Chilean Food

What’s this? A Cornish pasty?

Nope… it’s an Empanada! Same pastry as a Cornish and it contains steak but with a rich spicy sauce. Where it really deviates from the Cornish is that it contains a whole boiled egg and large black olive complete with stone. If you’re ever over there you’ve got to try one! Other popular fillings are cheese (with the whole thing deep fried) and seafood.

I also ate this…

…I have no idea what it’s called! It is layers of vegetable/egg seperated by savoury crepes covered in egg mayo and finished off with tomato ketchup!!?? layers are egg mayo, spinach, carrot, egg mayo, broccoli and potato! I managed to get half way through before thinking better of it, worth a try if you ever see one!







Air France

Just back from a trip to Chile with work and was glad to be travelling on Air France and not Iberia (see here). Best thing about AF is the food and drink, even in Economy.

Drinks: Champagne option when you get on the plane and then a small bottle of wine with dinner followed down with a brandy, can’t argue with that!

Food: Most importantly they have proper french bread rather than the sweet, dense, never go off in a million years rubbish all other airlines use and it comes with butter and small triangle of Brie. They’re also a bit more adventurous with the food, e.g. I had a Niçoise salad that contained anchovies for a starter and a great custard slice for dessert. The main course was the standard chicken and rice fayre but no complaints. Breakfast is pretty good too, bread, cheese and cold meats with fruit.

Durham Continental Market

The Durham Contenintal Market was in town this weeked so I ended up sampling some rich tasty food 🙂 Ended up trying some Mexican food, a German krakauer (not sure how this is spelt) spiced sausage and a banana and maple syrup crepe, all excellent. Some stuff I missed out on due to being too full were the hog roast and some high quality pies. I also bought some very tasty salamis (1 truffle, 1 wine, 1 spicy) and cheese (1 strong, 1 mustard seed) from 2 of the deli style stalls. The market is here twice a year and well worth a visit.

Social Network Cleansing/Downsizing

With all this talk of Facebook floating on the stock exchange for billions of dollars, plus the privacy issues and the fact they seem to have future plans to expand into every other area of the net I decided to cancel my account yesterday.

However before I did this I remembered I was also a dormant member of a load of other Social Networks too so I went about deleting them first.

  • Google+ went first, pretty pointless as it’s just FB from Google.
  • I then remembered I was a member of the geek social network site Diaspora which had good intentions of allowing users to control their privacy and write there own software but never had any users. Delete!
  • At this point I figured I might have signed up for things I’d forgotten about so I searched for “Myspace” in my Hotmail account and found a message saying “we’re sorry you’ve cancelled your account” from 2007 so obviously that wasn’t necessary (I have no recollection of this!).
  • My next search was “Bebo” and it turned out I had an account with no friends from 2007 (again no recollection of this!). Binned!
  • I mentioned this social network cleansing to my dining companion who said “what about Linked In”. Good point, killed it!
  • Finally got to Facebook but went for the suspend account option rather than the delete account. The former makes you invisible but keeps all your data so that if you ever log in again you re-appear as before. The latter is a hard delete that is unrecoverable which can only be accessed here ““. My plan is to do this in a month or so once I’m sure I’m never going to use it. If you have photos on there etc you want to keep it is also possible to download a copy of all your data as a memento from you account (security?) screen.
  • Just remembered I’m also on Researchgate but as that is work related I might leave it up there.
  • Finally I think MSN has some sort of social network linked to my Hotmail account and old MSN messenger, will work out if I can kill that without losing the email.

Feeling very social network cleansed, I’m just going to use Twitter from now on!

Rail Pricing Grumble

Went to Leeds for the weekend, an hour and a quarter journey, and paid £42.20 for an open return. OK now I realise I could have booked in advance and got it cheaper but that is still some price for the 85.4 mile journey from Durham.

Is this getting comparable with the price of a taxi? Yes it is! quoted me £130 1 way, so if there were 4 of you going you could do the same return trip for £65 each. OK not quite there yet but it should never be an option to get a taxi over a train!

Marsden Grotto

Went to Marsden Grotto yesterday, it’s a pub/cafe/restaurant built into the cliff face at Marsden bay just south of South Shields. A unique building accessible by a lift shaft in which the dining rooms are in a rough hewn cave and is therefore well worth a visit. I had a really good fish and chips overlooking the shore and my dining companion had a bean burger. The lift to access the Grotto is in the car park and if you rip the bottom off your pay and display ticket you get the price of your parking off your bill, excellent idea!

Here’s a pic of the place:

marsden grotto

We then went for a windy walk along the cliff tops through the field where Marsden Village once stood (see here for details of this curiosity) and past the Souter Lighthouse – which contains a National Trust cafe that is unfortunately closed in winter.

souter lighthouse

Opposite the non-existent village is a large set of lime kilns that are reminiscent of the entrance to the Mines of Moria in Lord of the Rings.

marsden lime kilns

Well worth a day out!

Turner Prize at the Baltic in Gateshead

I finally got round to going to the Baltic to see the 2011 Turner Prize exhibition – just in time too as I think it’s moving on next week.

4 artists were nominated: Karla Black, Martin Boyce, Hilary Lloyd and George Shaw with the winner being Martin Boyce.

After a short queue-up we went in to see the Martin Boyce exhibit, I like some of his stuff, e.g. Our love Is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours:martin boyce: Our love Is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours

and there were elements of that in the Baltic (i.e. a solitary slanty bin) but I was not as impressed with the rest of it. I’ll be honest I don’t really get Do Words Have Voices:

martin boyce: do words have voices

which contains a desk covered in scrawl as you’d find in a school. Perhaps a worthy winner but not for what was on display at the Baltic.

The next room we went into was that of Karla Black, I must say this was not to my taste at all, a large room full of a sculpture made of crumpled paper and plastic, with poster paints/coloured chalk all over them – come on! Judge for yourselves:

karla black turner prize

The following room was an installation of video art by Hilary Lloyd. The videos consisted of moving images rather than films with subjects such as the Moon and high rise flats. Lloyd apparently often puts the AV equipment itself, i.e. the projectors, on display in prominent positions, sometimes in the way of the art, which was the case here. Again I didn’t really get this.

Finally we entered the room containing paintings by George Shaw. I had seen some black and white paintings by the artist at an exhibition early this year and was impressed by the way he captured British urban architecture. The theme was change, in the sense that he was revisiting the landscapes of his youth and painting those with significant or almost imperceptible differences. The photo-realistic paintings were made in the medium of Humbrol enamel paints (those you used to paint model aeroplanes with) which was ideal for the industrial aspects of some of the subjects. My favourites were Landscape With Dog Shit Bin:

George Shaw: Landscape with Dog Shit Bin

which seemed to show how a favourite walking spot now contained a bin for dog poo, The New Houses:

George Shaw: The New Houses

– which I think perfectly sums up mid 2000s Britain and Resurface:

George Shaw Resurface

showing a carpark with pleasing new asphalt. My dining companion really liked Shut Up:

George Shaw: Shut Up

showing a closed shop front in the rain.

As you can probably guess George Shaw was my winner, an excellent display.

The cafeteria in the Baltic was pretty decent, had a club sandwich which was nice.

After the exhibition we went for a tea in Great Coffee ( on the Newcastle quayside opposite the Sage Gateshead, seemed like a good place for food too, will have to check it out properly.