If you’re in Amsterdam and want somewhere to have lunch, go to blue°. It’s a café/restaurant at the top of the Kalvertoren shopping centre (on Kalverstraat), and it has panoramic views of the city. If you’re on a limited budget, don’t go for a full lunch: get drinks and share a plate of tortilla chips and guacamole. It overlooks the flower market, and it’s pretty special to be sitting having your lunch looking at the top of the canal houses of Amsterdam. The canals are what make the city so amazing – wandering around, you completely take it for granted, but it’s a beauty you just don’t get in a city like London. Blue° is open 7 days a week, so go when the weather’s good to make the most out of the floor to ceiling windows and amazing views (although it still looks good in the rain). www.blue–amsterdam.nl
On a recent trip to Crete, I went to a cooking lesson (!!) where I learnt how to make tzatziki, a popular local dip which is usually eaten with crudités. It’s widely available in other countries – in England, you can buy it at any supermarket – but it’s always nicer to make it fresh. The best thing about the lesson was that the chef was called ‘Ares’ (after the god of War)… Best. Name. Ever. Anyway, I am by no means a Michelin star-deserving chef, but even I am capable of making this, which demonstrates how simple it is.
1. Grate one medium cucumber
2. Strain the grated cucumber (very important, otherwise the dip is too watery)
3. Stir the cucumber into 1kg of full-fat Greek yogurt
4. Soak some crushed garlic in a small bowl full of olive oil, and then add this to the mix
5. Add salt and pepper to taste
6. Add vinegar
7. Leave in the refrigerator for 2 and a half hours
8. Serve with chopped up celery, pepper and cucumber
La Boqueria Market, as well as being somewhere you can buy amazing Spanish food, is one of Barcelona‘s most popular tourist attractions.
According to the market’s website (yeah, that’s how famous it is)….
At the Boqueria people eat, shop and gossip together doing what the Spanish excel at, living life well and enjoying a sense of community.
The fruit is so fresh and good value – especially compared to the outrageous London prices. A whole punnet of organic strawberries costs around 1 euro, and the best thing of all is the fresh juice. You can find almost any flavour under the sun – my favourite being coconut and banana. They mix exotic fruits like papaya and mango, and the juices only cost 1 euro 50 for a big serving. It’s possible to spend all day at the market sampling the local food and gawping at the watermelons the size of two basketballs – but it’s best to get there as early as possible before the tourists arrive en masse.
Currywurst is a fast-food specialty found all over Germany. According to some (ie Wikipedia), currywurst was invented by Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949, and has been popular with locals and tourists alike ever since. The sausage is covered in curry flavoured ketchup (yum…) and is often served with french fries. Currywurst is often served in stalls on the street (on little pieces of card like in the photo below). Currywurst is obviously rather popular – 800 million servings are sold in Germany each year… So, even though currywurst is a stereotypical food associated with Germany, there’s some truth behind is as it’s such a popular street snack.
Wholefoods – High St Kensington
They vary so much from store to store so it’s harder to judge fairly, but I greatly enjoyed my ‘summer fruits’ juice/smoothie thing which was made fresh outside the Wholefoods in Kensington. I’m not sure how much choice there is, but if you like berries, this one is great. It’s icy, too (always a bonus – not like there’s ever cold weather in London). The great thing about Wholefoods is that it sells a ton of delicious-looking HEALTHY food. I know, I know, lots of healthy food looks unappetizing (quinoa – eww) but seriously, Wholefoods manages to make their salads look as appealing as a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. So yeah my point is, you can buy a juice AND some healthy food ( but it gets kinda expensive so normally I just walk around fantasizing about what I’d buy if I had an unlimited budget, which is fun too).
I am on a quest to find the perfect juice in London. Now that the weather has finally improved, it’s nice to be able to pick up a freshly made juice from a street stall or juice bar. However, it’s harder than it seems to find a gooood juice. There are always problems – for me, it’s too much choice. There are so many combos, so many flavours, I just don’t know which one to pick… Also, now it seems you can get all sorts of fancy add-ons like ginger shavings and wheatgrass shots (I have NO clue what those are). Anyway, we’ve been trying out a few places around London to see what’s on offer. Here’s Part I.
The Natural Kitchen – Marylebone
Sooooo I went today to get a juice from the Natural Kitchen. First of all, you pick a base (the choice is apple, carrot or orange). Then, you pick three other ingredients – fruits or vegetables – to complete your juice. The problem here is, I’m no juice expert. I just basically picked the fruits I liked in the hope that it would all turn out well. It didn’t. The mango and watermelon tasted a bit funky together and you couldn’t taste the ginger at all. I have to say, at £3.95 for a potentially disgusting concoction, it’s really not worth it. The search continues….