Tuesday, 31 March 2015

"Would you like to join us for the tapas cooking class?" said the email.
'Is Pope a Catholic? Of course I want to join in. This has all the ingredients of what I consider a good evening out...food, cooking, bloggers, photography...and...erm...Spain.', I thought to myself.
I even started entertaining the idea of dressing up in a flamenco dress and making a grand entrance with a loud, shouty "OLE!" until The Husband pointed out that the PRs and other bloggers might think me a bit cray cray.

The occasion for all this tapas madness was the fact that Spain was joining existing countries on Three Feel At Home scheme as a destination in which you can use your phone at no extra cost. That means calls, texts and data!!! No more fretting over extortionate roaming charges. As a long time Three customer I already took advantage of their Feel At Home scheme when I visited Israel in January...
...but I waffle on.
 Back to the cooking class...
The class was held in Jenius Social and helmed by lovely Andrew (who trained with Jamie Oliver...hear hear!).
After a few glasses of wine and quite a few appetizers (what? I like my food.) we were put through our paces and started cooking. 
I quickly scanned the ingredients and hogged the parma ham, asparagus and figs. 
I was like cat that got the cream: "I'll be making this. Just how difficult can it be? Cook the asparagus and then wrap it all up in ham. Easy peasy! Let the others wrestle with difficult stuff. Ha!" 
I spoke too soon. Parma ham was fiddly and it was surprisingly difficult to wrap it around slippery asparagus and figs in a manner that was aesthetically pleasing.
 "I wish I took over the chorizo.", I whinged to myself, but it was too late.
Andrew came over and gave me a few tips (roll the ham and asparagus with the help of a cling film) and eventually I managed to produce the dish.
"Ta-dah!" I said, presenting the dish to my fellow bloggers Katy and Shikha
I then whipped out brand new Samsung phone loaned to each one of us for the evening and started furiously snapping away. After all, what is a blogger event without photos?
As a lifelong Apple slave, I really hate to admit this, but Samsung phone packs a nice, powerful little camera which is (dare I say it?) better than iPhone's (*gasp*).
The feature I liked the best was selective focus as well as the beauty mode (which I ramped up to the highest level for my selfies, obvz! What? I want to be more beautiful, not less.)
You can see photos taken by Samsung on my Instagram as well as at the end of this post. 



After all the cooking, styling and photographing, it was time for my favourite part of the evening...sitting down at the table, glass of wine in hand, chatting and eating all the good food we made. The company was wonderful and we might have even lost the track of time as we stayed way over the planned leaving hour. Now...if that is not a sign of successful evening, I don't know what is.
I will leave you with a few more photos as well as the recipe for a Spanish tortilla as some of you asked for it on Instagram. And since I'm slowly transitioning to vegetarianism, I need to point out that you can make the tortilla with a chorizo substitute too. It's available here.
As for me....I'm gonna go and dream up a scenario which involves me wearing that flamenco dress after all. Ole!

Spanish potatoes & Chorizo Tortilla (serves 4)
You'll need:
*100ml Olive oil
*400g Desirée potatoes, peeled and cubed
*2 Red onions, roughly chopped
*Salt and freshly ground pepper
*200g Chorizo sausage, skinned
*1 Garlic clove, crushed
*2 tbsp flat parsley leaves, chopped
*1 Red chilli chopped
*1 Roasted red pepper diced
*6 Eggs

Method:
1) Heat two-thirds of the olive oil in a frying pan, 20-22cm in diameter and
about 4cm deep. When it is hot, put in the potatoes and cook over a
medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the onions, salt lightly and continue
to cook for another 10 minutes or so.
2) In the meantime, cut the chorizo in 2mm slices. Add to the frying pan
with the garlic chilli and parsley. Mix well, without crushing the
potatoes, and cook for another 2 minutes. Tip everything on to a plate
and leave to cool slightly. Wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper,
ready for cooking the tortilla.
3)  Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the frying pan. Using a spoon, mix the
cooled potato mixture delicately into the eggs and add the roasted red
peppers, then pour into the pan. Start cooking over a moderate heat,
stirring gently every few minutes with the side of a fork, as if making an
omelette.
4)  As soon as the eggs are half-cooked, stop stirring, and cook over a
very low heat for 2-3 minutes, until the underside of the tortilla is almost
cooked. Slide it on a lightly oiled platter, then invert it back into the pan
and cook for another 2 minutes, until both sides are cooked the same
and the middle of the tortilla is still soft. Slide the tortilla on to a plate
and serve it whole or cut into wedges. It is equally good served hot,
warm or at room temperature, but not chilled.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Hello Sunshine!



Here I am...just casually hanging out on the rooftop. Behind me is a skyline of...Sao Paulo! Brazil!
All of that is yet to come on the blog so stay tuned... :)

I wore:
T-shirt: POP Cph (similar here )
Skirt: ASOS (here on sale )
Clutch: Accessorize (similar here )
Shoes: Whistles (similar here )
Rings: Kris Nations; Dogeared (similar here )



 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Israel Tips



Sleep:

When traveling, I tend to give preference to smaller, family run establishments over the big hotel chains and this trip was not an exception.
This charming find is perfectly located between the beach and the Carmel market in Tel Aviv and is within easy walking distance to most points of interest in town.
The rooms are a little bit on a small side, but functional, comfortable and very tastefully decorated in romantic vintage style. 
The breakfast is served 24-7 which is awesome if you're felling peckish and it's late at night.
The best thing, however, must be the charming and very helpful owners and staff who go over and beyond of what is expected. 
They also have a resident cat and that's always a win in my book. :)



Eat:
Gorgeous little bistro in the centre of Tel Aviv serving classic home style food. The portions are rather big and the food is tasty. They also have a good selection of cocktails and other drinks.
The atmosphere is very European and relaxed and the service is efficient, but friendly. 

 
See:
It's one of the oldest cities in the world. Every corner of this place is steeped in history and, if you're staying in Tel Aviv, it is easily doable as a day trip.  I do, however, recommend that you stay longer than one day if at all possible. It's an amazing city with lots to see and do. 


Linking up with Sunday Funday

Thursday, 26 March 2015

"Right, we are going to the Church Of the Holy Sepulchre first", announced the guide the moment we got to Jerusalem.
I thought to myself that I really would rather see a Jewish quarter first, but hey...I wasn't in charge.
The complex was huge and, as an important religious site, shared by several Christian churches (Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic).
After all, Jesus was said to be buried there.
Once inside I first noticed the eerie atmosphere...each denomination was singing their own songs and doing their own rituals. At the same time! It could have been cacophonic, but it was actually rather soothing.
In one corner, the devotees of the Armenian church were prostrating themselves on the marble stone, touching it with objects and falling into a trance like state.
"What are they doing?", I asked the guide.
"This is where Jesus laid.", he said.
I thought I better touch the stone just in case and prostrated myself right across the marble slab. I rubbed my clothing onto it for good measure too. You know...just in case I follow the wrong denomination and Armenians are the righteous followers.
We then proceeded to wait in the queue with other Catholics in front of a giant square stone inside the church.
Once we got inside this smallest of the spaces, there was a glass encasing with a rock under it.
"What's this?"; I asked the guide.
"This is where Jesus was buried.", he said.
"I thought he was buried under that marble slab...", I started.
"Well...", he shrugged.
I thought to myself I better touch the rock inside the glass encasing inside the square stone inside the church too. Just in case. Gotta cover all bases when it comes to afterlife. I don't wanna ruin my chances with Lord Jesus.
I went around the church touching this and rubbing that for what seems like an eternity.

Eventually, it was time for a visit to  the Bazaar and, finally, a Jewish quarter.
It was Shabbat and it was unusually busy as the devotees were preparing themselves for prayers at the Western Wall. The atmosphere was electric. People were singing, dancing and being very joyous.
The guide told us we can go all the way to the wall and to write our prayers and wishes on the paper and stick it inside the crevices in the wall.
"Aha...", I thought: "I have a whole list of things to wish for!!!".
I begun scribbling furiously. 
I tried to insert my wish list into the crevice in the wall, but, alas, there was no space. Every single surface, crevice, nook and cranny were covered in colourful papers. I tried again. No luck. Then I got one of the chairs dotted around, dragged it to the wall, stood on it and stuck my wish list high up. 
"Closer to God"; I thought. 
And with that, our visit to this holy city was over.
"I guess I'm gonna be in God's good books now.", I thought to myself and rubbed my hands with glee.
 
 
 
 
 









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