Monday, June 28, 2010

The final countdown calls for croquetas.

I have had a fantastic last week in Perthy-town engaging in some serious social activity. Life is pretty bloody sweet here. I will definitely miss my school friends, Bahai pals, uni buddies, the Greenhouse gang, my lovely family and dogs a lot. Tonight I leave on my epic journey to the north. It will take me a ridiculou-so 62 hours to arrive at my first port of call which is Damascus, the capital of Syria. I am seriously naive about Damascus. I know that Syria is in the Middle East. I know that they speak Arabic. That my friends is about the extent of my knowledge.
I shall update you on my knowledge, when my knowledge expands. In the mean time I thought I would share with you a recipe. A recipe for a delightful Spanish tapa named a "croqueta". The croqueta is a deep fried bite sized piece of rich breaded béchamel. It is found at every good Spanish bar, they are irresistibly tasty but because of their richness only one croqueta is needed per person. They can be filled with chicken, fish, spinach the possibilities are infinite. This recipe uses Spanish ham, known by the locals as jamon, pronounced HARRRMON. hahaha.
to serve 4 as a tapas dish
50g butter
2 tsb Spanish olive oil
75g plain flour
300ml milk
salt and pepper
1/2 ts nutmeg preferably freshly grated
50g cheddar cheese grated
2 large slices of Jamon
1 large egg
100g fine breadcrumbs
Melt butter with oil in large pan on low/medium heat.
Stir in 75g flour, a spoonful at a time until you have a thick paste and no more butter to soak up.
Add milk, little by little and stir to eliminate the possibility of lumps forming.
When all the milk is added keep stirring for a couple of minutes to really thicken the mixture.
Season mixture with salt and pepper.
Add, the cheese and nutmeg.
Take off the heat and let the mixture cool.
Stir in the chopped Jamon.
Put the mix in the fridge for an hour to set.
Get 3 bowls: 1 with flour, 1 with the beaten egg and 1 with the fine bread crumbs.
Dust your hands with flour, then a create a frankfurt shaped croqueta with a tablespoon of the chilled mixture.
Deep fry the croquetas in hot veggie oil for 2-3 minutes until golden all over.
Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

10 Rules for Bag Packing.

I used to find packing my school bag difficult. Imagine my pain when it comes to selecting the 20kgs of "stuff" to take away, especially when away means several months! Here are some tips and rules for mitigating TLOSP (travellers lack of space pain).
Rule 1: Don't bother with the hair straightener. Beach hair and natural fizz make you look like your on holiday anyways. Not only is it a waste of space, it's a waste of time when you could be strolling cobblestone streets in Italy or learning to cook duck confit in France.
Rule 2: Your going to have to get used to people asking you- "Don't you own any other clothes?". Your also going to commit some fashion crimes; hiking boots in night clubs, havianas on European streets in mid winter, stained and ripped clothing in locations which require respect. As long as you stay away from socks and sandals all should be forgiven.
Rule 3: To minimise the number of fashion crimes you commit, find yourself some super versatile shoes. When Alex and I went travelling I had these great pair of brown jelly sandals. I wore them to the beach, to restaurants with white linen, on bush walks in the mountains and even to a couple of nightclubs.
Rule 4: Layer. Underwear, singlet, thermals, t-shirt, long sleeve top, cardigan, jumper, jacket, ski jacket. Do whatever it takes to keep warm with what you got.
Rule 5: If your travelling with a friend, share the load. There is no point in carrying around two pairs of nail clippers and several bottles of shampoo.
Rule 6: Take multiple forms of dosh. This means, credit cards, debit cards, travellers cheques and local currency. Also make sure to let your bank know that you are going away in case of any money glitch.
Rule 7: Pack a deck of cards. Small and light, so many uses, from curing boredom in airports, drinking games in hostels and a place for people to write down their number.
Rule 8: Take one book and trade it. With the number of interesting travellers you come across while away, chances are you'll be able to trade in for some pretty epic reads.
Rule 9: Write a journal. The hilarious things you find, months and years after you have been away. E.g "Passionfruit shakes in Cambodia are great! Minus the scary bits of meat".
"Our hostel is in a fantastic location... in the middle of the red light district".
"Then out of the blue, a lady threw a bucket of hot water at me".
Rule 10: Don't worry if you've forgotten something. You can always buy it when you arrive. As long as you've got your passport, your good to go.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pho Ga Ra Ha Ha.

The Vietnamese do breakfast well. When Alex and I were travelling in Vietnam we would roll out of bed and cross the road to get our morning dose of Pho. I typed "pho" into google translate, it came up with "cheese". Um no. Pho is certainly not cheese, it is a uber tasty, brothy soup and i
s usually served as "pho ga" meaning chicken or "pho bo" meaning beef. For about $1 we got ourselves steaming bowl of pho ga. To the eye it looked boring and tasteless. To the taste buds it is a bloody taste sensation!
We sat next to the sidewalk of a bustling Ho Chi Minh street at colourful children's pastic tables, yeah cos thats how they roll in Vietnam. There were a selection of seasonings on the table. Hoysin sauce, chillis, bean sprouts, hot sauce, so yummy! To top the Vietnamese breakfast experience off we would order blended ice coffee from the cute little lady across the road. We yelled out "ice coffee" and she would run it over to us a minute later. Sickly sweet, but super delicious.
Until next time,
xxx Hannah
The Fisken Fjorder