Thursday, 27 August 2015

Literary Corner - Summer 2015 Book Reviews

Here are some of the books I have been sent recently for review:-

Daily Greens 4-Day Cleanse by Shauna Martin

I have become very aware lately how important it is to consume your fruit and vegetables in juice or smoothie form each day to give you body that boost of much needed nutrients.  This book will give you a great 'spring clean' without having to give up your favourite healthy food. 
The juices are naturally vegan, naturally gluten-free, dairy and soy free and taste fantastic.  The recipes are selected to coincide with seasonal produce. Most of the recipes, the core recipes, are green but they all taste clean and refreshing.
The book is published by Race Point Publishing an imprint of the Quarto Publishing Group

Easy Indian Cookbook by Manju Malhi
I recently met Manju Malhi and her enthusiasm for simple, easy recipes for the reader to be able to create at home was overwhelming in a good way!

The dishes are simple, the text easy to read and the photos area clear and invite you to make the dish and taste it.
Manju has written two other cookbooks and has appeared on several television cookery shows. The book is published by Duncan Baird Publishers

The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Amy Riolo
They say the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest on the planet.  This book will give you some science behind the diet, a way to integrate this eating culture into your lifestyle and still enjoy all of the good, fresh food available just about everywhere now.
The photographs are bright like they were taken in the full Mediterranean sunshine and the recipes in chapters such as Plant-based foods, Fish & Seafood as well as Dairy & Poultry
This book is published by Fair Winds Press, a member of the Quarto Publishing Group

I was sent a copy of all of the books to review. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Mexico City: The Naked Dogs

While we were visiting the home of Dolores Olmedo (see more of this visit in a forthcoming post) in Mexico City recently our guide pointed out a stature of a local breed of dog known locally as the 'naked dog' called Xoloitzcuintle or Xolo for short. The weird thing was that around the statue were 5 or 6 real hairless dogs just sitting motionless by the statue!  We initially thought that they were all statues until a couple of them moved!
They had a sort of cuteness about them and soon we were all saying how we would like to take one home!
The Mexican hairless dog has been known in Mexico for around 3,000 years, sometimes living as hunting companions and other times being used for food!  They have appeared in art and artifacts since the Aztec civilisations.
We saw a couple of these dogs in the street with their owners, being kept as pets - they are really friendly and kind of cute!
I visited Mexico City as a guest of The Mexico City Tourist Board. I was not required to write a positive review and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Grenada: The 2nd Annual Grenada Chocolate Festival - Bean to Bar

When asked if I would like to visit Grenada at the time of the Chocolate Festival this year there was only one word I could answer with - Yes!!

The Grenada Chocolate Festival is the project of Magdalena Fielden, Mexican born however currently owning the True Blue Bay Boutique Resort, with her husband Russ, on the island (see previous post).

We filled our days with tours, talks about chocolate, yoga sessions (well I didn't do the yoga!), fashion shows, visits to chocolate farmers and eating loads and loads of chocolate.  The purpose of the chocolate festival is to educate people to the delights and health benefits, the pure fun of eating chocolate as well as to the growing and production of one of the most popular products world wide.

Some highlights of the Chocolate Festival:-

Nutmeg Processing Plant Tour,
Rum factory Tour,
Local Chocolate,
Some local guests and friends,
Spice markets,
Festival opening ceremonies and local dignitaries,
Chocolate history from the curator of the Mexican City chocolate museum MUCHO Chocolato (I will be visiting this museum soon),

Grinding cocoa the old fashioned way,
Making chocolate face masks,
Cooking lessons - making our own lunch!
Celebrations and
The cocoa future generation
Chocolate cakes, puddings ........
and drinks ....
My personal highlight was being a chocolate farmer for a day.  Upon arrival we set off to the side of the hills where the cocoa plants grow, collected the cocoa pods as they were cut down, took the 'wet cocoa' out of the pods and helped transport the buckets back.  You can read all about my adventures from that day here.
Sometimes you need to throw some chocolate down your neck and a quick stop at a petrol station for a Mars bar or Snickers will do nicely however if you are wanting to enjoy some chocolate the you must try a single estate bar from one of the main cocoa growing countries such as Grenada, Venezeula, Equador and others.
Take a piece, smell it and linger with the images it brings to mind, place on your tongue and let the warmth of your mouth start the chocolate melting.  Take time to be in the chocolate moment and identify all the flavours and memories it brings to mind such as blackcurrants, raisins, vanilla and more.

And of course making new friends .........

If you are inspired to visit Grenada for next year's Grenada Chocolate Festival 8-17 May 2016 British Airways fly there on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  True Blue Bay Boutique Resort is the perfect place to stay however should they be full there is a whole list of wonderful hotels and resorts to suit all tastes and styles.

See you there!!

I was a guest of True Blue Bay Boutique Resort and the Grenada Chocolate Festival - I was not required to write a positive review. As usual all opinions and photos are my own except two borrowed from The Grenada Chocolate Festival as labelled.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Deep Fried South

You may have heard of or read a book called Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I have had fried green tomatoes and they are really nice. For many years this and fried chicken were the two fried dishes I associated with the Southern States of America.

Recently on a family trip to North Carolina I got a chance to extend my repertoire of fried experiences.

I tried deep fried artichokes which came served with a little house dressing.  They were crispy and not greasy and the subtle taste was really lovely.
I tried breaded and fried pickle slices. At first the slightly pickley taste took me by surprise but as I kept on trying them they really started to grow on me.
I thought it was sort of weird to have deep fried macaroni and cheese bites as a side order.  They were OK but a weird way of serving leftover macaroni and cheese!
Apparently at the North Carolina State Fair someone offers a freshly fried donut sliced open with a beef burger in the middle! I don't think I could eat one of these.

But the biggest surprise for me was a Deep Fried Oreo biscuit!
These were the limit - a fried step too far!  If you get to the Southern States look out for this one! Please comment below - would you try this?

All opinions and photos are my own.