Welcome to this month’s list of wonderful stuff! This month's pictures are from Machu Picchu in Peru, a place I was lucky enough to visit earlier this month.
It is hard, in words, to do justice to the place. It did leave me gobsmacked and a little breathless (which was due to its beauty, not the altitude!). It is mystical, spiritual and ethereal. At the same time, it is solid; the terraces have been hewn into the mountain, the carved, carefully placed stones very hard and substantial.
Equally, I am not sure my pictures do the place justice. They seem flat. The elusive third dimension is obviously missing from my photos, which do not properly capture what I saw for myself over the course of two days. They do not capture the scale of the citadel. The misty atmosphere is merely hinted at.
Machu Picchu was on my “bucket list” for over 20 years. I had dreamed of seeing it and experiencing it, but had to wait for my moment to truly be there. Perhaps these photographs feed your desire to see it for yourself. If so, great – make it your mission to go. If you are sceptical now despite your initial wish to visit – I promise you, being there is very different from the pictures. It is a place which has to be seen, it is unforgettable, extraordinary and completely unique.
Honestly, I am still finding it hard to believe I was really there.
But enough ramblings from me, I know you are also here for the collection of lovely stuff. Well, here it is. Obviously, the passing of music genius and hero Prince has influenced the cultural selections. I’d always meant to see Prince play live, but never got round to see it. An element of my bucket list which never was fulfilled. A reminder that you should do what you can to achieve the aims of your lifetime if ever I thought of one.
Vegetarian friendly creamy lentil soup made with green lentils. https://whatevergetsyouthroughtheday.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/creamy-lentil-soup/
A lovely, fresh and simple salad, ham, beetroot, feta, leaf and potato salad: http://ramblingsofafoodaddict.com/ham-beetroot-and-feta-salad-recipe/
Mussels done Thai style; cooking beyond Moules Mariniere and Moules Provencale. Super easy with some fantastic flavours! http://www.theravenouscouple.com/2016/04/steamed-mussels-in-lemongrass-broth.html
A fruity salsa full of colour, for eating with tacos, burgers and salads. https://sobody.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/avocado-salsa/
A salad of farro grain and feta and a highly contrasting beef skirt... Spring cooking by Thomasina Miers: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/15/farro-cucumber-tomato-pomegranate-salad-skirt-steak-watercress-sauce-recipes-thomasina-miers
One mess up I make quite frequently in the kitchen is forgetting to soak beans and pulses overnight. Here's how you can save yourself, with the help of a pressure cooker: http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/pressure-cooker-beans
Easy make ahead lunch box dish for eating al desko; Lentil, carrot & ham salad: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2608636/lentil-carrot-and-ham-salad
Bengali style prawn coconut curry recipe from the excellent Mamta's Kitchen website: http://www.mamtaskitchen.com/recipe_display.php?id=10389
The noodles used here are not actually "glass noodles" - those are like vermicelli but made from moong/mung bean flour. These noodles are more like ho fun/pho flat rice noodles. But this pork tenderloin noodle salad from Andrew Wong's cookbook looks simple and tasty: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/recipes/pork-and-glass-noodle-salad/
Ben Tish, Adam Rawson, Paolo Elesbani, Lewis Sulley, Tom Hunt, Fah Sundravorakul, John Chantarasak, Claudio Cardoso, Tim Siadatan and Yasuhiro Mineno share their hero ingredients and tips for achieving umami flavour in your cooking: http://www.foodism.co.uk/london-chefs-umami/
Can a mobile app makes us less reliant on recipes? Why are we often afraid of making it up as we go along? Some interesting thoughts. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/07/cooking-food52-recipe-app-improvising-kitchen
Drunk cooking: don't do it! Epic fails that could only result from too much booze... http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2016/04/08/10-spectacularly-bad-attempts-drunk-cooking-prove-booze-culinary-skills-dont-mix/
A clothes optional naked restaurant? No. Just no! [Feel free to insert meatball/ sausage joke here...] http://mashable.com/2016/04/21/london-naked-restaurant/
Guide to Hong Kong's best dim sum eateries plus a video on how to Yum Cha! http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/05/foodanddrink/best-hong-kong-dim-sum/index.html
The Lewisham "Street Feast" food market set to return for Summer 2016: http://www.patrika.co/most-popular/lewisham-model-market-returns-for-a-third-summer-of-street-food/
What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:
New blog post - Gastronhome, Restaurant review, a beautiful little French restaurant punching well above its weight. http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/gastronhome-clapham-london-restaurant.html
My review of the restaurant launch of Soho's Mister Lasagna, devoted only to baked pasta wonderfulness! http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/mister-lasagna-restaurant-launch.html
Merguez and Red Rice salad with poached egg: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/merguez-and-red-rice-salad-with-poached.html
The Big Short
Prince - A Purple Reign
Prince – Sign O The Times
Prince – Art Official Age
Prince – Plectrumelectrum
Prince – Purple Rain
Ephemera – Sun
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters - Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar
Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.