Sunday, April 25, 2010

Iceland Volcano Travel Resources

Iceland Volcano Travel Resources

Nothing puts you in your place quite like an erupting volcano. It's pretty amazing how effective Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano has been at disrupting European air travel. It's had a ripple effect for travelers around the world. Though flights have resumed, I've heard that the volcano, should it erupt again, could continue to disrupt travel for the next 13 months. Johnny Jet has put a resource page together covering all things volcano. You might want to check out should you be planning to fly to Europe this summer.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tea with Tracey

When we were in Bermuda on holiday a couple years ago, Tracey Caswell's book, Tea with Tracey seemed to be in every shop we popped into. I was working my way through a massive, but satisfying book on Winston Churchill at the time, so I never got around to picking it up. I finally ordered it a couple weeks ago when we started talking about going to Bermuda for another visit.

Tracey, an ex-pat Canadian, relocated to Bermuda with her Bermudian husband, Paul and her two children. Her book chronicles the challenges she faced after moving to the islands and how she adjusted to island living. Tracey recounts her battles with mold, cockroaches, humidity, and chickens in a down to earth and entertaining style. The book is filled with practical advice and pearls of wisdom that she picked up over the years. It's a great book to read if you're planning a visit to Bermuda. I wish I had picked it up while we were there. It would've provided answers to many of the questions we had. For instance, I was fascinated by the politeness of everyone. Who says 'thank you' to the bus driver? Why are there chickens everywhere? Why isn't anybody in the ocean besides us and that Canadian couple? Why is everything in pastel? Why do the schoolkids look so neat and tidy? If I'd read Tracey's book some of these little mysteries might've made more anthropoligical sense to me. I'm sure Winston Churchill wouldn't have minded if we'd picked up where we left off on the flight back home.

Sicilian Bean and Potato Salad

I've made this potato salad for years. It's always popular with our friends and family. It's quick and easy to prepare. I've made it for so long now, it just wouldn't seem like summer without it. Since we were lucky enough to have a one of those unseasonably warm spring days a couple weeks ago I thought I'd make it for a friend of ours who was visiting from out of town.

1 pound of new potatoes, unpeeled.
1 pound of fresh green beans, steamed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup of cooked cannellini beans
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced. (I always used small nicoise.)
1-2 tablespoons capers
Classic Vinaigrette (see below)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1-2 teaspoons of fine or grainy mustard
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, or 2 tablespoons wine, balsamic, or cider vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
crushed garlic to taste
sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until they are tender. Allow them to cool slightly and cut them in half.

Mix the potatoes, beans, onion, black olives, and capers in a large bowl.

Pour sufficient vinaigrette over the salad to moisten it and toss well. Sprinkle with parsley and grated parmesan cheese and serve