It’s a big step

Featured

Top 5 travel moments of 2014

I am moving to www.thelitebackpacker.com ūüôā

Blogging… it isn’t easy.¬† I still remember my first post about my favourite village in England.¬† It took me hours to write, days to re-write, weeks of feed back from friends and family, and countless hand wringing moments.¬† When I finally hit the publish button I felt simultaneously elated and exhausted.¬† The next few posts got only a little easier – and then suddenly I had an epiphany – no one but people I knew was reading my blog,¬†I stopped taking it so seriously.¬† Over night, I relaxed my writing style, poured more of my heart and personality into my posts and found fulfilment in just writing.

Then suddenly there were people following my blog who weren’t related to me…

The excitement I felt at seeing that email in my inbox to tell me that someone was following my blog… AND I DIDNT KNOW THEIR NAME! I then called my mum (obviously), texted my best friend and spent the whole day smiling.

That was the beginning – 2 1/2 years ago!

Lyme Regis in Snow

The last couple of years has helped to shape me as a blogger and a writer. Through the highs of getting likes to the lows of feeling un-inspired.  I have loved every second of it and through this blog I have learnt so much, about writing, connecting, networking, how big and small the world is, and about my own strengths!

The time has now come for me to take the next step, to build further on the foundation of this amazing blog.

I have spent the last couple of months building a website that will embody all of the things that I loved about this blog and have the platform to build so much more.¬† It’s still about travel (obviously) but with a healthy twist!

Check out www.thelitebackpacker.com to keep in touch with my adventures!

Here you will see some of the posts that you have loved from this blog, such as:The Lite Backpacker

Looking forward to connecting with you all through my new site.¬† Would love to keep in contact and continue to share. If you are my wonderful family and friends who have faithfully followed this blog from the beginning – I expect you are already following my new website… ūüėČ

Thanks,
Helen AKA The Lite Backpacker

The Lite Backpacker - logo

Advertisements

GRANVILLE RED SALMON THAI CURRY: A recipe for winning friends at your hostel

When staying in hostels and eating on the cheap it‚Äôs not always easy to eat healthy ‚Äď especially as you spend so much of your time out exploring.¬† If you are chilling out in Vancouver and can take your eyes off the beautiful scenery for a few moments here is a great way to combine some sightseeing with some healthy and cheap eating.

If you haven‚Äôt already read or heard about Granville island then you better get back to your guide-book and do some proper research ‚Äď because this is one of the must visit places in Vancouver, Canada.

GRANVILLE RED SALMON THAI CURRY: A recipe for winning friends at your hostel

A little history for you: As Vancouver started to grow across the bay in what is now known as Gas Town ‚Äď Granville Island was a small mill town. Over the next century many trades took up residence here as it stayed a predominantly industrial area despite the city popping up around it.¬† During WWII it was the busiest part of the city with the factories turning out equipment at all hours of the day. But in the late 70s as the district had almost completely declined and become dilapidated a revival or a ‚Äúgentrification‚ÄĚ of the area was called for.¬† Now the old industrial buildings hold everything from art studios, luxury yacht ship yards and the famous fresh food markets as well as a loads of great shops.

GRANVILLE RED SALMON THAI CURRY: A recipe for winning friends at your hostel

You can catch a water bus over from the city which costs about $7 or you can walk across the Granville Bridge which takes about 15 minutes and has spectacular views of the Burrard Bridge complete with jutting mountains and shinning city. Once there it is hard not to get side-tracked by the street performers that are monopolising the square ‚Äď old fashioned sword swallowers are making a comeback though they compete for the crowd against some ethereal Canadian folk singers and teenage comedians.

Break away from the courageous people who make a spectacle of themselves for your entertainment and head into the giant food market.  Just inside the doors you will probably stop and blink while taking a few deep breaths to steady yourself.GRANVILLE RED SALMON THAI CURRY: A recipe for winning friends at your hostel

Your eyes have been assaulted by the amount of colour and your stomach has just been reminded by the wafting combination of smells that you could eat (even if you are full, being around so much amazing food will make you feel as though you “could” eat).

What to eat: You could visit the “food court” style area and try some of the amazing pre-made dishes such as Mexican (always my favourite), Chinese, salads and spectacular pizza. You could visit various delicatessen’s and other stalls to pull together an amazing picnic assortment of yummy. You could do some shopping for¬†a delicious dinner that will treat your friends back at the hostel or¬†the friend whose floor you have¬†been crashing on for the last week.¬†Finally, you can do what I did, and do all three options… I meant it when I said your body seems to make room for more food when you are there… my stomach turned into¬†a Marry Poppins¬†bag.

A cheese and wine picnic

A cheese and wine picnic

GRANVILLE RED SALMON THAI CURRY: A recipe for winning friends at your hostel or buying off the friend who has lent you her floor. Feeds four… or more if you have stuffed yourselves at the markets and only want a small light dinner.

Equipment Required: All of the below are fairly easy to come by or you can improvise with what you do have

  • A stove top
  • Large frying pan or wide saucepan – a wok will also do if you are improvising
  • A knife
  • Chopping board
  • A smaller saucepan (for cooking rice)
  • A colander (if you don’t have one, use a lid or plate to help you drain out the excess water –¬†just remember to wrap your hand in a tea towel or your sleeves first to avoid steam burns)

Ingredients: Total cost: With Wild Salmon $36 or $9 if you split the cost in four. With Chicken $22 or $5.5 if you split the cost in four.

GRANVILLE RED SALMON THAI CURRY: A recipe for winning friends at your hostel

  • Salmon: $20¬†(Because I was in Canada I really wanted to make a dish with Wild Salmon as I have only ever eaten farmed salmon, I definitely have to say that there is a huge difference in taste and colour as well as the obvious environmental impact.¬† This was a huge expense that I would have avoided if I hadn’t been saving money by crashing at a friend’s place.¬† So the cheaper version is to do everything the same but with chicken which you can still buy at the market for $6 for two large breasts.)
  • Variety of Vegetables: $9.25 (this is really up to your taste buds and what’s in season.¬†The only required vegetable is a brown onion, for the rest¬†I pick about 6 different vegetables that are colourful and crunchy such as asparagus, capsicum, zucchini, broccoli, celery¬†and cheery tomato’s.¬† I also wanted to get some bok-choy but it wasn’t the best quality so I gave it a miss in favour of other more ripe vegetables)
  • Red Curry Paste and Coconut Milk: $3.75 (there is a great Asian spice market in the middle, they have everything at great prices)
  • Brown Rice: I’m not sure how much this is as my friend had it in her pantry, but I don’t imagine its more that $3 (you can also tie the bag of rice up with a hair tie… or a rubber band if you are super fancy,¬†and take it with you to the next hostel for another meal.)

Instructions:

Step One: Put the water for your rice onto boil

Step Two: I like everything to be prepared before I cook anything so I spend a chunk of time chopping things up before hand (this also allows for me to enjoy a glass of wine and some gossiping when the actual cooking process is in motion).¬† Finely chop the onions and keep separate.¬† Chop up all of your other vegetables, I like to cut them into different sizes and shapes so that there is a little more “fun” when eating, leave them together – if you have bok-choy cut off the leafy bits and move to one side.¬† Chop up your salmon or chicken into chunks, not too small, you want them to be nice big meaty pieces.

Step Three: Once everything is prepared get your rice into the boiling water. When the rice is almost cooker – or you can wait until its fully cooked – you can start cooking.¬† The dish doesn’t take very long to make that’s why I don’t start until the rice is ready so you don’t over cook the vegetable and have them turn mushy and floppy.

Step Four: Brown the onions in the large saucepan/frying pan/wok.

Step Five: Throw in the salmon or chicken.¬† If you are using salmon, turn the pieces GRANVILLE RED SALMON THAI CURRY: A recipe for winning friends at your hostelgently until they are all sealed but don’t over cook.¬† If you are using chicken you will need a little longer as you will want to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Step Six: Throw in your vegetables and toss everything together

Step Seven: Add in your curry paste – see packet for instructions in relation to amount.¬† Because I like my curry strong and jam-packed full of flavour I always do more than the suggested amount, but if you aren’t big on the “curry” flavour you could do less. Ensure that all of the vegetables and the salmon are coated in the paste.

Step Eight: Add in the coconut milk slowly – stirring as you go.¬† I would turn the heat down at this point so the milk gently simmers.¬† Once again pour as much as you like, I like my Thai Curries really runny as I like to drink the sauce, however if you prefer a thicker constancy don’t add as much milk. Leave to simmer for about 2 minutes.

Step Nine: Serve on top of the brown rice and eat!

GRANVILLE RED SALMON THAI CURRY: A recipe for winning friends at your hostel

If this doesn’t make you the most popular person in the hostel then nothing will – you are beyond help. It is also a wonderful way to catch up with that great friend who put you up – especially if you also have some wine and a sunny balcony to relax on.

Prawn Salad – for your Inner Seafood Traveller!

My Perfect Fish!

My Perfect Fish!

Seafood! Do I need to say more? I probably do as you may just be left with that one word echoing through your brain causing tidal waves of cravings and not knowing why. ¬†I can’t promise that by the end of this post that you won’t be craving seafood – but at least you may know why.

Seafood Рis my universal travel food (I include fresh water varieties as well Рis there a word that includes freshwater fish and crustaceans?). All over the world you are able to find delicious variants of seafood dishes, cooked in a myriad of ways with an assortment of tasty accompaniments Рyou can never go wrong by choosing a local seafood dish.

Seafood has become such a big part of my travelling experience that I have to remember not to base a whole place on my seafood experience. In saying that – other times a place has been made even tastier due to a particular seafood dish that has stuck in my memory long after I have moved onto the next location.

Fish Tacos: Soaking in chilli, garlic and lime juice!

Fish Tacos: Soaking in chilli, garlic and lime juice!

  • Mussels Spaghetti in a hidden lane way lost in Croatia
A relaxing lunch!

A relaxing lunch!

  • Fresh crab sandwich with English cheese in Dorset, England

 

Crab, Cheese and Cornish Pasties - Doreset

Crab, Cheese and Cornish Pasties – Dorset

The best thing about seafood is that it has many health benefits as well – high in Omega 3, its low in fat, high in protein and has loads of amazing vitamins and minerals. Some studies even claim that oysters and prawns act as aphrodisiacs (which may be some sort of benefit, not necessarily a healthy one). So after being delicious it is also good for you!

Then there is the added bonus that when you eat traditional seafood dishes they are generally the freshest thing on the menu.

Fish Markets Sapa, Vietnam

Fish Markets Sapa, Vietnam

Fish doesn’t keep well as most cultures probably worked out back in the dark ages and so the seafood meals you are served are generally created using what is caught and sold locally (unless of course you are travelling through a supermarket based culture and then… well its anyones game!)

Is it any wonder that seafood is my number one choice when travelling? How can you go past bamboo baked fish, tuna pate or fresh oysters?

This Easter weekend I have escaped Sydney in favour of the surf town of Gerringong – famous for having the largest surf store in Australia as well as several perfectly pristine¬†beaches. So of course I a must indulge in a little locally caught seafood – what kind of trip would this be if I didn’t? Here is a quick recipe that you can whip up to embrace your inner seafood traveller.

Prawn and Mango Salad

Ingredients:

Prawn Salad

  • Locally caught prawns (head to the Kiama Fish Shop for the best local produce – though check with a local before you make the trip as it has spontaneous opening hours, dependant on when a catch comes in)
  • 1 mango – cubed
  • 1 avocado – cubed
  • 1 red chill – diced
  • iceberg or cos lettuce leaves
  • Thousand island dressing (if you don’t have thousand island dressing mix one tbs or mayonnaise, one tbs of tomato sauce and a healthy shake of tobacco sauce together)

Prawn Salad

Directions:

  • Shell the prawns and chop into rough bite size pieces
  • Place all items in a bowl and mix except for lettuce
  • Spoon the mixture into the lettuce leaves to serve.

Prawn Salad

 

 

 

Converts to the Fish Taco

Mexican food is slowly coming to Australia ‚Äď a topic which I have lamented on before.¬†Yet it brings feelings of not only excitement but also inadequacy.

Excitement because I miss Mexican food so much that even the semblance of the real thing that you can get from Mad Mex is better than nothing.  The pop up bars and pubs that have all suddenly turned El Loco are a welcome change until you realise that they are not quite up to scratch and that you preferred it when they were Thai.

Then all we are left with is the inadequate feeling that we will probably never have amazing Mexican food ‚Äď it‚Äôs a dream we may never realise.¬†Though we are winning on the Thai food front and will just have to find satisfaction in that. I am an optimist however, and I will keep trying to bring forth the revolution of genuinely GOOD Mexican food.

The mouth-watering morsel that I have missed most since coming back from the states (apart from the whole concept of taco Tuesday) is the fish taco.¬† The curious mix of light fluffy fish against some crunch salad or cabbage with a creamy hot sauce like chipotle, maybe a sprinkling of cheese ‚Äď sometimes your fish is deep-fried, sometimes its seared in herbs ‚Äď either way its earth shattering YUM.

This is something I have bored my friends with on many Mexican evenings ‚Äď lamenting the loss of my favourite taco.¬† Yet they couldn‚Äôt picture it.¬† Just the way I couldn‚Äôt the first time I walked into Fred‚Äôs Mexican in the heart of San Diego, when the tacos were so¬†¬†cheap you had to try them all.¬† Once I had‚Ķ I never looked back.

The other night I force-fed my friends Fish Tacos ‚Äď they were stuck in my house and it was the only thing I was serving. Afterwards I had made converts of them all.

Finding the right recipe was a bit of a challenge as I wanted something tasty but also healthy.¬†¬†In the end I pulled some advice from a bunch of places, including the Londoner (if you are not onto this gem of a blog – check it) and smushed together my own recipe ‚Äď I call it SUCCESIPE!

INGREDIENTS (Serves four…ish – depending on how hungry you are or if you are feeding boys):

For the Fish –

  • 4 white fish steaks – find something firm that stays together – I used Ling.
  • Lots of coriander
  • 2 Limes – or lemons work just as well
  • 2 birds eye chillies
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper
  • Garlic – as much as you like… there is no such thing as too much in my mind!
  • 1tbs olive oil

For the Salsa

  • 1 Avocado
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1/2 lime

For the Taco part

  • Tortillas – I like using wholemeal ones
  • Cheese
  • Rocket, baby spinach or finely chopped cabbage – what ever is on hand
  • Chipolte sauce or if you don’t like chilli – sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

FISH: Simply chop up the garlic, chilli and coriander and place into a large bowl.  Squeeze over the juice of 1 1/5 limes (saving the other half for the salsa) and pour in your oil. Sprinkle in a decent pinch of salt and cracked pepper.  Cut up the White fish into chunks about the size of your thumb then smoosh around in the sauce Рcovering all pieces and sizes.  Put to one side in the fridge while you prepare the salsa and grate the cheese.

Soaking in chilli, garlic and lime juice!

Soaking in chilli, garlic and lime juice!

SALSA: Chop up the tomatoes and the avocado into small cubes and finely dice the onion. ¬†Also finely chop the left coriander – though you can use parsley if that’s what you have on hand. Mix together gently with a spoon and squeeze over remaining lime. Season gently.

FISH AGAIN: Heat up a small non-stick frying pan and pour in your fish including all of the juices.  Simmer cook the fish gently turning as required.  Once cooked through and flaking apart you are ready to create your dinner

Simmering softly

Simmering softly

PUT IT TOGETHER: On a tortilla add some chipolte, top up with some fish, then cheese, then salsa and some baby spinach!

Eat up!

Eat up!