One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. ~ Virginia Woolf
After my depressing piece about how practicing veganism is most likely very bad for you, something more upbeat about food.
I’m more the Artful Dodger type than any wimpy snowflake like Oliver.
Note the use of the English word ‘cadge‘ at the beginning of the song.
Or, how not to drown.
Not so very long ago, during a solo vacation in Turkey, I very nearly drowned in the Mediterranean.
These are my co-vacationers in Turkey- who didn’t almost drown.
As I’m going to Crete in a couple of weeks I thought I should do something about my non-swimmer status, (for all practical intents and purposes). So casting around on the internet I found Sarah Kentish, ( http://www.swimwithsarah.co.uk/ firstname.lastname@example.org ) who could give me some intensive, 1 to 1 swimming instruction, before my vacation in Crete. And believe you me, finding some proper swimming instruction in the narrow time-window I had available was nothing short of miraculous.
Sarah said that she could teach me how not to drown every time I went in the water, and she was going to be teaching in the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno. And so, I booked a series of lessons and sent off my payment. Snag was, I had no real idea where Llandudno is, other than it’s a seaside resort.
Llandudno is in Wales, and about 250 miles from where I live….. which doesn’t sound so bad. Except I was travelling by train. The journey there took six-and-a-half hours and involved 5 different trains. (The journey home from Llandudno was not as bad.)
Still, I got there to find that the Imperial Hotel is a Magnificent Victorian Edifice. My room was nice, the pool in the basement was nice, and Sarah was nice. Under Sarah’s instruction, in 5 x 40 minute sessions I went from being effectively a non-swimmer to a chap who was more than just ok in the water.
Other than just how much I needed proper swimming instruction, the most surprising thing about this trip was that the main dining room at the Imperial Hotel is world-class. They serve the most sublime food in elegant surroundings, (posh frock and expensive shoes elegant). How they can have a world-class dining room in Llandudno is beyond me.
The downsides were; the trip cost a small fortune, the weather was dreary, and Llandudno by rail from my place may as well be on the dark side of the moon.
Llandudno is a pretty smart place, but it seems to attract the elderly more than cute girls in small bikinis. On the other hand there is a hell of a lot more to do in that Welsh seaside resort than you’d think. The Imperial Hotel is fairly pricey, but mostly worth it. Individual, 1 to 1 swimming instruction is also fairly pricey, but very, very worth it. It might save my life one day.
And, that’s why I took a short break in Wales.
The pool at the Imperial Hotel
Don’t get me wrong, I like California, but sometimes the food there owes a lot to everywhere else. So, for this week’s Food on Friday I’ve tried to come up with some dishes that I think would go down well with my friend, ‘the girl riding shotgun’ and especially dishes that aren’t so Mexican or Spanish in flavour.
No, that didn’t make much sense to me either. But here are some great recipes from some great cooks.
First up this week, from we have this hoisin salmon with zucchini slaw from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.
Hoisin Salmon With Zucchini Slaw
Also from Tieghan there’s this great looking heirloom tomato and zucchini galette with honey and thyme.
Heirloom Tomato Galette With Honey & Thyme
Heather Christo makes the very best looking salads of all, and this grilled chicken, beet and cherry salad with honey balsamic dressing is no exception. Only in California.
Grilled Chicken Beet And Cherry Salad
Jessica Merchant, (aka How Sweet It Is), is from Pittsburgh PA, but I think this BBQ shrimp and lime avocado toast is quintessentially Californian. So sue me.
BBQ Shrimp And Lime Avocado Toast
Silicon Velley girl Elise Bauer created a lot of her recipes in Carmichael, but this very Califonian sauteed shrimp with warm tropical fruit salsa would go down well anywhere in SoCal. Check out all Elise’ dishes at Simply Recipes.
Sauteed Shrimp With Warm Tropical Fruit Salsa
I know, for a fact, that most Californians can’t even poach an egg, but this dish of wild fennel poached trout with courgette taziki would go down well at the end of a hot Californian day. Petra from Food Eat Love may be English, but the name of Petra’s blog is very Californian.
Wild Fennel Poached Trout With Courgette Taziki
Completely different from England the LA based White on Rice Couple, Todd Porter and Diane Cu have a great low carb chicken zucchini noodle pad Thai. OK, low carb is cool. Right?
Low Carb Chicken Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai
From the very Californian Chungah we have this seriously easy and seriously good dish of lemon dill salmon in foil. Really this great looking fish is a 30 minute dish, tops. And, I’m pretty certain anyone can make a great job of cooking this. damn delicious dish.
Lemon Dill Salmon In Foil
If you want something even easier, also from Chungah, we have these zucchini parmesan foil packets. This idea is just so, so very simple to do. Trust me, I’ve tried cooking like this, and it works.
Zucchini Parmesan Foil Packets
California is a great place for a long, long road trip, the road trip with no timetable and no destination.
Trust me, I know