Tag Archives: food

What to eat/drink in Northern Spain

Pintxos
The Northern version of traditional tapas. These are actually double or triple the size than the ones I remember having in Andalusia. You can get wide varieties, from fish or seafood to cured ham. In San Sebastian, most restaurants offer pintxos, it is their way to have dinner.

Txakoli
This slightly sparkling, dry white wine is from the Basque region. Traditionally, this wine is served before meals, in a regular glass, and you only pour half an inch of it in everyone’s glass.

Jamón ibérico de bellota
The absolute finest cured ham available on the market. It is made from free range pigs that are on an acorn diet. This type of cured ham has been prized for its smoothness and rich, savoury flavour. 

Traditional sheep cheese
Known as Idiazabal, this pressed cheese is made from unpasteurised sheep milk. The cheese is aged for several months and you can try the smoked and un-smoked versions. It has a nut/buttery flavour and is typically served with quince jam.

Maple-Almond-Coco Granola

It’s funny because people seem to think that making your own granola is much more complicated than it actually is.

However, it is healthier than any store bought granola and you can add in whatever you like!

So here is an easy granola you can make at home:

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup flaxseed
1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350F/176C.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Melt the coconut oil and then mix in the maple syrup an almond extract.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and combine well.
  5. Place the granola on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes, then mix the granola and cook it for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove and let cool.
  8. Enjoy with your favourite fruits, yogurt, milk, pancakes, etc!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

As a kid, when I would bake with my mom, she would always tell me: “Take out all the ingredients before you start baking. That way you know if there is anything missing and you can go buy it”.

Well… even if I always hear her telling me this… I don’t have enough counter space. So I usually do the dry ingredients first and then the wet ingredients.

This time, I was missing most of the ingredients for my recipe. I definitely did not feel like going to the store, and so I started using the alternatives I already knew.

I am really happy with the turnout of this vegan, gluten-free cake. The texture came out great and the taste was heavenly ehehe. Just a warning: it is pretty filling because of the quinoa, flaxseeds and avocado!

So here it is for you to make as well!

Recipe modified from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe:  http://www.melskitchencafe.com/decadent-chocolate-cake/

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
  • 12 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup avocado, puree
  • 1 1/4 cups panela (raw, unprocessed sugar)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate, passion fruit and mango jam (bought at the Choco Museo in Peru)
  • Chopped almonds (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa in water and let it cool. 1/2 cup dried quinoa will make about 2 cups cooked. Make a little extra just in case.
  2. Preheat the oven at 350F or 176C. Lightly grease two round cake pans (I used coconut oil for this).
  3. In a measuring cup, combine the flaxseeds and water together. Mix well.
  4. Using a blender or food processor, combine the milk, flaxseeds, and vanilla. Then add the cooked quinoa and avocado and blend until the mixture is smooth (and it will be slightly green!).
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Pour the mixture from then blender into the large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the cake pans.
  8. Cook for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out smooth.
  9. Remove the cake from the over and after about 20 minutes, take it out of the pans and let it cool completely.
  10. Cover with chocolate, passion fruit, and mango jam and with chopped almonds if desired.
  11. Enjoy!

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Chai Spice Bread with Ginger Icing

So. Eating healthy does not necessarily mean you cannot have anything sweet, because sweets can be healthy AND delicious (without that intense coconut oil taste, or without having a grainy texture). When winter comes along in Canada, this usually this means spicy desserts, hot chocolate, tea, coffee and anything that can give you that warm feeling.

Although Christmas celebrations aren’t my favourite, anything with chai spices (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, etc) are good at any time of the year.

Inspired by Feasting on Fruit’s recipe, here is my version of Chai Spice Bread.

P.S. I absolutely loved using the dates infused with the chai tea and will definitely apply this to other breads I make in the future, thank you!

Ingredients

12 pitted medjool dates
1 cup prepared chai tea 
1/2 cup almond or chestnut flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup nondairy milk
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 cup of chopped almonds, pecans, chestnuts, etc. (Optional)

Chai Tea
1.5-2 cups water
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 inches fresh ginger
5 peppercorns
5-7 cardamom buds
8 cloves
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1.5 tbsp black tea

Ginger Icing
1 tbsp butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
A few drops of vanilla
1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp almond milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/176C
  2. To prepare your own chai tea, infuse the following ingredients together: fresh ginger, cardamom, cloves, peppercorn, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, black tea. You can also add star anis, but I am not a fan and omitted it.
  3. Pour the chai tea over the dates and soak for 10 minutes
  4. Blend the chai tea, dates, lemon juice, non-dairy milk, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix lightly.
  6. Add the date mixture to the dry ingredients and combine.
  7. Grease a bread pan or line it with parchment paper.
  8. Pour the mixture into the pan.
  9. Bake at 350F for 30-35minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry.
  10. Combine all the icing ingredients and adjust according to the desired taste and texture. Depending on the ginger powder you have, you might want to add less (if it has a very strong flavour) or more (if the powder you have is not very spicy)
  11. Remove from the oven, let the bread cool about 15minutes and remove it from the pan.
  12. Let the bread cool completely before adding the icing and the chopped almonds.

Enjoy!!

Open-Faced Strawberry Pie With Almond Coconut Crust

So, this was my first try at a gluten-free/vegan dessert and I must say, it was Amazing. I actually searched for a recipe to make and got a sudden urge for pie. But… baking a pie involves so much flour and usually a little bit of a mess. So I found this recipe which looks really delicious, but I didn’t have the coconut cream to make it nor the pecans, and I also had so many strawberries I needed to use. So I did what I usually do best, I modified and adapted.

This pie is not really quite like the pies North Americans are used to, but it has a crunchy (and super healthy) crust. We absolutely loved it and will definitely make it again.

I thought of mixing the strawberries with chia seeds rather than cornstarch, has anyone every done this before?

Leave any comments below if you make this recipe 🙂

Ingredients:

For the pie crust:
– Coconut oil (to grease your pie dish)
– 1 cup raw almonds
– 1 cup dates, pitted (microwave in a bit of water to soften them)
– 3/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
– 2 tsp raw honey (or maple syrup).

For the strawberries:
– 4 cups fresh strawberries, diced
– 3 tbsp cornstarch
– 3/4 cup of raw sugar (unprocessed)

Instructions:

  1. Grease a regular sized pie dish or pan (9.5inch diameter)
  2. In a bowl, combine the strawberries, cornstarch, and sugar together until the fruits are evenly coated. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. To make the crust, blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. (A blender can also do, but I would suggested blending almonds first and add other ingredients one at the time).
  4. Press the mixture/dough into the bottom and sides of the pan as evenly as possible.
  5. Pour the strawberries over the crust
  6. Bake at 350F/176C for about 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Very Berry Bars

As active people, it is important we get our proteins. Well, let’s be honest, there is nothing healthier (and tastier) than making your own granola bars!

So, as a berry lover who doesn’t get enough berries here in Peru, I inspired myself from SallysBakingAddiction recipe and made these bars from dried cranberries and blueberries. There is really nothing easier to make, no baking required either!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped cashews
3/4 cup oats
2 tablespoons+2 teaspoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons+2 teaspoons dried blueberries
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons shredded coconut
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter

Directions:

Place a parchment paper in a baking pan (I used a round one but square or rectangle is definitely better!). Leave extra paper so you can remove the bars easily.

Chop the nuts the size you want (or use a processor). Combine all  dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Warm the peanut butter, and mix it with the honey. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well coated. Scoop the mix into the baking pan and evenly flat it out. I used a spatula to really press it down and tighly into the pan.

Place the bars in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Remove from the pan and cut into the size you want. You can keep them at room temperature,  in the fridge or in the freezer.

Enjoy!

 

 

Two must-do activities in Cape Town

Hiking Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.

You can take a cable car up Table Mountain, but it is really not worth the price. The hike takes about 90mins to do and is a nice moment to connect with nature. The view you get of Cape Town is beautiful. Pick a nice sunny day, but make sure to bring water, snacks, and sunblock.

Lion’s Head is not too far from Table Mountain. If you are in shape and really want to, you can hike both mountains in the same day. (We did this). Lion’s Head is less busy than Table Mountain, probably because the only way up is by foot. There are a few parts where you must actually use your hands and climb up using either chains or metal bars they put into the rock. I was really proud of myself for doing that, I thought it was a little scary.

View of Cape Town

Old Biscuit Mill

This was one of our favourite activities to do on a Saturday (between 10am-2pm): Old Biscuit Mill Market. The little shops, antique stores, and food that you can find here are all really great. South African artisans sell their clothes, jewelry, choose, leather books, etc. and local restaurants have food stands where you can enjoy anything from falafel to fresh oysters. Also, you can taste different types of local beers and wines, and our personal favourite: ginger beer! This is an absolute must if you are in Cape Town on a saturday!

Old Biscuit Mill Market