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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cook it yourself!

I like to cook - but I definitely wouldn't consider it a hobby. I haven't exactly become renowned for my culinary prowess over the years, but I've never poisoned anyone either, and I've definitely moved on beyond the student staples that got me through my hard, hard studies.
Come to think of it, in four years as a student, I seldom ventured into the kitchen for fear of contracting something incurable. And to demonstrate the sensitivity of my refined pallete, I ate some bloody hot curries that made me cry just for a laugh. Where does that put me in line for Jamie O's crown?

I do, however love to eat local food wherever I am and a work buddy recently organised a session with ''Cook in Rio' for us to try some Brazilian food (and be taught how to prepare and cook it!).

The occasion was a friends birthday, and it was a perfect way to celebrate. Not least because if you meet a bunch of people from work it is always a good idea to try and steer the conversation away from the bleedin obvious, and when everyone is 'hands on' from the moment they arrive, chopping, peeling, boozing etc, then it really does feel like a party rather than a works outing.

Simone was the culinary oracle of the moment, and she led us through Batida de Côco, Aipim Frito, Caipirinha, and Moqueca (there was more, but you get the idea...) - I'll definitely be giving it a go at home.

So - if you fancy fine-tuning your chopping or just getting tipsy with the excuse that you're absorbing another dose of Carioca culture, then give it a go - can't recommend it enough. Cheers!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

In The Club....

Who would Jesus be?

So, I joined a football club. Something which will no doubt amuse those that are aware my general total lack of familiarity with the beautiful game in any way whatsoever.

Everyone here is something to the world of the round ball. Its almost like you have to be. Everybody is either Flamengo or Botafogo or Santos or something quite hard to pronounce. This identity transcends class, race or gender, and takes on an importance on a par with remembering your wedding anniversary (unfortunately this is also something that can confuse me)

So when they ask me and I don't know what I am, they kindly immediately initiate me into their baying gang on the spot. For this I am supposed to feel a warm sense of pride and belonging.

Anyhow - we joined Fluminense club in Laranjeiras because we needed somewhere to go in our spare time where our little bloke could cut loose with a marginally reduced chance of getting run over or falling off something. I just got back from a swimming and dossing around in the play area marathon, followed by a meal for both of us for R$14.50 and an inevitable couple of cold Skols. Now this friends, could turn the hardiest of footy agnostics.

What is more, I am confused and dismayed that our little man is showing some considerable interest in the bloody sport too, so in order to avoid an accusation of being  negligent parents, we will probably sign him up for lessons when he turns three in August.

Who would have thought it?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Viva são João (and a really boozy recipe)

So.... no shortage of stuff to do in Rio at the moment.... and if a break from the onslaught of the Rio +20 earth summit is needed then it might be the perfect time to get stuck into one or more of the many ´Festa Junina´celebrations scattered around the place. Just don a checked shirt and get stuck in.

Festa Junina started out as a celebration of the nativity of John the Baptist. It is also a chance to thank St. John for the rain (although lately there might be a case for saying 'thanks for the rain and everything, but could we have something elese now - its been pissing it down for ages.'

Dress code is rural. That is pig-tails, gap teeth, freckles, strawhats and any other hillbilly stereotypes you can think of. Don't be shy, there is absolutely no way you will overdo it.

We took our little man to the Fazendinha Estação Natureza in Vargem Grande for the festa laid on by the creche - what a corker. Horse rides, climbing frames, ostriches, you name it - I suggest you give it a spin on any day (might want to check if its open first).

And, being a teacher - its always good to see just how excited the youngsters (and their teachers who actually understand what is going on) get about these events.Our bash yesterday was the real deal (with everything but the super strength São João booze - Quentão - Can't wait to get my hands on a wooden bucketfull!

View from the playground yesterday

Thursday, 7 June 2012

When it rains....

Corpus Christi 2012

I keep an eye on the weather forecast. I gloat from time to time, especially when I'm drinking in the sun. One thing I don't tend to bang on about is the rain.

Well today was one of those rainy days that reminded me why everything is so green and lush here. It reminded me that many of the streets in town simply don't have drains that can cope in any way. And it reminded me that the intrepid drivers on the newly formed underwater racetrack don't give a shit about taking it slightly easier with the right foot.

Still, at least it gave the hoards of umbrella sellers a chance to rip off a few victims.

So much for a bank holiday Thursday out and about - we spent half the day sheltering in Leblon shopping with the rest of the young and beautiful trendy masses. If you fancy a really expensive (but rather good) burger and chips I can recommend 'the fifties' diner up on the 4th floor.  Cold beer and a what would have been a great view of Christ. The clouds scuppered my gloating photo.

Try one of these....

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