Hello from London! We’ve been here almost 2 months now, and I realized that I’m finally in a groove when I met another mom at the playground and she told me (with mild panic in her eyes that I very much recognized and resonated with) that she had only been here for 3 days. I was actually able to offer her some advice about things like grocery shopping and getting around on public transit with a stroller. (Sorry, buggy.)
Grocery shopping is totally different here and has probably been the largest adjustment for me. For one thing, the eggs aren’t refrigerated. WHAT.
Okay that’s not actually the biggest difference. We don’t have a car (and don’t plan to get one- no one wants me attempting to drive on the other side of the road) so I can only buy what I can carry. And our place is small, so it’s not like we’re doing a big stock in the freezer/pantry either.
I’m trying to just embrace this as a lifestyle change and buy things more intentionally for specific meals. Plus, it’s something to do with the girls. We also decided to embrace the Sunday roast tradition so I’ve been making something from our local butcher (Fin & Bone) on Sundays. That’s the only red meat we’re eating, and we decided we won’t always do red meat but will just use it as an excuse to shop at that butcher.
We’re living in the Fulham neighborhood near Parson’s Green, and there’s a great street market (North End Road market) where they sell produce WAY cheaper than at the grocery store, and there are a couple of butchers and fishmongers on the stretch, as well.
We went up there for music class on Thursday (Lucy Sparkles) and Greta asserted that she wanted FISH for dinner. We’ve taken to ordering a fish and chips at every pub we go into, just to try it, and Greta usually polishes off most of the fish by herself. The best one we’ve had, by the way, is at The Half Moon in Putney. I always eat the mushy peas by myself.
So they had a deal on whole sea bass and that’s what we went with! I also got a bunch of produce and strapped the reusable grocery bag to the back of the stroller to haul it home. I’m 100% sure I look like a crazy person with all the crap I lug around for 2 children. I’m a woman on a mission every day.
Whole Roasted Sea Bass
4 whole sea bass, or other white fish, cleaned & gutted
for the marinade
1 cup chopped herbs (I used a mix of cilantro, parsley, and mint)
juice and zest of one large lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 lemon, thinly sliced
couscous, potatoes, or rice for serving
Combine the chopped herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. You can definitely just throw all of it into a food processor but I don’t have one of those here so I went with the manual route!
Make 3 diagonal slices in each side of each fish to let some of the marinade get in there. Cover the fish in the marinade, either in a baking dish or a large ziplock bag, and let it marinate for at least a few hours, ideally overnight.
When you’re ready to roast, line a baking sheet with foil. Lay down the sliced lemons and onions, and the fish on top of it. I only roasted two last night and we’ll do the other two tonight. Arrange the cherry tomatoes around the fish, and season everything with another sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Roast at 425 (232 C- still getting used to this) for 15-20 minutes.
I think whole fish seems intimidating but it’s actually really easy to cook. It’s a little more challenging to eat but once you get the hang of it, you can mostly pull the filets off the bones.
The first night we had it with couscous which was pretty regular but last night I made the spaghetti from the movie Chef (I used this recipe) and it was SO good and a great compliment to the fish but could obviously be its own meal, too.
I would like to be better about updating this with London happenings but am still sorting out what it should look like! I’ve been journaling, mainly with the intent of letting the girls read it one day since (and this keeps blowing my mind) they are too young to remember any of this. I’m sure the journal is very boring but it’s my hope that, at a minimum, they will one day think their parents were cool for deciding to move to London for a year. Fingers crossed.