Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

My trips don’t usually take me outside of Europe but this time I’m making an exception. Recently a friend of mine took a job in Singapore, relocated herself to a new country and a totally new culture in another corner of the world. Of course I can’t give up the opportunity to go and visit her! Today I’m hoping to find a few minutes to compare cheap air tickets London – Singapore, from what she’s told me it’s actually quite cheap!

What has she been raving about since she arrived?

The food… and mah-jongg.

We’re quite big foodies, her and I. Like in other countries around the world, Singaporeans love to eat, and my friend also is having no trouble fitting in at the local hawker centre.

Hawker centres starting popping up in Hong Kong and Singapore during the industrial revolution of the 1950s and 1960s and they’re large open-air complexes full of food stalls. This is where the cheap eats are easy to find. Cafeteria-style, this is where the people eat together.

Sundays is the best day to indulge. It’s the day when many of the city’s up-scale hotel restaurants offer brunch for a mere S$80 per person (£35). A bargain for a lavish buffet spread of gourmet food in the middle of a quiet afternoon.

High tea is also something I could definitely get used to, served usually on weekends for S$25 (£11) at only the nicest hotels, the Ritz-Carlton or Raffles. These aren’t places to wear blue jeans, that’s for sure! A little touch of England, it’s actually quite cool that this tradition has stayed in Singapore, complete with scones, garden sandwiches and little cakes. Of course they don’t neglect the local favourites like dim sum and curry puffs.

It’s easy to spend on these gourmet luxuries because the street food is incredibly cheap, and outstandingly delicious. Recipes have been passed down through generations and cooking traditions are just as old. Chinatown is one of the best places to go where you can find eats that represent every one of China’s different regions. Geylang serves up Indonesian dishes at traditional hawker stalls and Little India is the best place for curry in town. Just thinking about it all puts a grumble in my stomach.

Now I just need to master the chop sticks!

If you’ve been to Singapore, please share some tips on what to see… and eat!

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I can’t think of anything more appetizing right now that Italy and more specifically cooking in Tuscany. I found some great classes offered there, I think definitely more tourist aimed but it looks really fun. If you are going to pay out a wad of euros for a fancy dinner in Italy, you may as learn learn how to cook it at the same time, right?

Tuscan cooking is not just Italian, its ITALIAN Italian. Made with fresh herbs, vegetables, oil, fish, meat, and pasta, Tuscan cooking also takes a little magic and a little love.

There are single-day classes around four hours in length during which you learn the techniques of homemade pasta, sauces to accompany it, appetizers and other traditional recipes. Fresh ingredients and a chef to save the burning tomato paste (that will be me!) sound like an afternoon well-spent. At the end of it all, the cooking school serves the meal that you cooked restaurant-style accompanied by a local wine, fresh bread and olive oil. Further than that, they send you home with a recipe book of traditional Tuscan recipes so that participants don’t forget everything they’ve learned.

Prices range from 100-190 euros per person, depending on the cooking school. Its a little pricey but I think that for knowledge like that, it is money well spent. And besides, all the money I can save on finding a cheap hotel room in Florence can be spent on cooking classes. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day while on vacation in Italy except learning the tricks of Italian cooking. Now, I only have to fly to Italy!

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Tortilla was one of my favourite breakfasts when I stayed in Vigo, Spain. Tried to prepare it here at home many times, and never managed to achieve the flavour of the original one, but I will tell you how it should be done :).

tortilla slices

Take a large bowl, 1kg of potatoes, cut it into nice slim slices and add some salt over them. In a large frying pan heat the olive oil. When it’s already hot, start to fry the potatoes. Don’t forget to keep stirring them so that they won’t stick or get burnt.

After 5 minutes, add a half onion to the potatoes, chopped very fine. Stir it, then cover the frying pan. Take the bowl, break 8 large eggs, add a pinch of salt and beat them.

When the potatoes break easily under the touch of the stirring spoon they are ready, and you can add the potato to the beaten eggs. Mix the potato with the eggs in the bowl, meanwhile the frying pan gets very hot, but there will be no extra oil in it.

Now you can put the mixture into the frying pan, splat it down and keep the heat at medium for a few minutes.

And the best part: put a plate over the pan and try to turn over the tortilla carefully. When you put it back into the pan, press down a little the sides so that it will look like a real tortilla de patatas.


Turn over the tortilla several times – you know that it’s ready when you put a knife into it and the knife comes out clean. Good appetite!

(If it does not turn out to be perfect for the first time, just keep practicing – or you can also look for a cheap flight ticket to Madrid, Valladolid, Vigo or Oviedo, and have a holiday dedicated to the gastronomic delights of Spain!)

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