It rained for a lot of the month we stayed near Castelnaudary. It was too wet for Cathar castles, but luckily the weather never interferes with foodie plans. We were in cassoulet country. Even being mostly vegetarian couldn’t stop me. I was on a quest to find the bestest bean-and-meat-laden stew in the region of Castelnaudary – one of the towns that claim to be … Continue reading Cassoulet, not Cathars.
Danang, Vietnam, January 2020. Food is very important to the Vietnamese. They eat a lot. And when they’re not eating they’re thinking about eating. ‘I eat out twice a day’, Anh told us. Nearly all Vietnamese eat breakfast on the street. ‘We get up very early, we’re not really awake and no-one has time to make noodles for breakfast’. Any morning, any place in Vietnam, … Continue reading Food Stories 3. Danang – Foodie Heaven.
Christmas Day, Saigon 2019. A motorbike would have been easier. But we’d not yet figured out how to grab a bike for the two of us, so we went by car. To a neighbourhood district north of the city centre. Streets like strips of ribbon, flexing and turning. Bikes beeping behind us. Those that could not wait, over-taking on the inside, as the driver tried … Continue reading Food Stories 2: Eating With A Vietnamese Family.
Saigon, Vietnam, December 2019 Helen arrived first. Hopping off her bike she pulled off a grey sweat top to reveal a silky shimmering deep-sea-blue ao dai. Then she leaned back against her bike and started texting. Lily arrived a few moments later. Same blue tunic. Same black ponytail swinging. Same smiles and laughter. ‘Did you ever go on a motorbike before?’, she asked. We’d already … Continue reading Food Stories 1. Street Food Saigon Style.
Junagadh, Gujarat 2009. Food is one of the delights of India. Colour, smell, flavour, eating is an experience for all the senses. In Junagadh, we found two wildly different favourites. The Jay Ambe Juice Centre was a welcome retreat, a place to rest and watch India from a distance. Great for a fresh juice or a delicious milkshake – chikku, (sapodilla), valiyari (aniseed), kesar (safron), … Continue reading Food For Thought.
It seemed only fitting that we should go for afternoon tea at the Pera Palace Hotel; the hotel at the end of the line of the famous Orient Express. Train passengers were ferried here in a sedan chair from Sirkeci station. We climbed up the steep hill from Karakoy. A doorman welcomed us. Up the white marble steps of the foyer we went, to the … Continue reading Mr. Inspiration.
There’s a great thing about walking in the English countryside. The tea-room. All good walks should begin or end at one. At Worth Matravers, deep in Dorset, next to the duck pond on the miniscule green is the quintessential, quaint English tea-shop. Full of antiques and mismatched china, embroidered knick-knacks, sugar basins with cubed sugar and tongs, old advertising posters, – and people. We could … Continue reading Dorset. Sea and Scones.
At times chicken and rice seemed to be the only fare on offer during our South American trip. We tired of it, but the chicken shop signs never lost their allure! Continue reading Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chicken!
Parma: Not quite all about the ham, but almost! Continue reading Hamming It Up In Parma.
In the past I’ve taken Parmesan – sorry I mean Parmigiano Reggiano – Parmesan is its inferior imposter – for granted. I always thought of it as a crumbly bit of old cheese, something to grate over my pasta, nothing more. It never occurred to me to eat it by itself, for itself. All of these – what I now see were strange – ideas … Continue reading Blessed Are The Cheesemakers.