11/08/12 - Exotic foody fun in the sun!

I don’t know what’s come over the North West recently, but the weather over the past few days has been absolutely stunning!  So nice, that I have been ditching my customary black tights and leather jacket for sandals and sunglasses.  I spent all of Wednesday reading and playing the ukulele in my garden which was so nice and chilled, but resulted in a very red nose on my part – I always go a bit Rudolphy when I catch the sun. 

Thursday made my sun-burned nose even worse, but I had a lovely time.  I went for a wander down to the beach, which is a fifteen minute walk from my house, with a couple of my friends.  We ate some very fancy ice-cream, had a paddle in the sea (well, it was probably actually the River Mersey but let’s pretend it was somewhere nicer!) and just a generally really great catch-up.  It's so nice when we actually get to enjoy living right on the coast - it doesn't look quite as appealing when it's raining.

And then on Friday, my family and I had a wonderful cultural day in Liverpool.  The original plan was to just go to the Rolf Harris exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery (which was brilliant, by the way, it’s a shame it’s closing just as I post this blog).  It was really interesting to see the more artistic aspects of Rolf Harris’s career, rather than just ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’ and “Can you tell what it is yet?”  There were some paintings he did of Liverpool specifically for this exhibition which I really liked, and a lot of very impressive Australian outback landscape-y stuff.  I was generally very impressed with the whole exhibition.  And it’s always fun to mock my dad, who has been accused of looking like Rolf Harris on more than one occasion!

We left the gallery and stumbled upon possibly the best thing in the world, for me at least – a big international food fair on the plateau outside St George’s Hall and opposite Liverpool Lime Street station (for those who are only mildly familiar with the area).  There were stalls selling everything you can think of; from cakes, biscuits and crepes to paella, curry, frankfurters…even an impressive range of exotic meats, including wild boar, springbok and I believe kangaroo!  Clearly those last few didn’t entice me in the way they would others (vegetarian and all), but I must admit, they smelled pretty good and people seemed to be enjoying them!  If that isn’t enough for you, there was a big German beer tent, a thriving florist stall and some very interesting jewellery and other knick-knacks available.

My parents bought three of what claimed to be “the best macaroons in the world”, and I have to say they were very nice.  I also bought some dried figs – I’m a big fan of anything figgy – and some of probably the best baklava I have ever tasted.  Not that I’m a big connoisseur of Turkish pastries, but I know when I’m tasting a good one.  And my word, I was!  If you don’t know what baklava is, it’s a heavenly combination of filo pastry, honey and nuts (in this case pistachios) and this one in particular was absolutely exquisite.   

If you’re around Liverpool at all, I highly recommend you nip across to St George’s Hall to sample the delights of the international food stalls.  As far as I’m aware, the festival will be in situ until Sunday 19th August, open between 10am and 8pm every day.  It was a brilliant place to spend a happy hour or so wandering, but you could easily spend longer there if you sat and had a fancy Swedish cider or explored some of the exotic foods.  My brother and I favoured the ‘try all the free samples’ approach, which is still fairly time-consuming!

After practically being dragged away from the food stalls by my family, we nipped into a few shops on Bold Street before heading for some lunch in the Egg cafĂ© (review to follow, as I believe everyone should experience its wonder).  Then my family headed home and I did a spot of shopping, purchasing myself a big floppy straw hat to try and avoid any further nose burn whilst we’re on our family holiday this week.

All in all, a brilliant Friday and a very splendid few days.

I hope everyone’s enjoying the wonderful weather and fingers crossed it stays this way for a little while longer!  I will be spending the next week in the beautiful region of East Yorkshire (which is also where I spend the majority of my year at university…great holiday destination, Mum and Dad!) but I should have the Internet and hopefully, something interesting to say!

How have you been making the most of this glorious weather?