Saturday, 24 January 2015

An Antique Recipe. (Spiced Sugar Biscuits)

Catching up on my reading from when I'd been in Europe, I stumbled upon a new blog of old recipes; Cooking in the Archives.

It appears to be only a recent project but the authors of this blog are trawling through collections of text dated 1600 to 1800 looking for old recipes that can be revived. For each recipe they publish, they provide a photo of the original recipe, and a transcript, deciphering the ornate and occasionally smudged handwriting. They then adapt the recipe into a format that is more familiar to modern cooks before making it and providing photos and a commentary of the finished recipe.

This particular one is My Lady Chanworth's Receipt for Jumballs, a dish I'd never heard of before. However the recipe sounded simple and a little like the strange flavourings I usually incorporate into my tea biscuits. As the Cooking in the Archives post made them sound like a refreshing, fragrant combination of flavours I thought I'd give them a go.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Mango Lassi Tart

It was my first day back in the kitchen after a couple of months in Europe.
I'd been asked to make a dessert for a lazy chicken and salad dinner with family.
As it's the middle of summer here, I didn't want anything hot or stodgy. It needed to be light and refreshing and relatively quick to make.
Now I had thought of making a cheesecake, but between shopping for the ingredients, making it and leaving early so we could have a swim before dinner, I didn't really feel I had the time.
So instead I made a variation on a Pannacotta (a suggestion of Mum's). They were flavours that were not only readily available to me, but according to my Flavour Thesaurus went well together. Not that the latter was really necessary as Mango Lassis, Barfi and Pina Coladas provided more than enough evidence as to how the flavours would work. Essentially, this is cardamon pannacotta resting in a coconut crust and dressed with fresh ripe mangoes.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Meteora - Monasteries in the Mountains

Our last port of call in Greece was Meteora, an area in the north, well known for its unusual honey-comb rocks and rocky pillars, and the complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries that sit perched atop them.

We'd stayed the night just out of the town Kalambaka that sits at the foot of these boulders and so were able to be overwhelmed by their size and strangeness as we slowly wound our way up towards the monasteries.
As it was the middle of winter we'd been prepared for rain and dreaded fog, things that are renown for plaguing this area, however we were blessed to wake to sunshine and blue skies.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Delphi - Sanctuary of the Oracle

The following morning we headed to the ancient sanctuary of Delphi where again, there was a museum and the archaeological site.
However before we got to anything historic we may have been distracted slightly by firstly, the view from the hotel balcony, and secondly, the cats at Delphi.


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games

Whilst in Athens we'd visited the stadium of the first modern Olympic Games, but today, our port of call was Olympia, home of the ancient Olympic Games.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Into the Peloponnese - Mycenae and Epidauros

Having appreciated Ancient Corinth and the sunshine, we jumped back on the bus for a quick lunch stop and then on to Mycenae. 

Mycenae was one of the places I grew up knowing about not only from its connection with the Trojan War, but also from an archaeological series we had a home, and as a result it was one of those places I was keen to visit. Delightfully the road we took in was such that it was hidden from view until we were near, and then it only looked like an old fortress that had been reduced to a little more than a pile of rubble. Having seen aerial views of the town I knew what it contained (not that I was the only one).

Our first stop was the Tomb of Agamemnon, otherwise known as the Treasury of Atreus. This is a huge beehive tomb with the appearance of being buried into the hill. It is impressive, easily the most impressive tomb in the area and probably was the tomb of a great king of the royal family of Mycenae.

Into the Peloponnese - Corinth

Having been woken at some ungodly hour, we were on the bus and heading out of Athens at an hour I'm usually just contemplating getting up, so it felt like a less than perfect start to the day. However as it was supposed to be a day packed full of Ancient monuments, I didn't mind. Having followed the coast south-east the precious afternoon to get to Cape Sounio, we now headed north-west along the coast in the direction of Corinth. First stop was the Corinth Canal, a a thin deep cut through the isthmus connecting the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf and saving cargo ships the hassle and expense of circling the Peloponnese in order to reach Athens.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Ancient Athens and Cape Sounio

I'm visiting Greece by Tour, simply because I don't feel comfortable doing it my myself and driving myself around the countryside (I have no experience driving in Europe and this is probably not the best way to start). Having arrived a few days early to catch up with a friend, the tour started properly on Saturday morning with Athens.

The heart of Athens is a delightful place, worth wandering around on foot, enjoying the food, the ancient monuments that seem to be everywhere, the touristy shops... The tour did not give us this opportunity as we were on a tight deadline which is almost a pity as there is so much history to immerse one's self into.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

San Marco and surrounds - Venice

Still being unsatisfied with my impressions of Venice (they just weren't matching up with external images of Venice) I decided that the best way to get from my hotel near the Piazzale Roma to San Marco Square was by the vaparetto, the water bus, and on a route that went straight down the Grand Canal (actually it zigzags from bank to bank, but you get the picture).

Monday, 5 January 2015

Controlled attempt at getting lost - Venice

On the ferry back from Burano I got talking to an old Italian who told me that to appreciate Venice you have to get lost in the streets. While I can understand the sentiment, a) most of the streets I've discovered thus far are not interesting enough to want to get lost in them, and b) I don't like the idea of giving up that level of control.


As a result, though I tried to explore the south island I don't think I was all that successful. It may have been that it was still rather early, but it's as likely that I was not wandering along the beaten path and so the streets simply weren't catering for tourists.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Murano and Burano - Venice

Venice is a very small island sinking into the lagoon off the coast of mainland Italy.
Murano is a smaller island in the same lagoon famed for its Glass production. 
Burano is an even smaller island again famed for its Lace.

They are accessible by vaparetto, the water buses that speed you along the canals and out into the open lagoon.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Ca d'Oro & Palazzo Mocenigo - Venice

I arrived in Venice at 10 am having left Barcelona at the slightly unseasonably hour of 7:30 am. Being unable to check in until the afternoon, and not wishing to waste a day, I dumped my luggage and went in search of sights and information.

One of the things I wanted to do during my stay was make a day trip to Murano and Burano and I also wanted to see if there were any museums/things worth seeing that I had not yet discovered in my cursory search of Tripadvisor and Wikipedia. As a result. the information centre was my first stop. It was not as useful as I'd hoped though, which was perhaps a good thing as I'd already discovered enough things to keep my days filled.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Perfume and Palau de la Musica Catalana - Barcelona

I almost completely forgot to write up this day, which seems crazy as it was a delightful day visiting a Perfume bottle museum and the Palau de la Musica Catalana.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Too Much Gaudi*

We started the day with Gaudi and his blooming unfinished project. Okay, it's iconic but I don't quite get the fuss, particularly given it just looks like an intricate mud-drip castle.

Once we had done a detailed tour of the church and formulated our opinions we headed off into the sunshine. With it being winter, and the sunshine only hitting one side of the street, guess which side we were made to walk on.

Sagrada Familia - an analysis

One of the first things we'd done upon landing in Barcelona was to determine what would and would not be open on New Years Day. Most things it turns out were closed, but not the Sagrada Familia so having booked tickets online we wandered down eager to discover our own opinions on this unique construction.

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