Posts Tagged ‘festival’

A Taste of Manchester

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

I realised I haven’t written about food in so long and you may have all started to worry about my health. FEAR NOT! I am continuing to consume large amounts of delicious food and drink within a slightly smaller budget than previous years.

While France brought me pastries and cheese, England has delivered real ale and is clearly attempting to turn me into red nosed alcoholic. The red nose is a given, but don’t worry Mum, my lightweight alcohol tolerance means I give up and go home hours before the rest of my friends.

The arrival of craft beer makers in Manchester means that most weekends there is either a brew tap or a food festival (with beer) to attend, usually located in a railway arch on the outskirts of the city centre. These have become one of my favourite things to do in Manchester – spending an afternoon with my foodie-friends eating local food, sampling local beer and having a good old time.

Yesterday the weekend’s festival was held in the People’s History Museum. It was all of my favourite things in one place – beer, cheese, friends and interpretation panels! It was held by CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale organisation) and I am now trying even harder to grow a beard so that I can become a member. You don’t technically need a beard to join – it just seems more appropriate.

It is great to be able to try different types, strengths, and flavours of beers to learn what you do and do not like to drink. It reminds me of going to the Salon du Vin in France and being able to sample wine at over 150 wine stalls, only this isn’t quite as free and you don’t have to pretend to understand what the word ‘tannins’ means.

Beer + cheese!

Beer + cheese!

One Month Down

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Believe it or not, I have been back in Perth for an entire month and I am yet to turn into a fried lobster. You could even say I have a ‘slight tan’, which mostly means I am not obscenely white – just very white.

It has been a busy month and I think life is about to become even busier. I now have two jobs. Yes, two. Why get one, when you can have two? Both positions are casual roles for the Subiaco local council – the first is working in the community engagement team while the other involves me organising cultural events in the library. I then come home and write amazing things for my clients, so I have been spending a lot of time lately staring at computer screens.

Meanwhile, my left foot is becoming more in tune with the movement of a clutch and I am slowly improving at this whole ‘manual car’ thing. I will admit to one rather large hissy-fit that was the result of a three-point turn, a hill start and a (luckily) very patient person waiting for me to work out the pedals. The fact that it was 38 degrees at the time didn’t help.

Last Saturday I volunteered for the Perth International Arts Festival again, this time at the new (well, new to me seeing as it had only just opened when I left Perth four years ago) State Theatre. I encouraged children and their parents to colour in flying machines and then have them projected onto a large digital installation. It was fantastic fun – watching children gain so much joy from seeing their artworks turned into magical moving images on a large screen was very pleasing.

PIAF

My art work zooming around on the screen.

Now I must dash and go to bed. I have taken to waking up at 5.50am to go for a run and/or head to the beach for a swim before getting ready for work. Ridiculous, yes. Enjoyable, also yes. A day without pre-breakfast exercise isn’t a day that you want to meet me. They say exercise gives you endorphins – I think it just sweats out my grumpiness.

Deutsche Torte in Edinburgh

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

My trip to Edinburgh reminded me of how much I miss good food. While Manchester’s food options are slowly improving, it was so nice to be back in a city with small, independent cafés and bars and little pockets of suburban shops and restaurants. Edinburgh city centre is easily walkable with residential areas close by. I was staying in an apartment that was a ten minute walk from The Mile and the main action of the Edinburgh festival. It was also a five minute walk from streets lined with cute cafés and one-off shops and on my final morning, Les and I went for morning coffee at one of the local hang outs.

German heaven.

German heaven.

Falko is a German bakery and café that sells a jaw-droppingly joyful array of German bread, cakes and meals. It was rye central. As we walked in we received a very German welcome – our lack of decision making skills as we stared drooling over the cakes meant we were holding up the woman in charge. She was to the point, frowned a lot and wanted to run her business. We were disrupting that. It was wonderful – I felt like I was back in Germany being an annoying non-german-speaking tourist.

When we had finally chosen our cakes and ordered hot chocolates each, we sat outside (another faux pas as no one else was sitting out there and that meant additional work for Frau) and awaited our delights. When she delivered our cakes and drinks and we complimented her on the quality of her products, she decided we weren’t that bad and we even received a smile. Win!

I want.

I want.

Let me start with my apple torte – huge, juicy chunks of apple embedded in a not-too-sweet custard filling and perfectly baked pastry. I was instantly transported back to 2007 when I used to eat this every sort of thing every day. No wonder I got fat that year. Coupled with a glass of hot chocolate that was made from actual chocolate. Yes, you’ve heard of the stuff. Dark-brown and kind of sweet. Frau was proud of her hot chocolate and its real-chocolate content and so she should have been. It still wasn’t quite rich enough for me but it was three-hundred-million times better than any hot chocolate I have consumed in Manchester in the last year.

There's real chocolate in that glass.

There’s real chocolate in that glass.

It was one of those eating experiences that reminds me how much I love food and how I could happily spend the rest of my life surrounding myself in apple torte. In 10 days it is my birthday and I am concerned that I won’t be able to find a birthday cake to live up to my high standards. I might need to make my own to avoid the crushing disappointment of excess icing and tasteless sponge. In the meanwhile, my Falko apple torte sits fondly in my memory bank. Happy cake times.

Italiano Feast

Monday, July 28th, 2014

I have grown to love and adore Twitter. On multiple occasions it has brought me glorious food-based moments that have added joy and deliciousness to my life. A few weeks ago, I noticed a tweet advertising the Moretti Gran Tour – an italian food festival touring the UK. It was coming to Manchester to the old Granada Studios and after some research I decided I needed to go. So on a sunny Friday evening, Sir Pubert Gladstone and my friends Ellie and Ryan joined me in an italian food extravaganza.

Entry to the Moretti Gran Tour was £10 which gave you a wrist band covered in very useful tokens. One beer, two food, one gelato and one coffee – the night was looking promising as we walked into a warehouse building filled with food stalls, wooden bench tables and Italian flags. It wasn’t overly busy which meant easy access to all of the stalls and after checking out our options we whipped out our tokens and got sampling.

Better than a slap-band.

Better than a slap-band.

I usually avoid token-based food and drink events as you are usually served tiny portions or yesterday’s left overs. Not the case with this italian extravaganza – the generous italian nature was in full swing with our beer tokens getting us pints of Birra Moretti. With drinks in hand we separated and hit the food stalls. Pubert and I got two vegetarian dishes and went halves – an amazingly rich beetroot gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and pumpkin ravioli served in a butter sauce with amaretti biscuit sprinkled on top. Fantastic quality and seriously delicious.

There's pumpkin in there.

There’s pumpkin in there.

My second food token was exchanged for a deep fried pork and beef calzone – slightly spicy and tender meat, the pastry case was crisp and not excessively oily. It was awesome. Just awesome.

There was pink lighting in the room – the calzone wasn't rose coloured.

There was pink lighting in the room – the calzone wasn’t rose coloured.

Pubert had the arancini which were slightly disappointing as they sounded better than they tasted but they were still better than any arancini that have ever been served in Manchester before. Ryan and Ellie both chose the slow roasted pork rolls with Ryan choosing to use both of his tokens in order to get two servings. Clearly a winner.

Rotating pig.

Rotating pig.

Next came dessert with Gelupo gelato and sorbet. Their great range of flavours included sour cherry and yoghurt, chocolate, pistachio and blood orange and the best part was that you could get half and half. That always makes me happy. So chocolate and pistachio it was, and as the guy in the stall forgot to take my token, I was naughty enough to make Pubert go back for seconds. I will break the rules for food.

Half 'n' half gelato.

Half ‘n’ half gelato.

Ellie was the only one of us to use the coffee token but she let us try hers. So generous.

We all came away from the Moretti Gran Tour with full bellies and an overall feeling of satisfaction. It was one of the best £10 I have ever spent and certainly one of the best food events I have ever been to. Please come back, my Italian food friends. I miss you already.

Good Old George

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Today is apparently St George’s Day in England. As I don’t really know what that means, I have conducted a quick search where I have discovered:

  1. St George is Patron Saint of England
  2. For awhile St George’s day was a day of feasting and national holiday until England joined with Scotland and that stopped
  3. You’re supposed to fly the St George’s flag and wear a red rose.
  4. Since Shakespeare died on this day, it is now National Book Day.

Ok that is the strangest explanation for a ‘day’ that I have ever read on one webpage but that’s what I found on www.stgeorgesday.com

Manchester celebrated early with a weekend of ‘activities’. This was mostly the installation of a large drinking tent and three carnival rides outside the Town Hall. Sunday morning there was also the St George’s Day parade, which I decided I should attend so that I could learn more about the important national event.

It was the worst parade that I have ever seen. Ever. I waited for over an hour in the cold (the sun from the day before had disappeared) to eventually witness some belly dancers, a few trucks filled with children wearing red and white and waving flags, and two stretched hummers that are clearly normally used for hen’s nights and with slightly inappropriate words written on the side, go past down the street. It lasted approximately six minutes and I didn’t see one dragon.

The most relevant float in the entire parade.

The most relevant float in the entire parade.

I left feeling a little bit confused about what St George’s Day is actually about and it would appear that most British people are too. Poor George and his dragon. Hopefully one day I will find out the true meaning of his celebration and I will hold my own parade in his honour.

Mural Magic

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

It is nice to see my friends doing awesome things. Miles Noel is a guy who went to school with my brother, peeled italian sausages with me at a terrible pizza restaurant in Perth and is generally super cool. He is also a painter and is growing his collection and presence within the Australian art scene. He recently did a mural on a wall in Angove Street, North Perth for the local festival and has released this time lapse video of his work. Very exciting stuff. Love it.

Back to Business With Galette

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Happy 2012 to one and all! My year started with insane Dutch people setting off fireworks in their back/front yards, carparks, petrol stations etc., plus lots of olliebollen, appelbeignets and general consistent eating.

Olliebollen

Mmm... olliebollen.

It is strange to think that I have come back to Paris with the idea of now being able to eat ‘normally’ and hence hopefully return to my original pant size. I have hit one slight set back – La Fête des Rois. Also known as the Epiphany when the three Kings or wise men visited Jesus and gave him birthday presents, the French have taken hold of this great day and turned it into something even greater. Everyone eats galettes – a round puff pastry delight filled with almond paste goodness. OH, IT IS GOOD.

Galette

Galette

Inside the galette, the bakers place a small item (yesterday I was witness to the discovery of a jigsaw puzzle piece, a green cow, and a miniature ScoobyDoo) and when the galette is divided, the person who finds the item in their piece of galette is crowned the King. They then get to wear a crown for the rest of the evening, lucky buggers.

While we had plans yesterday evening to have a galette party with the other residents at the Récollets, as Ben is a budding baker, we went in search of a GOOD galette (as opposed to one from a supermarket) for morning tea. We decided to go to Julhès, a family empire of deliciousness where you can buy bakery goods, wine, cheese, tapenade, foie gras, chocolate, and every other delicious thing you can think of. Ben, Tom and I divided the galette into 12 pieces and then invented a complicated mathematical formula for deciding who received which piece of galette. Ben was the winner with his second piece of galette and wore, with pride, the golden crown.

Galette

Keeping things fair

The second rule of galette is whoever is crowned King is also, therefore, rich and must purchase another galette for his lowly citizens/friends/family. So Ben bought a second (smaller) galette from my favourite boulangerie to have with lunch. As this was a galette for one or two persons, there was no item hidden inside so no one had to buy another galette. HOWEVER, we did then meet my fellow residents in the evening for dinner and galette eating. Almost everyone brought a galette so there were plenty to go around. This time we followed even more traditional methods and the youngest person was sent to sit under the table to call out names of people and select which piece of galette they would eat.

The youngest person at the table was three months younger than me, and as he was quite insistent that I take the honour of sitting on the floor, I spent the next 15 minutes or so calling out names from under the table. What fun! I failed at choosing a winning piece of galette for myself on both the first AND second round of galette distribution. Once everyone had had two pieces, there were still a few kings missing but everyone was a little bit sick of puff pastry and almond so the rest of the galettes were attacked with knives to find the final items. It was a lot of fun and galette is definitely high on my Deliciousness list. The search for the hidden item is highly entertaining and the fact that you’re eating delicious galette instead of looking for a penny inside stodgy plum pudding is definitely an additional benefit.

Things are returning to normal now after the Christmas and New Year’s break. I have just dropped my brother off at the train station and sent him back to England to continue his baking. My plans for today mostly involve cleaning as I still have christmas presents, decorations and general “I’ll deal with this later” items scattered around my apartment. We returned from our two week trip in Germany and Holland with a lot of excess baggage in the form of presents and food. Lots of food. Tom got excited by the price and availability of Jagermeister in Germany, while I went a bit nuts buying chocolate sprinkles and biscuits in Holland. Luckily there’s no such thing as customs when crossing European borders. Ben is currently travelling back to England with a two kilogram bag of flour in his suitcase. That flour has been through Holland, Belgium, France and now England.

I am trying to work out how I can bring everything that is delicious from France to Australia. I have 20 days left in Paris until I get on a plane and fly away home. While everyone around me is telling me how great Australia is and how much fun I am going to have, the whole process of having to get on a plane for 24 hours, have jet lag, fly to and from Sydney, and spend the entire time crossing my fingers that I am allowed a visa isn’t really making me jump for joy. Yes, yes, beaches, sunshine and family. But also a lot to think about and hope that the French government doesn’t think of a stupid reason not to let me come back to France. What will I do then? Plus what cheese am I going to eat in Perth?!

Well this post is getting very long and I have cleaning to do. Spread the word that Zaum is back in action for 2012 with more stories, more adventures and plenty of photographs of food.

Stroop wafel

Like this fresh stroop wafel I ate in Gouda

Boating on the Canal

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Something that I love about Parisians is despite their snooty attitudes, strict style guides and general up-turned-nose at anything seemingly ‘different’, they still manage to celebrate strange, somewhat banal things with vigour and passion. Yesterday delivered a prime example of when I had to stop, shake my head and laugh at the ridiculous contradictions that were appearing before my eyes.

Tom and I went for a walk along the canal, heading to a show for regional produce from Provence. Along the way, we passed Point Ephémère – a hip and happening bar/club/restaurant full of bobo-Parisians hanging out and being seen. This all seemed normal except for the wooden boat floating in the canal, the folk music and the number of people dressed up in traditional costume. It was the Festival of Estonia (apparently) and for some reason they had set up a small exhibition with wood turning, music and general information about Estonia and viking boats for those who were interested.

Estonia festival

An impressive banner.

Tom and I joined the Bobos for a drink and as we sat by the canal, a group of well dress Parisians (most of them with children) jumped into the viking boat and took it for a spin along the canal while a ye-olde-Estonian played a horn-like instrument in the back.

The juxtaposition of snooty French people not daring to do anything out of the ordinary, and the fact that there was now a viking boat replica being paddled around with a group of ultra serious Parisians was really too much. I just sat and stared and wondered how on earth this could be happening and why it is ok for these Parisians to do something that dorky and yet me wearing a slightly old jumper is just SO INAPPROPRIATE.

It was fantastically entertaining. I also particularly liked the fact that kids were being allowed to use the wood turning machine with no eye protection and were getting bits of saw dust flung straight into their faces. What is health and safety?

Estonia Festival

Wood working at its best.

More Mud

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

It is currently 12.15am on Sunday 28 August and I have two woes.

Woe #1 – Underworld Concert

The main reason why Tom and I came to London was to go to the South West Four festival to see one of my favourite electronic groups, Underworld, play. I love seeing them live and have on previous occasions flown to other cities within Australia to see their concerts. So it wasn’t a completely out of the ordinary decision to buy a ticket to a concert in London seeing as it is just a 2.5 hour train ride away. I now wish I had saved my money.

The concert was out in Clapham, an area of London recently targeted during the riots. I wish they had locked up a few more people because I’m fairly certain half of the people at the concert would have been on the streets throwing bottles through windows last week. It was an interesting bunch of people – I always feel out of place at electronic music festivals as I stand in my fully-dressed attire waiting patiently for a certain dj/band to get on stage as drunken 18 year olds flirt, dance and throw themselves around provocatively nearby. I hate Australian crowds, but this was worse. EVERYONE was drunk. Usually it is only about 80% of the crowd – this was 99.9999999% with Tom and I being that last remaining percentage. Not only that, but at least six times during the four-hour period that we were at the concert I had guys with large wads of cash walk past asking the crowd if they’d like ecstasy, cocaine or marijuana. And there were a few ‘Yes, please’s.

Normally I would have just stood to the side and tried my best to ignore the idiots around me but it was a little difficult to move as every step you took resulted in you sinking into more mud. It had been raining for the past week or so in London and if there is one thing that rain, land and lots of people equal, it is mud. It was as if Tom and I had returned to the North Sea and were attempting to mudwalk with a bunch of intoxicated losers. It was awful. I had had prior thoughts of “Maybe I should buy some cheap shoes to wear in case it is muddy” but decided against it. When I arrived and saw what was in store I bid farewell to my Campers and plunged straight in. At least I am now a seasoned mud-walker and I didn’t fall flat on my arse. I did get a bit girly about the fact that my perfectly wonderful shoes were getting covered in mud. So when we were finally in front of the main stage, we picked a standing spot and stood there. The less we moved, the harder the mud beneath our feet.

When we arrived John Digweed, one of my brother’s favourite DJs was mixing it up on the stage and it was good. It was very good. But unfortunately he finished and was replaced with a guy by the name of Laidback Luke. Lazy Luke would be more appropriate – all he did was slop together a bunch of random songs with popular tunes/lyrics/choruses in order to make the audience say “YAY! I like this song!” and therefore make him look good. I felt like an old-woman-mother-figure standing with a frown on my face, not understanding the music of the youth of today. But finally he finished and Underworld came on stage.

Their set was short. And quiet. And there was no encore. And the crowd weren’t supportive and hardly cheered at all and were too busy smoking (there was a stall selling cigarettes); drinking; taking drugs; looking hideous with their ridiculously short shorts, bad hair cuts and general poor dress sense; and being obnoxious. Basically, it was no where near as good as when I saw them in Perth – now that is saying something. I would even rate seeing them at Bondi Beach on New Years Eve with evil drunk Australians as a more enjoyable experience than tonight. Such a shame because I had such high expectations. I don’t blame Underworld at all because they did their best and their music was awesome. But I just couldn’t hear it and was too busy trying to stop a stupid girl next to me from standing on my feet.

We did have delicious indian food for dinner though so I guess that’s a positive.

Woe # 2 – More Rain

We are supposed to be catching a flight to New York on Tuesday afternoon and there appears to be a bit of weather about on that side of the world (aka. a hurricane.) That’s a tad worrying as I don’t really want my flight to be cancelled or delayed as I had planned on being there for my birthday. At the same time, I also don’t want it to rain there because it has rained enough here in London. So hopefully that will all blow over (get it? Ha.)

Bed time.

Must Go!

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I have spent my morning procrastinating by reading the 2010 Fremantle Festival program. There are so many great things happening! There’s art, music, community events, kites! I’m kind of disappointed that I will be in Sydney over the main festival weekend – 12-14 November. But then again, I’ll be in Sydney so I don’t completely mind. This does mean, however, that you (yes, YOU) must go on my behalf. Download the festival program, nominate an event you wish to attend and then come back to me with your thoughts, feelings and comments about said event. Ok? Ready? GO!