Yipee, today is the day! Today is the day that the Olympic Games start in my adopted hometown.
I remember back in the day when the bid was announced – 7 years ago – and I remember saying to myself “ok, that’s the deadline for me for leaving the UK”. Yup, I was looking at the Olympics as my virtual deadline for packing my bags and getting the heck out of that strange country.
You see, back in the day I wasn’t so fond of London. I think London is a place that you have to hate first, only to discover its beauties later. Let’s face it: it’s a tough city, annoying, stressful, hectic, monstrous, rude, merciless, rainy, grey and always without a free table at your favourite restaurant. Still, us Londoners are a bit of a strange tribe – we hate our city, curse it on a daily basis, but deep down we would never want to leave it. That’s our daily dilemma. A very intense love/hate relationship with our city.
So, when we won the Olympic bid, all us Londoners could do was to bemoan our plight – for 7 long years. Olympics became the most cursed about word, sustainability and regeneration (two heavily promoted terms in relation to the Games) became the subject of continued ridicule, hell, we even made a show about how disorganized the whole event is (BBC’s Twenty Twelve – check it out, pure genius). We collectively decided to hate the Games. It was kind of a bonding experience, believe me, as soon as you mentioned the Olympics we all agreed, cursed together and then laughed. Very British.
But oh, how that has changed in the past week! You wouldn’t believe how our city has changed in the past 7 days! Suddenly, everyone became so overwhelmed by a cheerful Olympic feeling that one’s excused for suspecting they put something into our tap water… People are all of a sudden excited as soon as you mention the Games, they’re getting up early to watch the Olympic Torch relay and post endless cheerful comments on all available social networking platforms. On top of that, the sun has decided to finally come out (after one hellish month of merciless, non-stop downpour). Unrecognizable London and Londoners.
And, I have to admit, it has caught me too! The Olympic Spirit is indeed so contageous that I’ve made my own, culinary tribute to the Games. Olympic Bagels – the perfect snack for when you’re watching the Games.
Lastly, I’d like to give a big hollah to the Luxembourg athletes competing in the Games and wish them all the very best! I’m totally rooting for you!!! Especially our Olympic swimmer Laurent Carnol, whom I had the chance to spend a day with at his university. You can watch my video portrait of Laurent here. He rocks!
On that note: a great Games to you all! May the sun continue to shine and our Luxembourg team take home a few medals (and put our country on the map – once and for all!).
NOTE: The photos for this post were created in order to feature in the fabulous Sister Magazine, a free online mag run by the fantastic sisters Thea and Toni. Thea has played with these Olympic Bagels in a very creative way, and put together a stunning feature with amazing graphics. You can have a look at the magazine feature here.
Blue: Blueberry and cream cheese frosting
1 cinnamon bagel
65g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 handfuls of blueberries
Beat the cream cheese with the icing sugar, vanilla essence and butter
with an electric whisk until smooth and creamy. Cut the bagel in half,
toast them and let them slightly cool down. Spread the cream cheese
frosting on them, then top with blueberries.
Black: Black olive tapenade
70g good quality stoned black olives
2 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove
1 tsp capers
a pinch of herbes de provence
1 tbsp olive oil
Put the olives, anchovy fillets, garlic clove, capers and herbes de
provence into a blender, and pulshe in intervals to create a smooth paste.
Add the olive oil once you have a smooth paste, mix and spread on your
Note: don’t add salt to this, as the olives, anchovies and capers are
already really salty
Red: Tomato bruschetta
12 good quality cherry tomatoes
1 small garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch sea salt flakes
Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut into small dice. Crush the garlic clove
and add to the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, add some sea salt flakes
and pepper. Cut the bagel into half, toast and top with the tomato mix.
Yellow: Curried egg mayo
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp mango chutney
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 spring onions
Boil the eggs for 10 minutes. Let them cool down. Peel the eggs and chop
into small dice. Mix the mayonnaise, chutney and curry powder in a bowl.
Wash the spring onions, finely chop them (discarding the last 10cm of the
green bits) and add to the mayonnaise. Add the eggs to the mayonnaise and
gently mix. Cut the bagel into half, toast and top with the egg mayo.
Green: Pesto and Mozarella
1 mozarella ball
4 tbsp good quality pesto
a few basil leaves
Cut the mozarella into fine slices. Cut the bagel into half, toast and top
with the mozarella slices. Drizzle the pesto over the mozarella and
decorate with the basil leaves.