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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Independence Day at Samizdata HQ

Or, rather, Independence Evening, which brought a motley crew of celebrants to Chelsea for some of Adriana’s salad, Nancy’s pasta, and some rather scandalous conversation. What is said at Samizdata HQ stays at Samizdata HQ, but a few of the photos can – as ever – be shared…

independence day people

Three authors, an editor, an engineer, an actress, a Cambridge student, and a Brian

chocolate, raspberry, and blueberry pavlova

Two patriotic pavlovas (with thanks to Nigella)


The author of London Gazetteer and Hidden London dressed in theme, making his t-shirt especially for the party!


The ladies of Time to Spa thought it was time to party


The first blogger ever to appear in Eastenders


Now that she had cleaned her plate, Jo hoped to be granted a refill of vino

Thanks to all who braved the heat to come along, and do not worry – your secrets are safe with Samizdata…

21 comments to Independence Day at Samizdata HQ

  • Chris Harper

    Mmmm, pavlova.

    An Australian dish in the colours of the Australian flag.

    How delightfully multicultural of you on Independence Day.

  • The addition of cocoa to the base is, as far as I know, an entirely British innovation. Eamonn Butler said it tasted to him “like angels on one’s tongue,” which is a glowing enough review for me!

  • Chris Harper

    “The addition of cocoa to the base is, as far as I know, an entirely British innovation.”

    Hah. In your dreams.

    There is hardly a single saliva dribbling variation or innovation the aussies haven’t already tried.

  • Julian Taylor

    How is one able to throw a party at Samizdata HQ when the residents there are, on the same day, at parties in the USA? Can anyone get a key?

  • You’re assuming I had a key, Julian, when actually the lot of us broke down the door. It was Madsen’s sharp shoulder wot finally got us in.

  • Man, that salad looks gooooood. Will definitely try that when summer rolls around.

    As for the pasta, ummm…one and a quarter cups of oil? Crikey Moses!

    Pavlova is frightfully démodé in Oz these days – I haven’t eaten it in years, nor seen it on restaurant menus. It is quite a nice cake, though; good to see it’s winning fans overseas. I’m sure as soon as we realise foreigners dig it, we’ll decide we like it again.

  • Chris Harper

    “Man, that salad looks gooooood. Will definitely try that when summer rolls around.”

    Well, your fault for living down south; winds straight off Antarctica and all that. Here on the Gold Coast though? I’ve been dressed for a London summer every day for three years.

    I think I’ll try it tomorrow. Yum. Finish off with pavlova covered with strawberries and crushed peppermint crisp.

    Buy it from the local pavlova shop, yum.

  • James, the thing about the oil is that you need to completely submerge the head of garlic in it, in a small, ovenproof pot. I always have a lot of leftover garlic oil – adding only as much as the pasta needs – but it makes good salad dressing and so much else that it won’t go to waste. (That pasta is the most sure-fire hit in my arsenal of recipes, and is great for summer because it’s delicious hot or at room temperature. And the next day, it’s even better, so you can make it quite in advance.)

    The salad I learned from Adriana, and is another certain crowd pleaser.

  • Phew! I could feel my arteries hardening as I was reading. Then again, isn’t olive oil supposed to be good for repairing such things? I’m confused!

    Chris, that may be so, but you can’t grow decent wine grapes up that way. And you aren’t near the paradisic Augusta/Margaret River region, which is glorious in summer and utterly beautiful in winter.

    Hang on, this thread is turning into an Australia love-in. Hail dynamic USA, the great vanguard of brilliant Western civilization!

  • Johnathan

    Looks like a nice evening. I spent it in Monaco watching the world cup with a bunch of drunk italians and distraught germans

    i want to know what the scandalous gossip was about !

  • Chris Harper

    you aren’t near the paradisic Augusta/Margaret River region,


    True. All I got is slender, toned, long limbed and semi-naked cuties wandering around all year long.

    You are right, watching a bit of geography is far more interesting.

    Actually, assuming one of said cuties by your side, you may have the better of it.

    Yeah, the American dream – the pinnacle of human aspiration. The Constitution of the United States of America, one of the great works of human thought.

    Why, if the citizens of the United States are so crude and unsophisticated, how come they have been able to construct a constitution which has lasted for (nearly) a quarter of a thousand years? Given that the sophisticated and subtle Europeans generally can’t put anything together which lasts more than a few decades before collapsing? And I do mean the individual countries, not just the Eurofraud.

  • Oh, Johnathan, by ‘scandalous conversation’ and ‘secrets’ I did not mean gossip or rumours. Let’s just say that all the champagne and other wine our guests brought along also brought out some interesting personal information…

  • Johnathan

    Jackie, perhaps you should be a bit more careful in your use of language m’dear or else I’ll start to get worried!!! I was only joking anyway.

  • Chris – there is *nothing* better than going down south in winter with slender, toned, long limbed members of the opposite sex that you mention. There are heaps of great specials (50% off rack rate is pretty standard in low season) on fabulous accommodation like this and this and (especially) this. When not indoors, spend your time wandering through the karri forests and admiring the dramatic coastlines as they’re pummelled by storms, which tend to yield to the piercing winter sun after a time. Warm fires, good red wine, fine food and company… love it.

    I’m not a cold weather person by any stretch of the imagination but I *love* going down south the during winter.

  • permanent expat

    Looks great…………..but, a question: Is the ‘red-eye’ caused by the grape or just sloppy flashing?

  • As I had been drinking lots of lovely champagne before taking these photos, I would say the answer to that is…Both.

  • permanent expat

    Jackie: Luvverly 🙂

  • Fastbags

    Would love to pour Jo another glass of wine and another and ….wow! Do you come here often?

  • Rob

    What a delightful scene your photographs show, and I too would like to raise my glass to the USA a country and people I love and respect. After reading the article on page 4 of today’s Daily Telegraph about what the future holds for Emma Bermingham and her beautiful children though, I think I may choke on my Santa Barbara Chardonnay.

  • Rob

    Perhaps I should have included a link (Link) as not everyone reads the telegraph.

  • Wow, people actually watch Nigella Lawson’s for cooking…