Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Time to bid a sad farewell to Grand Cayman, the Caribbean and the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman.

After a wonderful dinner and a morning swim (4 am), we all met up in Blue - the Eric Ripert signature restaurant here in the resort. The Chef de Cuisine Luis Lujan swept me through two dishes - conch ceviche and poached black snapper. Both truly awesomely wonderful ...

The resort has 365 rooms and 24 residences (one of them has been mine) - 9-hole Greg Norman golf course - La Prairie spa - a long stretch of Seven Mile Beach - swimming pools - tennis courts ... nice.

I have to say that Grand Cayman has fast become my favourite island in the Caribbean! The flight from London is a pain ... but if that was sorted out ... I would be tempted to move here! I joke not ... I am not sure the Moo or my Pops would join me though ...

OK - time to check out! Next stop - London!

(TONIGHT - Inside Luxury Travel - new series - 1900 hrs CET on Travel Channel - Europe, Africa and Middle East only - we're in Sweden ... We stay at the Treehotel in Harads and The Grand Hotel, Stockholm - visit the Vasa Museum, cook with Mathias Dahlgren and eat brown bear! ENJOY!)
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Monday, 30 January 2012

What a day!

Started off at Seven Fathoms Rum in George Town - run by Walker Romanica. This rum is distilled using local sugar cane and is matured seven fathoms undersea ... 42 feet ... giving it its unique taste. Yum.

Then we went on the water with chef Niven Patel from The Brasserie. The restaurant - in Cricket Square - is one of the finest on the Cayman Islands. We first went out on the water to make a conch cerviche ... before returning to the restaurant to prepare a red snapper dish. Both most lovely!

In the evening, I met with dear old friends at Bamboo - a local sushi restaurant ...

I am tired!
 with Walker Romanica  - the owner of Seven Fathoms Rum
 Chef Niven Patel from The Brasserie

 dear friends - Al (happy birthday dude) and Susanna ... xx

Sunday, 29 January 2012

It's been a full day of filming ... and what a day it has been ...

First up, we drove 15 minutes to meet Carol Hay - the owner of Cayman Gourmet Pepper Jelly (jam) - which is the premier condiment in the country. She uses "scotch bonnet" peppers in her jelly which is the hottest type one in the world. Carol showed me how she creates her jelly - a 24 hour process - and I made the mistake of licking a knife that had just sliced a pepper ... I can still feel the burn.

Carol is just such a lovely lady ... and her cottage industry is quite successful here on Cayman.

From there we popped into Ambassador Divers which is run by Jason Washington - located just 5 minutes drive from the resort. With Divemaster (Divemistress?) Tara Hodgins and the Head Chef of Michael's Genuine Restaurant - Thomas Tennant - we went on scuba dive to harpoon some lionfish. The lionfish is the biggest pest in the Caribbean ... the species is actually from the Indo-Pacific but has found its way here and is eating everything & breeding like ... rabbits! It is wrecking the ecosystem.

So it's open season for killing the lionfish and we speared eight of them in twenty minutes ...

We then went back to the restaurant where Thomas prepared a fabulous tartare ... and a wood-fired roasted fish too ... both delicious.

It's been an exhausting but wonderful day!

With Carol


Thomas and Tara


Saturday, 28 January 2012

I am the victim of culinary abuse ... and I liked it! I have just had a TEN course meal at Blue - the signature restaurant here at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman. I usually would not enjoy a meal like that but Eric Ripert (famous US chef) has done a great job to make the food ... awesome. There was also a wine-pairing with each course ... I couldn't cope but Laura, Tim and even Jack were up to the task.

It's been an odd day ... as this afternoon, my work was "cancelled" as the chef was ill.

The morning was spent at Naturally Cayman ... the country's first hydroponic farm ... owned by Stephen Herron. He grows lettuces, green, tomatoes, endemame ... and all sorts ... with no soil, just water and liquid nutrients ...

The island of Grand Cayman is around 200 square kilometres in area with a population of 60,000 ... 99.9% of all produce is imported from the US ... but hopefully this new way of farming will catch on and the islanders will embrace hydroponic produce.

I am so tired ... sleep ... BIG day tomorrow.
 on the beach

 with stephen
 pooch on ritz-carlton beach recliner
jack's new friend (he wishes!)

Friday, 27 January 2012

Greetings from the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman!

It was a long, long flight from London to Grand Cayman ... via the Bahamas. Just a few months ago I was on this same flight when we filmed in the Bahamas ... and I remember the flight well as I did not have ANY in-flight entertainment. Guess what? This flight was the same ... THANKFULLY, a wee bundle of gorgeousness - 13-month old Sophia - was sitting by me and was hugely & adorably entertaining for 9 hours! Who needs movies when you have Sock Puppet Man ...!

We arrived here in bright warm sunshine. Tim (cameraman) is in his ELEVENTH year working with me, Jack (new chap) and we are joined on this trip by PR Laura -- who also looked after us in Madeira. Somehow she has come back for more ...

Filming starts in the morning ...

My suite is gorgeous by the way!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

So, today is Republic Day in India, Australia Day in .... and Liberation Day in Uganda ... happy day to their inhabitants ...

This time tomorrow I will be in Grand Cayman - 82 degrees during the day ... sadly I am there only for 3 nights but hopefully enough time to catch some sun on my ghostly frame. It's been rather cold & chilly here today ... but I have noticed that the days are getting "longer" ...

I need a holiday ...

Me playing at the Yas Links Course in Abu Dhabi ... I believe that some rather fabulous golfers are there this week ...

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A few years ago - on a trip to Warsaw - I was invited to a traditional Burns Night supper ...

I arrived at the event in one of Poland's finest hotels - dressed in full Scottish regalia and enjoyed a wonderful but slightly crazy evening ... culminating in the tasting of haggis (yuk) and downing several large drams of whisky (hurrah).

The celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns was born on the 25th of January ... and first up, the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Followed by soup ...

Then the main course - the haggis arrives:
Address To a Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An' cut you up wi' ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmaist! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit" hums.

Is there that o're his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect scunner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whistle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thristle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

(Haggis is a kind of savoury pudding containing sheep's heart liver & lungs, minced with onion, suet, spices and oatmeal and encased in an animal's stomach and simmered for three hours!)

Then you eat & drink whisky and toast everyone ... then you dance ...

Tonight I am having cheese on toast! Ha!

(by the way, my spell-check has just had a nervous breakdown.)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I have just realised that we fly to Grand Cayman (located just south of Cuba) on Friday morning and I am totally unprepared. So much to do ... so little time.

The central coast of California show aired in Europe (ex-UK & Eire) this evening ... it seems that our viewers really like it.

I went for a full-body massage this afternoon to purge my frame of all the Fit Camp pains ... and it seems to have worked. I feel great ... but still rather tired ... may try a long jog tomorrow ...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Welcome to the real world ...

Awoke early today with a slight pain in my arm and leg ... fell out of bed ... vaguely pretended to look for my trainers ... and then realised that Fit Camp was no more and fell back into bed!

Have found that I no longer like tea - with or without sugar and that everything I eat tastes either too salty or sugary ... it's all quite odd ...

Anyway yesterday we filmed a segment at Champneys with Stephen Purdew (the owner) ... in which we "prepared" chicken & lettuce wraps and halloumi stir-fry - both dishes I have eaten last week - both containing under 280 calories! Both quite delicious ...

Yesterday also the marked the start of a new dawn in the form of Jack Hardy - our new camera assistant! More on him later in the week...

I have booked a deep-tissue massage for tomorrow ... as many parts of my body are really aching ... and we are off filming abroad later this week ...

 The crew - with Stephen Purdew
 Chicken wrap
 Chateau Champneys ... hmm ... the vintage 2012 is not bad
With Moss the Head Chef

Sunday, 22 January 2012

I am home! Finally ...

It's been a rather long day ... after a rather long week!

It could have been quite a lonely last evening BUT I had a surprise visitor ... which was so, so lovely!

Today has been about cooking and filming BUT more on that tomorrow after I have had some sleep.

I did NOT enjoy a sugarless cup of tea today ... or half a KitKat ... Ketchup is still yummy ... bacon & egg sandwich not so ... isn't it strange how a week away from all the good stuff dulls the taste buds?

So looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight ... dreaming of a wee jog tomorrow perhaps?
With James ... he lives only 30 minutes from Champneys (Tring) and he took an evening out of his busy schedule to visit me!!! Ahhhhh ........

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Boot Camp Day 8:

SO - how well did I do this week? More about that at end of today's Diary entry ...

I am here all by myself today - sadly. The rest of the group have gone home as I am here to do some filming tomorrow.

So what have I done today? Up early for THE weigh-in ... the breakfast .... the another Kriotherapy session where Renata the adorably crazy therapist stuck me in the chamber at - 140 degrees for four minutes (as opposed to - 135 degrees at 3 minutes - the usual) ... then it was 40 minutes on a "power plate" where I got a fabulous work-out.

THEN it was time for lunch ... I mean LUNCH!!!!!!!!!! Of course, it was all healthy stuff - but there no was calorie controlled stuff ... and I didn't unexpectedly pig-out ... instead just munched on good stuff ... I felt quite pious!

After lunch - a colonic ... ouch!

I finished off my afternoon with a relaxing mani/pedi ... tonight ... dinner and rest!

SOOOO ................

OK - well - I lost 7.5 lbs (3.5 kgs) in body weight ... lost 7 cms off my waist ... 6 cms off my waist and gained 1 cm on my chest ... all in all ... I think I have done quite well ... !!!!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Boot Camp Day 7:

Over ... & out! I have come to the end of the "official" boot camp ... I am in deep, deep, dark, dark pain ...

I am actually here until Sunday ... so tomorrow I will do some soft exercise ... but nothing too strenuous ... that may change if I get the urge.

So - awake rather early (again) but this time we headed out for a trot around Champneys. The resort is set in 170 acres of countryside ... so there is a GREAT deal of space here!

After a breakfast of smoke salmon bagels (yum) we played some outdoor games before some underwater exercise ...

Lunch was a king prawn Thai curry ... I didn't like it at all ... bleugh!

Then we went on a "Powerwalk".

There are - I think - five main reasons why people do a Fit Camp at this time of year:

1) Those who a relatively fit who need a bit of motivation - something different to add to their fitness regime
2) Those who want to lose a couple of pounds after the Xmas indulgence
3) Those who really want to start getting fit - health, age or overweight
4) Those who have a goal
5) Those who need to change their lives

I am Number 4 ... with a bit of 5 and 3 thrown in there for good measure. With the NY Marathon in November looming ... I need to get with the program ... and this afternoon I managed a 3-mile trot in just over 30 minutes ... this has given me a lot of a positivity! I can do it - I will do it ...

The day did end with a massage ... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Antony & myself double up as tea-boys ... (herbal of course!)
We played cricket today ... and this was one of the funniest and most spectacular dismissals in the history of cricket ... Sherry missed the ball and swung at her stumps ... what you see above is the moment it happened! Awesome! Even Sherry is shocked!
You can run Shazza, you can hide Shazza ... but you can't escape Shazza!
The pool ...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Boot Camp Day 6:

Zumba! Now this is one "sport" I never expected to try!

Up and in a stretch class at 0700. Not bad ... No real pains ... then at 0830, it was the Zumba class. I have two left feet ... and two left hands ... which means that ANY kind of dancing is an issue for me. Zumba is no different. Karen the instructor shimmied into studio - played all her best Ricky Martin, Shakira and Cuban tracks ... and danced in a weirdly workouty kind of way. We all followed like lambs ... (hmmm ... lamb ....) - some of the class had rhythm ... same (like me) jumped around like angry fleas. It did bring me out in a wee sweat though ...

Next up - fun on the tennis courts. Circuits and games ...

We then had a motivation talk ... it was ... erm ... motivating?

Spinning - now this is another activity new to me this week. I spun for an hour which equates to the "calories" in a bottle of wine ... the only issue is that we don't get wine here! I sweated like a goat in a desert. My legs were in a bad state after this BUT I still had some energy left for a 5 mile walk after lunch (which I didn't finish as it tasted ... grim ... and I am actually so hungry at the moment that I would even eat my own cooking!).

I slipped out of Pilates - it was rather too intellectual for me - but ended the day working out under water ... in the pool that is ...

Dancing with Karen - I do NOT move like Jagger ... more like King Kong ...
Celine points out that I have grown a beard and now look like a gorilla on a bicycle ... Jacqui stop waving!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Boot Camp Day 5:

Last year I visited Lulea in Sweden. I had a fabulous guide at the TreeHotel ... a chap called Love. I remember asking him what is the coldest temperature he had ever endured and he said - 60 degrees C ...

Well, today I stepped into a chamber where I experienced - 135 degrees C. Yes folks MINUS 135 degrees in a treatment called Kriotherapy!

Basically the cold searches out problem areas ... and "sends" oxygenated blood there ... the therapy is meant to help fatigue, muscle ache, joint pain, insomnia ... and a few other ailments.

You are in the - 135 degrees chamber for just 3 minutes BUT you feel it! Two of my fellow "Fit Farmers" - Jacqui and Keely - joined me ... and we shared our time with a professional footballer ...

It was cold ... brrrr ... but worked! I am going back later in the week ... fabulous!!!

Also today: wake up workout, 7 miles hike (ouch) and some cardio games ... finished off with a lovely head massage!


Dizzee Rascal (musician)
Chemmy Alcott (skiier)
Inside at - 135 degrees!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Boot Camp Day 4:

I love ballet! I really do ... I try and go as often as I can and one of the highlights of our Prague episode was an evening backstage at the Hungarian Ballet ... it was sensational!

Yes - I am still here! I haven't escaped! In fact, I am really quite enjoying this week.

Up early again and into the gym for 45-minutes of warming up ... after a quick breakfast, we headed out onto The Chiltern Way for a 4-mile trot ... before a circuit session on the tennis court. By this stage, every muscle and bone was aching ... but watching my fellow Fit Farmers (?) really, really pushing themselves gave me the added umph to battle on.

At midday we all gathered in Studio 2 to meet with a ballet teacher ... Pippa (aka Pip). Yes, by the way, you have to have a posh name to dance ballet - like Pip or Darcy ... not Sharon or Varun! We learnt grand plie, demi plie, eleve ... Position 1 to 5 ... and yes, it was painful ... but it was great fun. I dance like an elephant who has drunk too much coconut-cocktails - by the way ... I think Pip was very unimpressed! I did break into a sweat ... and the music was lovely ... so there were a couple of positives!

After lunch (healthy again! grrr!) we had the afternoon off to rest ... or not ... I did some work and also went for a walk AND a swim! How righteous do I feel? Ha!

Before dinner I had a relaxing and rejuvenating massage!!

"I feeeeel goooood!" (Jame Brown ... a great singer and dancer ... unlike me who is rubbish at both!).
Pippa ... (and yes, I should steer clear of tight t-shirts!)
Bouncing Ballet! Wowee! I did not try this ... ha!
I did tell Moo ... she is VERY pleased! She doesn't do health farms - she does do chicken farms though!
blogger template powered by fraktiv