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Favourite Food

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Travel quotes

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You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.― Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

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Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don't know and trusting them with your life.― Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

 


 

National Day of ...

Belize 21 September (Independence from the United Kingdom in 1981)

What's for dinner in Belize?

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Malta 21 September (Independence Day, independence from the United Kingdom 1964)****

Maltese cuisine.....

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See all National Days for September.

 


 

Food related events....

SEPTEMBER 2014, food-related events.

 

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Food related events on this date in history!

 


 

Want even more food history?

oldfoodie

...visit The Old Foodie.

 


 

See where we have been...

24 percent of the world's countries!

 


 

Picton on a perfect day....what could be better?

Find out more about New Zealand's hidden gem....
 

 


The butcher-shop that's open only ONE day a week.

Find out where (and why)....

 


 

Peru is a fun place for food...

... and they love a good festival!

 


 

The French love wine, but they consume another drink even more!

Learn where to find it at its source!

 


Not all art belongs in a gallery.

See these outdoor sculptures....

 


Outer-space artists??

Where is this....?

 


 

If you missed seeing our story about Kashmir, and meeting Ali Baba ....

....here it is now.

 


 

Did you know that France covers more time-zones than any other country?

Find out why...

 


Spice travel with Herbie!

Learn more here....

 


We caught a whale!

...on camera

 


 

Stay in a Royal Pavilion in the desert...

Where, where?

 


 

Lovely Kerala has more than elephants to experience...

.... but the elephants are pretty special!

 


Ever dreamed of having your own place in France.

This may make it easier....

 


 

A food and wine tour in one of France's most beautiful regions.

Learn more about it...

 

 

 

 

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C'mon, admit it! We all like something for FREE!

Especially on holidays....

 

 

 


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Right in season now and packed with goodness. Use them in a variety of ways.

Find out more....

 


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The Wales Coastal Walk is featured this week....

...but did you also know this about Wales?

 

 

 

Do you hate getting up early on holidays?

.....this cruise line has the solution.


 

 

books

.............and Apps and DVDs


 

If you are a reader of food blogs, this behind the scenes peep at the real story, will captivate.

Read more.....

 


 

Yes, the City of Light has still more secrets to disclose!

Discover them here....

 


 

Thai Royal Cuisine is now within your reach with these authentic recipes, edited by a descendant of Prince Chakrabongse.

....enjoy preparing them yourself.

 


Love cycling? Live in Melbourne or visit often?

You need this book!

 


Is there a budding chef in your family? This eBook will help them master more dishes.

Here it is.....


America-bound travellers, take note! 

The fully revised edition is now  available....

 


If you'd like a food-loving guide to show you around Paris, Jane is the person to do this.

Read her book....

 


Want to eat the world? Here 39 cuisines have been explored and explained.

Find out more....

 


Love cooking, like trivia?

This book is for you!

 


 

Ever wondered what makes Melbourne so special?

This book will show you....

 


The Big Apple has some huge and hidden surprises.

Discover more...


Now you can bake like Phillippa!

Get ready for the compliments!


Got friends coming for a party - this is the book for you!

Find some new recipes....


One of the stars of MasterChef share his take on healthy food.

Good and good for you!


Are you ready for a fashionable shopping spree in Paris?

You need this book!


If you have small children and live in Sydney or Melbourne, these cute but very helpful guides are for you!

Read more...


The world's greatest maritime explorer - and real person.

An engaging read...


Would you like to cook like an Italian nonna?

Silvia can show you how....


Sneak a peek at the tried, true, and prize-winning recipes of CWA Judge, Merle Parrish.

...learn to cook like she does

 


Burma is a mystery to many people. Its food is even more obscure.

Read this and be delighted...


Craving a burger? Live in Victoria - or visiting?

This book is a must to read...


Finally Sydney has its own Gault & Millau restaurant guide...

....but do you know how to pronounce it?


The biggest and most beautiful book of Italian food.

Read about it here....

Coffee seems to be the fluid which fuels most of us in this beautiful book

Learn about who grows it, roasts it and makes it.

 


If you think you may be the only person 'that everything happens to' when travelling - read this!

 

underpants

and laugh out loud....


Give this book and you give even more. 

 

snapshots

find out how.......


 

 

 

 

Window on Agra

No prizes for guessing where we are! Agra instantly equates with this UNESCO World Heritage-listed monument.

"You want to ride? I take you." "What's you name?" "Where you from? Sydney? I have friend (brother, aunt) in Sydney!"

Welcome to the 'other' Agra, a three-hour freeway trip from Delhi. Suddenly you are ejected into a city (pop. 1 million-plus) choked with traffic, dusty, polluted, rubbish-strewn. Worse, you are thrown into the mellee of rickshaw-wallahs and touts, all desperate for your dollars. Our hotel, Mansingh Palace, was in a compound just off a major street, so we decided to take a walk. Bad choice! Hardly had we stepped onto the road than we had a man at our elbow. With his rickshaw.

We really did want the exercise, but we had to do it with our half-dozen new best-friends in tow - begging to take us to the market, to the bazaar, the leather factory, asking our names, ages, home town, family status - every excuse of ours implacably countered with more suggestions. More questions.

A self-proclaimed holy man squatting on a corner pleaded 'I have a problem'. We paused to ask him what it was. It seemed he needed money, but something did not ring true, we felt.

Tourism can do this to places, and Agra's attactions bring millions of visitors annually, so who can blame the locals for wanting a share of the cash that visitors carry? Little wonder they become desperate, willing to do (or say) anything to make a few rupees. Nevertheless, from what we saw of the town, we nicknamed it, perhaps unfairly, 'Agro'.

 

ENJOY THIS VIDEO

Next morning in the silky pre-dawn light we travelled the few kilometres to perhaps the world's most famous landmark, certainly its premier example of a man's love for his wife. 

The magic moment - when you first see 'that' view of the Taj Mahal.

Perhaps the most extravagant memorial ever built, it also has to be the most photographed. The name means 'crown of palaces' and it is easy to see why.

It is easy to think of shimmering white marble in relation to the Taj Mahal, but the local red sandstone also features for adjacent buildings, accented with painted areas, or marble, or inlay (as below).

Away from the chatter of tourists and clicking cameras, there is birdsong - finches, koels, turtledoves, mynahs - even voices are muffled, and squirrels nip across the grass to shimmy up trees.

The ornamental gardens follow the classical Mughal patterns, symmetry always the key, and act as the perfect reflective foil for what is always the star - the main mausoleum itself.

The essence of the creation of the Taj Mahal is love, so it's little wonder that it awakens the romantic in us all. 

The perfect symmetry of the Taj Mahal is overwhelming. Built to the Golden Mean, said to be nature's most perfectly balanced design as seen in the nautilus shell and sunflower seed-heads, the building seems to demand symmetry in return.

It is said that French and Italian experts were brought in to consult on the project and instruct the workers in some of the finer points of carving the marble screens and creating the inlay work. Quotations from the Quran feature in many places too, as in this arch.

The skilled artisans hired to complete the work probably would have felt honoured to have such a huge project on which to work. Carved bas relief, sculpture, and the intricate pietra dura, or inlay work in several colours, is integral to the architecture of Shah Jahan's time, but when you consider that they also worked in intense heat for much of it, then it is not hard to imagine how difficult it must have been for them too.

In the cool and hushed tomb area, light streams through a mesh of perforated marble. The logistics of creating even this is bewildering. While photographs may be taken outwards, none is permitted of the tombs. Shah Jahan lived only 13 years after the mausoleum was completed and he lies in a tomb here beside his wife.

The grounds are so extensive, that there are many places where people can sit and rest. Time to reflect on the beauty. Time to count the blessings of still being able to explore such a place over 350 years after it was built.

Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal created as the mausoleum for his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who tragically died in childbirth. That was in 1631. The Shah was was so heartbroken the story is that his hair and beard turned white overnight. It took 22 years, 22,000 workers and tonnes of priceless materials to complete this flawless work. And yet, as you walk around it, it seems impossible to believe that such a work of art and skill could have been planned and executed so quickly!

One gruesome postcript to the building of the Taj Mahal is that it is said the Shah ordered that the hands or thumbs of some of the workers who had laboured on the building were to be amputated - in order that the glory and perfection could never be repeated.

Despite the endless numbers passing through the entrance gates, there are still places of stillness and emptiness, like this side corridor. Away from the shimmering marble and watercourses, here is the austere face of Moghul architecture, invoking images of Morocco and the Middle East.

Not far away on the banks of the Yamina River, the Red Fort built by Emperor Akbar in 1565 predates the Taj Mahal by almost a century. It is built of the glowing red sandstone of the area and was originally a military fort. All entry is via the massive Amar Singh Gate.

Shah Jahan's life was not a happy one. Bereaved, by the loss of the love of his life, he was imprisoned just five years after the Taj Mahal's completiion, in 1658. Ironically he was delivered to the fort.for imprisonment after his own son seized power, and even more cruelly he was forced to live out his days in the Octagonal Tower (Mussanman Burj) which offered uninterrupted views of his equisite labour of love.

The fort's double walls are around 20 metres high, and now offer the ideal promenade for visitors wishing to see both the fort and the Taj Mahal across the river plain. The interior of the fort is open and plainer than the Taj Mahal because its purpose was very different. There are interminable cloisters and arches, carved pediments, stairs, pavilions and courtyards for various uses such as the ladies' bazaar where merchants (also female) came to sell goods to the ladies of the court. Despite the tourists it is easy to slip back into imagining life as it was - that is, until the sounds of a train, or an ambulance siren on the road far below, wafts up.

In the grounds of the fort are lawns and gardens, and these small creatures too. This squirrel has been tamed by someone with a handful of something it obviously loves. 

It's a family place too, with children running around excitedly, as they would do anywhere. For others it's an opportunity for the mothers to honour the importance of the outing with full decoration of themselves and their child....

....even if the youngster is unaware of what all the fuss is about!

As the shadows lengthen, the visitors eventually leave and the fort's colours deepen. 

For us, we returned once more, at sunset, to see the Taj Mahal in, quite literally, another light. As the domes blushed from gold to glowing pink, the local people came (not quite accidentally) to pass by the tourists who had entered by the West Gate for the viewing.

While their choice of bundle may seem random, we knew that they (and others elsewhere carrying trays of heaped pomelos or watermelon) were seeking to mimic the domes, and perhaps earn a modeling fee as well. And who could blame them? 

It is also possible to view (not tour) the Taj Mahal by moonlight. See details....

 

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Do you know....

See how well you know  your food.

Test yourself......

 


 

DIARY DATES 

 

Flavours of Spring, NSW Southern Highlands, October 4-6

Fair Food Week, many places in Australia, October 10-19

Taste of Melbourne, 13-16 November

Margaret River Gourmet Escape, WA, November 21-23

 


 

RECIPE TIME

Here's a quick and hearty dessert for a cool evening.

Mother's favourite....

 


DISCOVER the WINNERS in this year's ABC.delicious Fine Food Awards.

 

Drum roll...here are the results

 


 

 MUST TASTE THIS

Maille mustard has been a leader worldwide since 1747. Now it is in Australia!

Find out more....

 


New blog on the block!

World Baking where Sally shares breads of a country on its own National Day.

 



 

SBS's Feast magazine is out again, full of stunning recipes.

Learn more...


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Need a coffee????

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330 of Sydney's BEST cafes in this HUGELY POPULAR iPhone and iPad app!

... read more

NOW ALSO available on Android

 visit the blog and hear the good news! 

Hear a podcast

 
 
 
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For a quick trip to France, this suburban Sydney bistro is your answer.

See where it is....

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TAKE A BREAK

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SEPTEMBER food-related events worldwide.

 


 

Magical, mystical Morocco with Nadine Abensur, an expert who knows and loves the local food!

Be quick for this one!

 


Queensland has whales too...

....and they are helping research!

 


 

Let's go WHALE spotting in Sydney!

 

They're migrating NOW!

 


TAKE A LUXURY BREAK

Discover Cape Town's romantic side. 

Find out more....

 


NSW's Central West has TEN great Food and Wine experiences for the cooler months.

Check these out!

 


Where better to take a French cookery course.....


...than in Paris?


Taste Miami with someone who knows.

See how to do it...


Shopping in Paris is great fun - but you might need some help...

...and not just with carrying your purchases!

Find out more.....

 


JOIN US on a food and wine  tour of Languedoc-Roussillon & the Midi Pyrenees this year!

Details...


Now you can travel and pick up some artistic skills - and enjoy Italian cuisine.

...find out where


Here is the answer for food and wine lovers travelling around Australia.

Read more....


Planning on visiting Rio this year for the FIFA World Cup?

Find out how to save money on accommodation...


SYDNEY'S LIVING HISTORY

Find out about the (sometimes colourful) past of  Australia's first city:

slhlogoiPhone and iPad App packed with information and pics.

....discover what has made Sydney the great city it is.

BUY IT NOW on iTunes here

or for Android  here!


Newcastle, NSW, has lots planned for this year.

See what....scroll to the bottom of the past.


Now is the harvest festival season in Australia.

See what Victoria has planned...


A year of fabulous food festivals is ahead in 2014 for Britain!

Find out when and where....


Scotland has a lot planned for 2014.

And they're inviting everyone!


What's happening in Rome this month....

Check it out here...


Uncover Spain with an expert chef.

Read more.....


Glasgow says it's game to host the Commonwealth Games this year.

See what is planned!


Meet the world's most famous mermaid - now over 100 years old!

Read more.....

 

 


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Sally, and Gordon Hammond also operate the Australian Regional Food Guide Web site. This comprehensive directory is a great resource for everything that is happening in the regional food scene in Australia. Make sure you visit and bookmark this site. Subscribe to the ARFG Newsletter too.