Saturday 2 March 2024

In My Kitchen: March 2024 - holiday kitchens in Europe

As regular readers will know, we are recently back from a month long holiday in Edinburgh, Rome, Zurich, and London.  We are still jetlagged and feeling a bit out of kilter.  It is great to be in our own kitchen and we are making some old favourite meals but there is not much to report from the home front.  So this month I will report on what we were eating in our holiday accommodation (mostly with kitchens but not always).  As you will see, we had lots of fun trying food we could take to our temporary homes.

The top photo is out last dinner in Rome.  We had a lovely feast of these pizza slices, arancini and suppli that I bought from the nearby Pizzhoria Appio.

I am sure the planes ply us with more snacks these days than they used to do. These are snacks that made their way into our luggage after flying from Melbourne to Edinburgh.  A pretzel mix with roast corn, almonds and soya crisps, Kit Kat, Tim Tams, Blueberry muffin, Soy crisps.

We were excited to go to the large Sainsbury's supermarket at Cameron Toll near our hotel in Edinburgh.  Our purchases included: Tablet popcorn, cheese bread roll, Branston baked beans, Muellers corners yoghurt, Haggis and black pepper crisps, and Golden syrup porridge.

To drink, we bought Cloudy apple juice and a festive Merry Berry mulled punch.  I didn't have a kitchen in Edinburgh so I took the punch to Rome where I had it warmed in the microwave some nights.  It was very nice.

When we arrived in Rome it was exciting to be able to buy food we could store in the fridge or heat in a microwave or stovetop.  We went to our local Supermarket Tigre and bought Emmental cheese, red pepper, rocket, Muellers corners yoghurts, pickled vegetables, canned minestrone soup, mini potato pizzas and blueberries.

We have fond memories of Muellers corners in Edinburgh but were surprised to find them in Rome as well.  I preferred the yoghurt in the Italian version, which seemed less sweet than in the British version.

Here is one of Sylvia's meals.  I think the baked beans were brought over from the UK as we could not find them in Rome.  They went very well with the potato pizzas and the blood orange juice.

Sylvia had done very thorough online research on Rome's food options and found that McDonalds sold Panarotti: pizza pockets with tomato and mozzarella.  We saw a lot of McDonalds on our travels (sigh) and had one close to our apartment and so she went there one night.  The portions were tiny but they were nice.  

It was a more successful night time walk than the one where we went to a close by gelato shop where Sylvia got an eggnog and berry gelato.  As we walked back 'home', she was making faces as she avoided the surprisingly strong rum (or whisky?) in the eggnog gelato and I was in my pyjamas and my winter coat (because I had just planned to take garbage out to the big black bins on the footpath).

I found these Misura wholewheat crackers in the supermarket.  I enjoyed them with some nice cheese (maybe provolone?) on a few nights in Rome.  I planned to carry them with me on travels, especially as they came in small packages (good for travel but not for the environment) but the leftovers were too bulky and got cast aside.

This dark bread was purchased at the Forno Campo de' Fiore in Rome.  It had amazing flavour and was so so soft with a chewy crust.  I was surprised that they were willing to cut the loaf in half and just sell me what I needed.  This is great for travel when you are not stopping long.

Sylvia took this photo of some of the chocolate that we bought at the Lindt Factory when in Zurich.  I am not sure we ate any of the chocolate at all.  Some was given as presents and quite a bit is still in our kitchen back in Melbourne.  We weren't in Zurich long enough to need much in our kitchen.  Sadly I did not get to try the hot plates that folded away when not in use.

When Sylvia stayed in our hotel one day while I was out visiting museums in London, she ventured to the local Kensington High Street and bought herself lunch from Wasabi.  This is one of the franchises that sold Japanese food.  There is a lot more of it than when I lived in London.  She had cucumber sushi (or hosomaki), seaweed onigiri, apple juice, vegetable gyozas and strawberry cheese mochi.  The sushi and onigiri was nice, the gyoza would have improved if she had been able to heat it and she was amazed by the mochi.  I feel like saying the apple juice is pretty safe purchase but Sylvia had an apple juice in Rome that she hated.  I had never thought I would see the day.

On another night in London, I wanted something with lots of vegetables after lots of carbs.  I went to Itsu, hoping to see some of the bento boxes I had admired at a Heathrow Airport Itsu, but could not find them.  Instead I went to Wasabi where I bought a Sesame Tofu Bowl for 8.75 pounds.  It comprised Tofu, avocado, pickled red cabbage, edamame bean salad, charred pepper, broccoli florets, crispy onion, mixed leaves, sesame seeds, sesame dressing.  I loved it.

I noticed that there was a Whole Foods Market on Kensington High Street near our hotel.  Having heard a lot of bloggers (especially in USA) mention this franchise, I was curious to try it.   I was surprised that it had a lot of fresh food that either needed a fridge or to be eaten fairly quickly.  Many of the health food stores in Melbourne have a lot of grains and other products that are shelf stable in the pantry.  

I took a hot food tub back to our hotel.  It was filled with rice, lasagna, a Korean stew, mac and cheese, lentils, capsicum and zucchini, greens and coleslaw.  Of course it was too much but there were so many options at the hot bar.  I also got a pomegranate flavoured karma kombucha.  It was delicious and welcome because I didn't see much kombucha on my travels.  I also bought some black truffle crisps which were ok but not brilliant. 

When we went to our Edinburgh apartment with a full kitchen, it was great to go to Cameron Toll Sainsburys again and buy some ready meals we could keep in our fridge, rather than having to buy dinner each night.  Unfortunately it was a trek from out apartment and but mini-marts near us did not have special dishes like Truffle mac and cheese or my favourite Sainsburys Green Vegetable Selection (broccoli, cabbage and peas) with mint butter.

This meal was from the Wasabi franchise but sold in the supermarket rather than a cafe.  This one was the Pumpkin Katsu Curry.  The oven at our Edinburgh apartment was excellent.  I baked my meal in the oven and had really crispy breaded pumpkin as well as curry and rice.  I also added some of the Green Vegetable Selection.  It was one of my favourite ready meals of the holidays.

Again we bought Muellers Corners.  The banana yoghurt with chocolate flakes was our favourite on this holiday.

For breakfasts, Sylvia loved the instant golden syrup porridge from Sainsbury's.  We both love baked beans but only I was excited at the baked beans with vegan sausages.  Although the sausages in the tin are boiled rather than my preference of fried or barbecued, I still find it magic that you can buy such things in the UK (unlike Australia).  And they bring back good memories me of living in London with a single mother and her kid.  I can still hear the mother saying "Do you want beans and sausages for tea?" to her kid.

This last photo is some of my haul from the Edinburgh Farmers Market.  The Perthshire raspberries were amazing and far superior to the Morocco raspberries that Sainsburys sold.  I love the pretzel and the Japaense pineapple bread.  The Tablet was for E, which he loved.  The Bramble and Blackcurrant Jam is to have in Melbourne to remind me of the UK.  The cheesecake was really soft but in convenient tubs and nice for dessert.  I loved the cheese pretzel and had the vegan sausage roll with some soup for dinner one night.  It was filling.

I had hoped to have some nut roast in the UK, other than in a pub, but didn't find much.  Mock meat now seems to be far more easy to find than old-school nut roasts.  I also brought home souvenirs but have decided to write it up as a separate post because there are so many photos.  I am gradually getting through the travel posts I plan to write but it might be some weeks before regular service resumes.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event. If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her gorgeous hand drawn header.


  1. Cooking in temporary kitchens is one of my favorite things to do. Your choices of ready foods from so many cities are fascinating. I'd love to see more photos of the kitchens themselves.
    best, mae at

  2. The bowl with the fresh veg looks incredible! Travel is great for discovering new flavors and shopping for groceries in foreign lands, but I end up missing fresh veg amid all the packaged food. You gals ate well!!!

  3. thanks for sharing this post opened the world up a bit for me as you shared picutres and told info that I did not know thanks for sharing come see us at

  4. We have just confirmed that we are heading to the UK later this year!! You have reminded me that there are some things that I need to go searching for from when I lived there in the late 90s!

  5. What a culinary adventure! There is so much quality convenience food in the UK isn't there? And I know I'm biased but British baked beans really are the best! Hope you had an amazing trip x

  6. Wow I thoroughly enjoyed going on your travels through your food photos, what a blast you had! The crispy breaded pumpkin really caught my eye, I wonder if that would be easy to make. Do you and Sylvia travel with that penguin? I used to travel with one too (his name is Pengy) and yours immediately caught my eye. Have a great month!

  7. Oops sorry I thought I had commented! Haggis crisps sound interesting. I've never been keen on truffle-flavoured anything so I'd probably skip those crisps. I'll have the golden syrup porridge tho :) All over the jet lag by now I guess... Interesting what Sammie says about British baked beans. I wonder how they are different? It's been a long time since we were in Britain but I remember finding it amusing that you could get baked beans in all the cafes. Hope you're having a good month. Cheers till next month!

  8. What a lot of varied food you enjoyed! I loved seeing the variety. It sounds like a lovely vacation. Welcome home.


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