A daily affair

Daily markets are a thing to behold. Colourful, unpretentious, local affairs that are there simply because the demand exists. I took this picture in a small town called Trebinje in Herzegovina. Every day I’d find local producers selling the season’s fruit and vegetables, local cheeses – especially kaymak and ‘cheese in a sack‘ – olives, olive oil,

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Morning rituals

Pod beans, sip coffee, pod more beans, chit chat, sip more coffee, chit chat, coffee, chit chat. This week, I had the real pleasure of staying with this lovely woman, Mira, in the middle of the northern Bosnian countryside. We got up early, the air still cool and fresh and we sat down with a cup of coffee

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Istria, Slovenia

My brief month in the Istrian region of Slovenia – the south-western part that borders Croatia and the sea – has been a good one. I’ve been busy eating to be honest, and for that reason, I’m sorry for not writing sooner. It’s a hard life! (sorry, someone shoot me). It’s tricky to pin Slovenia

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Soup in Slovenia

This is Vida. It occurred to me that her name means life in Spanish, which is fitting because Vida is full of it. She’s the oldest member of the Slovenian family I’ve just spent a week with, and she’s now my adopted grandmother too. Vida has lived in her house on a mountain in southern Slovenia for

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The simple life

I couldn’t very well leave Italy without banging on about pasta first. I love pasta. It’s simple and inexpensive, and comes into its own only when few ingredients are used – Italy’s answer to eating frugally. Italians have an innate ability to do it well. They know the rules and stick by them. When I was

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Soil and soul

Soil. I’ve never seen, talked about and moved so much of the stuff as I have in the past couple of weeks. My second workaway has brought me and Ben to the Prosecco hillsides of Veneto in north-east Italy. It’s a beautiful background for what became a fortnight of adequately hard labour. We dug holes, planted

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Stalks and all

Fresh herbs are great. When all you have are a few back-of-fridge ingredients, herbs are the stuff to reach for. Finely chop and sprinkle them on a hot bowl of yesterday’s rice, chop them up with oil and drizzle over fried eggs or bash them into a pesto and spread over hot toast. These are delicious meals at little

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Piemonte, Italy

I’ve been working and staying in Piemonte, a region in the north-west of Italy, for just over two weeks now. It’s a place of extreme beauty. Sheer forested mountains, rolling vineyards, clear lakes, running rivers, immense waterfalls, trickling streams, hot sunshine and tremendous thunderstorms. Every morning, I wake up to the sound of cows being

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A very French preserve

My uncle Yves, or tonton Yves as we all call him, lives in the house my great grandparents once owned, and where my grandad was born. It’s a residential townhouse on a busy road in a smallish Northern French town. Nothing much to look at from the front, but walk through to the back and

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Hainanese chicken

Chicken worth its stock

Cooking a whole bird in a pot of water will supply you with a whole week’s worth of meals. It’s one of the most affordable ways of eating quality, well-reared meat, and a method that although sounds weird, pops up in traditional peasant cooking everywhere, from France to China. My mum tells me that this

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