On The Menu Today, Indian Cooking, Hereford Brandy, And Oxford Snow

Like Clark Kent’s transformation in reverse I swept through Birmingham airport and train station adding layers of clothing as I went – but still felt cold. Yep it’s a trip back to Oxford. Only a few days so frantically fitting things in and today, Saturday, I managed a trip to London for the Destinations Holiday and Travel Show at Earls Court.

Good connections and an early start got me in the warm foyer for doors opening so once I grabbed my press pack and pass I was in amongst the action. It was a slow start but as more people poured in the atmosphere improved and after a few exploring tours I began to pick out a few favourites to focus on. There were two performance areas, two theatres for talks by experts and one Taste The World area for cuisine from various sources. I was near the front to watch Indian cook Manju Malhi (below) whip up a south Indian chicken curry and a north Indian spinach curry, the chicken tasted wonderful. A bit later Levi Roots took to the small cooking area and produced a tasty red snapper with lime and peppers yummy.

I sought out the Tenerife Tourism stand, it was doing a brisk trade, hopefully some of those enquiring will be heading out for holidays soon. There were a lot of far flung destinations and adventure holidays including a Tipi (wigwam) and canoe break around the river Wye, Australian outback adventures, and African safaris. It wasn’t just the obvious holiday based companies pitching for sales and bookings, there were massage beds, insect repellent sprays and revolutionary shoes to put a spring in your step.

I was strangely attracted to the salsa dancers in their skimpy outfits and the Malaysian dancers with their incredibly small and dainty feet. The large cake and doughnut stall made my mouth water, and that was just the sales girls with their lovely buns. Later in the day all the cakes were reduced to 2 pounds so it would have been rude of me not to shovel a mammoth chocolate eclair down my gullet. Not that I went hungry, there were samples on offer from the Cheshire cheese stand, Cadburys World and some surprisingly nice Vegan soda bread. I was forced to try two new varieties of brandy liquer, one with apple and blackcurrant at 20 percent proof, and another called Bloody Furlong with apple and maple at 27 % proof. The surprise with these was they came from Herefordshire – very welcome though.

With a last tour to make sure I had entered all the competitions going and ensured I hadn’t missed any exotic dancers, I was back out in the cold for the underground journey and coach. At that point it was just perishing cold but no snow, by the time the coach hit Oxford the snow was cascading down and a white blanket greeted me forcing me to seek solace in a couple of town pubs. I decided not to be late, just as well, I had just got off the bus as it crested the hill and it swerved across an icy patch and stopped in its tracks. Another bus and a car did the same in the opposite direction and they were all stranded as the snow built up around them – the end of public transport for the night. Never mind it had been a good day and Tenerife was on the horizon for my return home.