FOODventures, TRAVELventures

Typich München

München, ist so cray! (there was a bus tour we went on, and honestly there was a song at the end and I am genuinely CONVINCED this is what it said – and it would be completely correct, München IS cray)

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End of October (sadly, we missed Oktoberfest – but no matter, we had out own Oktoberfest, and for sure I will make it a point to come back!) and when we landed it was a beautiful sunny autumn day, quite nippy but nothing too serious, but by day two we were met by heavy, heavy snow and let me tell you, there is little in the world more beautiful than autumn leaves in all their colourful glory, blanketed in white.

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So, if traveling to Germany late October, I would certainly suggest to first of all, be prepared weather wise (we got there and it was 14 degrees celsius and by day two it was snowing and -1) and also maybe going on a mini diet before hand. I never appreciated salad so much until three days in cream drenched, beer heavy, pretzel loving Munich, salad and sparkling water ( a hangover godsend) and maybe be prepared to look for places with vegetarian options well before hand. There was a veggie in our little party and he had a hard time getting food and ended up eating a lot of pretzels (which would be fine, because the pretzels are AMAZING, but for five days straight? Maybe not quite that amazing.)

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I mean look at that plate. LOOK AT IT.

THERE IS SO MUCH CREAM…and it is a breaded veal meatball (or rather, breaded veal burger as it is not a ball at all) with tiny spätzle (tiny dumpling noodle things) delicious, but frankly between the cream and the beer, woah. Even I couldn’t eat it all.

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Yes, the above is a GIANT POTATO DUMPLING AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. The sauce you ask? That there my lovlies is DARK ALE GRAVY with some pork belly and crispy bits of crackling. Hands down the very best meal I had while I was there, followed closely by a luscious chicken Ceasar salad, however that salad may have been elevated to new heights because of three full days of beer, pretzels and cream…

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A definite highlight would be the Stadtmuseum which is filled with hours of fun, history and really creepy (and some wonderful) puppets. In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have gone to the museum on the one day it was NOT snowing and below zero degrees, but it was raining.

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Munich was brilliant, I had a wonderful couple of days and while mildly dehydrated due to gallons of beer (the only good reason to be mildly dehydrated) it was so wonderful. To actually go on a bus tour and see things we wouldn’t have seen from just walking was brilliant. Walking around half aimlessly is I usually see cities and feel apart of it, which of course we did, so much walking and I really feel as if Munich was home for a few days. So much in fact that I genuinely miss it and will certainly be back to explore some more. Maybe during the Christmas market time, or in the summer because frankly everywhere is wonderful in the summer. Just imagine, cold cold steins of beer, walking around with ice cream, going the the giant park we didn’t get to see and lots of that caesar salad I mentioned earlier. With more beer and ice cream, naturally. *(I’m lusting for summer in the midst of early winter and the first snow storm of 2013 here in the UK, as one does)

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Beer, empty pretzel baskets, bicycles, pool, a lovely group of people and old stuff. Wonderful!

Typich München baby!

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FOODventures

my favourite brownies

Brownies

BROWNIES.

Once upon a time, in a kitchen far, far away I thought I couldn’t bake (an incident with some banana bread muffins gone terribly awry:  plastic-y on the outside and completely liquid on the inside, how this happened is beyond me). Nowadays, making these bad boys has become a deliciously bad habit. I’ve found that the best way is certainly to use melted chocolate rather than powdered cocoa. It also looks infinitely cooler in pictures.

Recipe courtesy one of my favourite food blogs, the wonderful Smitten Kitchen!(http://smittenkitchen.com/)

*mildly adapted to suit my need for dark chocolate and London location*

3 ounces (85 grams) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing pan
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 1/8 ounces or 175 grams) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla (sometimes I use one vanilla pod if I’m feeling fancy!)
1/4 teaspoon table salt or 1/2 teaspoon flaky salt (about 2 grams)
2/3 cup (83 grams) all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 176°C. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, with the ends extending over opposite sides of pan. Repeat with second piece of parchment paper in opposite direction. Butter the parchment paper.

Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a large bowl over a simmering pot of water until it is 90% melted; remove from heat and stir the mixture until it is smooth. Whisk in the sugar, then the eggs (one at a time) then vanilla. Add flour and salt together, stirring until just combined. Spread into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

photo cred: Ciara Quilty-Harper (flatmates are excellent)

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TRAVELventures

Lisboa

LISBON (by myself … !!) for the amazing three day extravaganza known as Optimus Alive.

Not gonna lie, I’m totally sold on traveling solo. Its great, self assuring and you make A TON of friends. Only problem is all the great memories I have like eating spicy snails (um, DELICIOUS.) and a certain dance circle with some crazed Australian and Kiwi folk in the middle of The Cure’s epic three hour set are things that only I have now (and of course those involved in the dance circle…) Not to mention being stuck on a hot, hot train for an hour leaving you jumping the barriers at the metro station and racing some dudes to the gate,only to meet a 20minute delay and THEN met with the sad reality that your (fucking delicious) Portuguese custard pasties do NOT fit into your tiny bag and the mean Ryan Air dude doesn’t buy that they’re from duty free (because lets be real, Duty Free ain’t a super awesome bakery down some cobbled alleyway next to your hostel with the nicest old lady EVER) which means you HAVE to eat them all and share them with

the dudes you raced because they’re really kinda cute.

See, I experienced all these things all by myself (insert violin solo here) and it would have been great to share with someone, because inside jokes are no good when they are with yourself. Still, there is nothing like waking up in the morning and just going with the flow, getting lost is not a big deal, but a great adventure, no one says anything when you decide to have ice cream and ice cream alone for lunch and if you happen to know a couple of people in Portugal, you can meet them and not feel awkward when your fellow travel friends sit sadly and silently while you chat away ( a problem often found when many of your friends are scattered amongst the universe) – these are just a few of the things that I loved about traveling alone.

Sadly, Lisbon was not a culinary expedition for me as it was really for the festival where the fine dining was mostly hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, some very strange wrap with chicken nuggets and pequillo peppers, and beer. A fuck load of beer (another advantage to being alone, new friends you make all want to buy you beer, and pick you up ALL THE TIME)

But I did drink some local brew, ate some local snails (in a delicious spicy sauce) and some amazing (possibly local)garlic tomato prawns with chips to dunk into that amazing sauce.

I also had an abundance of ice cream.

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