Over the last few days, weekends jaunts and week-long holidays have dominated our lunchtime conversations in the office. It’s the time of the year where everyone has either just come back from a trip or are about the jet off so there have been plenty of stories, recommendations, and even some debates… Where’s best for a beach holiday? What’s a great cheap and cheerful destination? Any hidden gems to reveal? And we couldn’t go past discussing our favourite destinations! I immediately piped up with Barcelona, and I was not alone in picking this Spanish city as a favourite!
We all agreed that Barcelona has a bit of everything which could almost make it the perfect city. Huge call. If you like strolling, it has endless streets to wander and admire the architecture. If you just want to laze in the sun, there’s a choice between park or beach. For the shopaholics amongst us, there are a mix of markets, boutiques and familiar favourites. And finally, if you’re all about the Spanish food and drink like I am, Barcelona is overflowing with fantastic restaurants and food stalls at every corner. The hotspots, and there are many, from high end to tapas to markets are fairly well-known so I thought I’d share some of my favourite alternatives…
At least once a week you’ll catch me dishing out my best John McEnroe outburst of ‘you cannot be serious’ alongside a sassy stare. A certain someone knows this combo all too well because he’s usually at the receiving end. That’s what he gets for not listening. I have no doubt he hears me; apparently I’ve really perfected the art of projection, my speech and drama teacher would be so proud, but whether or not he comprehends these sounds is a source of great debate at times.
What makes me wonder that? Oh just all those times he’s asked me about something… that I’ve just told him, or told me something that… yep, you guessed it, I’ve just told him. You get why my inner McEnroe escapes? But there are times when the sound bites surprisingly manage to align and it’s a win for me. Actually, a win for both of us because I can stop going on and on about it whatever is flavour of that month.
According to the Oxford Dictionary: a barbeque is a meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a special appliance. Technically speaking, this is correct and covers most bases, but what this definition from the pedantic wordsmiths doesn’t tell you is just how many incarnations of the humble barbeque there are!
Is there really anything as satisfying as eating a hunk of meat (and vegetables too I suppose) that’s been cooked over a grill? No, no there isn’t, not in the Connie Dictionary of Deliciousness anyway. The classic Kiwi sausage sizzle will always hold a special place in my heart but recently my love of the barbeque has expanded to include the Korean version with spicier meats and an epic array of sides, and the American version with all the meats cooked low and slow.
This city has been my home for over two years now. For a certain someone it’s been much longer; over seven years if you include the stint he did here before yours truly dragged him back, all because I wanted to join the flocks of Kiwis in London. This city has been good to us, but recently we’ve been struck with a case of itchy feet and wondering what other cities could be our future home…
We’ve fantasised about switching this vibrant bubble for one more exotic like Hong Kong or KL, throwing ourselves completely out of our comfort zones for the sake of an adventure! On the flipside, we’ve also talked about turning our backs on the mayhem and opting for somewhere slightly more laid back but equally as enthralling like Lisbon or Porto, two cities we’ve already fallen head over heels for!
Sausage rolls are like the Alison Holst or Mary Berry of the edible world. Loved by all ages and welcomed with open arms at any occasion, they rebel against food trends and have stood the test of time. I don’t think there has ever been a time I didn’t love a bit of sausage roll- they were always one of my favourites at birthday parties when I was a kid, and now I still make a beeline for them at the office morning tea.
A couple of months ago, on a rather uneventful afternoon I suddenly had a craving for a sausage roll. It had been a while since we were last acquainted (are they not standard fare at the English office morning tea?) and I just wanted to sink my teeth into some porky pastry comfort. I decided to make my own because, how hard can it be? As it turns out, not very, so I thought I would give the old girl a bit of a makeover and voila, how good does she look now?
I can confidently say that most of the omnivores I know start salivating at the mere mention of pork belly, and grin ear to ear whilst licking their lips when crispy crackling comes into view. I won’t insult your intelligence by denying that I am one of those omnivores, and a certain someone? Well I’m pretty sure he loves pork more than I do because he could happily eat ham sandwiches for lunch everyday. If that’s not love…
But let’s get back to the belly- I was day dreaming about that time we had those infamous Momofuku pork buns and decided to make those dreams a reality. Unfortunately Skyscanner was not finding me any affordable flights to NYC, so feeling adventurous I thought the next best thing would be to just recreate them myself. They look simple enough, right?
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll realise by now that we’re not really ones to rush… so we decided to break up the Houston-New Orleans drive by making a stop in Lafayette LA, the heart of the cajun country. If we had come in summer we would have probably stopped into the Acadian Village for a glimpse of bayou life, definitely sampled the crawfish in various delicious forms, and strolled through the Cypress Island Reserve to check out the birds and crocodiles. But it was winter and all that went out the window- on the agenda was dinner at Pamplona Tapas Bar, and a trip to the Tabasco Factory.