Royal Wedding: Menu for Commoners

For a country that supposedly isn't interested in the royal wedding, there sure are a lot of restaurants betting otherwise. And I'm not talking about the type of joints that royal wedding tourists would happen across. My local pub The Alma is just one of many I've noticed advertising a special menu celebrating Friday's pomp, vows and circumstance. Offers of big screen TV broadcasts and traditional British grub have blossomed across sun-soaked London lately.

The Charles Lamb, a lovely little pub tucked away in a residential area, recently announced that tickets to their royal wedding street party have sold out. Sounds brilliant — there will be a brass band, a big screen TV for nuptial gazing, 'Royal Punch', a three-course pub banquet, a royal wedding dress code, and even a dog show! Will the dogs be dressed as royalty? Corgi's revenge? If you drink enough of that special punch I'm guessing anything is possible.


The Great British Scone

Since Wills and Kate set the date, a convivial phrase has become part of the daily lexicon: The Great British Street Party. Although I've lived in the UK for six years, until recently I'd been ignorant of this phenomenon. This may be because commoners only seem keen to gather outside their dwellings in such organised bunting-clad celebration when a Very Important Royal Event is held.

 Street party celebrating 1937 coronation of George 'King's Speech' VI
(courtesy of Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea)
This tradition finds neighbours bonding together to enjoy a day of festivities and heaps of food in their street. It sounds like something people did in the much ballyhooed 'good ol'days' (back when a man knew his neighbours and children could play outside!) but in the year 2011 would only be written about by lifestyle journalists desperate for royal wedding fodder. Yet according to Streets Alive, an organisation that encourages al fresco fetes, and several people I actually know, there will indeed be roadblocks and merriment.

Whether you'll be hanging bunting and hoisting furniture into the road; sitting round the kitchen table gossiping about The Dress and The Kiss; or (let's be honest here) sprawled on the sofa, basking in the glow of Kate's shiny hair, while your own remains unbrushed — there will be food involved.


Smoking Hot

The claims printed on packaging are usually laughable, but sometimes they preach the truth. On the side of a tin of La Chinata Pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika powder) read the words "It is a condiment which cannot be missed in your kitchen". Si, si, quiero que mi pimentón! (y gracias a Google translate).

Welcome to one of my favourite flavours - smoky heat. This Spanish spice is so beloved it has been designated 'Denominación de Origen Protegida' by the EU, thus can only be called Pimentón de la Vera if it is produced in La Vera region of Spain.

This type of paprika is distinguished from others by its characteristic smoky aroma which it takes on after being dried using smoking oak. The pimentón is available in three types: dulce (smoky sweet), picante (smoky hot) and agridulce (smoky bittersweet). Me? I'm a smoking hot kind of girl.

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