Monthly Archive: March 2012

Mar 31

The Art of London

Regular readers will know that I’ve got a bit of a thing for street art. Rio is covered in the stuff and some of it is really good! In fact, if you’re looking for things to do in Rio, may I suggest you check out my Gardens and Graffiti walk?

Since I’ve been back in London I’ve been keeping an eye out for some interesting graffiti – last night I found some!

 

Lovely isn't it? This is on a door shutter in Hoxton, east London.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 27

A Great British Weekend

Although 2 months back in England sounded like a lot when I arrived, the weeks have flown by and already I’m approaching the half way point. Before I know it I’ll be back in Rio – good cachaça and pão de queijo will be available on every corner, but rhubarb, samphire and British native oysters won’t be on the menu. So, with the clock ticking, I have resolved to indulge in some English delicacies while I still can.

On Sunday I went down to the rather splendidly named Lordship Lane in East Dulwich. It was a lovely sunny day and a good friend of mine lives nearby, so we met up and strolled in the sunshine, chatting as we went. Before long we found ourselves outside Franklin’s, a pub, restaurant and farm shop.

Franklin's is a farm shop, grocer, delicatessen and across the road it becomes a pub and restaurant.

 

As I browsed the baskets and crates of locally produced food, I realised I had come to the perfect place. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 23

Things you don’t get in Rio

As I approach the end of my third week back in the UK I have to say that being back here has stirred up a complex mix of feelings. I’ll quickly get the negative part out of the way and say that I miss my special one back in Rio – 2 months is a long, long time. But on the other side of the things, I spent last night enjoying a wonderful meal with my mum at a spectacular restaurant in South East London – when you live more than 5,000 miles away, these occasions are rare and precious.

And as I sit here tapping away, I look to my right and see a delicious glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a plate of yummy cheese from Switzerland (gruyere, since you ask). If you ever consider a move to Rio, you’d better get used to doing without these little luxuries.

This is just the cheddar section of the medium sized supermarket that I was in today. JUST the cheddar! So much choice and quality! Incidentally, I'm saddened that most of the world is either unaware of cheddar or thinks of it as a dull, tasteless cheese. Real cheddar is rich, sharp and tangy! How I miss it when I'm back home in Rio...

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 18

Welcome home comforts

Two weeks after arriving back in England, I finally found a weekend to head back to my childhood city of Winchester to see my mum. It worked out rather nicely actually as today (Sunday 18th March) turned out to be Mother’s Day (all part of my plan, naturellement).

Although my new life in Brazil is rich and wonderful in countless ways, it has been tough to be away from my lovely family for such long periods. This time it had been more than 8 months since I’d seen my UK people so it has been great to come back and reintroduce myself. And one of the most comforting things about coming home is comfort food cooked by my mum:

 

Ah this takes me back to my childhood. In our house we always called this Shepherd's Pie, though a lot of people call it Cottage Pie instead. Whatever you call it, this is utterly yummy and delicious and uncomplicated. Perfect for a chilly winter's evening with a warming glass of red wine. Thanks mum!

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 15

Eat London: Soho.

Woo, check it out – 2 posts in as many days! I am back baby! And am I going to pick up where I left off yesterday with another tale from my adventures in London.

A stroll through Soho

Last weekend I set off to meet some friends at a Dutch pub located on a street that borders Chinatown and Soho. I hadn’t been to this particular pub in more than a decade, but my memories (made misty through the combined effects of time and Oranjeboom) were that this was what a Londoner might describe as a “decent boozer”.

 

The Oranjeboom was gone, but this Lindeboom went down very nicely, even if it did look a bit like an ice-cream!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 14

Eat London!

Things have been fairly busy since I arrived back in London 10 days ago. Mostly my time has been taken up with my new job (which is going really well!) and catching up with friends (which has been great fun but exhausting).

What I thought I’d do over the next week or so is show you some snapshots from my London adventures so far.

 

The London Transport System

More on this guy a little later...

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 10

Viva Cazuza!

A few days before I left for England, I was walking down a street in the neighbourhood of Laranjeiras. There was a large overpass/flyover just off to the right and on the side there was some pretty nice, colourful graffiti.

What is it with eyes on pyramids? I guess the illuminati made it to Rio.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 04

A mystery vegetable and some great translations

Hello from freezy London. I’m sure you’ll all be relieved to hear that I had a reasonable flight and am now safely ensconced in a cosy room with a cosy radiator. The temperature has dipped to 2°C (36°F) – a temperature I haven’t had to endure since Patagonia back in 2009.

I don’t really have a lot else to say about being in London yet, so instead I’m going to continue on from my last post about the wonderful Hortifruti. First off, a mystery vegetable I spotted on my last shopping trip – can someone tell me what these are?

 

Any ideas what these are? What do you do with them?

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 02

Hortifruti – great store, brilliant adverts!

Sooooo, today is my last full day in Brazil for 2 months. Such mixed feelings – it’s going to be great to see my family and friends, start my new job, eat proper cheese and drink proper beer again (in that order). But I’m leaving Brazil! For 2 months! There are so many things I’ll miss that I’m trying not to think about it too much right now. Instead I’m throwing myself into last minute preparations

One of the things I need to do is harvest my beloved chillis and turn them into hot chilli sauce! This time round I’m going for a genuine Trinidadian hot pepper sauce recipe and I’m also going to experiment with a chilli infused oil in the style found in many of Rio’s snack bars and Pé Sujos.

Yesterday, in preparation for all this peppery-cookery, I took a trip over to my favourite food shop in Rio – Hortifruti.

If you can afford it, this place is great. I love it!

 

Hortifruti (sounds like ORtchee-FROOtchee) was such a revelation to me the first time wandered in. The displays of fruit and vegetables are amazing – it’s like they have some kind of beauty contest for fresh produce and only the really sexy ones get through.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 01

Aaaaaaaaaaaah(bacaxí)!

When it comes to learning languages, there are enough similarities between Spanish and Portuguese that I’m never really impressed when a native Spanish speaker tells me they speak Portuguese (or vice versa). My attitude tends to be “big deal – compared to English, they’re practically the same language anyway”. But when there are so many similarities, I do rather sympathise when a Portuguese word comes along that is just nothing like its Spanish counterpart.

Take this prickly customer:

I love pineapple! You know the French almost call this fruit bananas... (they say "Ananas").

 

Read the rest of this entry »