Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A Trip to Birmingham

A few weeks ago, L suddenly realised his passport was close to running out. Just fill in the appropriate form, sign a cheque and send it off, you say?
L of course, has an Italian passport, which means trips to the Italian embassy are in order. But, even then, it's not a simple process - our marriage and M's birth have to be registered, as does our change of address. Once certificates have been authenticated and translated, only then can he make the trip down to Lodon to actually apply for his passport. What a chore it has been - and we're only half was through the process!

L could have made the return journey to the Birmingham embassy in three hours and been home in time for Lunch. But then I am not one to miss out on an opportunity to go and visit the Birmingham food markets.
With M on my back in the papoose, we embraced the crowds and the sights and smells of the stalls. We watched baby lobsters scuttle across the counters of the fishmongers, pulled disgusted faces at the chicken feet at the butchers and listened to the days offers from all of the stallholders. I wished I had taken more cash with me. There were so many new and exciting things to try and many things I couldn't even name. In the end we came home laiden with lemons, tomatoes, kumquats, plantain, figs, purple anya potatoes, radishes and a cho-cho.

We also stepped very briefly into the Bullring shopping centre itself and spent forty-five minutes going up and down the escalators in Selfridges. L had to tear me away from my favourite pair of Louboutin shoes that they were selling for £505.

Thank goodness I don't have a credit card.

While I have plenty of ideas for what I'm going to do with all of these things, the kumquats had to be dealt with first. Of course, a few many have found their way into my mouth, but the majority were candied to be used a few days later, in the recipe that I'll post next time.

Candied Kumquats

50ml water
40g caster sugar
100g fresh kumquats, cut into threes

Place the water and sugar in a heavy medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil.
Add the kumquat pieces, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 10 -15 minutes until the kumquats are tender and a thick syrup has formed around them. Stir frequently to avoid sticking.
Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Poured into a sterilised jar, these will keep for up to one month in the fridge.


  1. I have never eaten kumquats but I have seen them at the store recently. This recipe looks very interesting!

  2. Occasionally we get kumquats in at our local market, but we find them to be bitter and a little hard to eat. I'm glad to have a recipe so I can give them another try.


  3. Love candied kumquat,I made it a cuple of years ago. miss the fabulousa flavor. gorgeous pics

  4. they looks so juicy and tangy .. i would love these .. have to find them somewhere here too! Your clicks are just amazing .. glad to follow you :)

  5. These kumquats look amazing and bright!

  6. It is a really great idea, since the last kumquats I ate were really sour, thanks for the idea


  7. Passports can be a real pain. I have an English one, but living in Africa for 50 years I know how difficult passport renewal is from another country! Diane

  8. I'm an American citizen, and I had to get a last-minute American passport last year - still such a fuss! I can only imagine how much harder it is when you're in another country.
    The kumquats look lovely.

  9. I love candied kumquats! Delicious

  10. Birmingham is a good place for travelling and these pictures looks delicious. Visas allows people to enter the territory for which it was issued, I wanted to visit Birmingham once in a life time.