June 29, 2012

Croatia: Zagreb and the Plitvice Lakes

Could you imagine a land, lush, green, smelling as nature should. Waterfalls, turquoise water, castels, medieval towns, over a thousand islands, and the nicest people, always wiling to give directions, lend a hand. Despite the fact that Croatian is their main language, almost everyone knows a bit of English, which comes in handy when ordering off a heavily meat-centric menu. You will get your fair share of sausages, ham, and bacon, but If you're pescetarian like me, risotto, gnocchi, pizza, pastries, and gelato will keep you happy. People ask me all the time, what is my favorite country travelled, where will I return. Up until this point, I did not have an answer. I've travelled to over thirty countries, each beautiful and magnificent in their own, but seldom do I want to return to a place once explored. There are too many new and exciting places to visit, slowly checking off my list one by one. But one day, I will return. With Mr. H, a pair of hiking shoes, and a smile. I have fallen in love with Croatia.

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June 24, 2012

Paris: Fig Mascarpone Tart


Paris has been dreamy. Each day we spend hours and hours roaming the city, every nook and cranny. Two days back, we found a water fountain that dispenses carbonated water, how posh.  Other days are spent it in the kitchen, Chantal and I, sharing our own baking secrets, trading recipes. She has opened my eyes to moule et frites, clams in cream sauce, olives in quiche, and herbs in bread. Today, for our last meal in Paris we dine on paella and fig tart for dessert, cheese to follow of course. 

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June 19, 2012

Paris

Paris is so lovely. The food is something special. I am staying with a friend's aunt in the center of Paris, (thank you for your great hospitality Chantal). Pastries for breakfast, baguettes and cheese for lunch, and pasta for dinner. With the many restaurants, tempting us with their chairs comfortably set in a manner to view people as a late afternoon show, it is hard to pass up a meal in a Parisian restaurant. Being that so, we have cooked a few meals in, learning a few French tips, experimenting with clams, mussels, and apricots.  Our first day here, we carried as much as our arms could hold. Croissants, bread, 3 cheeses, wine, cherries, artichokes, radishes, and apricots. Ambitious as we were, the apricots did not hold up like the cherries and we were forced to baked them into a sweet treat in order to preserve their fine quality and sweet charm. I choose to bake them into a galette, a French term used to describe a flat pastry with a round or free form crust. I'm not sure if the pastry gods were by my side, the ingredients were exceptional, or the fact that everything in France tastes delicious, but I was extremely pleased with the crust. The perfect amount of apricots, not too tart, juicy enough. A small sprinkle of sugar, coconut to enhance the sweetness. The galette turned out wonderful. We were all so pleased.
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June 16, 2012

Sesame Noodle Salad


It's been a few days since we talked. Much has happened. My sister left our company, back to Canada. We are very sad to see her go. The boxes are finally unpacked, all that is left to do; hanging pictures, organizing, placing things here and there. I spent my last night in our new house, enjoying the company with Mr. H. While slipping away every so often to pack, throwing necessary and not-so-necessary items into my backpack - tiny hair dryer. You may be asking why I need such a tiny hair dryer, for such short hair. The problem is that I have a double cowlick in my hairline, causing an unruly tuft of hair similar to Alfalfa.

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June 13, 2012

Raspberry Parfait


In my life, I have moved more than a dozen times. Each time more painful than the last. As I age and grow, as time continues to move forward, I collect more. Accumulate more. Some of my things are small and some large. Some fit neatly into a box, and some have the awkwardness of a first date. All these things, whether they are big or small, shiny or new, they provide me with a sense of familiarity and comfort. Each time I move or travel. When I've eventually found a place to call home, I unpack the boxes like it was Christmas morning, neatly and carefully. I am overwhelmed by the memories attached, the smells, the feels. To another, they may be considered junk, but to me they are pieces of my past. Treasures.


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June 8, 2012

Tofu Dumplings


There are some boxes left, scattered around the apartment, waiting for a few final items to top them up before sealing. My dishes are packed, the fridge is almost empty. I have eaten my way through jars of pickles, mustard, and ketchup, because I am too lazy to pack them into a box. Meals have consisted of pizza mostly, and wine. The last meal to be had in this apartment was dumplings. A meal to remember. I made a few extras, stored them in the freezer. I will pull them out next week, when I have eaten all the pizza my body can handle. By then, I will be a little sad to have left a place once called home, but excited to start a new journey. A new home.

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June 4, 2012

Spanakopita


Everything is slowly making its way into boxes. My kitchen props will be the last to go, the books and knickknacks being the first. My sister leaves in a little over a week. She has a few requests before she departs, spanakopita being a must. Shortly after she leaves, I am off to Europe. This summer has, and will continue to be, a joyous one. My sister's favorite cuisine is Greek. I cannot say that I share this same fondness, however, there is always room in my heart for spanakopita. Initially, ambitious and energetic, I though it would be a suitable task to try and make my own phyllo. Realizing quickly that I am not a glutton for punishment, I choose to purchase a box and save my self some time.

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