Say it loud: I’m back and I’m proud!

You think you know who your friends are. You lavish them with your wisdom, witticisms and aesthetic qualities (everyone knows I’m a stone cold milf*) and how do they pay you back? They slack off. Well, I’ll remember this Knockers. I have to travel for a few days and what do you do? You don’t blog. You’d better have a jolly, bloody good reason.

* The M stands for man.

So while Knockers has been lollygagging, I’ve been roaming to foreign climes and bravely eating their foreign nosh. We begin in the UAE:

Spice Island

Busy as I was I didn’t make it out to the souk for some proper middle eastern scran, so the only point of note was Spice Island, a restaurant in the Crown Plaza hotel. It offers a buffet supper with morsels from Italy, Japan, Mexico, India, Mongolia, China, Vietnam etc. You basically have to pace yourself to eat something from everything. It’s all tasty fayre and you want to keep on going until it hurts, but it does lack a little soul. A 200+ item buffet is something to behold, but it felt like I was the plus 1 at the wedding of the daughter of the chairman of the Sumitomo corporation in 1988. Without karaoke.

Pro tip Spice Island: rename yourself Spicy Island.

The sushi station. Fingers crossed that when they extend the Northern Line they add one of these.

The sushi station. Fingers crossed that when they extend the Northern Line they add one of these.

The Mexican station - why waste precious tummy space with heavy Mehican food whilst at a buffet?

The Mexican station – why waste precious tummy space with heavy Mehican food whilst at a buffet?

The desserts. Desserts are for suckers.

The desserts. Desserts are for suckers.

Baskets of dumplings. This almost lead to a humiliating mix-up, but I was ushered to the lavatories to the relief of all.

Baskets of dumplings. This almost lead to a humiliating mix-up, but I was ushered to the lavatories to the relief of all.

The sushi was decent.

The sushi was decent.

Crab is always more effort than it's worth. But look at that .... I'm going to say ... baby lobster? It's humongous.

Crab is always more effort than it’s worth. But look at that …. I’m going to say … baby lobster? It’s humongous.

Dumplings. Not as tasty as they looked, but nice enough.

Dumplings. Not as tasty as they looked, but nice enough.

Lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka, poppadoms and something else.

Lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka, poppadoms and something else.

A chicken shawarma pizza? Now I've seen everything!

A chicken shawarma pizza? Now I’ve seen everything!

Spice Island
http://www.crowneplaza.com/hotels/gb/en/dubai/dxbcp/hoteldetail/dining
Spice Island
Crowne Plaza Dubai – Deira
Salahuddin Road
Deira
Dubai
8668
United Arab Emirates

L’Auberge de Savièse

A short trip to Geneva was blighted by a head cold, so I missed out on the opportunity to visit Le Relais de L’Entrecôte (http://www.relaisentrecote.fr/), which has an outlet in Geneva. But I did manfully struggle out to L’Auberge de Savièse (http://www.aubergedesaviese.ch/) and enjoyed an Assiette Valaisanne (mixed ham) and raclette. It was tasty enough, but I was impressed mostly by the pageantry of service that you get in Europe. Look at the picture and tell me they haven’t gone a little overboard for a table for one. I now feel bad for saying “Er foreign food, er, that’s disgusting, er, get me some egg and chips and a coke you funny talking foreigns.”

This really is something to behold for one person, no? I wish I smoked more so I could have made use of the ashtray too. However, there is now mounting evidence that I do not eat enough vegetables.

This really is something to behold for one person, no? I wish I smoked more so I could have made use of the ashtray too. However, there is now mounting evidence that I do not eat enough vegetables.

Chicken Tikka pizza? Spinach and Paneer pizza? Now I've seen everything!

Chicken Tikka pizza? Spinach and Paneer pizza? Now I’ve seen everything!

L’Auberge de Savièse
http://www.aubergedesaviese.ch/
Auberge de Savièse
20 rue des Pâquis
1201
Geneva
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 732 83 30

Montagna Verde

The highlight of my travels by a country mile was Italia. I blend in with latin types with their passion, expressive hand-gestures and pliable relationship with tax authorities (only kidding HMRC, my affairs are in order). That I burn like ginger, I’m a fitful coeliac and do not understand foreigns when they make noises through their face holes makes all travel very stressful, but in Italy I fit right in.

Montagna Verde (http://www.montagnaverde.it/) is an Agriturismo which basically means a restaurant on an invisible farm, where me and others were invited to celebrate the union of our chums Disco and Mrs Disco. The feast was bountious but somehow I managed to make it to the end and tasted every dish – this is how you do it Mr Sumitomo-san. How the Italians can put it away in such quantities and still maintain the lithe bearing of a Berlusconi is beyond me. Though I suppose he needs the energy to plough through an entire generation of adolescent Moroccan heartstealers. We salute you Silvio and your battle-shy gourmet compatriots.

Yet  more ham and sausage. You have to pace yourself at this stage though otherwise you're screwed.

Yet more ham and sausage. You have to pace yourself at this stage though otherwise you’re screwed.

Hot pickled onions. Mummy says I was terribly brave to try one.

Hot pickled onions. Mummy says I was terribly brave to try one.

Never seen these before, little salty, cripsy bread pockets. I think these would be excellent in the cinema though you would need to drink a bath to rehydrate afterwards.

Never seen these before, little salty, cripsy bread pockets. I think these would be excellent in the cinema though you would need to drink a bath to rehydrate afterwards.

Some mixed nibbles which I have difficulty in identifying, but which were uniformly moreish. Much like myself. And my uniform.

Some mixed nibbles which I have difficulty in identifying, but which were uniformly moreish. Much like myself. And my uniform.

Spelt, spinach, sausage and cheese things. I know that fart-sniffing hipsters from Dalston would be all over the spelt, but it took a while for me to be convinced that spelt was an actual food. The spelling didn't help. Since when has there been spelt?

Spelt, spinach, sausage and cheese things. I know that fart-sniffing hipsters from Dalston would be all over the spelt, but it took a while for me to be convinced that spelt was an actual food. The spelling didn’t help. Since when has there been spelt?

Ravioli. Who knows what was inside. They should label them or something. Like lesbians. Should be.

Ravioli. Who knows what was inside. They should label them or something. Like lesbians. Should be.

Perfect Gnocci. Also the name of my racehorse.

Perfect Gnocci. Also the name of my racehorse.

Pappardelle with a meat ragu. I want to say wild boar or rabbit or deer or something gamey. But It could have been something more parochial.

Pappardelle with a meat ragu. I want to say wild boar or rabbit or deer or something gamey. But It could have been something more parochial. Not pictured: medallions of beef served with rocket and parmesan, liberally sprinkled with tears of pleasure; roast suckling pig with caremalised crackling. More toffee than crackling really, and awesome for it.

I ate Parma ham in Parma. What did you do last weekend?

I ate Parma ham in Parma. What did you do last weekend?

Agriturismo Montagna Verde
http://www.montagnaverde.it/
Via Apella 1, 54016
Licciana Nardi (MS)
Lunigiana
Toscana
Italy
Tel: +39 0187421203

BERLUSCONI!

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