Rougaille

This Mauritian food is something my boyfriend and his family introduced me to. Its said to be a ‘sauce’ in most posts online but I found it to be a main dish in itself. It works as a side to a main dish, and my favourite time is actual as a meal in itself for breakfast with some bread. For those who eat cereal and toast and don’t believe in spice in the morning this can seem very strange, but I took quite a liking to it in the morning. It is a great way to get some of your 5 a day in a flavourful way. It’s also a welcome change to a salad with a meal as it incorporates many vegetable found in salads, but it cooked rather than cold with dressing. Now I am not Mauritian so I can’t officially state how genuine the way I make it is, though I have had it in Mauritius with my boyfriends family and I don’t think I am too far off the mark.

Recipe

What you need:

Untitled

5 medium sized tomatoes

A dollop of Tomato Paste

1 tsp or Garlic Powder or fresh Garlic

1 tsp Ginger

A handful of Coriander

1 Onion

1 Green Chilli (or more if you like it fiery)

Red Chilli Powder to taste

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil

1 Green Pepper

You can also add parsley but I am not much of a fan of it, and I don’t agree with parsley and coriander being mixed together. Also, green pepper is my addition because I like the flavour but it isn’t necessary. Feel free to play with the recipe and add veg like mushrooms which can also go well.

To cook it is relatively simple. You heat some olive oil in a frying pan then add your onions and garlic to cook until the onions loose transparency. Then add tomatoes and tomato paste and stir occasionally to ensure it doesn’t burn. Then tip in all the other ingredients. The consistency of the Rougaille should be thick enough that isn’t a sauce but not so thick that there are no juices. Especially if your using slightly unripe or less juicy tomatoes, add an extra douce of oil during cooking and some hot water to thin it out. When its all cooked and you can smell the chilly and spices, add the coriander just before serving.

Untitled

Tip: If you want it like a salsa dip to go alongside asian bread like chapati or puri, blend it to a smoother consistency.

Ta da!

Top 10 Next Travel Destinations

Where are your top 10 next travel destinations? Please share and give feedback!

I was going to number them from the most wanted to the least, but they have equal weight on my list.

Peru

I was called a cliche for having a dream to go to South America. It turns out every girl wants to be in the continent of salsa, spicy food, hot latino men and tequilla. I researched into Peru as an option instead of East Asia but backed out because of the price. Turns out its not that cheap to visit Macchu Pichu because of the trek needing a private tour and guide. The country still is contained within the Amazon in the North, with Leticia borderlining peru, Colombia, and Brazil it would be a beautiful place to visit.

I would also love Colombia, what can I say, i really want to learn spanish and dancing!

Macedonia

Finding out that my Grandparents on my fathers side are actually Yugoslavian and lived in Macedonia makes me want to visit where they came from, a perhaps the village they used to come from. They spoke of the village being of poverty but it is attached to my roots.

South Turkey (Adana, Urfa, Gaziantep)

My family have always lived in Ankara on my dads side, with some relatives in Izmir and Istanbul. I have visited the major cities and the coasts of Bodrum, Antalya, Kusadasi but never the rural south. Reading Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Snow’ made me want to visit. It is rich is history, culture and so different to the side of Turkey I have visited before.

Italy (Florence)

Romantic Florence has always drawn my eye. Good food, architecture and italy. Say no more.

U.S.A (New York)

I want to eat as Americans eat, doggy bags, towers of food, bottomless chips, the origin or man versus food. I will go to a man versus food venue! and the land of shopping my long list of must buys are UGG, Apple, Michael Kors, Apple Bottom Jeans…

Canada

New addition to my list. The landscape looks lovely, think I might want to visit some time. probably bottom of my list though.

Zimbabwe

I want to visit Africa, preferably a less known, less touristy destination. The countries are a place of political turmoil and the lives are so rich in culture. I met people from Zimbabwe and Cameroon on my travels, they seemed so fun loving that I would like to go.

India (Goa)

My next beach holiday destination. The boat trips and beaches look amazing, and I love Indian food!

Dublin

Never been anywhere in U.K but London and it’s surroundings, would love to see more.

Denmark

My friends I met in China live there, near Aarhus. I want to see them because I miss them, it’s a shame it will take me a while as its so expensive!

Restaurant hopping on Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands

The car-free Princes’ Islands are only a short ferry ride from Istanbul, and provide a welcome break from the city heat. It’ll be a memorable day trip if you eat in one of these great restaurants

This blogpost first appeared on the Istanbul Eats blog www.istanbuleats.com

Club Mavi, Buyukada, Prince's Island, Istanbul

Club Mavi, Buyukada, Princes’ Islands, Istanbul. Photograph: Yigal Schleifer

Whenever we’re in need of a vacation but can’t afford the airfare, we take a ferry to Princes’ Islands, a lovely archipelago just off Istanbul‘s Asian shore. For the price of just a few lira, we’re transported to a small slice of traffic-free paradise where, if we manage to get away from the crowds and explore some of the islands’ quiet back streets, we feel as if we’ve found our way back to the late 19th century and an Istanbul that no longer exists on the mainland.

We’re especially fond of the islands in springtime, when their Judas, mimosa and wild plum trees are starting to bloom and a walk along one of their tranquil trails serves as the perfect cure for the lingering effects of the Istanbul winter blues. Of course, a good meal is essential any time of the year, and we’ve been lucky enough to find a few spots on the islands that are worthy destinations in and of themselves. For those planning a visit to the Princes’ Islands, here are some suggestions:

On Burgazada: Kalpazankaya Restaurant

Kalpazankaya Restaurant, Burgazada, Prince's IslandKalpazankaya Restaurant. Photograph: Yigal SchleiferBurgazada is the smallest and least visited of the Princes’ Islands. The island has few easily accessible beaches and picnic spots, but what it does have is a laid-back atmosphere and several charming waterfrontrestaurants and cafes in the harbour. Better yet, Burgaz is home to Kalpazankaya, an out-of-the-way, open-air meyhane (traditional bar/restaurant) that will quickly help you forget about the crowded mass of humanity left behind on the ferry.

Getting to Kalpazankaya is easy: take the road that leads to the right when leaving the ferry terminal and continue walking along that road for about 30 minutes until it comes to an end. In front of you, sitting in splendid isolation on a hillside overlooking the blue waters of the Marmara Sea and a small pebble beach below, is the restaurant, a collection of vine-shaded terraces with rickety wooden tables and chairs.

The meze tray holds all the classics, plus a few surprises, such as a ceviche made with sea bass tossed in what seemed like a mustard vinaigrette.

• +90 216 381 1504, kalpazankaya.com

On Heybeliada: Heyamola Ada Lokantasi

Heyamola Ada Lokantasi, Prince's Island, IstanbulHeyamola Ada LokantasiWhile the Princes’ Islands make for a great escape from the city, it’s been hard to think of them as a culinary destination. Until now. The new-offshore-kid-in-town Heyamola Ada Lokanatasi is a perfect storm of inspired food, chill ambience, and small-label Turkish wines, all at ridiculously low prices. Heyamola is reason in and of itself to plan a day trip to the islands, and if you are already organising your island adventure, this place is a compelling argument for ditching the ferry at Heybeli Island, often overlooked in favour of the more popular Buyukada.

In every way that matters, it’s a great spot to spend an extended afternoon that will easily melt into evening and beyond!


• Yali Caddesi, opposite the IDO (hydrofoil ferry), +90 216 351 1111

On Buyukada: Club Mavi

Considering that you’re on an island, you probably want to eat somewhere with a view of the sea. Most visitors to Buyukada end up getting lured to the row of busy fish restaurants found just beside the island’s ferry terminal. All have seaside terraces with a view of Istanbul’s rapidly developing Asian shore (and of the occasional piece of urban flotsam and jetsam that drifts by) and similar, predictable menus with decently made but uninspiring food.

A more pleasant (but not cheap) island experience, though, can be had by hailing one of Buyukada’s horse carriages and asking the driver to take you to Club Mavi, a restaurant and hotel located inside a rambling old house on the island’s undeveloped backside. The ride – past many of the island’s grandest mansions and through a scented pine forest – is part of the fun. And while the restaurant has a menu of fairly typical, though well made, meze and grill items, it more than makes up for the lack of any culinary pizzazz with its stunning location: up on a bluff that overlooks a nearby island and the open sea

Particularly at around sunset, the view from Club Mavi’s outdoor tables rivals those you would find on the Greek islands or the Dalmatian coast.

When dinner is done, a carriage driver or two are usually waiting at the restaurant’s gate to take you back to town for a ride under the stars in order to catch the last ferry back to the city. It’s probably one of the best endings to a meal that we know of.

• Büyüktur Yolu No: 12, +90 216 382 6075, clubmavi.com

Also on Buyukada: SofrAda Restoran

One of the questions that we frequently ask ourselves during visits to Buyukada is just where do the locals eat? The seaside fish restaurants are too pricey, while even the “budget” places away from the sea are clearly aimed at the tourist trade.

We recently found the answer to our question in the form of SofrAda Restoran, a homey version of an esnaf lokanta (tradesmen’s restaurant), located on a small side street near the aromatic lot where the horse carriages are parked while their drivers wait for rides.

Run by an islander who clearly knows what she’s doing, the restaurant features a large daily menu of prepared dishes, freshly made with a loving touch. After several visits to the restaurant, we’ve grown fond of their vegetables stewed in olive oil – okra and green beans, in particular – and served at room temperature. Everything else that we have had, including their mücver (zucchini fritters, köfte and karniyarik (eggplant stuffed with minced meat), have been very tasty and, unusual for these parts, offered up at mainland prices.

• Isa Çelebi Sok. No: 10, +90 216 382 7639

This is an article from the Guardian Travel Network. 

Koh Phi Phi: A paradise in East Asia

Koh Phi Phi Island Village Resort 

SDC10846

This little Island was the most gorgeous place I have ever been to in my entire life. Thailand has great nightlife, markets and weather but the hustle and bustle of the mainland had me craving a retreat. 2 and a half months of travel, 5 countries later, I was begging for a break. Most backpackers head to the world renowned full moon party in Koh Phanghan, or jet off to Koh Samui for a retreat but we chose this little Island because it was the least popular. Abit more isolated as the journey to Koh Phi Phi begins with a flight or ferry to phuket from the mainland in the South, followed by a ferry to Koh Phi Phi. We went because we found a great resort situated on the Island.

Koh Phi Phi Island Village Resort was £150 per night for two people, for a private bungalow and buffet breakfast. To find paradise so cheap amazed us. I thought I would only dream of going to a place as nice as this but I was so very wrong. I was in heaven. The resort covered a huge private beach and had a pool with a bar situated inside the pool. The most delicious coconut cocktails, lovely food, gorgeous sea view setting in a romantic dinner venue, a massive and delicious buffet breakfast. The waters were a beautiful turquoise and the weather was never beneath 30 degrees. I have never been on a holiday that matched it.

SDC10706

SDC10704

Far from being full of backpackers, on low season it was a peaceful island. We didn’t spend more than one night on Tonsai Bay, which was known to be full of nightlife, but when we were their we found the area quiet there too.

We took a speedboat to the private beachline of our hotel, and were then checked into a really big bungalow. We spent our days lazing by the pool, or on our balcony with room service, it was divine.

SDC10700

Other than spending time at the resort, we went out for a day trip to the other islands in the area. One was famous for the setting of ‘TheBeach’ but had been so overly bombarded with tourism that the water was murky with dirt. The other areas were far more beautiful as the sharp peaks and caves were amazing and the water was very clear in some of the bays amongst the small islands. One on of them we did some snorkelling, and saw hundreds of colourful fish as well as a black reef shark! There were many jellyfish so we had to beware and make sure we swam away from them. For most of the trip we went in the pool instead of the sea as the amount of jellyfish made it abit scary to swim in.

SDC10772

SDC10869

The earth is a very small…

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena, think of those rivers of blood, spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that in glory and triumph they can become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel. ~ Carl Sagan

It is a significant and meaningful message, and a quote to think about when reading my blog “The Cambodian Genocide, A Country Rebuilt”. Carl Sagan makes you realise what insignificant things the world sheds blood for, and importance of protecting life. [Extract of The Pale Blue Dot: http://youtu.be/nl5dlbCh8lY]

Laos Tubing in Vang Vieng

Warning! Tubing is Dangerous for your mental and physical health …

But it is so much fun!

076
080
077

Everything that’s scary about tubing:

  • Mekong River is one of the dirtiest in the world. You will get pink eye from the river, or get infected by a fellow sufferer in your hostel. It is brown, you have no idea what’s floating in there.
  • Don’t watch a documentary on the Documentary Travel about a giant Sting Ray that lives in the waters of the Mekong.
  • You may drown. At least one person per day nearly drowned. Maybe because they were off their tits, so maybe they deserved it the fools… but the other reason is high season includes rapids. Rapids+ Drunk people+ Ziplines and Trapezes off heights without any guards to help if it goes wrong= Drowning
  • Trapeze, Ziplines, Slides all made by laos villages, no safety, no stability. One slide was called the slide of death because it had a steep edge that went upwards.. you better make sure you slide quick enough to fly up and over and not up and then down straight onto the sharp edge.
  • Tripping on Mushroom shakes and joints (it is the land of no police).
  • If your floating in the dark down the river, which is highly likely, there are no signs, or people to reel you in out of the drift of the water, and it is pitch black. You may just keep going and end up like a friend of ours who ended floating km’s away from the village, hitch-hiking down a dark village road in the dark in search of someone to take him home.

Ok, I might be scaring the crap out of you, and rightly so you need it! You’ve probably got to this blog because your going tubing. You need to know what to be careful with before you go. I’m not a party pooper, I did get completely trashed on buckets of pre mix whisky and coke and float in the dark, but I chose wisely. I steered clear of dodgy slides and ziplines, and I was freaked out of what lurked in the water, so I made sure I had my bottom in the tubing ring with my legs above water (I may have panicked, popped my boyfriends tube by accident so he had no choice to float down attached to mine. Horrible for him, but it meant i didn’t need to stick my feet at the bottom and swim it down the river, he did that for me:)

All fears aside, we managed to dodge pink eye, and the ones who got it didn’t care too much because everyone had it. The hostels were amazing, as were the bars. We went to Laos Vang Vieng by a small mini bus… it was a pretty crazy journey. We got in the cramped little thing and were told it was a long few hours through the high hills of Laos to get to the tubing village. We got in the van and looked around rather confused. It seemed the ceiling of the vehicle was padded, and yet underneath our arses.. rockhard. Now we are thinking you silly nilly’s you’ve done it upside down. But 1 hour into the journey it all made sense as our bodies flew into the air due to the bumpy roads, and our heads hit the ceiling of the car. I suffered from terrible dodgy stomach from the journey.

When we got there we found a random hotel. Private room with aircon was dirt cheap, and everything was walking differences. bars all nestled on the banks of the river, with a gorgeous view of the mekong and the greenery. The sunset was beautiful. When drunk, there were the most amazing sandwiches. I have no idea what was in them, but it was the best sandwich I ever had. We went tubing once but many went every day.

096


We bought a tube, which you gave a deposit for that is never returned because u never make it on time, and then set asail down the river. Bars were dotted all the way down the water, with men ready with their bottles attached to string to reel you into the bar. Hold on tight or you float down the river and have to wait for the next bar.107

From 10 am the bars were rammed with young crazy backpackers, shots, mud wrestling, volleyball, dancing and slides. It was the perfect summer moment and I wished I could have spent more time their to enjoy it. many fell so in love with it that they joined promo jobs where they have to sell bar crawls down the river and in exchange get free accommodation and food, great deal!

112