Following from Milan, mister and I took the train to Venice. The only times I had ever seen Venice were from other people’s holiday snaps or in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, however, unlike my favourite fictional character, I wasn’t prepared to see Venice’s underground pipes. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was in Venice! I looked around everywhere and took in as much as I could. Who knew when I would be back in this amazing sinking city?

Venice is just gorgeous. Just, simply, breathtakingly gorgeous. It’s quaint, quiet and in typical Italian style architecture. It’s quite funny when you actually get there, and if you’re like me you’ll be expecting to see cars, but there are no cars in sight. Even the police patrol with speedboats. No cars, no pollution. Maybe that’s the world’s solution?

There are churches everywhere! I suppose that’s what Europe is famous for. San Marco is quite a spectacular sight to see, however, make sure even if you do go there in summer, you still need to cover up. No bare shoulders and bottoms need to cover the knee down, out of respect of course. The Grand Canal is just amazing. Lots of people everywhere and street vendors selling souvenirs, it’s so clean and feels safe.
Wherever you go in Venice, do not leave without a map. There’s hardly any street signs so you really need a detailed map to find your way back to your hotel!

Where can tourists find the best food? Anywhere really. Because Venice is surrounded by water, seafood is with almost every dish on the menu!

I’m fortunate to be almost completing my travel bucket list, but make sure you do too and put Venice on your list. Friendly locals, great culture and architecture, it’s a spectacular sight for sore eyes!

Having fun along one of the many canals in Venice

Having fun along one of the many canals in Venice

San Marco church is just amazing to look at!

San Marco church is just amazing to look at!

The Grand Canal. Trust me, it's a lot bigger!

The Grand Canal. Trust me, it’s a lot bigger!

 

 

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Ahh Milano, a fashionista’s paradise. And I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Aside from the ridiculous amount of shopping I did in Milan, Mister and I had a wonderful time. Friendly people, clean city, and the food. OH. MY. GOD! It was 4 days of pure heaven.
Milan reminded me of Melbourne. Cosmopolitan city with trams. I felt right at home. One of the best restaurants Rossopomodoro has become a favourite of ours. Friendly, funny waiters play a games with visitors and it was easy for me as I can speak Italian. And then there was Duomo. A marvelous area filled with history, you just have to be there to appreciate it. Mister and I only spent a short time in Milan and spent most of it relaxing and wondering in and out of stores and alleyways. A second trip to Milan is definitely on my bucket list!

Milan's Duomo

Milan’s Duomo

Via Torino in Milan, the street where our hotel was located. Trams, just like Melbourne.

Via Torino in Milan, the street where our hotel was located. Trams, just like Melbourne.

Yes, that pizza is from Rossopomodoro and I was quite upset to be sharing!

Yes, that pizza is from Rossopomodoro and I was quite upset to be sharing!

 

 

I’ve done it! I finally made something seemingly hard, sugar filled and made a healthy version of it. Honey cashew chicken now available in a paleo version. Please note: experiment and use measurements that would prefer. i didn’t measure and added a little here and a little there and vola! Its quick and easy
Ohh happy days!

Ingredients:
Chicken thighs
Tamari
Apple cider vinegar
Rice malt syrup
Onion
Garlic
Brown rice
Activated cashews

Method:
Commence cooking the rice.
Brown the chopped notion and garlic.
Add the chicken with the rice malt syrup, tamari and a splash of apple cider vinegar (my only measurement!).
Add the cashews.

Once cooked, serve, enjoy and love the fact that its healthy.

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I think I have just discovered my signature dish? Perfect, on the healthy side, low in sugar and I made it! Yes I made it! It’s my Moroccan Chicken with Coconut Rice, Lemongrass, Kidney Beans and Chickpeas. I’m just impressed I made the coconut rice all on my own! Well, I had a little help from a fabulous friend of mine who told me how to make it but the fact that I did it counts, right?

Ingredients:

Chicken breast (cut into as big or as small chunks that you prefer)
2x teaspoons of mustard powder
2x teaspoons of mixed spice
2x teaspoons of ground cloves
2x teaspoons of turmeric
pinch of salt and pepper
Half an onion
1x garlic clove
1x quarter of lemongrass stick
1x can of chickpeas
1x can of kidney beans
1x can of coconut cream
1x cup of rice
1 1/2 cups of water

Method:

Combine, the rice, water and coconut cream in a pot and bring to the boil. Once it’s boiling, bring it down to a simmer.
Slice the onion and garlic as you prefer then brown in a frying pan. In a bowl combine the turmeric  salt, pepper, ground cloves, mixed spice and mustard powder.
Add chicken and cook.
Once chicken is cooked add lemongrass, kidney beans and chickpeas.
Immediately after add the combined spices and cook for 5 mins.

Vola!

Moroccan Chicken with Lemongrass, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas and Coconut Rice

Moroccan Chicken with Lemongrass, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas and Coconut Rice

For a fine dining experience one simply cannot go past KoKo Teppanyaki in Melbourne’s Crown Casino. There you will witness some of the greatest chefs perfecting the Japanese cooking art of teppanyaki, throwing crockery and food.

Mister and I spoiled ourselves one evening to this great cuisine where our chef, Kevin, who perfectly cooked our chicken and fish meals right in front of our eyes followed by a delicious cocktail. Hay, when in Rome!

Our selection of food for the evening included squid, beef, chicken and prawns were perfectly seasoned and served elegantly on our plates. Watching Kevin literally throw his cooking utensils and catch them without fail was an amazing sight. It’s a kind of “dinner and show” experience for the whole family and if you’ve never had teppanyaki before I highly recommend this for your bucket list!

Go on, spoil yourselves on evening. And I personally recommend their “Hallucination” cocktail!

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Our chef Kevin

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The lovely Hallucination cocktail

Hello Amsterdam!

Wow, this is city is really a sight for sore eyes. The architecture will leave you in awe and the people will delight you. Mister and I continued on our European journey to Amsterdam and we were thoroughly impressed.

Being the typical history buff that I am we went to the Anne Frank House. I was not able to take photographs in there which I respected but gaining a further understanding of the horror that Jews went through during the holocaust. It made me thankful to be born in a country and era where I know an atrocity like that will never happen.
Amsterdam is filled with many canals and people on bikes. Everyone gets everywhere on a bike, Mister and I should have done it as well, however, we were content with using public transport.

Amsterdam is one of those countries where you don’t feel at all like someone is following you to pick your pockets because you are a tourist. After visiting the Anne Frank House, we conducted our own tour of The House of Bols. It’s a specialised alcohol that Amsterdam stocks and we were fortunate to go on a tour. I highly suggest not doing what Mister and I did and start the tour before you have lunch, on an empty stomach because you get free alcohol at the end. Yes free alcohol on an empty stomach. We stumbled out of there that’s for sure! The House of Bols will show you how their alcohol is made and the flavours it comes in. You can smell the flavours (yes smell them), try your hand at throwing a cocktail shaker and of course the free alcohol at the end.

The following day, Mister and I went to the Heineken Brewery (please don’t think there’s an alcohol related theme here), which was impressive. I don’t drink beer but this brewery was well worth the visit! You can see how beer is made, what ingredients are used and learn how to pour the perfect beer. Yes, throughout the entire tour you get free beer as well. I had one beer and then gave the rest to Mister but this time we had full stomaches!

The best thing about Amsterdam is that it’s one of those cities where you can just walk through street after street, not looking for anything in particular, but just wondering. I was even able to find the world’s biggest wooden shoe and was able to sit in it! There are cheese shops a-plenty! For all you cheese lovers out there you will sample some of the most delicate, obscure and delicious cheese flavours in the world.

If you’re like me and you like wondering and exploring strange cities without a map, then in Amsterdam you will come across the infamous Red-Light district. It is, however, pin pointed on a map but you wouldn’t know it until you were in it. During the day, it’s a footpath (no cars can drive in there) with people going every which way but by night, well, let’s just say it becomes something else. No cameras are allowed as there are scantily clad dressed woman who want to earn a living. If I walked a little in front of Mister and he appeared on his own, I could actually see he was winked at by the women. If you want to know more about Amsterdam’s Red-Light district it really is something you have to see for yourself.

Amsterdam is wonderful and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find the right words to describe it as it is indescribable. A remarkable, breathtaking city which I certainly plan on returning to in the (hopefully) not to distant future.

The visually stunning The House of Bols and their amazing drinks!

The visually stunning The House of Bols and their amazing drinks!

Me trying to shake and throw a cocktail. I'm clearly not made for the hospitality industry!

Me trying to shake and throw a cocktail. I’m clearly not made for the hospitality industry!

Me trying to pour the perfect beer at the Heineken Brewery. In the end I finally got there!

Me trying to pour the perfect beer at the Heineken Brewery. In the end I finally got there!

The best show in the entire world! It was love at first sight!

The best shoe in the entire world! It was love at first sight!

 

 

 

This post is a little different today. I’m not particularly a soccer fan (for overseas viewers, its football for you), however, Mister is. Actually, he is a tragic Arsenal fanatic. Seriously, there are many times when Arsenal has come first. So naturally when we went to London it was a tour Mister was not going to miss out on. He was like me when I went to the British Museum, totally in his element and nothing was going to take away the ethereal glow around him that he was where God wanted him to be; right at home at Emirates Stadium.

How does a non-soccer fan describe Emirates Stadium? Well, let’s just say I was impressed. It is a magnificent stadium and even if you don’t know what soccer, or football, is it really does impress. Red seems to be the theme behind this team. I’m not really sure why but Mister loved it. And of course we have more pictures of him in front of great Arsenal memorabilia than me.
When the tour starts, we are taken into the Chairman’s boardroom where the highest paying Arsenal executives watch the game and enjoy the finest food and drink. Entering that room made me want to work really hard so I could one day afford that privilege. There are past trophies on display, paintings of Emirates Stadium (in case you weren’t sure where you were) and the most magnificent views of the pitch. Any closer and you would actually be on the pitch watching the players “bend it like Beckham”.

Next on the tour we are taken into the player’s locker room. Mister could not contain his excitement! Player’s jumpers were on display to show us whose cubicle belonged to whom. Of course Mister had to have his picture taken in front of all of them. A tour guide let us in on a little piece of information; the opposing team’s locker room has shiny floors to try and injure them before any game commences! Nice little trick I think!
After the locker room, we get to experience the rush of being an Arsenal player. We get to run (or walk) through the tunnel leading us onto the pitch. I should have just taken a movie of Mister doing it with the amount of pictures I took of him inside the red tunnel. I think he secretly felt like an Arsenal player. Out on the ground, you really get to feel the atmosphere of a game, it is really huge!

Following the locker room, tunnel and entering the pitch, there was something to keep me entertained, we entered the press room. There were children on our tour group so I had to let them sit in the chairs pretending to be interviewed by their parents. However, it really gave me an insight into sports media.

All in all, Mister left the tour feeling great like he had just ticked something off his bucket list. Entering the room of men he has admired since he was young he accomplished something other’s only dream of doing.

COME ON THE MIGHTY GUNNERS!

Mister in his element, at Emirates Stadium for Arsenal

Mister with Fabregas’s jumper. He does not play for Arsenal anymore, so this is a rare photograph.

Another rare photograph with Nasri’s jumper, who no longer plays for Arsenal.

Where tired and injured players do physiotherapy.

Entering the magnificent red tunnel leading out onto the pitch.

Mister was so excited to be there, he didn’t know where to look!