Month: June 2011

And that was Argentina! Some highlights

So, that was Argentina. I am back, it’s only 5am BA time , and I have already been awake 3 hours. My flight back was rammed with a noisy school tour and lots of turbulence, so I am, well, very sleepy! What a trip though. It was wonderful. So much to write about. For now, the first in a two part photo post, a little trip down memory lane for me and some highlights and a peek at future posts for you.

Oooops! Accidental Week Off. And LOOK!

Oooops! Accidentally took a week off. Forced in part by a lack of internet in the pampas, a giant party and resulting incapacity in Buenos Aires and 27 hour door-to-door trip home, followed by – and currently in – jet lag. BUT! Look at what greeted me when I got back?! So exciting. Next people to get theirs will be folks that buy on Amazon – usually a little before the real life launch date. Buy Comfort & Spice on Amazon :)

Comfort & Spice Update! New Lovely Cover

Comfort & Spice! Remember that? My cookbook! It seems so long ago that I handed the manuscript in and I have been travelling so much since. We are drawing closer to the publish date now though (September 5th) and it is getting exciting. Exciting, and I am slightly nervous, I must confess. It is normal to be so, I think. Especially for your first book. I have put so much of myself into it, it feels a little raw. I think it must be like watching a first child go to school and hoping that they will be ok. Of course I am very proud of it too. I just hope that you like it as much as I do. I love the new cover. The first cover was a temporary one and this one I feel really represents me and the content a bit better. As one reader said, it’s roast beef pink too! So, don’t forget you can pre-order it on Amazon, and if you do you will get it earlier than in …

Eating Buenos Aires! La Cabrera: Your Sweetbreads, are My Weak-Ness

(the title should make sense to those compos mentis in the 80s ;) In Argentina, you seek out beef. That’s a given. The Argentine and particularly gaucho diets until relatively recently consisted almost entirely of beef and all sorts of offal. All cuts fired over parrilla flames and served toppling on platters. Nothing is  wasted when an animal is slaughtered here, Argentines absolutely love offal. The sweetbreads (thymus and pancreas) are some of the best that I have ever eaten, simply cooked with lemon juice over some hot coals, the crisp offal taste rich and delicate. The chewy rich chitterlings (intestines) are fought over by children. When the bullocks are castrated, the testicles are slung on the parrilla to be eaten. It’s a time of year that all farmers here look forward to. So, the Aubergine Parrillas (BBQs) are a must and they are everywhere. In Buenos Aires, I explored and visited quite a few. I have 3 favourites (so far!), the first being La Cabrera in Palermo. Palermo is like the Notting Hill of …

Eating Argentina: Horseriding in the Andes and a Gaucha Lunch

So, if you’ve been reading for a while, and especially if you are on twitter and follow me there, you will know that this trip to Argentina has been delayed twice. I was supposed to go last November, after I won a trip for a piece published on Bibendum Times, sponsored by Argento Wines with my friend Denise, The Wine Sleuth. I watched from the sidelines (through wet Irish windows) as Denise explored, extended and eventually stayed for 3 months. Pure torture, I couldn’t wait. I had to postpone to January, and then had to postpone again. But, finally I am here, and it’s almost winter, but winter here is like Spring in the UK and it’s lovely. I finally caught up with Argento Wines in Mendoza, and visited the Bodega, Casa Argento and had a wine tasting (more on that later, for now my favourites, as – almost – always, were the reds, especially the reserva Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbecs). The absolute highlight of the 2-day trip to visit them was a trip to …

Eating Argentina: Mendoza! We’re in Empanada Country Now

Where are the best empanadas in Argentina? Everyone says Mendoza but where exactly in Mendoza you will only know if you are a local. Happily I was with one. I was feeling a bit peckish so asked if we could stop off for some empanadas after a long day whizzing around wineries. (It’s a hard life!). It was 5 hours since lunch but still 3 hours from our Argentinian dinner time so my tum was protesting severely. Sure, of course! And she promptly picked up the phone and put in an order. 20 minutes later we were at a small typical house outside Mendoza in a small town called Chacro. These are the best empanadas in Mendoza, I was confidently informed, she is very famous and lots of people come here. An old lady in an apron answered the door and proceeded to joyfully tell us all about a local wedding the week before where one of 5 daughters of a local doctor married an Irish guy and 100 people from Ireland came for the …

Eating Argentina: The Unexpected Magic of a Roadside Parrilla

Some awful days have the most amazing ways of turning themselves around. Take last Monday. I was stranded in Buenos Aires due to that nuisance of a Chilean volcano ushering an ash cloud east. No flights were to be had out of Buenos Aires so my long planned Mendoza trip was on hold and I was at a loose end. What to do? I took a random decision to hit Buenos Aires on a bicycle and see what the city might hold. It was a wonderful day, made extra special by my phenomenally bad sense of direction leading me to a motorway on my bicycle. I know. (But don’t worry it has a great ending) Bicycles aren’t allowed on the motorway, as I quickly found out, and so I got off and walked only a short distance before I spied some red chairs and a food truck. Well, what could it be? Next to a crazy motorway where trucks whizzed and dirt whirled was the most amazing roadside parrilla (Argentinian BBQ), run by a young …