Yeoman WarderYes, indeed. We, along with long lines of other tourists, bought expensive tickets to tour the Tower of London. On a tour guided by a Yeoman Warder (a “beefeater”), we heard all the stories of centuries of kings and queens and beheadings and crown jewels and royal beasts and ravens (and their diet of blood-soaked biscuits). It was fun to walk through this place and to hear how pivotal and important it all was/is.

For lunch, we went to Covent Garden and stumbled into Ping Pong, which turned out to be one of a chain of dim sum/dumpling houses. This place spanned three floors, included a bar, and was stretched out with many tables. We were quite lucky and indulgent with the menu, choosing all sorts of appetizers and dumplings to share. We ate the Black Sesame Seed Prawn Crackers, Honey-Glazed Spare Ribs, Smoked Sriracha Wings, Chili Prawn Rice Burger Sliders, Prawn & Scallop Sticky Rice, Thai-Style Chicken Wonton Soup, Firecracker Chicken Roll, Spicy Chicken Dumpling, Chicken & Cashew Nut Dumpling, Duck & Ginger Dumpling, Pork & Prawn Shu Mai, Beef Dumpling, and Crunchy Golden Dumpling. We all shared and we all enjoyed.

Being hedonists, after all these dumplings, we still slipped into Morelli’s for some scoops of gelato.

Buckingham Palace

 

 

We visited Buckingham Palace and the lovely bird sanctuary within the adjoining St. James’ Park.

 

 

St. James' Park

That night, we got dressed for dinner, called a cab, and drove to the East End of London to visit the Marksman Public House. I was so pleased with myself, following my leads to the “best pub in the UK.” It was mobbed, but we snagged three seats near an open window up front. The service was excellent and the waitress explained the list of local lagers and the daily dinner menu. We drank a Freedom Lager and a Brick Lane Lager and a House Lemonade, while we nibbled on Olives, a Beef Bun, Bread & Butter, and Cured Sardines (I can never ignore these). After that, I ordered the Rabbit & Bacon Pie, while Dave and Dan shared the Lemon Sole, Fried Potato, and a Salad. All the food was great. We went on to desserts, with a Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich, Brown Butter & Honey Tart, and a Cheese Plate. Quite a memorable occasion for us.

To commemorate our visit to the Palace, I’ve made my own “Coronation Chicken,” which is a “fashionably retro” recipe that was first prepared for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. The August issue of Delicious magazine includes a tasty version of this chicken salad (recipe below).

Coronation ChickenCoronation Chicken
Delicious, August 2017
Serves 8

3 1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. medium curry powder
Bunch cilantro, chopped
4.4 lbs. chicken
2 lemons, halved, plus extra wedges to serve
2 handfuls watercress to serve

FOR THE CURRIED MAYONNAISE:
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3.38 oz. grapeseed oil
10.13 oz. light olive oil
4 tsp. mild curry powder
5 oz. mango chutney
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. tomato paste
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus extra if needed
7 oz. full-fat Greek yogurt

Heat the oven to 392 degrees F. Mix the butter with the curry powder and a quarter of the chopped cilantro. Season well. Ease your fingers under the breast skin of the chicken to loosen it. Work the butter under the skin, then put the chicken in a large roasting tin.

Squeeze the lemons over the chicken and put the squeezed halves in the cavity. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then roast for 1 hour 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (the juices should run clear when you push a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh) and the skin is crisp. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the curried mayonnaise. Put the egg yolks and vinegar into a medium mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, slowly beat the oils on a medium speed until the oil and eggs emulsify. Once you’ve added all the oil and have a thick glossy mayo, whisk in the curry powder, mango chutney, cayenne, tomato paste, lemon juice and yogurt. Taste and season.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat from the carcass (don’t forget the oysters on the back where the thigh meets the body) and put in a mixing bowl. When it’s at room temperature, add the curried mayo and most of the remaining cilantro, then mix. Taste; you may want to add a little more lemon and/or some pepper.

Put the chicken on a platter with the watercress. Garnish with lemon wedges and the remaining coriander leaves and serve straightaway. The coronation chicken and watercress are also great in a sandwich.

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I roasted my chicken for 90 minutes, until its skin was crispy.

Whisk that mayo: the chutney and yogurt are clumpy. I added 2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper to my mayo. After whisking, it needs to refrigerate to thicken.

Despite all of its creaminess, the chicken salad is not too rich. It’s filling and warming, with its nut-like curry flavor.