Happy Birthday Blog! One year ago on May 6th, I was having breakfast (Baked eggs in sauteed greens to be precise) in my sunny kitchen in Brazil and said “Screw it. I’m a-starting a food blog man!”. I was terrified to fall flat on my face and have people post awful comments on my page, but I was also feeling so jealous of all the food bloggers I was following. They seemed to be having so much fun. I wanted in on that. I was already cooking so much on a daily basis and wanted to channel that into something that could also involve writing and photography which I also enjoy a lot as hobbies. I of course did not know what managing a food blog actually entailed and had no idea how addictive food blogging was about to become. It really became a true passion and pushed me to improve my cooking skills every day a little more. For the first six months, I was photographing everything I cooked and ate. Even if it looked like meat loaf gone bad. I published recipes three times a week and tracked several times a day how many visitors the blog was getting or how many new facebook likes I could score. I still do that by the way so go like the facebook page here 🙂 Continue reading
I hope everyone had a great Easter! I am back to home sweet home Cajamarca after a few weeks on the road, first in Brazil then in Lima. I loved loved loved Lima. The fact that it’s by the sea is just the cherry on top of a delectable cake of exciting things this city has to offer. It’s surprisingly modern and buzzing with cultural life, though I have to admit I mostly stayed in the nicer neighborhoods (Miraflores, Barranco) because of work and didn’t have time to venture out to the more “local” parts of town. Fortunately I had visited those parts a while back during my first visit to Peru. This time I was there during fashion week – because yes, there’s a Peruvian fashion week! I should have known, with all the world-reknown Peruvian crafts and textiles, especially Alpaca which is becoming the new Cashmere, there are loads of fashion industries coming to Peru to source quality materials. Keep your eye out, I have a feeling hand-woven wool ponchos are going to make a comeback this Winter. Continue reading
Ugh, green smoothies. Like what’s new, right? So how about some Brazilian love, exotic fruit and samba grooves to welcome Spring and reboot your green smoothie routine? I just spent a week in Brazil visiting friends and working long-distance, and I had forgotten just how amazing the options of available fresh fruit juices and smoothies was there! Papaya and mango are like currency in this country, and forget about the insane amount of fruit you can squeeze into your happy hour Caipirinhas, from acerola to pineapple, passion fruit and cashew fruit. And man did I drink the life out of all the coconuts while I was there. I used to buy a fresh green coconut every day from a street vendor by my house who would crack it open with an actual machete and sip on it on my way to classes. Ah heaven. And just in general, I realized going back how much I had underestimated Brazil’s level of development when I lived there. I suppose I needed to go live in Peru to actually appreciate the level of comfort and the modernity of services available in Sao Paulo. I almost cried when I jumped into a taxi with a GPS or opened a restaurant menu with an actual salad section. It was really nice to go back for a few days. Now I’m in Lima for a week before going back to Cajamarca, which is cool because I never really got to discover Lima. I have been to Lima a few times but I always passed by for a couple of days or less when travelling to somewhere else and never had time to discover it though I know it’s an amazing city.
It’s Sunday night and I’m currently listening to a good old American country song by the very, very, very smoochable Luke Bryan that goes “It’s homemade peach ice cream on sunburnt lips, that’s what country is”. I just thought I’d share the wise word with all of you, I mean I’m sure you too were wondering what country music was. Ladies, seriously, click on the link above. Anywho, on to this recipe. Continue reading
This is a little awkward, the last recipe I posted was in February. I almost feel like a stranger on my own blog. Long time no see blog! The reason why I haven’t been posting lately is that I have been pretty overwhelmed with work. In fact I was traveling last week for a study on small-farmer Peruvian coffee cooperatives that produce and export organic and fair trade coffee to the US. Hey, maybe you’re sipping on a cup of freshly brewed Green Mountain coffee right now? Well I met some of your suppliers! Our objective was to study how connecting coffee smallholder farmers to international markets produced positive socio-economic impacts in the region and for the farmers of the cooperatives. Amazing experience in an absolutely gorgeous and breath-taking region (San Ignacio, Peru) named one of the best in the world for coffee; and for the first time in my life, I participated in a coffee-tasting. It’s kind of like wine-tasting, and believe me it’s serious business. They do it in a lab and test everything from aroma to flavor, uniformity, body. And you got to love the vocabulary of any specialty product-tasting profession when they discuss the results of each sample. Me: “slurp. Hmmm, wow, that’s some tasty coffee, batch number two seems stronger than batch number one, wouldn’t you say?”. The lab tester: “you’re right, batch number two was a little syrupy, with notes of aromatic cinnamon in cup, along with hints of mandarine acidity and quite lively on the palate”. Me: “…………yes, totally what I meant”.
I had an interesting experience today. My yoga instructor and his wife invited me to spend the day with them and their kids. We went on a lovely hike in Otuzco, about twenty minutes outside of Cajamarca where there are beautiful ruins, a river and a couple of farms, and then back to their house for lunch. They are vegetarians. While I have nothing but profound respect for anyone’s dietary preferences and choices, vegetarianism is always problematic given my own diet choices. Case in point: on the menu – whole wheat soup, peppers stuffed with rice, sweet potatoes, corn cobs and fruit, homemade mango ice-cream and quinoa-oatmeal cookies for dessert. A seemingly perfectly healthy lunch, but the total absence of fat or protein and the abundance of carb-dense vegetables and grains took me aback. In fact, 100% of the food on the plate was carbs, and what’s more, I completely forgot that this is what almost all of my meals used to look like before. Aside from the wheat soup and cookies, I ate everything else. I steer clear of gluten as a non-negotiable principle because even very small amounts can prevent your gut lining from repairing and keep your symptoms going. But on the other hand, I’m at a place where I feel that my digestive health is good and I have a pretty squeaky clean paleo lifestyle the rest of the time that I don’t need to freak out about the occasional small portion of grains, sugar or dairy as much as I used to. There are moments when it just seems senseless to reject delicious food that people have prepared for you because you follow a grain-free diet, and one carb-dense vegetarian meal with whole grains will not kill you or “screw up” everything you’ve been following. I can completely feel the effects of eating a bit of rice and milk ice-cream on my body though, which confirms that this can only be on an exceptional basis. My stomach has not been in a happy place all afternoon, rumbling, struggling and grumbling and trying to recognize how the hell all this rice got here. It’s ok, it was a delightful day, and I realized I’m almost never around children so this was a pleasant change of routine. Continue reading
This bread is AM-AZING, I just couldn’t wait to tell you. Oh-so perfectly moist banana bread with a decadent dark chocolate batter delicately swirled in and a caramelized pecan streusel sprinkled on the top. Oh my, look at that I’ve salivated all over my keyboard. I like long, extravagant recipe titles so this sounds more complicated than it actually is, trust me. The first time I had banana bread when I was a child was when we lived in New York, and my mom bought this divine banana walnut loaf, and I remember thinking that I had never eaten banana that way before but somebody was definitely on to something. Shortly after that, we moved back to France and that put an end to that – in fact we didn’t have oreos, pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, donuts, and lots of other American goods in France in the early 2000s. So nicely sheltered from the mass food industry as we swam in a sea of artisan-made cheese, cured meats and crudités. Anyways, when they started opening Starbucks coffee shops in Paris, I was pretty happy to rediscover banana bread and even set out to learn to make my own recipe. And then I stopped eating gluten. And THAT put an end to that, and a lot of the above-mentioned.
I almost never get sick, but this weekend I got hit by the worst case of fatiflusea. What you’ve never heard of it? It’s a weird combination of drop-dead fatigue, intense stomach flu and constant nausea. Fatiflusea. It came down on me yesterday morning and has just put my body on full stop. I could not get up or keep any food down for the life of me. My parents used to say that when I’d get sick as a baby, they would really start to worry when I wouldn’t want to eat anything. Ha! So true, even today as an adult, I really know something’s wrong if I don’t want to eat anything. And I have literally not been able to get off the couch for the entire weekend. The 20-yard walk from the couch to the bathroom takes me over a minute as I drag my Alpaca socks feeling all sorry for myself and taking a break to catch my breath halfway there. Even picking up my computer from the table leaves me out of breath and in need of a nap. This has never happened to me, but it could be my body’s way of saying it just needs a break? The only thing I’ve been able to eat in the past hours has been some banana and these succulent local Incan Berries that are grown in the Andes. They’re shock full of Vitamin C so maybe that’s been doing the trick. Continue reading
It’s no surprise that the most popular recipe on this blog is the paleo (and vegan) 5-minute Cookie Dough Mug Muffin that I published back in June of last year. It has gotten over 3,000 pins and is constantly at the top of the list of most viewed recipes. There’s nothing I can post that will take it down from first place. For a while, my Creamy Chicken, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake was getting dangerously close to bumping it down and becoming number one, but the Cookie Dough Mug Muffin stuck on for dear life, showed everyone who was boss and let the Creamy Chicken Bake take second place. I’m always wondering if the next recipe I’ll publish will beat it, but nope. And to be fair to the mug muffin, it is a pretty awesome recipe, not to mention it’s adorable. It comes together in 5 minutes – preparation and cooking times combined! -, is the perfect comfort food without any added-sugar, and it tastes like cookie dough for crying out loud. Plus, it’s a single-serving recipe so it’s great for a little sweet craving without actually tempting you to go overboard like if you bake an entire batch of cookies. I should have known it was going to have that kind of mind-blowing success. The funny thing is that when I made it, I had absolutely no intention to post it on the blog. I just wanted to make a mug muffin for Freddy one rainy Sunday afternoon, adapted a chocolate chip cookie recipe with what I could find lying around my cupboards and popped it in the microwave in a mug. It looked so cute, so I took a pretty lame picture, and it tasted so good that I ended up posting it as a recipe. Continue reading
My roommate from Sao Paulo, Lea, and I shared a similar love for bright, beautiful, colorful salads. Whenever we’d have potluck dinners or invite people over at our house, you could be sure we were on the salad making crew. We’d let our imaginations run wild and put anything that sparked our tastebuds and eyesight to make them look visually stunning and oh-so-tasty: arugula, cherry tomatoes, mango chunks, toasted almonds, figs, parmesan shavings, thinly sliced radishes and beets, bell pepper strips, sundried tomatoes, sautéed courgettes… And then as we would serve our plates, Lea would go “oh wow, the colors in this salad are amaaaazing” or plainly say “Just beautiful” with a sigh. I miss my salad buddy. Continue reading