinks for an American Soda-Drinking Family




Lastly comes the British beverages we found at Cost Plus World Market. While the store had a large alcoholic beverage selection, my family chooses to abstain from alcohol to prevent giving a bad example to others in our faith. So, I picked up four different flavors of the British soda beverages.

Cromwell Somerdale cheese
The meal laid out on the table for a scrumptious meal!

Looking at the picture now, I remember that I drank the Fentimans Curiosity Cola while everyone else drank the Barr’s sodas. The predominant feature I remember about the Curiosity Cola was how flat the beverage tasted. Whereas American soda pop has ample amounts of carbonation, this drink had none.

The flavor evades description. Again, I wonder how my British friends would describe the flavor? As for me, I recommend my American readers to go out, buy, and try this mystery drink for themselves!

This likely isn’t a traditional British meal. However, my family and I enjoyed the British flavoring found within the dishes. All it needs is some sort of potato, and it would be a British-style meat and potato supper!



Taste Buds Meter the Maltesers and Maltesers Teasers and Catch the Maltesers Fever

Maltesers




Ooh! Whoppers! Or, em, British whoppers. No? Oh, yeah, Maltesers. And, em, Maltesers Teasers. Oh, for crying-out-loud, those thingamajigs!

Found at Cost Plus World Market, and later-on spotted at the Dollar General store, Alex and I stumbled across an imported British candy called Maltesers. Malterfood, a Mars Chocolate UK sub-company, produce these traditional candies. Favored throughout the world, Malterfood produces and exports thousands of candies every year.

Tasting the Original Maltesers




MaltesersFor Americans, it is impossible to refrain from comparing these little candies to Whoppers’ malted milk balls. However, there exists a striking difference between the two candies. Maltesers made the candies slightly more doughy on the inside, as opposed to the Whoppers’ obvious crunch. Also, the superb Mars chocolate coating was significantly lighter than the chocolate coating on the Whoppers.

MaltesersMalterfood’s added honey as their extra, special ingredient. And, to be perfectly frank, I only realized this upon reading the packaging. For the ingredient, while good in tea and on toast, added nothing to the taste. Rather than sweet, the candy had more of a sour aftertaste. Overall, the chocolate, honey, and dough balls are too bland for my taste.

On the Other Hand, the Maltesers Teasers…




Maltesers TeasersWow! So, so, so, so much better than the traditional Maltesers! The Maltesers Teasers completely make up for what the traditional candy balls lack. Think chocolate. Think about how Mars chocolate melts in your mouth. Consider also how tiny balls taste, how they crunch. So good!

Maltesers TeasersOn a more serious note, the Maltesers Teasers are more like traditional chocolate bars. In one sense, the candy reminded me much of the Crunch candy, chocolate and crunch. However, the candy bar included more chocolate than tiny candy balls. Consequently, they significantly outdid the Crunch candy bar.

Dealing with the Maltesers Fever




MaltesersIf Alex and I can find these original British candies in a discount store like Dollar General, then I can hardly begin to imagine how many places sell these tasty treats. Next time my husband and I have the money to go to the theater, I will have to search the candy options to see if they are present. Or, how many Malterfood candies would a store like Walmart sell? I’ll have to do more research.

Someone who presented me with these two Malterfood candies would find that I would choose the Maltesers Teasers before the original candy balls. In fact, I recommend the candy bar to anyone who prefers Mars chocolate over dough and honey. The 100+ degree weather may have affected the candies. They may have melted the chocolate or made them less crunchy. Or maybe Cost Plus World Market sold the expired ones and I didn’t catch it. Either way, as British candy goes, the sweet tooth accepts both.



Delectable Treats – Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Terry's Milk Chocolate Oranges




Treats like these don’t grow on trees! Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges are mouth-watering, flavor-popping chocolates which open with a good, solid whack!

American born and bred, I raised my brow on first hearing Alex mention one of Great Britain’s most delectable treats: chocolate oranges. I questioned how chocolate could adequately include an orange flavor which would satisfy a fruit-lover. Since I don’t consider myself an orange connoisseur – something I shall never be due to the orange rind – I decided to someday test one.

Where We Found Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges



Terry's Milk Chocolate Oranges
Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

On my day off from the drug store, Alex and I wandered over to a neighboring town. Once we had acquired and bought our day-to-day necessities, I asked to go to one more place to spend my Visa e-gift card. Where did we go? You guessed it: Cost Plus World Market!

The store manager at Vacaville’s location in the Nut Tree Plaza did the store harm in rejecting my Visa e-gift card. Especially since, when Alex and I stepped into the store, we were the only customers there. However! I am dedicated to this blog, and I enjoy trying British foods far too much to have turned away and never gone back.

Keeping a smile on my face, I headed toward the food section to see the available options. Lo and behold, the employees had set up an entire display promoting solely United Kingdom foods! British, Irish, and Scottish! I quickly spent my budgeted play money.

The Hard Decision between Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and Terry’s Dark Chocolate Oranges



Terry's Milk Chocolate Oranges
A whacked and unwrapped chocolate orange!

According to the chocolate orange experts, if eating a delectable treat with orange flavoring, then the best chocolate to use is dark chocolate. Health fans must cheer and share this opinion, since dark chocolate is supposedly healthier than milk chocolate. Someday I will try Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange, but this time we chose Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange.

Though I enjoy dark chocolate as well as milk, I let Alex decide on what to choose on that day. As the source behind all my chocolate orange knowledge, he knew what most people preferred. However, he chose the milk chocolate one. I happily plopped one into our shopping basket.

How Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges Look and Taste



Terry's Milk Chocolate Oranges
A chocolate designed after a true orange.

The design on the chocolate is pleasing to the eye with its ridges imitating an orange’s rind and fruit. Whacking one of Terry’s chocolate oranges is also a fun way to enjoy a delectable treat. Moreover, if the weather climbs to 100 degrees or more, the chocolate oranges refrigerates well, for the chocolate oranges are still easy to bite into when refrigerated.

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges taste smooth, sweet, and stupendous! The orange flavoring in the milk chocolate has a strong flavor, but isn’t overpowering. Terry’s uses orange oil, an ingredient that reminds me of the orange peel used in my mother’s orange rolls, nice and sweet.

Intending to please my sweet tooth, I had planned to eat half of this chocolate orange for breakfast. However, it was far too sweet! Though this fact guarantees I will buy more in the future. Unlike the recommended serving, I recommend savoring Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and eating only two or three slices at a time, as opposed to five slices.

Just a Little History on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges



Terry's Milk Chocolate Oranges
Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

Terry’s used to run their own organization in York, United Kingdom. Established in the mid to late 1700’s, they produced products (such as chocolate lemons for a little while) for several years before they first handed over the reigns to a larger organization. Mondelez Global now ultimately produces this particular Terry’s chocolate orange.

Poland manufactured the chocolate, on machines that also process nuts and wheat, and sends the chocolates around the world. Terry’s original recipes are currently held and processed from three different European countries. It closed its doors in York in 2005, one year after the delectable treats began exporting to the United States – to my great delight!



 

Sherlock: A Study in Pink – Critical Review

BBC’s Sherlock – series one, episode one, “A Study in Pink” – portrayed many aspects about the characters upon the second and third viewing. Continuing to watch the remaining episodes after the first viewing, though, required boredom, lack of funds, time off, and a family Netflix account. Since all four aspects applied to me, I viewed all four series, and my better knowledge about the characters made “A Study in Pink” much more interesting and insightful.

Doctor John Watson – The Man with Nerves of Steel



Introducing Doctor John Watson

Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss immediately won the viewers over to Doctor John Watson when they showed the character suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Actor Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Dr. Watson’s pain and silent suffering instantly drew me in, having me beg for more about this distressed character.

Dr. Watson proved his courage and love for trouble with every passing character he met. His first meeting with Sherlock Holmes revealed his psychosomatic limp. Well, more accurately, Sherlock inferred to it, only to later reveal it to Dr. Watson. Throughout the episode, meeting each of Sherlock’s enemies and acquaintances, Dr. Watson proved steady during stress and unhinged during downtime. Sherlock was dead-on on analyzing his friend as a man with nerves of steel.

Inspector Lestrade – The Desperate Man




Introducing Inspector Lestrade

When viewers first saw Inspector Lestrade, he appeared stressed, worried, and unhappy. His oblivion about the murderer made him appear weak and incompetent before the reporters, and Sherlock only made him look worse. Later scenes would reveal Inspector Lestrade’s dependence on Sherlock to help him do his job.

On the other hand, Inspector Lestrade was an honest man. When Dr. Watson asked why he included Sherlock on his cases, he replied, “Because I’m desperate, that’s why!” After this admittance, he turned back to Dr. Watson from the flat’s doorway and said something that every viewer wants to believe: Sherlock is a great man, and someday he might be a good one. In so saying, Inspector Lestrade portrayed himself as optimistic and hopeful, a great side character to Sherlock and Dr. Watson.

Sergeant Donovan – Miss Negativity in Action




Introducing Sergeant Donovan

Sergeant Donovan could hardly make my skin crawl any more with her disgusting and unpardonable hatred and slanderous comments about the great, crime-solving genius, Sherlock Holmes.

The female law enforcement lead is the exact opposite of Inspector Lestrade. Whereas Lestrade portrays hope and admiration for Sherlock, Sergeant Donovan calls Sherlock names, warns off people from becoming his friend, and portrays a nasty attitude in general. I think at least some viewers would agree with me on the show’s ability to easily do without Sergeant Donovan.

Sherlock Holmes – The Psychopath with Crime-Solving Antics




Introducing Sherlock Holmes

“A Study in Pink” along with later episodes in later series revealed several references to Sherlock being a psychopath, something of little consequence to me. His delight in serial killers is little more than excitement in solving a difficult puzzle. Only, since Sherlock qualifies as a genius, finding a difficult puzzle for him requires more than the average jigsaw puzzle.

What can I say about the character on whom Dr. Watson centers on? Actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock well in his fast speech and enthusiasm about solving difficult criminal cases. The writers also did well in giving Cumberbatch well-scripted insults, running scenes, and socially awkward scenes. Sherlock viewers either love or hate him. I love him, along with Dr. Watson.

Mycroft Holmes – The Most Dangerous Enemy






Introducing Mycroft Holmes

Dr. Watson showed great restraint in refraining from telling Sherlock to grow up when he learned Mycroft was Sherlock’s older brother instead of the most dangerous man Dr. Watson had ever met. However, Mycroft had brought Dr. Watson in for questioning. And though he failed to frighten Dr. Watson, he did show a flare for the dramatic, an obvious clue to his being related to Sherlock.

Mycroft will show up again and again in later episodes and series. The two brothers love each other, and their enemy status is nothing more than remaining childhood rivalry. Anyone who has watched all four series along with me will know his vital role in future episodes, saving Sherlock in more ways than one.

Molly and Moriarty – More Details to Come



Introducing Molly

Molly first appeared in her white lab coat. Mourning the loss of a kind colleague, she had an odd mix of horror and admiration for Sherlock when he took a riding crop and started whipping the dead man’s body. (This scene came from the actual story by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock was experimenting on how bodies bruised.) She thus proceeded to apply some lipstick and ask Sherlock if he would like some coffee, of which he completely missed her meaning and continued on with his experiments.

Moriarty is merely mentioned at the very ending of “A Study in Pink.” A name means nothing. However, the name will eventually strike fear and anger in Sherlock’s heart whenever it arises. And it will arise frequently.

Who is your favorite character in the series? Do you take Sherlock’s side, or Sergeant Donovan’s side? Please comment below!



How to Make a Very UK Breakfast from Northern California Grocers

Back when Alex and I were still engaged and actively searching for ways to make United Kingdom foods, we stumbled across a means to make a very UK breakfast! Let me tell you where to find the items and our experience in making them.

Our Favorite Grocers Make a Very UK Breakfast Possible



Items needed for a very UK breakfast.

The necessary items for this meal came from grocers mentioned in previous posts: Nugget Markets and Cost Plus World Market. Few items were needed, and they included Irish scone mix, blackcurrant jam, and luxury clotted cream. Cost Plus World Market carried the scone mix and clotted cream, while Nugget Markets carried the British jam.

Alex’s research revealed UK citizens would normally eat larger breakfasts that included meat. While we hope to make such a breakfast someday, our budget allowed for a few tasty scones for breakfast this time around.

Two Inexperienced Bakers Fussing with a Scone Mix




Though I’ve made banana nut bread countless number of times, I’m relatively inexperienced as a baker. Having never made scones before, I was clueless about what to expect during the process of mixing and shaping the dough. Therefore, Alex caught some very messy pictures of a very messy Mary trying to knead some very messy dough.

The items used to make the scones.
Struggling to roll the dough.
Trying to place the unbaked scones on a baking sheet.



Eventually I learned what my trouble was after placing the first set of Irish scones on the baking sheet: I neglected to use enough flour. This was an easy mistake to fix, and soon the unbaked scones began to look like real scones.

One box created two such baking sheets of scones.

Alex stopped taking pictures after the first batch, because he thought the proper scones looked worse than the messy and hard-to-make scones. Something only a cook would think, not a baker.

How to Eat Scones in the UK Style



A new breakfast favorite.

Since in this scenario our very UK Breakfast consisted of Irish scones, we had to add a British element. To do this, Alex and I purchased more luxury clotted cream. When we learned about the English adding jam on top of clotted cream, we went out and found an imported UK item called blackcurrant jam.

The combination of these three elements was truly delightful. Freshly baked dough, creamy clotted cream, and fruity blackcurrant jam had Alex and I devouring almost all the scones in one sitting.

Try a Very UK Breakfast at Home!

Alex and I highly recommend this breakfast to anyone with a light appetite. Even better yet, maybe add some meat – of which I still need to learn Great Britain’s favorite breakfast meat – and some potatoes, and it would be a full meal!

Does anyone have a favorite scone recipe or scone mix which they would like to recommend? Does anyone know about other UK jams? Please comment below!



Doctor Who – We Will Miss You, Bill Potts

Spoilers! Discontinue this blog post if you have yet to view Doctor Who’s latest episode! Aired on June 24, 2017.

The skies loom dark…and smoggy…in the latest Doctor Who episode. In this 11th episode of season 10, viewers will mourn for Bill Potts, the fun and quirky companion. For in this episode, she meets an unexpected villain…and an unhappy end.

Why We Loved Doctor Who’s Bill Potts




As a member of the primitive human species, I had my doubts about a lesbian companion. However, my doubts disappeared after season’s 10 first episode. Bill Potts’s energy and enthusiasm found a secure place in my heart, and I looked forward to her adventures with the Doctor.

Pearl Mackie, who played Bill Potts, seemed to have a certain chemistry with Peter Capaldi. Representing two strong and independent personalities, they could sit and discuss differing opinions, yet relate in their social relationships. They were the quintessential friends.

What Bill Potts’s Ending Means to Me




Despair and horror may adequately describe how I feel about this episode’s conclusion. In his usual talented writing style, producer and writer Steven Moffat first charmed the viewers in the life Bill Potts’s lived in the spaceship’s bottom, then he brought in the villains.

With the Master converting Bill into a Cyberman and recruiting Missy to join his evil plans, the pain is real upon seeing and hearing Bill Potts reach out to the Doctor from her side among the villains. The fun and carefree adventures have come to an end. Now comes pain and misery for the Doctor…and the viewers.

The Hope to Which We Cling




Two Doctor Who characters have transformed into Cybermen, Bill Potts and Danny Pink. Both exhibited despair at their mortal flesh’s end, creating an interesting twist to the traditional Cybermen with their ability to feel. Nevertheless, this unexpected twist brings hope to the viewers for their beloved fictional friends.

If the Master has truly brought back the Cybermen, then the Doctor may have the ability to turn the Cybermen into good guys. Or, at least, bring back the characters whom we loved. If Bill and Danny came back, then maybe there is hope for some of the Doctor’s companions.

Will We See Bill Potts Ever Again?




Please answer us, BBC America! We feel like we have lost a good friend in Bill Potts, and we want her back. Please make it so our beloved characters can come back from the dark side and join ranks with the Doctor once more. Show that good can triumph over evil.

Thank you for reading. Please share your favorite memories with Bill Potts below. Take your time, though. I myself may need to watch the season again before I can adequately answer that question.

Secrets Learned from Daoine Maithe – What We Gathered about Irish Fairies



Alexander Truong and I have wedded at last! And after enjoying our honeymoon on the USA’s West Coast, the new Mary Truong returns to recount the mystifying tales from her unexpected adventures…and the fairies she found there.

“Hold on. What does North America’s coast have to do with Mary Loves the UK?” ask the readers as they turn away.

Wait, wait! Don’t leave just yet! This particular adventure in mind relates very closely with the United Kingdom. The British may think me silly through and through, but their Irish neighbors will inwardly smile at this post, albeit while tsk, tsking the tale.

Fairies Found in Fort Bragg, California




Alex and I had started our adventures on the Oregon coast. Circumstances and spontaneity drove us South into the great California Redwoods, and we landed in a small, coastal town called Fort Bragg.

Alex entering the woodland.

The dull and uninspired creatures inside us had us roaming the tourist shops, spending money on unnecessary items. Back at our shelter for the night, Alex mentioned a botanical garden located just down the road.

Though he expected little beauty in a botanical garden compared to the great Redwoods surrounding the town, the place piqued my interest. We arrived at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden at half-past nine the next morning.

Passing through the dark shadows.

Investigating the small gift shop at the location’s front encouraged us to go ahead and buy the day passes for the garden. We had done well to enter the garden before the many others who came later in the day.

Provided with a map, Alex tried to lead me down the widest, most solid path available. However, the shadows and flowers beneath the overhanging pines and furs drew me in, and I soon went off the well-traveled path.

Asphalt paths and dirt trails ran through and provided views to the most beautiful 47 acres that I had ever seen. A place so beautiful as to impress every literary person with its ties to mystery, mystic, and myth.


We found the trail.

Alex and I headed toward the ocean’s coast. Along the way, we found a sign indicating a pine trail. The trail ran along a bubbling stream, and on either side were ferns, vines, and pines. Various birds chirped over our heads, and we crossed paths more than once with busy bumblebees.

Eventually the trail widened. And when I looked over the stream, I suddenly knew why the Irish believed in fairies. The beauty surrounding the fallen pines over the stream, the plants growing over them to provide shade underneath, and the vines crawling over it all were a piece of paradise.

We found the fairy’s home.

Common Beliefs about Irish Fairies




Fast-forwarding a few days, I went to my bookshelf and cracked open the Barnes & Noble collector’s edition to A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. The introduction and the first chapter are what inspired me to write about the fairies today.

Expecting something dry and boring, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the lighthearted and humorous writing. At the same time, I found the tales forbidding and sinister. Although, they did explain why Tinkerbell could be so evil and cunning. Let me clarify:

  • Fairies dislike being spoken about, and will attack those who talk too much.
  • They do favors for the kind people, but give trouble to the bad people.
  • Irish fairies can grow and shrink to any size.
  • Fairies sing beautifully, attracting young girls to their deaths.
  • They have three holidays in the human year.
  • Irish fairies fight like a whirlwind and love like there’s no tomorrow.

When the Irish people do refer to these magical creatures, they refer to them as the good folk (a.k.a. daoine maithe). This way everyone can live peaceably together.

Why the English Fairies Went Away




Once upon a time – in a time that I have yet to learn – the English people would speak about fairy tales. The place that people would eventually call Great Britain created the tale about leaving milk outside on the windowsills for the fairies.

“So, where did the English fairies go? What made the British people stop talking about them?”

Study and reason, said the Irish book on folk tales. According to the book’s introduction, the English turned toward religion and reason and forgot about fairies, for the churchmen called the beliefs heretical.

Irish literature harshly and humorously mimicked the Protestant pastors, telling of churchmen who questioned their congregations about how many “gods” were in the land. The old Irish answered honestly – many gods, if you include the good folk. Only the Irish remained true to the fairies’s realm in myth and lore.

Mary Loves the Fairies Too



One day, when Alex and I have saved all our pennies, we will visit Great Britain and make a side trip over to the great green land of Ireland. There we shall truly learn if the children know and believe anything about the fairies in the surrounding woods.

Like many American millennial women and our daughters, we remain true to our wish to believe in fairies, even the mean ones. For in every girl’s heart is the desire for something beyond the common, something mystical and magical. Fairies fit the ticket.