Monday, 28 September 2009

hawaiian food delights

hawaii was pretty good food-wise. it had a couple of delights, and was my first real intro into "american" food.

my first thing to say about america, is that however much you try to justify it, mcdonalds still isn't real food, or good for you...i tried, i did try.

the next thing to say would be that pineapples are a very hawaiian thing, and you can go and learn about them on the dole plantation. you can even send a pineapple home, or eat the famous pineapple icecream.

i was so surprised by the number of varieties of pineapple, we just seem to get one in England.

as some of you know, i am diabetic, so I'm always on the lookout for good snacks, and there was one snack throughout the entire trip that really stood out for me...the probar. yum. i know it's the most expensive snack you can buy, but it is totally worth it, especially this one, the koka moka!

then on to fumi's on the north shore for a take away shrimp experience. and oh my word, the butter and garlic shrimp is absolutely delicious. it's just this place by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere (well, sort of) and they grow and cook all the shrimp all day every day for hungry customers. so good.

ok, so the really bad part of the hawaiian experience was the breakfast food in our hotel. it advertised a continental breakfast, and this is what we got...

how scary is the blue bread? oh my word. if you happen to be staying at the Equus hotel in Honolulu, don't expect anything more than some sugary muffins or blue rolls, and a couple of pieces of melon or pineapple, and some dodgy sugary drink. a far cry from anything i would actually call healthy food, or just 'food' for that matter!

in true style we went to the australian steakhouse to eat one night, and i had the wedge salad, and the clam chowder. both of which are not something you get in the uk very often.

what can i say about these things? clam chowder is pretty good, for sure. but i would love to have had the opportunity to try it in a proper restaurant in san fran. and the wedge salad is a pretty sad excuse for a salad, and has not got a lot of veg. i felt horrendous paying the amount i had to pay for this lot of food.

anyway, next time i head to hawaii, i will go to the north shores for sure, and eat out in actual hawaiian places. i need another foodie with me blatantly to really enjoy the experience :)

Saturday, 19 September 2009

kitchen escapades

it's been a really foodie kind of week this week.

on wednesday me and my mum went to see Julie and Julia, a total must for anyone who has a food blog or enjoys things cooked in butter. it was really good, and i will have to get it on dvd. it was perfect as well because half is set in new york (perfect for me) and the other half is set in france (perfect for mum).

the food in it was pretty delicious looking, and there's lots of tasty closeups. the only thing that didn't quite gel in the movie was the chemistry between meryl streep and stanley tucci.

go watch it. or at least check out the trailer.

then on thursday i tried my hardest to make german spatzle with my spatzle press i've had for years. i first had spatzle when a german girl was staying with my family, and she cooked it for us. i thought it was like the most fun thing to make and delish to eat, so i asked if she could find and send me a press...which she did!

somehow i had never managed to get round to making it, and after having watched J&J I sort of felt spurred on...i suppose it's all that impossible looking duck boning and souffle making. so i got out the recipe and the press, and boiled the water.

for those of you that have never made it, or heard about it, it's basically just fresh egg noodles, but made quickly and a little inelegantly/rustic-ly. you mix 250g flour with 2 eggs and a smidge of water until it becomes a very wet dough that won't combine. then you boil water, and whilst its boiling, squeeze the dough through the press.

easier said than done. i got the dough made, which was simple, and managed to get it to the perfect consistency (check out this recipe with photos). then i put the press over the water, resting on the pan, and filled it with the dough.

of course, the steam cooked what was about to come out the holes, and so blocked it up, so i had to take it out, rinse it out, fill the press with the dough again (this time over a plate!) and squeeze it over the boiling water. so tricky because the handles are quite long, and the plates aren't totally perfect, so it doesn't come out totally perfect.

hey well, the final result, mixed with pesto or mushroom sauce (we tried both) was quite delicious but does look like a plate full of worms or something. hmm. maybe not one to try again?!

and then this morning i made this version of swiss bircher porridge. it's a cold porridge that is really healthy and delicious too. i've been thinking about it ever since i came back from my trip, because we ate it in south africa and australia (notable brisbane, where the waiter was super good looking). i tried so many google searches, and finally found this recipe which sounded about right. the only thing it didn't have was cinnamon, lots and lots of cinnamon.

and although this doesn't look totally amazing, the taste is phenomenal. astoundingly good. i'm going to make it again tomorrow.

so, anyway, i'm looking forward to next weeks food adventures already...hopefully there'll be some more photo-worthy meals!

Friday, 18 September 2009

being self sufficient

ok, so i know this is a little bit of a divert (actually a major one) from my current holiday 'what i ate where' posts. but i was reading the kitchen sink's latest post, and i was totally agreeing with what she said.

self sufficiency is a dream i've had for years now...and i was totally thinking again about it on holiday, i even drew up a budget, ground plans for my house and what i would do with my many acres... (click on image to enlarge)

i drew that up somewhere in fiji. it was hot, and this is my recreation, dreaming about what life COULD be like someday.

my dad has been both a dairy farmer and a pig farmer, so i grew up on farms with animals, and both my granddad's have vegetable patches so i'm not totally clueless when it comes to growing stuff.

there's just a couple of problems with actually being able to fulfill this dream:

- my ability to make stuff grow - i, like Kristin, can't seem to make anything grow or stay alive for more than a month or so.

- the lack of hands, i've only got two. my dream is big, and would totally need a couple of farm hands, a husband, and my mother and brothers living close.

- the total disappearance of any money towards it - like i said i drew up a budget, and the lowest amount of money i would require is about £2000 each month. i'm working towards it though! saving, saving, saving. keeping my eyes open for the perfect piece of land, and the perfect house. keeping pictures of every house i like, just in case i win the lottery and could afford to 'grand design' my own house.

what can i say, i'm a dreamer, and i won't ever stop being one.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

food in fiji

Fiji doesn't really have much of a foodie reputation, so I really didn't know what to expect. I was really happy to find that our little lodge...Bluewater Lodge in Newtown...had some really great chefs which cooked tasty, well presented, inexpensive dinners with massive portions!

my favorite dish that i had at the lodge was the lamb without doubt. it was juicy and delicious, and there was loads of it. not like meat portions in other countries where its tiny and probably been injected with something to make it juicier and fatter. unfortunately the picture does not do this justice, as it was twilight, and my camera isn't the best.

on one of our first days in fiji, we saw a traditional fijian way of cooking underground. the locals and some guys that work in our hotel had buried loads of food under the ground, allowing it to steam cook from the heat of the sun and temperature of the earth around it. they start by wrapping everything in tin foil or banana leaves, or both, then digging a hole, lining it with rocks, packing the food in, then layering it with banana leaves and covering it with earth.

they come back later at the end of the day to dig it up, and transport everything home in a wheelbarrow, and distribute to all the nearby families and hotels, etc. awesome! i remember my brothers trying to do that in england, and being totally disappointed when it didn't work at all...

at the nearby smugglers cove we went to eat a couple of times. there's not a very exciting menu, more american style burgers and fries. but i did try their avocado and prawn salad, which was YUM.

on our trip we met up with this guy staying at our lodge, who kindly took us around the island for a couple of days. an amazing, friendly guy with loads of interesting stories to tell. whats particularly unique about this dude is that he doesn't eat any fruits or vegetables, actually none, not even any at all.

the only thing he will have is fruit juice. plus he doesn't take any supplements or anything. he can actually live without fruit and veg...isn't that strange? i bet loads of kids would like to be able to have that ability! this next photo is entitled: "i'll have the steak and chips, but instead of the roasted vegetables can i have mashed potato?"

the last thing to say about fiji is that, if you want to have delicious fresh food, you need to go to a big supermarket, as the little shops only seem to sell pringles and biscuits; which i guess makes sense when it gets super hot in the summer. but if you are on a resort, then you should be better than ok because you'll get the best local fruit and veg ever, all freshly made and served, woohoo!