Top 5 travel apps

No matter whether you’re heading to the open road or 5 star luxury, these are the top 5 travel apps you can’t leave home without.

1. Packing Pro

iPad screen

iPad screen

What it does: Short of packing your suitcase for you, Packing Pro is indispensable for anyone who hates packing, doesn’t know where to start, or is a bit OCD about making lists.

You can enter the number of adults and children travelling, where you’re going and how long for. In return, Packing Pro tells you what you need to take, accounting for weather, destination, who’s travelling and personal preferences.

How much: £1.80

What it works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod

Find out more: Packing Pro

2. Weather Pro

What it does: There are lots of weather apps to choose from but WeatherPro is at the top of its game. It features 7 day forecasts and reports for over 2 million locations around the world.

How much: £1.19

What it works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7

Find out more: Weather Pro

3. TripIt

What it does: TripIt lets you create a simple trip itinerary from the masses of email confirmations you get before you go.  It lets you forward the emails for flight numbers, hotels, car rentals and loyalty schemes and creates a master plan out of them that you can take anywhere, and access at anytime.

How much: Free

What it works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, BlackBerry

Find out more: TripIt

4. Where To?

iPhone screen

iPhone screen

What it does: Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Best Ever App Awards, Travel Category this one lets you locate just about anything you can think of – hotels, restaurants, museums, hospitals, banks…

With over 700 categories and 2,400 brands, you name it – it’s on here.

How much: £1.80

What it works with: iPhone, iPod, iPad

Find out more: Where to?

5. Trip Journal

What it does: No journey would be complete without recording what you’ve seen along the way. Trip Journal lets you do just that, including geo-tagging photos and videos, and route tracking. It hooks into the big social media platforms including Facebook so you can share your experiences as they happen.

How much: £1.80

What it works with: iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android

Find out more: Trip Journal

Weekly round-up, 8-14 August 2011

This weekly feature offers a roundup of the content on our blog from the past week, in case you missed anything. Split into categories, it’s another way for you to easily find the posts of value to you.

Events

Boats at Cowes Week

Boats at Cowes Week

Cowes Week, 6-13 August 2011

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2011 has got off to a great start. Day 1, Saturday 6 August, produced perfect sailing conditions, and there’s been plenty of excitement already.

Get the lowdown on what’s happened so far at Cowes Week 2011.

Expert opinions

Best digital cameras – tips from the experts

Choosing the right digital camera, whether it’s a compact or SLR, can be a minefield. Check out these recent blog posts from industry experts to get the latest reviews and advice before you part with your cash.

Culinary

Recipe: Seafood vindaye with white haricot beans

Want to create some of our chef’s amazing dishes yourself at home? Every Friday, we post some of the most amazing, delicious and popular recipes online. Try these easy-to-make nutty bread rolls from Mauritius.

Spice route – 5 spices from the island of Madagascar

Madagascar is also renowned for its spices. Here are 5 of the best served atConstance Lodge Tsarabanjina, along with recipe and remedy ideas for each spice.

Lobster on the rocks at Constance Tsarabanjina

At Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar there’s no such thing as imported fresh produce. Everything comes from Nosy Bé market, or the mainland food producers.

Recipe: Seafood vindaye with white haricot beans

Perfect for a Saturday evening meal with friends, this spicy seafood vindaye is an authentic Creole dish from Mauritius.

Let us know how you get on making this vindaye. You can comment or send photos to us via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below.

Seafood vindaye with white haricot beans

Seafood vindaye with white haricot beans

Serves 4
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 1/4 hours
Soaking time (for beans): 12 hours
Marinating time: 24 hours

Ingredients

For the vindaye:

  • 8 scallops without roes
  • 4 fillets white fish, approx 50g each
  • 6 shelled camaron tails (large prawns)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 fresh green chillies
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt and pepper

For the fricasséed white beans:

  • 200g white haricot beans
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 small ripe tomatoes
  • 1 fresh green chilli
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • salt and pepper

1. One day in advance, prepare the seafood vindaye: peel and coarsely dice the onions. peel the garlic, halve each clove ad remove the germ. Slice the chillies in 2 lengthwise and remove the seeds.
2. Soak the beans 12 hours before cooking.
3. Season the squid, camarons and scallops with salt and pepper. Sear them separately in a frying pan with 2 tbsp oil for 5 minutes. Keep warm.
4. In a saucepan, sweat the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies for 5 minutes with the olive oil without colouring. Mix vinegar and turmeric, add them to the saucepan.
5. Take off the heat and add wholegrain mustard, mustard seeds and finally the seafood. Mix well, let cool. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
6. On the day you are serving the recipe, make the bean fricassée: drop the tomatoes for 30 seconds in boiling water, cool them in iced water, then peel them. Halve them and remove the seeds. Chop the tomatoes.
7. In a heavy cooking pot, sweat the onion, garlic and ginger in oil for 4-5 minutes without colouring. Add the tomatoes, stew for 5 minutes, then add the beans. Add water to barely cover, add thyme, parsley and the green chilli, split in two. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently to prevent drying. Add a little water if necessary.
8. Correct seasoning.
9. Reheat the vindaye and serve it just warm, with the fricasséed beans and some plain white rice.

You can also purchase the Constance Prince Maurice recipe book from our online store.

 

 

Lobster on the rocks at Constance Tsarabanjina

At Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar there’s no such thing as imported fresh produce. Everything comes from Nosy Bé market, or the mainland food producers.

Madagascan lobsters at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina

Madagascan lobsters at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina

And the fresh lobster we serve comes from the water in front of your villa. This is freshness at its best. Its simply cut in half, grilled in front of you and splashed with fresh lime juice.

Locally grown vegetables are incredible in taste and texture. Sweet potato or pumpkin are wrapped in foil, cooked in the charcoal grill and served with chef Claude’s secret relish.

All to be enjoyed ‘on the rocks’.

Spice route – 5 spices from the island of Madagascar

Beach and rocks, Madagascar

Beach and rocks, Madagascar

The vast island of Madagascar has long captured the world’s imagination as a place of exoticism and natural beauty.

The fourth largest island in the world, its unspoilt landscape is home to some of the world’s rarest and most unusual animals and plants.

Madagascar is also renowned for its spices. Here are 5 of the best served at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, along with recipe and remedy ideas for each spice.

Vanilla

Probably the most famous spice from Madagascar is the wonderfully fragrant vanilla pod. Vanilla makes up some 20% of Madagascar’s exports. The bean has no smell when it’s first harvested – it has to be fermented and dried to develop its distinctive aroma.

Recipe with vanilla: Salad of smoked duck and leeks with vanilla citrus dressing

Remedy for headaches: vanilla has an uplifting effect, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. Vanilla extract can help to get rid of headaches – mix one teaspoon of extract with 8oz of water.

Black pepper

Peppercorns

Peppercorns

A store cupboard basic, black pepper grows in plantations on the verdant East coast.

Voatsiperifery is a very rare wild pepper found only in Madagascar. It has a hot taste that goes well with meat, especially pork and lamb dishes.

Recipe with black pepper: try our Constance Spicy Chicken Legs

Remedy for coughs: grind black pepper to a powder and mix with honey. Add to boiling water and allow to cool before drinking.

Red chillies

Red and green chillies

Red and green chillies

The best hot red chilli peppers are bright and deep red in colour. Capsaicin is the chemical in the peppers that makes them spicy. In traditional Madagascan cooking, chillies are seldom put in a dish but instead are put on the table as an accompaniment, along with garlic, ginger, lemon, onions and carrots, all steeped in white vinegar for a few days.

Recipe with chillies: try our Chicken and prawn fricassée with stewed chinese bredes with boucane.

Remedy for back ache: The capsaicin in peppers has a powerful pain-relieving effect. Mash red chilli pepper and rub it onto the painful area. For a milder remedy, use an emollient cream mixed with ground chilli pepper.

Ginger

Ginger root

Ginger root

Ginger became a key ingredient in Madagascan cuisine after it was introduced to the island along the spice route from Asia. Its distinctive taste works well in curry pastes, stir fries and chicken dishes as well as sweet puddings.

Recipe with ginger: Dark chocolate tart with ginger milk foam

Remedy for motion sickness: peel a knob of ginger and make ginger tea with boiling water. Drink the tea about half an hour before travelling.

Cloves

Clove trees along the East coast of Madagascar turn a crimson shade when the tree flowers. For many centuries, cloves were very expensive in the West and so were saved for special occasions. Still today, they are a quintessential ingredient at Christmas time. Cloves should be used sparingly either whole for flavouring fish or meat, or ground for use in cakes and puddings.

Recipe with cloves: Orange lemon gingerbread

Remedy for toothache: Ground cloves can be rubbed onto the tooth to alleviate the pain of toothache. Be careful not to get it on your gums as the oil in the cloves can create a burning sensation.

Best digital cameras – tips from the experts

Digital SLR camera

Digital SLR camera

Choosing the right digital camera, whether it’s a compact or SLR, can be a minefield. Check out these recent blog posts from industry experts to get the latest reviews and advice before you part with your cash.

1. PhotographyBLOG

Run by UK professional photographer Mark Goldstein, the people at PhotographyBLOG bring you the latest new product reviews and original in-depth news from the world of photography. If you’re asking ‘what’s the best digital camera?’ and ‘I have X amount of money, what’s the best digital camera in my price range?’, you need to read this blog. Round up of best and latest digital cameras

2. Electronic Lifestyle Blog

Photographer

Choose the right camera for you

Electronic Lifestyle’s contributor, Yongsheng Luo, guides you through the questions you need to ask yourself before you buy a digital camera.  Tips for the best buy digital camera.

3. Techradar

Part of the respected Future Publishing stable, Techradar claim they’re unashamedly geeky, prepared to tell you what they think without fear or favour. Find out what they say about 2011′s best compact cameras. Best compact camera 2011: 25 reviewed and rated