Saturday, July 26, 2014

Recipe: Reuben Sandwiches

Reuben sandwiches are one of those classic American dishes that I'd not encountered until I moved to the US. The combination of flavours doesn't sound like it should be good but it is! This is now one of my go to comfort meals.

Reuben Sandwiches

2 slices rye bread
1 tbspn Dijon Mustard OR 1 tbspn Russian Dressing
2 slices Pastrami or Corned Beef
1 slice Swiss cheese
1/2 cup sauerkraut 
1 tbspn butter


  • In this picture I've used sourdough but traditionally a marbled rye bread is used. Any good quality bread will do but you want something dense enough to hold up to the pickled strong ingredients
  • In a pan heat the sauerkraut and the pastrami until warm
  • Russian Dressing is a combination of mayonnaise, ketchup and other ingredients either this or Dijon Mustard can be used. Supposedly the choice of the two is an East/West coast variation 
  • Spread your condiment on the bread slices - I opt for Mustard
  • Cut the warm pastrami to size and place on the bread, then layer the cheese and the sauerkraut
  • Close the sandwich and then butter the outside of the bread
  • Grill the sandwich either in a skillet or using a panini press 
  • Serve with sweet American soda like Root Beer, Dr Pepper or Coca Cola

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort, Mexico

One of the advantages of the United States is the vast number of tourist destinations within affordable travel range and so we took a week's vacation to Cancun Mexico and tripped about the Riviera Maya and Yucatan.

As it was toward's the end of the high season we got a killer deal on Orbitz for a week at the Sandos resort, an all inclusive holiday destination. This means all you can eat food and drink; a concept that Americans seem to love on vacation but for me this was my first time at such a place.

I thought you might be interested in what you get at such a resort. They had 3 major restaurants - Seasons - a set menu molecular gastronomy affair, Zango's - the main restaurant and buffet, Gaijin - an unfortunately named teppanyaki restaurant.

They also include all you can drink cocktails, coffee time pastries, as well as bistro snacks by the pool and limited room service menu. Going during off season meant that we got a suite and all the food and beverage packages for less than $200USD per night. Prices in Cancun are similar to the US so don't expect to be able to eat off resort cheaply unless you track down small venues that the resort staff and locals eat at.

Please excuse some of the shadowing on the pictures I have a new camera which is proving difficult on macro shots.


Rob Roy

Miami Vice


High Tea


Assorted breads baked in house 

Shrimp "ceviche" ravioli with chipotle emulsion

Yellow corn "cappucino" with coconut foam and truffle parfum

Roasted duck breast with passion fruit spheric and sweet sensations salad

Deconstructed Key Lime Pie

Zango's Mexican Fiesta night


Sweets and desserts

Festive setting at sun down


Theatrics from the Teppanyaki chef

Fried rice

Miso with seasonal vegetables

Garlic chicken teppanyaki

Fried ice cream

So what was my experience of the food and drink at Sandos? For the price eating in was very economical, snacks, beers and cocktails by the pool would easily have run us $100 a day. Like many facilities designed for Americans I find the customer service to be variable depending on how nice you are to the staff and whether you tip. $1 a drink is a standard US tip and ensured that we got regular service and kind offers of refills or dish suggestions. I found that customers that were rude or needy to the staff were treated in kind. I have found reviews online of such resorts to be peppered with US tourists expecting to be waited on hand and foot without a single word of kindness to their servers. 

For foodies the quality was 'acceptable' but not amazing and given that we were there for a week it got a bit stale in choice. Still I would happily recommend the experience to others going to Mexico especially given the very limited number of smaller hotels and resorts in the Cancun area. If you include the cost of nights at the bar, breakfasts and dinners it was almost impossible to match the price. I would probably advise going out a night or two for local food. The breakfasts were amazing so fill up in the morning, spend the day site seeing and come home for a hearty dinner before relaxing in your room. 

Be prepared to change seats if you encounter large wedding parties. The all you can drink service and beautiful beach setting make this a common destination for weddings. We weren't the only couple on a romantic holiday to run away from loud groups invading the dining rooms and bars late at night. 

Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort, Mexico

All you can eat and drink beach resort
Good for groups and romantic vacations - not family friendly

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Recipe: Blueberry Yoghurt Pancakes

Brunch is a much loved meal in our house and weekends are all about taking the time for special morning meals. The yoghurt in this dish adds a tangy note that sets off the blueberries well but also makes a hearty meal without additional fat. 

Blueberry yoghurt pancakes

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup yoghurt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup milk or almond milk
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla
Oil for frying


  • Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar
  • In a small bowl whisk the eggs and vanilla, then add the milk
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the flour, stir until a batter is formed
  • Add the yoghurt and stir until incorporated into the batter
  • Fold the blueberries carefully into the batter 
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil to the pan
  • Using a ladle or jug (pitcher) pour a pool of batter the size of your palm into the pan
  • Once bubbles appear in the pancake then flip carefully so as to not break the blueberries
  • Serve with your favourite pancake toppings like maple syrup, powdered sugar and lemon or more yoghurt and blueberries (as pictured)
  • Makes 6 pancakes