How About Them Apples? And…LONDON.

Warning. This post (and probably many of the future ones) are going to be very long. This is partly because I have less cooking tools and therefore my posts cannot be as frequent as I might desire, and partly because I am going to be doing a ton of things. But as usual, the food will be at the top, and travels at the bottom! Also, I would like to apologize in advance for any grammar/spelling issues. I don’t have much time to spellcheck!

:)

FOOD

This weekend was absolutely crammed with the products of apple season. I swear I gained 10 pounds in 3 days. And it was SO worth it.

The real star of this weekend’s baking endeavors was so good that I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture–it was gone so fast! It was a super-crunchy apple crisp. It took about 5 minutes to prepare and it was absolutely phenomenal. I used my grandmother’s recipe for the filling, which has a bit more butter and sugar than the recipe below, but it’s really up to you how you fill it. The topping is what this recipe is really amazing for.

You are required to make this. For your health.

Extra Crispy Apple Crisp
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Makes about 6 servings

Filling:
4 apples, peeled and cored, diced
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp apple pie spice
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons apple pie spice
2/3 cup (13 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup quick cooking or old fashioned oats

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, sift flour, apple pie spice, and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut in cubes of butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in oats to distribute evenly; set aside.

2. In an 8-inch square baking dish, toss together apples, lemon juice, apple pie spice, and brown sugar until evenly coated. Sprinkle oat topping over the apples. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is bubbly and golden and apples are tender.

I got the recipe from The Busty Baker and here is her picture of it!

I must also include a shout-out to Wallingford’s Orchard in Auburn, Maine. The apples are great, but the donuts are TO DIE FOR. The donuts are the only reason why Wallingford’s is so much more popular than all other apple orchards in the area. If you are nearby during the apple season, GO.

The best is the apple cider donut. They also have pumpkin and blueberry!

Happy apple faces!!

TRAVEL

Tuesday:

So, in case you haven’t heard, I am CURRENTLY (I know, crazy.) in London, England. It still hasn’t completely hit me yet, despite the accents floating incessantly through the air. I feel more as though I am in New York—I mean, I couldn’t possibly be all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, right? But it’s real. And it’s pretty darn amazing if I don’t say so myself.

It began with a belly full of fudgey cupcake and pretzels, sitting in Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. My parents of course got quite teary-eyed and thus I shed a few tears despite my cynical comments on the neadlessness of crying when someone goes on a short little trip such as this one (okay, 3 months may be long to some, but it’s less than the semester stint I’m usually gone for). But once past security, which took about 60 seconds in total, I immersed myself in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, with the occasional entertaining interruption of people-watching and listening to mysterious voices reviewing boarding information. As a side note, Ayn Rand is my favorite author. Semi-recent discovery. So, I got on the plane just fine, watched some movies, read, tried (quite unsuccessfully) to sleep, and then we landed!!! It was a very smooth flight, although I wouldn’t touch the food they were offering with a ten foot pole. But I had gorged myself on nachos and the previously noted cupcake, so I wasn’t hungry for a long while.

Getting off the plane, I was a bit of a zombie. After passing (again, very speedily) through customs, hopping on the tube, and walking to my dorm, I immediately escaped to grab some coffee and check in at the Cornell-Brown-Penn Center near the UCL campus. The first two things I bought in the UK were a Tube ticket and an Americano. Go figure.

I actually haven’t been to the campus yet, so tomorrow will be fun!! I then spent all day walking around London buying things that I need to live here (food, hygiene products, phone, etc.). I swear I must of walked 15-20 miles. My feet hurt SO BAD. I was walking for about 9 hours straight. No joke. But it was worth it, because I got to see so many people, explore so many places, and really orient myself to my new environment. Thank goodness London is slightly more organized than Boston. I think I might have died a little bit inside if it were arranged so erratically. Navigating was pretty easy, actually. Although I really, really, really wish there was a Walmart or Target equivalent in London (perhaps I just haven’t found it yet). I still don’t have a pillow or a towel or a blanket.

Voila my ghetto phone. I think it’s kinda funny :)

Despite all that traveling, I know I’ve only skimmed the surface of the city, but I have an entire term to discover it as much as I possibly can!! :)

Now, my random thoughts and obervations concerning London England.

  1. People here dress nice. I was exhausted, so I went out in a t-shirt and shorts and carrying my backpack, and I stood out like a sore thumb. As soon as I could, I went back to my room and changed into spiffier clothes. I swear I didn’t see one person dressed casually. Also, they are more hipster-esque than Americans.
  2. There is a lot more diversity than I expected—London is a bit of a mish mash of people from many different walks of life. The British accent wasn’t hard to find, but I heard plenty of American, Indian, and probably a dozen different variations of the British accent.
  3. Speaking of accents, you don’t realize how redneck and rough an American accent sounds until you plop it in the middle of London.
  4. People in London seem to be very friendly. Thank goodness. I was afraid I would be confronted with the typical city cynicism, but people were very kind and helpful.
  5. Shopping using the British Pound is very dangerous. The prices seem lower than in America (and no tax!!), but with the exchange rate, it’s the same or pricier. Blerg.
  6. I swear to god there is a Pret a Manger on EVERY corner. It’s like Starbucks in New York City. Jeez.
  7. British supermarkets don’t put their eggs in the refrigerator section. A little unsettling.
  8. The average supermarkets are quite subpar in my opinion. Thank goodness for Whole Foods. I am willing to pay a little more for better food, and hold off on other shopping splurges.
  9. Not a single person has offered me tea yet. What is going on?
  10. I want to visit everywhere. Actually.
  11. I don’t have wifi (as I’m writing this) and it’s driving me NUTS because I have no way of talking to everyone else who is here or anyone back home, given that I don’t have a lot of phone availability.
  12. I’m in a flat with 4 other rooms and I’m all alone right now. Also, these flats are furnished with nothing. At all. I’m talking, not even toilet paper or handsoap in the bathroom. It’s real.
  13. One thing I did not expect is not being able to understand some of the British. On multiple occasions I have had to have them repeat themselves because I couldn’t understand a single word in their sentence.
  14. Everything is in 24-hour time. I am not used to it yet. That, or the time difference between home and here. It’s almost bedtime here and my sister is barely halfway through her classes. Odd.
  15. Theatre is way cheaper which I am SO EXCITED for. Apparently £20 is the norm for a ticket. I will gladly pay ~$35 for a really phenomenal show. I want to see War Horse sooooo badly.
  16. I swear that about 75% of this city smokes cigarettes. EW. Your lungs won’t be great forever, people.
  17. London has the energy of a big city and the intimacy of a small one. It’s pretty fantastic.

Alrightly well I think that’s it for now! I have to go to bed soon to catch up on the sleep I lost during the flight. Until tomorrow!

Wednesday:

I enrolled today!! You know what that means? I have an id and internet! Not signing up for classes until tomorrow though. And, purely by chance, I met another Cornellian who’s studying at UCL. Perfect! Here’s the central building of our quad:

Also, last night turned out to be way more fun than I expected, as my neighbors (who I did not know were here) came knocking on my door and we all enjoyed some cider and music and laughs. They’re all international as well. In my flat, I believe I’m the only person who has arrived, so I’m hoping that means my flatmates are British. That would be amazing.

We’re all going out to a pub this evening! I’ll write very soon on how all that goes, but for now I must say that I LOVE London so far and the people are wonderful!! I just need to find a pillow and a towel…

Cheerio from London!!!

;)

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5 thoughts on “How About Them Apples? And…LONDON.

  1. Sounds like you’re having a blast in London! As for the accents, I’m sure you can conquer up a pretty decent British accent if you don’t want to stick out. You and Brittany use to do it all the time!
    You make Britain sound fun. I’ve never had a strong interest to go to London but you blog this semester may intrigue me to want to go. I know what you’ve already said has peaked my interest. Especially the intimacy even though it’s a big city. I think I would appreciate that. Anyway I gotta get to class. Can’t wait for your next post!

  2. Your initial London blog is fantastic. I felt like I was walking the streets and enjoying every moment with you. You’re descriptives are fabulous. I hope you find a pillow and a towel real soon. Enjoy it’s sights and sounds. You certainly took me on a wonderful ride. Thanks. Love you Mom and Dad!!!

  3. Dear Amamda, I am so glad that you are having such an awesome time… I promise to make sure to keep your mom’s mind occupied and her busy so that she won’t miss you quite as much…(I don’t think that will work, but I will give it an old college try) excuse the pun…have a great time and make so many memories that they can last you a lifetime….Be safe and GOD bless.. DEB MORIN

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