Everything You Should Know Before Eating Southern Soul Food

Eating good Southern Soul Food is possibly one of the greatest things in the world. Here are a few handy things to know before you gorge yourself silly.

Southern Soul Food will reduce you to tears. As you bite into each dish you cannot believe how good everything tastes.

The Soulful Spread.

Stretchy trousers are necessary. Tight jeans become a hazard as unbuttoning them on a full belly could mean the button flies off like a rocket in any possible direction.

No matter how hard you try you will leave feeling completely stuffed. You will need to stop but the overwhelming urge to continue eating will be too powerful.

Southern Soul Food is best when shared with good company. Company that is as happy to be a glutton as you are.

With our lovely host; Mrs Wilkes in Savannah, Georgia.

The fresh, hot cornbread are like clouds in your mouth but don’t eat too many as you will fill up too quickly.

When the fried chicken arrives; pause, embrace the moment, listen to choirs of heavenly angels sing and remember that you are about to taste the most wonderful thing known to man.

Soul food is good for your soul not your waistline. Constant eating of this irresistible cuisine will ensure lard forms in place you never wanted it to.

Savannah, Georgia.

Allow yourself to taste every single side dish. There will be many and at first it may be overwhelming but unless you try each dish you will not have had a true Southern meal. Here are some of the sides you could expect on your freshly pressed table cloth; mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, beans, gravy, cabbage, butter beans, black-eyed peas, squash, candied yams, pickled beets,  Okra and tomatoes, potato salad, coleslaw, fried green tomatoes, snap peas, apple salad, macaroni salad and English Peas and noodles to name just a few.

Eating Southern food is best down in the South of United States. Find a place that provides that homely feel.

Leave space for dessert. You may think that you cannot have another mouthful but that piece of pie or banana pudding beg to differ.


Basking in Bali: Day Four

Traditions and rituals are two things which define a culture. Seeing both while travelling allows for a greater understanding and overall appreciation of a country.

Our fourth day in Bali was spent observing some of these traditions and rituals as we made our way to one of the most popular temples in Bali;  Pura Tanah Lot.

Tanah Lot is located in Tabanan off of the Indonesian island and is perfectly placed on the top of a large rock which juts out from the sea. It stands tall while the Indian Ocean batters and shapes its sides while the temple is witness to some of Bali’s best sunsets over the horizon. It is around a 45 minute drive from the centre of Seminyak. Entrance costs 30 000 IDR each (around AUS $3) and to park a car it costs a small 5000 IDR (AUS $0.50) which is a small price to pay for the beauty of the complex.

Pura Tanah Lot
Pura Tanah Lot

Once through the gates  you will find an array of market stalls. While many of the goods are the same as you can find in Seminyak there are a few slight differences in some of the products with more hand-crafted goods including woven bowls and wooden statues.

One of the stores had three women sitting in a row and they ran a well-oiled coconut cutting machine; two of the women shaved coconuts and rolled the shavings into small balls for people to try while the third woman stood with a machete knife and beheaded coconuts; pouring the water into a small plastic bag and before tying the top places a straw in the bag for easy drinking which is much lighter than carrying an entire coconut around.

Meandering through the markets and dodging the daily offerings we made it to the entrance gates of the Tanah Lot area. When we arrived the tide was low, the sky clear and the sun high. To the left of Tanah Lot was the Pura Batu Bolong temple. This tiny temple is situated on the edge a cliff sticking out into the ocean where centuries of crashing salt water waves have eroded the rock causing a hole in the wall of the cliff creating a unique natural scene.

Pura Batu Bolong
Pura Batu Bolong

Meandering from the Pura Batu Bolong we made our way down the stairs to the entrance of the Tanah Lot temple where the sea water swashed its way around the rock holding the temple. People were getting photographs from every angle while ensuring that they didn’t step in a puddle left from the low tide.

We walked up towards the temple and saw people crossing the small stream to get to the entrance of the temple. Upon crossing the stream ourselves and with soggy shoes we noticed that the men in the temple were offering blessings to all. There was a stream of Holy Water which you poured over your head, once you had done this you then were sprinkled with more water, had rice grains placed on your forehead and a frangipani placed behind your ear as a blessing. It was a very peaceful and beautiful ritual which I have never experienced before.

Guarding the Guardians
Guarding the Guardians

After our blessing we were able to have a look at the Holy Sea Snakes. These snakes are said to guard the temple from evil spirits and they used to be free and able to protect the area.Now they are kept in a small sand cave with a local man guarding the guardians and ensuring visitors pay a small fee to view them.

In the heat of the midday sun the Tanah Lot stands cool and calm with its free-flowing Holy Water and it’s age old traditions. A visit to Bali wouldn’t be complete without visiting this unique Sea Temple.

Basking in Bali: Day Three

The tranquillity and friendliness of the Balinese people and the culture breeds an air of calm which is something so often lost in our crazy lives. 

Our third day in Bali was spent trying to regain some of the calm.
A morning spent at the pool was certainly what was needed; we sipped on a freshly opened coconut with the water inside sweetened with cane sugar and fresh lime. The pool area a perfect place to catch up on books which have been waiting for holiday reading.
After a lazy morning it was time for an Indonesian lunch feast. The smell of Nasi goreng with chicken satay and prawn crackers filled my nostrils and as hungry as I was I tried to abstain from devouring it in one go. Nasi goreng is like an Asian fried rice. It has legumes and small pieces of chicken throughout with fresh chilli.
After our Indonesian feast we decided it was time to be pampered. A one hour Balinese massage was on the cards and at AUS $8.50 for an hour it was difficult to deny. A Balinese massage is the perfect way to relax; it uses a firm hand and comes complete with head scratch and the light fragrance of frangipani oil smothered all over the body.
Floating away from our massage it was time for a little adventure. We hoped in the car with Mr Pasak, our driver, and we were off to tick something off of the bucket list; a yoga class in Bali.
This wasn’t going to just be any yoga class though but one which overlooked a Balinese sunset on the ocean atop a cliff surrounded by forest in Uluwatu.
We drove up just in the nick of time to Uluwatu Surf Villas. The setting was so serene and the yoga class, while challenging, allowed us to take a moment to reflect on our breathing and all things calm. After an hour and a half on the mat watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean with the damp smell of the forest it was time to head back to Seminyak.
The road seemed quieter in the evening but even so there was an audience on the side streets as traffic swirled in every direction like a firework placed in the ground but instead of the slight smell of gunpowder it was the smell of exhaust fumes.
Arriving back in Seminyak we strolled to the strip of restaurants along the beach and popped ourselves at La Plancha. This trendy little restaurant catches your eye more than the others with its splash of colour. Laid out along the beach are beanbags of every colour with umbrellas to match where light bulbs hang above and the staff wear Hawaiian inspired shirts. We sat ourselves down, ordered a Bintang, enjoyed the calm surroundings with a light meal while listening to live music and toasting to another day in paradise.

Cruising Corfu Island.

A boating lesson for 10 minutes and then the 6 of us were let loose on a boat around Corfu Island.

The Greeks most certainly know how to live and life on Corfu Island is no different. Umbrellas and deck chairs with crisp and burnt tourists scatter the beaches. The more daring tourist can be seen zipping through the water on a jetski and then there are those that wander through the old town of Corfu, ensuring not to arrive ready to shop during siesta, when all the shops close in the afternoon so everyone can have a nap (tough life).

One way to see Corfu is to hire a boat, which is exactly what we did. The boat could hold six people and it wasn’t difficult finding ladies to join us. The initial cost to hire the boat for six hours was 150 Euro, which when you split it five ways works out to 25 Euro each, not bad for a day out.

Cruising around Corfu
Cruising around Corfu

We had booked the boat for the following day and we were told that we needed to arrive a little bit earlier for a ‘boating lesson’. The morning arrived and we did as we were told. Alexander our lovely tanned Greek greeted us and we jumped into the boat.

Our ‘boating lesson’ consisted of “Ok so you know, don’t get it stuck in the sand, this is how you raise and lower the engine and this is how you go forwards and backwards. Make sure you anchor if you jump off the boat. Ok you good? Good, you go now.” I looked at my friend and thought “well how hard could it really be?” no boat licence needed, we all jumped on with our snacks and bikinis in tow and we were off.

We were told about a shallow bay where the water came up to knee height and headed there first. I had to give Alexander my mobile number in case of an emergency and as soon had we arrived at the shallow bay I had several missed calls from Alexander, but we were far too busy swimming to be concerned with such details.

The Shallow Bay
The Shallow Bay

The wind began coming in and it made our stop at a local beach a little more difficult than I had expected, nonetheless we did what ladies do on a beach; tanned. Seeing the missed calls from Alexander I called him back. He said “Hello, you be careful the storm is coming and you don’t get my boat stuck in the sand, also they are waiting for you at the ‘taverna’ for lunch. Goodbye.”

With that we collected our tanning goodies and made our way back to the boat, we eventually found the ‘taverna’ we were told about and made our way to the dock. As we were arriving a Greek God of a waiter stepped out and helped us tie the boat to the dock.

Boats at the dock
Boats at the dock

Sitting right on the water we all took a moment to realise that we were cruising around the Greek Islands. We ordered typical Greek dishes, a mixture of freshly caught squid, calamari and fish, accompanied by a refreshing Greek salad. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Corfu.

Fresh Calamari & Greek Salad
Fresh Calamari & Greek Salad

After the journey back we were once again greeted by Alexander and we made the final payments. When you hire a boat you need to pay for the fuel you use as well as the use of the boat. After six hours cruising around the island we used 50 Euros of petrol which we once again split between the six of us.

The whole day cost us all roughly 50 Euro each, including our meals, it was a wonderful and relatively inexpensive way of seeing this relaxed and breathtaking island, a boating lesson is even included for those of you who, like me, have never captained a boat before.

So I say to you, happy cruising!

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