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This blog post is dedicated to Addie Broyles (over at Relish Austin)
who suggested the topic based on our conversation yesterday and Kate Payne at Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, because she's the reason I now know Addie and the other reason for this post.  Also, even though this is an expat blog, my not-so-secret obsession is food (and Tom Selleck, but that is a different post altogether) and because of this, I reserve the right to hijack this blog for food purposes anytime I want. 

My friend Kate, over at Hip Girls, lived in Brooklyn for a couple of years and during that time was on a VERY strict food budget (you can find out more about this on her blog and in her new book coming out this spring!).  As a result she began to get quite creative in her culinary endeavors, particularly along the lines of canning and preserving foods.  She then ran into the dilemma that many canners face and that is the problem of overstock.  I mean really, how many jars of marmalade do you need?  Not 20.  So she started a food swap group in Brooklyn for all of the folks out there who wanted to divest themselves of some of their extraneous canned goods/homegrown items/homemade treats or breads or whatever and get something a little different for their pantry.  (More details on what a swap looks like here and you should know I'll be starting one in London -- details soon.)

In any case, when Kate texpatriated back to Austin from Brooklyn, she decided to start a food swap here, and of course it caught on like wildfire!  This month I'm hosting the food swap, but I'm not much of a canner so I've opted for the baked goods route.  I've also recently discovered, thanks to Kate, the Meyer Lemon -- a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon which led me to a voracious google search on something to bake for the food swap that included lemons -- and thus I found this phenomenal recipe, Olive Oil Cakes with Lemon and Thyme.  This recipe fascinated me for several reasons - 1) It's made in a blender (hello, interesting)  2) Thyme (which I grow) and lemon (for which I will be substituting the Meyers) and 3) Olive oil in a dessert!!  Um, yes please.

Interestingly enough, I just read on Uchiko's (an Austin restaurant that makes me drool) facebook page that they have designed a new dessert that includes an olive oil semifreddo, saffron gelato, pistachio, & yuzu.  Drool. 

I also decided to do a little googling here and there on desserts made with olive oil which led me to this Chocolate Mousse with Olive Oil and Flaky Salt -- if anyone wants to make this for me, I will slather you with praise and adoration in addition to my undying devotion. 

And finally, to bring this post completely full circle, in my googling I came across a recipe for Lavender and Olive Oil Macarons (which look gorgeous and sound absolutely dreamy).  Imagine my surprise as I was reading the blog post when I realized they were made for a pre-baby party for Addie Broyles celebrating the impending arrival of her second kiddo.  In all the blog posts all over the internet...

So, thanks Addie for the inspiration for this post (and also being the reason for the creation of the lavender and olive oil macarons!), thanks Kate for being the food swap genius that inspired me to make the lemon thyme olive oil cakes, and thanks readers for allowing me to wander off the expat track and talk about food....

1/20/2011 01:17:38 am

This is a really interesting post! The olive oil cakes with lemon and thyme sound completely delicious. Im a real foodie, I love trying new things (recipes and restaurants), and really wish I had more time. So I especially love living vicariously through other people's experiences.

Im visiting some friends in Austin in April, may have to look up that restaurant!

Oh, and I was wondering where the heck is Tom Sellick when I just saw advertised a show coming from the States called Blue Bloods. Have you seen it? Looks good, but hard to tell.

And finally, I've mentioned you in my blog post today. :)

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1/20/2011 01:39:11 am

Oh! Would love to meet up with you in April if you have the time! It would be fun to chat and trade experiences!!

I will *most definitely* check out this new show...I'm such a Tom Selleck fanatic er reasonable human being...

Yeah! My first award!!! I'm excited to already have my post tomorrow started for me!!

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1/21/2011 12:27:13 am

How much have you researched food supplies in London? First of all, you need to know about Borough Market. It will be your friend. http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/
Also, research the things you can't find in London, like Kosher salt. You will want to have a stash of faves at least until you figure out good subs. Also, grocery habits are totally different. http://www.jumpedthepond.com/archives/114
(I'm linking to this gal's blog because she actually started her blog when she arrived and wrote the stuff I would have written in my first months here. She covers lots of early London life admin. Worth poking around.) If you haven't already, pick up a copy of the Junior League's Living in London. It is very helpful.

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1/21/2011 11:44:52 am

Oh thanks!!! I need all the help I can get...

Putting all of the links on my expat links page as well! Thank you thank you.

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