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How to cut up a Mango

How to cut up a Mango

It started when we were in India. The mango season arrived, and my colleagues brought me in bags full of juicy sweet mangoes. “Indian mangos are the best” they declared. “The season in starting, you have to try these Alfonsi mangoes from Mumbai”. As the season progressed more mangoes were brought in. Different varieties, all from India, the self declared home of mangoes.

On television a IPL cricketer player from Australia caused a little stir when he declared that mangoes from Queensland in Australia were actually the best. My Indian colleagues though just laughed, not possible. Indian mangoes are the best.

And then we moved to Singapore. My Pakistani colleague declared that Pakistani mangoes were the best, better than the Indian ones. My Thai colleague declared that Thai mangoes were the best. My Taiwanese colleague declared that actually the ones from Myanmar were worth trying too.

We just kept trying all kinds of different ones and enjoying them all. After all this trying (we haven’t managed to find a Pakistani one yet), but our favourites so far are the Indian Alfonsi and the Thai Honey Mangoes. The Australian and Myanmar ones are pretty good too though.

The problem was though that I kept ending up with uneven sized pieces, cut offs, and it all looked a bit of a mess.

On our last trip to Thailand, a lady who prepares Mango Sticky Rice (which is something I still can’t walk past when it is well prepared) and cuts up a lot of mangoes taught me how to cut them up her way. It was a lot easier than what I had been doing, and also meant that all of the pieces were the same size, rather than the mess I had been making cutting off bits and then cutting it up. It was also fun to learn from a true expert.

Here is what she taught me.

How to cut up a Mango

Hold the mango flat in your hand. The pit will be sitting flat through the middle of the mango. Insert the knife at the top (or bottom) of the mango, and cut all away around the middle. Cut deep enough so that you can feel the blade of the knife hitting against the pit of the mango all the way around. The mango will not fall in half because the pit will hold the mango together.

How to cut up a Mango

Use the incision line that goes all around as your guide, and cut all of the skin off of one half of the mango.  Leave the skin on the other half intact for now. How to cut up a Mango

Hold the mango flat in your hand again. Cut all the way down to the pit lengthwise about 1 cm apart all the way across the mango.

How to cut up a Mango

You will end up with a series of cuts all the way across the mango. How to cut up a Mango

Next, turn the mango and make the same incisions across the width of the mango. Make sure you are cutting all the way down to the pit as you go on every cut. You might need to rock the knife from tip to heel across the pit if you have a mango with a rounded pit.

How to cut up a Mango

You will end up with a whole series of squares. How to cut up a Mango

Next, insert your blade at the top of the mango and follow your way slowly along the pit to cut all the mango off. The Thai Honey Mango has a very flat pit, and so it is very easy to do this. However, some mangoes have rounder shaped pits, so you might need to work from the sides towards the middle, rather than in the length like we are able to do with this flat pitted mango. How to cut up a Mango

Turn the mango over and repeat the same process on the other side. The other side is a little bit messier because you are now holding the pit in your hand instead of the skin of the mango.

Traveling with kids, 0-2 years

barry & buggy piazza del Duomo Syracuse Sicilia

The first flight our son took was a 2 months old. Before my maternity leave ran out, I decided we should make the most of my time off and take a trip to somewhere that we had wanted to go for a while – to Sicily. After that we have just kept traveling with him, and each time we learn a little more, and adapt to him getting a little bit older. Here are our top 10 tips for traveling with children aged 0-2.

1) Pack light and free one persons hands to look after the child(ren)
Blame it on having met backpacking, but we like to travel light. Traveling with our son hasn’t changed this, in fact it has made us stricter on it.  Two adults and a child means that one adult has to have their hands free for the child(ren), and the other has to arrange all the luggage.

We have got it down to a fine art and travel with one 55cm cabin bag for Liam, and another that we share. This we can manage for up to a 2 week long trip. Give it a go next time 🙂

2) Be prepared
We were anything other than prepared travellers before we had Liam. We found a hotel on arrival, and had only the barest idea of what our travel plans would be. After having him though, this has changed, to make it easier. We book our hotels ahead, we make a rough plan of what we want to do when we get there, and we pack a few essentials we never considered before.

These are the things that we never leave home without:

  • Enough nappies for the trip – we count them out, and add a couple of spares. If you get stuck you can always buy them where you are, but they might not be the ones you are used to.
  • Baby wipes – but easy to get more at any 7 Eleven / supermarket
  • A simple thermometer (in case a fever occurs)
  • Baby paracetamol
  • Enough formula (if used) to last the trip – measure out into a smaller plastic container
  • A Sistema 21652 Klip It Lunch Plus To-Go Container (Assorted Colors Sold Separately)""“>small plastic container for carrying snacks during day trips – easier than trying to find something with a grumpy child
  • A AirBnB has also made things easier:
    For the Netherlands and Belgium: Weekend Hotel
    For Europe: Red Apple Apartments
    For New Zealand holiday home rentals: Book A Bach
    Globally: AirBnB.com

    7) Take a favorite cuddly toy with you
    Going on holiday is both exciting and unsettling for children. Helping them to settle into their new “home” through taking a familiar soft toy can help smoothen out the transition. I think most children have one soft toy that they are particularly fond of, and just because you are packing light doesn’t mean that the favorite friend has to be left at home. Liam carries bear with him on the plane, and sleeps with him when we are away. It is his one constant wherever we stay and it seems to help him adapt to being away from home easily.

    8) Pack more smaller toys rather than a couple of big ones
    Small children get bored and need stimulation, regardless of where you are staying. Taking one big toy takes a lot of room in the luggage, but does not allow for swapping toys to keep the stimulation active. We had a play mat during Liam’f first year, but instead of taking the whole mat with us when we travelled, we unhooked the stimulus toys attached to it and took them with us. The baby wrap doubled up as a play mat, and a bunch of stimulus toys kept him entertained for quite a while. We could also take them in the push chair with us as we explored the city. They key is to think about the multi-functionality of the toys when you are choosing them.

    9) Shop for food at local markets
    Shopping at local markets and cooking at the apartment can be a great way to get a taste of where you are but still make the trip a little easier while your child is small. This is especially true in Europe, but also holds for some Asian cities where exotic fruits in particular can be picked up as great snacks or after meal treats.

    10) Relax and let them fall asleep in the push chair while you explore the city
    Small children are incredibly adaptable, if you let them be. We have met a lot of parents who are really worried about being home in time for the scheduled naps of their children, and this we also did when we were at home. But when we were on a city trip, we let him fall asleep in the push chair and kept exploring the city while he slept. This was easiest in the first 6 months when he had a basinet style stroller, but even after this, we would tip the seat of the pushchair as far back as it went and he would sleep happily as we walked. Stopping walking was sometimes a trigger for him to wake again though, so we did get very fit in the process.
    Make the most of the flexibility of them not yet being at school
    Traveling with a small child can be a challenge, and takes a little more planning than traveling without them, but it doesn’t have to mean that you stay at home and wait for them to get bigger. While they are young enough to not yet be at school means that you are not yet stuck to traveling in school holidays and you can make the most of cheaper out of school holiday fares. Need any more excuses to take them away with you?