There's a reason I'm not a poet

Archive for February, 2016

Maltan Hot

Northern Ireland is cold and grey and a bit crap.

I love this place I call home, but unfortunately the above were my thoughts when I returned back from a week’s holiday in Malta. My mum had a big birthday and a couple of months ago had the idea of the lot of us going out there to celebrate it. We were more than happy to make the sacrifice.

The place we went for was an all-inclusive hotel, something I’ve not done before. As it’s off-season we got it for proper cheaps: flights, transfers, accommodation, food and wine (and beer and cocktails and rum) all for just over ¬£300! Not bad at all. Flipping glorious some might say.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from all-inclusive. I figured there would be food/drink any time I wanted it, but I guess I kind of thought what was on offer would be pretty basic- cheap-tasting spagbol or Sainsbury’s basics red wine. But I was actually really impressed by how yum everything was, and of the quality of the meals. There was salmon, mussels, an omelette stand at breakfast, pineapple juice on tap, and a cocktail list you could shake an alcoholic at.

Needless to say greed was entertained and kilograms were added.

Malta itself was a brilliant country, with fantastic history and pretty impressive buildings everywhere you looked. Pick almost any point on the island and do a 360 view of the horizon and you’re pretty much guaranteed that you’ll spot one if not several of the 359 churches. They’ve also got a thing about citadels. Having had several different occupiers and being in a pretty strategic naval location, there’s been a fair amount of conflict over the few thousand years they’ve been around. So the fortifications in a bunch of their cities are pretty impressive; and behind these giant walls there are quaint little narrow streets with decorative balconies leaning over you. With their golden limestone buildings the whole place is a great sight to behold.

We visited their “Silent City” Mdina, a former capital with less than 300 residents and streets that you can just about get a car through, the main cities of Valetta and Vittoriso, the nearby island Gozo (which comes with its own history including prehistoric megalithic temples pre-dating the pyramids) and also the custom-made-village film set of the 1980 Robin Williams “classic” Popeye.

I’ll leave you with a wee snap.

 M

Treat yourself to a dumpling

My friends and I were trying to work out when the most depressing part of the year was, to decide when to have our Treat Yo Self day. It’s likely some day in the middle of November, but we couldn’t wait that long. So we went for the first Saturday in February!

The day started off with brunch, cake and a mimosa (aw yeah) before driving into town and getting a taxi from our car. Theme of the day. We went shopping for needless items, drank during the day, found the comfiest chairs in Belfast, and had a Rhianna dirty chip. In the evening we headed out for dinner to Shu which was amaaazing. I didn’t take any photos because oh my god the food was fantastic and I was too busy eating. It was clear that everything on the plate had been carefully selected due to compatibility with the other ingredients. Yum to the max.

The next day we had a few people over for Chinese New Year! I don’t actually really have any Chinese friends in NI so I was kind of just winging it. I’d made some efforts at calligraphy beforehand and stuck them up around the apartment.  

 The plan was to make fortune cookies (which failed abismally because tuile pastry is a d***) and then like 200 dumplings. That bit was much more of a success! We had a good production line going, and managed to make three different flavours of the things. I haven’t made them in a couple of years and previously had been under the fierce watchful eyes of some pros so wasn’t sure if I was really the best person to be teaching. But the team did well and they ended up delicious. And I got to eat my bodyweight all over again. Wode fu dao le.

M