Aribba Aribba!*

So, I've been back home for over a week but I've been terribly neglectful of my little blog. Posting my Daring Bakers' challenge results from Cuba was clearly the peak of my diligence and now I need to get back on track. After having been away for nearly a month it was a real pleasure to return to the lovely Mr AB, my friends and clothes that hadn't spent 4 weeks crumpled inside a rucksack. It was also a delight to be back in my kitchen - lasagne making, banana bread baking and generally catching up on lost cooking time.

I'm conscious that there's nothing worse than a holiday bore and it would be only too easy for me to drone on and on about what a fabulous time I had. However, unlike those people who are subjected to their neighbours' trip to DisneyWorld with a slide show complete with script, you're only a click away from freedom. Surely that gives me a mandate for a little droning?

The first part of my trip was a solo stint to Tulum and Isle Mujeres in Mexico. I should admit now that I am a rubbish traveller. I always book flights away on my own full of bravado and notions of 'finding myself'. In reality I end up leaving messy mascara tracks on Mr AB's jumper at the airport and ringing my parents from the flight gate wailing "don't make me gooooooooooo." Not good for a grown 26 year old I know. Once I arrived at the eco-resort in Tulum I did, of course, cheer up. Well, after miserable old London you would wouldn't you.

Travelling on your own is hard work. There's never anyone to watch your bag while you nip to the loo and there's the constant fear that as a solo female traveller you'll be spirited away by some dubious sex pest. Or is that only me? You can, however, eat guacamole three times a day and no one will be any the wiser. Yes the guacamole was as good as you would hope and the other food was delicious too.

I really enjoy Mexican food but unfortunately it is one cuisine which is not very well represented in London (if anyone disagrees, please send me tips). So it was a real pleasure to taste so much beautiful food on holiday. There wasn't as much fish as you would expect for a spot on the Caribbean Sea but there was plenty more. One of my favourite snacks was a bowl of pickled vegetables which had a pungent, spicy kick. These feisty vegetables are put on the table as soon as you sit down and despite causing a few spice induced tears, they are dangerously addictive.

Then there were the fish tacos. Oh yes. My favourite were served at a roadside stall which fried the fresh white fish in an airy tempura-style batter and allowed you to help yourself to salsas and sweet coconut sauces galore. Oh god I've got cravings right now.

In the name of research I did buy a couple of cakes from the local bakery but they weren't that great. I should have known that this chocolate one would disappoint, but I was seduced. It was ok but a little bit too much like the bottom of a cheap chocolate muffin. I should have stuck with the mangos. Yes the mangos. If I had the necessary skill I would craft an ode to the Mexican mango. They are ambrosial. These yellow skinned beauties were as sweet as honey and as smooth as silk. I know that sounds like a bad description from a Mills and Boon novel but they were that good. When I got back I stupidly bought a mango from Sainsbury's in the hope that it would quell my cravings. Hah! It was like eating something on mute.

My overwhelming impression of the food in Mexico was the strength of flavour. Not just from the chilli heat but from the the fresh, sun-ripened quality of the produce. It all tasted vivid.

Leaving Mexico was a wrench. Not least because I had to leave behind breakfasts like these: favour of a country which "you don't visit for the food." Cuba. More of which to come.

* No I don't know what it means!


glamah16 said...

Beautiful pics. It looks like you had a great time.

Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

Wow this sounds like a great holiday dear!
I've never been in Mexico but it's a place I really would love to visit a day.
And those mexican dishes are fantastic. Here in Florence we have several mexican resaurants so I know mexican food quite well and I adore it.
And that breakfast is really breathless! :-D
I wish you a fantastic monday!

jasmine said...

What a great set of pictures.

Yes, I know what you mean about being a solo female traveller--why is it men automatically assume you want their company in anything more than a "yes, you are wanted but on that side of the plane/boat so it doesn't get unstable and tip...yes, that means you need you need to stay at the EXACT opposite side of the vessel from me at all times."


Joy said...

Thanks Courtney. I think the amazing sunshine out there really helps with the photography!

I would never associate Florence with Mexican food - another reason to visit! The only time I travelled to Florence I was too seduced by the gelato to search for other nationalities. A happy Tuesday to you!

J - haha so true. I just wonder whether men do that awful whisttle/hiss thing as you walk past they actually think you're going to turn around and say "oh really, a hiss for me? I feel so special. Let's go to your flat and get it on." Odd!

Antonia said...

Glad to hear you made it back safely and had a good time, by all accounts. I'm a hopeless traveller too - I've been known to sob at passport control too when 'going it alone'! That breakfast looks superb - not surprised you didn't want to leave!

Antonia said...

Oh - meant to say also, that have nominated you for an award...

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Sounds like a fun trip and a lot of really tasty eating. You've got me jealous! :-P

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