Posts filed under world

How about this Kinder World?

I have always been mesmerised by how high the service is in developing countries, especially in Asia.  I am writing this blog post from Hoi An in the north of Vietnam, where you walk into any shop and they will greet you with extreme politeness, ask where you are from and be completely at your disposal to ensure you get what you walked in for.

I supposed, along with many potential ideas that the main reason behind this is that most people selling products (be it food, drink, clothes or other services) are also the owners of the business, whereas in Britain, the business owner and the sales person are very different entities and perhaps do not even know each other. 

Posted on January 4, 2016 and filed under dinner, odes, world.

A Hike through Mafate

It had been two years since I'd seen my sporty cousin Lucie, who runs and treks around the beautiful mountains of the Reunion Island on a weekly basis.  She greeted us with "Would you be up for a hike in Mafate tomorrow?"

The Cirque de Mafate is a caldera* on Reunion Island.  It was formed from the collapse of the large shield volcano the Piton des Neiges.

The name "Mafate" comes from the Malagasy word "Mahafaty", which means lethal, an allusion to the difficulty for accessing the Cirque. 

Note:  difficulty.

"A hike?" I thought.  It seemed like a lifetime since I had walked for pleasure... (hem, pain) 

I'm not really sure what we agreed to, actually.  Turns out we'd said yes to a two- day trek through a diverse series of extremely natural environments as well as camping in the rain with strangers.

Probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

It was one of those walks where you can go off and pick wild forest strawberries and take pictures of them.  A place where you find flowers that are so bizarre, like tiny weeny pears which you day-dream about how cool they would look on a pear tart or any other pear based dish.

I suppose nature is quite foreign to me, which is why roaming cows, freezing rivers and frighteningly steep mountain cliffs are fascinating experiences.

We lived off wild boars that we caught with bows and arrows and sipped water from tropical leaves.  Okay, okay, I'm only JOKING.

The last hour of walking pissed me off a little, actually.  I don't mean to ruin the romanticism of the leaves and the flowers but the end was never in sight, despite the familiar "only 15 minutes of walking left!"   

Keep 'em dumb. 

By this point, my legs continued to walk because they knew no better, and my feet simply started to cry.  But we made it in the end. 

WAIT.  My story is not finished yet. 

We nearly died on the way back home.  I'm not joking this time.  We actually nearly died. 

It started raining this insane tropical storm like you see in Jurassic park.  Literally, as if someone is just throwing bucket after bucket of water on top of you and is just not getting enough of it. 

We got in the car and Lucie's boyfriend Sliman drove.  The journey involved wiping the wind shield every minute (I was sitting in the front seat as I get car sick) and the rain continued pouring down.  But what happened is stones also fell from the cliff due to the storm.  Not only stones but large bouldering ROCKS, no joke.

One large rock fell on the car wind shield and smashed the glass to pieces before my very eyes.

Fortunately for us, Sliman is a chilled guy who did not freak out and crash the car but continued driving despite shaking with fear.  The five centimetres infront of his head was a large crack, as if someone had aimed a bullet at his head.

We stopped for samosas a few moments later just to breathe and live a last culinary moment in the fear that we would not make it home in one piece.

When we arrived home, I hugged my father tenderly. 

"We're alive!  We nearly died!"

 

 

They call it the "intense" Island for a reason.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* (a large, basinlike depression resulting from the explosion or collapse of the center of a volcano)

 

Posted on January 5, 2015 and filed under world.

Food From The Revolution. A.K.A. Revolutionary Food.

 I’m not one to write about politics.

I suppose the subject makes me feel a little bit awkward, just because I think other people will always know more than me on the subject.

In a group of people, when a political conversation comes up and my opinion is waiting to be heard, I usually repeat whilst rewording what the previous person said but accentuate their point of view with a louder and more convincing voice, often using hand gestures to re-express their opinion in a confident manner.

Some see this as clarifying my understanding of the chosen debate but others view it as a politically motivated individual passionately discussing complicated issues.

That is why I prefer to write about food.  Food is not as controversial as politics.

Of course, there are quite a few people who get rowdy about whether an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable, but these misunderstandings are efficiently resolved with a quick google-ing.

Last week, I went to Istanbul, a city I have wanted to visit for a long time, mainly after watching Yotam Ottolenghi’s videos on Mediterranean cuisine.

However, before leaving I was anxious since I had seen many terrifying photos of protestors being beaten up by the Turkish police.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I'm not going to get in the politics of it all, since anyone who was slightly up to date with the news would know what was going on.  (And plus, its almost "old" news now...) The protest started by activists camping in Taksim's Gezi park against the demolition of the park for the construction of shopping mall. The protest then developed into riots when the police attacked with tear gas and water canons.  Fortunately enough, we visited Taksim square the days and evenings that it was safe.  It was amazing to experience the atmosphere in the park.  

It was like we were at a festival, people were dancing, singing and music was being played.

But the most impressive thing was the amount of street food that was being sold.

From people selling rice stuffed mussels to barbecued meat, fresh watermelon, chargrilled corn on the cob, roasted chestnuts, freshly baked bread and pretzels, as well as popcorn and lollipops made there and then.

When I first saw these mussels being sold everywhere in the streets of Istanbul, I thought that they were just ordinary mussels, as you would expect from looking at them. Then, I saw a young girl of about twelve years old rush over to the mussel man, (he who was selling the mussels) and eagerly buy one. I thought this was an extremely bizarre snack for a child to have. When I was a child, my mum would give us 'pain et du chocolat' (a chocolate bar in a baguette) as a post-school snack, so my surprise seeing a child gollop down a mussel brought my curiosity to risk a bad stomach.

These mussels are individually stuffed with rice and served with a squeeze of lemon juice, an absolutely delicious early evening snack.  

Then I need to show you these Turkish lollipops which are made with different coloured sugar syrup artistically swivelled on a stick.  Absolutely stunning.

All photos by Abigail Scheuer (www.abigailsdinnerparty.blogspot.com) and Jacopo Primus, with special thanks. 

Posted on June 20, 2013 and filed under world.

Indian Street Food

From my experience in India, I felt that there was no fear of ever being hungry, simply by the huge amount of incredible street food everywhere.  Eating street food in India is so common for locals because of the vast range that can be found.  

Panipuri

This is the funnest Indian snack.  They are called Panipuri, which are small and crispy fried spheres (puri) filled with a salad of potatoes, chickpeas, onion and sprouted lentils.  Then a sauce with tamarind and lemon juice.  These are best eaten in one go in order to not spill it everywhere!

Puri seller

This street food is what I spent most of my time calling a salad, but it is in fact very different.  Perhaps because there are fried foods involved...This is called bhelpuri, it is a selection of chopped vegetables, chickpeas and tomatoes with fried puffed rice, as you can see from the photo above.   

'Bhadang' is garnished with onions, coriander and lemon juice.  Simply fresh and delicious!

                                      Having some banter with the dried fruits sellers.

This is called Puri as well.  However it is a giant size of the mini filled puri, and this is a large fried bread.  It is unleavened bread, however when deep fried in either ghee or vegetable oil, it puffs up like a round ball since the moisture in the dough (made with wheat flour and salt) changes into steam and expands in all directions.  Give this bread about 5 seconds and it is flat again!  It is often eaten for breakfast with dal or korma or other sauce based delicacies. 

I filmed this video in Thirupati, a pilgrimage city located in the hill town of Tirumala.  It is known for the Venkateswara Swamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Venkateswara.  Tirupati is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world, visited by approximately 60,000 pilgrims a day, one of which you can see buying a tasty snack from the street vendor in the video.  You can understand the necessity for a wide range of street food vendors here!

Thanks for reading!

Photos by Abigail Scheuer and Jacopo Primus, with special thanks.

Posted on February 18, 2013 and filed under world.

Namaste

Namaste!

Fruit salad enjoyed during a sunset in Cochin

On return from a colourful trip around south India, I return with many photos, ideas, inspirations to share with you.  All food related.  Well, practically all of them.

This is the first of many India blog entries.  I've decided to share many of these photos and experiences despite feeling the heat of the competition from other food bloggers.  In India, we brought with us two cameras of very good quality, a fujifilm x10 and a Nikon Coolpix 510.  I think that's quite keen.  However, when we saw some travellers with even heftier photographic gear we thought, jeez!  How on earth can we compete with that?

 When I received my delicious dosa, I was pretty chuffed (as you can see from the photo)

I mean, it was a pretty cool dosa, crown shaped and special.  It was bound to make a good photo.  But it was until I spotted a fellow blogger across the restaurant who was taking a photo of her meal with her photographic equipment that crushed my ego by more than half.  The camera was bigger than she was, and it was for this reason that I have taken a long time to post anything.  Because I feel threatened.

I am now deciding that in order for me to be able to realistically capture the true essence of India and convey it to my readers, some of my photos may show a little dirt and untidiness.  India is where new meets old, greyness meets vibrant colour, where dirt meets cleanliness, where tackyness meets rafinity.  These contrasts are what makes India the place that it is.

This is paratha, a delicious flat bread eaten with nearly everything.  It originates from Punjab, yet we found it everywhere we travelled in India.  We usually found plain paratha, yet they are commonly stuffed with vegetables, potatoes or paneer, then ghee is layered on before frying.  Often they are rolled and dipped in sambal or other chutneys and curries.  They are quite simply, delicious.

Often, a breakfast option would be paratha and omelette, which is what we ate in Tamil Nadu.

 The Keralan breakfast was definitely one of the best.  This is a traditional south indian breakfast.  The two plates lined with banana leaf consist of idly (which is further back in the photograph) and vada, served with coconut chutney and sambar.  To the right we have a sweet filter coffee and to the left, chai.

Idly are known as 'rice cakes': they made of fermented black lentils and rice then steamed.  

Vada are often doughnut shaped and made from dal, lentil and gram flour.  These are also a common street food, along with a tasty chai, theres no saying no.

When we were not in the mood for a breakfast consisting of sauces, we would often have a tasty samosa and, of course, a chai or a freshly blended fruit juice.

Photos by Abigail Scheuer and Jacopo Primus, with special thanks

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Posted on February 10, 2013 and filed under world.

Clear Caribbean Waters

The waters in the Caribbean are extremely clear and there is a wide range of fresh produce.

The food in the Caribbean is very much influenced by french cuisine with tropical influences. Here is a meal we had which consisted of pasta, roasted chicken cooked with cinnamon and spices, and roasted banana.

Food in the Caribbean is very expensive because most products are imported from France.  However everything is cooked to perfection and the produce that is found is always fresh and full of flavour.  

Posted on April 22, 2012 and filed under world.