Write this one on your bucket list!

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If you haven’t been you have to go (to Kuala Lumpar!) A peaceful , well mannered blend of east meets west, a place to eat or, if you are young enough, party (night life is in full swing between 12 and 4am.) Too old for the latter I still appreciated the bubbling activity of bar street with it’s hive of bars and clubs, to be avoided when in transit for its teeming staff waving drinks menus and greeting you in a friendly non pushy way.

Though I’m not a foodie I did indulge fully in the former however. Prices go from very reasonable in the nicer restaurants to unbelievably cheap in the many sidewalk street stalls. The food in all was excellent and extremely diverse. To give an idea, I ate Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Chinese, Malay and Indian  during my stay and all were the real thing, none Anglicized or adapted and each meal was delicious! Then there were all the things you could buy and take home, middle eastern dates, pistachios, and super rich jams, coconuts with a straw to drink the milk, the many fresh fruit or veg juices offered everywhere (the Malays seem to be vastly into health food), fresh fruit stalls with mango, papyia and durian (not my favourite!) take away meals wrapped in leaves or paper (environmentalists take note) also Chinese herbal medicine (I brought back a supply – I learnt its value in China).

Health laws are strict so you can eat freely without worry, and the food far fresher than I’m used to in the UK (a reason my son in law set up business there to market a pain relieving herbal tea – putting bad stuff in food is taken very seriously and has severe penalties, so Asians trust Malay certified products.)

The countryside around in also stunning (though I didn’t get much chance to indulge in that this trip but you see the occasional monkey even in the golden triangle (city center) and the trees are immense and beautiful.

Though tropical I was pleasantly surprised at how mild the weather was (certainly far cooler and less humid than southern China). The malls and restaurants are all air conditioned but even the street stalls with their simple fans are comfortable to eat. Staying on the 22nd floor we caught the breezes, so much of the day there was no need for the air-con.

All in all I was very impressed by Kualar Lumpa, polite, safe, friendly and colourful. Any crime is generally limited to within racial groups Chinese to Chinese, Malay to Malay, Indian to Indian, etc. and it’s certainly not apparent, I had to ask to find out it existed (every major city has its underworld). Tourists can explore freely without worrying.

It’s also a shopper’s paradise with all kinds of beautiful displays and goods on sail representing a myriad different cultures all at very reasonable to incredibly cheap prices. My favourite was central market (pictures to follow tomorrow.)

Off to the Sea!

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Off to the Sea!

sea

Yes, I’m off for 5 days of long walks along the beach (I love the sea intensely no matter what the weather), traditional English pub lunches, and endless chats with my big sister (it’s only once a year so my sweet brother in law just retreats behind his newspaper and pretends he’s not there. lol!)

Such times always bring out the child in us. Though by calculation I know she’s 71 I find it very hard to believe. In looks, energy and personality I’d guess her to be in her late 50’s (we had a giggle when one of the lifeboat guys tried to chat her up last time I was there!)

We’ll eat the trout my brother in law caught and veggies from his allotment along with the bottle of wine I’m bringing, and His canine shooting partner will look at us eating with those big spaniel eyes. Yes, reunion will be sweet.

I’ll trade my beloved lakes for the sea for a while, breathe in the fresh spray, listen to the soothing waves and the sea birds screams and in doing so realise why my sister seems so young.

31 day challenge day 27

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Your favourite recipe?

Due to my chocolate addiction it has to be this one. (About the healthiest chocolate bar you can get – tastes delicious too!)

Ingredients:
• 14 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (warm if needed)
• 10 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
• 5 tablespoons unsweetened, pure, grated coconut
• 1 tablespoon muscovado sugar or demerara sugar (If you don’t use dates or raisins you might want to use 2 tablespoons sugar.)
• 1 or 2 handfuls chopped dates or whole raisins
• 1 handful or less of chopped almonds (I use mixed nuts nuts)
• a pinch of salt

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• 3 teaspoons cinnamon (could be more, or less, to taste) This is optional, as is almost everything else in this recipe except the coconut oil and the cocoa!
• vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Stir the cocoa powder into the coconut oil till thoroughly blended.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
3. Place the mixture in either a mold or a tray approximately 3 inches by 6 inches, though this can vary depending on how thick you want your healthy chocolate bar
4. Now put it in the refrigerator. If you are making a bar, after it’s been in the fridge for about 20 or 30 minutes, you may want to score it. This will make it possible to serve it in nice little symmetrical bite-sized pieces once it’s hardened.

(Warning since it is natural the chocolate will start to melt in your fingers (hence bite size pieces) so keep tissues handy.)

31 day challenge day 21

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Your 10 favourite foods?

1) Chocolate. (My only addiction!) dark, no milk and not much sugar. I have a great homemade recipe using a cocoa powder and coconut oil base (add raisons, nuts, seeds, dates etc according to taste) which is at least pretty healthy.

2) Mangos. I’m crazy about all fruit (particularly the tropical kind) the fresher the better. Tropical fruit is no good here in the UK though as its artificially ripened and just doesn’t have the same flavour. Mangos for example should be soft in texture like a peach not rock hard! (My grandson didn’t know that).

3) Avocados. I didn’t like these when I was young but now I’m crazy about them (maybe there’s something my body needs now that it didn’t before).

4) Yes, I do feel horrid about it (eating lambs) but every now and then I must confess to eating a lamb chop or two, they’re so delicious.

5) Italian ice-cream (the real stuff found only in Italy). Yes, I know its not healthy but your taste buds haven’t lived till you taste it (add sultry Italian evening, good friends and that passing smile from a romantic looking Latin…. whoops! Back to reality!)

5) Chinese moon cake. I do like the usual ones (with a salty egg surprise in the middle of altra sweet cake) but they wouldn’t make this list. They actually come in many different types. There’s one I only had once as its a specialty (and expensive) made with mostly nuts and fruit, that is list worthy!

6) My daughter’s homemade cheesecake, heavy on the lemon and light on the sugar (best cake I ever tasted – shame she lives in China.)

7) Peking duck. Soft slices of duck you roll in a white pancake with shredded cucumber and spring onion and a special sauce – its the sauce that makes it. I still remember when I first ate it! (It’s not the same here all Chinese restaurant food tends to be “Chinglishised” to sell to the English.

8) Polish bread. I can’t find it in London now (they sell Polish things but not that particular kind). It was heavy and grainy, full of flavour and nutrition just how I like my bread.

9) Italian pizza straight from a stone Italian pizza oven. Horribly fattening but delicious, again think the setting red wine, cool evening, whoops there I go again!

10) Smoked salmon. Mmmmm! I could eat a whole plate full if only it was cheaper.

31 day challenge day 10

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fridge

What’s in my fridge?

This says a lot about my lifestyle! lol!

1) Vegetables (always lots of them. I started eating them more for health and now I’m totally addicted). I like to buy fresh every few days from the family green grocer just round a corner. In summer I grow my own which are far tastier. At present there’s:

Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots,parsnips, brussel sprouts, and mushrooms,

2) Fruit, there’s much more in the summer (artificially ripened fruit just doesn’t taste the same) So now just:

Lemons, oranges and apples.

3) Meat (I’m trying to limit this but I love the taste so…):

Bacon (great for adding flavour to beans lentils etc.) ham and frozen chicken legs in the freezer.

4)Dairy, I don’t buy into the anti fat thing – natural is better in my book ( margarine can’t even be classified as a food, it’s entirely man made?!?! – little rant lol!)

Butter, whole milk and 3 different cheeses

5) Other stuff:

Eggs, mustard, mint sauce, strawberry preserve (the bought kind for my grandson) apple juice (for my muesli – sounds funny tastes delicious – try it sometime!) homemade flapjacks and soup, left over red bean, mince and vegetable stir fry (from last night), and one “naughty item” a jar of mincemeat left over from making Christmas mince pies (well it was Christmas! ha!)

I’m interested to see what the others have. It’s a “hobby” of mine while waiting in the checkout line to peruse others baskets and make life style guesses, “hmm they’re throwing a party, having a barbecue, into snacking, don’t like cooking etc”. lol!