It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Honey Glazed Gammon Recipe

Honey Glazed Gammon - feeling hungry already!

When we were in the UK in November, our gorgeous friend Caroline cooked a seriously fabulous Honey Glazed Gammon to feed all of us internationals who descended on their home on the night before the Christening.

Anyway, I'd never had gammon before and it was so yummy that I kept having more and more.  I think it's all scrumptious, but my fave bits were the crunchy roasted bits on the edges - bliss!  I badgered her for the recipe, and it turns out to be one of the Hairy Bikers recipes.

The Hairy Bikers - fuzzy wuzzy lads!

We headed down to Adelaide for Christmas with family and friends, and I thought I'd try to cook this for the HUGE family Christmas lunch at my parents house.  First we had to find gammon.  It's not a common thing in Australia, and we tootled into the butcher and asked what he thought.  He reckoned it sounded pretty much like pickled pork, which he could make for us, so we ordered some to pick up in a few days.

Mum and I followed the recipe fairly well (it's pretty basic) and it came out an absolute treat.  High points here for Mum who did all the hard work of boiling it etc., whilst I was out drinking bubbles with my girlfriends - I sloped in at the last moment and did the glazing and baking bit.  I'd love to try it again over here in Germany, but I have absolutely no idea what I'd ask for at the butcher to get the gammon/pickled pork - any German speakers know what I should say?

Here's the recipe, hope you enjoy it!


  • 2-4kg/4lb 8oz-9lb unsmoked boneless gammon joint, tied
  • onions, halved
  • carrots, unpeeled, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
  • celery stalks, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • small handful cloves
For the glaze

Preparation method

  1. Place the gammon joint into a large lidded saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Drain the water from the saucepan, add fresh cold water, add the onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to the boil once more. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer the gammon and vegetables gently for twenty minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz. (If your pan is not quite large enough to cover the joint completely, turn the gammon over halfway through the cooking time.)
  2. Remove the gammon from the water and set aside to cool for fifteen minutes. (The cooking liquid can be strained and reserved for making soup for another time.)
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and line a large roasting tin with aluminium foil.
  4. Use a small knife to remove the rind from the gammon joint, leaving as much of the fat intact as possible. Score the fat in a diamond pattern, and push a clove into the centre of each 'X'.
  5. Place the gammon into the foil-lined roasting tray, ensuring that the sides of the foil come half way up the joint to contain any roasting juices.
  6. For the glaze, mix the honey and mustard together and brush half of it evenly over the gammon, including one side of the joint. Roast in the centre of the oven for ten minutes, then take the joint out and brush the top and remaining side with the rest of the glaze. Return the gammon to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, rotating the roasting tin so that the opposite side of the gammon faces the back of the oven.
  7. The gammon is ready when the fat on top is glossy and golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if the top begins to look too brown. Remove the gammon from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  8. Pour any juices that have collected in the aluminium foil into a small pan, and warm through gently.
  9. Carve the gammon, serve on a large platter and spoon over the warmed juices

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thank You!

Well, golly, I've had over 16,000 of you come here and read my adventures, recipes, reviews and general waffle.  I'm absolutely thrilled (and slightly humbled) that anyone cares enough to keep up with what we're up to, and I just want to take a minute to say THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!  You're lovely.

Friday, January 25, 2013

How Much Would You Pay?

As you all know, we headed to Australia for Christmas and the New Year.  Each time I go back to Australia I can't help but notice how incredibly expensive everything is - it really is madness.  I remember when I was growing up that Europe had mad prices and Australia was so cheap, it's really turned around now.

After hitting up Coles and Woolies in Australia, my bag of groceries at Kaufland last week seemed really affordable to me, and I wonder if you guys think what I bought seems cheap or expensive (depending on where you live).

For €21.95 (US$29.22, AUD$27.18, UK£18.45) I purchased the following:-

  • 500ml Cream
  • 500gm Risotto Rice
  • 500gm Risotto Rice (different brand)
  • Wedge of Grana Padano Parmesan cheese
  • 400gm Brown Champignons
  • 4 x Lemons
  • 1 x Bread Roll
  • 400gm Turkey Breast
  • 150gm Creme Fraiche (sour cream)
  • 250gm Irish Butter
  • 250gm French Butter
  • 1 x Box Baking Soda
  • 500gm Raw Sugar

What do you think - a deal or a steal?

Apparently, if you want to add a comment below, and you're not a member of Blogger or Google, you have to select Anonymous in the drop down menu so that your comment shows.  Not sure if this is correct though!  Anyone want to leave a "test" comment?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Emirates Airlines

We flew home to Adelaide for Christmas using the new Emirates routing from Zurich to Dubai to Adelaide.  Yes, only one stop in Dubai and it was only for 2 hours, just enough time for a Starbucks and a wander around the shops.  This is the first time we'd ever flown Emirates, and I've got to say it was pretty good.

My favourite airline is Singapore Air and I would always choose to fly with them home to Australia if their layover time in Singapore wasn't so awful.  It's up to about 15 hours now, which isn't long enough to really go out of the airport and achieve anything, and far too long to sit around in the airport - so you end up paying to check into the transit hotel at Changi and then kicking your heels for ages.  By the time you arrive home in Adelaide after such a long layover you feel ghastly.  The Emirates connection time was great and the prices were comparable.

After flying long haul I really don't like arriving at my destination in the morning, and then having to stay awake all day when you feel awful and all you want to do is sleep.  With the Emirates routing, you arrive back in Adelaide around 9pm and you can go home and collapse and get a good nights sleep.  Singapore always lobbed me back into Adelaide in the morning, so Emirates are much better for me with arrival times.

The Emirates planes were fine, quite new, and with brilliant seat back entertainment systems (called ICE).  They have more entertainment choices than I've ever seen before, including whole box sets of television programs, so you can catch up with a series that you've been wanting to see.  I watched a few new release movies on the way over, and then "Gone With The Wind" on the way back to Zurich.

The staff were quite friendly, and the food was fine with two choices for each meal.  Leg room in economy was quite generous, but the seat width was tight with a 3-4-3 configuration - they're obviously trying to get as many bums on seats as possible.  It didn't help that they'd oversold each of our 4 flights and the planes were absolutely packed.  One nice touch was that when they put all the lights out so that people could "sleep", the ceiling of the plane lit up with tiny stars - it just felt "friendly".

Dubai airport was shiny, new and clean and there were the usual cafes and shops.  If you're flying with kids, the airport provided baby strollers at stations by each departure gate, so you could grab a red Emirates stroller to use in the airport.  I'm not sure how many are available, so you might want to ask more questions before you depart if you're planning on using them.

Overall, Emirates were good, almost as good as Singapore Air, and we'll fly them again.  They seem to have some good deals going from time to time, with Companion Fares in Business and First being offered at the moment, at nearly half the price usually charged - unfortunately they don't do it in Economy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy (belated) New Year!

Yes, I know, 2013 rolled around a good few weeks ago now, but you know I was running a wee bit behind with my blogs, and now I'm up to date and it's officially 2013 in blog-land.  So, HAPPY NEW YEAR, and keep an eye out for our latest adventures!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

FINAL Annual Flight Count

This is it!  The flights to get us home to Australia for Christmas in the warmth with family and friends saw the annual flight total reach a grand total of 39.

When I started the count at the start of the year I had no idea that I'd get anywhere near this number of flights, but I'm really glad I counted them and now I know.

Wonder what next year will bring?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, Scotland

We met some lovely friends for dinner and a stay over at The Balmoral in Edinburgh, somewhere we'd not been before.  The Balmoral is a gorgeous old hotel, part of the Forte group, and has been around for 110 years.  It's in a wonderful location, right on Princes Street, with views out to the Castle.

After an easy, friendly, check in we headed up to our room on the 5th floor.  The room was very comfortable, with a queen sized bed, and a lovely big bathroom with a huge tub - bliss!

We had an early reservation at their very popular restaurant, Number One, but one of our party was delayed after many problems on the train from London, and the restaurant kept our table open for us whilst we waited in the bar for our friend.

We all had the Chef's Tasting Menu which was lovely, and our Sommelier was amazing - so friendly, helpful and always ready with a smile.  The other staff were good, but the Sommelier was brilliant.  The food was wonderful, as you would expect, and we had a ball.

We had a great time, and it was even better that we could enjoy a fabulous night out and then just catch the lift up to our rooms, without anyone having to worry about travel.

The free WIFI question?  There was no free WIFI available anywhere in the hotel (that I could find) and I seem to think that the cost for 24 hours was £20.  Seriously, if Starbucks can give you free WIFI when you buy a coffee, surely posh hotels can start coughing up free WIFI when you pay good money for a room?

The Balmoral
1 Princes Street
Edinburgh  EH2 2EQ
Phone:- +44 131 556 2414

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Annual Flight Count

After a quick pre-Christmas trip back to Scotland to see family and friends, the flight count has jumped to 37.  We had a great dinner and stay at The Balmoral in Edinburgh whilst we were there, so keep an eye out for the blog review.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Great Pizza at Bella Napoli, Bangkok, Thailand

We used to live in Soi 29 and Bella Napoli is in Soi 31, so that's the next block over (handy hint - the sois/streets that run off Sukhumvit Road are odd numbers on one side of Sukhumvit Road and even numbers on the other), and we used to eat there a lot.  Each time we're back in Bangkok we make a visit back there so that I can have my favourite Venizia Pizza (proscuitto, rocket and goats cheese).

It's another one of those rare places where the staff haven't changed, the food is still good, and the prices are reasonable.  You can get a pizza for around 300 baht (about €7) and they sell beer, a small range of wines and soft drinks.  Alcohol in Thailand is heavily taxed, so a bottle of wine becomes quite expensive.  If you're looking for a cheap night out, stick with beer and soft drinks.

We headed in for our usual favourite pizzas and were very happy to see the same owner and staff there.  The pizzas come out quickly, they taste great and the staff are good.  It's not silver service dining, but it's a great, affordable Italian pizza joint and it's easy to find (200-300 metres up Soi 31 on your left).  They also have a pasta menu and the pasta comes out in a pot baked in their pizza oven with a covering of pizza dough which you cut through to get to the pasta - so yummy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Sorry folks!  We've been doing a bunch of travelling and I didn't take my laptop, so my blogs have been few and far between.  And now we're already into 2013 and I've still got blogs from last year ready to post.  So, here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to keep on posting last years stuff and start writing this years stuff to post when 2012 is finished.

There's going to be a bit of a smoosh of stuff on the blog until I get all the 2012 stuff out, so you'll just have to be a wee bit patient with me - thanks!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Amazing Italian at Antonio's, Bangkok, Thailand

When we lived in Bangkok this place didn't exist, which is probably a good thing as we'd be the size of houses because we'd have to eat there all the time!  Antonio's is on Soi 31 off of Sukhumvit Road, but it's also on the side soi that runs between Soi 29 and Soi 31, which is about 200 metres from our old home.  This restaurant used to be an old house, and it's been renovated and turned into a fantastic Italian restaurant since we've been gone.

We used to have a favourite Italian restaurant, Enoteca, which was in the sub-soi behind our house.  Enoteca was always top class (and I'm sure it still is) - we used to eat there regularly, and we planned to go back there again this visit, but then we found out about Antonio's.  We're so glad we did, it's really good.  To give you an idea of how good it was, we were only in Bangkok for five nights, and we went twice!

Antonio defines the term "host".  He visits each table at least once during the evening, but never pushes himself into conversation.  He is a friendly, hospitable, knowledgable host and it's great to chat to him.  It turns out that he was raised in South Australia, about 10 minutes away from where I was raised, so it really is a small world.

I had the fritto misto (fried seafood) starter both visits as it was so good - not greasy at all and so tasty.  I also had the Saltimboca the first night (amazing) and the dish of the house, the home-made porcini ravioli with creamy truffle sauce (a revelation), the second night.  We shared the most astonishing Tira Mi Su for dessert both times.  I've never had a Tira Mi Su that was so light - scrumptious.  Antonio treated us to his home-made Limoncello at the end of the meal and it was really good - he should bottle and sell it.

Antonio's is a fine dining restaurant and you will enjoy it.  It's very popular and you'll need to book in advance.