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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Autumn tastes: durian love it or loathe it?

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. We do this in a bid to be less polluting and tackle climate change while at the same time keeping a global outlook. Climate change still causes disagreement, but not nearly as much as wether you are a fan - or not - of the tropical life-saving, strong-smelling fruit durian. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).

Frozen durian is a way to try this distinctive fruit without suffering its intense (unpleasant?) aroma.
I'm a cautious gastronomie - after all I don't eat meat and rarely eat fish. Occasionally I've eaten an insect for the novelty, not the calories. So when a friend comes over bearing durian I know I have to try this horrible-tasting fruit again.... Maybe I'll love it this time?

I wish i did because durian is a super star vegetable, and because it stores so well can save lives during times of hunger. I first tried it in the Solomons where it has traditionally been stored in pits ready to use in the hungry gap when crops have been destroyed by a cyclone and new supplies have not yet arrived, or been grown.

But - and it's a big but - durian stinks. More precisely it smells like rotting rubbish which however attractive to flies and pollinating insects is not a great attraction to me. In fact in Malaysia it is quite common to see signs banning durian fruit - especially in hotels.

Frozen durian is the way forward then.

My former work colleague, Christian, is a big fan of durian, which he especially likes from Malaysia, and he is determined to convert me. This time he brings a durian grown in Thailand and purchased in London's China Town.

When we open the frozen lid the smell gently wafts out. It gets stronger when he then unwraps the clingfilm around it... suddenly I recognise that distinctive smell of the supermarkets in China Town.

Whatever it smells like, the taste is meant to be a LOT better. He describes it as a roasted onion flavour ice lolly which is right, except durian has such a curious taste that in our party of four it's only my friend who enjoys scoffing it!

And durian repeats on you too - expect burps, though fortunately small, polite ones.

Over to you
So, are you a durian fan? In a worst case scenario can you imagine yourself eating it?

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