A Georgian dumpling

I’ve fallen in love with Georgian khinkali. Soft, juicy, wonton-like dumplings, with a thick, doughy outer layer encasing herby ground meat, potato or cheese. Go into the northern mountains that surround the villages of Kazbegi and Pasanauri, and khinkali are everywhere. They say the best come from up here, and probably because it’s here that they originate – khinkali is proper mountain

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Realities of a rural life

There is more to this picture than what immediately meets the eye, and a rough reminder that not all is glossy in rural life. I’ve spent much of this week in Svaneti, a secluded region in the mountains of northernmost Georgia – a place that is truly untouched by the tramples of modern life. Villages

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What food should be

I had a bit of an emosh moment this week. It was at a parade with 7000 others to celebrate food that is good, clean and fair. There were 140 countries there, from places as far apart as Japan and Albania, Congo and Indonesia, Afghanistan and Mexico, and everyone was marching together for the sole

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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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A Balkan relish

The first time I had ajvar (pronounced ayvar) it was dolloped on a plastic plate with a hunk of cold pork and white bread. I was in a Slovenian village at the local men’s club – essentially a community centre with a bar in it – where every Friday the village men came to play boules, drink Lasko

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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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