Friday, 20 January 2012

My 3 top places to visit in East Sussex


Rye is a very well preserved medieval town on  a hill top with car free  car cobbled streets and historical houses from the 16th and 17th centuries with a very Norman history and architecture style. Rye was once part of the Cinque Medieval Ports even today seems unlikely given that the  sea waters start to retire almost 5 centuries ago and now the town is already 2 miles from the sea, anyway still an important festival of  Scallop festival for the remaining fisherman fleet. But Rye is much more than an historic town, today the harbour is much alive, antique  shops, tea houses and fine dining combine together with unique bird watching, saltmarshes and romantic sandy beaches.

What to do in Rye

• Choice one of the three walks to the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve where oyster-catchers and curlews are the bird to spot.
• Visit the Georgian Lamb House where the American author Henry James used to live.
• Discover the local history in the Rye Castle Museum and the Normand style St Mary´s Church. Also visit the Ypres Tower (also town jail for 400 years) and enjoy the great views of the Rye harbour.
• Get lost in the street and discover the most fascinating antique shops and art galleries mainly in the Strand Quay area.
• In warm days is a must spend a beach day in the nearby dunes of Camber Sands.

Where to Eat in Rye
Mermaid Inn, Rye
Tea houses like Rye institution Fletchers House tea rooms is always a good option, but for is a must have a lunch or dinner in the another Rye institution Mermaid Inn, like another British historical inn´s they don’t live from the ghostly past or for celebrity visitors like Johnny Deep, their best thing along the rooms is the local food where lamb and oysters are the stars of the menu.

Where to stay in Rye
White Vine House is a luxury restaurant with period British rooms in the centre of the town.


Lewes Castle gateway. Photo by Hackworth
The inland town of Lewes will really surprise you, Georgian and timber façades houses lined in tiny Saxon lanes and everything is crowned by the Lewes castle said  to be built by  William de Warenne (William The Conqueror’s brother in law) for show to the locals that the new Normand’s ruler will bring work to the area.

What to do in Lewes

• Visit the Castle museum
• Visit the house of Anne of Claves given to her by Henry VIII on the divorce settlement.
• Go to the local Victorian building of the Harvey´s Brewery.
• Get lost in the street, set aside your kindle and snoop on the several book shops.
• A day at  the Opera in the English institution that is Glyndebourne Opera House

Lewes Bonfire parade
Where to eat in Lewes
The Real Eating Company is a very  good option to have a very local fresh breakfast or brunch and at the same time buy some of the best local products, and Bills Produce Store on Cliffe High Street is also a good fun place with a nice selection of drinks.

Where to stay in Lewes
There are old coaching inns such as the White Hart and the Crown Inn  on the High street and the Shelleys hotel which has an old world charm and dates from the 15th century and ideal place to stay when the famous November 5th firework displays take place in and around Lewes. Pelham House in St Andrews Lane is another notable establishment with a magnificent garden with views over the Sussex Downs.

Beachy Head.

Must be my number one postcard from England, here the famous English coast white cliffs and chalky water colours have the addition of the bright red lighthouse that guard this coast plus the vertigo of walking in a perfect natural green turf make the perfect countryside day out. Few sea cliffs in Europe will capture your imagination and bring you the calm like in Beachy Head. The cliff are a clear reminder that England and France were once time ago joined and no separate by the English Channel, today one of the most undeveloped and beautiful English coast where in Beachy head the cliff plummets to 200 meters.
My favourite walk starts from the seaside resort of Eastbourne and finish in Cuckmere Heaven.

What to do in Beachy Head

• Start your walk in the Victorian town of Eastbourne visiting the pier and walking by the sea front.
• After you get a good photo of the Beachy Head lighthouse you next point will be the Belle Tout, the lighthouse that was moved in 1999 given the cliff eroding.
• Practice some fun sport. From Eastbourne before to reach the lighthouse exits a paragliding point; in Birling Gap is the surfer points and in Cuckmere Heaven canoeing and bike hiring is available.
• Cuckmere Heaven is a beautiful free development estuary with plenty wildlife and bird watching.
• Visit the Seven Sister Sheep Centre and meet the almost 40 sheep breeds from around the world .

Paragliding in Beachy Head
Where to eat
The Beachy Head Centre and the Golden Galleon are almost the only places, if you don’t want to ruin your day picnic is your best option and let the pub just for drink a refreshing beer. Another option is go to East Dean (not far for the Sheep Centre) and have a much better meal at The Tiger Inn.

Where to stay
Before or after all the walking take all the advantages of the more vibrant city in English south coast. Avoid the Grand Hotels of Brighton and the classic chain and let rest yourself in The Square Boutique Hotel or to the Trip Advisor winner The Twenty One bed and breakfast.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Calamari Wars

Falklands Island wreck ship
After  already 30 years the Falklands waters are still rough, three decades have passed from the war British – Argentina conflict that has now come back to the first page of the diplomatic agendas of those two countries and commercial interested allies since a year ago was discovered new petroleum water marine reserve highly lucrative and since the British has been for 180 year from the colonial times and with little argument to go and sit down on a diplomatic table for justify their presence in the Falkland Island claimed from Argentina since 1820 and at only 500km from la Patagonia in the Argentinian Sea.
The David Cameron Government is looking  to create a protected marine zone around the South Georgia Islands (1300Km from Falkland Islands and also claimed by Argentina) with the reason if Argentina want to initiate any commercial or economic activity around they will need ask first for the British authorization.
Reached that point Argentina has launched several new measures, first asking their neighbours (Uruguay, Brazil and Chile) to not allow British flag ships with Falkland Island destination stop in their ports and the second measure is encouraging Argentinian fisherman’s to prevent the squid (Illex type) that start their life in the River Plate water to reach the Falkland’s waters.

Illex Squid. Photo by NOAA
For almost two decades Argentina and the Falkland’s islands co-operated on sustainably fishing of the squid. But now the Federal Fishing Council allow to fish two months early with the idea to catch the squid before to start their migration to the Falkland Islands for feed before move  to deepest water to breed and die. Catching so early the squid when still small can damage the stock, apparently Argentina allow that something similar happen with the southern blue whiting now unviable for commercial exploitation. Falkland’s economy is highly dependent of their fishing licence sales where the Illex Squid species is the most valuable. The Falklands Squid season will be start late this February where fisherman boats for the big fishing powerhouses like Spain, Russia, Japan and Korea will be waiting for a legal catch meanwhile another 100 fisherman fleet mainly from China and Taiwan will be catching also the very appreciated Illex Squid in East Asia.

At the moment seem like the only loser are the Ilex’s and again the ocean biodiversity and the winners the same fat cats as always.

Squid Nutrition Properties x 100g


More about the conflict: 

More Argentina dirty politics:  Trained dogs searching for dollars


Monday, 16 January 2012

Pasta Soup´s recipes

Ravioli Soup
This week am stopping my pasta fever for a while (See Seafood pasta special ) and to use my leftovers with frozen fresh pasta I will share with you a couple of fresh pasta soups to warm you up on these chilly nights - just in 30 minutes in cooking and preparation.

Sorrentinos Soup  Serves 4 – Kcal 380 - Time 20 minutes

Tortellini Soup
For both of the fresh pasta recipes you can use your own home-made pasta, like ravioli, sorrentinos and tortellini's or also you can use the packet supermarket versions but please before to buy check first the salt and fat saturates content.

You need: 200g tortellini – 3 salad onions -  ½ chilli (chopped) – ¼ tsp ground nutmeg – 1 tsp fennel seeds – 150g frozen spinach – 100g frozen green beans – 50g parmesan cheese (grated) – 750ml vegetable stock.

1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan in a medium low heat. Fry the chilli and salad onion for 2 minutes. Then add the fennel and the nutmeg. Stir
2. Pour in the vegetable stock, wait to boil and add the spinach; simmer for 2 minutes.
3. Add the frozen beans (use fresh ones in summer) and the ravioli. Cover the pan for 1 minute and then wait until the raviolis rise to the surface (3-4 minutes)
4. Serve in individual soup bowls and scatter over the parmesan.

How to make your own fresh pasta

Ravioli Soup Serves 4 – Kcal 340 – Time 25 minutes.

This is a very similar recipe to the Sorrentinos or Tortellini Soup with the addition of shredded chicken that makes the dish in a more substantial meal adding around 25g of protein by serving. If you have already some cooked chicken in the fridge you can jump step 1 and 2.
Chicken with courgettes
You need: 200g ravioli -  1 onion (chopped) – 1 fennel bulb (chopped) – 2 garlic cloves (sliced) – 2 courgettes (diced) 150g frozen green beans – 150g green beans – 1 breast chicken fillet (around 200g) – Parsley for serve.  1tsp of smoked paprika – 1ltr chicken stock.

1. Rub 1 tsp. of smoked paprika, salt and pepper all over the chicken fillet(s). If you have time cover with a clean film for at least 30 minutes.
2. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large saucepan in a medium low heat. Cook slowly the chicken fillet until is done (about 10-15 minutes). Set aside. When cool down shred the chicken.
3. In the same pan add the onion, fennel and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock. Bring to boil.
4. Now add the courgettes and after two minutes add the beans , peas and raviolis, cover for 1 minute and simmer until the raviolis rise to the surface (3-4 minutes).
5. Serve in individual soups bowls; top with the shredded chicken and some chopped parsley.

How to make your own fresh pasta

Chicken Noodle Soup.  Serves 4 – Kcal 290 – Time 25 minutes.

Like an extra recipe I like to share one of my favourites feel good recipes from my Kitchen Waitrose Magazine´s by Australian chef Bill Granger even I change some of the cooking step for make it more easy and familiar with the recipes above.

 The mix of oyster sauce, lime vitamin C and chilli will boost your system and clear up your nose.
250g fresh egg noodles – 4 tbsp oyster sauce – 1 tbsp caster sugar – 2 tbsp lime juice – 2 chicken fillets (around 300g) 3 pak choi (shredded) – ½ red onion (sliced) – ½ red chilli (sliced) – 1.2 ltr chicken stock.
1. Rub 1 tsp. of smoked paprika, salt and pepper all over the chicken fillet(s). If you have time cover with a clean film for at least 30 minutes.
2. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large saucepan in a medium low heat. Cook slowly the chicken fillet until is done (about 10-15 minutes). Set aside. When cool down shred the chicken.
3. In a sauce pan bring the stock to boil, then add the oyster sauce, sugar and lime juice.
4. Add the noodles and cook following the packet instructions (2-4 minutes) and at the same time the Pak Choi.
5. Serve with individual soup bowls with the chicken, scatter over some coriander leaves, onion slices and the chilli.