One of the big things I miss from Thailand is the availability of good quality, fresh, cheap produce. Where we live now, I can't even buy any Asian greens, and I really miss that. There's no fresh coriander here, but I can buy fresh basil (yay!). Walking through Maeklong was fantastic, and I wished I could scoop up all the lovely cheap seafood, fruit and veg and take it home. Here's a bundle of shots of great produce in this amazing market - all laid out for the locals to buy.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The utterly glorious glamour-pups over at Luxe City Guides are giving you the chance to win two nights accommodation at the The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London. The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is renowned for serious glamour and all round fabulousness, and its room rates start at 550GBP per night, so the chance of two nights for free is something that should have you scampering to enter.
Luxe City Guides also have a brilliant guide to London available, so even if you don't win the prize, this guide will tell you all about the absolutely best places to see next time you're in London.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Despite living in Bangkok for nearly two years, we hadn't actually done a lot of sightseeing, so when we were back last we decided we'd go on a tour and see a few sights out of town. After a quick bit of googling and checking TripAdvisor, we rang Tong from Tour with Tong and booked the half day Floating Market Tour (the itinerary of which has since changed from what we did) at very short notice.
Our guide, Khun Charlie, was waiting for us in the lobby of our hotel at around 6.30am the next morning. Now, I know that sounds disgustingly early, but Thailand gets HOT later on, so if you can book a tour in the cooler morning, then that's the way forward. We jumped into his air conditioned car and headed off to the Floating Market, with him giving a running commentary along the way. We were the only people on the tour, so it was very personal.
I had been to the Floating Market about 20 years before and it has really changed in that time. Now there is just a small market and hundreds of klong boats filled with predominately Russian tourists, cruising up and down the "market" klongs. There aren't many locals doing their shopping there now, just lots of tourist things for sale, and a few stalls with produce for the locals. It was still good to see, and very colourful, but I'm guessing that most locals shop at the supermarkets now. We enjoyed our klong boat ride around looking at things, and it was getting much busier by the time we left.
We then headed to a few local temples, one run by Monks who keep animals such as camels, horses, deer, goats etc. You can buy animal food to feed them, including Bok Choy which was so fresh and lovely I wanted to take it home and cook it, not feed it to a bossy goat. The temples always provide great photo opportunities - but make sure you take your shoes off, and ladies must have their arms covered (no coochie cutter shorts and boob tubes here, girls!).
Khun Charlie decided to throw something else into the mix, a surprise he said, so he zoomed off through the back roads and landed us at Maeklong Train Market. This place is AMAZING. I hadn't even heard of it before, but it's a real local produce market set up along side and on top of a functioning railway track. Really. Eight trains a day terminate at Maeklong Station and it's something you have to see to believe.
Around three minutes before the train arrives, a bell rings, and the vendors pull all of their produce off the lines for the train to pass through, putting them all back again with in seconds of its passing. I know it sounds bonkers, and it seriously is, but I'll post pictures and then you'll understand (maybe). It's something you have to experience to believe and it's much better than the Floating Market. The Maeklong Market is where locals actually do shop, and the Market itself is huge.
So, basically, give the Floating Markets the swerve,
and head for Maeklong - it's amazing!
Oh, and just in case you were wondering,
the photos above were all taken in under 10 seconds ...
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
I've written about my favourite Suda in BKK before (you can read about it HERE), and we visited again last time we were back in BKK. Prices had gone up fractionally, but nothing else had changed.
I had the chicken with garlic and a Diet Coke, all for the princely sum of 100bht. Suda was buzzing and the service was speedy. There were the usual pigeons flapping around, and the odd stray cat weaving its way under the tables from one edge of the open sided restaurant to the other. Like I said in my previous post, this is cheap and cheerful eating, not fancy restaurant dining, so don't worry too much about the urban wildlife and the slightly sticky plastic tablecloths.
I managed to grab a snap of the opening hours this time, and pretty much the only time you can't get a meal is lunchtime on a Sunday. They've got a liquor licence, and if you're a regular they'll keep your bottle of whisky behind the bar with your name on it.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I saw this recipe shared on Facebook by the lovely Rae V, and thought it looked so easy and yummy that I had to give it a try. It really is incredibly easy, but I thought the original published recipe looked a bit "flour heavy", so I went off-piste a bit and dropped the flour by a third. I've made the recipe twice, and I think I'm right, but if you want to go with the original published recipe, add an extra cup of flour (and let me know how that goes!).
This is an American recipe, and one thing I find a bit confusing about some recipes is that they give a measurement of "packet" or "can", and those sorts of things vary wildly from country to country. This recipe called for two cans of cherry pie filling, which I couldn't find in our little supermarket, so I bought one jar of whole pitted cherries instead. Once the liquid was drained off the cherries, they weighed about 370g, so that's how much I used.
|My jar of pitted cherries - yep, that's supermarket brand!|
And, of course, our dodgy old oven needed baby sitting and it took nearly an hour to cook instead of the recommended 35 minutes. I covered the cake with tin foil about 40 minutes in, and turned the oven down a bit, so the top didn't burn.
Okey dokey, let's cook, as usual my comments are in italics.
Cherry Pie Bars
- 1 cup of softened butter
- 2 cups of sugar (Yes, Mum, I can actually hear you saying "Two cups of sugar!!!!!!" in horror)
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I forgot this, are you surprised?)
- Half teaspoon of salt
- Quarter teaspoon of almond extract (I used about half instead of a quarter)
- 2 cups of all purpose flour (the recipe says 3 cups, hmmmmm, I'm not convinced)
- 2 cans of cherry pie filling (or whatever quantity you can find, above)
- Preheat oven to 350f
- Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and extract, beating well to mix
- Add flour and salt, mixing well (I added the flour a half cup at a time)
- Spread half of the batter in a greased 9x13 pan
- Spoon pie filling over the batter
- Randomly drop tablespoons of remaining batter over the pie filling
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a sharp knife comes out clean
There's an optional glaze listed, but I think the cake is sweet enough. However, if you want to up your sugar levels into the red zone, go wild by mixing one cup of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of almond extract, 2 teaspoons of milk and then drizzle it over the top when the cake is cool.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Fancy swanning about the shopping avenues of London clad in a scrumptious Burberry Trench Coat? Scampering into High Tea draped knowingly in the Burberry signature check? Well, Claridges Hotel in London is the place for you then, you little fashionista!
Claridges has partnered with the luxury British clothier, Burberry, to offer their iconic trench coats in your butlered suite this season. There will be a lovely Burberry trench waiting for you in your wardrobe, for you to use as you stroll about London, and should you wish to purchase it on your departure, your butler can assist with that. Of course he can!
|Princess Kate's got one!|
Yes, I know she's only a Duchess,
but she'll always be Princess Kate to me.
"This is fabulous!" I can hear you squealing, and, yes, it is. But it's also mind bogglingly expensive. I did a search for their most affordable suite for one night and the prices start from £1040 and lurch upwards at a nose bleeding speed. But it does come with a full English breakfast the next morning, so I guess there's that ...
Now, should you just want to trot along to Burberry and flash the plastic to get your mittens on one of their trenches, you can do so for about £1000 (full price), spend the remaining £40 on groceries and cook your own flipping breakfast. And then you get to keep the coat!
Though, I guess, if you can afford to stay at Claridges, then cash probably isn't a huge problem for you. It is a fun idea though.
|Alexa Chung's got one too!|