Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The New Zealand experience. Elsie Gabriel .Beacon Holidays. Food Bloggers Association.

 Exploring the Kiwi Experience.

The New Zealand experience was brought alive on the APB cooking studio tables recently by Beacon Holidays in association with New Zealand Tourism and the Food Bloggers Association, India.
I walked into a room full of delightful aromas arising from Lamb mince pie,Lamb cutlets and Lam Kababs, all cooking in Kiwi style.

Heena Munshaw played the perfect host, dynamic and informative, Munshaw knows every spot on the globe on the back of her hand. You want to travel, just ask her, more than details she spins out passion for travelling with minute attraction and cultural habits of the destination. She has been there and done that. She is the traveling expert alright! Heena Munshaw is the Managing Director of Beacon Holidays, worldwide.

‘ There are ‘farm stays’ in New Zealand which let you soak in the culture of the farm and outdoors, “ says Heena, “ Fruits and vegetables growing in plenty with so much to share. People simple share their produce of nature at the farm gates in baskets where people passing by drop in ‘honour money’ whatever they feel for the produce they pick up. Natural fresh food is in plenty. It is a joy to see abundance of natural environment around.”
Being an avid traveler I had sold my soul to New Zealand already.
The New Zealand wines offered was generous, at the ‘Bloggers cook off ‘ which was got together by the Food Bloggers association. What a brilliant idea of getting all the bloggers together Sameer Malkani of FBAI, you did do justice to New Zealand.

Farmers in New Zealand cater to excellent world class lamb, beef and dairy. The grasslands are pure and meadows so organic, what more could one ask for? A piping-hot roast lamb is a kiwi staple surrounded by  fresh vegetables. As a nation surrounded by the sea, in New Zealand you can get spoilt with fresh seafood year-round, they say. Many exotic sea food dishes hence turn up at every gourmet table there.
New Zealanders also love their Pavlova.  And one of the contestants made the most perfect one.
A meringue dessert that’s topped with cream and fresh fruit, Pavlova is a permanent fixture at many family meals too.Almost everything has the delicious kiwifruit which is a small and furry green fruits.
The cooks that day made several lip smacking dishes like Lamb Kababs which stole the show that afternoon. The Lamb cutlets were very close behind , I must say the cutlets were paired with the most amazing Salsa-Mustard-Kiwi combo sauce which was a tantalizing delight flavouring the cutlets.
These dishes distinctly had a New Zealand style with a sweet twist which made the afternoon blissfully Kiwi.

The New Zealand summer sees many eat outdoors, often in a barbecue setting. Kiwi barbecues - featuring New Zealand beef, lamb and seafood - are a big part of the culture, and typify the laid-back nature of the New Zealand people.

Another style of all-year-round outdoor cooking is the traditional Maori hangi ,cooked underground on hot coals, usually prepared for special occasions. It includes a vegetable called the Kumara, along with chicken, pork, lamb, potatoes and other vegetables.

I want to go to New Zealand only to bring back tales of the smoky flavours of the' hangi ' cooked underground, which is delicious and an essential culinary experience while in New Zealand.
I gottya mouth watering didn’t I, well New Zealand it is!

On an indulgence trip in neon lit Chinatown, Sydney! Australia. Elsie Gabriel

On an indulgence trip in neon lit Chinatown, Sydney! Australia.

Salt and Pepper squid, Yum cha, soupy noodles, dumplings, crispy duck, tapioca pearls or just a simple chili chicken dripping with sauce and peaking duck, you can have your pick? From Thai to Malaysian, Cantonese to Vietnamese, the melting pot of eateries, gracious staff courteously beckoning you join the tables laid out on the streets, there was no stopping me, I was on an indulgence trip. Red d├ęcor, Chinese lanterns everywhere and neon-lit food in Chinatown are downright irresistible. So, where are we? Sydney, imagine!
After a fortnight in main Australia my taste buds yearned for some hot spicy Asian cuisine. Bang on, right next to our hotel the Sheraton Sydney, close to the heart of the city, there seemed hope for this gourmet lover who tracked down  Chinatown is an urban locality in the southern part of the Sydney Central Business District,Australia.

It is a beautiful pedestrian street filled with Chinese restaurants and you are spoiled for choice. Chinatown is centered around Dixon Street and Haymarket area.

The Chinese neighborhood is brimming with business and lots of chatter. Lively place alright. You can absorb all the Chinese culture around you. We didn’t know where to start, it was quite over whelming with all Chinese stalls around you, each one as enticing as the other.
A good hot plate of sumptuous Chinese food made our day and we could now shop. I got the best traditional Asian food outside of Asia right here in Chinatown Sydney.

 You can also visit some of the dessert and bakeries that are around the town. All at affordable prices. The Emperors Puff center was amazing, a heavily guarded secret recipe place where they churn out soft tiny puffs that simply melt in your mouth. An excellent desert place where you have to stand in a long queue to simply get a taste of some, the wait is worth the line. It is said it is an ancestral bakery and the ingredients are passed down from one generation of Chinese to the next.

When most Sydney restaurants are closed, Chinatown is open for a sumptuous meal. They have ‘all you can eat’ fixed menus and a la carte ones too but the assorted dimsum carts that follow you around simply make you sign up first. You can choose and pick or simply have them all. That is what Chinatown in Sydney does to yaaaaa

Getting to Chinatown-
We simply walked across to the Chinatown from the Sheraton But if you are driving, your most convenient carpark would be the Entertainment Carpark with entrances from Quay St in the south or Pier St in the north. Alternatively, park at the Goulburn Parking Station at the corner of Goulburn and Elizabeth Sts and walk west.
If going by public transport:
  • The tram and Darling Harbour monorail have stops at Haymarket.
  • Take any bus passing through George St and get off at a bus stop close to Hay St.
  • If taking the train, get off at Central Station, walk north along Belmore Park to Hay St, then walk west on Hay.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Egg Art! Easter Eggs. Easter heralds springtime! Happy Easter!Elsie Gabriel

Egg Art! Easter Eggs. Easter heralds springtime! Happy Easter!

Elsie Gabriel

It is always fun spending quality time with my little son. The innovative artist in both of us binds us and tides us over when ever Daddy is away abroad working! This Easter is no different with hubby away at work, Mother and son use the entire dinning table to paint our Easter Eggs and welcome the Risen Lord with a riot of colours!
Whether in the name of Easter, or just because, using real eggs to paint on can be fun! Whether boiled or raw, egg shells make an excellent canvas to paint on. The colours on them catch on quick and bright. The basket full of eggs -whole rounded shell- make beautiful decoration pieces.

It is believed that egg coloring preceded Christianity and many ancient Chinese and Europeans used egg shells to paint on. If you stick crushed egg shells on paper or any canvas in various designs or shapes and cover them in whatever medium you may deem fit, the result is bound to be outstanding! You get a broken shell effect –collage appearance which is mesmerizing.

Of course Eggs are a symbol of fertility and rebirth, and an important aspect of Eater symbolsing birth and new life, maybe even the ‘ Easter Bunny -rabbit’ fits into the picture just because it multiplies and reproduces so fast, just maybe… who knows!! And I guess rabbits are around in plenty during the springtime.
Being a nature enthusiast all I know is that birds lay eggs during spring time and if you set out for a trail you could gather and bring back several coloured eggs of various different birds to study before putting them back carefully where you found them!! I guess that’s where maybe the Egg hunt games for Easter started! ?
Egg painting is an art I love. Wooden eggs, crystal eggs, real Ostrich eggs, Kashmiri paper mache eggs or swizz chocolate eggs, I relish and invest in the entire egg series ornate collection.

Of course beside the whole some protein dose, For me Eggs means Refresh, Rewind, Reduce, Rebirth, Replenish and Rejuvenate!! 

Thankyou my son Ridge for making Easter so meaningful! You renew my faith in God and Ecology,yet again.

Happy Easter all!