Tag Archives: Travel

What makes Sydney so dreamy?

What makes Sydney so dreamy

There are a lot of wonderful places around the globe and some of them stick in our memories more than others. Some we simply like some we don’t but there are also the ones we love; the ones that given the opportunity we would never leave; the ones where we could see ourselves living happily ever after…

One of those places for me is Sydney.

So why is Sydney so dreamy you might ask?

Well… there is the outstanding architecture, weather to die for, good food and even better drinks, 100s of great pubs with live music and so on and so on… but once you actually look behind the obvious, there are few hidden reasons which make Sydney one of the kind.

Jogging along Port Jackson Bay

Jogging along Port Jackson Bay

Wide sidewalks with stunning views of the harbour and the sea breeze wafting over you. This is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day. You are still seeing and feeling the city, but at the same time you are in sync with nature. There is something magical about that. It is a deep soul stirring moment that is quite hard to describe. The best time for a jog is just before sunset, when the “white sails” of Opera House are changing its colours and the whole city is slowly lighting up ready for the night.

Coastal walk form Coogee to Bondi Beach

Coastal walk form Coogee to Bondi Beach

One of the most wonderful things about Sydney is its location. Living there you really have no need for holidays. All you have to do is to start walking… The Coastal walk form Coogee to Bondi Beach takes about 2 hours; during this time you can see some beautiful nature, feel the warm sand under your feet, admire the sharp cliffs but you can also see this magnificent city with a whole new perspective. Far away from the noise of the city centre, from our busy lives and daily troubles… this walk can give you power and inner peace and should you make it to Bondi Beach you can admire surfers battling the force of nature.

Sydney Mardi Gras

Sydney Mardi Gras

In general Mardi Gras refers to events during Carnival, but the Sydney Mardi Gras is a bit different. The Sydney Mardi Gras celebrates gay rights. The Sydney Mardi Gras Parade is one of a kind, not only is the organization perfect but the atmosphere is truly wonderful’ you can really feel the love. This festival really underlines the character of the people of this city, their open-mindedness, tolerance and love of good times!

I love Sydney

*This post is my entry into “A Tale of three Cities” competition run by Accor

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Alphabet Project | R is for Road Trip

Alphabet Project  R is for Road Trip

Alphabet Project is hosted by PODcast

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Travelling for food – USA the land of BBQ and the ultimate pulled pork

Travelling for food  BBQ

Did you know that over 40 per cent of travellers aged 18-34 have chosen a holiday destination specifically because they wanted to try a certain type of food? Good news, wouldn’t you agree?

According to an ICE survey more and more young people are indulging in food tourism. The numbers are reversed as the age of those surveyed goes up; only 11% of people over 65 let their stomach do the decision making for them.

It’s a shame that our older population isn’t so adventurous but it is nice to see that young people are willing to try and discover new things, food included.

We love new foods and would be happy to take a trip just with food in mind. One of our dream destinations is USA, the land of real BBQ. Yes, seeing the Great Canyon, Niagara Falls or driving on Route 66 would be awesome and a once in a lifetime experience but visiting USA BBQ hot spots would give us much more pleasure.

You might think “Hold on a minute, really, travelling to USA just to have a BBQ?” Yes, we would. Mainly because USA BBQ has nothing to do with blackened half burnt sausages that are still raw in the middle or poorly looking shop brought burgers, which tend to dominate UK BBQ parties. USA BBQ is a full on trip to flavour town that has elevated the humble BBQ to an art form; be it a pulled pork from Tennessee, hickory smoked brisket from Texas or glazed ribs from Missouri and please don’t even get me started on spicy chicken wings or any one of the variety of handmade burgers. USA is truly the chosen land in regards to BBQ.

Travelling for food  Primo

Mark and I like BBQ but we simply can’t afford to be travelling to USA every time we feel like having a pulled pork butties, so we decided to learn how to cook it ourselves and invested in some pieces of real BBQ equipment of our own. We bought ourselves a Primo. Primo is the USA’s most popular barbeque / smoker used for home or in a small industrial setting. No, you can’t buy it on the continent, if you want one you will have to import it from USA, but we have something similar over here called a Big Green Egg (we never considered buying it or used it and I can’t speak as to how good it will be comparing to our Primo). The main difference between your standard BBQ and a Primo is that the Primo works like a barbeque / smoker, so you get the best of both worlds, depending on what you cook and what you are trying to achieve. You can cook on an open fire, just like your standard BBQ or you can smoke stuff in it for hours and hours… We love it and use it all year round. Being ceramic in construction it is not scared of the winter rains or even snow and it is always ready for action.

I would like to share with you a recipe for one version of the perfect pulled pork, not roast pork as it usually ends up being when sold in the UK but proper fall apart, melt in the mouth meat that just makes you smile – yes, it involves our Primo but not to worry you can simply do the same in the oven; obviously just skip the part where you would add wood chips to make the smoke – this wouldn’t be advised in the oven. If you really want to have some smoke taste on your pulled pork, on one oven cook we put some tea leaves in a tinfoil boat that we shaped and placed on the stove in an empty saucepan, when heated some lovely aromatic smoke will come. With some tongs carefully take the tinfoil boat of the heat and pop into the oven next to your meat.

Ingredients:

1 whole pork shoulder (bone included)*

For dry rub:

  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • 1tbsp garlic powder
  • 1tbsp onion powder
  • 1tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tbsp ground pepper
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • ½ cup brown sugar

For brine solution:

  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3tbsp of dry run
  • Water to cover the entire shoulder

*You can’t buy it from your local supermarket; you will need a trip to a real butcher. Decent size pork shoulder will cost between £30- £40. It might seem like a lot but it will feed a lot of people, or a few people for a long time. Though it is worth remembering that once people start eating the finished dish; the concept of sharing does tend to take a holiday for most of them.

Method:

Rinse the pork shoulder and place in a large container, pour in the brine solution, and add water until it is completely covered. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (brining overnight 12+ hours is best). Remove from the fridge and pat dry with paper towels. Place it in a baking tray and begin coating with your dry rub. Your entire shoulder is supposed to be covered in the rub, massage the spices into every part of the shoulder until all mixture is gone. Remember to place your meat so that the fat layer is upper most before cooking. If you have a meat thermometer this would be a perfect time to use it. Place it in the thickest part, close to the bone but without touching it. It will help with assessment later on in regards to the readiness of our meat.

Travelling for food  --- Pulled PorkTravelling for food  -- Pulled PorkTravelling for food Pulled Pork

Now you are ready to cook it. I would put it into my Primo and leave it for about 16-18 hours, cooking low and slow at 110C and adding wood chips every few hours for the additional smoke. You can place it in the over on a shelf. Make sure you can easily see the thermometer. When it hits 93.3C (the internal meat temperature) turn your oven off and leave it inside to cool a bit, this will allow for the meat to relax and all the juices to flood back to the outer edges of the joint. After a couple more hours or so, when the internal meat temperature has dropped to 75C remove from the oven. Place on a dry, large and clean work surface, remove the crust and begin to shred. It should come apart with easy just by using 2 forks. If you are going to use your fingers I recommend some rubber gloves, it will still be very hot!

Travelling for food - Pulled Pork

If you cooked it well you should have a large amount of liquid / fat at the bottom of your cooking pan – pour it onto fat separator. Let is separate and reserve the juices for tomorrow, when you want to reheat the left over pulled pork just throw a hand full into a frying pan on a medium heat and add a splash of the juices. Cook for 2-3 minutes covered, and you can relive the awesome experience all over again … unless you have an army of hungry people already waiting to be fed 😉

Travelling for food  --- Pulled pork.

That’s it; nothing less, nothing more.

We made our first pulled pork in the oven. We loved it so much but we just couldn’t understand how the same piece of meat from a smoker could taste any better, but believe me the difference is huuuuuge. A proper BBQ / smoker takes it to a totally new level, it’s the smoky taste it speaks to the inner caveperson, it satisfies some primal craving, it is the best way to enjoy cooked meat.

pulled pork 2

Have you ever been on a holiday that was based around the quest for a particular food or dish?

In a few weeks time we are going to Poland to sample some local Bigos 🙂

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Road Trip Challenge #roadtripchallenge

Car Insurance - £50 Road Trip Challenge - Header image

MoneySupermarket challenged bloggers to show our road trips. They provided us with £50 budget to be used for this occasion.

So where did we go?

We both love driving so distance was not a problem; we do however have the dogs who if left behind will slowly eat the house as punishment for their neglect. It was going to be a hot day so we needed something cool, and something different to yet another long walk in a wood! We decided to “hit” the sea, a bit different as we live about as far away from any large body of water as you can in the UK. We picked Scratby near Great Yarmouth as our final destination, one of the nearest beaches to us and puppy friendly.

So we had a full tank of diesel, sunglasses and the open road in front of us.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

We had 115 miles to drive in order to reach our target, so we set off early in the morning with the promise of a full day ahead; we wanted to get as much as possible from our trip. Three hours and a few stops later, we could smell the sea!

We parked up. Now Bunk is a water dog by all accounts however none of the lakes, rivers and weirs we have visited have floated his boat. A paddle here and there but none of that water dog hysteria we hoped to see on his face upon arrival at destination “insert name here”. Today however things were different, very different, as the car door cracked open a blur of fur shot past us and proceeded at full pelt to the sea, our dog was gone. Ten minutes later he was still going, a tiny spot of head bobbing up and down in the waves, Mark half jokingly commented that he wondered if Bunk was swimming home… to Newfoundland. Much to our relief he did eventually turn around and head back to us, were he did what all dogs do, run straight to us then have the bright idea to have a good shake, ensuring maximum coverage of the freezing cold seawater on to hot sun soaked skin.

INCOMING! Mind the shake...

INCOMING! Mind the shake…

Round 47... of a possible 200, going to be a long day!

Round 47… of a possible 200, going to be a long day!

Oh go on ...just one more time...  I know that’s what we said last time but we mean it this time... honest, just throw it!

Oh go on …just one more time…
I know that’s what we said last time but we mean it this time… honest, just throw it!

So what we going to say this time to get them to throw it.....

So what we going to say this time to get them to throw it…..

Hunger drove us to a lovely little fish and chip shop by the sea front. Few crispy cod fillets and some chips and back to the beach. Here we discovered that for Bunk and his hierarchical order of what is important to him that chips pawn the allure of the sea.

Get off!... Get off!... GET OFF!

Get off!… Get off!… GET OFF!

Oh for the energy of youth....

Oh for the energy of youth….

Hmmm... big puddle... bye bye big puddle *sniff*

Hmmm… big puddle… bye bye big puddle *sniff*

I is completely and totally knackered Mum....

I is completely and totally knackered Mum….

It was a day to be remembered. Thank you MoneySupermarket.

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Return of the sister

My sister and her partner – left England in March 2011 to travel the world. They planned that they would return within 2 years… but as all good plans of mice and men go… it changed, and so they travel on.

First glimpse of my sister after years of travel

First glimpse of my sister after years of travel

However they decided to make a surprise pit stop and pop back home for a few months (mainly due to their best friend’s wedding). So on the 23rd of July they landed at Heathrow airport and I could yet again see my sister after years of dodgy Skype connections to some far off remote jungle location. They stayed with us until this morning but have now boarded a plane to Poland.  I couldn’t share this with you all any earlier because my parents were still blissfully ignorant about the surprise pit stop.  I am also aware that they do check out my blog sometimes so it would have ruined the whole big surprise. I have just spoken to my dad and they are finally home, in their mums and dads arms… so there is no longer any need for all the secrecy.

Welcome home sis! It is good to have you back!

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