Bed, Bath and… Iceland

Iceland, what do you know about Iceland? I’ve been curious about this country ever since I went to Europe on 2004 for the first time.

Where elves, gnomes and faires live

Located far up north of the Atlantic Ocean, the land of Bjork, hákarl (cured shark), geothermal energy, imprisoned bankers and conscious society is really something else. It is in my top 5 countries to visit in the next two years. Funny as it might sound, Iceland was mentioned, most of the time, while I was living in New Zealand by some of my friends in the American continent. They thought I was living there and not in Middle Earth.

Iceland is a Nordic European island country, it only has 320,000 inhabitants in 103,000 square kilometres and its capital is Reykjavík. They Speak Icelandic, which is descended from Old Norse, that’ll be fun to learn. But, what do these people eat?

Wait until you read what this is…

They eat a lot of cured meat, mostly lamb and fish, uh, including black pudding (awesome). Two dishes seem pretty interesting, the cured shark or hákarl and the Þorramatur (which consists of meat and fish cured in a traditional manner). Oh, bare in mind that the cured shark is … actually fermented shark that is left to dry for 5 months!

The other reason I’d like to go to Iceland is to see the Northern Lights. Even though I don’t seem enthusiastic about this natural beauty, I do want to witness this before I die.

What are you waiting for?

Have you ever travelled there? Is it awesome as they say? Is it true that they have the coolest mayor in the world, Jon Gnarr?

Ps. Please, please, read this article regarding Iceland’s on going revolution against their bankers and the international financial system: “Other Countries Bailout Bankers, Iceland Jails Them” by Hiram Crespo

Ps2. One of the safest, friendliest and most awesome places in the world is worth visiting. So, what are you waiting for?

 

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Hot, Hot Tamales!

I know, if you aren’t Mexican you might be wondering what tamales are. Well tamales are… how do I put it?  Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish  made of corn-based starchy dough, which is steamed in a leaf wrapper after being filled with some traditional dish.

Tamales have been around for 8,000 to 5,o0o years in precolonial American continent. Tamales became one of the most representatives dishes of Mexican culinary tradition and, in my opinion, they are unique. An Australian friend has been nagging me about posting a recipe for tamales, but believe me, it will take at least a 3 pages long post for that.

I sort off learnt how to make tamales this Christmas, at the Perez’s house we aren’t kidding when it comes to making tamales. My mum takes these massive pots (steamers) from the covert, mixes 4 to 6 kilos of tamale dough, cooks 3 to 5 different fillings, prepare the leaves and sets the table to start the assembly line. We are able to make from 100 to 200 tamales in a couple of hours, then we cook them for 1.5 hours and voila!

There are several types of tamales: wrapped on corn or banana leaves, filled with pork, chicken, pumpkin and dried shrimp, refried beans and cheese, or mole tamales,  you name it. They usually go well with the green salsa I mentioned before. We eat tamales during the most important festivities in Mexico, like the Day of the Dead, Christmas, Independence Day, and February the 2nd.

Beef tamales in wrapped in corn leaf

There are some recipes I found around the internet that sound about right on how to make this traditional dish. There are vegetarian tamales as well, but hey, who has time for that, right? These are easy to follow recipes, so give it a try and go for it, you’ll be the star of the party if you bring tamales!

Ps. Recipe for Pork Tamales here and here 

Ps 2. Tamales with Jalapeños, Cheese, and Corn

Ps3. Recipe for the tamale dough, it is easy to follow and you can add or replace some of the spices in it

Ps4. I might be moving to Mexico City soon, will keep you posted.

In the Land of the Long White Cloud

We started opening our presents on Christmas, when my mum grabs a bag and says to me “this is for you”. I opened the bag and I found socks (ha!) and a shirt (nice), but after grabbing them out, the bag still seemed pretty heavy. She winked at me and I looked inside and I found a book: “In the Land of the Long White Cloud“, written by Sarah Lark.

Photo by Stephen Murphy

I’ve heard many things about this book, specially because my family and friends know I just came back from New Zealand and can relate the story of the book (well, at least the country the story takes place in) to me.

Book description: 

“Helen Davenport, governess for a wealthy London household, spots an advertisement seeking young women to marry New Zealand’s honorable bachelors and begins an affectionate correspondence with a gentleman farmer. Meanwhile, not far away in Wales, beautiful and daring Gwyneira Silkham, daughter of a wealthy sheep breeder, is bored with high society. But when a mysterious New Zealand baron deals her father an unlucky blackjack hand, Gwyn’s hand in marriage is suddenly on the table. Her family is outraged, but Gwyn is thrilled to escape the life laid out for her.

The two women meet on the ship to Christchurch—Helen traveling in steerage, Gwyn first class—and become unlikely friends. When their new husbands turn out to be very different than expected, the women must help one another find the life—and love— they’d hoped for.” – by Amazon

I’m going to start reading it, seems like the right piece of inspiration to get my stuff together and start planning my next “great escape”.

Funny how now, that I’m  far away from New Zealand, there are several things that remind me of this country I love, miss and cherish.

Ps. While watching the Hobbit, during one of the scenes with a beautiful kiwi landscape in the background, my mum whispered “You’ll be back one day, don’t you worry”.

2013 Resolutions … or Whatever

I know, it’s a cliché to write a list of those things you want to accomplish as soon as we start a new year. A friend of mine just reminded me of this “tradition” yesterday, and I thought to my self “myself, let’s do this year’s resolutions”.

So, here I go:

  1. Start and finish this 2013 resolutions list. 
  2. Get a new and better job in my area of expertise.
  3. Finish and publish a book.
  4. Become debt free by the end of the year.
  5. Take cooking lessons.
  6. Weight 77 kg (These were intense holidays, kidding you not)
  7. Live in a new city.
  8. Have everything ready to go back to Middle Earth by the end of the year.
  9. Learn to play the guitar (buying a guitar, by the way)
  10. Get braces
  11. Buy a house and settle down… mmm on a second thought, let’s leave that for the next year.

Pretty  much, let’s see how it goes, I’ll try to keep you posted. And I promise that I will post the recipe for tamales and pozole in my next entry.

Happy 2013, stay cool and remember: nothing is true, everything is permitted.

Ps. WTF is Geordie Shore?? Are you bloody kidding me?

Ps2. Did you know that Australia has the largest population of wild camels in the world?

Mexican Holidays

Winter is here and the Christmas and New year spirit was everywhere. As much as this isn’t my favourite part of the year, Christmas reunites families and lets the best of us out (al least for some days).

As I’m currently spending time with my folks, mum decided to host the Christmas dinner. Turkey and pork are mandatory; potato and beetroot salad as well; green and red sauce spaghetti are like an institution here; and of course, Viscayne Cod (Bacalao a la Viscaina) which is off the hook. These dishes are the result of centuries of blending together Mexican, Spanish, Arab and Germanic recipes. Dishes embraced by my family and reinvented by women and men who lived, ate and loved before me.

Noche Buena: A Good Night…

I’ve decided, long time ago, to learn these dishes by heart, as Christmas and New Years celebrations were here. I hope that, maybe, later on, I’ll be able to replicate these amazing dishes. Let me tell you something before I leave, if you are ever around Mexico during this time of the year try the Noche Buena beer, really good.

I wish to all of you a great 2013 and hope that you accomplish whatever you put your mind on. Never stop believing.

 

Ps. What are your new years resolutions? Try making a good and achievable list, starting with “making a new years resolution”. This way you’ll have crossed the first of your resolutions for 2013.