Monthly Archives: September 2015

Good Eatin’: They Just Keep On Coming

List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books

I’ve really got my focus back on the good list again. It’s one of those things that I can see me phasing in and out of as I keep going. One thing I am doing is keeping my own count of the original 1001 Foods list. I mean, why not. It will be interesting to see how long it takes me to get to that halfway point. Especially if I reach it before the combined lists.

Food item: Cannelloni

As long I am in my current job where I have a lot of meetings with external people there will always be the chance of list food. It’s a bit weird having to explain to them why I am photographing a plate of hotel cannelloni, and then there is the look of slight concern of me having lost my mind after a bunch of back to back meetings.

Anyway, I love cannelloni. If I had a choice between meat and the ricotta/spinach versions it is the vegetarian one without question. I’ve even made this with pancakes once. It was nice, but I have to make sure to buy non-sweetened ones next time. It was a bit weird.

Food items: Blueberries, Raspberries and Honeydew Melon

Another meeting one. Depending on the venue there can sometimes be a fruit plate in the afternoon. I never thought much of it until I could now cross off three food items at once. Usually I just load up on the blueberries and ignore the rest. Such is the folly of free food.

Food item: Taco

Home time now. I had a date with an Old El Paso taco making kit. In the second 1001 book the humble taco comes under the appetisers section. Not once have I have had tacos as a starter, only as a main course, and then they are absolutely loaded with filling. I still need to try those tacos that are able to stand up by themselves.

In the question of whether I would prefer hard-shelled or soft-shelled tacos. I would have to say it is soft tortillas that win every time.

Food item: Banoffee Pie

Thank you work canteen. While I am still missing out on the Cumberland sausage ring every time I managed to be around on the day they have Banoffee Pie. Now, whilst Banoffee is easily my favourite flavour of missing I would not say the same of pie. Then again, I am not sure what would be the answer to the question of favourite sweet lie. Maybe something pedestrian like apple pie when paired with custard?


Food item: Cashew Apple

Right, so this was a REAL good find at Tesco. By rights I should not have been able to get this unless I went somewhere more exotic like Brazil. This is the interesting thing about this list, there are some foods that are becoming available in the UK that were not available just a year ago.

So, cashew apple (as in the false fruit attached the cashew nut as it grows on the cashew tree) tastes like nothing I have ever had before. I mean, it has a bit of that stereotypical tropical taste, but then there is a lot that I can not put my finger on when it comes to comparisons. Whilst there is a definite sweetness to it, albeit mild. The overriding taste and aftertaste is somewhat astringent. There is some nuttiness that reveals itself as you swallow too. Weird, but okay.

Food item:  Belgian Frangipane Pastry

Yay, time for desert! When I was younger I was not the biggest fan of marzipan, but it is something I have grown to really like. This means that this frangipane is something I can properly enjoy. The almond taste is not as strong as in marzipan, but it is rather close. It does make me now think that it would have been nice to have frangipane as a wedding dessert (it was an option) but, you know, allergies.

Food item: Cider

As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol these always taste a bit weird. Where most people would now be used to the underlying taste of alcohol I am still easily able to detect it. So whilst I was able to appreciate the crisp and sweet nature of this cider we got from a Degustabox it still had that overriding taste that I don’t like: alcohol.

Food item: Skyr

Another one that I am happy to say is now available in the UK when it was not a year ago. Skyr, advertised as the Icelandic super yoghurt, has become a regular breakfast of mine whilst it is in Tesco’s cheap introductory offer.

It’s brilliant for breakfast as it is low in fat and very filling due to the high amount of protein. It also tastes like a thick and milk soured cream. So far I have had it in a number of flavours, the best for far being the honeyed variety. All UK readers. Please buy this product, I don’t wanting to leave the shelves!

Progress: 591/933

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Wedding Cake Tasting

It was a sunny day in June and I had taken a day off in lieu (thanks again Saturday meeting). I have never taken a day in lieu, usually I take the money. This time I had a proper reason – the taster for my wedding cake was due to be delivered.

We are going for cheesecake as our wedding cake – thank you English Cheesecake Company – so ordered a cake made of four types in order to choose our favourite.

List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books


Food items: Chocolate Fudge Cake

Yes, in this cake there were three flavours of cheesecake and then slices of chocolate fudge cake. Now, here is where I agree with my mum. Chocolate (fudge) cake is always disappointing. What you want is a cake version of a Lindor or Galaxy Caramel. What you get is nice frosting and cake that is never as moist as you would have hoped.

Why opt to get this selection if you know that you regularly disappointed by chocolate fudge cake. Two reasons. Firstly, this selection is a cake that they just offer – it’s called the Chocolate Heaven. Secondly, because I live in hope of finding a chocolate cake that I adore which is more adult than a Marks and Spencer Colin the Caterpillar Cake – aka the best chocolate cake out there (my partner had to veto getting a bunch of those as a wedding cake).

Progress: 581/933

So, this left us with three choices. By gum it was bloody difficult. Here’s a run-down of the choices:

Choice #1 – Cookies and Cream

Okay, so this is basically an Oreo cheesecake. I guess they either use off-brand Oreos to make this or they can’t mention Oreo as being involved in the cheesecake because of trademarking reasons. Anyway, it’s a vanilla cheese cake containing Oreo fragments, on a chocolate biscuit base with crushed Oreos on top. There is also some dark chocolate drizzle on top.

Choice #2 – Honey I’m Comb

My partner insists that he can taste some honey in the vanilla cheesecake centre. I couldn’t and the website makes no mention of it being any different to a regular cheesecake. Still, regular biscuit base, vanilla cheese cake with chocolate covered honeycomb pieces suspended inside and then topped with (a lot of) chocolate covered honeycomb pieces.

Choice #3 – White Chocolate Truffle

Okay so this is a white chocolate cheesecake on a chocolate biscuit base and topped with white chocolate curls. As a cake it looks extremely white. Not christening cake white or wedding dress white, but still pretty damned white.

To be honest, this is probably the most difficult decision we have had to make in the entire wedding process. I mean we haven’t got all our music sorted yet, apart from the first dance, but I want all three. Oh the choices!

 

My Thumb Is Slightly Green

This is a bit of a silly one, but I am one of those people who would not trust themselves because a goldfish. I know in myself that there is a 80% chance of them dying because I forgot to feed them or clean their tank.

List Item: Keep a plant alive for a year
Progress: Completed (but looking slight wilted at the moment)

I guess I figured that if I could remember to do the needed things in order to keep a plant alive then maybe one day, in the distant future, get something more alive – like a venus fly trap.

So over a year ago I received an aloe vera plant as a host gift from my friend Seen Wai. I then proceeded to send a picture to her of me torturing the plant…

IMG_0781[1](I… I don’t know)

The plant grew really quickly. Within a few months I had to go to the local B&Q to procure a larger pot and then steal some soil from my mum’s backyard (sorry about that mum… and now you know) in order to stop it from toppling over at the slightest rumble from outside.

To be honest there are times where I forget to water it. I have never read up on how to take care of this plant. In many ways I am surprised this thing is still around considering that I have, at times, given the plant pot hugs. It’s a survivor I guess!

The plant is still in a good condition despite my having NO idea how to transfer a plant between plants. What can I say, aloe vera plants are hardy sods.

A year and a bit later it is still growing, albeit slower than when I first got it. I probably should get him some plant food as a congratulations for surviving for so long and for having a few little clone babies.

Acclaimed Albums – Moondance by Van Morrison

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 78/250Title: Moondance
Artist: Van Morrison
Year: 1970
Position: #102

So, it’s a return to the world of Van Morrison. It’s been over 40 albums in between this and Astral WeeksAlmost a year too. Plenty of different styles of music have been looked at in the interim which made me wonder if that has effected how I will view Moondance compared to Astral Weeks.

Casting my mind back to when I listened to Astral Weeks I know that whilst I was strangely drawn to it and kind of enjoyed it there was no real sticking quality for me. Especially when you consider that it was rated (at the time of posting) #15 on the list. Still, this is what happens with meta-lists.

So here we have Moondance. It is still at a really respectable position on the list – but it is 70-80 places lower. I do not understand this. I really liked Moondance. Unlike Astral Weeks, which took a while for me to get into, there was an immediate impact.

‘And It Stoned Me’ is a great beginning track. It sets a more soulful tone, a stark contrast to the more “mystical” Astral Weeks. Then the album keeps on going, one of those that is great to have on as you do other things and then keep restarting once it reaches the end.

Of note on this album is the title track ‘Moondance’. This has been covered quite a few times by a number of artists, but I will always remember it as a song that was played during my Year 6 play… that was a weird one.

Good Eatin’: Back to Borough Market

List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books

Another Saturday meeting rolled around. I don’t mind to much though, I love the people that I work with and these meetings are my favourite part of the job. On the other plus side it means that I was able to take advantage of working in the Holborn. It means that I am only a 15 minute tube ride away from Borough Market.

Going into the market I told myself that I would be okay to spend £25. I then saw some listed ham for sale at £14 per 100g and, to be honest, it just felt too extreme for now. As I write this I regret it since, you know, I may never see it in the market again. Maybe next time? In any case, I managed to snag a lot of things.

Food items: Goat and Kohlrabi

Okay so this was a bit naughty. I had already eaten lunch, but I couldn’t say no to stand selling goat kofte wraps. Especially since they used kohlrabi, a vegetable that I have never had before. A shout out to the people at Gourmet Goat for a delicious wrap.

How was it? A lot like lamb to be honest. A strong lamb, but basically it’s lamb by another name. I didn’t go in expecting something to the contrary if I am being completely honest. It does mean, however, I would be more than happy to go for some goat if I am given the chance again. It went well with the fresh and slightly peppery kohlrabi.

Food item: Mara Des Bois Strawberry, Strawberries

No visit to Borough Market would be complete without a visit to Turnips. It can be a bit packed and require a bit of breathing in to make sure you can manoeuvre around properly. Today I managed to snag three rather interesting food items – the most interesting being the Mara De Bois strawberries.

I had given up hope of finding these as the only thing I could find whilst searching online were seeds. Fine… but I live in a top floor flat with no garden. Still, I was so incredibly pleased that I had to pick up the nearest punnet immediately.

When I got them home and cut off the stems I was just hit with this intense sweet strawberry smell. As I was eating them I was reminded of an episode of Red Dwarf  where they create the perfect strawberry using a triplicator. There was no need for sugar or cream, they were just perfect the way they were. If I could I would probably get some more next week.

Food items: Berliner Doughnut, Doughnut

Ah the Berliner Doughnut. I thought I would have to wait for a trip to Berlin to try one of these. The stall sold two versions –  custard and Nutella. I went for the custard as that felt like the more authentic option.

As doughnuts go it was light and it felt so much less oily than regular doughnuts you get in Britain. I am not the biggest fan of doughnuts anyway, but this was nice enough. Would have probably preferred getting a jam-filled one. But, hey it was nice enough.

Food item: Sorrento lemon

When I got home I became mildly obsessed with this lemon. I had always heard about Sicilian lemons being the big ones in the world of lemons, but never a Sorrento lemon. Turnips had a lot of these, some more nobbly than others. I picked this one for purely cosmetic reasons – because it still had the twig and leaf attached.

I could just smell the citrus through the skin, it smelt like mild limoncello. The lemon itself was sweet and lemony, but not too sour. It was a lemon that would be eaten zest and all as the zest itself was not bitter. I know that I should have probably candied the peel or done something more culinary than eat it out of hand or flavour my Pepsi Max with it. Maybe next time if Turnips have any.

Food item: Rose De Roscoff Onion

The last of the produce from Turnips. One with a rather interesting history when it comes to French stereotypes. The original Rose De Roscoff onion sellers are the reason that we have the stereotype of the Frenchman riding a bike wearing a beret, a black-and-white striped top and a string of onions.

Now, I am not one for eating onions raw. It’s one of those things I really don’t like in a sandwich or a salad. I could, however, deal with a raw Rose de Roscoff. I wouldn’t eat it like an apple, but I tried some raw and it was actually not too strong. It was fairly sweet in fact.

When these were fried I allowed them to caramelise a bit in some walnut oil and they were delicious. These onions were absolutely gorgeous when fried up. Naturally sweet and they went soft in the frying pan really quickly. Also, they did not cause any of the crying issues when being cut. It’s a pity they are £3+ a bag.

Food items: Picodon, Sunflower Seeds

My final piece of the haul was Picodon from Mons Cheesemongers. The bread was a honey and sunflower seed loaf from Morrisons so I am not counting it.

The picodon was harder than I expected, which means it is the aged version rather than the softer and younger version. This meant that the rind was more on the “spicy” side compared to a lot of other goat cheeses that I have had. It wasn’t the best goat’s cheese that I have had. I preferred the Selles-Sur-Cher cheese (also bought from Mons) since the flavour was a bit cleaner.

Progress: 580/933

Good Eatin’: My Mum Makes Good Cake!

 List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books

As I write this it is the beginning of a particularly busy time at work. So busy I have had to *groan* delegate some of my workload. Ugh. Feels like failure. Anyway, like any normal overweight person this has helped to refocus my energies on getting more of the food list crossed off.

Food item: Victoria Sandwich

I am fortunate that  I popped into my mum’s place after she had baked a Victorian Sandwich as part of an afternoon tea with some friends. There were also home-made scones with jam and Cornish clotted cream. How English does that sound, right?

The great thing about a Victoria Sandwich is just how quintessentially English it is and, to be honest, it is one of the easier cakes to make. Unlike Queen of Puddings which really looks like a hassle.

My mum really has making a Victoria Sandwich down a pat now. To the point that it was really enjoyed by my partner’s friend who was over to stay from The Netherlands.

Food item: San Francisco Sourdough

Frankly, I have no idea how anyone has the time and/or patience to make sourdough bread. I sure am glad people do because it is easily one of my favourite types of bread.

Why? Because it’s firm with a slightly chewy crust and a sour flavour that only needs a light spreading of topping to taste good. I mean, it is even good when it is slightly stale after a bit of olive spread has been put on top. Thank you Waitrose (and Wholefoods) for supplying this type of sourdough bread.

Food item: Lemon Chicken

So, ever since I wrote about the Pollo Al Limone I had a real hankering for the other kind of lemon chicken. The battered and smothered in a lemon custard sauce kind of lemon chicken. The thick, saucy, good with ho fun noodles kind of lemon chicken. Needless to say, it had been years since I had this and I am glad to have it once again.

There are so many of these chicken dishes with a Chinese flavour on this list. Looks like I am going to be hitting up my local Chinese takeaway for a good while.

Food item: Simnel Cake and Toasted Teacake

Firstly, a thank you to Morrisons for selling Simnel cake out of season. I didn’t get any during Easter because I didn’t feel that paying £6 for a fruit cake with marzipan on top felt worth it. A smaller piece for 75p though? Completely worth it for a go. To be honest, it was like a pretty standard British fruit cake (being akin to a Mr Kipling’s Country Slice). It was nice, but I am SO very glad I did not pay through the nose for it.

The toasted teacakes? Well, this is something that just feels British… and is something that I have had a few times since starting on the new list and just forgotten to write about. My main issue with ordering this is that they tend to overdo it on the butter. A good teacake only needs a light layer of butter to melt into it. Otherwise it just drips off and makes me feel a little bit sick.

Food item: Pain au Chocolat

So, my mum bought these for the engagement partner as a thanks for helping out with her laptop. This comes under the ‘happy accident’ category of list foods as well as the ‘had this before and did not realise it would be on the list’. There are still a number of French sweets on this list for me to try out (marron glace being next one I have my eye out for) but this is another one crossed off for now.

Food items: Ajvar and Bucatini all’Amatriciana

This jar of ajvar was with me thanks to our trip to Slovenia (oh how I miss thee) as I found it in a Mercator as we were looking for some breakfast stuff. I didn’t crack it open since I knew there was going to be some pasta in the near future and figured that ajvar spread on some bread would be nice on the side. It tasted as if you tried to make pesto using aubergine and roasted red peppers i.e. it was really nice. I hope I can get it again from the UK.

Finally, we have the Bucatini all’ Amatriciana. I used the BBC Good Food recipe for the sauce with the additon of garlic and a bit more Maggi. I also had a bit of a butterfingers moment when I added the oil. Luckily it didn’t ruin anything. It basically tasted like a spicier bolognese sauce but with less meat and vegetables in it. Nice and simple to make too – other than the time needed to properly cook the onion..

The main thing of note here, at least for me, was the bucatini. This was the first time that I have ever had bucatini and I have to say that it was very welcome. For the uninitiated think of thicker spaghetti with a small hole running through the middle. It actually squeaked when it was being served due to the release of air.

Progress: 570/933

Acclaimed Albums – Grace by Jeff Buckley

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 77/250Title: Grace
Artist: Jeff Buckley
Year: 1994
Position: #59

Posthumous. One word that always makes me approach an album or a film with some sort of reservation. The fact that, upon a person’s death, there can be a complete re-evaluation never really sat well with me. It’s like how a painting increases in value upon an artist’s death due to scarcity, not exactly moral.

With albums like Grace I feel the need to ask this: would this album be on this Top 250 list if he was still alive. The answer? Yes, but probably placed a bit lower on the list. Whilst the reviews were not as unanimous in praise back when it was released in 1994 Grace was still placed highly on year-end lists.

If you had asked me 10 years ago if I agreed with this assessment I would have disagreed. I was unable to consider the album beyond the whole posthumous angle. Plus, I was still finding it harder to accept male vocalists.

All I can say is that I am so glad that I have grown up musically as this ticks so many of my musical boxes now. From ‘Mojo Pin’ to ‘Dream Brother’ (via the beautiful covers of ‘Corpus Christi Carol’ and ‘Hallelujah’) Grace just feels like a musical blanket that it is comfortable to snuggle up into for an hour.

XL Popcorn – The Gospel According to St. Matthew

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 441/1007Title: The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Il Vangelo secondo Matteo)
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Year: 1964
Country: Italy

Going into this the only other film I had seen by Pier Paolo Pasolini was the very controversial Salò. Not exactly an easy film to watch if you are easily shockable – rape, murder, cophrophagia, scalping and… just a whole lot of unpleasantness.

So, the fact that Il Vangelo secondo Matteo is widely seen as one of the best spiritually themed films, as well as being a reverential and faithful (pun unintended) adaptation of a biblical text, is nothing short of bizarre.

And faithful it is too. The film takes only from Matthew’s gospel and other than some rearranging it is pretty accurate. Well, accurate in the terms of staying true to the Bible that is.

One thing about this film is that whilst it was beautifully shot (and had a rather beautiful man taking on the role of Jesus), I know that a lot of this was lost on me because I am not a believer. It actually made me look at this film at a slightly different angle albeit one that got a bit bored of a lot of the scripture when it took a narrative turn and it was just Jesus speaking.

Honestly, watching this as a non-believer was interesting since a lot of it, including the cutaway healing of a leper, just felt a little bit far-fetched. I know that if I did believe it would have effected me on a different level. For now, it was an interesting watch.

Good Eatin’: Pre and Post-Slovenia

 List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books

This is pretty much a motley bunch of foods that I have managed to consume over a few weeks (due to work stresses and the like my pace of writing has begun to slow down a bit).

However, all of this just goes to show how lucky I am to live in a city where people of so many backgrounds call home. I mean, how boring would it be if it was just white British (says the guy marrying a Dutchman)? Very.

Food item: Injera

So, around the corner from where I work is a place called Startisans. It is brilliant. Essentially, it is an indoor area between Holborn and Covent Garden where there is a rotation of food vendors.

On this occasion there was an Ethiopian stall and I went for a complete mix of things topped off with injera – a spongy flatbread that is slightly sour and soaks up EVERYTHING. I may have gone back here the next week and had exactly the same thing again. Never really thought of Ethiopia as having a distinct cuisine. Always glad to be proven wrong.

Food items: Wontons, Prawn Wontons, Wonton Soup and Fortune Cookie

I know it’s weird, but I have taken the advice of a fortune cookie to an extreme before. Am I stupid or susceptible to desserts telling me what to do? Probably both if I am being honest.

If you are lucky enough to have a great Chinese takeaway nearby that also does wonton soup and are yet to take them up on their offer… just get some right now. There is something about these soft pork and shrimp parcels floating in a clear soup that makes everything okay.

Food items: Pecorino Romano and Penne all’Arrabbiata

I have to say that I might have found a new favourite cheese to grate onto the top of my pasta. I mean, pasta all’Arrabbiata is something that I have made a lot and it’s nice enough, but with the addition of this sharp, salty sheep’s cheese it was just a whole new experience. It really works well with the chilli in the pasta sauce.

To be honest, whilst I have made this before I cheated and used a pre-made sauce on this occasion. It wasn’t as good as when I usually make it but it was nice enough.

Food items: Dragon Fruit

After having to work on a Saturday my partner bought me a dragon fruit as a treat. To look at them they look like something that must have evolved during dinosaur times. Then you find out that they grow from a cactus and then suddenly it makes a whole lot of sense.

The taste is also explained from this fruit’s origins as part of a cactus. There is a subtle sweetness to the fruit and it is very refreshing even served straight from the fridge. That is about it for taste though, not really worth the premium paid for tropical fruits.

Food items: Pollo al Limone

I hear ‘lemon chicken’ and my thoughts instantly turn to Everybody Loves Raymond. How often was this being served to Ray? Probably once every 2-3 episodes. So when the office canteen had this on the menu (the book refers to both the European lemon chicken and the lemon chicken found at Chinese takeaways) I knew I had to try it.

Now, I don’t know if it was because it was from a work canteen (although ours is usually really good) the lemon chicken didn’t strike me as something that special. Maybe if this one had had a greater flavour of lemon I would have been turned around on the subject though.

Food items: Chicle Gum

I have been trying to find gum with chicle in it for a while. I got lucky after passing the Sweets from Heaven store off of Leicester Square and bought four such gumballs containing chicle for 40p. Bargain.

Now, I don’t know if it is me looking for difference, but as a compulsive gum chewer this is just normal gum.

Progress: 562/933

The Great EU Quest – Slovenia

List Item: Visit all EU countries
Progress: 12/28
Country: Slovenia
Year first visited: 2001

I have been to Slovenia three times. The first time was back in 2001 and then most recently in May of this year (2015) for a long weekend with my partner and a close friend.

List Item: Go on holiday with a friend/group of friends
Progress: Completed

I had been saving writing about visiting Slovenia since I had a feeling that I would be going back there quite soon –  turns out that I was right.

Day 1 – Friday – Getting There

In typical ‘me’ fashion I managed to get some food items ticked off my list during this list. Unlike the trip to Sicily there was no attempt by me to seek these food items I just got lucky  especially since the first one was breakfast at the airport which was gorgeous.

List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books

Food item: Huevos Rancheros

It wasn’t the most Slovene way to get the holiday started but who knew they had a Giraffe at London Stansted?

Anyway, so we land at Ljubljana airport at 4pm local time and… it is raining. Luckily for us we knew that it was going to stop in the evening otherwise it would have been very deflating to get there to this sort of weather.

Our base for the holiday was the town of Bled in an apartment owned by a lovely Slovene woman and her family (it’s the Apartment RUS Bled and I highly recommend it). It was only a few minutes from the lake so, obviously, I had to see it again as soon as possible.

This was my third time in Bled, but the beauty of the lake has never lost its impact on me. Even when it was raining it looked beautiful, in a different way. As you can see from the picture it was strangely ominous with very low clouds (well we were about 500m above sea level so maybe they weren’t THAT low).

After dinner at the pizza place attached to the ice hockey arena we spent the night playing cards before heading for bed.

Day 2 – Saturday – Lake Bled

We awoke fairly late. Well, not too late in normal weekend terms, but late for a holiday. The plan for the day? To explore Bled.

The weather had already cleared up and it was very sunny. So sunny that I ended up getting quite a bad sunburn… but anyway. The first port of call was Bled Castle, which was a rather steep climb up some stairs in the cliff face. It was the first of a lot of walking uphill that we would do during this long weekend.

The view from the castle was well worth the climb and the entrance fee. It also allowed for the discovery of some rather disturbing looking Slovene models of olden day peasants.

(creepy no?)

We spent the rest of the day walking around the lake. Literally, we did two complete 6 km circuits of the lake in one go. The first go around was me and my partner by ourselves, our friend joined us for the second circuit.

I mean, it was hard not to. It was just so gorgeous and there were so many different places to just stand and admire the beauty.

We DID stop for cake along the way though. Not just any cake, but the local dessert which was massive. and with a lot of custard and cream.

We got to the end of the second circuit and, whilst I was itching to walk it again, we decided to head back to the place for a shower and then head out for dinner.

Seeing how I was theone making the itinerary I pushed for us to go to a restaurant that served Slovene food. So we ended up going to a restaurant called Gostilna Murka and ate an awful lot since we basically had no lunch.

Food items: Buckwheat Groat and Kielbasa

So this was called The Duke’s Plate and it was ruddy gorgeous. Slovene sausage, sauerkraut, buckwheat mash, a pork steak and some minced meat patty. Nice mustard on the side. My Germanic side was absolutely singing at that moment. So much so that when we returned to this restaurant on our final night we had the same thing again.

Food items: Apple Strudel and Schnapps

At the end of the meal we all got a free shot of schnapps. It was local, it was herbal, it was horrible and very strong (they did the same when we returned but it was blueberry flavoured and actually rather nice).

Day 3 – Sunday – Vintgar

Food item: Smetana

We got up a bit earlier on this day. I was up really early because of REALLY painful sunburn and a heat blister on the back of my neck. Fun(!) We actually got a list dairy product without even trying! It was pretty damned good on bread, even though it is essentially the child of sour cream and cream cheese.

On this day, the focus was on going to Vintgar Gorge, a piece of natural beauty some 3-4 km away. Of course, we walked there and, of course, it was pretty much all uphill on the way there.

Walking through the gorge feels like being in a world that Lara Croft would end up shooting dinosaurs in the face. Despite the bridges and pathways it all just felt so unspoilt. There were even little fish living at random parts along the gorge… and they were truly swimming for dear life.

The whole path takes you through about 1.5 km along the gorge culminating in a wide and spraying waterfall. It was so much cooler than in the gorge, it was incredibly refreshing after a long walk there… and something to long for after a long walk back.

When we got back to Bled there was mini golf and a toboggan trip down the slide of a very large hill. Good times.

Day 4 – Monday – Bohinj

Food item: Cornbread
Progress: 552/933

Another accidental list item here: cornbread. Slovene cornbread to be exact. It was pretty dense which meant none of us actually had too much of it. Probably not the best idea considering…

List item: Go hiking
Progress: Completed

So on our final day we took the bus to Bohinj for two specific reasons: to go on a hike at the top of the Vogel mountain and to visit the Savica waterfall.

Just a taste of the sort of views there were to be had after going up to near the top of the Vogel in a cablecar. It was a pity to be there in the depths of the off-season since all the chairlifts at the top were not functional. Still, that didn’t put us off as we made for one of the shorter hiking trails that took us about an hour to complete.

The amazing thing about the hike, and I guess because of it being off-season, was that we did not come across another human being for the entire hour (and yet still had 4G signal on our phones). It was just the three of us and nature. I also saw some of the bluest flowers that I had ever seen in my life – no filter or camera trickery required to show how vivid they were.

After finishing our hike we took the cable car down and started to make our way to Savica – some 4 km away. All uphill. Needless to say it took a while and we really needed some food by the time we arrived there.

Now, the cruel thing about all this is that we thought we were basically there. On the way we heard a lot of running water and saw some smaller waterfalls. It was all a trick… there were literally hundreds of steps between us and the waterfall.

Needless to say. It was utterly worth it. By the end of the returning walk to the bus stop we worked out we had walked the equivalent of a marathon over the three days. Which is a lot… until you realise there are people who run this in a matter of hours.

After we arrived back at Bled it was time to pack, get in one more round of mini-golf and prepare for the plane trip home.

I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to going back home. The morning we left I sat on a bench at the edge of the lake and just stared out. I will be back again.