Tapas of bread with fresh sardines, basil, cheese and tomatoes in Madrid, what I actually remember from the palace tour. Copyright Content Catnip 2009

Travel: The Royal Palace in Madrid

It was broiling and steaming at about 38 degrees in Madrid that day. Looking out over the vista of Madrid during the peak of the siesta period it seemed that all the traffic had stopped and all of the sensible people in the city had retreated inside, except for the tourists like me of course.…

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

The Polish Bear and I went on a lot of adventures together while living in Edinburgh. One of our favourite walking trails was the devastatingly beautiful Water of Leith. This natural body of water crosses over the Forth and Clyde Canal, which I've written about extensively before. The Water of Leith snakes its way through…

Adam Hillman's symmetrical foods are oddly satisfying

Design: Adam Hillman’s symmetrical foods are oddly satisfying

Satisfy your inner control freak with this delectable selection of painstakingly colour coded and intricately arranged foods by Adam Hillman on Instagram. Hillman is now at the helm of one of the most popular Instagram accounts in the world due to his amazing collection of art which is funny, obsessive and quirky. Here is a…

Where to eat in Taupo? 

Travel: The best places to eat in Lake Taupo, New Zealand

On a recent trip to the beautiful Lake Taupo  with all of its athletic pursuits such as MTB there is nothing better than chowing down on some superb and hearty food. Taupo has some great options which we tried and loved. For a quick and reasonably priced brunch, try Cafe Baku which has a relaxed…

Luminous Edinburgh during Christmas time lit the way for work-weary me

Travel: Luminous Edinburgh during Christmas time lights the way through winter 

Edinburgh is bewitching at all times of year but arguably the most captivating time is before and during Christmas. From early December the area in Princes Gardens is turned into an enchanted frozen amphitheatre. The faerie wonderland buzzing with a German Christmas market and overflowing with handmade, wooden and delicate trinkets, along with carnival rides…

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland: Part 1 Beach-side cruising from St Heliers to St Mary’s Bay

All of the cycling routes here generally take place on paved and separated cycling paths that are away from the road. In all cases I have endeavoured to only include the safest routes possible with minimal direct contact with the traffic. Mainly this is because Auckland drivers are pretty bad and it's not a good…

Phantasmagorical Paper Recipes to Fuel your Belly

Phantasmagorical Paper Recipes to Fuel your Belly and Brain

As you probably have realised from previous posts about the automated paper town called Paperholme, I'm obsessed with paper art. And here is yet another fragile and whimsical creation that I've fallen in love with. Paper is a medium that can trump rocks but not scissors, and in these stop motion animations you will discover…

Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Travel: Five Brilliant Off the Beaten Track Restaurants Around Edinburgh

From writing for several years for the Edinburgh Food and Drink Guide I have gathered together some personal favourites of the Athens of the North. Here are a selection of Edinburgh restaurants that require some pounding of pavement often through beautiful scenery to get there. These eateries are worthy of recommendation because of their beautiful ambience,…

Book Review: 'Les Diners de Gala' Salvadore Dali's delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Book Review: ‘Les Diners de Gala’ Salvadore Dali’s delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Salvador Dalí isn't generally remembered for his culinary prowess. Although he was a secret admirer of gastronomy for all of its transformative and monstrous properties. In his rare and 1973 cookbook Les Diners de Gala, just reissued by Taschen. the late iconic artist celebrates dream-like and surreal flavour combinations. Chapter titles include Prime Lilliputian malaises’ (meat)…

A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts: Cheeky Fruit and Veg Boxes by Australian Farmers

Wild and Wonderful Asian Fruit Smoothies to enjoy this summer

Living in tropical South East Asia definitely has its benefits. One of them is being able to tan all year round. Another, is the abundance of juicy, vibrantly coloured and weird-looking fruit. This tastes like nothing you have ever tried before! Also, Asian fruit is cheap to buy here, so it's easy to conjure up…

Polski jedzenie/ Polish food: My om nom nom nominations

Polski jedzenie/ Polish food: My om nom nom nominations

Polish food could be considered similar to many other central European traditional dishes. There's a sprinkling of a German, Czech, Slovakian, Ukrainian and Russian influences here. Although any Pole worthy of his or her passport will patiently explain to you that while there are similarities, Poland are the original creators of some of the most…

How you can fight against the palm oil industry and help orangutans

How you can fight against the palm oil industry and help orangutans

Orangutans are highly intelligent and share 97% of their DNA with humans. When they cry they sound like a human crying and as fully grown adults they have the intelligence level of a 5 year old. Mothers only have one baby at a time and spend at least eight years nurturing their child, one of…

The Culinary Cosmos: A Tasty Rendering of the Universe Using Things We Eat

The Culinary Cosmos: A Tasty Rendering of the Universe Using Things We Eat

Creator Navid Baraty is a freelance photographer in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. In his spare time, this certified space geek loves to arrange common Kitchen condiments into strikingly accurate renditions of the cosmos. "I'm a really big space geek. I'll look at NASA images or Hubble images to see how things were placed in the sky, and I try…

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? No...It seems they dream of sushi!

Do androids dream of electric sheep? No…it seems they dream of sushi!

Sometimes on Reddit you can accidentally venture into the far reaches of the internet and discover a whole new way of looking at the world. Such was my journey this evening when I found Reddit's Deep Dream Images page. Not a somnambulist's journal, but rather a foray into machine learning where intelligent computers on a…

Hipster menu generator: get ready for culinary darts of displeasure

Hipster menu generator: get ready for culinary darts of displeasure

I'm sure you're familiar with the trend of indecipherable menu items that's sprung up all over the world recently, right? it's also known as hipsterising a menu. Suddenly there's a whole new world of pretentious sounding menu items that you've never seen in all of your years prior, living on our planet. Who knew that…

What do the longest living people in the world have in common?

What do the longest living people in the world have in common?

According to a book released in April, entitled Blue Zone Solutions, there's a methodology to living a long and healthy life.  Author of the book Dan Buettner and CEO of the eponymous organisation spent a decade visiting and studying populations or 'Blue Zones' where individuals live inordinately long and healthy lives. There were some common…

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A watermelon is never simply a watermelon

Contrary to what you might think, watermelons looked very different (and probably tasted better) in the Renaissance compared to today. Why exactly? Farming practices have changed and genetically modified food has modified the humble watermelon out of its original state of being. Take a look at this renaissance painting by Giovanni Stanci, courtesy of Christies…

Oprah Winfrey On The News And Why Spiritual Consciousness Starts With What We Focus On

Oprah Winfrey On The News, Gardening, and Seeing Your True Purpose

I think there needs to be a change of consciousness with the news ... to try to seek a higher ground. Why can't it be more representative of the way the world really is? I think we don't know what the bombardment of crime and violence does to our minds, I think we're in denial…

The Bridge in Wynyard Quarter in Auckland CBD. Looks lovely during the night and the day time too

A Full Moon in Scorpio: Culinary Adventures and Moonlit Walks Around Auckland Harbour

The Boy and I went to one of our favourite haunts in Auckland, the endearingly named Miss Clawdys. A southern American style tapas joint nestled within a group of vibrant dockside restaurants and bars in Auckland CBD. After the meal we basked in the wavering neon lights and the large full moon (in Scorpio) that…

A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts: Cheeky Fruit and Veg Boxes by Australian Farmers

A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts: Cheeky Fruit and Veg Boxes by Australian Farmers

A word of warning: fruit and vegetable packaging in Australia is bright, risque, cheeky and just plain weird. Some feature cheeky innuendo like the upturned erect bananas on Dicko's Bananas or a box of melons with a buxom 50's babe on the box. Others are verge on hallucinogenic, like Dimbulah's Srhoj Citrus featuring happy-faced citrus fruits…

Wine and Curry Pairing Made Easy

Wine and Curry Pairing Made Easy

One tricky situation which often faces wine drinkers and curry lovers is, which wine goes well with which curry? There is such a kaleidoscope of vibrant flavours in Indian dishes. So it may seem challenging to find a wine to complement rather than destroy the flavour of the food. Here's some practical advice for pairing Indian…

The Legacy of Robert Burns in Scotland

The Culinary and Poetic Legacy of Robert Burns in Scotland

Robert Burns is a cult figure amongst Scottish people for his celebrated poetry and folk songs from the 18th Century. He used to write in the Scots language and also English with Scots dialect. Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns has travelled far beyond Scotland, to become a universal song for New Year's Eve. Every…