Six Dinners Later… Nourishing Lives

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All images rights and owned by Six Dinners Later limited.

 I just had to write about Six Dinners Later… (www.sixdinnerslater.com) I have just started out working as their community manager and I am already so passionate about the brand I feel like so many more people could benefit from knowing about who it is and what it does!

For me its so close to home. I’ve spent years in cosmopoliton London as a child trying to find a circle of friends in school, but always found I was always an outsider. I wasn’t asian enough to spend time with the hard workers of the class, not careless enough about my future to be part of the more rebellious crowd. I felt there was no middle ground to position myself in, that I just felt lonely. I wanted to have friends and work hard, I wanted it all but I felt like there was no one like me. I moved to Turkey and I suffered further, with an identity crisis in which I wasn’t turkish enough to spend time with local turkish friends, my mixed race led me to feel like I didn’t belong. I still struggle to find my footing today, awkward meetups, jobs and situations to try and find just one more person to connect with.

Six Dinners Later resonated so well because it was built by Janey, who decided on the concept because she felt a missing piece too. Its all too common to feel alone in a crowd, especially in a city like London. Unfortunately traditional methods to deal with this problem just don’t exist anymore.

Six Dinners Later makes it possible to find people through their website, but then build a friendship offline, by being hosted or hosting dinners with others. Now this just calls to the foodie in me as well as the desire to find some true friendships. I don’t need to date, I have a partner, and I don’t want to go clubbing with strangers, this is the closest thing to pure organic friendship finding that I can see…

I truly recommend the experience. They are more than a business, they are people who really want to nourish peoples lives, feed peoples soul with food and good conversation. Check them out! www.sixdinnerslater.com

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Harley.

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Completely unrelated to food and travel, but I just couldn’t resist! Meet Harley, our 9 week old puggle puppy. That’s a pug x a beagle cross if your asking.

Got her a week ago, shes now the love of our life. She waddles about in our garden, affectionately follows us around and kisses us like no tomorrow. We have warmed to her so quickly and in her presence I love my partner so much more. The tv episode where a man parades a puppy for the women to come flocking, well that has more than an ounce of truth to it. My boyfriend wakes up in the morning to visit Harley in the sitting room saying “Morning gorgeous” and I just melt inside.

For all the friends who say It’s in preparation.. SLOW DOWN! 6 years together and no closer to baby talk. To be honest, there are days with Harley that make me reconsider the idea of a family. I love her to bits, but she can be a pain in my ass. For the people who think a puppy is easy it is like a baby, in fact, babies may be easier! Listen to the adverts that say a pet is not just for christmas, because you probably have not mentally prepared for the first stages of a puppy.

The sleepless nights, the huge amount of doggy poop, the training… It is amazing how quickly they learn and what a joy it is to see her develop. In a period of 1 week she went from only walking one step in fear to running up and down like its nothing, from fear of plastic bottles to playing with them, from not being able to be unattended to us leaving with not a peep of worry. But as confidence and curiousity builds so does naughtiness.. biting, clawing, running away, cheeky resilience to your commands..

This little bundle of joy is the best little nightmare we’ve ever had 🙂

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San Lorenzo, Rome (Roman Street Art)

The Land of Beer and Sausages, Munchen

~A 3-Day trip eating my way through Bavaria~

Munich, Nuremberg & Bamberg
 

During my trip in China I made a good friend with Chris, a Bavarian guy who was also living in China temporarily. Once he left I said I would visit Germany, and with an excuse to do even more travelling booked off for a trip to Bavaria. I never had an interest in the country before and found my lack of expectation meant that I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. The rather harsh German language aside, the area I visited was rich with fine cuisine, beautiful architecture and an interesting culture. Even with my judgements on the language, I found myself surprised by how soft the Bavarian German accent was making the language almost romantic. 

I had a massive task to undergo as I had three days to see and eat all, Chris enabled me to fulfill this at the best capacity with his knowledge of good eats, local produce and the help of his lovely home where his mother cooked some lovely homecooked German specialities. The trip was amazing.

So I started in Munich, landing in the morning and taking a walk through Munich main food fair. It was early and the area was quiet and peaceful, mostly locals setting out their food stalls, many holding a litre beer at 9am, eating a pretzel along with it. I was already very much impressed by the beer drinking culture that almost challenged the British early morning start on the booze. We sat with and had a coffee instead (I wasn’t brave enough to drink straight after the flight) then walked through the town for abit before heading for the First Bavarian traditional meal of the day: Munich White Sausage and Pretzel.

This Sausage is a Munich Classic dish with a very distinct flavour. The sausage is boiled and then peeled and eaten with salted pretzel. It has a strange texture so I was only able to eat abit of it but it was tasty. The saltiness of the pretzel is saltier than I used to so it is no surprise that what came next was the need for big glass of beer to wash it down. and where best to have it but at the largest Hoffbrau Beer House in Munich?

The beer and Brewery is a local chain but nonetheless the beer was tasty, and the litre of it in the Sun was amazing. There was a large beer garden, beer hall, with local music and it was 30 degrees outside on the first day of my visit= A perfect day for a beer in the sunshine.


The Beer Garden At Hoffbrau House

I didn’t drink the popular wheat beer because I am not a fan of the flavour of them, but for those who do like it, this part of Germany has very good wheat beer as well as regular lager. The wheat beer is heavier with a darker colour and between a lager and ale-like texture. Beers in the area are premium so not for the light hearted Coors Light and Fosters drinker.

The venue was popular for tourists and locals, accommodating people like myself who want a ‘traditional’ brewery experience and the locals who have drank here for years, some who also have their own mug locked up for every visit. Renting these spaces for their daily beer shows how connected this chain brewery is to its people. It was charming.

Another local speciality for the time of year I visited were the white Asparagus. These were sold in stalls and sold as specialities in restaurants.

Germany is known for its beautiful bakeries and the cakes are wonderful to look at. I have never been a sweet tooth but I still appreciated the beauty of the deserts made. I was taken to a very famous Munich bakery where I looked at the beautiful foods. mmm…

After a look through the bakeries I was shown the ‘English Garden’ which was a large park with a beer garden, great for the weather we sat with more beer, more food (tried a raw pork pate topped bread.) and yet more pretzel. I was told the park contained fake waves for surfers and some proud exhibitionists.

What a beautiful day!

Part 2, Spain: Route Tarifa- Seville- Malaga, Destination 3#Seville

The History of Seville:A Free Tour

When in Sevilla, Spain we went on a wonderful history tour around the city, but for those who want to know it’s history but explore it themselves, I have outlined the main places of interest for the Sevilla Tourist. Seville is rich with history and every small statue in the city represents a story. Some stories are facts whilst others remain to be proven, but the myths are still very interesting part of Seville’s history. I believe without knowing these stories, the city is beautiful but the significance of the place can not be fully appreciated.

Seville Cathedral

The Seville Cathedral is one of the main architectural beauties of the city, rich with history of the past. This cathedral used to be a mosque and an idea of its grandeur can be had from the contemplation of its spacious orangerie and the body of its minaret with decorative brickwork. When built, this tower was topped with four golden spheres of decreasing size. Since 1568 however, the tower has been crowned by an airy belfry with a bronze weather vane, El Giraldillo, Replacing the once muslim structure with an ornate christian symbol. The decorative peices of the cathedral still display moorish artistry and dome-like mosque structures. Latter artwork is also hosted showing its medieval details with gargoyles on the shields of the cathedral exterior.

Jardines de Murillo

The Mayor of Seville Conde de Halcon convinced King Alfonso XIII in 1911 to give the city the area for a city garden. The city architect Juan Talavera y Heredia was chosen to design the gardens and then it was named Murillo Gardens to honor the painter Bartolome Esteban Murillo. The garden hosts a mass of different exotic plants, some imported from the Mediterranean. Many trees in the garden are over 80 years old.

In the gardens are a variety of art peices and statues representing different elements of Seville History.

The colours and shapes on the tiles of the bench are linked to the moorish muslim religious background of the city with its design very similar to the middle eastern tiles of Turkey, Morocco and Iran.

The Story of Christopher Colombus

There are various stories about Christopher Columbus, and many hold mythical status due to the fact that no one knows how true it all is.

The first history reports that with the backing of King Fernando and Queen Isabel for his voyage to to the Indies (that prompted the discovery of America). The reasons for their backing were that he would find new trade routes for the spanish monarchy, and if successful, be knighted. A myth follows that the reasons for King Fernando’s sending of Columbus were not as pure as that. A legend says that Columbus and Isabella had an affair, and the King agreed to the voyage thinking that Columbus would not return successfully. The accuracy of this claim is unknown. Additionally, the hanging items off of the ship seem to look like fruit but a story says the king may have died of eating bull’s testicles in thinking that feeding on them would improve his fertility. The fruit starts to resemble something very different.

Nonetheless, the monument stands to show the importance of Columbus’ Voyage and its connection with Seville. It is thought that Columbus is burial ground is in the city.

The City is rich with Jewish history. Many Jews and Muslims were exiled in the reign of King Ferdinand as they encouraged a Christian Country. Many in the middle ages where massacred for their faith if they did not immediately convert to catholicism. The pictures above tell a story of one Jewish girl, who fell in love for a Catholic Soldier, and told him of her escape. Her family was killed because of her naive love, and she is said to have hung herself after the murders. Las Cadenas indicates ‘Chains’ from where she hung herself and a plaque and skull is present at her home.

 Her family was one of many to be murdered at the Jewish quarter of Seville, some mercilessly killed every Jew who fell into their hands and refused to be baptized; many women and children were sold into slavery. A number of Jews, however, managed to escape. Seville was the first to destroy its jewish communities and within three months most of the flourishing Jewish communities in all the Christian States of Spain – Castille, Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia, as well as the Balearic Islands-were destroyed.

Symbols of Wealth and Religious Status adorn the walls of the city.

The Pillars of Hercules

 Hercules  marked with 6 columns the spot where Julius Caesar would later found the city of Seville. The illustrious Roman general called the new city Iulia Romula Hispalis: Iulia after himself, Romula in honour of Rome and Hispalis, according to Saint Isidore in his Etymologies, because many of the buildings had wooden piles driven into the ground as foundations.

“Raised by Hercules,
Julius Caesar fortified me,
with high walls and towers,
I was conquered for the king
of heaven by Garcí Pérez de Vargas”

So great was the admiration felt by Renaissance Seville towards her mythical founders that their statues, specially sculpted by Diego Pasquera, were placed on two granite pillars with Corinthian capitals in the newly created promenade, Alameda de Hércules, where they can still be admired. The two columns were removed from the ruins of a Roman temple in calle Mármoles where two sister columns remain.

NODO Motto

“NO8DO” is the official motto and the subject of one of the many legends of Seville. The legend has left its very tangible mark throughout the city as NO8DO can be seen on landmarks ranging from the common bike rack, the caps of the municipal sewer and water system, ordinary sidewalks, buses, taxis, monuments, even Christopher Columbus‘s tomb. The motto of Seville is a visible presence of which any visitor is sure to take note.

The motto is a rebus combining the Spanish syllables (NO and DO) and a drawing in between of the figure “8”. The figure represents a skein of yarn, or in Spanish, a “madeja”. When read aloud, “No madeja do” sounds like “No me ha dejado”, which means “It [Seville] has not abandoned me”.

The story of how NO8DO came to be the motto of the city has undoubtedly been embellished throughout the centuries.

After San Fernando’s death in the Real Alcázar, his son, Alfonso X assumed the throne. Alfonso X was a scholar king, hence his title. He was a poet, astronomer, astrologer, musician and linguist. Alfonso’s son, tried to usurp the throne from his father, but the people of Seville remained loyal to their scholar king and this is where the symbol comes from.

Part 2, Spain: Route Tarifa- Seville- Malaga, Destination 1&2#Tarifa & Malaga

Tarifa, Spain

Tarifa is a small Spanish town located off the southern coast of Spain and also main port access for transport to and from Morocco. Daily tickets can be bought there and boats are generally frequent.

We spent 3 days there before heading to Malaga for the feria. The town was small so I don’t recommend spending so much time there. We spent most of our time eating tapas, drinking sangria and tanning. The winds by the beach were so strong that sunbathing wasn’t possible without a mouthful of sand. It was still a nice place to walk around and the strong breeze from the ocean meant the heat wasn’t oppressive.

These are a few snaps in Tarifa, I did not take many images whilst there-known for its kitesurfing, and many other extreme water sports due to the rough waters, this place may be far more appealing to people with an interest in doing sports like these. For us this was a pitstop whilst waiting for our booking in Malaga.

After Tarifa we went to MALAGA

We got there and then settled into our hotel which was quite some way from the city center. Due to the Malaga de Feria, bookings were limited and hotels were expensive. Nonetheless, I heard the festival to be good so thought it would be worth our while so we booked anyway. I immediately loved Malaga as it catered for everything I could ever want. Hot weather, Beaches, Classy establishments, Good food, outdoor seating everywhere.. what more could you want?

MALAGA DE FERIA

Malaga de Feria was a strange celebration torn between Fair and Festival, mainly catered to locals who took the time to spend time with family, or getting drunk with friends (more the latter). The streets were filled with booze fuelled partying, wine bottles everywhere, and dancing in tents. Evening is when partying continued, or people went to the night funfair.

The beginning of the Feria began on the night before the beginning dates, where all gathered in the beach central Malaga for an opening speech by the mayor, a special guest footballer speech followed by music. I had no idea who the footballer was but he was hella goodlooking. Definately more for the espanol’s, all was spoken spanish so we don’t know what the speech was about, but it sounded sexy.

I felt that the festival catered far more to an adult crowd, and with the live music and flamenco, it was like going to a music festival. The atmosphere felt amazing, just cannot be captured by photo.

Party booze fuelled fun in the city centre was great fun, and when one felt like getting away from the crowd, there was an option to go to the fair early, as many bars played flamenco music and many danced festively. More families gathered in these areas for food and drink.

And later when it just got too hot to bear a fountain was near by..

We ended our day at the funfair, After which we were so tired that we slept at 8pm to catch sleep before our bus to Seville the next day..

Part 1, Morocco: Route Marrakesh- Sahara Desert- Marrakesh- Fes, Destination 3#Fes

Fes was very different after coming from Marrakesh. We had become accustomed to the comfort of our cheap and cheerful Riad Massin and came to Fes with expectations of accommodation very similar to that of Marrakesh. What we did not know was how different they would be. Fes was far more chaotic, loud and accommodation far more grubby. The surroundings were nothing like the organised feel of Marrakesh, which for some was daunting but for others it felt like Fes had a charm of it’s own. We stayed close to our accommodation when in Fes because it was busier, people tried to sell stuff to you so it got claustrophobic if you stayed out too long. Also the streets were more steep and hilly than the flat landed Marrakesh.

When times got stressful we found a haven, a place of solice in ‘Clock Cafe’ in that it was close, Clean, and had indoor and outdoor seating free from the chaos of the streets. We did have to pass a hectic meat market to get inside though, which in the summer heat was quite disgusting. One did not want to look at the meat for you fear that that’s the meat you were eating. The streets were filled with loud but smiley Moroccans until late evening when we were warned to stay off the streets due to fights. Ramadan is hard for muslims but even more so this year for the Moroccans had to do without food and water in peak August. This meant that anger was at it’s peak and hour or two before dinner, when locals could no longer take the hunger and heat.

We stayed in the cool, light and modern establishment of Cafe Clock, feasting on our fresh juice and Camel Burgers. Yes, a Camel Burger. In texture abit heavier than the average beef burger but also packed with flavour. We enjoyed many a days and nights here.

In the evening they had musicians, the had workshops, classes, and even cookbooks. It was a lovely place to eat, drink, and socialise.

It is hard to find as it is through a dark alley. So the first time you go, you may need someone to show you the way.

One of the main attractions I wanted to visit when in Fes were the tanneries. I heard that they were far nicer than the ones in Marrakesh. To find them I was told to walk down hill until someone approached me. The Tanneries are quite hidden amongst other building, accessed via a balcony to watch men at work. We were spotted and asked whether we would like to visit the tanneries. We went up to the balcony where a man explained the process to us.
We were given mint to hold on our nose as some find the leather smells quite strong. After this we were taken to the shop where we were pushed to buy something. Fortunately, I explained I would pay for the talk but not be buying the products, so they kindly accepted this and let us go on our way. I found the smells to not be strong at all whilst my brother said he felt sick. The tannery we visited was the oldest in the city. The tannery was composed of numerous stone vessels filled with a vast range of dyes and various odorous liquids. The man explained the way in which the hides (skins) of sheep and goats, turning them into high quality leather products such as bags, coats, shoes, slippers and other similar products. This is all achieved manually, without the need for modern machinery and with the use of natural dyes such as saffron and indigo.

After visiting the Tannery we spent a couple of hours walking the market place, filled with different items made in the area. Some of the time was also spent getting lost in Souks, walking down alleys to see where it took us..

It was an a really beautiful city, in some ways far more interesting than Marrakesh, and yet I found myself begging to be taken back to the more relaxed Marrakesh in my third day there. If there is one thing I did enjoy after a good day of sightseeing and exploring, it was having a nice hot Morrocan Meal with some Mint Tea. Mmm..

Admittedly if I went to Morroco again I would go in search of good local food. Being placed in the Medina meant that I only found touristy restaurants that lacked quality. I had wished I had the opportunity to find some good authentic places where the locals dined (though I was told most locals cooked and ate at home). This was my favourite dish whilst there. Funny enough, it was a starter not a main but the chickpeas tasted delicious as did the salad. The heat had me craving fresh food and this was just what I needed.