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"I'd sit around dreaming that the boys I saw at shows or at work - the boys with silver earrings and big boots - would tell me I was beautiful, take me home and feed me Thai food or omelets and undress me and make love to me all night with the palm trees whispering windsongs about a tortured gleaming city and the moonlight like flame melting our candle bodies."

Francesca Lia Block

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Sunday
Jan082012

Pork and prawn wontons with coriander and water chestnuts

Happy New Year everyone! With New Year comes resolutions and one of mine is to start cooking again and writing about it.

I spoke to my Dad this morning and he was telling me about a rendang curry recipe he has been working on. I told him he ought to write it up for my blog,

“It’s been ages since you wrote me a post, Dad”

“It’s been ages since you wrote a recipe; when are you going to finish with South America? I’m bored.”

So am I.

“I’ve been busy, Dad. You know, finding a job, moving house and with Mum and Cha here. Plus I still had stuff I wanted to write about... I am going to start writing recipes again soon though.”

“When?”

“Today!”

So here I am.

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Saturday
Dec242011

'Twas the night before xmas...

Some very dear family friends of ours, Claudia and Richard, always make our Christmas Eve a special occasion with their talent for telling jokes and reciting funny poems. This is one of my favourites and I am very sorry that I will not be hearing it in person this year, them being on the other side of the world in sunny Australia. I will do my best rendition tonight, but it will never be quite the same.

Feign German accent.

The night waz Christmas and all waz still
The stockings waz hung expecting the fill
And nothing waz stirring not even a louse
For fear dat Saint Nick would nix cumerous
Mudder said children go by the bed
And Mudder she fixt the tree instead
She lifts the night dress to carry the toys
And who waz peaking it waz de little boys.
Mudders night dress waz up in the de face
And the children could see a big bare space
Hanz said mudder vee see the toys in de lap
But who is for dat little fur cap
Shush said mudder and she laugh out right
I think I give dat to your papa to night.

 

Happy Christmas everyone. I hope Christmas entails plenty of fine food, bubbles and general merriment for you all.

Tuesday
Dec202011

The Quebradas

One of the most beautiful landscapes I was fortunate enough to see in Argentina was the Quebrada de Cafayate. Quebrada in Spanish literally means ‘broken’ and refers in geological terms to a deep valley or ravine. Despite having lived in Australia for most of my life, I have sadly never been to the ‘Red Centre’ but I reckon the vivid colours of this part of Northern Argentina would give it a run for its money.  

The main attractions in the valley lie along the Route 68 that runs from Salta to Cafayate. As such most things can be viewed comfortably from a tour bus window with little pit stops along the way. This is how I chose to do it because I was lacking on time and I felt I saw everything I wanted to, but it was a little rushed. It would have been nicer to do it at my own pace in a car and at a different time of day, for example early evening, when the lighting is supposed to be at its best and there are less tourists on the road.

So what has this got to do with food? Not a lot really. Of course I did eat along the way, and a couple of things are worth noting, which I will do in due course. But mainly this is an excuse to share the spectacular photos of the valley itself:

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Monday
Nov212011

Top shelf and top nosh in Luján de Cuyo

9am is the new wine o’clock.

My personal rule for drinking is that you shouldn’t have an alcoholic beverage before 12pm. Unless, of course, you have been out all night, in which case drinking in the morning is perfectly acceptable. But if you have had a good night’s sleep and woken up feeling fresh, starting to drink before 12 o’clock – beer o’clock – is stretching into alcoholics territory.

Well, on this day I broke the rules. But with good reason.

A trip to Mendoza will inevitably involve a wine tour of some description. Most people tend to go with the cheap and cheerful bike tours of neighbouring Maipú available on almost every corner in the town centre. My sister did one of these tours and she really enjoyed it, as did lots of the people I met along the way, but I had been told that you don’t really get to try that much wine on those tours and certainly not the good stuff. Lonely Planet recommends two companies that offer deluxe wine tours,

“They’re not cheap, but the benefits are obvious – small group sizes … a knowledgeable English-speaking guide … and access to some of the more exclusive (i.e. better quality) vineyards. Winemakers are much more likely to be getting the good stuff down off the top shelf for you on these tours too.”

My Mum had given me £100 for my birthday before I left which I was to save for something special so I decided to splash out on a tour of Luján de Cuyo with Trout and Wine. The tour cost US$165 (£106) which I thought incredibly reasonable given that included a tour and tasting of three top-end wineries as well a 4 course lunch and matching wines with unlimited top ups at a fourth bodega.

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Sunday
Nov062011

Back to Argentina

It feels like so long ago that I was getting my teeth stuck into the most succulent and tender of steaks, drinking fine malbecs and spreading my legs for the juiciest empanadas I could find. But the memories are still fresh in my mind and I promised when I crossed to Bolivia that I would get back to Argentina, not physically, but on this here blog to let you know all about the rest of my foodie experiences there.

Where better to start than with a quintessentially Argentinean experience. On an estancia in the countryside just outside of Salta, I spent a morning horseriding through patchwork fields of brown and green, parched rocky river beds and eucalypus groves with the Andes as a backdrop and gauchos as my guides. This was followed by a traditional asado prepared by master of the house, the exuberant Enrique.

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